I did my first VHF contest as a rover in January 2002. I only had a 2-meter transceiver and a 5-element beam. I roved through 7 grids in central New Mexico and scored 460 points. For the June contest, I added a TenTec 6-meter transverter, a 2-m brick, and a loop antenna built by N5XZM (see photo on right). That was my first-ever experience with 50 MHz Es and I caught a few distant grids and got some nice multipliers during the contest. In September 2002, I made an ambitious attempt to activate 10 grids. This I did, but only made contacts from eight of them -- you can only count the grids as multipliers if you make contacts there! Despite the bigger effort, VHF activity in New Mexico was on the decline along with my score. I did some re-thinking and decided that instead of adding UHF bands to work just a few stations in DM65 (Albuquerque), I'd go after some serious 2-m DX using high-speed meteor scatter. This strategy was put to the test in January 2003: with both 2 and 6 dead for the entire contest, I finally broke the elusive 1000 point barrier thanks to WSJT meteor scatter. You can read about my experience with portable WSJT here.
My personal best rover score was set in June 2003 and this was entirely the result of some incredible 6-m sporadic E that permeated the contest weekend. Big openings occurred while I was in rare grids DM74 and DM76 and I was the focus of a couple of pileups. Here's a photo of me setup in DM74 just minutes before 6 opened on Saturday evening. I made a map of the 6 meter grids worked from the rover during the contest -- a total of 80!
I've done eight VHF contests as a rover and activated the following grids during my travels: DM54, DM55, DM56, DM63, DM64, DM65, DM66, DM73, DM74, DM75, DM76, DM83, DM84, and DM85. My contest performance breaks down as follows:
|Date ||Bands ||Grids Activated ||Score|
|Jan 2002 ||144 ||7 ||460|
|Jun 2002 ||50, 144 ||7 ||924|
|Sep 2002 ||50, 144 ||8 ||792|
|Jan 2003 ||50, 144 ||6 ||1083|
|Jun 2003 ||50, 144 ||4 ||15,624|
|Sep 2003 ||50, 144 ||6 ||646|
|Jan 2004 ||144 ||5 ||160|
|Jun 2004 ||50, 144 ||3 ||1026|
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