Notable VHF Contacts This Weekend

Bob K0NR

I had several surprising 2m FM contacts this weekend.

On Friday, Joyce and I did "The Pumas" in South Park. While activating Little Puma (W0C/SP-128), I worked a strong station in Colorado Springs. Not a big surprise as I can usually get a signal up and over Wilkerson Pass and into the Springs. Then I heard a very noisy signal come back to me: WG0AT. Steve was at home near Monument and we were just barely able to work. Steve's house is tucked close to the Rampart Range (Mt Herman) so he has a wall of rock to the west of him. And he was only using an HT with a 20-inch whip. I had my 3-element yagi and 30W mini-mobile. I suspect we were bouncing signals off Pikes Peak...I can't imagine any other path. Truly amazing to make that contact with low power FM. (Recall that FM has the threshold effect and really suffers with small signals.)

On Saturday, things went the other way. We were on South Peak (W0C/SR-111) at 12892 ft. Curtis/KC5CW was on Blowout Hill (W0C/SR-057) at 8700 ft. Blowout Hill (love that name!) is not too far from I-70 and Dotsero, CO. I knew there was plenty of rock between us but figured we could get a signal through on 2m. Actually, I was hoping to work him on 222 MHz and 1.2 GHz but we didn't connect. We did make contact on 2m FM, with my yagi pointed in his direction but signals were not real strong. Last I heard, I was the only S2S that Curtis worked on 2m FM, which really surprised me. I suspect that Blowout Hill was just not high enough relative to the terrain around it.

On Sunday, we were on SP-042 near Cottonwood Pass. I worked Carey/KX0R on Thorodin Mt (W0C/SR-052) on 2m FM. He gave his summit as SR-052 and I thought he was probably somewhere not too far away. Later, when I was going through the log, I realized he was on Thorodin, which is 10,540 ft, a bit northeast of Central City. It is more of a "front range" summit and not a good shot from my location. I recalled that I had to point my yagi carefully to pick him out...the best signal was obtained by pointing due east (not the heading to Thorodin which is N/NE). This is in the direction of Pikes Peak, so once again I think that America's Mountain was reflecting the signal for us.

Yes, this is what makes VHF in the mountains so much fun for me.

73 Bob K0NR

Bob Witte / K0NR / @K0NR /