Ken Harker WM5R
1997 ARRL September VHF QSO Party - W5EHM M/L

W5EHM participated in the ARRL September VHF QSO Party conducted from 1800UTC 13 September 1997 to 0300UTC 15 September 1997. We operated in the limited multi-operator class, with KC5OJK, KD5AAD, and KM5FA operating. We were active on six meters (50 MHz), two meters (144 MHz), and 70cm (432 MHz).

This is the University of Texas Amateur Radio Club W5EHM's best ever September VHF QSO Party results, dramatically improving on our 1996 results, and coming just 127 points shy of our 1997 June VHF QSO Party score. We worked several "first-ever" grids for the club VUCC totals on 6M and 70cm, including our first-ever 6M QSO with any station in EM11 (which, as it turns out, was the Baylor Amateur Radio Club WA5BU!) Unlike last year, however, there was no 6M Es propagation on at all during the contest.

This was our first contest effort on 70cm in one of the "major" contests using our Yaesu FT-726R. As a consequence, we were able to work several new "first-ever" grids on that band. We were also pleasantly surprised to work several new "first-ever" Texas grids on 6M to our north, probably because the total lack of Es encouraged the big gun stations in the Metroplex to turn their arrays south for a change :-) On 6M, our new grids were EM11, EM12, and EM22. On 2M, EM22 was a first-time new grid for us, and on 70cm, our new grids were EL19, EM11, EM12, and EM22.

This was also our first big effort to incorporate CW into the contest operation, using a Super CMOS Keyer III and switching the keying line between the two radios. Not as many contacts were garnered on CW as desired, with only two complete CW QSOs. Use of CW, however, did attract about five other QSOs that were completed on phone. We suspect maybe as many as a half dozen or more QSOs where SSB wasn't getting through might have been completed on CW had other stations been suitably equipped.

Before the contest, our informal goal was to beat our 1996 ARRL September VHF QSO Party score and QSO total, which we did. We were also eager to beat the score of the Oklahoma University Amateur Radio Club W5TC contest effort. We never did hear W5TC on the air, but I assume that at some point our signals must have met in Dallas, which is of course the natural way of things.


The score calculated below is claimed.

Frequency QSOs Grids
50 MHz 41 12
144 MHz 54 14
432 MHz 28 9
Total 121 35

Claimed score5,285

6M grids worked during the contest

6M grid map

EL09, EL17, EL18, EL19, EL29, EM00, EM10, EM11, EM12, EM13, EM20, EM22

2M grids worked during the contest

2M grid map

EL09, EL17, EL18, EL19, EL29, EM00, EM01, EM10, EM11, EM12, EM13, EM20, EM22, EM30

70cm grids worked during the contest

70cm grid map

EL09, EL17, EL19, EL29, EM00, EM10, EM11, EM12, EM22

Last Updated 26 June 2020