Who is KE5EXX?
Getting Started
 Technician (Element 2)
 CW (Element 1)
 General (Element 3)
 Amateur Extra (Element 4)
Hardware - Assembled and
DIY (Do It Yourself)

Don't get BURNED! - get GROUNDED!
Be Prepared - get your Go Bag ready...
EM21 Grid Maps
A Chart on Coax Attenuation
Ham Links
Rover - What we did to gear up...
 The Sep 06 VHF Contest
  - Added 1296 MHz!

 The Aug 06 UHF Contest
  - We WON the West Gulf Division!

 The Jun 06 VHF Contest
  - Added 902 MHz!

 The Jan 06 VHF Contest
  - Our first experience

Winlink 2000 and Airmail - email through your radio...

WOW! I have to tell you that this rovering thing is fun! My son KE5GAQ and I went on an 11 Grid expedition for the January 2006 VHF Sweepstakes. We completed the outfitting of the minivan (1999 Plymouth Voyager), installed the amps and transverter on the wooden rack (made by AE5P), and spent part of a Saturday building coax patch cables and testing power output of the borrowed Icom 706 to make sure we didn't blow up an amp. We then made a couple of contacts to K5QE 60 miles away on 6m, 2m, 222 MHz, and 432 MHz. After this test, K5QE decided that we needed more power (sounds like Tim "The Toolman" Taylor HI HI) on 2m and 222. He sent over a better 222 yagi and bigger 2m amp. I swapped everything out and had us ready to roll by Saturday morning.

Andrew had a Little Dribblers basketball game that started late and ran long, so we didn't get on the road until 1pm. The contest was just getting underway, and I was over an hour behind from where I wanted to be (at the EM22/EM23 gridline). Oh well, we still had fun! Our first contact was K5QE on 2m and 6m. We could have stopped and aimed the yagi's to get 222 and 432, but I was behind schedule. We kept making rolling contacts all the way to Little Rock, AR, (EM34) where we bedded down.

We woke up Sunday morning at 5:15 to get on the way to the EM34/EM35/EM44/EM45 grid corner about 20 miles North of Little Rock. Bad news...it was raining.... We toughed it out and made our longest distance Q back to K5QE (who is in EM31) from EM45! Andrew and I were stoked! We moved from EM45 to EM44 and made a few more Q's. We moved again, this time to EM35, and would you believe we found the best spot in the world to park and point the yagi's! In a small rural neighborhood near Cabot, AR, we found a large intersection on a gravel road that I thought would be perfect. I was lining up to point back to Texas when Andrew said "Hey look!" and pointed just 300 ft up the road to the highest point we had seen yet! We pulled up the hill and were set at 8:30. I'm glad that it was a Sunday morning. Otherwise people might have been coming out with a shotgun... We left there and headed to Hot Springs, AR (EM33). More bad news...as we were getting closer to Hot Springs the sky was getting darker. We encountered some bad stuff for the next two hours, and the band conditions were pretty shabby.

We met up with the rover occupied by W5TV near Dierks, AR (EM24). As they were turning to go East, we were turning Southward back to Texas. We had fun talking for a little while and worked a couple of pile-ups.

We made it back to Texarkana, TX (EM23) where we stopped for lunch. Guess who was at the McD's?!?!?!? Ronald himself!!! He came up to the table and said that he knew Andrew was too old for Ronald McDonald, but Ronald gave him an autographed coloring book anyway. Andrew accepted the gift and was pretty embarassed when Ronald started talking about girls..... I think Andrew's ears and cheeks were as red as Ronald's hair.

We left Texarkana and headed to Shreveport, LA (EM32) to pickup a few more grids. This was by far the worst weather of the trip. I don't ever remember driving in such a bad electrical storm! The RF interference was terrible. We were able to make a few contacts, but for the most part, we both kept our eyes on the road (we were only able to go 45 mph in some areas).

We refueled in Shreveport and headed South on I-49 until we turned West on US 84. This was the last leg of the trip where we finally picked up EM31.

All totaled, we logged 780 miles, 11 Grids (EM21, EM22, EM23, EM24, EM31, EM32, EM33, EM34, EM35, EM44, EM45), 94 Q's (contacts), and we worked 4 bands.

©2017 Andy Delgado, KE5EXX
Nacogdoches, Texas USA
All rights reserved.