Our new Vice President Gil, KM4OZH is an Amateur Extra and “of a certain age”.
While many of us in the club would fit that description, Gil is a relative newcomer as he was first licensed in 2015.
Despite what some of you might call “a lack of seasoning”, he was attracted to contesting almost immediately. Attracted is perhaps too mild a word to use if you followed our Gordon Miller, (NQ4K) VAQP meeting presentation. Passionate is probably a better term. More on that later.
He really enjoys roving contesting. If you need proof of any of this, one only needs to look how his Mercedes is outfitted.
The picture above is in VAQP configuration with HF and HF antennas deployed.
He is used to dealing with 4 bands with different contest point weights. For VHF contests the 3 rear rotating mast antennas (below) are 6m, 2m, and 70cm and they are directional, selected by a 4 to 1 coaxial relay, 1 extra or spare set of contacts.
In both contests the omnis on the front are home built 2m, 70cm and 1.25m. As of now antenna switching is performed manually. Gil uses an Arduino solely for controlling the home built stepper motor driven 80m antenna matcher. The remote control matcher is the grey roof mounted box (top photo again) and control is from the box in the upper right hand corner of the radio console with the keypad (2 photos down).
In recent VHF contests, Gil has come in 2nd place last June in the Southeast Region. He has placed 7th last September & 10th in January nationwide, overall.
If you didn’t already know, you can view your or anyone else’s results at :
Understandably then, he prefers FM & SSB while mobile – Digital, not so much. And, unlike contesting from a base station, Gil has the added challenges of driving, PTT and logging. Please note the laptop computer for now. We’ll come back to that too.
When I asked Gil why he contests, he had that smile in his voice as he told me that among other things, he viewed the other contests as “practice for the VAQP”. When asked what was needed for success in contesting, Gil replied “operator skill, good radios, antennas …+ CLUB SUPPORT for boosting quick and easy QSOs – in equal amounts.”
Now about that antenna part – They are homebrewed & sometimes the parts come from surprising places. Gil told me he has in the past, “repurposed” the tubing in old lawn chair furniture.
He is also more than a bit tenacious. Gil spoke of a contest run where a large truck passed on the left, but the truck’s wake broke an arm on his 6m dipole – & he fixed it with a stick, like a splint. He did learn a lesson here and now uses a homebrew Moxon because it turns in, and doesn’t stick out so far. An inveterate tinkerer, for sure.
Now back to the February monthly meeting with Gordon Miller and that picture of the laptop in his car. You folks who attended that meeting know what is coming next here.
When Gordon, NQ4K, finished his presentation he asked for questions and there were a couple. When it was Gil’s turn, he stood up with a list. Passionate? Yes. And very, very detail oriented.
Summarizing, Gil was very concerned about recent VAQSO rule changes placing him in different category – From “mobile” to “rover” which Gil described as a “catch-all” category. He was concerned with going up against competitors way out of his punching weight, like RVs with antennas on top of large folding or retractable towers.
Another point of concern for Gil was the sudden disallowing of laptop logging for these new “rovers”. As if mobile contesting wasn’t challenging enough, now it seemed he would be reduced to paper logs as well.
Not liking the answers received at our meeting, Gil showed up the very next night at the Heritage Hunt club meeting and pressed his case a second time with Gordon to change some of those new rules back.
I did say “tenacious”, didn’t I?
Gordon graciously asked Gil to submit an e-mail listing his (Gil’s) concerns, and he did.
A few days later, Gil received a reply from Gordon reversing those rule changes Gil was most concerned about. So not a “rover”, but returned to his “mobile” class. And he can continue with the laptop in his car.
Persistence won the day.
Previously, we wrote:
When asked what was needed for success in contesting, Gil replied “operator skill, good radios, antennas …+ CLUB SUPPORT …”
Perhaps he should also add Persistence.
The 2023 Virginia QSO Party will be held during the weekend of 18-19 March 2023.
Saturday, 18 March, 1400 UTC – Sunday, 19 March, 0400 UTC and
Sunday, 19 March, 1200 UTC – 2400 UTC.