One of the premier VHF/UHF events on the contest calendar is the ARRL June VHF Contest, which gets under way at 1800 UTC on Saturday, June 11, and continues until 0259 UTC on Monday, June 13.
The object for participants in the US and Canada (and their possessions) is to work stations in as many different 2° × 1° Maidenhead grid squares as possible, using authorized frequencies above 50 MHz. Stations outside the US and Canada (and their possessions) may only work stations in the US (and its possessions) and Canada. Stations in KH0-9, KL7, KP1-KP5, CY9, and CY0 count as W/VE stations and may be worked by DX stations for contest credit.
Whether from a home station, mobile, or even portable (perhaps mountaintopping or on the air at a nearby National Parks On The Air site), you won’t need large antennas or elaborate gear to operate in the June VHF Contest, and you don’t have to be a contesting “pro”.
June also is a favorite month for band openings on the so-called “Magic Band” — 6 meters. Even DX contacts are possible on 6. The June VHF Contest occurs at the start of the summer sporadic E-skip season, and intense openings on 6 meters and even 2 meters are possible. It’s a whole new world of propagation possibilities that can include such modes as tropospheric ducting, aurora, meteor scatter, and even moonbounce.
There are several classic entry categories, but for those who are new to VHF, these categories might be a great place to get started in VHF contesting:
- Single-Operator, Portable: For those who enjoy operating low power from a portable power source and using portable antennas.
- Rover: For mobile operators who enjoy traveling from one grid square to another to hand out contacts.
- Single-Operator, FM-only: A category for the 50, 144, 222, and 440 MHz bands at a power of 100 W or less.
Even with a modest station, it’s possible to work hundreds of miles on the VHF bands during a good opening.
Got a question? Contact the ARRL Contest Branch.