For the first time I had a functioning 6m station for the ARRL VHF contest. I used the Par Electronics Omni in its temporary location and my Kenwood TS-480SAT.
The contest started at 1800 UTC Saturday 11 June. I was a bit late for the start getting my first contact, W9GA in EN53 at 18:55 UTC. This was followed by three more stations in Wisconsin and then the band opened up for me and I could here more stations. For awhile after that I was getting a new station about every five minutes, scanning the SSB portion of the band. All my signal reports were good.
My XYL arrived home from work and wanted to go for dinner at our favorite BBQ place, Altas BBQ. Talk about the horns of a dilemma…XYL and Atlas BBQ…VHF contest…XYL and Atlas BBQ…VHF contest…hmm, what should I do? Actually it wasn’t that hard even though I am enjoying 6 meters. So after an excellent Cuban sandwich (I heard it’s good for propagation) I returned to the contest and had 26 contacts when I pulled the hook at 0259 UTC.
Most distant contacts
I had a wee bit of time to grab a few more stations on Sunday morning. In the end I contacted 33 stations including my first DX station, VE1PZ in Nova Scotia. This brings my grid total to 29 and 14 states on 6m. I really like 6m operation. The dynamics of the band are very interesting in a way that is much different from that of the HF bands. I guess that’s why it’s called the magic band. I’ll be watching for more openings and hope for a big opening to Europe.
Briscoe Darling couldn’t have said it better. Based upon my experience with the Par Electronics Stressed Moxon I decided to get more Par…Par Electronics that is. The Moxon was intended for my portable station but I also wanted a fixed 6m antenna. So the obvious solution was to get another antenna! As with the Par Moxon, I’ve wanted one of Par’s Omni’s for quite awhile as well. Since I bought the Moxon used and saved a fair amount of money over the price of a new one I figured that buying a new Omni would save even more, at least that’s what I told my XYL. Besides, it works for her, “Look honey, if I spent over $100 then they gave me an additional X% off so I saved $Y.” You have to spend more to save more, isn’t that how it works?
In any event, I sent Par Electronics an email inquiring about the price and shipping for an OA-50. I received a very prompt reply (I sent my message at 8:51 PM on a Tuesday night and got a reply 22 minutes later) from the owner, Dale Parfitt with all the information I asked for plus more including the fact that they were about 3 days behind on orders and working 80+ hours a week to keep up. I guess that’s a good problem to have if you are a small business. I was in no hurry as long as I had an order in the queue. I figured that I’d see it in a couple of weeks. Based upon the eHam reviews it was definitely going to be worth the wait.
Six days later Brown Santa dropped off a package:
What’s in the box?
Opening revealed the brand new OA-50:
A quick inspection showed everything intact even though the box was a bit roughed up. The quality of all the parts is the typical top notch that you’d expect from Par Electronics:
One odd part was this:
Has Par nailed it?
Yes, it’s a nail. What’s a nail have to do with a 6m antenna you ask. A quick scan of the instructions revealed that they include it to dimple the radiator tubes onto the tip assembly for fixed operation. Nice touch.
A few minutes later and I have a new OA-50 waiting to be tested. Too bad it’s dark, cold, and raining right now. Dark and cold would be okay, almost normal antenna deployment weather. Rain, not so much.
Now that I have one Omni, wouldn’t two be better? They do make stacking kits. Stay tuned for more!