Contest Experiences with apolLO

Jim, WD5IYT, and I hit the streets in my rover for the ARRL VHF Sweepstakes contest this weekend.  As I’m sure you’ve heard, Hurricane Ike moved across Southern and Eastern Texas over the weekend and so we avoided getting drenched and went out to West Texas instead.  We had two big equipment changes for the contest.  First, my four upper transverters (2304, 3456, 5760 and 10368) were retrofitted with apolLO-32 boards.  Jim did most of this work while I worked on other rover issues like our melted fuse block and aging PVC rack.  I used an HP 58540A GPS-locked 10MHz reference and a DEMI 10-4 to feed the four transverters.  I picked up the 58540A surplus and after a 5-minute warm-up to lock, it was solid the entire trip.  The 10-4 split this into four separate 10MHz references which then fed each transverter.  Here’s a picture of the 3G transverter after modification:

3G DEMI Transverter with N5AC apolLO-32

3G DEMI Transverter with N5AC apolLO-32

On all four bands, we were right on channel the entire trip independent of the hot and cool temperatures swings.  For the 10GHz portable, we just ran a small 10MHz coax out to the transverter on the tripod.  Here’s a shot of the transverter:

10GHz Transverter with apolLO-32

10GHz Transverter with apolLO-32

Jim built the awesome tripod mount for the 10GHz transverter last week and it worked great (our second big change for this trip).  It’s perfectly balanced so that the rig is easy to steer and stay where it’s put.  The horn is one I bought off of eBay about a year ago and it was easy to point.  Our best DX was about 250mi and we made a few other long contacts!  Best of all … there was no hunting for folks who were also on frequency!

I still have a few of the first run of apolLO-32’s and I’ve started the process on the second batch.  It will be a couple of months on the second batch by the time the boards are done and they are assembled and tested.  At the time of this writing I have only 12 apolLO-32s remaining (out of the original order of 120)!  If you want one, orders can be placed here.   If you already have one or more apolLO-32’s and used them in the recent VHF contest, I’d live to hear about your expereinces — drop me a note at apollo-at-n5ac-dot-com or even better, post them here!

73,

Steve