Archive for category VHF
From the That Took A Long Time department, the FCC granted a waiver requested by the ARRL that clarifies the rules concerning the use of TDMA (i.e., MOTOTRBO or DMR) on the ham bands. I posted on this topic way back in March 2011, so refer to that article for the background. Update: ARRL article posted here.
I was surprised to find that the FCC quoted my comments that I filed on this proceeding:
Some commenters state the proposed rule change “removes an ambiguity in Part 97 concerning the use of single slot TDMA technology” and it “enable[s] and encourage[s] the adoption of spectrally efficient narrowband technology.” Comments of Robert Witte at 1.
OK, fine, it was buried in the footnotes but I appreciate the mention. I can now die in peace knowing that my name is in the FCC record and not associated with a rules violation
Thanks to Jeff K0RM, for pointing this out.
73, Bob K0NR
A few weeks ago, I was at my day job working diligently on something. I popped up the SotaWatch web site to see of anyone was out activating SOTA summits. Sure enough, Steve (AKA Goathiker, AKA WG0AT) was headed up Mt Herman for the day. (I have recently declared Mt Herman to be the Most Radioactive Summit in Colorado…at least for amateur radio.)
When I had a few minutes break, I went out to my amateur-radio equipped SUV in the parking lot to call Steve on 146.52 MHz. Steve came back to my call and we made a quick contact and he was in the log. Even though he was an easy line-of-sight path away, I had trouble copying him. Opening the squelch revealed that I had a large noisy signal sitting on 146.52 MHz. I didn’t think too much of it and assumed it was coming from the vast array of electronic equipment inside the building.
As I left work that day, I tuned to 146.52 MHz to see how quickly the interference disappeared as I drove away. I was surprised to find that the interference did not go away, it was covering a wide area. On my commute home, the noise was remarkably constant. This interference seems to follow me everywhere! Eventually, it sunk in that the interference was coming from my own vehicle. Huh, I didn’t have that problem before.
When I arrived home, I turned off the ignition and the noise was still there. I started disconnecting everything in sight, trying to make the noise disappear. Finally, I unplugged the cute little USB charger/adapter that was inserted into the cigarette lighter socket. Bingo, the interference disappeared. It seems that this little adapter has a switching circuit in it that is generating a large amount of hash. I have not investigated it fully, but it trashes out a substantial portion of the 2 Meter ham band.
It used to be my favorite adapter. Buyer beware.
73, Bob K0NR
The Committee to Preserve Golf November Tango is pleased to announce the availability of the new GNT Polo Shirt. The origins of the GNT frequency traces back to the incident when three ham radio operators found themselves stranded on the shore of Lake Michigan, calling out in desperation for Gin and Tonic. You may recall the unfortunate circumstances that caused confusion about the correct Golf November Tango calling frequency.
Fortunately, this has all been cleared up and The Committee has authorized the sale of the Golf November Tango shirt, with the official GNT frequency embroidered on it. (It seems that the group is really bad at documenting things, so they figured that if they all had a shirt with the frequency written on it, it could only help. See the logo shown to the left.)
These awesome polo shirts are available online in both mens and womens sizes at the Ham Radio Techwear store. The committee apologizes that these shirts are a little late for Christmas presents, but there is always next year.
Remember, when all else fails, make a call on the GNT Frequency.
73, Bob K0NR
Last week, I had lunch with an old friend, Bdale Garbee (KB0G). Bdale and I had both worked at HP for a number of years and we have been involved in some common ham radio clubs and activities. I followed the test and measurement path with Agilent Technologies when that company was formed, while Bdale stayed with the HP computer business. He is a recognized industry expert in Unix, Linux and all things open source. It is always cool to catch up with him and find out what he has been doing. He recently took early retirement from HP…I am not sure what “retirement” means for Bdale but its not playing shuffleboard at the retirement home!
Coincidentally, a few days later, I came across this video from HamRadioNow of Bdale talking at the ARRL/TAPR Digital Communications Conference. In this talk, Bdale discusses the general theme of making stuff and the satisfaction that is derived from that activity. It is about an hour long so grab a cup of your favorite beverage and take a seat.
By the way, check out the other HamRadioNow videos, especially the videos of the DCC technical talks. Good stuff!
73, Bob K0NR
One of the more popular articles on my web site is Choose Your 2M Frequency Wisely, which explains the 2 Meter (144 MHz) band plan. VHF and UHF band plans are mostly local in nature and there is no one band plan that works across the US or North America. So that article is written specifically for the band plan in my own state of Colorado.
I recently wrote a new Shack Talk article for HamRadioSchool.com that covers the same topic in a more general way for North America. I called this article What Frequency Do I Use on 2 Meters? Please check it out!
- 73, Bob K0NR
As I prepare for the ARRL January VHF Contest, I loaded the latest version of VHF LOG, a software program by Dave W3KM. I have used this free program for many years and it just rolled over to version 4.0 to support Windows 8.
VHF LOG is easy to use while covering the basic contest logging requirements for the usual VHF contests (ARRL January/June/September, CQ Worldwide VHF, etc.). It includes a “Post Contest” mode, which is handy for entering a paper log into your computer for electronic submission.
VHF LOG runs on Windows operating systems, 98SE thru Win8. Check it out.
73, Bob K0NR
Some time ago, I qualified for 50 MHz VUCC from another location (rare grid DM67, operating portable). Lately, I have been racking up grids on 6 Meters from my cabin in DM78. Since a VUCC award is good for a set of locations that are within 200 km of each other, these new contacts count as a separate VUCC award entry.
After the ARRL Logbook of the World (LoTW) added VUCC to the list of supported awards, I started watching my grid count climb. When the grid count hit 200, I decided it was time to apply for VUCC from the new location.
There are a lot of things about LoTW that are a pain but getting this award was easy. A few clicks on the LoTW web page and I submitted an application for 50 MHz VUCC using 203 grids. The fees were significant: $46.45. This breaks out as $12 for the award fee, $1 for endorsement sticker (indicates 200 contacts), $3 for an LoTW application fee and $30.45 for confirming the 203 grids (15 cents per grid). This might seem steep until you compare it to the mailing and other costs of getting 200 confirmed QSL cards. Assuming a 100% response rate and an SASE for each confirmation, it costs more than $1 per confirmed grid or >$200. With a lower response rate, the costs are even higher. And this ignores the time it takes to organize and send out the cards.
I happily paid the fee using my VISA Credit Card and the VUCC certificate arrived in my mailbox a week or so later. This is awesome!
73, Bob K0NR
I happened upon this posting from Hans PD0AC about the Baofeng UV-B5 handheld transceiver. Hans has written a number of useful reviews on the El Cheapo Radios from China, so when he wrote “The Baofeng UV-B5 is close to perfect”, it caught my attention. I have a couple of the other radios from China that I blogged about here and here.
I ordered one of the radios from 409shop for $53 including shipping from Hong Kong, and it arrived a few days ago. After playing with it a bit, I downloaded the free programming software and loaded up a few frequencies. The software was a huge improvement over the crapware that came with the UV-5R…it installed easily and seems to work just fine.
I did an initial performance check with my HP 8920A RF Test Set and found the performance to be quite good:
VHF - transmit frequency error ~50 Hz transmit power 4.4W fm deviation ~4.5 to 5 kHz receive sensitivity ~0.2 uV UHF - transmit frequency error ~170 Hz transmit power 4.4 W fm deviation ~4.5 to 5 kHz receive sensitivity ~0.2 uV
I’ve noticed poor harmonic distortion on a few Baofeng radios, so I checked that out. On VHF, the harmonics are about -55 dBc, which is good. I did not check UHF but typically these radios have had better harmonic performance on the UHF band. Hans PD0AC reported similar measured results.
On the air testing resulted in excellent signal reports in terms of audio quality. The received audio is also loud and clear. The user manual is acceptable….mostly clear English but it does have some difficult-to-understand sentences here and there. Like the other radios from China, you’re really going to want to use the programming software to set things up. After that, the controls are quite usable.
Note that, unlike some of the other radios from China, the UV-B5 is not certified for Part 90 use. At least not yet.
A Yahoo group has sprung up to discuss this radio and share information, so check that out.
My overall assessment is that Baofeng has cleaned up the issues with the UV-5R (and don’t forget, I really like that radio!). The UV-B5 is a sweet little radio that will make a splash when it hits the US market.
73, Bob K0NR
Recently, on one of the email reflectors associated with repeater owners, someone asked how to deal with kerchunkers on the repeater. The term kerchunk means to key up the repeater to see if it is there. It just takes a quick push of the Push-to-Talk (PTT) button on the transceiver to bring up most repeaters, resulting in a kerchunk sound.
It seems that this repeater owner had someone that was kerchunking his repeater on a regular basis and it was making him looney. This led to the usual discussion of whether kerchunking is acceptable, legal or moral and whether it should or should not be considered a capital offense.
Clearly, some radio amateurs have not been schooled in the proper way to kerchunk a repeater. The proper method for kerchunking is to key the transmitter and say your callsign, followed by the word “kerchunking”. This simultaneously identifies your station and indicates the purpose of your transmission.
To make the practice of repeater kerchunking even more efficient, I am proposing the adoption of these new Q signals:
QKC: I am kerchunking the repeater
QKC?: Are you kerchunking the repeater?
Thank you for your attention to this important topic concerning good amateur practice.
73, Bob K0NR
I have been writing the FM column for CQ VHF Magazine for a number of years. I really enjoy doing it and I think the magazine is great. This quarterly magazine has special feature articles on VHF (and higher bands) and includes regular columns on satellites, space, radio direction finding, beginners guide, FM/repeaters, antennas and propagation.
If you are interested in ham radio above 50 MHz, check out this publication. Take a look at the current issue here.
Right now, there is a special offer on subscriptions.
73, Bob K0NR
I received a comment on my previous post on The Android HT, pointing to this Android mobile phone plus UHF transceiver: Runbo X5. This is not quite what I described as the Android HT but this device is certainly interesting just the same.
Runbo X5 Android Phone with UHF Radio
Looking around on the web, I found this set of specifications. The frequency range for the “walkie-talky” function is listed as 400 to 470 MHz. The power output is not specified, but the UHF range is listed as 5 km. Some of the photos show a rubber duck antenna while others do not, so I suspect that the UHF antenna is removable.
Of course, the Android HT that I described was amateur radio only, no mobile phone capability included.
73, Bob K0NR
8 Dec 2012 Update: I just noticed that PD0AC highlighted a similar product on his blog, the OutFone BD-351-A83.
You may recall the story about the origination of the Golf November Tango frequency of 146.55 MHz. Unfortunately, we have discovered an oversight in the selection of this important frequency.
On the 2 Meter band in the US and Canada, we have two different channel spacings in use. Some regions use a 15-KHz channel spacing while other regions use 20-kHz channels. All regions do use 146.52 MHz as the FM calling frequency, but the other channels are spaced based on local practice. The 20-kHz spaced band plan has simplex frequencies that include 146.52, 146.54, 146.56 and 146.58 MHz. With a 15 kHz spacing, the resulting simplex frequencies include 146.52, 146.535, 146.550, 146.565 and 146.580 MHz. Clearly, the existing frequency of 146.55 MHz was only compatible with the 15-kHz band plan.
An investigation is underway to determine who actually chose this frequency, so the responsible party can be held responsible. Unfortunately, no one seems to remember how the frequency was actually chosen, so the investigation continues. In the mean time, The Committee to Preserve Golf November Tango met and decided to launch a fast-track project to establish a new GNT frequency. If at all possible, this frequency must be compatible with both types of band plans, so that a North American GNT frequency can be restored to its former glory, while fully conforming to local VHF band plans.
After an intensive 18 month investigation, the team was unable to find such a frequency. Even though they met weekly, usually while partaking of copious quantities of Gin and Tonic, they were unable to find a solution. It looked like the entire enterprise might be in jeopardy. But late one night, one of the committee members blurted out “hey, why don’t we just use 146.52 MHz since I already have it programmed into my radio?” By some quirk of fate, the other committee members thought he said “146.58 MHz”, which, in fact, does fit both band plans. The GNT frequency was quickly designated as 146.58 MHz and the meeting was adjourned.
So remember, when you are on the beach and in the need of liquid refreshment, make a distress call on the GNT frequency of 146.58 MHz.
73, Bob K0NR
I’ve been writing a few articles for the HamRadioSchool.com web site during the past few months. Most of these are aimed at newly licensed Technicians but other radio amateurs may find them useful.
- A Half-Wave Antenna for Your 2 Meter Handheld Radio
- VHF FM Station At Home
- Yes, Band Plans Do Matter
I also put together a quick reference chart for Technician License Bands and Modes.
Check out the other content available on HamRadioSchool.com.
73, Bob K0NR
My article on the Android HT generated some interesting comments and ideas. Thanks so much! One of the main themes in the feedback is to have the radio be “faceless”, with the user interface done on a mobile device (i.e., smartphone or tablet). The mobile device would communicate to the transceiver via Bluetooth (or maybe WiFi). This approach has the advantage of separating the radio hardware (which probably doesn’t need to change very often) from the compute/display hardware (which is on a faster-paced technology path). I went ahead and hacked together a concept photo of such a device (click the photo to enlarge it). This device could interface with any mobile device that has a Bluetooth interface, so it would be independent of OS on the mobile device (yes, you could use your iPhone).
Such an approach opens up a variety of use models. Imagine sticking the transceiver in your backpack and using an app on your smartphone to enjoy QSOs when hiking. Alternatively, the radio could hang on your belt. At home, the radio could be left in some convenient location, connected to an external antenna on the roof and operated from the mobile device. (Low power Bluetooth is said to have a range of about 10 Meters.) These are just a few thoughts…I am sure you can think of others.
I would expect the original Android HT concept to be easier to use for casual operation, due to the All-In-One Design with dedicated hardware volume control, channel select and PTT switch. I am assuming those functions would be implemented in software in the faceless implementation, which would likely be less convenient. Most mobile devices have their own GPS system included, so that would mean one less thing that has to be in the radio.
The other idea that surfaced in the feedback is using Software Defined Radio (SDR) technology to implement the transceiver. This would provide a higher degree of flexibility in generating and decoding signals, enabling additional areas of innovation. That is a great idea and will require a whole ‘nuther line of thinking.
73, Bob K0NR
I’ve been watching all of the innovative work going on in the smartphone and tablet arena and wondering how we could get more of that going in ham radio. To be sure, there are always radio amateurs developing creative technology. Some examples are adaptations of D-STAR, IRLP, improvements on APRS and sound card modulation modes. However, amateur radio is missing a standardized platform for handheld communications. Such a radio platform could open up lots of software innovation in this space.
What I have in mind is a dualband (2M/70cm) handheld transceiver that is built on top of the Android operating system. (Sorry Apple Fan Boys, iOS is a non-starter based on Apple’s walled garden philosophy.) This radio would have some of the hardware features we now take for granted in smartphones: GPS, WiFi, USB, maybe even a camera. I’d also include APRS hardware built-in, similar to the Yaesu VX-8GR or the Kenwood TH-D72A. I’ve hacked together a concept photo shown on the left of this post (click to enlarge). We would probably want to maintain some of the most important direct hardware controls such as PTT, volume and channel select. The rest of the user interface would be done via a touchscreen display, where the power of the Android OS comes into play.
While this hardware configuration is exciting, the real power comes from having a software developers kit (SDK) with a stable Application Programming Interface (API). This would unleash the creativity of all those software-oriented hams out there and a plethora of apps would emerge. There are plenty of ham radio apps available on the Apple and Android platforms…it’s just they are missing the radio as part of the package. An obvious area for innovation would initially be in APRS or maybe D-STAR. We could actually have the equivalent of SMS text messaging on ham radio, backed up via the WiFi connection. (Yeah, this kind of exists already but it is really cumbersome to use due to the
braindead menu-driven user interfaces of current radios.) Just think how easy programming the radio would be with a touchscreen approach.
This is the type of product development that requires significant investment, but the technology is readily available. I suppose a garage shop operation could get this done but one of the big radio manufacturers could easily pull this off. Maybe one of those upstarts from China might want to take this on. Whoever does it, just send me $5 per unit and I’ll be happy .
That’s my best idea for this morning. What do you think?
73, Bob K0NR
From the Great Minds Think Alike Department, Jeff KE9V suggests that the world needs a really good transceiver focused on 50 MHz and higher. I’ve always had this irrational attraction to VHF and higher and would love to have a solid radio in this category.
Based on the blog posting by Jerry KD0BIK, I picked up a Kelty Redwing backpack, for SOTA and other hiking activities. The 20% off coupon for REI was a good incentive to pick up the pack.
I managed to miss the 2012 Pacificon hamfest. Early in the year, I figured out that I needed to be in the San Francisco area right around the Pacificon date, so it looked like a sure thing. Unfortunately, circumstances changed and I missed it again this year. I keep hearing great things about Pacificon so it may be the best hamfest in the USA, based on a quality venue and great programs. I will have to wait until next year to validate this theory.
The LA Times has a great time-lapse photography video of space shuttle Endeavor moving through the streets of LA. Check it out.
HamRadioSchool.com has a neat video of a flagpole vertical antenna getting installed. There’s some really good content on that website. But I might be biased, since I’ve been contributing a few articles under the Shack Talk banner.
My buddy Ken WA6TTY has written a review of the new ARRL RFI Book. Ken is an EMC expert and does an excellent job of reviewing the book.
- 73, Bob K0NR
We have quite a few licensed radio amateurs that are members of public safety agencies, including fire departments, law enforcement agencies and search and rescue. Since they are authorized users of those public safety channels, they often ask this question:
Can I use my VHF/UHF ham radio on the fire, police or SAR channel?
It is widely known that many amateur radios can be modified to transmit outside the ham bands. The answer to this question used to be that amateur radio equipment cannot be used legally on public safety channels because it is not approved for use under Part 90 of the FCC Rules. (Part 90 covers the Private Land Mobile Radio Services.) The only option was to buy a commercial radio with Part 90 approval and a frequency range that covered the desired amateur band. Some commercial radios tune easily to the adjacent ham band but some do not. The commercial gear is usually two to three times as expensive as the amateur gear, and just as important, does not have the features and controls that ham operators expect. Usually, the commercial radios do not have a VFO and are completely channelized, typically changeable only with the required programming software.
The situation has changed dramatically in the past two years. Several wireless manufacturers in China (Wouxun, Baofeng, etc.) have introduced low cost handheld transceivers into the US amateur market that are approved for Part 90 use. These radios offer keypad frequency entry and all of the usual features of a ham radio. It seems that these radios are a viable option for dual use: public safety and amateur radio.
Here is a short list of the most common radios on the market:
|Wouxun KG-UV2D, KG-UV3D||Several different models with slight variation in features, check carefully before ordering
5 kHz is smallest frequency step
|Wouxun KG-UV6D||Several different models with slight variation in features, check carefully before ordering
136-174 / 420-520 MHz
2.5 kHz frequency step
|Baofeng UV-5R, UV-5RC||The UV-5RC is an updated case style
136-174 / 400-480MHz
2.5 kHz frequency step
Some Things to Consider When Buying These Radios
- The manufacturers offer several different radios under the same model number. Also, they are improving the radios every few months with firmware changes and feature updates. This causes confusion in the marketplace, so buy carefully.
- Make sure the vendor selling the radio indicates that the radio is approved for Part 90 use. I have seen some radios show up in the US without an FCC Part 90 label.
- Make sure the radio is specified to tune to the channels that you need.
- The 2.5-kHz tuning step is required for some public safety channels. Your particular set of frequencies may or may not need it. For example, a 5-kHz frequency step can be used to select frequencies such as 155.1600 MHz and 154.2650 MHz. However, a 2.5 kHz step size is needed to select frequencies such as 155.7525 MHz. There are a number of Public Safety Interoperability Channels that require the 2.5-kHz step (e.g., VCALL10 155.7525 MHz, VCALL11 151.1375 MHz, VFIRE24 154.2725). The safest thing to do for public safety use is to get a radio that tunes the 2.5-kHz steps.
- Although these radios have two frequencies in the display, they only have one receiver, which scans back and forth between the two selected frequencies. This can be confusing when the radio locks onto a signal on one of the frequencies and ignores the other.
I own 3 different models of Wouxun radios and two Baofeng UV-5R radios. I think they are all great radios for what they do.
For serious public safety use, I would recommend getting the Wouxun KG-UV6D with the 2.5-kHz frequency step. The controls of the Wouxun are superior, including a knob for channel/VFO selection and RPT key for changing repeater shift. The Wouxun software works much better than Baofeng’s (which is really a mess). Also, if you show up at an incident with the Baofeng, your fellow first responders will think it is a toy. If you are absolutely sure you don’t need the 2.5-KHz frequency step, then you might consider one of the other Wouxun models.
I have purchased several radios from importcommunications.com and have been very satisfied with the service. You may want to shop around for the best price.
73, Bob K0NR
It was another great day for Summits On The Air (SOTA) activity. I hiked up to Kaufman Ridge HP (W0/SP-081) with Joyce K0JJW to do the first SOTA activation of that summit. This summit is just south of Kaufman Ridge North (W0/SP-085) mentioned in this post.
Unlike some of my previous SOTA activations, I actually kind of sort of planned this one. I had my Yaesu FT-60 HT with a decent omni antenna for 2 Meters (the MFJ-1714). I also took along the VX-8GR handheld for use as an APRS station. Note the innovative In The Tree mounting scheme for the FT-60:
On the way up, I heard Steve WG0AT on the summit of Mount Rosa (W0/FR-034) calling on 146.52 MHz. I gave a quick call to Steve to let him know I was hearing him but that I was not at the summit yet. About 20 minutes later, I was on top and worked Steve and his hiking partner Frank K0JQZ, for a summit-to-summit contact.
A call on 146.52 MHz got a reply from John N0EVH who was operating mobile. Then I worked Bill KD0PFF who was driving up a 4WD road to Red Cone Peak. Later, I worked his 4WD partner Stan KD0PFC. Fred WA0SIK, a regular in the various VHF contests, came up on five two to give me another contact. Then I got a call from Dave K0HTX who spends many weekends over on the other side of South Park. Finally, I caught Randy KN0TPC and Jeremy KD0MWT on 147.555 MHz, near Divide at a Boy Scout Camporee.
It was really cool to catch all these folks out having fun in the mountains. It was a glorious fall day and the aspen trees were at their peak fall color.
73, Bob K0NR
I encourage newly licensed radio amateurs to go ahead and get a dual-band FM rig…handheld, mobile or both. I think the additional cost of the dualbander with both 2 Meters (146 MHz) and 70 cm (440 MHz) is justified by having the ability to operate on the additional ham band. I have noticed that the price of the single-band 2 Meter mobiles are pretty low, less than $200… a real bargain in terms of technology. This made me wonder what the price premium for the second band (70 cm) really is.
I pulled all of these prices from the same major ham radio web site, trying to keep some consistency among the price of the various models. (I ignored specials and coupon pricing.) I looked at a basic 2 Meter FM rig and any comparable dual band models from the same manufacturer. I tried to stick to the basic transceivers and not include models that had advanced features such as D-STAR and APRS in them.
The data is captured in the table below. Note that I differentiated between a single receiver (one frequency at a time) dual-band radio and a two receiver dual-band radio, since the latter variety is much more expensive. I calculated a percent premium for each of the dual-band transceivers, calculated as the percent increase in price over the single-band radio from the same manufacturer. I think this is the most objective way to describe the extra cost of a dual-band radio.
|Yaesu FT-8800R||$460||2M/70cm Dual Receiver||149%|
|ICOM IC-2820H||$670||2M/70cm Dual Receiver||158%|
|Alinco DR-635T||$320||2M/70cm Dual Receiver||88%|
|Kenwood TM-V71A||$395||2M/70cm Dual Receiver||172%|
It is worth noting that only Yaesu and Alinco offer a single-receiver dual-band rig. These two radios are 78% and 88% more expensive than their single band counterparts (less than twice the cost). The two-receiver dual-band radios are consistently more expensive, with a price premium ranging from 149% to 172%. While these rigs are often described as having two radios in one, they are more than twice as expensive as a single-band radio.
Although I appreciate the extra utility of the two-receiver radios, it looks to me like the best value is with the single-receiver dual-band rigs.
What do you think?
73, Bob K0NR
There are three excellent ham radio activities going on this coming weekend. Check these out and see if there is an activity that catches your interest. This is written for people in Colorado but items #1 and #3 are North American wide.
- ARRL September VHF QSO Party – noon MDT on Saturday until 9 PM MDT on Sunday http://www.arrl.org/september-vhf
- Colorado FM Sprint – a mini version of the September VHF QSO Party,
using FM only on these bands: 146 MHz, 222 MHz and 440 MHz
Saturday from noon to 7 PM MDT
Suggested frequencies: 146.58, 146.55, 223.5, 446.000, 446.100 MHz FM simplex
- North American Summits On The Air (SOTA) Weekend
SOTA activations all over North America
Go here to see announced summit activations: http://www.sotawatch.org/
VHF contacts are usually on 146.52 MHz
(Note: this frequency is NOT allowed for contacts in the
Sept VHF QSO Party and Colorado FM Sprint)
HF contacts are on frequencies listed on sotawatch.org
Wow, lots of stuff to choose from!
At the very least, I’d suggest getting on the air Saturday afternoon to see if you can work some of the VHF contest stations. They are likely to be some mountaintop SOTA stations active at that time, too. Some of these folks may try to work the VHF contests AND do the SOTA thing on the same expedition.
73, Bob K0NR