Winter 2006 Issue

SMOGfest 2005
A Major Gathering of 6-Meter Operators

Even without W6JKV’s annual barbeque last year, 6-meter aficionados met for a one-time fun-filled event in New England called SMOGfest.

By Ken Neubeck, WB2AMU

More than any amateur radio band, 6 meters has its unique set of propagation modes. The band is loved by a hardcore group of aficionados. On September 24, 2005 an event was held in Rhode Island. Known as SMOGfest (the Six Meter Operators Group ‘fest), many of these 6-meter aficionados attended. This was a once-in-a-lifetime gathering for many, and 6-meter operators were able to meet one another in person. Some of these ops had been worked via aurora, sporadic-E, and even F2 on the 6-meter band!

The event was planned when well-known 6-meter DXer Jimmy Treybig, W6JKV, was not able to conduct his annual barbeque on his ranch in Texas in 2005. Acting quickly, several New England hams worked to put together an alternate event at an East Coast location. John (Mick) McManus, W1JJ, along with Dennis Motschenbacher, K7BV, Steve Gilbert, K1SG, Ivan Pagacik, K1MS, and John Allen, K1AE, found a great location with an outdoor-style restaurant known as Yawgoo Bakes and Barbeque in the rural town of Exeter in Rhode Island. Invitations were sent to over 150 six-meter operators.

It was a beautiful fall day for the New England area, with temperatures reaching almost 70 degrees F. Approximately 100 people attended this event—about 80 six-meter ops and 20 YLs. All operators had sent in their QSL cards with payment for SMOGfest, and from these cards some really great badges were made! People came via plane, ferry, and automobile. Most of the attendees were from the East Coast, with good representation from the 1, 2, 3, and 4 U.S. call areas and the VE2 and VE3 Canadian call areas. However, some came from farther away: Pat Rose, W5OZI, from Texas; Ned, AA7A, from Arizona; and Doug, VE5UF, and Andy, VA6SZ, from the western provinces of Canada. Tom Gallagher, N6RA, made the trip from California, and he brought logs and QSLs from his recent DX trip as FP/N6RA. Many others brought QSLs to confirm contacts made with the attendees.

A special T-shirt commemorating SMOGFEST was for sale and was a very
popular item.

From left to right: Mick, W1JJ, one of the event’s organizer, speaking with former QST VHF columnist Emil, W3PP, and current QST VHF columnist Gene, W3ZZ.

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