Monday, January 4, 2016

Volume Two Number One - More Low Band Activities

I had been watching two Dxpeditions carefully, the Willis Is, and Seychelles.  No luck hearing the Willis Is team, but  better luck with Seychelles, after 20 minutes of calling I managed to get through on 20 meters about 2030z on November 19th. They had a steady signal, and the op, whom I believe to be EI9FBB was handling a huge pileup well.   Of note was a group of US hams who thought it would be fun, I suppose to set up on 14.261 (the dx was on 14.262) and run high power and speech processors.  I was pleased that the DSP on my Kenwood TS-590s allowed me to notch them out and still hear the DX.  I will never understand the mindset of interfering with other transmissions.  Shall we all review the DX Code of Conduct again?

Looking ahead, January will present a number of rare and semi-rare entities for DX.  Make sure that your equipment is ready, perhaps by spending some time listening at times and frequencies that you expect the DX to be active and workable in your area. and dxwatch are both good sites to use.  Review the DX web site for more specific guidelines on times and frequencies and modes.  Please remember: the good Lord gave you two ears and one mouth.  That’s a great ratio for success in DXing.

Low Bands
As you know, I’ve been working to optimize my 43’ vertical (an S943v) for 80m.  I built a loading coil for the base, and added two more 65’ radials.  I’m pleased to report a 1:1.2 SWR focused on the 3.790 - 3.800 DX Window.  Even better, I’ve made good contacts both stateside (the Arkansas RazorBack Phone net is very reliable at 1230z and 1830z on 3.987.50) and across the pond . . . just in the last week Wales, England, Belgium, and Spain for example.  Around midnight my local time 0600z there is usually a group of hams on 3.799.9 in Europe, and they will all want to work you if you make contact with any of them.  A really good group of folks.

Not much time on 40 or 160 so far.  Hearing good things about 30m from 0200z to 0400z, especially into Asia from the central US.

My next project is a 160 coil for the vertical, to provide better SWR and performance on that band.

6 Meters
On two days the week of November 16th, there have been fairly large openings in the middle of the country on 6, but on both occasions the cloud seemed to be right over me in EM55 and I only heard snatches of conversation, never  clear call to respond to.  Business and family travel kept me off the air before Christmas, but the week after Christmas I spent quite a lot of time with the radio on, periodically scanning the band.  Doing so has helped me to add 3 new grids and one new state on 6m since Christmas Day.  Pretty good for a winter opening.  The band continues to be active, with some west coast openings to VK and ZL.
I remain convinced there is more opportunity than we know on 6 meters, we just aren’t on there enough.  Listen and call and see what happens, and watch the DXMaps site for openings.

Finally, remember the meteor scatter crowd most mornings on 50.145 around 0700z 

Please send along any reports you have and I will include them here as they come in.  

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