Wednesday, January 24, 2024

January 2024 Update on the Bands Above 50Mhz

Greetings and Happy New Year!.  Here are a few items regarding VHF and above frequencies that I hope you will find of interest.


Insights on the Magic Band

Just after the new year, a nice surprise turned up in my mailbox.  Jim Wilson, K5ND, sent me a copy of his new book “Magic Band Revealed.”  This is an update of Jim’s previous work on 6 meters and VHF in general, including work from his web site at  I found this updated version to be chock full of old and new wisdom, and was able to read through it easily as Jim’s style is light and informative, even when handling more complex matters.  I’ve been on 6 meters for a while, and have learned much from this fickle, yet engaging band.  However, I found much in K5ND’s new book to help me expand my horizons on 50 to 54 Mhz.  In particular his treatment of meteor scatter (easier than you might think) and EME have instilled in me a desire to focus on these areas as next steps in leveraging 6 meters to make more contacts!  Finally, Jim has included a section on using SDR (software defined radio) techniques to improve your receive capabilities which is fascinating.  This is especially timely as several of the leaders from the Fred Fish Memorial Award (that provides recognition for those who confirm contacts with all 488 grid squares in the CONUS) have declared that SDR receive has been an important addition to their 6 meter operating position.

It is important to remember that the entire 6 meter band, and all modes of operating, are available to every licensed amateur in the US.  Here’s another way to leverage your Technician class license and gain valuable operating and technological experience.


I highly recommend Jim’s book.  It is available through his website at, and all the other usual sources.  If you read it, let me (and K5ND) know what you think!


New Microwave Group

Mark Thompson, WB9QZB, reports that there is a new group focused on microwaves, the Northern Illinois Microwave Group.  The purpose of the Northern Illinois Microwave Group is to promote the use of the UHF, Microwave & Millimeter Wave bands in Illinois and surrounding areas. 


Microwave enthusiasts and those interested in Microwave activity are encouraged to join the group at:



December and January contacts to New Zealand


This year’s winter season into the south pacific has been good, and continues even as I write this on January 22, 2024.  Our friend Bob, ZL1RS, wrote on December 19, 2023, at 10:15:

“As a matter of possible interest, the approximate antenna and power for the ZL callsigns appearing in the screen shots from FT8 that several folks posted on social media are as follows”

ZL1SWW:      4 or 5 ele Yagi and 350W
ZL1AKW:       6 ele Yagi and 1kW
ZL1BQD:       3 or 4 ele Yagi and 100W
ZL1RS:          a 3-stack of 5 ele Yagis and 1kW
ZL3OZ:          3 ele Yagi and 70W, remote hill top QTH ~2500 feet ASL
ZL3GAV:       vertical and 100W?
ZL3RC:          7 ele Yagi and 1kW


Thanks to Bob for sharing this info.  Always interesting to see the operating conditions on the other end of the DX contact.  Don’t forget – when FT8 signals are strong, consider trying SSB and CW as well!!!



Well-known amateur radio operator and volunteer Joel Harrison, W5ZN, has announced renewed operations on 432 Mhz from his excellent station in EM45.  Joel is good on QRZ if you want to discuss 70cm weak signal work or arrange a sked.

That's all for this time.  73 and Good DX and Grid Chasing!!!!

Please keep me up to date on your operating activities, projects, and clubs.



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