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Working Distant Stations For discussion of working distant stations via shortwave (aka DXing).

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Old 06-09-2014, 9:17 AM
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Default HF Propagation - disappointing at best

Anyone else disappointed in dx conditions on the higher HF ham bands? Propagation on 10 and 12 meters was fantastic all winter and into the spring - Russians and Eastern Europeans by morning, Pacific stations and Alaska by evening but aound the first week of April, something changed drastically and the bottom basically dropped out. Lately, it's a treat to even hear a north-south path into South America, with a few LU or PY prefixes scattered about.
Also, the sporadic E skip season seems to be a bust this year, but summer season is still young.

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Old 06-09-2014, 11:22 AM
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Conditions and operators as you know it's busier on the weekend and busy during contests. It is easier to just listen while I'm busy doing other things, but I will throw my call out there too. No bait, no fish.

I did enjoy a crazy pipeline in March on 10 meters. Our signals were 59+30 on FM for about 20 minutes. I turned it down to 25 watts and I was still 5/9+ to him from California to Texas.

You are quite right though; Russia was an easy contact in the early morning and Japan later in the day for me. South America was also an easy catch on 10, so we'll see how the Sun plays out this summer.

I am not enjoying the unwanted RF I'm getting on 40 meters. A steady S5 for several days now. Also zero contacts to the ships on the air this last weekend, which is a first.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:27 AM
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Do some research on "MUF" (Maximum Usable Frequency.) To expect DX conditions on the higher HF bands at all times is a pretty long shot.

Without going into the science of it (you can research that), for any distance a radio wave needs to travel there is a maximum usable frequency where that type of propagation is possible. This is why DX'ers will go where the DX is, whether that's 40 Meters, 20 Meters, 15 Meters, or 80 Meters. It's just the way propagation works.

Good luck!
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Old 06-09-2014, 7:15 PM
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What is this propagation you speak of? It eludes millrad and I.
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Old 06-09-2014, 11:09 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millrad View Post
Anyone else disappointed in dx conditions on the higher HF ham bands?
Being this is my first "peak" in the hobby, I really have nothing to compare to. But I've still managed to work DXCC every year the past four years. If you're limiting yourself to just one or two modes, consider trying digital. There's seldom a day goes by that I don't hear or work 30+ countries when I'm on the ham bands. I don't expect to work the world on a wet noodle, but there's always some DX out there.
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Old 06-10-2014, 5:43 AM
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The fact that we are at solar maximum was my entire point. The SSNs have been well over 100 for several months, but the propagation doesn't seem to reflect the numbers. There are a number of great freeware programs to keep track of the MUF - I think I have most of them.
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Old 06-10-2014, 5:44 AM
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PSK and RTTY have ben my personal favorites for years!

Quote:
Originally Posted by k2ncc View Post
Being this is my first "peak" in the hobby, I really have nothing to compare to. But I've still managed to work DXCC every year the past four years. If you're limiting yourself to just one or two modes, consider trying digital. There's seldom a day goes by that I don't hear or work 30+ countries when I'm on the ham bands. I don't expect to work the world on a wet noodle, but there's always some DX out there.
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Old 06-10-2014, 9:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by millrad View Post
The fact that we are at solar maximum was my entire point. The SSNs have been well over 100 for several months, but the propagation doesn't seem to reflect the numbers. There are a number of great freeware programs to keep track of the MUF - I think I have most of them.
This has also been one of the worst solar cycles in decades. The cycle in the mid 1990s was much higher this this current one. During that cycle a wet noodle running 5 watts could get anywhere you wanted on almost any HF band.

Each solar cycle is different. Hopefully the next one will be better. But don't give up! Weaker propagation only makes the hobby more challenging!
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Old 06-11-2014, 8:15 AM
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Very true. The 30 and 40 meter bands are excellent choices when the higher stuff isn't active.
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Old 06-11-2014, 9:27 AM
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Mid 90s - 5 element 10 meter beam pointed on Japan. They were so loud, you could hear the baby crying in the other room or the dog barking. Fantastic!
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Old 06-13-2014, 10:13 AM
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17 open to Japan this morning from southern Alberta. Worked 3 JA stations on my commute to work with 100w into a screwdiver!
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Old 06-14-2014, 10:08 PM
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6 meters has had it's moments the last few days, even with an MUF through the FM BC band, E's from FL to NJ. Someone in central Florida was watching Honduras TV a few days ago (analog 2 or 3) The key to radio is having enough bands covered so that there is always something interesting to listen to. HF stinks? try VHF. VHF stinks? try satellites. :^]
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Old 06-16-2014, 7:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pigshanks View Post
17 open to Japan this morning from southern Alberta. Worked 3 JA stations on my commute to work with 100w into a screwdiver!
Worked several Japanese, Okinawan, and South Korea during that skip session with no more than 75 watts on the4 East Coast.. Hot - Hot-Hot. For a brief period, short path and long path were quite evident.
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Old 06-17-2014, 1:37 PM
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If propagation was excellent everyday, then what fun would it be? Guess that's why 6 meters is so fun.
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Old 06-17-2014, 8:24 PM
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On my shortwave radio 20m is booming with people in Utah,FL, and New York. That is my favorite band to listen to.
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:13 AM
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Six meters was open yesterday morning. I made my first two QSOs on 6m yey!!

I bought a cheap police scanner for $25 at a garage sale and I programmed it with local 2m and 70cm repeater frequencies. I connected it to an unused homemade 2m/70cm dipole antenna I have up in the attic of the house. I also programmed in the most commonly used 10m FM repeater frequencies and some 46 MHz fire dispatch frequencies used on the US East Coast. This way, if I start hearing activity on the 10m FM repeater channels (there are none in my immediate area) then I know that 10m is open. And when I start hearing skip on the 46MHz fire channels, then I know that 6m may be open as well. It's kind of like a 10m / 6m open band alarm system!
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Old 06-24-2014, 10:32 AM
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I worked a guy in the mid west on 10m FM a couple of years ago, he heard me calling on a scanner in his basement, no outdoor antenna. I'm in Alberta.


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Old 06-24-2014, 11:11 AM
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Generally, 10 meters shortens during the summer months and typically gets longer or opens up in the fall to winter. The "f-layer" propagation for the higher bands is stronger during cooler months, where "e-layer" propagation is year round. "E-layer" (shorter path) skip is what opens 10 meters, and 6 meters, to good propagation around the US. Just wait until the fall, 10 meters will come alive again with more "f-layer" (longer path)openings then.
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Old 06-25-2014, 7:34 PM
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'Stronger'? That's more than a little misleading.

HF Propagation is greatly dependent on our ionosphere, and it is impacted by the seasons as well as the amount of solar radiation it receives.

This subject is highly complex - in fact we really don't understand all the mechanics. For example, we know that Es typically happens more frequently during solar minimum, but why this is is a mystery. But you don't need to have a doctorate in geophysics to understand the basics - this site is a great place to start (you will need your Flash player to be turned on for it to work)..

Propagation Primer - Flash Movie by AE4RV

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Old 07-05-2014, 8:29 PM
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Got real lucky this morning and was able to work R9PA on 20 usb. Only 5 by 6 but I was only running barefoot. Did a google search and found the video of the kids working the station/ The kid I spoke to has a great grasp of English for his/her age.
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