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Making Contacts / On the Air - Have a question about getting on the air or how to make a contact? Just want to brag about your latest DX contact or contest score? This is the forum for you.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 05-27-2017, 11:09 AM
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Default Can anyone help with my first contact on 40 meters?

I have a bitx radio I put together but have yet to make contact. Its about 7 watts and all I can seem to pick up are people on skip who are running several hundred watts on the east coast as far as new england down to southern florida. I heard this radio can go 300 kilometers(or miles?) I think. I'm available almost 24/7 and just looking for my first contact. I dont have an SWR meter so Its hard to tell, my antenna is a 68' long wire from a 2nd story window to a tree at about 80' NE with a ground and an 9 or 11:1 unun.
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Old 05-27-2017, 7:22 PM
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At that power level, and a simple antenna, likely your best bets for a contact would be on PSK31 (7035.15, I believe) or CW (yes, SSB is possible, but more difficult). And whoever told you about a range limit on that radio was more than a bit misleading. Given the right band conditions and time of night (this is primarily a night time band, tho short distance contacts - 300km?- during the day are possible) you can certainly go a lot further than that.

There's a TON of software that can transceive on PSK31; Digipan, MixW are but two. There are many others. And the antenna isn't a long wire by any stretch - by chance did you get a PAR End Fed or similar (good choice if you did - I used to know several QRPers that used them...)

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Last edited by ka3jjz; 05-27-2017 at 7:40 PM..
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Old 05-27-2017, 7:37 PM
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Here is one listing of QRP frequencies. When you send your call, append the designation '/QRP' so folks will know that is what you are using...

Amateur Radio QRP Calling Frequencies

Just get on and send CQ. The first contact is often the hardest...

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Old 05-28-2017, 5:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ka3jjz View Post
At that power level, and a simple antenna, likely your best bets for a contact would be on PSK31 (7035.15, I believe) or CW (yes, SSB is possible, but more difficult). And whoever told you about a range limit on that radio was more than a bit misleading. Given the right band conditions and time of night (this is primarily a night time band, tho short distance contacts - 300km?- during the day are possible) you can certainly go a lot further than that.

There's a TON of software that can transceive on PSK31; Digipan, MixW are but two. There are many others. And the antenna isn't a long wire by any stretch - by chance did you get a PAR End Fed or similar (good choice if you did - I used to know several QRPers that used them...)

Mike
When I said it was a 68' long wire I meant its length is 68' long. Not a "long wire" I don't think. This is all home made stuff, even the radio is all recycled materials: case is from a model car display box, knobs are wire nuts, speaker is from a bluetooth speaker modual, mic is made from copper wire and shrink wrap, screen is from an arduino kit (negative blue instead of green)..

So with those programs I could add a microphone jack to my radio, but I don't think my lap top has a mic. input. Its a new dell inspiron 13 7000 series. Unless there is a way to do that. Do they sell a USB device with mic in and speaker out?
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Old 05-28-2017, 7:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by beamin View Post
I have a bitx radio I put together but have yet to make contact. Its about 7 watts and all I can seem to pick up are people on skip who are running several hundred watts on the east coast as far as new england down to southern florida. I heard this radio can go 300 kilometers(or miles?) I think. I'm available almost 24/7 and just looking for my first contact. I dont have an SWR meter so Its hard to tell, my antenna is a 68' long wire from a 2nd story window to a tree at about 80' NE with a ground and an 9 or 11:1 unun.
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Old 05-28-2017, 7:58 AM
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I think the understanding that is missing here is that the OP has a BITX transceiver. He wrote that in the first post but it may have been missed. More info here -
HF Signals - The home of BITX transceivers
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Old 05-28-2017, 8:07 AM
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beamin- I can usually get into MD, but 7 watts on your end is going to be a challenge. We'll need very good band conditions for local coverage....and 40 has been lousy for that lately. Late afternoon / early evening MIGHT work for us. If you want to try a sked PM me with a time, possible freq, and your callsign.
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Old 05-28-2017, 8:08 AM
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Threads merged. Please don't start multiple threads asking the same question. Thanks.

I'm sure given enough time and with a little patience, you'll make a contact. I used a Heathkit HW8 for years which has less power than what you've got. You might want to look at your antenna setup.
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Old 05-28-2017, 7:24 PM
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Beamin-

As the 'rig' is 40 meters only and you have no way to 'tune' the antenna, I would suggest that you build a 40 meter dipole and just feed it with coax. The dipole would be a much better match to your radio (without any testing)and therefore much more effective. A dipole can be made using ordinary wire and for 40 meters would be around 67 feet fed in the middle. If you give your location and callsign or PM me I would be happy to listen for or call you. It may be that you may want to 'work' someone while on the phone (or messaging) them. I remember my first HF rig (a Ten-Tec Agronaut model 509 5 watts). it was a challenge as I did not know much about antennas and most of my signal was likely burned up in the transmatch.

I would suggest you look around and buy, build or barrow a SWR meter -the antenna is where the 'rubber meets the road'. If you set up a dipole, you can 'trim' it in an afternoon and then remove the SWR meter until you change something.

BTW I do agree that 40 is a nighttime band at those power levels 40 watts or more and you can find somebody almost any time.

Last edited by wyShack; 05-28-2017 at 7:32 PM..
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Old 05-28-2017, 9:51 PM
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Setting up BITX now, ready when ever! This is so exciting!!!! Im a dork I know
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Old 05-28-2017, 10:05 PM
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OK I have my SDR set up to find stray tx's and the bit x is up and running getting a good amount of activity.
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Old 05-28-2017, 10:09 PM
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7.2850 qrp mode. any one on?
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Old 05-28-2017, 10:50 PM
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Beamin- what is your callsign and location?
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyshack View Post
beamin- what is your callsign and location?
w!rfw baltimore md
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:18 PM
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Two people on 7.1343 but they are running high power and dont think they can hear me.
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Old 05-28-2017, 11:20 PM
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w1rfw? and try me WD0ENC on 7.289
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Old 05-29-2017, 2:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by wyShack View Post
w1rfw? and try me WD0ENC on 7.289
I think I feel asleep one minute before this DOH!
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Old 05-29-2017, 6:18 AM
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How far is the OP from Hagerstown MD? I'll be working in Hagerstown for several more days and can try a contact. I have a KX3 with me but will have to make an antenna.
prcguy
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Old 05-29-2017, 7:28 AM
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The OP is in Baltimore so you should be within ground wave coverage on 40M. I write "should" because 40 has been "long" when it is even usable, with a wide local "skip zone".
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Old 05-29-2017, 5:50 PM
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Firing up the BITX now seen to be going into ideal conditions. Will be on the qrp SSB call out freq.
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