What are your indicators that it will be a good night for DX?

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OnkyoMan

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Hi guys - I would like to know what you all check when you are starting a session on your radio, just to get an idea as to whether or not you think it is going to be a good night for DX. Do you tune to a few frequencies, look for a certain number on the key indices, or observe something weatherwise? I'm sure we all have our own tricks and habits, so please post them here, and I'll bet we will all learn something!
 

ak4fn

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Check WWV on 10MHz to see if I hear a male or female voice if it is a female (which has been a while) I know that I am hearing Hawaii and the bands are going to be good. You can also check 2.5 5 15 & 20 but I never do. The male voice is from Colorado.
 

E-Man

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I just go to #wunclub IRC Chat. If the board has alot of activity from folks that are serious about SW, then that indicates it may be a good night of DX.
 

SCPD

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Hi guys - I would like to know what you all check when you are starting a session on your radio, just to get an idea as to whether or not you think it is going to be a good night for DX. Do you tune to a few frequencies, look for a certain number on the key indices, or observe something weatherwise? I'm sure we all have our own tricks and habits, so please post them here, and I'll bet we will all learn something!
Simple...

1. If you're hearing 20Mhz WWV then DX is likely very good
2. Check K-Index on http://www.spaceweather.com (K < 3 is okay) (K >= 5 is bad)
3. Check sunspot count (more is good, but can lead to higher K-index)
4. HF Propagation and Solar-Terrestrial Data Website
5. CMEs are bad. *It's Sol's way of saying "Screw you! Go play with your other hobby!" If you don't know what a CME is then look it up!

The rules apply even at night with one minor note: if you ever hear 15Mhz WWV then DX is pretty good -- but you have to keep checking. I've seen 10m (28Mhz) open for as little as 30 minutes in the middle of the night.

PS. Coincidentally, at this very moment, conditions are very bad.
 
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SCPD

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I just go to #wunclub IRC Chat. If the board has alot of activity from folks that are serious about SW, then that indicates it may be a good night of DX.
E-Man just shows up for the free pizza and beer. How we get pizza and beer over IRC you ask? Sorry that's classified.
 

kb2vxa

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It started when Hertz stole waves from the gods and have them to Man, tried and true, just tune around and find out what's out there. Hey, it's worked for me the last 50 years give or take a few so if it works for me it'll work for you.

Hmmm, that sounds like a rap... requisition me a BEAT! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cO-Oq3Op3Zg

Alright, try this one when you regain control of yourself. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_IkBXlGebeM
 
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majoco

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Doug (?) said:
I use the RAF Volmet on 11.253 MHz
Can you hear her on 5450? Also Shannon on 5505 or NY on 6604? I wouldn't say that they are booming in, but definitely readable. Radio Espana Inter is coming up again on 6055 on the grey line, that's a good indicator for me as it's almost my antipode.
 

zl2taw

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I havent tried that low in freq, mainly to QRM, when it cools down here a bit I will get back out portable in the bush, just gotta love no QRM
Have noted those freqs Martin, assuming they are all USB
 

k9rzz

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I've been DXing from the exact same house since 1974.

After that much repetition, I can immediately recognize stuff that isn't normally heard just by tuning around for 60 seconds.
 

Token

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OK, why limit it to a good night for DX? Why not a good day for DX? There is a DX world above 10 MHz that is pretty active during daylight. And different signals are going to be used as indicators for different regions and different times. For example about 0700 local time I will have a good path to Asia/Pacific on freqs below 15 MHz, and a good path to Europe/Mid East/Africa on freqs above 12 Mhz. So I will have to look at different signals as indicators of each path.

After you get used to the conditions, noise levels, and normal signals in your area it becomes pretty obvious pretty quick what the conditions are after tuning around for just a few seconds.

For me I tend to look at some of the “steady” signals as indicators. If I can see the Chinese OTHRs in the 4-8 MHz range I look at the specific levels. If levels are good I know conditions will be open to Asia. I look for the Akrotiri/PLUTO radar out of Cyprus, it tends to follow the MUF pretty well and is an indicator of an existing path to Europe/Mediterranean/North Africa. Looking at where I see CODAR radars can tell me what bands are hot to coastal regions. I say “see” because I do a lot of my initial evaluation of conditions visually, using a wideband display on an SDR. With a 0-30 MHz display you can see at one glance what bands are active and what are not.

The ham bands. These are distributed across the HF region pretty well and give a pretty decent indicator of what is happening propagation wise.

I look for VOLMET stations world-wide (SW Volmet Broadcasts ), they are relatively low power stations, widely distributed, and pretty easy to ID, if you hear one from a target location you can be sure conditions to that area are open. Although I do not have a good single resource to link you to I also use the Maritime HF Weather reports (both voice and data, you don’t have to have a decoder for the data to use it as a propagation indicator) from stations around the world.

Time stations (time and frequency standards) from around the world are a natural also. WWV is pretty much an all the time thing here, so I try to ignore that, but WWVH can indicate things are bubbling to the west, on whatever freq I can hear it. Many other nations have time stations on the same frequencies as WWV/WWVH and sometimes a little digging there will indicate a path also, BPM out of China and YVTO out of Venezuela, for example. RWM out of Russia on 4996, 9996, and 14996 are nicely clear of other time stations. CHU Canada can be of some help, but even under poor conditions I can most often hear that, I guess the lack of CHU is an indicator for me. HD2IOA out of Ecuador on 3810 and 7600 are also on unique frequencies. If you are going to use time signals as indicators be aware not all stations are on all the time, and each might have unique features that help to identify what you are hearing, a good basic resource with descriptions and schedules is here: http://digilander.libero.it/occultazioni/segnali-di-tempo.pdf

T!
 

w2xq

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The problem when listening to a particular station or set of stations is/are that the results are direction-skewed. One of the first indicators of propagation is an MUF map. I use Near-Real-Time MUF Map. There are probably other maps available. Don't forget that one has to consider the MUF at the reflection point(s) along the signal path. I have a few links at my Web site, FWIW. HTH.
 
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Turbo68

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East Devonport,Tasmania,Australia
Good indication for hf for me is 6601 US Coastguard Weather,6754 Trenton Volmet,8864 Gander Aero,10051 New York Volmet.

Regards Lino..
HF ANTENNAS:
Wellbrook-ALA1530
Wellbrook-ALA1530AL-1
Wellbrook-ALA1530L
Wellbrook-ALA330S
 
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