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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands

Don Keith (N4KC) on March 14, 2010
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Band Scanning: a Totally Biased and Completely Ill-informed Look at the Ten High-Frequency Amateur Radio Bands

By Don Keith N4KC

Okay, those of you who typically flame articles posted here based only on the title, go ahead and flame, flame, flame. The rest of you, please hold your flamethrowers behind your back for a moment until I tell you why I felt called to compose this bit of personal observation.

Not everybody who reads these threads is as wise, experienced, or steeped in ham radio lore as you and I are. Despite dire warnings and that silly AOL piece about the imminent demise of the hobby, it still seems to be attracting newcomers at a good clip. And although many of you seem to expect it, not every one of them will know all there is to know the first day they apply RF to antenna. Many more are finding it in their hearts to upgrade to General Class, too, moving beyond line-of-sight to the realm of sky wave. It occurred to me that a primer on what to expect from each band—and a hint or two based on my own experience—might have some value for these folks.

If you have been licensed since spark gap, or if you know how to coax P5s and BT7s out of otherwise dead bands, this article is not for you. Hit the BACK button up there and go about your business. (But, heck! Read through what I have to say anyway. It might just get you off that band where you've been molting since the end of WWII and you'll see what else the big, beautiful spectrum has to offer! You may even want to add your own thoughts and comments—in the spirit of Elmering—down yonder at the end of this epistle.)

That being said, if you are new to HF, let me highly recommend that you listen. Listen! And then listen some more. If you do not get anything else out of this article, let that be it. Listening is a great way to learn the nature of the various bands as well as the customs among the natives that infest them.

Now, let's start our tour at the top (if we are talking wavelength)—the “Top Band”—or the “bottom” (if you are talking about frequency).

160 meters - 1.8 to 2.0 megahertz

An interesting bit of radio spectrum, this. You can pretty much forget it during daylight hours except for local communications of less than 25 miles or so. It is also quite a challenge in the summer in most places because of its susceptibility to atmospheric static. But when the weather cools, it can be a delightful band for both ragchewing and DX.

It has its technical challenges. A half-wave dipole should be about 270 feet long to be efficient here, and that is more space than many can muster. Other antenna types can do well here, and especially vertical radiators. After all, just below the 160 meter ham band is the commercial AM band. Every one of those guys use vertical antennas. But even a quarter-wave vertical needs to be about 135 feet tall unless you employ wizardry like coils and traps. Many swear by the inverted-L, which offers the advantages of both a vertical and horizontal radiator in far less space. I use a full-wavelength loop, which rings the backyard. It does well on paths out to 750 miles or so, and I have worked Europe many times with it, but it would need to be higher in the air for real DX.

You will find many long-established roundtable QSOs on this band. Some are friendly and welcoming to strangers who are bold enough to break in to their groups. Others will either ignore you or give you an earful that might hurt your precious feelings. I would suggest that you treat a roundtable or QSO on the air on any band much as you would a conversation on the street. See if they seem welcoming of interruption. If not, go somewhere else. There are myriad frequencies available. Don't interrupt the flow of the conversation, either. Wait for a lull. But don't be surprised if you are told to go play in traffic.

Note, too, that all legal modes of emission are allowed anywhere on this band. That means you could, if you wanted to, fire up on SSB at 1805.

Please don't. There is a long-accepted band plan in effect on each amateur band. Follow it. First, it prevents chaos. Secondly, it is the polite thing to do. And finally, you could probably bellow, “CQ,” for hours on that frequency and not have anyone answer you since it is in the middle of the portion of the band for digital modes. Oh, a few guys might tell you where you can shove your microphone, and that certainly would confirm that your rig and antenna are working, but there are far better ways to accomplish that!

What is this “band plan” thing? You didn't see any questions about that in the General exam pool? Visit the American Radio Relay League web site and print out a copy. And stick to it. For the reasons quoted above. But mostly because it is the right thing to do.

80 meters - 3.5 to 4.0 megahertz

“80” is really TWO bands - 80 and 75. On a frequency-vs.-wavelength basis, it is one of our biggest chunks of real estate, and that can cause some problems if your antenna system is not broad-banded enough or you do not use some kind of matching device, and you want to work both ends of the band.

Like 160, 80/75 is for shorter distance chats during the daytime—but often out to several hundred miles—and susceptible to lightning static. It, too, gives good sky wave at night during parts of the year and you can literally work the world if you are patient enough and have a good enough setup. You will find most stations using dipoles or variations, but the vertical is a good DX antenna here, too, because of its low angle of radiation. It just won't work as well for closer communicating. There are even some beams in use here. You may have to employ a '68 Buick straight-eight engine to rotate one of those bad boys, though!

Also like 160, you will hear plenty of good-old-boy roundtables as well as nets, mostly because the band supports regional communications so well. The band has also gotten a reputation for having more than its share of curmudgeons, characters, and just plain goofballs, many of whom use language more appropriate for a billiard parlor. I hear them and you will, too, even though such foolishness is not as rampant as some seem to think. That's why our radios are equipped with tuning knobs. Use it. If they want to show their ignorance and lack of proper upbringing, allow them to do so without benefit of comment from you.

Nets serve a useful purpose and may or may not appeal to you. Give them a listen and decide for yourself. Avoid causing them interference. It is easier for you and your contact to move up or down a few kilohertz than for a couple hundred of their guys to QSY.

If you hold a General class license, you may be inspired to go for the Extra when you see the big chunk of SSB spectrum those license holders get on 80/75. Extras can do the voice thing all the way from 3.6 megahertz to the top of the band, 4.0. And the band plan calls for a DX window from 3.79 to 3.8, frequencies on which you can only listen and salivate when Europe or Oceania are rolling in. There are also some great CW DX opportunities on the low end of the band, but you need the Extra to venture below 3.525 where many of them hang out.

60 meters - 5.330 to 5.405 (or thereabouts)

Here is where the “ill-informed” part of the title comes in. I have never operated on 60 meters. It is an odd little band for a number of reasons.

First of all, it is channelized. You are only allowed to use upper sideband. You are limited to 2.8 kilohertz of bandwidth centered on one of those five channels. And you can only run 50 watts “maximum effective radiated power relative to a half-wave dipole.” Huh?

Many commercially available radios will not transmit on 60 meters, nor will you find very many antennas for sale for this band either. As far as I can tell, the vertical and dipole are usually the aerials of choice.

All that being said, this is an intriguing band. It could offer the best in terms of propagation of 80/75 and 40, and with such limited power, you are on equal footing with everybody else. It would seem ideal for antenna experimenters since whatever you use would not be so massive, and the results not masked by running scads of power.

I listen here sometimes and it seems to support good DX and enough people who enjoy ragchewing that you can usually find somebody to talk with. They all seem to be a polite lot, maybe because of the restrictions presented by channelization and low power.

All that seems to make this band right up my quirky alley. Someday, maybe.

40 meters - 7.0 to 7.3 megahertz

Many proclaim 40 to be their favorite band and there is good reason…except for one big negative. The negative in a minute, and even it has recently gotten better.

No matter your ham radio interest, 40 supports it nicely. CW? Plenty of it. Digital modes? It's there, almost all day every day. Ragchewing? You can almost always scare up a conversation, and in my experience, it always seems to be with someone interesting to talk with. Nets? Beaucoups! And devoted to about anything you can think of, regardless your interest outside amateur radio.

Antennas are more reasonably sized here. A dipole is only about 63 feet in length. A quarter-wave vertical can be a bit over thirty feet tall with radials spread out on the ground or in the air around it that are about the same length. Even garden-home citizens can usually find enough room to erect a radiator for this band. If you experiment with antennas, you can have a blast. Vertical phased arrays. Weird wire antennas with exotic names. Even Yagis become something close to practical for some here.

This is a good QRP band, too. Stations with less than 5 watts output work the entire planet here.

Here's another band where the Extras can roam free, too, all the way down to 7.125 on SSB. And the lower 25 kilohertz of the band is a CW DXer's dream. Late afternoons all the way through an hour or so after sunrise, hams from all over the world communicate to some degree. I have worked well over 150 countries on 40 in the past three sunspot-deficient years with 100 watts and either a vertical, a G5RV, or the big, previously-mentioned loop doing the radiatin'.

One caveat and then that big negative I mentioned. The SSB authorization in many parts of the world do not match up with ours. You may hear a DX SSB station working stateside stations one after the other, but he is transmitting on 7.095. Occasionally you will hear a W, N, A, or K calling him on his frequency. Bad form! First, he will never hear that station because he is listening up…not the 2 kilohertz or 5 kilohertz normally used when DX operates “split.” No, he's listening up “100” or up “150,” and will usually let everyone know periodically. Remember what I said about listening? Anyone from the U.S. transmitting on SSB below 7.125 is operating illegally. Usually it is only because the op forgot to hit the “Split” button on his rig and not because he did not know better. At least, I hope so.

So what's not to love about 40 meters? Shortwave broadcasts. They are big and strong and really, really annoying, and you will hear them from 7.200 all the way up to the top. We share 40 meters with shortwave broadcasters in other parts of the world, so they are there legally. It is simply something you will have to deal with if you use this band.

There is good news, though. Early last year, the broadcasters had to abandon the frequencies up to 7.2 megahertz. “Supposed to” are the key words there. A few stations—mostly heard on the West Coast—continue to ignore the marching orders to move. However, the flight of the bulk of those shortwave guys has certainly made the SSB portion of the band from 7.125 to 7.2 megahertz much more desirable.

And there's you yet another reason to crack the Extra class study guide!

30 meters - 10.1 to 10.15 megahertz

Now here's an interesting band! If you are a no-code licensee and have not gotten around to learning CW yet, there is nothing here for you. You are only allowed CW, RTTY and other data modes. If you think you need to make the lights dim throughout the neighborhood when you transmit, 30 is not your cup of electrons, either. You can only legally run 200 watts PEP. Okay, I know some people ignore that rule. I was born at night but it wasn't last night!

But, like the power and mode limitations on 60, this serves to put everyone on more or less equal footing. “Big guns” are the ones who have optimized their antennas, not their linear amplifiers. And their operating skills. Don't forget that one!

Like 40, this is a good DX band, best at night but often offering long-distance contacts in daylight hours. And while still a bit high in wavelength for a beam for most of us, it is possible to design some very effective antennas for 30. I have found it to be relatively empty during the daytime, except for RTTY, but it really comes alive at night.

I also notice quite a few ops using comparatively slow code here. I assume these are guys who simply cannot ignore the treats 30 meters offers but are not necessarily proficient in the CW. Guys slow down for them, too. This seems to be one of our more polite bands. Only in the most intense DX pile-ups have I heard colorful language used, and even then, unless your 4-year-old speaks CW, he'll never know that guy was questioning the marital status of the other guy's parents.

If you hold a General class license or above, the whole 50 kilohertz of this band is yours. It's that “equal footing” thing again.

One other point: if you don't like contests and believe they are the ruin of radio-dom, no problem on 30. As a “WARC band,” (so named because they were authorized at a World Administrative Radio Conference a while back), most contests are forbidden here.

20 meters - 14.0 to 14.350 kilohertz

The king of the DX bands! Long live the king! Even now, as we emerge from the lowest point in the sunspot cycle, treasures abound on this chunk of magnificent propagation. Granted we have to work a bit harder for it now than we did five years ago, or will in another few years. But even with limited power and wire antennas, I can have delightful conversations with stations in Switzerland, New Zealand, or Poughkeepsie. Just this past weekend, while goofing around, I worked two new countries, one in the South Pacific and one in a former Soviet Union country. That was with 400 watts and a homebrew hex-beam. I've worked lots of odd-sounding call signs with 100 watts and a G5RV or simple, ground-mounted, multi-band vertical.

There are plenty of things to occupy your leisure time, too. Slow-scan TV, RTTY, digital modes, nets, and more.

Granted you are better off with a beam antenna and more power. Still, many QRP stations have confirmed contacts with ops in hundreds of countries. A vertical is a good choice on this band, and especially if your fancy favors DXing.

Propagation-wise, 20 is best for DX around sunrise and sunset, but I work into Africa and the South Pacific at all hours if I am patient enough. It does tend to go to sleep at night nowadays, but do not write it off. Just when you think it's dead, there's a station on some exotic isle somewhere calling CQ.

Like 80/75, this band has its share of malcontents and just plain rude guys with microphones. Ignore the Canadian kook at 14.275, too. There is no sanity test for a ham radio license in this country either. But there are also an abundance of interesting people to talk to. I do not think I have ever had a boring QSO on this band, SSB, RTTY or CW.

Call CQ (after asking if the frequency is in use, of course) and you never know who will come back to you—a rock star, a missionary in Bolivia, the owner of a major amateur radio manufacturer—or even a retiree in Florida! And sometimes nobody. It is easy to get lost in the vastness of this band and the QRM if you do not have some power. People tend to answer CQs from louder stations if they envision a nice, long conversation.

If you are not into contesting, this band might be a challenge. There is likely some kind of radiosport event going on every weekend, and this is a popular band. The big DX contests and the annual ARRL Sweepstakes render 20 almost unusable. But the CW and SSB versions are on different weekends so you can move to the opposite mode and find the band remarkable open. Or go to 60, 30, 17, or 12 where no contester can be heard. Better still, jump into the middle of the contest and get your feet wet. These things are great for filling in the blanks in your Worked All States or DXCC list. And be forewarned: they can be addictive.

17 meters - 18.068 to 18.168 megahertz

“The Gentleman's Band.” Have you heard that expression used when describing 17 meters? There does seem to be some validity in that description. There is little of the rush-rush of 20 here. For a DX band, there are more ragchews across oceans than on other bands, it appears. Even DXpeditions seem slightly more sedate when working 100 stations per hour on 17.

17 offers very good propagation at times and does not go to sleep nearly as much as its distant cousin, 15 meters. The atmospheric noise seems quieter here than on 20, too. Antennas are more modest. A mini-beam, hex, or vertical performs well. And power seems to be less an issue.

But as I say this, I tune the band and there is nothing but hiss and a couple of birdies internal to my fine rig. It is 2100 local time and an hour ago, the West Coast stations were booming in with an occasional ZL coming through. You can be enjoying a nice chat with a VE7 in British Columbia who is well above S-9 on the meter, and then, in a few seconds and with a “whoosh,” he's gone. Then five minutes later, he's back, stronger than ever, talking with a station in Nicaragua. Until he disappears ten minutes after that, just as suddenly.

The band seems less crowded than others, even though it is relatively narrow, partly because of the nature of the propagation but maybe because tri-band beams and many commercially-sold verticals leave it off. My G5RV and my loop work beautifully here. I could modify my vertical, too, but why bother? I now have a homebrew hex-beam up that performs like a two-element Yagi here, and I love turning it around and hearing a station go from down-in-the-noise to in-the-room-with-me.

I'm not sure why 17 meters does not get the respect or activity it deserves. It is a very interesting band that offers truly exciting propagation at times, and, as mentioned, it performs well even with relatively low power and modest antennas. Plus it is simply quieter than other bands, in my estimation.

15 meters - 21.0 to 21.450 megahertz

If 20 meters is the “king,” then 15 is the once and future “king of DX.” You tune there most of the time nowadays and hear nothing but vast emptiness. Occasionally it opens to South America or the Caribbean, but mostly it is just “ssssssshhhhhhh.” But wait a year or so. Just wait. There are already signs of life and it is exciting!

If you like to combine ragchewing with DXing, if you enjoy working Europeans or Japanese stations on PSK31 or RTTY, if you want to close out your DXCC in one weekend, then 15 will be your band.

Plus there is plenty of room to operate. It seems to go on forever!

By this point in the spectrum, too, the size of an antenna is starting to come down to the point that a full-size Yagi is possible on a postage-stamp-sized city lot. Heck, a dipole is only about eleven feet long on each side of the center insulator. There are many relatively inexpensive tri-band beams available and they all cover 15 meters. And despite the sheer size of the band in hertz, it is relatively small in wavelengths, so most any antenna will be efficient from bottom to top.

It's true that once the sunspots begin to go into hiding again in three or four years, the band will once again return to “ssssssshhhhhhh.” But it will be a great ride in the meantime. Stick something up in the air and join in the fun.

12 meters - 24.89 to 24.99 megahertz

Now this is one odd band! It is stuck in there between 10 and 15 meters, and I find myself operating it so infrequently that I have to go back to the charts to see where I can legally use which mode. Like its siblings on either side, it appears to be dead, dead, dead most of the time during the sunspot lull. But I hear it can pop like crazy when things start heating up.

Also like 60, 30 and 17, many hams simply are not aware of this band, older gear does not include it at all, many amplifiers don't have it available or if they do, it is an afterthought and may have input matching problems, and there are no contests—ever—on this band. That means less activity.

I can verify that it sometimes offers surprising propagation, even when Old Sol sleeps. I have worked most of the major DXpeditions over the last several years here. Last month, I had a nice QSO with a ZL on 12 with no fading at all, in the middle of the afternoon.

Something tells me that as conditions improve, more and more hams will play in this nice playground. I certainly will!

Just don't forget about it being there. I would love to work you.

10 meters - 28.0 to 29.7 megahertz

Want to work JAs and VKs with 100 watts and a coat hanger? Dream of communicating across the sea with 5 watts and a whip? That will be 10 meters at the top of the sunspot cycle. At least that is what they tell me.

This band often presents sporadic-E propagation (look it up…it is beyond the scope of this article), regardless of sunspots, which allows communication up to several thousand miles. That happens mostly in the spring and for a few weeks in early winter, but can occur at any time. It is also a good band for local communication up to a hundred miles (or more if you have elevation and power) on a regular basis, but then, when the band does open up, it can really mess with local nets and regular roundtables.

This band offers the first real use of propagation beacons, with a bunch of them just below 28.3. This enables you to learn quickly if the band is open. As with some of the other bands, they may well be propagatin' like crazy but if nobody transmits, nobody knows it. These continuously transmitting stations let you know signals are available. It helps, by the way, if you know Morse code. That is what they use to identify and tell you where they are. But even if you don't, and you tune down there and hear them chirping away in spots where there normally are not any signals, then you know the band is open to somewhere and you can cast out a “CQ”—back up there above 28.3 or below 28.2, of course, since this portion is supposed to be for beacons.

One more interesting aspect of 10 meters is that there are FM repeaters and simplex available, as well as satellite downlinks. Yep, the same kind of FM repeaters you may be accustomed to at VHF and UHF. It is a real trip to hear guys talking to each other on a repeater thousands of miles away, and you can jump right in and join them. The “ARRL Repeater Directory” lists many of them, as well as the access tones that most of them require for obvious reasons.

I actually use a couple of repeater output frequencies as beacons, keeping my dial set on one of those frequencies so I can just hit the bandswitch button and tell in a second if the band is open to that area of the country.

So there you are, a brief (well maybe not so brief) travelogue of the amateur radio HF bands. We really should be thankful that we have access to such a broad range of spectrum and that it offers us such a wide variety of conditions and signal propagation.

I think if you give some of them a try, you will discover that each has its own personality and appeal, as well as its negatives. Then, if you like them, you can make sure you have antennas that allow you to fully experience them, and that you add them to your allotted operating time.

If you don't, fine as well. But you may not ever find out what you are missing if you don't at least give them all a try.

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N1OU on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don, your article is great and I think it will be a big help to the newer hams who haven't yet had the chance to work a lot of our spectrum. I'm an old timer and still enjoyed your recap of each band's characteristics.

I'm glad I could make a positive statement before the flamers and trolls fire up their vitriol. I've quit writing for eHam because they are out of control here.

73

Gordon, N1OU
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W3NRL on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don
Very well done, you put some thought into this article. Nice job.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W2BLC on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
After nearly 50 years of hamming, I have become somewhat locked into habits. But, after reading your article, I think I'll spend some time on other bands.

Thanks - nice job.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KG4TKC on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Another most excellent effort by N4KC,one of the Gentleman of eham. It was a fun read,and most will find it fun no matter how long they have been hanging around the HF bands. It would be a very good article to print up and hand out at test sessions where the tech/tech+ have upgraded to extra. Thanks for another fine article N4KC. In the words of Mister Magoo,,,'Ah, N4KC,you have done it again",,:) 73,KG4TKC
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by G6NJR on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
There is one kookie you forgot the one from sicily that likes to claim 14.195 as his very own patch of real estate
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KG4TKC on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Make that upgraded to General,instead of Extra. I just learned a new eham rule,don't post a comment to an article if you have failed to imbibe at least two cups of coffee,,:)
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N0TJO on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article. I would like to see more articles in line with this and basic operating priciples. Encouragement of expanding everyones operating methods. Promoting hams to get on and do what we came into this hobby for...enjoying the company of others whether for a quick 59 or a long time QSO. The most recent QST had the same effect...it had articles of basic operating and antennas. In its simplest form. We are not all old hats...and even if we are, its nice to reread or be reminded of the basic priciples of hamming and operating. 73 and hope to meet up on any one of the bands and any of the modes. Its all fun and exciting even with all its inherent challenges.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WE6L on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article Don, very interesting and well done. I agree E-Ham needs more articles like this one. Thanks again best 73 to you and yours.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by K3AN on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice job, and I concur it will be quite useful to all hams who are new to HF.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N4UE on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don, thank you for a GREAT article. Not only accurate, but I really enjoy your sense of humor.

Maybe you are not active on 50 MHz, but please add 6 M to the list. It's not called "The Magic Band" for nothing!
Although I operate 160M thru 70 CM, most of the time, I have a radio listening on 50.125 MHz......

tnx agn
ron
N4UE
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W0CBF on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Ok, the flamethrower is off. Actually I don't flame folks.

1) Thanks for taking the time to write the article

2) Thanks for sharing the knowledge of the HF bands.

I admit I use 20 meters mostly, plenty of PSK31, and DX.

73's

Chuck
WCBF
http://www.w0cbf.com
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by K0FF on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
N4UE said:
Don, thank you for a GREAT article. Not only accurate, but I really enjoy your sense of humor.

Maybe you are not active on 50 MHz, but please add 6 M to the list. It's not called "The Magic Band" for nothing! "

K0FF replies: Correct! Ham radio is not "US" (line of sighters) and ""Them" (real hams, the HFers).

Geo>K0FF

DXCC 160 thru 6M
6M WAS, WAS, WAZ.
2M WAS, WAC, 35 countries.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N9DD on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent!

I've never been the type to call any portion of the HF bands home. Having a station that is frequency-agile makes hamming much more fun. Rag chewing and nets are fine if you like them, but just not my cup of tea.

In the last couple years I've added 160 meters and 12 meters to my repertoire. I've had so much fun on these bands, especially 160m, that I'm sorry I waited so long.

Thanks for a super article!
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KT4WO on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Re 30 Meters:
"Now here's an interesting band! If you are a no-code licensee and have not gotten around to learning CW yet, there is nothing here for you."


Very nice read!...but..lets not forget about digi-modes on 30 meters! It is a GREAT band for PSK,MFSK,etc and
you dont need to know CW to use these.

Tnx es 73
de KT4WO
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KC8KTN on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great Job . Well written. You sir did a great job. Keep up the good work.And keep on listening..73...kc8ktn/chuck..
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by AE6RO on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
The only thing wrong with this is the HF bands will NEVER be as good as they once were. Cycle 24 is a dud and will remain so forever.

Also, 160 meters is the Top Band and is the top of the Medium Frequency band. Propagation there isn't well understood, but we do know it doesn't depend on the sunspot cycle. In fact, it might have worse propagation as the sunspot count goes up-- something we really don't have to worry about.

73, John
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by QRZDXR2 on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don... This is the best article about band useage and abilities I have seen. Excellent job telling it like it is and a great help to the newbies who are looking for new adventures in tuning around.


Keep up the good work. I downloaded it for a referance file.

Best to ya
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by QRZDXR2 on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don... any chance you will contenue and cover the 6 mtr and up bands also. It would be a great addition to your already super article.

thanks again
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KD8KEO on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
This is a great article for new comers like myself. I have only been licensed for one year and I really enjoy the HF bands. Lately, I have had a lot of good DX on 15, and 17 meters (occasionally 12 meter) using a R7 vertical antenna. These bands are exactly as you describe in your article
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by HAMMYGUY on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article Don. This will become one of the timeless articles that will be reposted often.
 
Excellent article, one tiny nitpick  
by KJ6BSO on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Buick had long abandoned it's straight-eight engine by 1968. According to the Wikipedia, it was last produced in 1953.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KA5KBM on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Hello Don,enjoyed the tour.. Yes,I sometimes forget about 12meters too. About an hour ago, I was listening on 24.942 when I heard a station in the Carribean making a lot of contacts...one of his contacts was N5EMS, Gary, out of Ft. Smith, Arkansas, about 10 miles away from me...he made contact with the the DX station...I tried calling Gary for a brief qso on .938, but he never heard me, although the DX station gave him a 59,I could hear both stations clearly...What a band! In a way, I'm kinda surprised no mention was made re:6 meters. I know 6 is not considerd to be an HF band, but most of the current hf rigs include "6", and when the band is open, it sounds more like "10"...I don't think mention of 6 meters would be too much of an exageration...I've heard of 6 and 10 referred to as the "sister bands" because of their similar characteristics.73s de steve/ka5kbm.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WA0ZZG on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Well done. I enjoy your work. I've printed this out and posted it next to the ARRL Amateur frequency plan. They go together.
Dave
WA0ZZG
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KJ6BSO on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
"The only thing wrong with this is the HF bands will NEVER be as good as they once were. Cycle 24 is a dud and will remain so forever. "

Uh, what exactly are you basing this statement on? As far as I know, the understanding of the solar cycles is inexact at best. Scientists have no explanation of why Cycle 24 has gotten off to such a slow start and not a single one of them would ever venture to make such a sweeping statement about the future activity of the sun.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by NC4DK on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for a very informative article. I am a relative newcomer (5 years as Extra, 6 years total). When I got my ticket I was living in a townhome with antenna restrictions. A portable "hamstick dipole" was about my only option so my contacts were nothing to brag about. I have recently moved to a location much better suited for antennas so I am looking forward to expanding my HF capabilities. This is a great guide for what to expect on each band. I am somewhat familiar with some of the goings-on but a refresher is welcome.

Dennis
NC4DK
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KD5PME on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article. This type of prose is one of the reasons I linger here.

73,
KD5PME
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W7ETA on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice prose; well organized.
73
Bob
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WA3YAY on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article. Its a shame that it has to be pointed out that a band is "a gentleman's band" or "polite lot here". Ham Radio should be all that all the time. Yeah, right.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by K4KRW on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
What a great article! I too will keep a copy with my band plan printout. I will also recommend it to others.

Thanks!

73,
Richard - K4KRW
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WD9FUM on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
FB article, Don. I started out on 40 as a Novice and it's still my favorite HF band. I can hardly wait for 10 to start jumping again.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N4KC on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
You know, you guys may be right. I probably should have gone up to six meters on this tour. Ironically, I spent most of the morning yesterday (and have the skinned knuckles to prove it) re-erecting my six-meter groundplane.

Now, come on, sporadic-E!

By the way, I worked several countries on 12 this weekend and just got Paraguay on 10 meters. There will be sunspots! Yes, there will!

73,

Don Keith N4KC
www.n4kc.com
www.donkeith.com
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W8AAZ on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
17? I thought 160 used to be a gentlemans band. Due to the expense and inconvenience factor, I suppose(and QRN + Loran = ugh) . Running on the assumption that rude annoying types are also lazy and therefore did not want to spend extra time and effort to use it? Now all the newer rigs have the band but still that piece of wire that will work there eludes me in this location. Except for a couple rare contacts there before the tuner rolled over, I have merely been a 160 SWL for the past 39 years.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WB2WIK on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice writeup!

The SFI is elevating and 10/12m are "open" in the mornings pretty often. Unfortunately for me, I can only very rarely operate then...but for those who can, it's becoming exciting!

During the last solar peak (1999-2001) I'd tune across 12m and hear absolutely "nobody," and just for fun, call "CQ dead band" on 12m SSB. I thought it was funny, anyway.

Not so funny: I'd usually get an answer, and often from the other side of the world, as the m.u.f. was right about 25 MHz and condx were better on 12m than any other band...just everyone was "listening."

If there's anything to be learned...don't just listen: CALL CQ!! If everyone listens, the result is lots of silence.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by AA0CW on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
As a newly upgraded General, excellent and educational article. Thank you.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KG4BFR on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Having fun with a 15 Meter Ham Stick mobile,making contacts every day.

73
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KC6YFR on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks Don.
As a new General I appreciate all the help can get. I've had nothing but nice contacts since I got on HF. All contacts are on twenty. I'm using a Buddi Pole to stay under the radar of the HOA. Thanks again for all the information.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KD4QMY on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nice article Don. You're correct about the 12m band. You just never know who you may make the QSO with...my first contact on 12m was with VP6DX, Ducie Island DXpedition, while sitting idle in the parking lot at work from my mobile station. Since then I've constructed a simple 12m dipole for home and do enjoy the band when it opens. Have worked great DX on the other bands too. Like you said, you need to be on the air to work these guys, you just never know who you will meet and on what band. Good DX to all...

KD4QMY
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N0AH on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nicely written om. Too bad the tour can get off track with the lack of attention towards volunteer band plans, modern day digital modes in CW windows, rag chewing in newly allocated resources on 40M, nets on the WARC bands, restricted repeaters....all which can be deflating at times.

There are many "legal" scenerios that could be involved here so it is a mute point for arguement. But manners are subject to discussion....

The inexperience of some with newer modern modes are forcing the issue of what was once considered reasonable accomadations for all.

Along with band characteristics, tradition of band plans is a subject we also need to learn in being a good amateur radio community member.

73 es Gud DX!

Paul

As for my vote, down to one band, I'd take 15M. Room for all- 24 hours a day in decent cycle!
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N6JSX on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
A tid-bit that was not mentioned that needs to be --- is when there is a full spectrum HF weekend contest in progress (like ARRL FD) you can retreat to 17/12m to escape the "CQ Contesters" and have nice calm DX/QSO's.....

17m is a great band with a reasonably small antenna size that even apartment & CCR (attic antenna) can jump on and talk the world/USA. It does not take much solar flux to get 17m hopping! Great mobile band, worked many EU driving around the Midwest, just last week talked to IK4, G4, OH4 de Ohio mobile.

I just wished the FCC would have put a 200W cap on 17/12m like they did on 30m (a low use band that is even void of PSK)....
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by K9CTB on March 14, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article, Don. I agree with another ham who posted a comment....this has to go into the archive for frequent reposting.

I am optimistic about the sunspot cycle and I look forward to working VKs with my converted CB radio and 10 watts PEP from my car. It will be just as magical as it was in 1980!

I gotta learn to drop my fear of 60 meters and give it a try ... especially the channel shared with the UK.


73 de Neil
K9CTB
Indianapolis
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KC7OTG on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Well done... I'm in the process of trying to get a guy to get his license and I think this will be something I have him read. It will take much less time for him to read this than for me to send him through the bands scanning.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by AA4HA on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
This is a delightful article, I really did enjoy reading it.

Maybe if we all were more thoughtful in our postings and in our general behavior on-the-air we could bring courtesy and good manners back to our sport.

Please keep articles like this coming.

Tisha Hayes
KJ4SHJ (AA4HA)
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KB2DHG on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I am not exactly a ham since spark gap days but a seasoned one just the same...
This was a very well written article and informative, for as you said those who are new to this wonderful hobby....
Gotta love this hobby and all the fine people like you who care and have the love of it all.
Thank you.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KJ4IDH on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Absolutely one of the best articles I have read in a long time Need many more like this!
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by AJ4MJ on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Don!

There is a similar tour of the bands in the ARRL Operating Manual, but I like yours better. It's more detailed. The antenna tips are very helpful.

KJ6BSO - Regarding the sunspot comments from the other poster, never argue with an idiot. He will drag you down to his level and beat you with his experience :-)
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by K4RKR on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
New HAM here. Got my tech and general on 12/1/09 and I got a lot of good info from this article. Thanks!
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KF4HR on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article Don! And even more impressive, so far your article has managed to keep the flame-throwers at bay! :P
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W2WRV on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great post. I am always looking to learn more and this is great.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N9BH on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Very good job to help beginners.

I have always heard the 160 meter band being called "Gentleman's Band", along with "Top Band".

Bruce
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KL7AJ on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
We need more of this sort of primer for new hams who have never even HEARD a shortwave radio. This is how most of us got into the hobby.

40 meters is great even with the broadcasters. That's why God invented notch filters. The broadcasters are there BECAUSE the propagation is better there more days out of the year than any other band. And yes, QRP works on 40 meters.

eric
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N5YCN on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don, Thank you for taking the time to write such an informative article! I really enjoyed your insight on the bands. This is a great roadmap for new folks on the HF Bands. 10, 15 and 17 are starting to heat up, Hopefully more to come this year!
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KD8MJR on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Very nice, I learned a few things that I did not know.
Thank you very much for taking the time to put it together.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N4KZ on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Superior writing, as always, Don. Excellent job of recapping important information for newcomers and old timers alike. Each HF band has its own unique characteristics. If I had a favorite band, I suppose, overall, it would have to be 15 meters -- because it's where I started as a new ham in 1969.

But, truthfully, these days I favor 17 meters. And 12 is often a forgotten piece of real estate, as you mentioned. I think some old timers tend to forget the so-called WARC bands of 30, 17 and 12. It's a pity because there's lots of interesting activity on those bands. And 30 meters is truly wonderful for its domestic and DX activities daily. Too band it's so small and CW/digital only. Can you imagine how hot a 30-meter phone band would be for DX? They call 40 meters the new 20 these days.

Heck, if we had SSB phone on 30, it just might be king of all HF -- day in and day out, year in and year out. But I've never called one HF band my exclusive home because I enjoy each and every one of them from 160 up to 10. And I love 6 meters too. Talk about a band with multiple personalities! Fascinating place.

73, Dave, N4KZ
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W0FM on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Every time I read one of your articles Don, I think it will be hard to beat it. THEN I come across another of your treats like this one. Great job!

Someone mentioned that this article should be printed and passed out to new licensees. I would challenge all VE groups to do exactly that. Distribute this article to the applicants (pass or fail) at your testing sessions. More practical information here than in any "memorize this" license manual I've ever seen.

Thanks Don.

73,

Terry, WFM
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W6UX on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article! Bookmarked for future reference and I'm sending the link to a friend who needs to get his General class.

-Jeff, W6UX
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WU6X on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don,

Nice post and definitely worth the read. I've passed it along to my Son who want to get his license ... finally! 73, Dennis
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by AL7GA on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Nicely done. For those of us who have been around for other cycles (only 3 for me) the only thing I would add is not to wait for the band to "open". Make your antennae NOW, so you won't miss any fun. We are very anxious up here in KL7 to see some of the openings you guys below 50 degrees North are already seeing.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by K5ML on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Congratulations, Don on writing another excellent article. You did a masterful job of capturing the essence and uniqueness of each of the HF bands.

Amateur radio means different things to different hams. If it weren't for the HF bands, I would probably be QRT. In addition to rag chewing, it's the challenge of chasing DX on the HF bands that keeps me hooked. I see it as a lot like fishing. I get on the air almost every day and try to see what I can catch. I usually make some interesting contacts and occasionally work a new or rare one. That and the great friendships made over the years are what make ham radio so enjoyable to me.

73,
Mickey
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by K7LA on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks, Don.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W4PC on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don,

Where was the AOL story?

Rick -W4PC

(ex broadcast radio too)
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KG4BFR on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
15 meters is open.
I have a Icom IC 7000 with 100W a Breedlove mount and a Hamstick 15M.
Today worked Japan with a 5x9 report
Hawaii also with a 5x9
So there is alot of fun out there on 15 meters and 100W

73
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N4KC on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Rick, it was almost a couple of years ago now, a series on things that were disappearing. Sorry, I can't seem to find a link and it is probably dead now anyway.

73,

Don N4KC
(ex-WCRL-AM, WJRD-AM, WNPT-AM, WVOK-AM, WVOK-FM, K-99 FM, WJRD-AM, KZ Country, 92ZEW, Lite 99, Oldies 106.9)
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WB4LFC on March 15, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Don.Good read for the old ham and the newbie.
You brouht out a lot of points I haven't thought of lately.
73's from Jerry in Sylacauga
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N9NFB on March 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Very well written article, thanks for sharing

It reminds me of a QST article about 40 years ago
which covered all the bands 6M and up.

A second edition of your article including 6M and
up would certainly be interesting and appreciated.

73 de Vince N9NFB
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by G6UWK on March 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Excellent article, we/I become very parochial and it is nice to see the bands from a different point of view/location, being in the UK our power limits are a bit different to the US Amateurs and so antennas play a bigger role in putting out the signal, as has been said before and I don't mean to tar all Italians and Russians with the same brush but they do tend to "spatter" around on the bands due to perhaps an amplifier being over run.

Jon
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N3QE on March 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
I think you underestimate 15M in low-sunspot periods. It was really cooking in the ARRL DX CW contest last month, and in fact looking over my contest logs throughout the sunspot doldrums, it's been a worthwhile DX band every single contest. And when we get just a few sunspots (like February) it opens up to Europe and Japan so wonderfully.

I think the real problem is that people believe that they shouldn't even try 15M just because the sunspot cycle is at a minimum.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by AE6RO on March 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
KJ6BSO:

I based it on the fact that Cycle 24 took much longer than any other cycle on record to get going. That kind of behaviour usually precedes a solar minimum. Which is what we have now.

Although we have some visible sunspots, they are small and don't hang around for long. If we had to use the kind of equipment they had "back in the day"to see them we wouldn't see them at all.

Lastly, although the solar flux is up, it doesn't correlate very well with the sunspot number. Oh, and visible sunlight is dimmer than it used to be. That's it. 73, John
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by OLLIEOXEN27 on March 16, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
You forgot to mention the Spanish kook on 20 phone who always says Ah-Lo Ah-Lo.

Is he trying to say hello? Why doesn't he just send a cq?

oli
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W3WW on March 17, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don,

Just add me to the list of old timers who REALLY appreciated your time and effort. Although I operate most every day, I too have gotten into a rut. Reading your article brings to light what I have been missing.

Thanks Don & 73,

Don
 
RE: Band Scanning: what is this about BPL  
by QRZDXR2 on March 17, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Ops Ops Ops

Tonight on the 6 pm news they said the FCC was going to let the power companies go ahead with providing BPL so that millions of customers can have the internet added to their power bill...

Here we go again.

I thought the issue of the BPL interfearance with the ham bands was over and done with. But, from the news tonight its looking grim for the little old ham radio operator on the HF and other bands.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KG4YMC on March 18, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don, great article. I have to say that l5 meters is becoming my new favorite band , onely because my radio onely covers 40 15 and 6. I have an ncg mod 7 21 50 and with ten watts and g5rv. have been getting into japan, europe, canary is. rotundra, italy , ect on 15 lately with ten watts and g5rv. good to see basic articles without sacasim. I am still learning to use af and rf gain controls , antenna tuner , and contesting tips and contact tips , it is a constant learing experiance so don't think we cannot all use the basics. I would like to see a modern version of my tribander radio for new hams. like mine , but could use split and notch cap. not al new hams can even afford a ;718 , there is life beyond 950s and stepller antennas and butternuts. Low power, dipoles, and operator skill what a concept and basic fun. keep up the good work , enjoyed the article . see if this makes it to post without computer bmessing up again . 73 kg4ymc
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by K4KYV on March 19, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Regarding 40m, it is high time that our phone band be expanded down to 7100 kHz. The continental US is about the only country in the entire world that does not already have phone privileges below 7125 kHz.

CW and data ops have plenty of broadcast-free spectrum below 7100, and only a minuscule number of US hams ever operate CW on 7100-7125. I have counted many times at various hours of the night and day, and the largest number of CW stations I have ever heard transmitting at any one time in that segment is about a half dozen. That's over 4 kHz per CW signal; not exactly a poster child for efficient spectrum usage. The vast majority of US CW activity seems to cluster in the vicinity of 7025-7060. Even during CW contests, there is seldom any significant CW activity above about 7080.

US phone operators are severely limited in the broadcast-free spectrum we are allowed to use following the broadcasters' move away from 7100-7200. The top end of the band, 7200-7300 kHz is of limited usefulness except from shortly after sunrise to mid-afternoon due to the broadcast interference, causing 7125-7200 to become congested and chaotic during prime operating hours as DX'ers compete with ragchewers in the grand total of 75 broadcast-free kHz we are permitted to use for voice here in the continental US, from 7125 to 7200.

Even when 7125-7300 kHz and 7000 to approximately 7080 are packed with signals, 7100-7125 is usually lightly occupied, with a handful of CW signals and a few weak foreign phone stations audible in the background hiss. Isn't this a shameful waste of valuable spectrum?
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N3WAK on March 21, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks, Don! Great article!

73, Tony N3WAK
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by AE6RO on March 21, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Anyone wonder why the 40 meter broadcasters gave up spectrum so easily? Because they know that shortwave broadcasting lacks a future. Because they know that solar Cycle 24 is a dud. See you on 160, someday soon.
73, John

P.S. Beware of "Slim!"
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by VE7DXQ on March 21, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article Don. I had to laugh with the mention of the Canadian kook on 14.275. Unfortunately he lives only a few miles from my qth!

Gary VA7YO
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WA2JJH on March 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
sIMPLY A GOOD PRIMER ON HF. TNX AGN FER POST
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by W5LZ on March 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
And just because you haven't seemed to have gotten any yet, let me be the first to 'flame' you.
You really ought'a make a few spelling mistakes, all real hams do because of all the abbreviating stuff.
End of flame.
el'Zedd
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KD7XL on March 22, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Thanks for a great survey. I just got on the air again after about 25 years of inactivity. This info was just what I needed.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WA2JJH on March 23, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
yup, I am damn proud to be EHAMS #1 spelling and grammar fubars.

Yup, I love the fact that all the abbreivs make it worse!!!!

HEY, YA THINK YOUR THE ONLY OCD-AR PICYUNE NIT PICKING
MAGGOT,D.L.A.H M.F.R.C. S.O.B.,POS. S.K.E.L.L.I.D.
P.E.R.P., G.O.M.E.R. S.H.P.O.S. NHI-KAY.

I am L.M.A.O-N-R.O.L.Fing and really do not give a B.F.R.A.H about what you think of me.

If you really had an I.Q. above larks vomit......You should bE thinking WHY MR K5HAM!!!!!

mULTIPLE CHOICE.

1) All spell,grammar goofs are a code for a few friends that know me on EHAM, many years before you found eham.

2)I like to give people a hard time.

3)You are just a copy cat of the first few that did.

4)I really could careless if some of you got glial cell carcinoma or pancreatic cancer. These 2 cell mutagenic diseases have a near 100% mobidity and mortality rate. Even the most Potent opiate/opiode/narcotic, schedual 2 pain meds.

5)I have perieral nueropathy that is static now.....but I will have severe pain and progressing paralysis. I will blow my brains out in 20 years or so.
The pain is that bad. (HI-HI...YOU SHOULD FEEL LIKE TRASH, IF THE ANSWER IS 5.

6)You have the honer of souring this post.

7)You feel inferior to me in some way. That is why you broke the golden rule of ignoring my typo's. I have been on eham since it started.

8)I used to be a dues paying member of eham for many years. In fact, I have been on Eham a few months after it first started. I stopped paying dues because of SPELLING/TYPO NATZIES, JUST LIKE YOU :) SCHMUCK!!!!!

Nothing personal, its just the way I fly.
I am off to S.E. ASIA for a month. So there will be a ZERO TYPO-SPELLING-BAD GRAMMAR moritorium. AND THINK.......ITS ALL BECAUSE OF YOU!!

LMAO ROTFL. Be a real man and do not reply. Any feeding frenzies of thread rot, off topic non sequeter crap, insults, or anything to ruin a GREAT thread is on your head!!!!!!

Aint you something special :) Its just clean fun
No hard feelings. 73 DE MIKE WA2JJH
I will have HF on most of my trip. I can be found on 14.178 usb or 14.015 CW. A QSO with me will result in a card from Hong Kong, Phuket, Patayya, or Bangkok..
I cant get a reciprocal ticket for Viet nam.
73 back in 5-7 weeks
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WA2JJH on March 24, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
About the bands. It seemed to me, 30 years ago................15M phone could be better for DX than 20M. On the weekends,when all 350kc of 20M was overcrowed with DX.

When 20M was full like that, we all simply went down to 15M and got tons of DX with non of the QRM of 20M

15M seemed to be the 2nd most popular band. ALL of 15Ms 500KCS was put to good use.

The Novice section was jammed with CW DX. The lower 25kc of 15M was filled up with Extra's blazzing away at 25-40wpm. Those that could use a vibrolex, used only the vibroplex. One either made their vibrolex sound as good as an electronic keyer. The rest had the distictive ultra rapid dits and slow drag dahs.

The General portion of 15M, had the same DX as overloaded 20M.
Many would use an Inverted V only for 15M. Seemed that the inverted V on 15M was ideal. Very low angle of radiation. The 15M inverted V has a 1:1.5 swr across the entire 450KC

My friend N2HA got DXCC,W.A.S, and Easter island using a 180W Drake C line. He got all those awards on 15M after 4 months.His Inverted v had the balanced feed
oint only 30 feet above ground.
He used multiple zip cord conductor in parallel 11-12 foot lengths. The parallel conductors and balun gave him a near perfect SWR all across 15M

My humble opinion......15M is under used these days.
The shame of it is 15M is one of our longer bands.
Lots of room for everybody. The frequency of 15M permits a Ham to build a real performance antenna and even make it stealthy!!!!

The sunspot cycle should be like it was 30 years ago soon. Back then we would convert CB radio's to 10M.
Heck, when 10M opens, 3000 mile hops are frequent and long. Many did very well with a converted CB. 4W on CW
12W pep ssb.

Some recent 10M DX I worked with 150W. and a homemade 10-15M Vertical.

Japan 2X on CW, 6 months ago.

I had one bizaar QSO on 10M FM. I worked 6 land (L.A.). What was bizaar was the 30 over 9 signal.
The QSB dropped the signal down to almost nothing for a few seconds. THIS IS NORMAL FOR 10m.
10m dx contacts are short and fast. You will have an arm chair QSO for a few minutes, then dead band.20 minutes later, DX again

I have found 4PM EST to be 10M 5 minutes of DX fame.
Hang around for 2-3 hours for more DX.Ater that DX is rare, but it is there.


Heck, everybody knows 20m DX is like shooting fish in a barrel

For laughs or a sad reflection of entropy in society. There are the few that think their broadcasters on 80M.

my 2 cents on the topic.
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by N2MWE on March 25, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Don, I remember a few years ago firing up my Alinco DX70 in the car and having a ninety minute rag chew with a station in Wales on 17 meters while traveling home from Pennsylvania. It was one of the more memorable QSO's I've had in my years as a ham. 17 truly is the Gentleman's Band.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KD5CGL on March 28, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
Great article, nice work.
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WA2JJH on March 29, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
TNX AGN FER Great post. 17M always seems to be the "DEADMANS BAND" at my main NYC QTH.

I would be open to any idea's for the best 17M antenna. I use a home made swiss army knief veretical.
20M, DX is ike shooting fish in a barrel. SSB, I get my share with 150W. I get even better DX on 20M CW.


I do have roof rights. However it is not much space. Homemade multibnand Verticals with counterpoise and 2-3 radials per band is how I roll.

I would like to give 17M a second chance. Any feedback on type of antenna, and/or best time this
unusual band is hot.

I was thinking of a 17M/15M inverted V. Ladder line is not practical for me. 50 ohm RG-8X is my primary transmission line. I know the built in ATU in my TS-950SDX is the worst ATU to use. Any built in Atu is just good for protecting my 150W final.

Any idea's will be respected. I am hearing too much hype about 17M. I would think just like cycle 24(25-30 years ago) 15M was a great DX band when 20M was oversaturated with DX and QRM.

One would think 17M could work DX somwehere between a hot 15M and 20M DX for all behavior.

TNX AGN 73 DE JJH
 
Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by KJ4RCR on March 30, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
As a new ham, I for one would like to say thanks for the informative article. I upgraded all the way to Extra, but have very little experience to backup that book knowledge and theory. Articles like these help get people like me on the air quickly.

Thanks!
 
RE: Band Scanning: a Tour of HF Ham Bands  
by WA2JJH on April 1, 2010 Mail this to a friend!
That is the nature of learning new things. Be it some of the finer points of ham radio or the latest theorys in partical physics or quantum mechanics.

(btw, IF ANYBODY IS INTO THE RAMIFICATIONS OF THE SUPER COLLIDER EXPERIMENT TO BE DONE THIS SUMMER. LET ME KNOW) Some say the experiment will fracture our space-time continium....we will all be really screwed!!!!)
Strng theory flaws are have produced a new very stange hypothesis of 11 relms of reality and prove parallel universe theorum is not a STAR TREK SCIENCE FICTION CREATION.

I am still looking for a Ham I had one heck of a QSO on said material. He also claimed to be a retired area 54 Colonel. I shant repeat what we talked about.
If that ham is THE ONE, I DID HAVE A QSO ON 20M, A FEW YEARS BACK.......I want to explore more in a private mode. Hint, you told me about your frequent UFO sightings. I think a few of them may have been the "aURORA PROJECT". ANY FLAMMERS WILL HAVE THEIR KARMA TO DEAL WITH. INDEED, KARMA IS REAL. Those that have wished me ill will in the past, know what I am talking about. You have had events happen that were not to your liking. I did not wish it. The fact that space-time and Eisteins theorems are re proven by GPS compensation equations. Every GPS device has the algorythms for space-time/gravity warping differentials are part of the software in every GPS device you know. Heisenburg uncertainty pricipal gives double scientific proof.

WHAT THE FRACK THIS HAS TO DO WITH THE EXCELLENT ARTICAL WE ARE RESPONDING TOO........SEARCH PAST BEHAVIOR.

One should shun self appointed ham radio false messiahs and one upmanship O.T.'s that think they are ALL THAT.
THOSE THAT CONTINUE TO FLAME, ARE INDEED MISERABLE DUE TO PAST BAD ACTS.

OLD ZEN SAYINNG.....IT IS FAR BETTER TO KEEP ONS TEA CUP HALF FULL. MORE TEA OF KNOWLEDGE CAN BE POURED IN.
THOSE THAT THING THEIR CUPS RUNNETH OVER, ARE JUST ALL just ALL WET!!!! :)
 
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