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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

Tips On Working 60 Meters

James "Scott" Duckworth (NA4IT) on April 7, 2004
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Tips On Working 60 Meters
 

I have been amazed at the conditions on 60 meters, the "channelized" band opened up to amateurs in the US by the FCC. The conditions on this band can go from "local" of a couple of hundred miles to across the US. And at times, you can hear it all at the same time!

Here's a few tips I have found that help when working this band:

(1) Make sure you are on the proper freqs. Your VFO should read the following:
5.330.5, 5.346.5, 5.366.5, 5.371.5, or 5.403.5. These freqs are all UPPER SIDEBAND! It is best if you put them in memory, and leave the VFO locked.

(2) There is no room for "enhanced audio". Your signal needs to be just a normal signal.

(3) Effective Radiated Power (ERP) must be NO MORE THAN 50 Watts! A simple dipole is the best answer with 50 watts at the rig. Mine is up at the apex at 40 ft and slopes down each leg to about 20 ft.

(4) Filtering is necessary for reception. DSP works really well, and a good notch, as well as the use of your RX IF shift helps.

(5) Courtesy abounds on this band. Ragchewers will stand by for DX contacts or a state hunter readily, and the same is appreciated.

(6) Here in East TN, the 5.366.5 frequency is useless. We are secondary users on 60 meters, and there is some type of data transmission there almost 24 hours a day.

Final thoughts:

(1) 60 meters is not for everybody.

(2) I believe if the current operating practices prevail on 60 meters, we could see the FCC open up more frequencies in the future.

(3) 50 watts is more than adequate for communication on this band. It also helps to keep everyone "even".

(4) Listen to it before you open up your rig. It may not be for you.

73, NA4IT Scott

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
 
Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by LNXAUTHOR on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
- sorry to hear about the one freq in your area you're unable to use...

- IIRC, isn't the 50W limit ERP and therefore dependent on one's antenna? (appreciate any correction/update info from other posters on this)...

- thanks for the article!
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by N4LI on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
> isn't the 50W limit ERP and therefore dependent on one's antenna?

Yup. 'Sure is.

But, under the rules, a dipole is presumed to be NO GAIN. Gain, then, is measured dbd.

If you're planning to use some other sort of antenna that has real gain over a dipole, you'll need to reduce power, and be prepared to produce your calculations.

I have heard some people arguing, "if I have to reduce power, why bother with a better antenna?" Interesting question -- but, it has an easy answer. RECEIVE. Get some sort of directional pattern going, and you can reduce QRM. And, QRM is an issue on 60.

QST had a nice article a couple of months back that discussed calculations, and had some common antenna systems figured for 60m use. It was quite informative.

Peter, N4LI
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by N4VNV on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
MORE INFO! The "useless" channels change from time to time. Right now CH-1 and CH-3 are useless in Louisville KY area. Before it was just CH-3. I wonder if the "shared" signals are from FT Knox or FT Campbell! I put a "HamStick" for 60M on my mobile. It's GREAT outside of town! In town the QRN from power lines is overpowering, even with my "ClearSpeech" speaker.
There is a "RACES" Net the 1st & 3rd Wednesdays at 9:00 PM EDT. Wonder if it will be on a different channel tonight, since CH-1 is useless to us at the moment? I'll try to find out the answer and post it here later. If memory serves, the net originates from VA.
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by KE4SKY on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The yahoo group www.yahoogroups.com/groups/60Meters_Emcom is a closed group for amateur radio or others interested in the 60 meter or 5 MHz band. The group encourages discussion in the potential of this band for supporting emergency communications in upper sideband phone, channelized mode, as well as its utility for mobile and portable operations.

All licensed amateur radio operators are encouraged to join and are encouraged to share news related to amateur radio, ideas and information. Amateurs in the Eastern USA are requested to check into the Mid-Atlantic Emergency Net, on the first and third Wednesdays of every month at 2100 hours Eastern Time on 5330.5 USB. We limit the net's duration to about 30 minutes so as not to "hog" any frequency. As acting net manager my belief is that a brief twice-monthly regional communication test is an appropriateu se of this shared allocation. We encourage all users of the band to set an example of good operating practice, so that our limited priviledges here may be expanded in the future.

If the primary net frequency is noisy with digital ops, as it is today, move up the channels to find net control. The net control duties for the MAEN rotate among the first through fourth, plus the 8th call districts. If you can hear the net clearly, but are outside the east-coast region, you still welcome to check in. If we experience short-skip, which sometimes happens this band at night, it's hard to hear other local east-coasters, so we may ask you to help provide relays.

Those who wish to join the group AND whose user ID or email includes a valid amateur call sign which the Moderator can verify through the QRZ database are routinely approved.

All registrations will receive an autogenerated email requesting you to tell us who you are and why you want to join the group. This is a precaution to help mitigate against automated enrollments, spammers and junk emailers. When asked, please provide your name, country, city or state, callsign and organization affiliation, if any. Please participate and enjoy. 73
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by N3ZKP on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
<< I wonder if the "shared" signals are from FT Knox or FT Campbell!>>

Possibly, but not necessarily. The 5-meg range of frequencies is heavily populated with military allocations, both voice and data, and is in widespread use all over the country. That's the primary reason NTIA would only give the FCC the five frequencies.

I doubt that we will ever see a larger 60m allocation for ham use, even as secondary users.

Lon
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by K2WH on April 7, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I love the propagation on 60 meters and am a member of the Emcom website and net.

It doesn't take a rocket scientist to operate on these 5 frequencies. Courtesy is the word of the day and I have had many QSO's on "Channels" without any QRM.

However, and I hate to bring it up, but any operating hints and kinks for any band will only be so much wasted time and effort if BPL becomes widespread. Forget about DSP or noise blankers. You will be out of luck and the FCC really doesn't care.

Fight BPL with all your heart. Take some time to learn about it. You must be proactive about this.

K2WH
 
Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by WD4TC on April 8, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Is 60 meters like the old CB channels?
This is a new one for my tired old ass.
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by N3ZKP on April 8, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
<< Is 60 meters like the old CB channels? >>

No, they are five specific frequencies NTIA has allowed the FCC to allocate to amateur use. We are secondary users of the frequencies and must release the frequency to the primary user (US Military) if requested to do so.

 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by KB9ERU on April 8, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Nope, not like the CB channels.
Although you might find some people referring to the frequencies as channels 1-5, you won't find splattered audio, echo boxes, or 10-4 there, good buddy, c'mon, BEEP!
It's nice to go somewhere where single WIDEBAND isn't a mode and even the little guy gets a fair shot at the stations. Did I mention that I really like the 50 W ERP rule?

Mick
KB9ERU
 
Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by NE0P on April 9, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
"you won't find splattered audio, echo boxes, or 10-4 there, good buddy, c'mon, BEEP!"

You have to go to your local repeater to find these things. BTW, 60 meters is a great band. I try to get on a couple of times a month, but need to do it more. Has anyone earned WAS on 60 yet?


 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by KE2IV on April 9, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
OM,

Thanks for info. Curious about one thing. Is there a regulatory reason why USB is the protocol on60M?

I ask this because this band's freq is below (i.e. meters are above) usual U{L}SB switch-over.

Have to give 60M a try though from antenna restriced home in AZ. May be a nice "solution" to getting KW'd-out on other bands.

Thanks for article.

73,
George
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by G4FSU on April 9, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Upper Sideband is the norm with all users outside the amateur bands, hence the requirement (or request in the UK) to use USB on 5MHz to preserve compatibility with the primary users.

I've enjoyed working US stations on 5MHz. 50W levels the playing field all round & the standard of operating sets an example many 20m operators could follow!

73 Ian G4FSU
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by KA4KOE on April 9, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
My goodness George, a civil post from you! Are you feeling well?
 
RE: G5RV On 60 Meters  
by KE4SKY on April 9, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Attached good info from NB3O,
------------- Forwarded Message: -----------------

From: "Stephen J. Cuccio Jr."
Subject: Re: G5RV
I checked with EZNEC for comparison:

A 90 foot 14 gauge wire half wave dipole cut for 5.33 MHz in free space yields a max gain of 2.13 dBi the "i" is for isotropic vertical reference). The same antenna at 30 feet above a real ground of 0.002 Siemens / Meter conductivity and Dielectric of 14 (standard for inland Mid-Atlantic) yields a max gain of 5.79 dBi at 90 degrees (great for NVIS work).

By comparison, the G5RV with 102 feet (14 gauge wire) fed with 30 feet of 450 ohm encapsulated ladder line yields max gain of 2.17 dBi in free space. At 30 feet above the real ground, it yields a max gain of 5.86 dBi at 90 degrees (great for NVIS work).

The rules mention a half wave dipole as a reference and make no mention of ground effects. With the difference being a theoretical 4/100's of a dB in
free space, you can feel comfortable that you are not exceeding the ERP level by the rules given the tolerance of other factors (coax loss, etc). The fact that the G5RV gives you an extra 7/100s of performance over a typical ground (for our area) will not be noticed by anyone since the loss in your antenna matchbox will probably be more than this since the
G5RV has a whopping 2000 ohm feedpoint impedance at 5.3 MHz (1740-j1150 ohms).

You may want to be a little careful of trying to use the rig's internal tuner at high power since the voltages (or currents) present on its tiny relays and components may cause them to prematurely fail given the G5RV's high impedance on 60 meters. Even though the rigs can typically match beyond their rated 3:1 VSWR range, this range is formulated by the
manufacturer to keep the components from being damaged.

73 de NB3O
 
QRP works too  
by N5LXI on April 10, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I'm working 60-meters 100% QRP, as my FT-817 is the only rig I have that will transmit on that band. The FT-817 is easily modified with software. I'm using a 75-meter dipole and an automatic antenna tunner. Not too many states yet, but having fun.

joel / N5LXI
 
RE: G5RV On 60 Meters  
by WR8D on April 10, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
60 meters is great. You never know from one moment to the next where its going to be open to though. My complaint is why when we're only allowed 5 little channels to use "world wide" is there a net tieing up one of them at "any" time. There is abundant room on any of the other bands for these types of operations. Why don't you "net" people use your local repeaters like the rest of us do or find a freq on another band and give the rest of us wanting to work dx and ragchew stateside the use of the whole band! So little space at this time! Why abuse it with net activities!

John WR8D
 
RE: G5RV On 60 Meters  
by N3ZKP on April 10, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
John:

<< My complaint is why when we're only allowed 5 little channels to use "world wide" is there a net tieing up one of them at "any" time. >>

You have a little mis-information there. The allocations are not world-wide. The allocations are US only. That the UK has a couple of allocations that happen to match ours is coincidental. The same for Canada.

And if you go back and read the rationale for the allocation in the first place, it is primarily for emergency communications when 75m and 40m are not available due to lack of propagation.

The net has every right to be there. You are griping about 30 minutes twice a month? You need a reality check, my friend. :)

As for repeaters, do you know of any that cover the 1,2,3,4 and 8 call areas? I'm not aware of any.

Lon
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by KE2IV on April 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Philip,

How nice to hear from you. Yes I am actually quite well, and I do appreciate your solicitation.

And I trust that you are also doing well?

I find 60M to be quite interesting in that it is the first (and hopefully only) "channelized" amateur band. In fact, I had a fairly lengthy e-mail correspondence exchange with Dave Sumner at the ARRL when the band proposal was being finalized over this situation.

Nonetheless, what is - is.

As of date I have not "worked" this band but I am intrigued by it because the ERP-based restrictions seem to create another approach to amateur radio communications.

May you and yours have a most joyous Easter and may the warmth of the rising springtime sun bring gladness and happiness to each of your days.

73,
George
KE2IV

 
Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by KG7RS on April 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Just a quick "thank you" to Scott, NA4IT, for this good article! I haven't been active on the air in awhile and heard bits and pieces about our new 60m band. Scott summed it up pretty well for me, got me interested, and now I'm gonna get rigged up to try it out. Thanks!

73, John, KG7RS
 
Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by WB4DX on April 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I just received a new FT 897d with 60 meters installed.
I noticed that there is no provision to generate a carrier. A call to HRO enlightened me somewhat that it is illegal to use any other mode or "test" to attempt to try to tune the antenna. My question is how did you guys tune your antennas without getting on the air and "testing" by either a long winded word or generating some other sort of noise to calibrate your swr meter? Seems like we all had to operate llegally initally to be able operate on the band.
Do others see this or am I hallucinating again?
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by N3ZKP on April 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
The "communications" mode is USB. You tune up using a carrier, like everyone else. There is nothing that prohibits this.
 
Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by N4ARI on April 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Great article, thanks.
There's a discussion group on Yahoo too I see.
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/60meters/
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by WB4DX on April 11, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Thats the point, I was told that carrier is not permitted which sparked my curiousity. Plus the fact that the radio will NOT transmit on any mode but USB on 60m.
Guess I will have to mod the radio to get it to tx a carrier.
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by N3ZKP on April 12, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
<< Plus the fact that the radio will NOT transmit on any mode but USB on 60m. >>

Interesting. Never heard that before. I guess you had better use a resonant antenna or use a noise bridge to adjust that antenna matcher. :)

Lon
 
RE: G5RV On 60 Meters  
by WR8D on April 13, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Lon, do you already think you own those frequencys like so many of the nets feel? I've seen how it works on 40 meters with a net. If someone is in qso at net time most will just key right up on top of you and start to call their members. Thats my so called reality check, i see this happen all the time on 40 meters. Many of the nets are run by abusive folks that for some reason or other think they own the freq. Since i seemed to push a button with you are you one of the frequency "owners"?

WR8D
 
RE: G5RV On 60 Meters  
by N3ZKP on April 13, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
<< Lon, do you already think you own those frequencys like so many of the nets feel? >>

Geez, do you bother to read what is actually written? I never intimated any such thing. I said that since the rationale for the allocation in the first place is ECOM, the net has as much right to use the frequency as anybody else - the same as every other amateur allocation.

You don't like ECOM nets or any other net? That's your right. Doesn't mean that you are right, of course. :)

Lon
 
RE: G5RV On 60 Meters  
by WR8D on April 13, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Lon on the other hand it doesn't mean i'm wrong either. There's way to little space available there at the present time to tie up with any net. Just so those involved can throw their chests out and say we have operators from all over the country on "our" net. Most those folks are just after numbers anyway. I've been there a few times in past years myself. Net controls compete to out do one another for numbers. I read exactly what you wrote and you did tell me to go for a reality check. I kind of did it out in the open for all to see. Next thing you know everyone will be wanting to have nets on those five little freq's, just so they can draw big numbers for their rosters. Its just not the right time or place.

73
John WR8D
 
RE: G5RV On 60 Meters  
by N3ZKP on April 13, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
John,

You seem to lump all nets into your view of things. You are talking about rag-chew nets on 40m and I am referring to emergency communications nets on an allocation specifically given for emergency communications - two different animals.

You want to rag chew, but you don't like a bunch of people doing it is a semi-organised manner of a net. Interesting. And who is being the frequency hog? :)

Ecom nets serve an important purpose for those hams (and I am one) who participate in public service and emergency communications drills on a regular basis. I have made use of them in more than one actual emergency/disaster situation. It is obvious that we see things in a different light - you who feels that you alone should dictate what is an appropriate use of a frequency and me who realizes the no one has exclusive use of a frequency, that they are all shared and both rag-chewing and nets are legitimate uses of the spectrum.

Oh yea, as a disaster services professional I have on more than one occasion experienced rag-chewers deliberately ignoring FCC declared disaster-only frequency declarations and interferring with emergency traffic into and out of disaster areas. I sincerely hope you don't fall into that catagory.

Lon



 
RE: G5RV On 60 Meters  
by WR8D on April 13, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
Lon i'm not very active on 40 at all. Just recently i checked out a freq and ask if it was in use. It was not, and i proceeded to give a cq and actually made several nice contacts there across the country. After about an hour or so of nice qso's some net control came on freq and started calling his net. This has actually happened to me on several occasions on that band. So you see i pile all you guys into the same barrel. I know well about Ecom, i've been in air force mars for over twelve years and passed many pieces of traffic from our folks over seas to a state side family. Like i said there's way to little space there on 60 meters and you guys could easily be somewhere else making your noise. If and when an emergency should come up sure its fine to have the fcc pick certain freqs for emergency comm. Why you guys want to tie up one of five little channels is beyond me though on a regular basis. What do you do when the band is open good and there are qso's on each of the freqs. I bet you just jump in with both feet all full of authority and say you're gonna call your ares races net. Never mind i'll start monitoring you guys to see how you handle crowded band conditions under a "non" emergency situation. Might be interesting to make a few more comments here afterwards.

73
John WR8D

 
RE: Tips On 60 Meters, Nets & Rudeness/Interfe  
by NE1Z on April 14, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I think running a net is wrong on any band with 5 set channels, unless it was really a true emergency.

It would be fine if individuals got used to band conditions on their own without any net wasting 20% of bandspace to "practice", even for an hour. This truly takes away from many others' enjoyment, likely more than 20-30 nets worth!

Nets are a total waste of time & take inefficiency to a new high. It is no shock that some mention 40 meters where you have to fight for a stinking 3KHz to have a QSO. Worse yet, if it occurs during a "contest" weekend & you aren't in the contest.

Voice (NTS) traffic should be totally illegal, if used to bypass telephone charges, PERIOD. No it isn't training, it's a charade. I hear telephone numbers with every message, the NTS nets are full of these messages, everyday, IF they have any traffic at all. This is not 1950, $0.03/min. long distance is everywhere & anyone remember those maritime "telephone bypass nets" on 20 meters? Got a few in trouble years ago. Besides, Ecom just furthers the voice traffic myth, that it is efficient. Hardly efficient, if you listen to it or worse yet, time it! Some nets even call a roll call 5 times a day, to see who isn't there to check in, even when they don't! Talk about wasting time & taking it away from individuals' use. These nets sure act like they own the freqs they use by telling you "we have met here for 79 years". They preach rules but sure don't read them. They just fire up regardless, ignoring prior legal users who aren't netites.

Maybe there is little time left for ham radio after looking at the big picture of CW, BPL & the continuing ARRL licensing pyramid scheme.

Ham radio 2004 is truly becoming ABSURD!!!

Bill
 
RE: Tips On 60 Meters, Nets & Rudeness/Interfe  
by N3ZKP on April 14, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
John and Bill,

My last post on the matter ...

I am so thankful that the vast majority of hams do not share your attitudes.

Lon
 
RE: Tips On 60 Meters, Nets & Rudeness/Interfe  
by WR8D on April 15, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
That would be a good poll question. What do you think of nets or describe your experiance when while you are on frequency a net comes on and tries to take the frequency you are in qso on. I think you'd be surprised at the opinions now of the vast majority Lon. No hard feelings about this although i still say 60 meters is not the place to practice and tie up one of only five freq's available, until we get more room there.
73
WR8D
 
Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by KA8JIL on April 24, 2004 Mail this to a friend!
I am embarrased after all these years not to fully understand the issue of where I am transmitting with my Kenwood TS 440. I get a different answer every time I ask someone smarter than me about whether I am transmitting legally with it on 60 meters. If I am set on 5.330.4 in USB where is my carrier and how can I be sure if I am staying in the channel? I listend to a QSO that was splattering up and down the band just like you hear 40 meters all the time. I if I have a freind listen up and down from the dial frequency, what should they hear or not hear?

 
Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by W5AOX on July 27, 2005 Mail this to a friend!
60 meters seems to be a great, but largely unused, band. I have heard 5 or 6 stations using one of the 5 channels but of course there is never anyone around when I'm mobile and have time to try it out.
Both my homebrew screwdriver antennas load well at 5 MHZ. Since I get decent signal reports on 75 meters, I must assume the antenna and rig will work at least slightly better on 60 meters. IF there was anyone else there to QSO with.
I'm not crazy about nets on limited frequencies, but given the choice between no activity and net activity, I'll take the net.
Jim W5AOX
 
RE: Tips On Working 60 Meters  
by WD4TC on June 28, 2006 Mail this to a friend!
I DO NOT KNOW WHERE, WHY,or How This remark got posted on this forum reguarding 60 meters But I WILL ASSURE YOU THIS DID NOT COME FROM MYSELF WD4TC..Tim..Sorry if it Offened Anyone anywhere. I did Not know this was even on here until I was doing a search for a project and discovered I was writing in forums..Thanks...And Sorry....
 
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