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[Articles Home]  [Add Article]  

A Great 6M Opening

Kenneth E. Harker (WM5R) on July 7, 2000
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Every once in a while, there is a really fantastic opening on the six meter band. There was a great six meter opening from South Texas on Wednesday evening, 5/6 July 2000. I got on kind of late, I think, as the band was full-up to almost 50.300 MHz when I got there at around 0045 UTC. I was operating from the University of Texas Amateur Radio Club, using the club callsign N5XU. The station is located in EM10dg, downtown Austin, Texas. The band was great for three hours when I really had to leave for home.

This opening had a little bit of everything. The only states east of the Mississippi that I missed were Delaware, Louisiana, South Carolina, and Wisconsin. There was double-hop into New England/Quebec that was really fun. At the same time, there was really short skip into Arkansas and Mississippi. I think maybe the first skip zone being really short made working the stations in New England, and especially New Jersey and New York, a lot easier. Those stations are normally just beyond single hop range from N5XU. With the skip being really short, I tried two meters frequently for signs of Eskip on that band, but no such luck.

In looking at a map of worked grids from the opening, I think it's interesting that I worked so many places all at once, but there's no giant clump of worked grids in any particular spot. There is kind of a long skinny trail of worked grids from the Alabama/Georgia border straight up to Bar Harbor, Maine, but even that isn't very distinct. The opening seems to have had a very sharp boundary to the west. Just before I left the station, the band had opened up a little bit to the west coast.

It was really exciting to hear so many signals on the band at once. I spent a lot of time up on 50.215 MHz, and frequently had multiple stations calling. I heard people spreading out even higher in the band, too, with great success. It was also great to hear some locals from the Central Texas DX & Contest Club (CTDXCC) getting in on the fun. George K5TR and I have been trying to encourage our local HF contesters and DXers with radios that cover 6M to put up at least a dipole and get on for some of the contests and openings. There's been a lot of excitement lately in the club about DX on the 6M band.

It doesn't take much to get in on these big six meter openings. The 50 MHz station at N5XU is relatively modest, but happens to be endowed with high power. The transceiver is a Kenwood TS-600, a radio that predates digital dials, and is without filters of any kind. The club is lucky enough to have a Henry 3CX800A7 amplifier, but all we have for feedline is RG-213, and the antenna is a small Cushcraft 50S3 yagi at around 100.' The shack is on top of an engineering building on campus, in (noisy) downtown Austin. Most modern 100W radios will work just as well or better than what I was using.

Total QSOs: 103  (~0045 UTC - ~0345 UTC)

Worked States/Provinces (31):
AL AR CA CT FL GA IA IL IN KS 
KY MA MD ME MI MN MO MS NC NH 
NJ NY OH PA RI QC TN TX VA VT 
WV

Worked Grids (58):
DM13 DM14 
EL87 EL89 EL95 EL96 EL97
EM10 EM27 EM28 EM34 EM36 EM37 EM38 EM44 EM48 EM53 
EM57 EM63 EM66 EM67 EM69 EM70 EM73 EM74 EM75 EM76 
EM79 EM81 EM84 EM86 EM95 EM96 EM97
EN31 EN33 EN34 EN35 EN42 EN50 EN61 EN70 EN82 EN90 
FM06 FM08 FM19 FM29
FN10 FN20 FN22 FN31 FN34 FN35 FN41 FN42 FN43 FN54

Member Comments:
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Ref: 6 Meter Opening July 5.  
by N5HQM on July 8, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Always remember to keep a cheep 12 inch black and whith TV turned onto channel 2. If the channel comes alive with TV eskip then you can bet on 6 meters being open also. Also the hight in frequency the eskip appears on tv say up to channel 6 you can bet on a super band opening on 6 meters... 73 de Jody N5HQM College Station, Texas.
 
RE: Ref: 6 Meter Opening July 5.  
by W8FAX on July 8, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
It was a good opening. Here around Dayton we were working into Europe also. This area has not enjoyed very many openings on six over the latest cycle so it was very nice. I worked five new countries, a couple of reworks also, plus Canary Island. Very lucky to have been there.....AL
 
July 5th Fireworks  
by K5IQ on July 8, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Yep, the 4th of July fireworks weren't just going off outside--they were popping on both the 4th and 5th on 6 meters! While I wasn't able to get into any of the European QSO action that some of my colleagues here in EL49 near New Orleans were able to snag, I did pick up a few new stateside grids in areas I previously hadn't heard!

It was indeed an interesting opening--hearing both sides of conversations, short and long skip mixed together, signals from almost all compass directions, and the band crowded right up to almost 50.3! At times it sounded like 20M on a contest weekend.

Some of the grids worked from EL49 on 4/5 July 2000:
FN67, DM67, EL97, EM28, EN41, FL15, FN42
Talk about a mixed bag!

It hated to see the band finally shut down.
 
Sorry I missed you  
by AD1C on July 11, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
Hi Ken,

Sorry I missed you. Am just getting back on 6m after a long absence.
Using an IC-756 (100W) and G5RV dipole up about 35 feet.
Worked 3 stations in AZ during the opening, but didn't hear anyone
from Texas. Maybe next time.

73 - Jim

p.s. congratulations on the new call!
 
RE: Ref: 6 Meter Opening July 5.  
by K4SUS on July 11, 2000 Mail this to a friend!
6m always opens every year at this time for this type of Es propagation. Very good reports as above but I have recently been working mostly real DX on 6m , not local Stateside stations. Recently worked 6m DX: 3D2AG (ssb & cw)!,ZL, CE, LU, PY, CX, VP2's, KP4, KP2, HH, HI, HP, TI2, EH9 (N. Africa), EH7 (Spain), F6 (France), CT (Portugal), etc. Have fun on "The Magic Band"! 73 Tom K4SUS (since 1963)
 
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