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Author Topic: 6 meter band question  (Read 2220 times)

Posts: 174

« on: April 06, 2002, 03:04:57 AM »

I am in the middle of getting my 6 meter station running for SSB......what kind of band openings can I expect Huh?
Are they contacts to be made on a daily basis from a state to state prospective ??
Or is it totally dead until long range DX opens???
Never had a 6 meter antenna to even listen, not sure what to expect........Thanks for any help.


Posts: 492

« Reply #1 on: April 07, 2002, 08:11:29 PM »

David, 6 meters is a band that because of its being situated above HF and in the lower portion of the VHF range, experiences quite a few modes of propagation. With a reasonable antenna, a 2 element quad or 3 element yagi up 30-40 ft. and 100 watts in an average location, you may expect to make contacts out to 100-250 miles with similiarly equipped stations,possibly a little more with very well equipped stations. Sporatic E propagation begins to manifest itself in late April and occurs off and on thru June, sometimes into July. There is a minor occurance of sporatic E in Dec. Ranges typically will be 600-1300 miles and occasionally there will be double hop and even triple hop, out to 2600-3900 miles. Openings can occur for minuites, hours,etc. In the peak sunspot years, F layer propagation occurs occasionally. Intercontinental DX is possible then. Meteor scatter is another mode, signals reflected from the trails that meteors leave behind them as they burn up in the atmosphere. Troposcatter is another mode that can account for qso's out to several hundred miles.And theres aurora, signals reflected off the Aurora Borealis. And then there can be permutations of multimode propagation, sporatic E linkup to F2, etc. You'll find much more about the subject in The Radio Amateur's VHF Manual, some antenna handbooks, some ARRL Handbooks. 73

Posts: 21764

« Reply #2 on: April 10, 2002, 11:58:44 AM »

6m is "magic," for sure.  As one who's been active on the band for 36 years (since 1966 and the "AM days"), my experience indicates that antenna and location mean _everything_ on this band.  That is, sitting atop the highest mountain for 200 miles in all directions is a good thing, and then equipment and antenna become less critical; however in lieu of that optimum situation, the station antenna is an extremely important contributor to overall success on this band.


-Sitting on the porch of the Sky Line Inn atop Mt. Equinox, VT (which is the highest point in the area for many miles, and has a 200 mile view in some directions), running an Icom IC-506 (2W PEP, battery-operated, portable transceiver with built-in 54" telescoping whip antenna), I sat and ran hundreds of stations in the Caribbean, South America and western Europe while all the "locals" in the valleys down below heard nothing and accused me of talking to myself.  This is a common occurrance, when you operate from a great location.

-Sitting right at sea level on Chincoteague Island, VA, but using four stacked 5L yagis (20 elements total) atop a 70' crank-up portable tower, so the top set of beams were almost 90' above ground and the system had >19 dBd gain (including ground gain), I sat and worked 204 grid squares, including all 50 states and several DX countries, in a 36 hour period during the ARRL June VHF QSO Party 1988.  Again, most of the "locals" heard virtually nothing, and had no idea what was going on.  In this case, the antenna, not so much the location, was doing the work.

-Sitting in my home in Los Angeles, I hear many disgruntled 6m would-be DXers proclaim nothing's on the band, they tune from edge to edge and don't hear a single signal.  Then, they come visit my station and the band has activity, including numerous beacon stations that are always there.  The only difference between "them" and "me" is that I have an 18' long yagi up 65' above ground, fed with very low-loss coax.  This is _not_ by any means a great station, but it's better than what they're using.

Simply put, 6 is a great and unpredictable band.  What and where you can work is up to you, but an investment in a good antenna system is very, very worthwhile.  When the band is wide open, you can work "DX" with a few watts and a whip antenna.  But that is not a common occurrance.  What you can work when the band is _not_ open is more important.


Posts: 11

« Reply #3 on: April 10, 2002, 11:56:27 PM »

I agree with the rest of the people replying to your question.  You really never know when 6 meter is going to pop up.  Yes indeed, you need a yagi to make to connection.  I have both a vertical and 3 element beam and the beam always hears distant stations.  I only have it up about 24 feet.  Im able to pick up several beacons within North America.  Im sure that if I could get the antenna higher, I would be able to reach out further.  For the most part, I have been very lucky to have QSO's to HI, UK, Scotland, Belgium, Caba, Panama, Mexico, and Brazil to name a few.  The funny thing is while I am able to reach these distant stations, I seldom hear anyone within 50 miles of my QTH which is in the Dallas Texas area.  I can talk to a few stations but not many.  I think that this is what the kick in the butt is about 6 meter.  You can really have a ball with it and the people on 6 are very helpful and fun to talk with.  With the season starting up this month, you will have fun, trust us...  Just be sure to use a beam antenna with good cable.  You should be able to hear and have great QSO's.

Have fun

Posts: 2

« Reply #4 on: May 02, 2003, 01:40:29 AM »

I saw your post on the 6 m band.  I am a new ham with a VX-5R triband HT. I get into the back country when I can and have started bringing my kids.  There are a couple of 2m repeaters in one area I go to that I can hit with reasonable regularity, but other areas are out of any 2m or 440khz range.  The 6m band seems like a potential solution - in an emergency I know I could count on a ham to relay a message to my xyl or a local police station.  

Is it realistic to expect that I could get 100 mi + with my 5W HT?  Assuming that the stock rubber duck is next to useless, are there backpack-able antennae that could be rigged with a minimum of fuss?  This would have to be voice - I'm a fair way from getting my morse ticket (and the VX-5R won't work CW anyway).
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