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Author Topic: 6m dx and radio  (Read 4501 times)
2M_MAN
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Posts: 9




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« on: February 24, 2003, 11:05:19 PM »

i just got a 6m ic 551 radio. I was wondering when are good times to listen for dx? i have a ringo ranger ar-6 antenna and live in tucson,az. I also got an old palomar amp with the radio. It was a on / standby switch and an umarked toggle switch and to knobs that say tune and load. I have never used an amp before and want to know how to use it? Its a palomar model 60 bi linear amplifier it was modified lightly for 6m.
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KC0ODY
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Posts: 78




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« Reply #1 on: February 25, 2003, 02:41:19 PM »

Six meters is a notoriously capricious band for DX. I have heard it said (rightly so) that 6 meters is a great band for DX if you like having your chain yanked by Mother Nature. Listen to 50.175- the Six Club (http://6mt.com/club.htm) uses this as their calling frequency for band openings.

Here is a link to a good site that discusses how to work 6 meter DX:

http://www.ham-radio.com/n6ca/50MHz/6mtrdx.html

I think the key thing with 6 is to listen a lot. Band openings come and go when they are least expected, and the band usually does not stay open for long.

Jackie
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20667




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« Reply #2 on: February 25, 2003, 05:24:53 PM »

There is no "best time," since 6m propagation is very sporadic and unpredictable.  However, there are indicators that are helpful...some of these are:

1.  Monitor 28.885 MHz on ten meters, if you can.  That's the "six meter calling frequency" on ten meters, and since 10m is open a whole lot more than six is, it's common to hear half the world on this frequency at some time of day.  When you hear a lot of people getting very excited about six meter conditions, and they'll say so, that would be a good time to listen on six!

2.  Listen to the propagation bulletins on WWV (2.500, 5.000, 10.000, 15.000 or 20.000 MHz, whatever you can hear).  Once per hour they give the SFI (solar flux index) and other indicators, including the A and K index and the MUF (maximum usable frequency).  When the MUF hits 50 MHz, that means the band should be useful for very long range propagation.  It does not happen often, but when it does, six can be very exciting.

3.  When the SFI is high (high number in the hundreds) and the A and K indeces are low (small number, single digits), F2 propagation is often the best; however, the propagation we enjoy can follow the ideal solar conditions by several hours to several days, so timing is everything.

4.  To watch for sporadic-E skip, which is more common than F2-layer ionospheric skip on six meters, you might try monitoring TV Channel 2 or Channel 3 using a very simple antenna like "rabbit ears."  If Channel 2 becomes very fluttery and full of interference patterns, there's a good chance the band is open on six meters.

5.  Remember the six meter USA SSB calling frequency is 50.125 MHz.  Just because the frequency is quiet does not mean the band isn't open.  If everybody listens, nobody will hear anything.  It pays to call CQ.

6.  Listen for 6m beacons below 50.100 MHz.  They all send CW identifiers with their callsigns and locations (usually a grid square), and often times also identify with their power and antenna, e.g., "V V V de WB2WIK DM04 10W HALO", which would mean the beacon callsign is WB2WIK, in grid DM04 (that's L.A.), running 10W to a halo antenna.  Tells quite a lot for just a few characters of code.  When you hear distant beacons, the band is open, so go for it.

7.  The Ringo will be your biggest handicap in working 6m DX.  It's a zero-gain antenna for FM work, and far less than zero gain for most casual SSB work, since it's vertically polarized and SSB/CW/DX activity is all horizontally polarized.  If you can, put up a small beam -- it makes a world of difference.

(When the band is "wildly" open, you can work the other side of the world with a whip antenna on six meters.  Unfortunately, that might only occur one day per year.  We should all focus on what we need to use the other 364 days.)

8.  If you can, take your rig portable to a great location from time to time.  It can be very rewarding.  A great location in AZ would be a car-accessible mountaintop, the higher, the better.

73 & good 6m DXing!

Steve, WB2WIK/6
(6m DXing since 1966)
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2M_MAN
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Posts: 9




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« Reply #3 on: February 26, 2003, 08:49:17 PM »

isnt the ringo ranger ar-6 a 3db gain antenna? so i have a 40 ft run of belden 9913 . why does running ssb have lower gain?
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WB2TPS
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Posts: 32




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« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2003, 06:42:26 AM »

Its not SSB per se.
The Ringo is a vertically polarized antenna.  Most SSB and CW work on 6M is with horizontal antennas.  For line-of-sight VHF work there is a significant signal loss between horizontal and vertical antennas. (the actual db loss escapes me at the moment)

A horizontal dipole or Halo will work much better.  Of course, as Steve points out, a beam will make a big difference.

6M is the "magic band".  Days and even weeks will go by with little or no activity, then the band will open up and all heck will break out.

During the fall of 2001, there were almost daily openings to EU, SA, AF, AS and across the USA, it was wild.
I think the last time that happened was during the 1957-58 sunspot peak, so patience is a virtue for 6M operators.
Jim
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WB2WIK
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Posts: 20667




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« Reply #5 on: March 03, 2003, 02:59:48 PM »

The AR-6 is a "3 dB gain antenna" only if one exercises a great imagination.

It's a base-fed 1/2-wave.  How can a 1/2-wavelength antenna have gain over the 1/2-wave reference antenna (the standard way to measure and express gain).

Answer: It cannot.

The AR-6, if tuned up perfectly, has precisely 0 dB gain.  If not tuned up perfectly, it will have less than that.

The "loss" it has when operating SSB is due to cross-polarization, since 100% of all SSB activity on six meters is horizontally polarized.

WB2WIK/6
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KD7PEH
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Posts: 3




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« Reply #6 on: March 04, 2003, 09:05:19 PM »

I live down in Hereford, and although that isn't a DX, I am always up on 6m (50.125 and 50.175) when I am in my shack.  Give me a hollar sometime or shoot me an email at kd7peh@arrl.net and we can set up a 6 QSO.  Something to fill in the time while we are waiting for the band to open.
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KC5TAO
Member

Posts: 1




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« Reply #7 on: March 14, 2003, 02:00:16 PM »

watch for openings from april to august with the peak
in june. but as stated before an opening can happen
at any time. i worked two stations in so. cal last night 3-13-03.ssb and horz. are the way to go.ive worked coast to coast on 3 elem. and 10w.hope to hear
you on 6.
 
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2M_MAN
Member

Posts: 9




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« Reply #8 on: July 09, 2003, 02:51:09 AM »

OK im updateing this from my first post. I currently run 100w amplifer with the 551 and ar-6 ringo 14 ft up. I have worked soo many different places this summer. TOnight i worked conneticut and canada> i live in tucson,az I have worked colorado , texas, okolahoma, georgia, louisianan, arkansas, wyoming, caifornia, oregon , washington, south dakotam tennese, flordia, delaware , utah , idaho , and others i have become quite the 6m dxer now. Im currently workin on 50 states and counting. KD5TAO I have ur  qsl card. Good luck to everyone here . 73's KD7SDY
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KB1GMX
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Posts: 832




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« Reply #9 on: July 15, 2003, 12:50:49 PM »

A vertical will work but I've found that a even a dipole will work better, especially for local work.

My favorite cheap 6M antennas are a Folded Dipole of twinlead (300ohm TV stuff) at 10ft and the 24ft long stub fed EDZ at 15ft.  Neither beat the 3el beam at 21ft but they are suprizingly effective cheap and low profile.

Also listen a lot to 50.110, 50.125 and tune around.


Allison
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KG4IUA
Member

Posts: 4




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« Reply #10 on: July 27, 2003, 11:40:45 PM »

6m has been doing some great stuff in this area lately!  Friends have been hitting South Africa, Europe and the southern islands.  We started to play with a military surplus log periodic antenna that beats everything out there....at 21 ft up even!  
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K7IHC
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Posts: 269




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« Reply #11 on: August 22, 2003, 04:04:12 PM »

How about 6m FM DX-ing?  I have a Motorola 110 watt FM rig programmed for 6m ops.  I am building a 1/4 wave groundplane antenna for local repeater/simplex ops.  Are there hams that specialize in FM DX-ing on 6?  I'm assuming they use horizontally-polarized antennas?  I will eventually get a small 6m Yagi that can be used either vertical or horizontal.  I'd like to get some air time out of this FM rig until I obtain a multi-mode radio that I can SSB on.
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