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Author Topic: Plug for the "new" 40m phone band  (Read 1129 times)
K0OD
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« on: May 12, 2009, 07:36:38 AM »

Due to antenna restrictions I've worked a lot of 40 CW DX over the years where a simple vertical or high dipole can be very effective. And a phased vertical array can turn a tower-less suburbanite into a big gun.

However 40 SSB had always been the domain of the big boys. Broadcast interference and split operation meant one needed a big directional antenna there.

Even with my current feeble 43' vertical and 100 watts, I'm struck by how pleasant 40 SSB DXing has become after the removal of most of the AM broadcasters  Nice too how 40 fits into my job schedule. To Europe, the band comes alive about the time I get home. Japan, UA0s etc can be worked easily before work.

Beginners often don't know that DX is workable on 40 several hours into daylight. The long path sometimes provides treats such as Europe in the morning or Asia/Pacific in the afternoon.  

It's wonderful to hear a DX band with few of the problems of 75 and especially the nutcases on 20 meters. Real DXing flourishes on 40 with almost no DX nets.

Just putting in a plug.    

   
 
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KY6R
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« Reply #1 on: May 12, 2009, 03:26:44 PM »

I agree about 40M. Its been my favorite band on CW - with 30M close by - and has kept me interested during the sunspot minima.

I need to try SSB now - that sure does open up quite a bit of new DX "playground" to play in! And I also agree - between the equinox(es), the band is magic even before and after grey line - and for hours sometimes.

Phased verticals - especially the Bruce Array wil make you a big gun on 40M - and you don't need much space at all. The 4 element Bruce Array is a barn burner - and requires the same width as a G5RV, but only needs to be 6' off the ground!
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WW5AA
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« Reply #2 on: May 13, 2009, 08:17:08 AM »

I like 160 meters, a lot less lids. It was open to VK and ZL this morning with the grayline. An A index of 1 and k of 0 kept things from getting too noisy. For me it seems that the higher I go in frequency the more tuner-uppers, aligators, and the usual unwashed (:-)

73 de Lindy
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K0OD
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Posts: 2557




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« Reply #3 on: May 13, 2009, 10:06:32 AM »

"Real DXing flourishes on 40 with almost no DX nets."

--
Are there ANY American DX nets on 40? I hear nets all over that band but I'm not aware of any that focus on DX currently.

There used to be one late at night in the early 90s, around 0700z. It was often pretty comical with der net-meister using a low dipole from Kansas City, of all places. That was when most phone DX operated split. That group did entice an occasional European to listen up into our band.

Many of the newbie DXers were utterly perplexed by a net that sometimes had split frequency check-ins. I'm sure FCC monitoring stations had a ball with all the out-of-band tomfoolery Smiley

 
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N4KZ
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« Reply #4 on: May 13, 2009, 11:07:48 AM »

Getting most of the BC stations out of a significant portion of 40 meters is a dream come true for those of us who have long loved DXing on 40. While most of my 250 countries on 40 have been on CW, I have snagged a fair amount on SSB with split frequency although that was sometimes a real pain because the DX boys had a hard time finding a relatively clear spot in the U.S. phone band on which to listen.

Now, of course, things are much different and improved. I am consistently hearing European 40-meter SSB ops a good 90 minutes or more before my local sunset. And even though I live in 4-land, I am hundreds of miles from the ocean.

A few months ago, I worked the VK9DXW DXpedition on 40 CW longpath about 2 and-a-half-hours before my local sunset. A few times in the winter, I've heard European SSB stations at high noon local time. And back around 1972, I got into a ragchew on 40 SSB split frequency with a VK station and we decided just to see how long we could talk before the raising sun closed down our path. We finally lost one another about 11 a.m. my local time! It was incredible how long the path lasted before the sun finally got to us. Forty is often full of surprises -- even more now than before March 29.

73, Dave, N4KZ
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K0OD
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« Reply #5 on: May 13, 2009, 12:55:27 PM »

I never use the phrase grey-line in reference to 40. I've never heard anything magical occur at the moment of sunset or sunrise and I've sat in many a pileup around that time.

During the November 2008 CQWW CW, 40 was solid s-9 European DX from 3 hours before our sunset to right about sunset... when conditions collapsed. (no problem as 80 and 160 had opened strongly by then). The wonderful thing was that most all-band USA stations were still on 20 and it was prime time in Europe. In other words, that was the time to make contest "hay" on 40.

If you listen to the CQWW on 40 you'll sometimes hear the big Multi-Multis calling CQ Test all day, even at high noon. They're mostly looking for Canadians. But the big New England stations can sometimes catch propagation into Western Europe.

Also, I've heard Japanese big guns on 40 coming in very weakly ALL day.

IMO the best single time to work DX on 40 is about 90 minutes BEFORE sunset. The band is often quieter then too.    

 

 
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NI0C
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« Reply #6 on: May 13, 2009, 01:32:58 PM »

"I never use the phrase grey-line in reference to 40. I've never heard anything magical occur at the moment of sunset or sunrise and I've sat in many a pileup around that time."

I recall a few perfect greyline QSO's on 40 meters around the Winter Solstice-- with 9V and 9M2 stations that popped up out of the noise within minutes of sunset here (and sunrise on the other end).  Propagation only lasted a few minutes in each instance.  

73,
Chuck  NI0C    

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K0OD
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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2009, 08:44:15 PM »

I once waited an hour or two while the whole East Coast worked an S79 on 75 Meters. I couldn't hear a whiff of him. But at the exact minute shown by many sources as "sunset" he emerged from the noise just enough to give me and a few locals a new country. I suppose that was grayline. But 80 and 160 require the whole path to be in something close to darkness.

I've never heard anything as dramatic on 40. I have almost every country worked on 40 and have a wall full of 40 meter contest certificates from the 90s when I had a 4-square. (a great antenna for analyzing propagation with its instant rotation). Naturally anyone who contests aggressively on the low bands is active around sunrise and sunset.

What Sunrise/Sunset definition does one use if the goal is to peg grayline to an exact minute? Articles that I've seen are fuzzy on that.    

To me it's a little like the "Bermuda Triangle" which seems to get bigger every time there's a crash outside the previous boundaries. And believers remain faithful even though 99.99% of flights through it land safely. (another example would be the debunked Full Moon Theory of crime)

When we hear a 4S7 on 40 within a barn door width of sunset we think we're hearing grayline. When we don't hear one, that doesn't shake our belief in grayline.

I'm doubtful that a mysterious grayline phenomenon is a significant factor with 40 meter DXing, but we all know QSB is. My contest Q rates usually peak on 40 well before sunset and well after sunrise.

I'd sure like to know if anyone has researched grayline on 40. I've been pretty inactive for the past decade and may well have missed it.
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KY6R
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« Reply #8 on: May 14, 2009, 06:04:04 AM »

I've heard greyline on 40M and 30M. A few years back, every morning - in the latter part of December. all of January, and the beginning of February, Europe and the Middle East -a and parts of Africa would pound in.

I worked DXCC on those two bands during morning grey line in one month each - 200 watts and a home brew, SGC auto tuner fed vertical dipole.

This happened two years in a row - but not before or after. The stations that I worked were all considered very good DX for the West Coast.

I also snagged VU4 and VU7 on the evening grey line on 40M, but the evening grey line never seemed to be as quiet or strong as the morning.

YMMV.
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NI0C
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Posts: 2406




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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2009, 06:40:46 AM »

I think sometimes hams refer to the lowband propagation enhancement that occurs at sunset and sunrise as "greyline."  On 80m and especially 160m, this enhancement is sharply defined (in terms of a time window), while it seems more blurry on 40m.

I always thought that true greyline propagation occured when sunrise at one end of the path coincided with sunset at the other end of the path (within some narrow time window).

The enhancement effects I observed during the far East 40 meter qso's mentioned above were definitely not attributable to mere QSB.  

73,
Chuck  NI0C
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K9NW
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Posts: 447




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« Reply #10 on: May 14, 2009, 06:57:26 AM »

http://www.ng3k.com/Misc/n4kgprop.html
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WW5AA
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« Reply #11 on: May 14, 2009, 07:05:30 AM »

Almost any morning I can point my beam at Japan about one hour before grayline on 7.153 and hear some of the strong station at 5-5. By first light and into sunrise those same stations rise to S9-20. For those who may be new to ham radio or propagation, the grey line is the area on the earth where the time is “between day and night”. MUF is rising rapidly on the sunrise side and still high on the sunset side. The D region has not yet been energized on the sunrise side and rapidly dissipating on the sunset side. Stations in the twilight zone can communicate with stations at any other locations within the twilight zone just about on any HF Band. The propagator can last as long as one to two hours on 20 M; 40 M 1 hour; 80 M 30 minutes; 160 M 15 Minutes. This time period, longer at the poles, less at the equator, is both a great propagation time and  transition period between bands.

73 de Lindy

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WW5AA
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« Reply #12 on: May 14, 2009, 07:30:43 AM »

http://www.ng3k.com/Misc/n4kgprop.html

He is getting close but knows nothing about the "F" layer. All that said it does not make a hoot of difference if the "A" and "K" index are not part of the equation.

73 de Lindy
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W1LIC
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Posts: 4




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« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2009, 05:07:25 AM »

The broadcasters have not only moved out of the 40m phone band, but also from the CW band above 7.1 MHz.  There has been a fair amount of activity in the old novice band, especially by members of the Straight Key Century Club (SKCC).  This a group dedicated to promoting use of straight keys, bugs, sideswipers, and other types of manual keys.  7.114 has been designated as an "Elmer" frequency for SKCC, a place where those hams who are new to CW or inexperienced can have a QSO with another ham who will be patient and help one gain his/her confidence in using CW. Up or down from this frequency you will often find SKCC members in QSO.

Some say CW is dead, but we say, "NO WAY!".

73,
Wes W1LIC
SKCC # 1142

www.skccgroup.com
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AB7E
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #14 on: May 16, 2009, 09:17:44 AM »

K0OD: "I never use the phrase grey-line in reference to 40. I've never heard anything magical occur at the moment of sunset or sunrise and I've sat in many a pileup around that time. "

Then you've obviously never tried to work 40m long path to the west, such as to the Middle East at sunrise.  Grey line enhancement is significant and sharply defined for such paths.  Not necessarily at all times of the year, though ... it's typically most pronounced around December/January.

Even for short path (eastward at sunset and westward at sunrise), there is normally a boost in signal strength.

By the way, grey line enhancement isn't only a function of the D-layer being weak while the F2 layer still has (or is gaining) density.  It's also the time when the F2 layer is tilted and signals can get launched at angles that facilitate chordal hop propagation.  Look it up.

Dave   AB7E
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