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Author Topic: When can I expect regular Es to begin on 6m?  (Read 5966 times)
W3HKK
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Posts: 593




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« on: March 05, 2011, 06:41:06 AM »

Last year in late May I bought a rig with 6m capabilities and noticed the Es openings.  But when do they start?  early, mid, late April?  early-mid- May?
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N2SLO
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Posts: 61




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« Reply #1 on: March 05, 2011, 04:28:12 PM »

they can happen in April, but I checked my log here at FN30, and over the past several years, the E's started
around May 20-23 or so.... I have been so busy enjoying 10M that I can't wait now for E's season to come Grin
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K3GM
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« Reply #2 on: March 05, 2011, 05:06:45 PM »

Mid-May to Late June was really hot last year here in the NE with trans-continental multi hop Es, and openings to Eu.  Then it vanished within a day or so.  Get ready 'cause when it opens, all heck breaks loose, and a simple dipole will suffice.
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N6ORB
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« Reply #3 on: March 05, 2011, 07:18:34 PM »

Last year, the west coast season opener was on April 24-25, but just the usual single-hop stuff. There was another strong opening the evening of May 3. The next day, I worked from the Bay area as far as Maryland and the Cayman Islands.

Even so, mid to late May seems to be more common for the first decent openings of a new E season. The season usually ends around mid-August, almost like turning off a switch. Although we had some openings in early August last year, there seemed to be less activity than usual. Perhaps it was balancing out the early opening.

All things considered, last year seemed to me to be a very good year on six meters. I hope we can come close to last years activity in the upcoming season.

Dave
N6ORB
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K0OD
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Posts: 2528




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« Reply #4 on: March 05, 2011, 09:50:30 PM »

Quote
a simple dipole will suffice.

Was new to six last year. I used a tiny hand rotated 2-element yagi up 25 feet to work about 42 states and 10 countries. The beam had little gain but about 25 dB f/b.
I often thought I would have been better off with a loop or dipole hauled up 50' in a tree. High point was hearing, but not working,  a couple of very weak Japanese stations on CW.

Note too that during the terrific conditions in last year's June VHF contest many savvy stations just loaded up HF tribanders and the like and made tons of long distance Qs.   
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W3HKK
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« Reply #5 on: March 06, 2011, 02:17:12 PM »

Thanks for the  propagation info.  I remember what seemed to be very frequent openings, some  59+20 single hops to New England,  FL and TX, plus MN and CO.  The double or triple hops to  the West Coast were sigs around 57.  Portugal was 58.

The VHF Contest here  in OH was nearly dead.  And sometime in late July, 6m got mostly quiet, and Aug was a poor month for any openings, at least with my random searches.

Gee, I thought Es 2010 Season was typical....or at least hoping it was. Smiley 
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #6 on: March 06, 2011, 08:57:19 PM »

E-skip can happen any time, but the "peak" occurs mid-June.  It often starts in mid-May and tapers off in mid-July.

There's a secondary smaller peak in December, which normally starts early in the month and tapers off in mid-January.

I've been on 6m 43 (almost 44) years now and worked all states in one weekend (documented, read the QST results) in June 1987...50 states, 204 grids, 19 DX countries all on E-skip during the June VHF QSO Party 1987 as WB2WIK/4.  We won, and set a new division record that held for more than ten years.

It helps to have a feel for the band.
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K0OD
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« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2011, 09:32:27 PM »

"50 states in a weekend"

Impressive, Steve. Especially to do it from 4-land.
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WB2WIK
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« Reply #8 on: March 07, 2011, 03:17:53 PM »

"50 states in a weekend"

Impressive, Steve. Especially to do it from 4-land.

Well, it was a contest!  But it takes a combination of unusual conditions and a lot of band knowledge to pull that off -- it had never been done before.  Not sure if it's been done since, or not (maybe).

Luckily I had put together a multi-op team so we could operate 50-144-220-432-902-1296-2304 MHz all at the same time, and the two of us who really knew six meters well focused on just six.  Ten minutes before the end of the contest we had 49 states and were still missing Hawaii.  Then we worked KH6 (I think at the time it was KH6BZF) and that made #50.  Just squeaked it in.

We used a kilowatt and 20 elements at 80 feet on six meters, from a location right at sea level on the beach.  Fantastic location, no obstructions for probably 50 miles.  Lightning was striking right at our site and we operated through it, because the band was so open.

We're all still here. Tongue
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WY3X
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Posts: 768




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« Reply #9 on: March 08, 2011, 08:09:41 PM »

Why not enter the contest (guess when the E skip season to Europe opens!)?
http://www.6metersonline.com/goldenguru.html
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KD8GKR
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #10 on: March 09, 2011, 09:36:59 AM »

Quote
a simple dipole will suffice.

Was new to six last year. I used a tiny hand rotated 2-element yagi up 25 feet to work about 42 states and 10 countries. The beam had little gain but about 25 dB f/b.
I often thought I would have been better off with a loop or dipole hauled up 50' in a tree. High point was hearing, but not working,  a couple of very weak Japanese stations on CW.

Note too that during the terrific conditions in last year's June VHF contest many savvy stations just loaded up HF tribanders and the like and made tons of long distance Qs.   

2 stacked loops should out perform a 2 element beam, and you don't have to turn it. Just a thought. This also works good for contests in conjunction with a beam. You can work all the big gun stations and find band opening directions on the loops then turn the beam in that direction. 6M is a great band, please remember coax, don't skimp. You can eat up the gain of a directional antenna with coax loss(simple explanation). RG-8X for example will yield less than 60 watts at the antenna from a 100 watt transmitter at 100' foot run.
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KD8GKR
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Posts: 47




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« Reply #11 on: March 09, 2011, 10:14:15 AM »

For all the 6 meter newcomers, Steve probably can give better advice. For me, taming the Magic Band for a few years now, I have found your largest results are paying attention to minor details that get over looked on HF. Such as, lossy coax, coax switches, or poorly assembled PL-259's. By paying attention to some of these things can gain better benefit than replacing your antenna with one that has 1 or 2 more elements. Of course the the higher in freq. you go, the more critical these things become. Just some things to think about while some prepare the upcoming E-skip season.
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W3HKK
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« Reply #12 on: March 09, 2011, 01:39:39 PM »

I periodically put my dummy load/wattmeter at the antenna to measure what the coax delivers,  for each of my antennas.

Then I use my oldest lossiest coax on my 160 and 80m antennas, and put the new stuff on 6-20m antennas.

My coax on or in the ground has  seen its share of critters chew holes, introducing water into the coax, and of leaky taped female-female barrel connectors filling up with water causing  mineral build ups as well.   Cleaning up the connectors every few years, and cutting out the partly eaten coax usually restores good operation. 

Remote antenna switches also seem prone to  contact damage after 3-4 years, presumably due to lightning.  Its almost like clockwork.

I  plot swr curves for all antennas when they are installed.  then  watch the swr levels for  change.  Change usually implies critters or water in the barrel connectors, or  bad contacts on the RAS.
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W3HKK
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Posts: 593




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« Reply #13 on: April 05, 2011, 09:44:08 PM »

Well its April 5th and no 6M Es openings noted yet here in central Ohio.
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W5DQ
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« Reply #14 on: April 08, 2011, 01:46:03 PM »

Well its April 5th and no 6M Es openings noted yet here in central Ohio.

Checked my logs last night after reading this question and seeing the responses. I concur with N6ORB that my first opening in SoCAL (by number of 6M log entries) occurred on April 24th last year.

Hopefully there will start to be better chances as April goes and May comes in. It is normal to start hearing 6M open after I get back from the Int'l DX Convention in mid-April at Visalia, CA which occurs next weekend.

Gene W5DQ
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Gene W5DQ
Ridgecrest, CA - DM15dp
www.radioroom.org
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