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Author Topic: 20 m or 40 m?  (Read 5215 times)
KF7ATL
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Posts: 55




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« on: November 20, 2011, 05:29:09 PM »

I looked back several pages and didn't see this question.

I am thinking of ordering my first QRP transceiver kit, but I can't decide between 20 meters and 40 meters. The multi-band rigs, like the K1 and the FT-817, are nice but are a little out of my budget right now.

I like 40 a lot, but 20 is both quieter, and requires a smaller antenna if I decide to go portable. Any thoughts that might help me decide?

Garth, KF7ATL
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13475




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« Reply #1 on: November 20, 2011, 06:26:12 PM »

I've done a lot of portable operating, and 40m is by far my favorite band.  It tends
to be open more in the evenings (when I'm more likely to be operating).  I have
a 40-40 rig (forerunner of the Small Wonder Labs SW-40+) and it makes a nice
small portable station.  Antennas have never been a problem - I can almost always
find trees and supports for a half wave dipole, even if I have to get creative.
(In fact, I often put up an 80m dipole as well.)

But it depends a lot on your personal operating preferences.  40m is great for more
local contacts, 20m for more distant ones, and especially if you are operating during
the day when the band is open.

What band to you like to operate from home?
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W8JX
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Posts: 6457




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« Reply #2 on: November 20, 2011, 09:47:30 PM »

Given that solar cycle will at or near peak next 2 to 3 years I would do 20 hands down. I love 40m SSB you can do more with less on 20m QRP portable. If we were at sunspot low I would suggest 40.
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W1JKA
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Posts: 1814




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« Reply #3 on: November 21, 2011, 05:02:01 AM »

    You can't go wrong with either band as long as you have a handle on the day/nite propagation on each.I started out with 20/40 meter MFJ cubs and worked up to a 20/40 meter K-1,work dx/local on both bands (re:propagation),Also your antenna is key for qrp ops.Keep it simple and have fun.   


73  Jim
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KATEKEBO
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Posts: 117




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« Reply #4 on: November 21, 2011, 08:09:21 PM »

For me, it's an easy decision - 20 m all the way.  Here is why:
1) It's open (at least in some direction) 24 hours per day, 365 days per year
2) It works during both, highs and lows of the solar cycle
3) it's easier to make DX contacts - 40 m works best up to couple thousand miles, 20 m allows you to work the entire planet.
4) A good 20 m antenna requires half the space of a good 40 m antenna.  A short 20 m "ham stick" has twice the gain of a 40 m antenna of the same height.
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KF7ATL
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Posts: 55




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« Reply #5 on: November 21, 2011, 09:52:55 PM »

Thanks, everybody for the input.

I think I have made up my mind. I'm going to order the MFJ Cub in the 40 meter version now (my permanent antenna is a 40 meter dipole), and add the 20 meter version at some later date (I have a 1/4 wave 20 meter wire vertical for portable use, but probably won't be doing much portable operating now until spring anyway--we already have snow here in N. Utah).

73 and hope to see you on the air.

Garth, KF7ATL
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AD6KA
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Posts: 2238




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« Reply #6 on: November 22, 2011, 06:42:31 PM »

Quote
I'm going to order the MFJ Cub in the 40 meter version now (my permanent antenna is a 40 meter dipole)

That's a decent start QRP rig, Garth.
You should have a lot of fun with it.

If you ever decide to operate portable in the
woods, which is a BLAST) a 40m wire vertical
is cheap and pretty easy to setup.
(The hardest part is getting the vertical element over a branch, hihi)

Fifteen or twenty, 20' or so ground radials should
do you OK. I'd put alligator clips on one end
for ease of connection to the base, but there
are tons of other methods.

GL with your Cub!
73, Ken  AD6KA
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W1JKA
Member

Posts: 1814




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« Reply #7 on: November 23, 2011, 01:32:55 AM »

   Experiment with your basic horizontal dipole,(height,direction) then try the different configurations(Inverted v,inverted l,half square,sloper,vertical),you will find that one of these configurations will work better than the others for your particular location and ground conditions.Try to keep your feed line as close as possible to 90 Degrees from the radiators and keep in mind that each different configuration will change your SWR a bit if your into that(I'm not).Have fun.

 73,  Jim
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WX7G
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Posts: 6204




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« Reply #8 on: November 23, 2011, 11:04:04 AM »

Given just one band for QRP CW I chose 40 meters.
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KE7WAV
Member

Posts: 128




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« Reply #9 on: November 23, 2011, 08:07:38 PM »

Garth,
  Come over and I will loan you my HW-8 and you can play on both bands and see which one you like better.  The direct conversion receiver takes some getting used to but at least you can play a little before you buy.
KE7WAV
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W5ESE
Member

Posts: 550


WWW

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« Reply #10 on: November 27, 2011, 10:34:24 AM »

Thanks, everybody for the input.

I think I have made up my mind. I'm going to order the MFJ Cub in the 40 meter version now (my permanent antenna is a 40 meter dipole), and add the 20 meter version at some later date (I have a 1/4 wave 20 meter wire vertical for portable use, but probably won't be doing much portable operating now until spring anyway--we already have snow here in N. Utah).

73 and hope to see you on the air.

Garth, KF7ATL

I think you made the right choice.

I occasionally take a QRP rig on backpacking trips, and find that 40m is a better fit for operating in
the evenings, when I am in camp and have a little time to get on the air.

If you haven't yet, look into the activities of the Adventure Radio Society 'Spartan Sprints', and
also 'Summits on the Air' for activities to put your new radio to use.

The 'Summits on the Air' activity is more likely to be on 20m, although I've made 40m contacts as
a summit station, too.

Don't know if they still do, but the ARRL had a package deal in which you could get a 40m Cub and
the book 'Low Power Communications' for a pretty nice price.

73
Scott W5ESE
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KF7ATL
Member

Posts: 55




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« Reply #11 on: November 30, 2011, 01:50:18 PM »

Scott,

ARRL still offers the 40 m package, but it is out of stock. No indication when it will be available again.  Guess I'll have to buy it separately somewhere else.

Garth, KF7ATL
« Last Edit: November 30, 2011, 04:07:28 PM by KF7ATL » Logged
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