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Author Topic: 80 Meter - Tips/Pointers?  (Read 2038 times)
KE8G
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Posts: 149




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« on: April 08, 2012, 05:33:08 AM »

All,
I'm looking for information to best achieve making contacts on the 80 meter band.  I have never really paid too much attention to this band in the past, but I would like to get my 5BDXCC and this band is holding me back.

Currently, I have at least 200+ countries worked & confirmed on each of the 10, 12, 15, 17, 20, 30 & 40 bands, so once I get 80 meters, I can put in for 5 through 8 band DXCC.

I am looking for operating tips or tricks that will help achieve this goal.  I just ordered ON4UN's Low Band Dxing book so I will be doing a lot of reading over the Summer in preparation for the upcoming Fall and Winter, but I am looking for personal tips folks have found useful.

My station consists of 2 K3/100s, along with the KPA500 amplifier.  The antennas for 80 meters are a DX88 vertical and 1/2 wave 80 meter dipole that my XYL (KD8CMB) and I just put up yesterday afternoon.  The vertical has approximately 5,000 feet of radial wire laid out; with lengths covering all bands, and has done a fantastic job on 30 & 40 meters.  The dipole, although not as high as I would like it is at about 45 feet.  With just a few quick tests last night, it seems to be hearing pretty well, as I was copying stations in EU with no problem.  I only operate CW so please consider that in your responses.

All reasonable suggestions are welcome and I do know that listening is the most important thing when operating, but any other information will be welcomed.

Thanks in advance.
73 de Jim - KE8G
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NI0C
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Posts: 2380




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« Reply #1 on: April 08, 2012, 05:49:52 AM »

Jim,
It sounds to me like you have what you need, and you'll just have to put in some time on the band to achieve your 80m DXCC.  The DX contests are especially productive times, and don't be afraid to call CQ DX once in a while to wake up a seemingly quiet band..  The APF function in your K3's will help a lot in hearing the weak ones.  Plan to spend a lot of time listening just before sunrise in Europe and just before sunrise at your QTH.

GL & 73,
Chuck  NI0C
 
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K2MK
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Posts: 386




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« Reply #2 on: April 08, 2012, 06:30:19 AM »

Hi Jim,

With your 500 watts and what sounds like good antennas on 80 meters it should be easy to do in just a couple of contest weekends on CW. Four good contests come to mind. ARRL DX, CQ WW, CQ WPX, and IARU (a summer time contest). If you concentrate on 80 meters and spend a few late evenings (and early mornings) you should have around 120 worked by this time next year. You can count on around 50 to 75 confirmations via LoTW. I put up a good 80 meter antenna in July 2007 and my 5BDXCC plaque is dated February 2009.

73,
Mike K2MK
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K9NW
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Posts: 434




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« Reply #3 on: April 08, 2012, 08:33:47 AM »

If your goal is just to get the 100 needed for DXCC then, as others have noted, DX contests are your best and quickest route -- especially CQWW DX and ARRL DX.  They'll provide you with virtually all the common entities in zones 1-13 (most of which are quite easy) as well as the plethora of EU entities in zones 14-16 (most of which are also quite easy.)  After that you can fill it out with the occasional African or Pacific DXpedition.

If your goal is to exploit every opportunity to build up your 80m totals then you'll find yourself adjusting your daily schedule to be at the radio every sunset and every sunrise!  (and a bunch of time in between as well)

Have fun!
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W8JX
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« Reply #4 on: April 08, 2012, 08:56:50 AM »

I would focus on two to four hours or so after sunset for European DX and a few hours or so before sunrise for Asian DX. I have found that 80 washes out to absorption for long hauls sooner before sunrise and takes longer after sunset than 40 does.
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K7MH
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« Reply #5 on: April 08, 2012, 09:57:50 AM »

Quote
If your goal is to exploit every opportunity to build up your 80m totals then you'll find yourself adjusting your daily schedule to be at the radio every sunset and every sunrise!  (and a bunch of time in between as well)

Yup. Give up sleeping at night, and stock up on Red Bull. Grin

As mentioned, spend all the time on 80 that you can during DX contests. I stayed up all night for them.
Expect to find more on CW than Phone.
Keep an eye out for DXpeditions that you may be able to work and if you can hear them, don't give up.

Insurance..
Don't stop working a more common entity until you have a QSL in hand for it.
Work a couple extra entities, don't stop once you get to 100 worked. I went to 105.

It's a MISERABLE band for chasing DX!
But it's a GREAT band for getting used to using your DSP to eek out a whisper!! Grin
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W2IRT
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« Reply #6 on: April 08, 2012, 10:27:38 AM »

Essentially your best bet on 80 will be where both halves of the circuit are either in full darkness or where one of them is on greyline and the other is full dark. Pacific stuff will come in well in the wee hours of the morning and before dawn, and Europe will be strongest during our evening until about 45 minutes after European sunrise. Greyline signals seem to peak around 30-40 minutes past local SR. 100 is doable in a single winter season, but more realistically in two.

Your vertical sounds great but I'd also add a Beverage (or at least a high inverted vee) since static crashes are worse on 80 than any other band, even 160 in my experience and a vertical will pick that up far more than a flat-top dipole or inverted vee will.

If you have the real estate, consider a four-square. You'll own the band!
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K3STX
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« Reply #7 on: April 08, 2012, 12:11:20 PM »

I' not sure about giving up sleeping!! I work PLENTY of Europeans up till 1 am my time; that's not too late.

If you don't have room for a Beverage, consider a Pennant. I now have one for Europe; it blows away my short (40meter long) Beverage. I think many of the big foreign DX stations you will work on 80/160 have RX antennas too. It always surprises me when I can BARELY hear them and they come right back to me.

I also use a vertical TX antenna on 80, your set-up blows mine away (except the RX antenna). Of course you already know almost all of the DX is on CW on 80/160.

Paul
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W2IRT
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« Reply #8 on: April 08, 2012, 12:31:20 PM »

Ya know, don't be so quick to dismiss 80m SSB DX. In a number of major DXpeditions I've found it easier to work them on SSB than on CW. If the signals and propagation are half-decent, my experience is that the 80m CW pileups are insane whereas 80m phone tends to be either not quite so busy or it's easier to find the DX station's QSX. Granted my totals for CW are higher than for phone (214 vs 170), but for DXpeditions, I've most definitely worked stuff on SSB much more easily than on Morse.
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Night gathers and now my watch begins. It shall not end until I reach Top of the Honor Roll.
KE8G
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Posts: 149




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« Reply #9 on: April 08, 2012, 03:50:19 PM »

All,
Thanks for the comments and words of encouragement.

I kinda figured it would probably take 2 or 3 winter seasons to nab the needed countries for DXCC, so that makes me feel pretty good with my timeline.

As far as a beverage, unfortunately not enough real estate to do that.  Although I may approach some of my neighbors to see it they would have a problem with a wire running through the back of their property.  The neighbors around here are real good about my hobby. Every time they see me come out of the house with some aluminium tubing or a roll of wire, they are offering to give me a hand to put something up.

I am normally up at 4:30 - 5:00 every morning, so that's not a problem. I will be a bigger chore to stay up until mid-night or so, but if that's what it's going to take, I re-arrange my schedule.  Next year will be easier, as I plan on retiring this time next year.

I kinda forgot about contests, as I only got down to 40 meters, so 80 never entered the mind along with contesting.  Thanks for that suggestion!

Once ON4UN's book comes in, I'll start researching some good receiving antennas that just might work for me.  Maybe it's time to sell the city home and move out some place with a few acres of land to hold the antennas.

73 de Jim - KE8G
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K3STX
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Posts: 955




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« Reply #10 on: April 08, 2012, 04:12:16 PM »

My Pennant antenna requires 30 horizontal feet and about 20 vertical feet. It is AWESOME. Just Google Pennant antenna. I bought the Pennant Transformer from RadioWare, it comes with "directions" for the antenna. Feedline is 72 ohm CATV with a type F connector. Contests are the way to go for easy 80M counters, and many will LOTW soon after. I think I worked 70+ 80M DXCC counters in the last CQWW.

paul
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AF3Y
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Posts: 3674




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« Reply #11 on: April 08, 2012, 05:33:47 PM »

All,
Thanks for the comments and words of encouragement.

I kinda figured it would probably take 2 or 3 winter seasons to nab the needed countries for DXCC, so that makes me feel pretty good with my timeline.

As far as a beverage, unfortunately not enough real estate to do that.  Although I may approach some of my neighbors to see it they would have a problem with a wire running through the back of their property.  The neighbors around here are real good about my hobby. Every time they see me come out of the house with some aluminium tubing or a roll of wire, they are offering to give me a hand to put something up.

I am normally up at 4:30 - 5:00 every morning, so that's not a problem. I will be a bigger chore to stay up until mid-night or so, but if that's what it's going to take, I re-arrange my schedule.  Next year will be easier, as I plan on retiring this time next year.

I kinda forgot about contests, as I only got down to 40 meters, so 80 never entered the mind along with contesting.  Thanks for that suggestion!

Once ON4UN's book comes in, I'll start researching some good receiving antennas that just might work for me.  Maybe it's time to sell the city home and move out some place with a few acres of land to hold the antennas.

73 de Jim - KE8G

Jim, you and I are about on the same path. (except my antenna situation is somewhat "limited" as to what I can do... I would like to have your set-up!)  I need 80m for my 5BDXCC as well. It was a band which I kinda "let go", and now I have to bear down and really work on it. I think I have less than 35 worked and less than 25 confirmed, so its a ways to go on my end.
I just purchased a "receive only" antenna to hopefully get some of the noise out of the way. (see my post of April 6 regarding the Pixel RF-Pro 1A or 1B antenna.)

Good luck on your 80 meter adventure! 73 es gud DX, Gene
« Last Edit: April 08, 2012, 05:37:30 PM by AF3Y » Logged
KE8G
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Posts: 149




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« Reply #12 on: April 09, 2012, 03:10:48 PM »




Jim, you and I are about on the same path. (except my antenna situation is somewhat "limited" as to what I can do... I would like to have your set-up!)  I need 80m for my 5BDXCC as well. It was a band which I kinda "let go", and now I have to bear down and really work on it. I think I have less than 35 worked and less than 25 confirmed, so its a ways to go on my end.
I just purchased a "receive only" antenna to hopefully get some of the noise out of the way. (see my post of April 6 regarding the Pixel RF-Pro 1A or 1B antenna.)

Good luck on your 80 meter adventure! 73 es gud DX, Gene

Gene,
Yeah, seems like a lot of us have forgotten 80 meters and the need for it to complete 5BDXCC!

You are well ahead of me with the 35 worked and the number confirmed.  I have two worked and confirmed; USA and Canada!  I guess I can look at it as I am 2% of the way there!   Ouch!

73 de Jim - KE8G
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