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Author Topic: Easiest program or chart to know which bands are active and where?  (Read 1127 times)
KJ4JQU
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Posts: 35




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« on: January 16, 2013, 06:18:39 PM »

As stated I need tips lol! There are a ton of programs out there and I was wondering if any of them are kinda dumbed down for idiots like me. I would like to see a chart that shows from my qth to any point I choose on a map, which band would get my signal there. I have seen a few programs that kinda do that but the controls aren't very user friendly. Or again, im probably just an idiot. I dont mind spending money if its laid out well and accurate. What do you guys use? Thanks for any and all thoughts! 73's KJ4JQU
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W6EM
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Posts: 800




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« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2013, 07:00:50 PM »

As stated I need tips lol! There are a ton of programs out there and I was wondering if any of them are kinda dumbed down for idiots like me. I would like to see a chart that shows from my qth to any point I choose on a map, which band would get my signal there. I have seen a few programs that kinda do that but the controls aren't very user friendly. Or again, im probably just an idiot. I dont mind spending money if its laid out well and accurate. What do you guys use? Thanks for any and all thoughts! 73's KJ4JQU

While there might be a piece of software out there, unless a lot of parameters are inputted, it probably wouldn't match quickly listening across several bands.  What can be heard is the best predictor.  10M and 6M have quite a few beacons that if heard will give you a good idea.

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WD4ELG
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Posts: 875




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« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2013, 07:33:19 PM »

Multiple sources:

Spotting clusters
Reverse beacon
Ionoprobe
Listening to NCDXF beacons
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NK7Z
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Posts: 799


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« Reply #3 on: January 16, 2013, 07:41:42 PM »

As stated I need tips lol! There are a ton of programs out there and I was wondering if any of them are kinda dumbed down for idiots like me. I would like to see a chart that shows from my qth to any point I choose on a map, which band would get my signal there. I have seen a few programs that kinda do that but the controls aren't very user friendly. Or again, im probably just an idiot. I dont mind spending money if its laid out well and accurate. What do you guys use? Thanks for any and all thoughts! 73's KJ4JQU
There is a program called HamCap.  I have a review of it on my web page...  To find the review, go to the search box at the bottom right of the page and put in Ham Cap...  Or select "Propagation" from the Category menu on the right.
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
VA3GUY
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Posts: 180




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« Reply #4 on: January 16, 2013, 08:32:56 PM »

http://www.voacap.com/
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N6SBN
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Posts: 154


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« Reply #5 on: January 16, 2013, 10:06:35 PM »

   There are some beacons on different frequencies.  They'll give you some idea.
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WB6BYU
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Posts: 13287




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« Reply #6 on: January 16, 2013, 10:30:24 PM »

Here's a starting point that is available for free:  the Australian Ionospheric
Propagation Service tools on the web:

http://www.ips.gov.au/HF_Systems/7/1


Choose the "Combined HF Prediction" tool.

For point-to-point predictions, click GRAFIX and in a moment a second tab will appear
beside "Choose Tool" with that name.  Click it.

It starts on the "Map View" option page.  The display defaults to being centered on
180 degrees longitude, which is useful for trans-Pacific paths.  (It's a Australian
tool, after all.)  Click on "0 degrees" for paths into Europe or Africa from the US.

Then choose the "Circuit" tab.  Click on the map to set the location of the transmitter,
then again to set the receiver.  You can also enter the Lat and Long into the boxes
if you prefer.

The "Date + T-index" field lets you forecast for a different date (default is today).
It also gives a couple choices for the T-index if you know it from a different source,
otherwise you can choose "Northern Hemisphere" which is probably close enough.

Then hit the "Predict" button a bit further down the page.  You get a printed listing
of frequencies and times throughout the day, and you just have to figure out how to
decode it.  Find the row for the current hour:  the frequency ranges marked with "F"
are the most likely ones to be open; a % sign means it likely will be open (50% to 90%
of the time.)  Those with just a dot are worth checking, but will be open less than 50%
of the time.

The second column is titled "OWF":  Optimum Working Frequency.  This is the recommended
frequency for the most reliable traffic for a commercial circuit.  Generally signals will be
strongest on the highest band that is open.


There are other forecast tools on the same page.  I use the LAMP tool for local NVIS
coverage, while the Hourly Area Prediction (HAP) will show you color coded plots
for each hour for what bands are open to what areas.  These have a button to
select the amateur frequencies, and are convenient for looking at propagation to
areas, such as Europe or South America, where a single point doesn't give a good
representation of the whole area.  You have to read the plots carefully and find
the land contours to figure out the areas involved (the plots are a bit small) but
the color coding shows quickly whether 15m is open, for example.  And there are
often quirks:  the plot I just ran showed that 12m was open to Newfoundland and
southern Ireland, but not to Nova Scotia or England.

Those will at least give you a start without having to buy anything.
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NK7Z
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Posts: 799


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« Reply #7 on: January 17, 2013, 03:14:42 AM »

  There are some beacons on different frequencies.  They'll give you some idea.
Right...  I forgot, there is a program called FAROS...  It is also reviewed at:
http://nk7z.net/review-of-faros/
It uses the beacon network...
73's,
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Thanks,
Dave
For reviews and setups see: http://www.nk7z.net
N4CR
Member

Posts: 1668




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« Reply #8 on: January 17, 2013, 03:50:39 AM »

I've run Faros plenty and sometimes it's a real eye opener.

A couple of the beacons have been down for years, so don't expect perfection.

With that said, I suspect you are new to the hobby based on your call so here's the short information for 4 land in the US...

After dark, unless there is pretty good sunspot activity, the active bands are 160, 80, 60 and 40 meters. Sometimes 30 meters is active after sunset.

When the sun comes up or when sunspot activity is high, the first to go is 160, then 80. 40 is a band that seems to always be open to somewhere, you just have to figure out where. As the sun comes higher in the sky, 20 opens, then 17, 15, 12 and 10. 6 meters seems to be seasonal and that's HF.

Now, that's just the average of many years of listening and talking. For any given day it may not hold a bit of truth, but overall it's the way the bands work.

If you study the terms LUF and MUF, you will learn how those lines move and what time of the day or which sunspot conditions move them.

http://www.spacew.com/www/realtime.php

Beacons will tell you how the bands are working so the first thing to do would be to learn the how and where of beacons and see what they are telling you.

Here's a real nice explanation of these topics:

http://www.weather.nps.navy.mil/~psguest/EMEO_online/module3/module_3_2b.html
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73 de N4CR, Phil

We are Coulomb of Borg. Resistance is futile. Voltage, on the other hand, has potential.
K4SAV
Member

Posts: 1843




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« Reply #9 on: January 17, 2013, 08:22:24 AM »

I use HamCAP in conjunction with DXAtlas and Ionoprobe.  HamCAP runs VOACAP in the background.  HamCAP will work by itself to give you the information but you have to manually enter the solar data and the display is small.  That's the reason I also use Ionoprobe, which will automatically obtain the current solar data and pass it to HamCAP.  All these programs share data automatically in the background.  DXAtlas provides a very nice display of the data.  It has lots of other nice features as well.  HamCAP and VOACAP are free.  The other programs are purchased.  You can read about these programs here.

http://www.dxatlas.com

Jerry, K4SAV
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N4JTE
Member

Posts: 1156




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« Reply #10 on: January 17, 2013, 02:40:04 PM »

This one best I have found for real time band evaluations,
 http://www.dxmaps.com/spots/map.php?Lan=E&Frec=7&ML=M&Map=W2L&DXC=N&HF=S&GL=N
hope it shows up as link.
Bob
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KD4LLA
Member

Posts: 459




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« Reply #11 on: January 17, 2013, 07:53:24 PM »

This one best I have found for real time band evaluations,
 http://www.dxmaps.com/spots/map.php?Lan=E&Frec=7&ML=M&Map=W2L&DXC=N&HF=S&GL=N
hope it shows up as link.
Bob

I was just about to show the same link.  It is an excellent source, in my mind.

Mike
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