Call Search
     

New to Ham Radio?
My Profile

Community
Articles
Forums
News
Reviews
Friends Remembered
Strays
Survey Question

Operating
Contesting
DX Cluster Spots
Propagation

Resources
Calendar
Classifieds
Ham Exams
Ham Links
List Archives
News Articles
Product Reviews
QSL Managers

Site Info
eHam Help (FAQ)
Support the site
The eHam Team
Advertising Info
Vision Statement
About eHam.net

   Home   Help Search  
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Best "Novice" Band For CW?  (Read 1821 times)
TPELLE
Member

Posts: 18




Ignore
« on: February 09, 2009, 09:36:29 AM »

I'm currently working on getting ready to test for my Technician license.  My interests are in CW-Operation only - mainly ragchewing fo now, not so much interested in contesting.

I intend to set up a simple CW XCVR on a dipole antenna - probably with either a Ten-Tec 1340 or 1380, or an OHR 100A kit.  Since both of these radios are single-band transceivers, I'm conflicted as to which band to buy.

Factors to consider are:
*  I will need practice to get my CW speed up, both copying and sending, and don't want to go on the air in a band (or segment of a band) that I will be QRM.
*  Budget will be limited in setting up a rig, so such things as ease in erecting an antenna, etc. come into play.
*  My QTH is Northern Kentucky, near Cincinnati, Ohio.

What do you all recommend for a good band for a "novice" Technician CW operator to operate in?  My investigations so far point to 40m or 80m, but I would consider any other band that you all recommend that I can get one of the above radios for.

Thank you.
Logged
WB2WIK
Member

Posts: 20666




Ignore
« Reply #1 on: February 09, 2009, 10:05:09 AM »

40m.

80m is good after dark, but during daytime can be pretty dead.

40m is alive all the time.  Smaller antenna requirement, too.

WB2WIK/6
Logged
KN1W
Member

Posts: 76




Ignore
« Reply #2 on: February 09, 2009, 10:11:51 AM »

My vote is for 40m seems to be open most of the time and you can find all types of cw qsos, Good Dx, Good ragchewing and stations just practicing the code.

I have a lot fun on this band with my K2 and a simple dipole, no need for big power.

IMHO

de KN1W
Logged
W5PJW
Member

Posts: 22




Ignore
« Reply #3 on: February 09, 2009, 02:11:24 PM »

Add another vote for 40M.

There are groups out there that encourage new CW ops so you'll find plenty of folks to talk to at any speed. Dive on in and have fun! Looking forward to meeting you on-air.

73, Mark
Logged
KC2MJT
Member

Posts: 59




Ignore
« Reply #4 on: February 09, 2009, 04:45:01 PM »

Ditto on 40M. 40M is commonly known as the 'work horse' band for good reason. You'll find good company above 7.040. FISTS and SKCC encourage new ops and you'll readily find someone who will engage you at almost any speed at their freqs of 7.058 and 7.055. When the broadcast stations are not active, or during a contest, look for slower ops above 7.110 to around 7.125. I believe the FISTS freq up there is 7.118.

Best 73 and cu dwn the log.

Nate

Logged
KB9CRY
Member

Posts: 4283


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #5 on: February 09, 2009, 05:48:34 PM »

40
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3926




Ignore
« Reply #6 on: February 09, 2009, 05:53:01 PM »

If you can only have one band, make it 40 meters. Second choice, 80 meters.

Please consider having more than one band available. There are lots of older rigs capable of very good performance on 80 and 40 CW, such as the Ten Tec Argosy or Corsair. If you want a new QRP kit, look at the Elecraft K1. A simple parallel or trap dipole for 80 and 40 meters takes up no more room than an 80 meter dipole, too.

The reason for having two bands is that conditions on one band may be better than on the other when you have time to operate. You will also get more experience with a choice of more than one band.

When you go for the Technician, try taking the General and Extra written exams too. Even though you may think they are beyond you at this point, your VE fee gives you the opportunity to at least try.

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY
Logged
K5YF
Member

Posts: 77




Ignore
« Reply #7 on: February 09, 2009, 07:10:16 PM »

I'll say 40 first and 30 second

...and my opinion may be worth exactly what you paid for it.  Smiley

...hope to hear you on the air!

73
-Brandon
-K5YF
Logged
W7ETA
Member

Posts: 2527




Ignore
« Reply #8 on: February 09, 2009, 10:16:56 PM »

30 meters--lower static crashes during the summer--gives you the best of 20 and 40 meters.
73
Bob
Logged
KE4JXA
Member

Posts: 3




Ignore
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2009, 03:44:02 AM »

Yet another vote for 40m.

Full of activity and a range of CW speeds. I run 5w on 40m with a verticle almost at ground level in KY and get out around 500+ mi on average.
Logged
W5ESE
Member

Posts: 550


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2009, 06:59:46 AM »

Another vote for 40m.

One note of caution though; about the Ten-Tec TKIT
1340. You didn't mention how much electronics
construction experience you have. It's not a
beginner's kit. Many (most?) of the folks who have
built these had to include a few modifications to get
them working well (including me).

For details, read

http://www.io.com/~n5fc/tt13xx_mods.htm

The Small Wonder Labs SW+ was more straightforward.

It, or perhaps the Wilderness Radio SST, might be
easier to get working.

73
Scott
W5ESE



Logged
TPELLE
Member

Posts: 18




Ignore
« Reply #11 on: February 10, 2009, 09:34:26 AM »

Thanks for the advise regarding the 1340.  At this point, I'm actually leaning towards the OHR 100A, and will probably buy it fully built and aligned.  The up charge is basically $100, but at this point I don't have the necessary equipment to perform the alignment myself.  I could build it and send it back to OHR to have it aligned for about $55, but honestly, considering the extra time and hassle, I think I will just have them build it so I know it's right.

I do have a little bit of kit building experience, amounting to a couple of Heathkit Receivers, and a scratch-built 12VDC regulated power supply, (both years ago), and a recent code practice oscillator.  I think in the next few weeks I going to order a Ten Tec receiver so I can start listening in on CW for practice.

Until I start to build up my arsenal of test and alignment equipment, I think I'll stay away from building transmitters.
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3926




Ignore
« Reply #12 on: February 10, 2009, 11:21:27 AM »

A couple of further notes and opinions:

1) When comparing rigs, be sure to consider all the features and specifications, such as power output, dial tuning speed, whether or not a keyer is built-in, etc.

2) For use as your primary rig, you want at least 5 watts output. You also want to cover at least 75 kHz of the band, with a slow tuning rate (not less than 10 kHz per turn. I realize those requirements rule out a lot of rigs, but if this is to be your primary rig and you don't have lots of experience, they're good rules to follow.

3) In some cases (such as the Elecraft K1) you can download the manual for free to see what construction/alignment really involves. Some rigs are a lot easier to build and align than others. Take a look before buying; building is a lot of fun. (I'm biased, having built a K2 and really like the rig).

4) Some folks have recommended 30 meters. While it's a good band, Techs don't have access to it.

5) Perhaps the biggest questions are: When will you be operating and how much dipole can you put up?

At this point in the sunspot cycle, 80 is good during the hours of darkness and usable a few hours before and after; the main limitations are that folks go higher in freq during the day and summer static.

40 is good almost around the clock, but there are times after dark when it becomes almost useless.

That's why I recommend both bands.

A 40 meter dipole is about 66 feet long, an 80 meter is about 132 feet long, and a trap dipole for the two bands is about 105 feet long. The higher you can get it the better; can you get it at least 35 feet up? If you're short of room or high supports, consider an inverted V; needs only one high support and reduces the footprint somewhat.

73 es GL de Jim, N2EY
Logged
KC8JRV
Member

Posts: 22


WWW

Ignore
« Reply #13 on: February 10, 2009, 12:54:27 PM »

This is an excellent thread, and posed the question that kept me out of Ham radio for years.
There was no one (back in the day) to ask this quesiton of... that is, my HW-16 had three or four bands to chose from, and unless I had a measured antenna for each, there was no way to know which to attempt, OR WHEN.

Is there a central place where a description of each band and the characteristics is printed up? I could never catch one when reading a study manual.

This type of information could be critical to catching a new novice ham and getting them to become regular on the air!

Do you agree?
Logged
N2EY
Member

Posts: 3926




Ignore
« Reply #14 on: February 10, 2009, 02:09:55 PM »

To KC8JRV:

There used to be a description of each band's characteristics in the ARRL Handbook, in the chapter about propagation.

However, if one has a receiver, one can just listen and see what's what. The stock HW-16 covered the lowest 250 kHz of 80, 40 and 15, so figuring out those bands wouldn't take too long.

I do agree that a basic description of each band's characteristics would be useful for newcomers who don't have a rig yet. For example, if someone expects to get on 15 meters at midnight tonight, or 80 meters at noon tomorrow, and work the world, they're probably going to be very disappointed.

73 de Jim, N2EY
Logged
Pages: [1] 2 Next   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.11 | SMF © 2006-2009, Simple Machines LLC Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!