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Author Topic: 40 vs 20 meters . . ?  (Read 3156 times)
K5UNX
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« on: April 22, 2013, 07:32:06 AM »

I got on HF for the first time this weekend. I spent several hours Saturday on 20 meters and Sunday on 40 meters then 20 meters.  I noticed a couple things which I am sure varies depending on propagation and time of day etc.

40 meters seemed to be more regional while 20 meters seemed to be more distant. While listening on 20, I would hear someone in CA talking to someone fairly close to me ( < 150 miles ) but I could not hear the close station. I do understand why so I am not asking that question. Sunday on 40 meters I landed on 7.195 and heard a strong bunch of signals of people that were regional, < than 300 miles away and a couple with in 5-10 miles. So from my very limited 2 day's worth of experience 20 meters was good for distant stations while 40 was better for in a little closer.

On 20 I heard, Argentina,  Mexico, Turkey, Spain and all over the US. On 40, the contacts I heard were all US but included stations closer in but nothing outside the US other than Canada.

So is my experience common?

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KG4RUL
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« Reply #1 on: April 22, 2013, 08:08:09 AM »

You now see how propagation actually works!  Understanding the nuances will take the rest of your life.
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NO2A
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Posts: 768




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« Reply #2 on: April 22, 2013, 08:16:07 AM »

You`re experiencing what propagation is like,and yes that`s typical. 40m is more regional during the day. The fact you heard signals only a few miles away is good,that`s close for 40m,would be easier on 80m. Hearing a nearby state during the day can be difficult at night,as skip can bounce a signal over that area to a much more distant location. A few weeks back I had a bizzare qso on 40m. It was during the day I  called cq,late afternoon,and a station called me from Minneapolis. Keep in mind there was daylight between us both,so a long daylight qso for 40m. Normally I might hear as far as 8 or 9 land in daytime. Working Indiana would be the limit usually. So mother nature can do some strange things for sure. I don`t work much 20m,I will if the higher bands are dead.
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AC4RD
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« Reply #3 on: April 22, 2013, 09:06:16 AM »

You now see how propagation actually works!  Understanding the nuances will take the rest of your life.

 Smiley Smiley Smiley Smiley  That is the quote of the year, 'RUL!   Absolute truth, and funny besides!

And K5UNX, as others have said, there are differences between the different bands, and the differences are different at different times of day and differrent seasons of the year and different solar conditions and at different locations.  THAT's why KG4RUL made the "Understanding (it) will take the rest of your life" comment.  There are huge numbers of variables.  But the good part is, experimenting and finding how the differences is flat-out FUN!   So enjoy getting to know the bands! 
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W9KDX
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« Reply #4 on: April 22, 2013, 09:13:42 AM »

The weirdest propogation anomaly I have recently seen was listening to ZK3N last week on 10M.  I heard them clear as a bell yet neard nothing at all of the pile up.

It was odd to listen to so much that was one sided, and the calls were cominng from all over.
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Sam
W9KDX
K8AC
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« Reply #5 on: April 22, 2013, 09:35:04 AM »

Well, back in my Novice days (1959-60), most of the Novices were found on 40M CW and you learned that you could work all the states on that band, but you had to learn how the propagation changed with time of day.  You can work DX stations in Asia from the southeast USA if you pay attention to the grey line at the right time of year.  Novices could also work 15M CW and that was where the real DX was to be had, but what we really wanted was that General ticket so we could chase DX on 20M.  All things considered, if I was limited to a single band operation I'd likely choose 20M for the DX possibilities (even at sunspot minimums).  On the other hand, 40M offers access to everywhere at one time or another and would be the best single band if DXing were not your primary concern. 

73, Floyd - K8AC
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W8JX
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« Reply #6 on: April 22, 2013, 09:52:41 AM »

I use 40m 90% of the time. Rarely get on 20m except for digital. SSB is crazy on that band when DX opens up. 17 and 15m are better DX bands when open and not as competitive too. 40 is pretty much open to every part in the world at one time or another during the year. You will find it the longest a few hours before and after sunrise and sunset. 
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WA3SKN
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« Reply #7 on: April 25, 2013, 11:57:35 AM »

Daytime bands at 20 meters and above... 17,15,12,10 meters. 
While nighttime are 40,80,160 meters, with 30 meters being a "grey line" band.
So start thinking in terms of local sunrise and sunset!
Or you can just start listening on 10 meters and quickly check each band to see where the action starts.  In about 5 minutes you will know what is the highest band supporting communications at your location.  It will vary with day/night, summer/winter, and solar cycle, among other things!
73s.

-Mike.
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W9KDX
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« Reply #8 on: April 25, 2013, 02:29:06 PM »

I have found that beacon software and a little bit of listening will tell me in short order who I can chase and how well I can hear on the bands.

Here is a listing of some software:

http://www.ncdxf.org/beacon/beaconprograms.html#W32
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Sam
W9KDX
K5UNX
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« Reply #9 on: April 25, 2013, 06:17:09 PM »

I have found that beacon software and a little bit of listening will tell me in short order who I can chase and how well I can hear on the bands.

Here is a listing of some software:

http://www.ncdxf.org/beacon/beaconprograms.html#W32

That's quite a list. Any recommended ones?
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AC4RD
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Posts: 1236




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« Reply #10 on: April 26, 2013, 04:18:37 AM »

That's quite a list. Any recommended ones?

You don't actually need software to use the NCDXF beacons!   Just park on the right frequency for the band you're interested in.  They go in a cycle that repeats itself every 3 minutes.   So you try, say, the 15m beacon and listen for at least 3 minutes; you hear beacons from the places the band is open to.   It's really a great system!
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W9KDX
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Posts: 770




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« Reply #11 on: April 26, 2013, 05:38:18 PM »

I have found that beacon software and a little bit of listening will tell me in short order who I can chase and how well I can hear on the bands.

Here is a listing of some software:

http://www.ncdxf.org/beacon/beaconprograms.html#W32

That's quite a list. Any recommended ones?

I like Beacon Tracker, but it just happened to be the first I tried and they are fairly simple.

The reason you do need the software is it will show you which beacon you are listening to, after it has synched to the correct time.  You can then follow the flashing lights around the map and see which countries or regions you are hearing.   I would assume that copying the code would do the same, but the map makes things a lot easier to do and many times the code is hard to copy.
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Sam
W9KDX
N4KZ
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Posts: 596




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« Reply #12 on: April 27, 2013, 04:40:30 PM »

Yes, your observations on 20 and 40 meters are typical of propagation found on those bands. But at night 40 sometimes starts to behave like 20.

73, N4KZ
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K5UNX
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Posts: 243


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« Reply #13 on: April 27, 2013, 05:18:57 PM »

I am on again today. Again 40 was very regional this afternoon. I knew there was a FL QSO party happening but I could not hear anything from FL. I switched to 20 . . heard FL finally. Still on 20 and I have made two contacts with stations in Switzerland in the last 20 minutes. They re also having some sort of contest.
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W9KDX
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Posts: 770




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« Reply #14 on: April 27, 2013, 06:31:53 PM »

I am on again today. Again 40 was very regional this afternoon. I knew there was a FL QSO party happening but I could not hear anything from FL. I switched to 20 . . heard FL finally. Still on 20 and I have made two contacts with stations in Switzerland in the last 20 minutes. They re also having some sort of contest.

This site:  http://www.dxwatch.com is a good place to see what is going on between the US and the world.

This one: http://www.hornucopia.com/contestcal/weeklycont.php

Will keep you up to speed with the different contests.

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Sam
W9KDX
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