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Author Topic: HF bands general question  (Read 5646 times)
KK4PVQ
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Posts: 14




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« on: May 09, 2013, 05:04:12 PM »

I have a 2 meter set up and see that I can reliably count on daily contacts to around 50 miles..my question is do the HF bands have a distance to them that you can count on reliably at all ?..I know conditions and equipment dictate etc, On 2 meter I can reach to 100 miles sometimes, but 40-50- constant. I know HF can easily go world wide but at what distance can we count on making specific contacts, ball park est ?..100, 500 miles ?

Thanks
« Last Edit: May 09, 2013, 05:06:57 PM by KK4PVQ » Logged
AJ4RW
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Posts: 568




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« Reply #1 on: May 09, 2013, 06:08:56 PM »

Quote
at what distance can we count on making specific contacts, ball park est ?..100, 500 miles ?

That's an impossible question to answer, too many variables in this equation.  Your antenna, your equipment, your location and propagation just to name a few variables all contribute to how well you do.  One thing for certain with HF is you'll be able to outperform 2 meters hands down.  My suggestion would be to upgrade your license and explore the hf bands and have some fun in the process!

Randy
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W8JX
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« Reply #2 on: May 09, 2013, 06:24:29 PM »

I have a 2 meter set up and see that I can reliably count on daily contacts to around 50 miles..my question is do the HF bands have a distance to them that you can count on reliably at all ?..I know conditions and equipment dictate etc, On 2 meter I can reach to 100 miles sometimes, but 40-50- constant. I know HF can easily go world wide but at what distance can we count on making specific contacts, ball park est ?..100, 500 miles ?

Thanks

Depends on band. Lets take 40m because it is always open to some degree short of a solar flare. During daytime up to 500 or so is pretty easy and sometimes a bit further. Around sunset to can hear Europe and around sunrise into Japan and Australia. 20m is a good daytime band and can be open world wide at times but even during bad time it is a good 500 to 100mi plus daytime band. I could go on but I suggest you get a HF receiver and listen as you can learn a lot that way
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KK4PVQ
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Posts: 14




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« Reply #3 on: May 09, 2013, 06:27:58 PM »

ok thats what I was wondering..I thought it was a great idea to ask here before spending cash...those ranges are what I was looking for.
Thanks
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WN2C
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Posts: 479




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« Reply #4 on: May 09, 2013, 10:17:03 PM »

This question can be answered by rereading the Tech license manual.  Not the section where the questions are but the rest of the book.  As different bands will have different propagation at different times of the day or night.

Rick wn2c
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WA2ONH
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Posts: 260




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« Reply #5 on: May 10, 2013, 05:07:15 AM »

Do you have access to a transceiver/receiver that covers the HF frequencies?

You could answer your own question simply by listening. Note the call signs in each QSO
and than look up the QTH of the participants.

I see your in Georgia. If you don't have access to a HF receiver, go to the "WebSDR de W4AX"
site located in Atlanta, Ga: www.W4AX.com and listen.

You'll see daytime / nighttime propagation characteristics in action. Enjoy!
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73 de WA2ONH   ...Charlie
----------------------------------------------------------------------------
"No time is ever wasted that is spent LEARNING something!"
MISTAKES are proof that you are TRYING
GILGSN
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Posts: 208




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« Reply #6 on: May 10, 2013, 05:16:51 PM »

As the others have said, it depends on the band and time of day. That said, when the ionosphere doesn't cooperate, there is nothing you can do. With a band like 20m, you will soon notice a minimum radius under which you won't make contact (except for maybe 15 miles around you). A few times a week I talk (CW) with a friend about 830 miles away. It works almost every time with just a few Watts. On 40m for example, I rarely make contact under 800 miles, but routinely around 1300 and 5000 miles away.. It also all depends on the radiation pattern of your antenna. With a bit of experimentation with different bands and times, you should be able to establish a regular sked with someone almost every time when the chosen band is open. You will also develop a map of the areas you can reach easily and those you can't. Note that adding power in most cases doesn't make that much of a difference, well. for CW anyway... SSB does benefit from a little more juice.

Gil.
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W0DV
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Posts: 201




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« Reply #7 on: May 13, 2013, 05:49:33 PM »

I have a 2 meter set up and  that I can reliably count on daily contacts to around 50 miles..my question is do the HF bands have a distance to them that you can count on reliably at all ?..I know conditions and equipment dictate etc, On 2 meter I can reach to 100 miles sometimes, but 40-50- constant. I know HF can easily go world wide but at what distance can we count on making specific contacts, ball park est ?..100, 500 miles ?

Thanks

To ask what distance to "count on" is a poor question. There is so much involved in HF propagation, and your question is too simplistic, and elementary. My best advice is to study HF propagation, through reading, and through experimentation. Get the ARRL antenna book and read about HF propagation, and the MUF. The ARRL antenna book is an invaluable resource.

73,

Dave
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GILGSN
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Posts: 208




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« Reply #8 on: May 13, 2013, 06:18:50 PM »

Quote
I know HF can easily go world wide but at what distance can we count on making specific contacts, ball park est ?..100, 500 miles ?

It depends on the band... On 40m and above, you won't reliably go beyond what 2m does... That said, HF can be "pretty" reliable. For instance, using NVIS on 40m can work for a few hundred miles, but you are still relying on the ionosphere straight above you. It will work most of the time. You can also pretty reliably count on one skip, maybe 800 to 1400 miles... On 80 and 160m, ground propagation can give you reliability to maybe 200 miles, I am not sure, as I have not used them yet. Bottom line is, beyond line-of-sight, there are no certainties. Dave is right, propagation dictates whether you will go through or not. The more experience you gain, the more "lucky" you are going to get...

Gil.
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NA0AA
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Posts: 1042




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« Reply #9 on: May 14, 2013, 08:01:28 PM »

When you look at an Embassy or a major HF communication station, you will notice that they either have very large Log-periodic beams or several different beam antennas.

Communications distances change on a cycle oriented on the daily solar cycle, on the 11 year sunspot cycle, on current CME [solar flare] conditions, atmospheric noise, and etc. and etc.

That being said there are plenty of rules of thumb and I won't discourage you from refering to good reference manuals on the subject - if you don't have the money to buy the books, why not try the library?  The General license manual has plenty of information on propogation as does the ARRL Handbook [and you can save $$ buying a used copy - 3-4 years old is not really out of date for a book that is printed annually]

Now, with that as a preface, let me give you a few tips:

For short range[0 to maybe 1000 miles] daytime communications on HF, use a dipole and 40 meters
For similar short range nighttime communication on HF use a dipole and 80 meters.

Best long range communications with wire antennas for me have been on 20, 40 meters [30 if you do CW]

That being said, there are days that 10 meters from here to japan is like a local call, and I've worked great distances on 80 as well, but it's not as 'easy' with a simple wire antenna - See "Low Band DXing" by ON4UN for details on how to do DX on the lower bands - it's the bible for that work.  He's got plenty to say about propogation as well, but mostly on 40 and down.

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VA1CQ
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« Reply #10 on: May 24, 2013, 10:32:55 AM »

NVIS (Near Vertical Indicence Skywave) propagation, possible by using a low-mounted dipole antenna, will allow reliable contacts on HF in the range of 30 to 400 miles. Google it. Emergency operations may use this due to its reliability. Ground wave propagation will allow contacts closer than 30 miles.
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KD0VEY
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Posts: 22




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« Reply #11 on: June 03, 2013, 01:48:07 PM »

Ok, I am new and set up my system wondering the same thing. I started with a Yaesu 101 and quickly switched to an Icom IC-718 (I like the scanning feature) with a Hustler 5btv on the top of my metal building - Which equals a 1500 square ft ground plane. I spend most of my radio time on 20 meters, scanning throughout the ssb frequencies, and am on mainly during the day. I am in Minnesota and it is very rare for me to not hear or be able to contact the east coast, Florida, Texas, etc. About 50% of the time I can pick up overseas, but I haven't tried transmitting to them yet - I like listening while doing stuff more than transmitting. Heard a great argument between a father and sun one day. Seattle and Texas. Obvious why they lived so far apart. Kind of embarrassing. To be perfectly honest, I don't think this setup has picked up anyone local at all. But, I like dx and I use the vhf for local. I guess what this really adds up to, just like others have mentioned, your antenna is what determines what you can pickup.
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VA1CQ
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« Reply #12 on: June 08, 2013, 02:21:11 PM »

If you want to receive or work a local, move to 80/75 meters. If you've only operated on 20 meters, you'll be surprised how many locals are on SSB when you tune 75 meters.

Your antenna is the most important part of your station. Spend your $ on it before your radios. Antenna modeling software is really useful too. If I had been able to model my simple and very low dipole when I began, I never would have wasted so much time. Software can show how important it is generally to get an antenna like a dipole high if you want to contact DX stations. If you have the space, high wire loops work well and are fun to experiment with.

By the way, it's a tradition for new hams to go to qrz.com and complete your profile and maybe include a photo of your station. It's interesting so others can learn a little about you.
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KA4DPO
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« Reply #13 on: June 09, 2013, 08:06:31 AM »

Many years ago 160 meter AM was used for mobile operation in cities.    This was in the late 1930's up until around the 1950's.

Here is a rather technical study that was conducted by the International Maritime Union; http://bib.irb.hr/datoteka/429005.AN_ASSESSMENT_OF_HF_NVIS_RADIO_SYSTEM_RELIABILITY.pdf

From experience I can tell you that 160 and 75 meters are very reliable out to about 200 miles at night if you have a decent antenna and a bit of power.  Fourty meters is good out to about twice that distance most nights but not as reliably.  Ground wave on any HF band is going to be about 25 to 30 miles day or night but local noise can be a factor if you use SSB or AM.  The MF bands (160 and 75 meters) will have a slightly longer ground wave at night but they require large vertical antennas to accomplish reliable ground wave operation.

You can easily achieve 200 mile operation on 2 meters by increasing the hight of your antenna.  Of course it will have to be pretty high to do it but is will be more reliable than HF because it will cover the distance day or night and at much lower cost.  HF is a lot of fun though and I would encourage you to experiment with some friends just to see what you can do.  Use end fed wires and a good ground system for the lower bands and try some night time operation just to see.
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N4JTE
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Posts: 1158




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« Reply #14 on: June 10, 2013, 07:33:05 PM »

Assuming you have decent antenna for each band the following might give some basic referance.
This is based on summer conditions and reasonable prop.

160 meters. 50 miles to 100 daytime., nights probaly the same in summer.
80 meters, same as above but dark paths good from 10 miles to 1500 miles.
40 meters, 500 miles plus in daytime and worldwide when in dark over both paths.
20 meters, daytime mostly beyond 500 miles to worldwide. Niights a crap shoot.
15, 10 meters always a crap shoot based on propagation.

2 meters is line of site so propagation a good portion of the time is not a factor.
Good luck and listen to an hf radio for further insights.
Bob
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