Band conditions

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by K5GI, Jul 14, 2019.

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  1. K5GI

    K5GI Ham Member QRZ Page

    After being off the bands for quite a while, I was able to finally put an antenna up and get another HF radio. This all happened about 2 years ago. The bands were bad then and I think may be even worse now. I didn't check band conditions then or I might have waited to get back into amateur radio. After saying all that, I'm wondering when the conditions will even start to get better? I guess we are in the lowest part of the cycle now, and I'm hoping for improvement sometime soon. Can anyone tell me when an upturn might be expected? Excuse my ignorance! I'm 75 years old and time is passing right along. May not even see better conditions, Ha. Thanks, Ken
     
  2. W3WN

    W3WN Ham Member QRZ Page

    We’re at the bottom of the current solar cycle Ken. But there are reports that the first sunspots of the next cycle have been spotted. So things can only go up from here.

    That said, conditions were pretty good yesterday. 10 and 15 were open, and open well into the local late afternoon (I was working EU past 2100 Z). And I’m only running 100 W into an HV6V vertical, so I can just imagine what the guys with amps and beams were able to do
     
  3. KA8NCR

    KA8NCR Ham Member QRZ Page

    We're in the cross-over between cycles. There was the first numbered sunspot of cycle 25 a week or two ago, which means that we've probably bottomed out.

    Yeah, I get that time isn't in the quantities it once was, but is it ever? One really never knows, so the best thing is to get out there and outsmart the conditions. Pick bands that work best at solar minimum, try new modes and bands and have fun. Might be a good time to see if you can hear amateur satellites, EME or try 6 meters. It is still an all you can eat smorgasbord out there for RF enthusiasts.

    I've always listened on HF more than anything, taken a particular interest in recording HF during the hours when I'm normally sleeping and seeing what I'm missing. There's DX in there, just takes a lot more work.
     
  4. KT1F

    KT1F Ham Member QRZ Page

    I heard quite a few signals on 10m yesterday doing some contest so I tuned down to 12m and worked someone in PR and then someone somewhere out in the middle of CONUS I can't remember exactly where now. I guess I should start keeping a log. Both on CW.

    That digital station at the bottom of 30m is much stronger than it has been in recent weeks.
     
  5. K1VSK

    K1VSK Ham Member QRZ Page

    The most accomplished Dx'ers I know, all of whom being still active, agree that low solar flux doesn't preclude working DX, it just provides an excuse for those unable/unwilling to do it. If you don't hear well on 20, try 30/40 M which is largely unaffected by current flux lows.
     
    K4AGO and K8BZ like this.
  6. KQ0J

    KQ0J XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Played around in the IARU DX contest yesterday for 2 hours on 20 and 15 meters. 71 contacts, 29 countries. Half CW , half SSB.
    Wire antenna.

    I have been making contacts, including DX on 6, 10, 12 15, 17, 20 , 30 , 40 meters in the last 2 weeks.

    Get FT8 and digital modes going - its rocking. Learn and use CW.

    Get on and call CQ on 20M SSB - there are plenty of others just sitting around and listening complaining that the bands are dead.

    I was on a net yesterday on 20M at midday - had checkins from California, Arizona, Minnesota, Georgia , Texas, Florida, Mass.
    We could all hear each other.

    Get a small amplifer, it helps a LOT in poor conditions.

    Good luck !
     
    K3EY and K7MH like this.
  7. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've been getting up just before sunrise to work DX on 160 and 80 meters. Recently worked New Zealand on both 80 and 160 meters. I have a 36' high Inverted L on 160 and a 40' top loaded vertical on 80. I'm trying to work 100 countries on 160M digital. I've already worked 9BDXCC on CW, so I'd like to repeat that on digital.
     
    W4NNF likes this.
  8. WA4ILH

    WA4ILH Subscriber QRZ Page

    I worked several South American stations last month on 15 meters during a contest. I have a small beam at 25 feet and 100 watts.
    Tom WA4ILH
     
  9. KK5JY

    KK5JY Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Honestly, there's nothing wrong with the bands as they currently stand. DX is plentiful and regularly available. Most days, domestic signals are very strong.

    That said, one does have to carefully choose the combination of antenna, band, and time-of-day to make the best use of the bands that currently work well. We're clearly not in the part of the cycle where 10m or 15m will work the world with 5W anytime in the waking hours. For domestic daytime, 17m is a good performer, and 20m is a good standby. In the evenings, 30m and 40m deliver about all the domestic and DX contacts a guy could want, often until well after local midnight. There have been many evenings that I had to force myself to pull the plug because the contacts just kept coming, and I could have easily stayed up all night, which isn't great for my performance at the day-job. ;)
     
    K8BZ likes this.
  10. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    ^I must agree.

    40m/60m/80m/160m aren't nearly so affected by SFI and sunspot activity as the "higher bands" are.

    60m is such a reliable frequency it's in the range where worldwide maritime mobile activity is pretty reliable. NVIS is possible on the band, but so is DX after dark.

    There's "always" activity on 40m, and many believe you have to wait until dark for any non-local propagation...but I haven't found that to be true at all. Monday through Friday when W1AW sends their code practice and bulletins on 7047.5 kHz, when I get home from work at about 4:30 PM local, when the sun is still very high in the sky and doesn't set for another four hours, I copy their transmissions fine from 3000 miles away. They have a good station on 40m, I think it's 1 kW output to a 40m beam aimed basically in my direction, which is "better than most" have, but it's just an indicator that there really is coast-to-coast propagation during still daylight hours on 40.

    If I jump on 40m CW very early in the AM (before going to work), all of Asia is bombing in...mostly JAs, but if you can sort through them, there are a lot of other Asians and Oceania stations with good signals in between.
     

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