Working 10 meters
So right now I only have an antenna for 10 meters (1/4 wave whip)
After much reading on the internet, and here on QRZ (and spinning through the dials, and hearing a couple of beacons and a bit of CW and no voice) I've come up with about as many questions as I do answers.
28.400 seems to be a de facto calling frequency. All well and good. Now some say you should call CQ on 10m, and some say you shouldn't. Others view it as glorified CB, and some quibble over calling frequencies and gentleman's agreements, and so forth.
So my main questions are to call CQ or not to call CQ, and is it best to keep scrolling through the band, or park on a calling frequency and listen there?
Well, let me put it this way. if you just sit there listening, and every other guy like you is sitting there listening, on a band which is as highly populated as the Gobi Desert, you're not going to hear much, but listening to the white noise is the best way of getting forty winks. Zzzzzzzzzzzz
If I think the band is, or about to open, I call cq. I call some times on 28.400, that is where the most activity is. When the band really gets jumping and crowded, I will go up to 28.535. The truckers hate me. LOL
There are two ways to make contact: call someone directly or call CQ. Otherwise you are just staring at the dial.
A lot of the time the band, any band, may be open, but is quiet because people do a quick check don't hear anything and switch off. It never hurts to jump in and give CQing a try. If you hear ANY activity then you know the band is open to somewhere.
Of course the point of a calling frequency is to call, make contact and then move up or down to an open spot so others can use the freq. (I never heard of 28.400 as a calling frequency until this year, but that is how new customs start).
Don't be afraid to jump in! 73, Bill
I'll call CQ and I love answering other people's CQs. I really enjoy just talking. 10 has been iffy the past few years, the occasional sporadic E but that was about it. Recently it seems to be opening up on occasion. I constantly listen for the beacons in the morning as the gray line moves well past me. I was using a full size G5RV previously, but I have since switched to an Inverted L cut for 160 meters (It tunes all the bands though) that seems to have better recieve than the G5RV. It is a big antenna though, right around 150 feet long with about 25 radials down that are also 150 feet long. The more radials I add the better it seems to get on recieve. I tried using a vertical dipole also, but I was really disappointed with it's performance.
EDIT: Have to remember also if you are close to the person calling CQ but outside range of groundwave your signal will most likely jump over them on the skip.
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If we ever get enough sunspots, the concept of a "calling frequency" for 10 meters will become moot.
Although I don't like 28.400 being a defacto "calling frequency" (it reminds me too much of CB Channel 19), I do monitor it. It's easier to just monitor that one frequency, which is where any activity on 10m is likely to show up forst, than scanning for CW beacons which are scattered all over the place between 28.200 and 28.300.
I have almost no interest in using SSB on 10m, anyway, especially at 28.400. From my point of view it basically serves the same purpose as a beacon.
If I hear any activity on 28.400 I take that as evidence that the band is opening. Then I'll move down to between 28.000 to 28.060 and look for CW signals and if I don't find any, call CQ myself for awhile. Or I might move up to 29.000-29.200 and look for AM or call CQ on AM mode and see if anything turns up.
And sometimes I'll just pick a CW frequency and call CQ even if there is no evidence of activity anywhere else. I've gotten some nice surprises that way occassionally. Sometimes 10m will anomalously pop open to a small area somewhere for a short period of time. May not be a beacon right there.
If everyone listens, nobody hears anything.
Of course you should call CQ. Feel free to use 28.400 for that, if nobody else is using it that you can hear.
A "gentlemanly" thing to do would be to establish contact on .400, then ask your contact, "Please follow me to....." and name another frequency, maybe 28.410 or .420 or whatever is open and available; that way, you leave .400 free for someone else to call CQ. Not a law, just a nice thing to do.
Legally you could sit on .400 all day long.
And I hope you really "know how" to call CQ. It's a bit of an art, like fly fishing. I can drop a line in the water hundreds of times and catch nothing, since I don't know anything about fly fishing. My friend, who has won fly fishing tournaments, can drop the same line in once and catch fish with it. He simply knows what he's doing, and I don't.
But I do know about calling CQ. It's a skill.
One good thing about monitoring a CB radio. If you can stand the racket, you can certainly pick up on when the MUF rises above 25 Mhz ! The CB frequencies will come alive with signals, and then you should be able to jump up to 10 meters, and get some nice action. At least, that is the way it used to work. Have all the CB hobbiests gone away ?
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Thanks guys, sounds like I had a halfway decent handle on the situation.
As far as calling CQ, I've gotten some good advice here lately on that. I've taking to calling "CQ CQ CQ", repeat my call twice, then phonetically, then announce my location. Of course I haven't made any contacts yet, but I haven't heard anyone else either on 28.400, or when scanning the band. Figure if I'm not hearing anyone, there isn't much action. So I try to call CQ a few times at random intervals, and figure sooner or later someone is going to hear me.
A number of Akron, OH area hams actively use that frequency and when the band opens up we'll get what amounts to a DX round table started up.
Check it out from time to time.
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