40m Strategy

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by KK5JY, Jul 6, 2017.

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  1. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I'm thinking of entering a few contests this year as a single-band operator. Given conditions, 40m seems like a really good candidate for this, since it still has good propagation even when 20m has a weak day.

    For those of you who have run contests either as single-band entries, or have run multi-operator and had a dedicated 40m station, would you be interested in sharing your 40m timing strategy? When do you consider to be the best window for 40m contacts during a 24h period?

    Obviously, "evening" is a nice broad recommendation, but I was hoping to hear the experiences that some of you have had using 40m for CW 'tests. If time is limited, is it better to start early, before sundown, or should I wait and work later into the evening?

    (On a side note, I'm surprised that there isn't a dedicated "Contest Discussions" forum on QRZ... There is one for contesting news, but that appears to be it.)
  2. NN3W

    NN3W Ham Member QRZ Page

    Matt are you talking domestic contests or DX contests?
    KI5WW likes this.
  3. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's a good question. The IARU event is this weekend, and it's (mostly) a DX contest. But if you have strategies for both, I would love to hear them.
  4. NN4RH

    NN4RH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Caveat: I am not a "serious" contester. Just play in contests sometimes to pass time.

    For domestic contacts, I would not call it a "strategy", really, but basically I tend to work 40 meters as long as I am getting contacts at a decent rate which, with my low antenna and current propagation trends, would be only while the band is "short". ; Then as the day progresses, follow everyone up in frequency. Most of the time I skip 20 meters and go right up to 15 meters and see if there's anything going on there. Low rates but less QRM.

    For a DX contest, given my limited antennas and < 100 watt max power level, I might not work 40 meters much at all. Being on the east coast, in the early morning I can grab some European contacts before everyone else in the US wakes up. Or around 3 -4 am local time, I can sometimes make Austrailia or New Zealand contacts. But once the din starts in the rest of the USA it becomes too much work.
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2017
    KK5JY likes this.
  5. AA8TA

    AA8TA Ham Member QRZ Page

    40m is by far my most used band.

    The answer to your questions depend on the contest and the antenna(s) you have. If it's a domestic contest, you can get a lot of regional contacts during the day especially if you have a dipole at less than half wavelength above ground. Then, the band will lengthen as it gets dark, and you can reach further out.

    If it's a DX contest, then you won't get much during the day but night should be excellent. If you have a vertical with a good ground and, maybe, a separate receive antenna, or a high loop, you should pull in lots of DX.

    If you're going to concentrate on one band, I think 40m would be my vote. But I would try to put up at least 2 different antennas and, maybe, a separate receive antenna to cut down on noise. Thunderstorms are also a big factor to consider. They don't have to be in your area to cause problems.
    KK5JY likes this.
  6. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    That's my situation as well. But I like to try new things over time to see what works and what doesn't.
  7. KK5JY

    KK5JY Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have been working under the assumption that 40m can't do NVIS since the critical frequency has been so low lately. Have you been having success working close-in on 40m?
  8. AA8TA

    AA8TA Ham Member QRZ Page

    No. I have a vertical with a low take-off angle. That's why you have to figure out what you want to do and put up the antenna or antennas appropriately.
  9. K1FBI

    K1FBI Ham Member QRZ Page

    40 meters is best for DX early evening to early morning. However the best time for DX is when the other station isn't sleeping. Knowing local times around the globe is probably one of the best things you can do to improve your success.
    KI5WW and KK5JY like this.
  10. WF4W

    WF4W Ham Member QRZ Page

    If i were to pick 40m as my sole contest band I would use my vertical as the primary antenna and then put up at least one dipole, if not two, for alternatives . . .
    KK5JY likes this.

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