6M Propagation....where'd you go??

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by VE3TMT, Oct 22, 2015.

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  1. VE3TMT

    VE3TMT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I put my 6m Moxon up on the tower and have yet to hear anything on it, other than baby monitors. Has the 6m propagation been that bad in the NE USA lately?

    ...waiting in FN14
  2. W6RZ

    W6RZ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    What kind of propagation are you expecting? There's not enough sunspots for F2, and fall is the wrong season for sporadic E.
  3. VE3TMT

    VE3TMT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you for answering my question.
  4. KJ4TX

    KJ4TX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    You don't need propagation to talk on 6 meters, but you do need another 6 meter station within talking/CW range. When I first got a radio that had 6 meters on it, it was awhile before I finally talked to anyone on it... and then I had to ask on the local 10 meter tech net if anyone had 6 meters. Several of them were good enough to pop over on 6 meters so I could test the band on my radio and the 6 meter dipole I'd put up. I found out that it worked and that I needed a better antenna that was up higher. :D

    W4IOA likes this.
  5. WB3BEL

    WB3BEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    There is always meteor scatter activity on 6 meters. You should be able to turn your antenna south and listen in the early morning hours on 50.125 USB calling frequency and you will likely hear meteor pings.

    If you operate digital modes you can find activity in the morning on pingjockey.net for meteor scatter and you can listen for QSOs in progress or make schedules.

    During periods of high solar activity there are often aurora openings. Watch for aurora alerts and listen for CW with your antenna north for this propagation mode.

    Sporadic E can happen at any time hence the name "Sporadic" . However it is much more frequent during Late May through Early Aug. There is also a lesser peak in occurance during the month of December. If you see sporadic E spots on 10 meters on the DX cluster, you might want to give a listen for sporadic E on 6 meters.

    As others have said if your antenna is in the clear and working you should be able to make tropo contacts with bigger stations out to a few hundred miles under average conditions. You might have to call CQ on the calling frequency to raise some folks. It is normal to QSY off of the calling frequency if you want to chat for more than a minute in most regions of the country.

    Good Luck,
    Harry WB3BEL
  6. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    You should be able to hear beacons which run 24/7.

    Last I looked, near you:

    VE2RCS 50.033
    VE3WCC 50.009
    VE3UBL 50.059
    W2UTH 50.079

    There are hundreds of others all over the place, but those are fairly close to you. All CW, of course.
  7. VE3TMT

    VE3TMT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks Steve,

    I'll check those ones out. The SWR is fine and I am picking up the "baby monitors" so I'm assuming the antenna is okay.

    The only thing that concerns me is the broad SWR curve on the antenna. It is about 1.2:1 from 50 up to about 52.5, then starts to climb.

    But a short or open would be reflected in the SWR readings. No??
  8. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Sure, doesn't sound like a short or open at all. However lower than "real" SWR readings certainly do occur as transmission line loss increases.

    If you have coax with 3 dB loss (possible on 6m), then the return loss would be 6 dB minimum, no matter what was connected to the far end of the line. The SWR can never exceed 3:1, even with NO antenna connected, or a dead short circuit across the end of the cable.:) With 10 dB cable loss, measured SWR can never exceed 1.2:1, again with either an open or a short across the end of the line -- or any kind of antenna.
    NQ1B likes this.
  9. VE3TMT

    VE3TMT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Hi Steve,

    I've got a borrowed MFJ-259C that I can hook up to the shack end of the cable. Any readings, other than SWR I can verify to see where the problem is?

    I did work a station across the lake in Rochester, NY a few weeks ago on CW, but haven't heard any signals since then.

    Something else I should point out is I am getting almost the same SWR reading in the shack as I was with my 6' cable direct to the antenna before it went up on the tower.

  10. K9STH

    K9STH Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Having operated on the 6-meter band for 55-years, I can say, with authority, that the band can "open" at any time, day or night, during any season of the year. The band is "open" a LOT more than what people think. Frankly, this is because everyone is listening and no one is transmitting.

    Beacons are a very good indication that the band is open, at least to the area in which the beacon lies. However, there are a lot of areas in which no beacon is in operation and the band can definitely open to those areas. Also, with the dropping of the International Morse code requirement, there are a lot of stations that cannot read CW and, therefore, don't have a clue as to where the beacon station is located when they are able to receive the beacon. Frankly, the best thing to do is to actually transmit on 50.125 MHz, the USB "calling" frequency. What I do is to call CQ and, if no answer, turn my yagi about 30-degrees and call CQ again. I go all the way through the 360-degrees. Basically, with the "pattern" of my yagi, I cover the entire 360-degrees. Often, I will actually "stir the pot" and get an answer.

    There are those who say that once a contact is established on the "calling" frequency, the stations should QSY. I do NOT agree with this! By continuing to operate, on the calling frequency, other stations will be alerted to the fact that the band is open whereas, if the stations QSY, then there is no activity, on the calling frequency, and other stations are not aware that the band is open. However, when using the "calling" frequency, transmission should be fairly short and there should be sufficient time between transmissions to allow other stations to "break in". After several stations have joined the round table, then stations should start to QSY to other nearby frequencies.

    Glen, K9STH

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