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After nearly 67 years of being a ham, I finally got on 6 meters.

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by W9JEF, Jun 15, 2021.

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  1. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    On Saturday, hearing about the ARRL June VHF Contest, I thought I'd rig up some sort of antenna, and get on a band I'd never been on before. Rigging a simple receiving antenna, on CW, I was surprised to hear a Los Angeles station coming in at S-9.

    I fumbled around looking for coax connectors (finally found a female I had in the junk box, a Type N, with adaptor for 259) for the base. I already have a length of RG-8 from the shack, through the attic, to the back porch, which could either connect to my 40 meter inverted L, or be used to operate on the back porch. Found a length of RG-8x, but high SWR due to a bad connector. By the time I got everything in order (attached the female connector to a hunk of galvanized sheet metal for roof contact),

    DSC02060.JPG and got it up on the metal roof (~9 feet AGL) of the recent addition to the house, the conditions had deteriorated. Made a few contacts, but had to repeat my call and Grid Square, multiple times. The one CQ that did get answered was with @K4WMS, whose tower and beam look very impressive.

    Been hearing several beacons: Oklahoma, and Virginia on Saturday, and earlier this evening, Mexico and Florida. But after many CQ calls, nil. :(

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021
    KO4ESA, N4FZ, W4KYR and 8 others like this.
  2. W5UAA

    W5UAA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Wow. Deja vu. You're describing what I did back in the 80's. In my case, I found two scrap pieces of aluminum tubing, cut them both to a quarter wave length, nailed them to a piece of wood in an inverted v shape, and then nailed that to a telephone pole up about 20 feet and ran some coax to a Swan 250. Turned it on and.... WOW! I . DID . NOT . KNOW . THAT . MUCH . ACTIVITY . WAS . ON . SIX!!!

    We are approaching the end of this sporadic E season. Probably a couple weeks left.

    Next time, have a horizontally polarized antenna and be prepared to be amazed AGAIN. Either a simple horizontal yagi or, my preferred six meter antenna--a horizontal loop.

    Welcome to six!
    KO4ESA, N3AWS, N4FZ and 3 others like this.
  3. KI4POT

    KI4POT Ham Member QRZ Page

    6m SSB was very active in Virginia for the contest. My buddy worked a number of stations on 6m while we camp on The Pinnacle off of Skyline Drive (more about that in the larger thread about the contest). He had never done 6m SSB and only did so on a whim using a vertical 6m EFHW I homebrewed earlier this year (intended to be used on 6m FM, but I wasn't having any luck with that band/mode combination this weekend).

    Looking at your antenna, it appears to be vertical. You would be suffering cross-polarization losses. Granted, it didn't affect my buddy and his 5w output, but it certainly doesn't help.

    KO4ESA, N3AWS, W9JEF and 1 other person like this.
  4. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Stick with it, Jim!

    6m is a complex band and unlike most others with the possible exception of 10m. Almost all propagation is via Sporadic E which is, well, sporadic! It can go from completely closed to wide open with fantastic DX in five or ten minutes - and back to closed just as quickly. My best ever 6m QSO - which I bore everyone with as often as possible - was about fifteen years ago from South Western France. My wife and I were on holiday near Bordeaux and I took my little FT-817 along with me. We went for a walk on the beach one afternoon and I was carrying the 817. I sat on top of a dune with the stock rubber duck on the rig and tuned around 6m. I heard a scratchy CQ in English and replied - the caller heard me, swung the beam and we had a short, but solid QSO. They were the DXpedition on St. Kilda off the west coast of Scotland - I measured it out as just under a thousand miles. I have the QSL card to prove it downstairs in the shack. This was achieved with 2.5W SSB into a compact rubber duck antenna. I was sitting on the sand - maybe ten feet above sea level!

    Martin (G8FXC)
    KO4ESA, G0CIQ, W9JEF and 1 other person like this.
  5. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the advice, guys. Guess I'll try to string up something horizontal, or maybe a quad. I have a tripod I could put on the roof, and some 2 by 2 redwood for a boom. I'm thinking of a dipole in the attic, with a corner reflector made of wires strung across the sloping roof. It would look to the west, where our clear horizon is a distance of 10 miles.

    Last edited: Jun 15, 2021
    KO4ESA likes this.
  6. N3PM

    N3PM Ham Member QRZ Page

    You beat me. Only 57 years here with no 6M activity. Started a month or so ago with an EDZ and my 7300.
    Even got my first QSL card for a CW qso.
    Gives me something else to do.
    Mike N3PM
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  7. VE3CGA

    VE3CGA XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    only 52 yrs here & after my retirement gift of a IC9100
    was always worried about tvi in the 70's - 90's, now tv is digital and not much up here on ch2
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  8. N5AF

    N5AF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here's my simple 6m setup. Dipole on a 10-foot section of PVC. Fed with scrap 75Ohm coax. Oh the horror! :)

    It was intended to be very temporary, but I'm still using it after a year because it performs nicely during band openings. Eventually I'll get around to building or buying something more directive with gain.

    KO4ESA and W9JEF like this.
  9. W9JEF

    W9JEF Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I should credit my son, who's known as XNA DXer. It was his reception of distant FM stations that gave me the impetus to check out 6 meters. Beacons were heard and QSOs made in roughly the same areas as his FM station reception.

    Next on the agenda is to make a 50 MHz coil for my link-coupled antenna tuner, and try both crossed inverted-V dipoles that comprise my 80 meter turnstile (fed with 4-wire open line). There's also the V-beams in 4 directions to try. :cool:

    Last edited: Jun 17, 2021
    KO4ESA likes this.
  10. N3DT

    N3DT Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you want a simple 6M antenna with a bit of gain and only requires 1 support, look at the H DoubleBay. Mine works fairly good with the top at 70'. I worked all over EU the other week with it. It is bidirectional however.
    KO4ESA and W9JEF like this.

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