Bands open/closed?

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by G8LXI, Jul 9, 2016.

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  1. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Amen. I fondly remember thinking anything west of the Mississippi River was DX from New England on 40 meters! My head nearly exploded when I worked California on 40. Fortunately, the headphones prevented that from happening...

    There's a lot to be said for the old "learners permit" system and its benefits, which parallel those of trade apprenticeship systems. Crawl, stumble, walk, run - in that order. Skip a step at your own peril.

    Considering all the propagation tools, computerization, and black box plug and play stuff that's available today, we shouldn't have been able to work any DX way back when.
  2. K5BIZ

    K5BIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

  3. WN1MB

    WN1MB Ham Member QRZ Page

    It’s a very strange world in 2016.

    As a kid way back when, I took out a book at the library that was a story about a young guy who met a neighbor who was a ham. This ham had a real shack in his back yard that was his ham shack. There were homemade, wooden masts in the yard to support a wire antenna fed with homemade ladder line. He introduced the young guy to the hobby, helped him with the code, and all that.

    Classic stuff.

    I loved that book and it was instrumental in my pursuing getting a license. Of course, that was back in the days when it was the norm for houses to have antennas: TV, ham, CB, scanner … etc. In 2016, except for very rural areas, good luck finding one house in your neighborhood with an antenna.

    For this dinosaur, ham radio involves pumping RF into an antenna, and capturing RF with an antenna, amplifying, mixing, detecting, and amplifying again to drive a speaker or phones.

    Ham radio, for this dinosaur, ISN’T something you run on a computer. It ISN’T something carried over an Internet provider’s system. Ham radio, for this dinosaur, isn’t just something you just plug into a wall outlet. Ham radio, for this dinosaur, isn’t a black box.

    And you know what? I like being a dinosaur. You know what else I like? I like looking out the window at my haphazardly strung antenna wire and marvel that the 2 watts of RF I pump into the thing actually gets projected out into the ether and that some other ham’s antenna picks up my puny signal and we’re able to communicate by primitively keying oscillators on and off.

    Once that marvel and wonderment is lost, the “radio” part of ham radio is lost, too.
    K3RW, KC2IGE, WR2E and 2 others like this.
  4. K5BIZ

    K5BIZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Matter of choice....

    Lots of hams have come in not knowing CW. They just know enough to pass a test and nothing more.They have never built anything or put together a kit. They buy everything including the antennas and pay someone to put up the tower and a beam. They never have even filled out a QSL card but use eQSL instead.

    Many new folks looking at that say even THIS is too much work!

    100 years ago, going Wireless Radio was the ONLY choice. Now the world is completely wired end to end and full of choices. I think it would be safe to say Radio as we know it will come to an end in about 50 years.

    Dylan said it best..."the technologies, they are a'changing"...
  5. WA6QBU

    WA6QBU Ham Member QRZ Page

    The bands are open much more often than most hams think - especially in the evening. During this last "zero" sun spots period, I have worked numerous SSB 20 meter stations in the south pacific and Europe, often in the same evening between 2000 - 2400 hrs. My station is fairly simple with a 40 meter full wave loop and tuner. Take a listen and make some calls - 20 and 40 are open every evening, sometimes quite late. 73s, Jim, WA6QBU
  6. WR2E

    WR2E Ham Member QRZ Page

    "Open" is often just a matter of signal strength really... True that sometimes the sigs are non-existent, but often they are there, and workable, just somewhat weak.

    OPEN or CLOSED might just be a matter of 'expectation'.
  7. N0NCO

    N0NCO Ham Member QRZ Page

    I usually go by solar activity data (MUF & critical frequency maps, solar flux, sunspot count, Boulder A & K indices, solar wind, Bz polarity, X-ray absorption, etc.) to get a rough idea as to what the ionosphere is up to. However - even if the data indicates that a band should be closed, I still throw my call out there to see what happens. Why? Because over the 5+ decades that I've been following radio propagation, I've learned that predicting ionospheric propagation is not an exact science. The MF & HF bands sometimes throw us a curve-ball.

    I often fire-up WSPR & use the mapping feature to determine what the real-time band conditions are right at my station.

    Last edited: Jul 14, 2016

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