Considering joining in on some AM tips needed

Discussion in 'Amplitude Modulation' started by W9RAC, Oct 17, 2019.

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  1. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have never been involved in AM so I am considering getting my feet wet. Can you tell me what areas of the band I might look and listen (or avoid), 160/80/40/20? Not sure what I have is adequate for broadcasting but thought I would listen around for a bit first. tnx, 73 Rich
  2. N2DTS

    N2DTS Ham Member QRZ Page

    At least on the East coast, most of the activity is on 1880, 3705?, 3880, 7290, 14.330, 50.4.
    Plus or minus 5 or 10 Kc. 3885 is very popular, as is 7290.

    Depending on the sun spots, 40 meters is sometimes a daytime band, and a semi dx band at night.
    80 meters is a night time band.
    160 is a winter band I hear, less noise.

    AM is just like ssb only better sounding and more interesting.
    People run every kind of rig, that makes it interesting.
    Working someone who is using a radio built before most people were born is something to talk about,
    or maybe it was in a B29 over Japan...
    Or maybe it was built last month and is full of the latest silicon carbide mosfets...
    K0UO, N7BDY and W9RAC like this.
  3. K4KYV

    K4KYV Premium Subscriber Volunteer Moderator QRZ Page

    160-80/75-40, AM frequently heard on 1880-85, 1980-85, 3705, circa 3730, 3870-90, 7160, 7285-95.

    But those are not the only frequencies where AM operates. AM can be used anywhere in the band that SSB is allowed to operate, so tune across the band and see where you might hear an AM station transmitting.

    I have noticed that AM activity (and SSB activity as well) seem to be getting off to a slow start this season. I still hear vast swathes of unused frequencies on 160, 80/75 and 40, during prime time hours for those bands, even when atmospheric noise is low.
    K0UO and W9RAC like this.
  4. N1BCG

    N1BCG Ham Member QRZ Page

    Being nice is worth much more than having “broadcast audio”. And, nobody is going to expect perfection from someone exploring the mode for the first time. You might get pointers on setting up your rig for better audio, but consider that a welcome gesture.

    What will you e running for a transmitter?
    W9RAC likes this.
  5. W7UUU

    W7UUU Principal Moderator Lifetime Member 133 Administrator Volunteer Moderator Platinum Subscriber Life Member QRZ Page

    Just be prepared for a lot of "very breathy" stations, taking long breaks, making sure you hear their chair squeak, the clock on the wall ticking, while they take their 10 minutes in a very slow and soft "NPR Announcer" voice before turning it over.

    I don't mean that disparagingly - but if you're not prepared to hear the "HiFi AM Culture" it may come as a shock.

    I often just sit and listen to the local AM crowd on 3885 etc. - and it did take some "getting used to" before I was able to accept the "AM Fan Mentality"

    Or to put it another way, AM is usually not anything like listening to an SSB contest weekend :)

    Most frequencies run as round tables - TAKE NOTES. It's considered polite and proper to note what the other members say on their turn, and to comment accordingly.

    It's a very genteel bunch who often take great pride in amazing AM station setups - but takes some getting used to at first - at least in my own personal experience

    N7ANN, WA4SIX, WD4IGX and 3 others like this.
  6. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Having been involved in eSSB since the 90's I am aware are fickle many are regarding audio. I have never been in a contest always been a rag chewer, both SSB and CW. I just was never attracted to the contest mode. I know a lot of folks like to run vintage gear as AM rigs having heard those conversations over the years. The closest thing I have to a vintage rig which may qualify is a TS 850s/DSP100. I do have a TS 990 and FTDX 101d, not sure about either of them regarding AM. Also a FT 2000 and 450d neither I am sure would be a decent candidate. I have never used the 101d on voice only CW, same with the FT 2000. While running eSSB I use a shure SM7b/RE320/RE27 mic and a audio rack (Bellari RP520, 2496, Aphex, Virtualizer Pro, to a Alpha 8410 then Palstar HF auto. Im probably OK with that part. The round table format would be a bit of a change for me having been strictly a rag chewer involved in a "open" type discussion format. I have always avoided those types of discussions since they to me are too structured. I'd likely get out of order and be ousted or severely reprimanded. So are any of those rigs I have mentioned a candidate to begin with? best, Rich
  7. K5UJ

    K5UJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi Richard,

    Equipment lineup for AM operators seem to fall into these categories: SDR rigs and RF amplifiers, Solid state transmitters and separate receivers (usually some sort of SDR receiver), vacuum tube rigs and modern receivers (usually SDR or something like a Drake R8) and vacuum tube rigs and vintage receivers. There are guys who operate modern (any transceiver made after around early 1980s) or hybrid transceivers driving amplifiers, but they seem to eventually get pulled into another category by either the allure of vacuum tubes, or the features of SDR--the spectrum display, control over rx passband, sync. detection, and audio tailoring interface. Tube gear offers a lot of brute force power, and a lot of aesthetic appeal and is usually something you can get into and work on yourself. But there's no law that says you can't operate a TS850 and amplifier on AM--you'll just need an oscilloscope to monitor your carrier modulation, and an amplifier etc. that can handle the continuous duty of a carrier. It just seems like most ops who stick with it eventually move on to something else. Operate and see what happens. If you don't like it you won't be out anything.

    If you don't like the round table type of group QSOs, you can call CQ and establish a QSO with someone that's the PTT fast break-in type.
    KA0HCP likes this.
  8. W9RAC

    W9RAC Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some good thoughts Dave. I hope to stay south of 3800 and maybe the 80 meter band in general. I have gotten away from it over the years for a lot of reasons, mostly the behavior, I should have left it off my original post. I'll do some listening around and see if I may fit in. I suspect the AM crowd may be a bit more "structured" in methods vs eSSB Ops. Yesterday I did my first "threesome" (can I say that?) on CW. I've been on CW a lot but never had a three way QSO, rag chew with two other friends. Had a great time, wrong form I know but just wanted to throw that in since I know you do CW also. 73 Rich
  9. WA3VJB

    WA3VJB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hey Richard, I look forward to working you. Sounds like you've already been listening in among AM QSOs, which will set you up for the differences in "style," compared with other modes and activities. None of these differences amounts to a barrier for anyone of goodwill and basic social skills to join us. Others have noted the depth and pace of a QSO, where people take the time to collect their thoughts and respond to the thread of the conversation. That, in my experience, is the distinguishing feature of a typical AM QSO. My best advice, then, is to listen, collect names and calls and the topic at hand, and when you join a conversation have something to briefly contribute. When it comes around again to you, the others will appreciate that you've been paying attention.

    Rigs don't matter as much as they used to. If you've got adequate signal and audio, you're good to go. Your background elsewhere will equip you to accept any helpful suggestions, unsolicited or otherwise, since you come from part of the hobby where people pay attention to their station's quality.

  10. K9STH

    K9STH Ham Member QRZ Page

    Long winded transmissions are the norm with a lot of AM operators. However, I have not heard of any single transmission that has exceeded one made by an operator who lived in one of the small towns north of Dallas, Texas.

    A couple of local operators had a schedule every Sunday morning on 160-meters. One Sunday morning, one of the operators started talking. After a while, the other operator needed to get dressed for church and did so. Coming back, the original operator was still talking. The other operator then ate breakfast. Coming back to the radio shack, the original operator was still talking. Giving up, the other operator went to church. When he got back from church, the original operator was still talking! About 20-minutes later, the original operator turned the frequency back to the other operator! At least a 5-hour single transmission.

    Glen, K9STH
    AG5CK likes this.

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