Finally back on the air!

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KJ4VRQ, Aug 12, 2019.

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  1. KJ4VRQ

    KJ4VRQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Quick question, I have not been on the air in more than two years. Been really busy plus moved. Finally got an attic antenna up and all my equipment up and running.

    just had a quick question about 20 meters, seems like its dead lately? or is it mainly because of the hot weather we are having? I'm in Alabama so it's pretty hot.

    also, 40 and 30 meters has been fairly busy but it goes in and out. I'm assuming this really isn't the best time of year and it should get better once it starts cooling down?
    KF5KWO likes this.
  2. W7UUU

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

    Glad to have you back on HF!! Yay!!

    20 is fine in many respects - no, not "DX with a wet noodle and 1 watt" - but totally respectable.

    Your problem could very well be the attic antenna. Can you describe what it is exactly?

    On HF, temperature is not a factor. VHF/UHF sure to an extent but not HF.

    Do you have any outdoor antenna options or is it an HOA thing?

  3. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, 20 meters sure isn't like it was several years ago but there's still activity most days. As Dave posted above I wouldn't blame it directly on hot weather as much as the fact that we're in the doldrums between sunspot cycle 24 and hopefully the upcoming start of cycle 25 so the higher frequency bands aren't doing so well for ionospheric propagation. Sure the hotter weather does mean more lightning activity impacting 40m and 80m as thunder crashes but that's a pretty normal thing in the summer on those bands.
  4. KF5KWO

    KF5KWO Ham Member QRZ Page

    Congrats and welcome back. I was off for about 9 years and just got back on the air this year. We're in the bottom part of the sunspot cycle, but during contest weekends the sunspots come out! :)

    What kind of antenna do you have? I have an MFJ magnetic loop in my attic space above our patio (no electrical or ducting in it). I'd like to have it outside of course where I used to have it. We have an HOA with restrictions, but that loop on a 10-foot pole never got a complaint. Maybe I can get it out there again.

    I also have a stealth wire vertical for 40m, and will be putting down a loop on the ground receive-only antenna this week.

    "Welcome back to the fight - this time I know our side will win."

    73 de Jeff, KF5KWO
  5. K0UO

    K0UO Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    40 is the new 20!

    DX is good on grayline
  6. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    20 meters depends upon the day, but at times I find it open as late as 11PM EST.
  7. WA3MOJ

    WA3MOJ Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I often listen to other hams QSO's and they usually mention if 20M band conditions are good,
    or if there is QSB, or summertime static crashes, etc.
    Long story short, it's up and down, but pretty reasonable overall.
  8. KC3SWL

    KC3SWL XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    20 meters has been great at night up til 0330 or even 0400 for South Pacific contacts. New Caledonia , Australia and Japan seen on digital modes. Worked El Salvador the other night on 20 meter phone too. Just need to check your antenna make sure you don't have any wiring next to it that might interfere with the signals. Also make sure you don't have that aluminum backed insulation / covering in the attic too. That raises hell with antennas
  9. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    Listening is your very best method for assessing propagation. If you hear few ham sigs on 20m, a fairly quick assessment of condx is available reading the solar flux (SFI, Solar Flux Index), A-index, and K-Index. If A or K are high while the SFI is low (much below 70 these days), it's going to be an uphill fight. Listening a few hundred kHz QSY above and below the 20m amateur band will often reveal non-ham sigs. With modest effort, some of them (especially voice stations) can be identified and geographically located. Keep a record of what you hear, day-to-day and week-to-week. It'll likely help you in the future. Personally, I like to use the NCDXF cw beacon stations (14.100 on 20m). The beauty of the NCDXF beacon system is stations hold to strict transmission times, and their identities and QTHs are well publicized. As a bonus, they transmit in decreasing 10 dB steps, from 100W to o.1W. At my QTH, propagation has to be rather terrible for me not to hear at least three NCDXF stations. On somewhat better days 6-8 of them are copied during the same beacon cycle with my 3-element beam. Of course all of this assumes your antenna is impedance matched for the band you're on, and that your local noise level is manageable. At solar minimum, a S5 noise level may eliminate reading 60-80% of active stations.

    Welcome back and have a ball. Be willing to work at it!
    N7UJU likes this.
  10. NM7G

    NM7G Ham Member QRZ Page

    If CW isn't your thing, this NCDXF link will be of great help:

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