First 6 meter Sporadic E

Discussion in 'VHF/UHF - 50Mhz and Beyond' started by KA5KAB, Nov 25, 2021.

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  1. KA5KAB

    KA5KAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Hi All,

    New to 6 here, just got my fancy setup working on the band and I would like to make a few comments if y'all don't mind. I have dreamed of getting some junk together to get on 6. I bought a marginal 6 meter converter off the bay, I have some junky receivers I can hook it to, not much to brag about here. After all my efforts to get the old Ameco CB-6 and the old Knight kit R-100A percolatin' I finally spot a sporadic E opening on the band (thanks DX Maps). Man, I fire up the CB-6 and the old Knight and I start tuning around. I start hearing irregular birdies and I get my dander up, maybe it's them AM fellers firing up the rigs for a chat. Well, I can't ever get any voices to come out of them birdies, and I'm thinking, maybe the old CB-6 just ain't doing what she oughta do, so I kick in the BFO, and then I realize, this isn't the AM boys, this here is that FT8. Listen, I'm all for folks doing what they wanna do, if the FT8 is your deal, more power to ya I say, but when a fellow works as hard as I did to get my ole CB-6 and Knight kit R-100A to work together, cain't y'all put yer main rig on the FT8 and at least do a little SSB or maybe, if you're willing, some CW so a guy could at least tell who ya are? Now I'm not complaining mind you, time marches on and technology waits for no man, but couldn't you FT8 guys and gals humor a fella who's just trying to get his feet wet on 6? Make a couple of CW or SSB contacts, just so's I can listen (haven't got a rig or antenna to XMIT on just yet) and verify that the ole CB-6 is doing it's thang and the ole Knight is at least close to being on frequency. I'm not asking for a lot, just help a fella out here.

    Carl KA5KAB
    WB7PMP likes this.
  2. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I think you have to bear in mind that 6m Sporadic E is primarily a summer phenomenon - that is not to say that there is no point tuning the band between September and late April, but the openings are going to be a lot less frequent than they are in May and June and weaker when they happen. FT8 is a lot less demanding of propagation and people are going to flock to it on a marginal band. Keep on watching and listening, but don't get dispirited if you don't hear much - one day in May, you'll switch on and find the band throbbing!

    Martin (G8FXC)
    KA5KAB likes this.
  3. W2EV

    W2EV Ham Member QRZ Page

    Of course, if you could hear the tones by ear, the band was open enough for at least CW but probably SSB as well. However...

    While you (and others) may wish differently, it is only a matter of time before you also succumb to the Augmented Reality machine-decoded communication methods of our Cyber Overlords. Resistance (after all) is futile.


    On the other hand, you can "be the resistance (er...I mean "change") that you wish to see" by calling CQ on voice or CW yourself.
    Last edited: Nov 25, 2021
    KA5KAB likes this.
  4. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Are there hams nearby you can convince to get on the air?
    When I was doing 10GHz I'd loan complete stations for them to use.

    I knew a guy who would convert CB rigs to 10M and give them to his friends.
  5. KA5KAB

    KA5KAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the reply. I live in Houston Texas so yes, there are numerous hams in the area but unfortunately there doesn't seem to be much 6 meter activity here. I'm sure there are lots that have the capability but I guess it's not a band of interest.
  6. KA5KAB

    KA5KAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    LOL, this is true, I'm sure I'll succumb at some point even if it's just to try it out. Just wish I could've heard some old fashioned carbon unit to carbon unit analog type communication. Unfortunately I'm not set up yet to transmit myself, although I do have a couple of vacuum tube infested devices I am hoping to get percolatin' here soon. The other problem is a means to radiate the waves, I live in an apartment so it's going to take some thinking on that part. My listening antenna is about 10 feet of wire. Must've been a pretty good opening for me to hear anything LOL.
  7. G8FXC

    G8FXC XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Range during a 6m spor opening can be very long - as in thousands of miles - so you will not be limited by the levels of local activity. About fifteen years ago, I was on holiday with my wife in SW France. The only radio I took with me was my little Yaesu FT-817 - maximum of 5w. We went for a walk on the beach one afternoon and I took the 817 with me. We sat on top of a sand dune looking out over the ocean and I switched on - just 5w on the internal battery into the stock rubber duck antenna. I tuned round 6m and heard a rather scratchy CQ with an English accent. I called and they came back to me. After they had swung the beam in my direction, they came up to about 5&4 and we managed a full QSO - I have the card somewhere to prove it. The other station was the DXpedition on the island of St. Kilda about 40 miles out into the Atlantic off the NW coast of Scotland - I measured the great circle path as just a whisker under 1000 miles - not bad for 5w into a rubber duck at about 20 feet above sea level!

    Martin (G8FXC)
    KE8OKM likes this.
  8. KA5KAB

    KA5KAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks Martin. I'm going to hang in there and listen and hopefully soon I can join in. It was a pretty strong opening last night since I was able to hear a lot of FT8 but I know that's rare, as you said, Sporadic Es are a mainly summer event.
  9. KA5KAB

    KA5KAB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for sharing that. This is the reason I have always wanted to get on 6, with a little RF and modest antennas amazing things can happen when you least expect them.
  10. KE8OKM

    KE8OKM Ham Member QRZ Page

    I usually make some calls on 6 FM/SSB and recently CW when doing SOTA activations after I call on 2m. I announce to each of the 2m hams I work that I will be going to QSY 6m. Most of the time it’s crickets. I think in the 30 or so times I did that I netted @10 QSOs FM/SSB and never on CW. I will keep trying!

    Here I at least was picked up by the RBN which is progress!


    Last edited: Nov 27, 2021
    KA5KAB likes this.

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