Has 20 meters been bad for everyone or just me?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W5PB, Jul 16, 2021.

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  1. W5PB

    W5PB Ham Member QRZ Page

    So, I operate out of a second floor apartment. I make the best of it on HF and have a ladder line fed dipole for transmit and a W6LVP loop for receive. I've done reasonably well on 20 and 30 meters. Some contacts on 40, but it's a harder band for me to work. Recently I lucked out and managed to work stateside, as well as Canada, Oceania and Europe on 20 meter voice, CW, and digital. Then a week ago things just started to go downhill. Some new RFI popped up, and overall the noise floor seemed higher, even in band segments with no RFI. I'm not sure how much to attribute my problems to poor conditions, and how much to attribute it to some electrical gadget. Just wondering what others have experienced lately. I rarely, if ever, hear anything above 20 meters.
    KO4ESA likes this.
  2. KP4SX

    KP4SX Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I only get on the air for a couple of hours in the early evening and mostly FT8 mainly on 17 and 20 since that's where the action is at that hour for me.
    From my perspective the cndx are up and down as far as DX. It varies daily. There's been various solar flares, yadda yadda, so a single week is hard to compare.
    As for the noise floor - that's probably a local problem.
    KO4ESA and KA4DPO like this.
  3. K8DO

    K8DO Ham Member QRZ Page

    My first impulse was to reply, Yes, it's just You!
    But, juvenile humor aside, 20 has been up and down.
    When it is up it is great.
    When it is not, it is not.
    The flip side of the coin is that the spring 6 meter sporadic E has been hotter than a ghost Pe pper.
    Use your tuner to force some RF into your 40/20 meter antennas and make some 6 meter Q's.
    There are only a few weeks left in the spring run, so get cracking there :D
    On each band check the FT8 frequency. You will find that each dead band is often smoking hot on FT8 and nothing but crickets on either side of that frequency.
    KO4ESA, W5PB, K5BDH and 2 others like this.
  4. KI5WW

    KI5WW Ham Member QRZ Page

    When I see “I operate out of a second floor apartment” I’m out. Not that I don’t care but I have nothing to compare that to based on what I perceive as the subject.
    KO4ESA and WG7X like this.
  5. WG7X

    WG7X Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    Yes, with the apartment handicap, you will get what you get. Radio without a good, even mediocre antenna, is like a stereo with crummy speakers. IOW, you will get some contacts but not a lot and certainly not as many as you could with a better antenna.
    That said, twenty has been spotty lately. I've been concentrating on 17 myself. 10 meters has been pretty good up and down the coast, even some F layer stuff. Mostly on the dreaded FT8 mode.

    Unfortunately, that's the reality. You will be able to do some stuff but not a lot...
    KO4ESA and W5PB like this.
  6. WS9K

    WS9K Ham Member QRZ Page

    Antenna is 90% of your station.

    20 meters has been pretty good lately

    Here's whats on the spotter right now ( 20m DX spotted by USA stations )

  7. KY4GD

    KY4GD XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    In my current compromised antenna situation, 20 meters is always my best bet. For me, it had been amazing last week, but right now it is like holding a seashell up to my ear. I can hear the ocean in there somewhere, but part of me knows it is just my imagination.

    Antennas are 80% and atmosphere 60%, and your radio is the remaining 10%. I *think* my math is right there, but I don't have time to confirm, we are at breakfast, and the waitress just brought the check. What is 20% of $14, it's about $9 right??
    KI5WW and W5PB like this.
  8. W5PB

    W5PB Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks for the replies. FWIW, I have a W6LVP loop for receive, that is usually pretty good under the circumstances, understanding that it won't be as good as something in a quiet location. Still, the band has seemed to be a bit noisier lately. For tx have a homebrew dipole hidden along the outside wall fed with ladder line into a tuner. It works, but is obviously a compromise. Frankly, I'm surprised with the contacts I have made. Mostly digital, but some CW and SSB as well.

    For a while I was planning on building a mag loop, but was unable to find a suitable capacitor. Looks like I'll start looking again.

    Until I can reasonably expect to buy a house again, which is a whole other story. I'll just have to make due.
    KI5WW likes this.
  9. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    W5PB likes this.
  10. KT4PH

    KT4PH Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Last edited: Jul 16, 2021

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