I hear beacons!

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by KC3JIN, Jun 8, 2018.

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  1. KC3JIN

    KC3JIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Friends,
    Have been operating from a park near my home (EL29KV) because the new job allows me plenty of time off.

    Two days ago on a STL I heard K4JEE/B, 571 miles away. Yesterday on a wire in a tree I managed to hear WA6APQ/B, 1380-some miles off. Both were on 10 meters, both running less than 30w to vertical antennas. This is a good reminder (for me too!) That bands do open, and there isnt much that'll match actually turning on your radio!
     
    KB2SMS and K2CAJ like this.
  2. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Ten M has unpredictable and sometimes brief, E openings, and beacons, sometimes, are the only way to know if the band is open. Another trick is listening to 27 MHz band , it is a lot busier than ham bands.
     
  3. KB7PWJ

    KB7PWJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    THIS. You gotta get on to know what's out there. Forty years ago we called it "deadbanding", but that's a term -- and a sport -- I haven't heard about in decades.

    The great drawback to all the conditions reports we can access these days is it dissuades us from even trying when the official thumbs are down.

    First, that means we miss out on lots of great QSOs that don't happen to be DX. Everything that glitters is not DX. Some of the most memorable contacts I've had were domestic -- including an exhilarating two-hour ragchew with a fellow five miles away I'd never met, on 20m groundplane, in the middle of a raging sunstorm. We were both so into working the far side of the planet we literally didn't know the other one existed over there, right next door.

    And second, if I had a nickel for every time I've called on a "dead" band... only to have DX fall right on my head. Conditions change second to second. It's entirely possible -- common, even -- for flash openings to hook you up long enough to trade reports. OM might be gone next time you sign over, but those few seconds are thrilling.

    Heck, just check your RBN reports. You're getting out. I routinely get pinned on the East Coast, pumping 8W forward to a random wire on a "closed" band from here on the West Coast. Only reason nobody answers is because the band is "dead".

    And the only reason the band is dead is because no-one answers.
     
    K2CAJ likes this.
  4. KC3JIN

    KC3JIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    So when 27mhz goes from a bucket of lobsters on cocaine to a whole swimming pool..... Well I suppose it makes sense :)

    I've never been spotted on RBN, and frankly I wonder if it's because I'm too QRS (call as fast as you can hear, right, so for me that's right around 10wpm) or maybe my fist stinks!

    Maybe the other lesson is to set up on accepted calling freqs and give a holler. Better odds that way.
     
  5. KD8ZM

    KD8ZM Ham Member QRZ Page

    One way to find out is to send code to a computer program and see if it can decode you accurately. If it can't, your fist is the issue; but fear not, that can be corrected.
     
  6. KC3JIN

    KC3JIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    Please do tell. I meant to ask back when this thread wasnt so old and forgot til someone on another spoke of calling CQ DEAD BAND.. it reminded me!
     
  7. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    My old MFJ Grandmaster keyer has a "repeat" function so I can program a CQ call (I do CQ x3 and my call x2 and K) into one memory and let it play it over and over with a long pause for listening between each CQ, .
    I do this for maybe 10 minutes on a totally "dead" band and sometimes I can get a reply. and have a nice QSO. Sometimes nothing, and I can come back in a while and try again.
    Bands I have been calling on are 10, 12 and 80M in the daytime and 60M at night..Maybe open to somewhere but nobody thinks they are.
     
  8. N1OOQ

    N1OOQ Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have pretty good luck "deadbanding" on 15m. Never knew it had a name.

    Anyone have much luck with CW contacts on 10m? I rarely make any there, although SSB is busy occasionally.
     
    KC3JIN likes this.
  9. KB7PWJ

    KB7PWJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Well, it's really very simple: when the band is "dead", you call anyway.

    In theory the sport was to see how far you could get anyway, i.e., redefining your definition of "DX" according to circumstances. And the news was often surprising. Dead bands can open and close just like normal ones; sometimes we landed actual DX through all that noise, which as you can imagine was bragging rights for a month.

    But in reality it often just meant having great QSOs with hams you'd probably never work otherwise because they were too close. 10M is the best example; before 2M became a thing, we used to use that for local comm on the off-cycle. The first repeaters (or first I ever heard of) were on 10M. First mobile rigs, too.

    Deadbanding was a matter of some pride back in the day. I suspect the DX obsession of the current service is yet another symptom of "too much money". Once we had ready access to towers and linears and super-fancy rigs, we didn't have to take what we could get so much. So we got addicted to dessert. Anyway, that's what a lot of ham radio looks like to me now: bigger-louder-farther.

    Incidentally, I'm out there deadbanding again, so listen for me. (Never stopped, really.) Just the other day I worked an OM in Alaska from Washington, on a very indifferent 20M band, using only 8W and a random wire. He was amazed. Also nailed a 30M QSO with Serbia under very similar conditions (but 100W that time).

    All CW, of course; it's all I do.

     
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  10. KC3JIN

    KC3JIN Ham Member QRZ Page

    I actually just got my first key. Listen for me :D
     

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