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Making first contact

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by M7DJC, Jun 23, 2020.

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  1. M7DJC

    M7DJC Ham Member QRZ Page

    I am a newly qualified Foundation Licence holder in the UK.I use a Yaesue 450d with a Magitenna loft mounted.SWR reading on 20 and 40m is less than 1:1.5.Incoming signals are generally very weak.I have not had a contact calling CQ and have tried to respond to CQ without success.Do I just need tone patient or is there something else I need to look at?
  2. G0VKT

    G0VKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    I don't know what is in the magic box, but your antenna is a compromise. Also the bands are pretty poor right now and your licence limits your power. You will need to be patient or put up a better antenna.

    Is using FT8 an option?

    Where in the UK are you?

    Paul G0VKT
    WQ4G likes this.
  3. M7DJC

    M7DJC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Patience it is then.I am on the North West Coast
    Dennis M7DJC
  4. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    You might want to look at where your antenna is mounted. IF your roof is made of a material that blocks signals, you may have a difficult time getting your signals in and out. Since your receive signals are weak, that's a clue that your indoor antenna may be a problem.

    If you can, temporarily move your antenna outdoors and do a test. Preferrably do this early in the morning, or just before dark..... and see if things improve.
    WQ4G likes this.
  5. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Even IF, you are restricted to no outside antennas there are ways to deploy a "stealthy" antenna that is nearly invisible to casual observers.
    Find ways to hide wire, make a birdhouse/feeder on a metal mast that is also a vertical antenna ETC...
    ETC...use your imagination :D
    Get that antenna outside !
    good luck
    KK4NSF likes this.
  6. KF5KWO

    KF5KWO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Howdy, Dennis,

    Consider checking into some nets, since they are on regular schedules and regular frequencies. Easiest thing to would be to search online for something like “HF ham radio nets England” or something (that’s how I find nets in the U.S.). Also, a local club would for sure have some hams who check into nets. For instance, I found this: I don’t know if Essex is close to you, but it lists a number of VHF and UHF nets, plus a few HF nets.

    Regarding your antenna, being in the loft it is a compromise, just like my magnetic loop in the attic, or any other indoor antenna, so we definitely have to accept those limitations. Under this kind of operation condition, patience is definitely required. However, given those conditions, one of the major HF contests will magically make your signal much better and you will have other hams all ofa sudden hear your weaker signal! In the same manner, propagation/sunspots/weather magically go our way. :) So, yeah, try a contest. Like this one, tomorrow: Good luck!

    73 de Jeff, KF5KWO
    San Antonio, Texas
  7. VK3YE

    VK3YE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Easiest way to make a first contact if your signals are weak is to find a contact about to finish and call one of the stronger stations in it. That has a higher chance of success than calling CQ.

    Also try CW and digital modes as these can be more efficient with weak signals.

    Even if you don't make contacts modes like WSPR, JS8 and FT8 give you an indication of where you've been detected through sites like PSK Reporter.

    These videos might help

  8. G0VKT

    G0VKT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Even if you don't plan to decode FT8 there are almost always strong signals on 20 and 40. If you can't hear anything try a temporary antenna outside and see what happens.

    Let us know how you get on.

    Paul G0VKT
  9. WB5YUZ

    WB5YUZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Welcome to the hobby!

    You're going to get a lot of suggestions. However, the most likely thing to improve both your own signal and your ability to hear the signals of others is to get that antenna outside, and get it higher.
  10. M7DJC

    M7DJC Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thank to everyone for the very helpful suggestions.I will certainly look into getting an aerial outside it will just need some thinking about.My reception has improved by getting a better grounding for the aerial so I am hopeful contact will come soon.However I do have to accept that the limitation of 10w on my Foundation Licence will continue to limit me until I can take the next level test to upgrade it.In the meantime listen out for me - M7DJC -you never know you might hear me 5 and 9.!

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