Propagation question/QRZ 50 states award

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by NG9F, Mar 24, 2019.

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  1. NG9F

    NG9F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Let's say your map looks like this, and you want that 50 states award!!


    Which bands and times of day will be the most effective to turn those yellow and red states green?

    Let's assume 100 watts because that's all I use these days. Also my only antenna is a 6BTV vertical so I have 80, 40, 30, 20, 15, and 10 meters.

    Also only "organic" contacts- I don't want to use the SKCC sked page or do any e-mail skeds. I just want to call (or answer) without any help from the Internet.
  2. W7UUU

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

    Low bands at night, high bands during the day. Pretty basic stuff.

    Turning "Yellow" to "Green" on your QRZ map is all about folks confirming - it has nothing to do with which band to use - it just means you've logged a station into QRZ who has not confirmed on QRZ - you can't do much to change that other than work more stations. Not everyone uses QRZ, or LoTW or eQSL, or Paper Cards - so you just need to work lots of stations in as many states as you can.

    If you want it FAST, learn how to do contesting. With your setup, assuming all is well with it, you could "work all states" in a single weekend during a contest.

    Took me about 30 years to "confirm all states" (via LoTW/ARRL) - but only because it just wasn't anything of a priority. During those years I was 100% CW - still my primary mode most of the time. Over all those years, I just "worked folks" and didn't even really keep score on W.A.S. until my old call WB7AWK was about to go away, and my new call W7UUU was going to go live in 2012 that I got on the stick and finished my W.A.S. (LoTW) before starting all over again under W7UUU

    These days, during a major contest, I can get very close to W.A.S. in contacts over a couple of days. In fact, it's a "sub hobby" of mine to restore some old boatanchor rig, and set about working and confirming all states before moving the rig along to a new custodian.

    Do you do FT8? That's a SUPER fast way to get states you need... almost too fast.

    Good luck - it's not hard to do if you make it a focus and have a plan.

    Again: Low bands (80/40/30) at night, high bands (mostly 17 and 20 right now) during the day. VERY basic stuff about propagation.

    Last edited: Mar 24, 2019
    K9ASE, WB5YUZ, M6GYU and 1 other person like this.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page


    ARRL Sweepstakes is perfect for this. Without trying very hard I've worked all states in one weekend in SS, and so have a lot of others.

    Field Day is another good one. It's not really a "contest," but all states are active and in many cases, it's "club" stations who have somebody dedicated to QSLing if they receive cards.

    LoTW makes it easier, of course. But I've found even today I get "mailed" QSL cards pretty often and am always astonished when someone (anyone) sends me a card with the note "PSE QSL FOR FIRST CALIFORNIA" -- seems almost impossible, considering there are more hams in CA than any other state, but it still happens. Those who write that are probably newbies who haven't been active more than days or weeks. I respond 100%.
    NG9F likes this.
  4. NG9F

    NG9F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thanks for the replies! I don't do digital modes but I may in the future. I would like to get the 50 states award with only CW. The green states on my map are the result of 16 weeks on the air with code. I always use 40 and 80 at night and 20 during the day but I'm not really sure how 30M fits into the scheme of things. If I look at my contacts on 30M (most unconfirmed of course) they seem to be both night and day.

    I was probably only doing 5wpm 16 weeks ago but now maybe I can do 12-15wpm, and that's pretty slow for contests- true? Contests are intimidating! I will make it a point to listen in on some though. I never thought of that as a way to get states. Yeah, pretty green here!!!!
  5. K7TRF

    K7TRF Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    30 meters splits the difference between 20m and 40m from a propagation standpoint. It tends to stay open a bit longer than 20m in the evening and often is a bit better for DX than 40m.
    WB5YUZ likes this.
  6. N5CM

    N5CM Ham Member QRZ Page

    Contests are the way to go. Late last year, I had 3 states on 160m. After the 160m contest on 11/30/18 - 12/01/18, I ended up with something like 38 states confirmed when all the LoTW confirmations came in. I worked HI during Winter Field Day and AK on 80m and 160m in the most recent big contest. At this point, I have two left to go on 160m, SD and NE.

    Look on the WA7BNM website for a contest calendar. The website will show the date, sponsor etc. of the contest, the content of the exchange, and there are links to get you to the rules.

    I operate mostly CW. I'm not very fast on rag chews, but I can "contest" a lot faster than I can rag chew. The exchanges are fairly structured, so you know what to expect. If there's not a serial number involved, you can program the exchange information into your keyer. If there's a station you want who is parked and running the frequency and is fast, listen to a few of his exchanges as needed to get his information, then drop your call in and have at it.

    Good luck!

    John N5CM
    WB5YUZ and NG9F like this.
  7. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Working All States ?
    Don't try to find Indiana or Michigan on 10, 12, 15, 17 or 20M. Don't try to work the west coast at noon on 160 or 80M. :eek:
    Any thing else is up for grabs as propagation can vary a lot from season to season, and even, week to week !
    The more QSOs you have, the more understanding you have of the bands.
    Keeping track, with a chart like you show, is a neat idea !
    I have US outline maps with dots where I have worked , for each band I am active on.
    I mostly look for other SKCC members and have single band Endorsement Awards for working 100 members on ALL HF bands thru the SKCC .
    Keeps me busy ! :D
    Lately I have been hoping to work Alaska on 60 M since I have worked all the other states on that band.
    Finally, I am also a mostly CW op and have been for 58 years !
    I do not use LoTw at all. but will return a card if SASE sent and use E-QSL a lot .
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  8. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    You should have MI and IN ! Easy on 160 or 80 M all day and night ! Find me on 3550 some time.
    If you just have the vertical it is not so easy :( A dipole will give you several S-units better strength on a short hop !
    Fill in the closer States you missed with a dipole antenna up !
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2019
  9. NG9F

    NG9F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Thank you K8JD! That's just the kind of info I am looking for. Someone told me recently that winter is often good for 80 meters, so in my quest I have been on 80 more at night lately hoping to pick up some closer states. I used to spend almost all of my time on 40 and figured if I spread it out a big that might help me get more states. I just don't have much experience- 209 CW QSOs so far.

    That map is straight off of QRZ. I log there and LoTW. Only maybe one in ten QSOs result in a confirmation, so that has me thinking more about contests too since I think if people are participating they want points and are more likely to confirm. It's the QRZ version of WAS that I am trying to get- they call theirs the 50 States Award.

    I wonder sometimes too if using my 811H at 300 watts or so would be a good idea when conditions are iffy. A ham in Europe chewed me out once for calling on top of him on 20 meters, so I won't use the amp unless I have a very low noise level which seems rare lately. I have local noise but the ANC-4 brings that down about 3 1/2 s-units. Still just QRN can be s4. If I see s2 or s3 I feel more "safe" using the amp. But so many CW ops use 100 watts I wonder if it's silly.
  10. NG9F

    NG9F Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    LOL- I've worked you on 80 John!!! But I need QRZ confirmations. :) Or LoTW- I download those into the QRZ logbook so they count too. You were my 69th CW QSO of all time on August 25th.

    You were my first CW QSO ever on 80M!!!!!!

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