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What’s up with the bands?

Discussion in 'Ham Radio Discussions' started by W4HWD, Jun 13, 2019.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Could be.

    I hear a lot of activity on SSB and CW. Listening to 20m SSB area right now, it's pretty packed.

    IMO, two things have impacted "activity:"

    • Lots more hams today live with antenna restrictions than ever before, so they have limited capabilities to generate very strong signals, which of course are the easiest ones to hear! They may also have local "noise" problems which limit their own ability to hear stuff, leading to less activity or possibly favoring the weak-signal digital modes where you don't have to listen to any noise, as the computer does that and does a good job of pulling signals out of the noise.
    • Digital modes have become very popular! On a fairly "dead" band (for SSB/CW) if I tune to popular digital frequencies, and today especially FT8 watering holes, there's a lot going on -- I can tell that even without decoding any of it, just listen to the warblers and there's hundreds of them.
  2. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Some are glass half empty people. Some are glass half full people.

    I think the evidence is for us glass-half fullers. :)

    The other thing? Ham radio has changed since I was a kid. But, you know what? It's always been changing. Since day one. And yet, here we still are having fun. ;)
    WA4KCN likes this.
  3. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's "progress!"

    I was licensed in '65 and back then maybe 1/2 the phone activity on HF was still AM, and the AMers hated the SSBers.

    By '70, it was almost all SSB and AM was dying. I thought for sure it would never "come back," and sold everything I had for AM (Apache TX-1, Heath DX-100, Johnson Valiant, NC-303, 75A-2, etc). Now, AM has made an amazing comeback and there's a lot of boat anchors on the air with BIG signals. I'd have never guessed that would happen, but it did.

    Our local AM nets on 75m have so many check-ins I get tired of waiting for the list to clear and rarely check in, but still do listen sometimes.
    W4NNF likes this.
  4. WA4KCN

    WA4KCN XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I also think people turn on the radio don’t hear or see anything and turn it off. That is called a tipping point.
  5. KA0HCP

    KA0HCP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Noooo. That is called "drawing a conclusion" that the band is closed.
  6. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have never had "instant gratification".

    I also steer clear of pileups, unless interesting to me.

    I look at propagation. I look at reports of the condition of the sun, or any disturbance of the atmosphere (CME or thunderstorms, for example).

    I put the HF transceiver on, listen around the band, leave it on look around more. I change the band.

    ..recently, it seems nobody is on.

    It does not change my using my HF transceiver.
  7. K5ABB

    K5ABB XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I hear the same stuff everyday..."there's no one on anymore" yadayyada... Well, sunspot and propagation conditions are at a cyclical low right now, but that doesn't mean there's nobody there, it just means YOUR receiver/antenna system ain't giving you a readable signal...

    As WIK points out, people might have limitations and restrictions they can't get around, but I would argue that very few of us have really strived to maximize the efficiency and potential of our stations, and the station that's "good enough" to work your local nets during the good times may not be nearly good enough to work distant stations reliably, or indeed even to detect them, in tough conditions. Sometimes we need to pull ourselves (our stations) up to a higher performance standard when the going gets tough.

    I don't have a superstation by any means, I have a modest solid state transceiver, a manual tube amp, and good antennas (mostly home brewed and built). In the last two days I have logged contacts with Singapore, China, Cambodia, Guam, Israel, Kazhakstan, Russia (European and Asiatic) and a five gallon bucketful of Japanese ops (thanks to the All Asia DX contest). 20 meters (cw) was still hopping here at 10PM last night when I gave up and went to bed. These bands aren't dead! They just demand a little more from us to be effective.

    Maybe it ain't like the shooting fish in a barrel days of "work the world on 10m with 15 watts and a coat-hanger" but it sure as hell ain't dead if we're willing to work at it and maybe practice a little "Home Improvement".
    G8ADD likes this.
  8. N8FVJ

    N8FVJ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Your antenna or transceiver has an issue. The bands 75, 40 or 20 have activity everyday up to 18 hours. I sleep the other 6 hours.
    W4NNF likes this.
  9. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Maybe I should have said "if it seems nobody is on" ???

    It might be more correct to have said what K5ABB said, or have more and better deployed antennas.
  10. W4NNF

    W4NNF XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It's not a tipping point any more than any other solar minimum has been a tipping point. I just turned on 40, and there were plenty of signals in the CW segment despite lousy conditions and thunderstorms all over the place. Naturally, when conditions are poor, people are going to gravitate to alternatives to HF, which today is things like FT8 and D-Star and DMR. But that doesn't mean there's nothing on the HF bands, and that the people off doing FT8 won't do CW and SSB when condx are better. 'Twas always thus. When Cycle 21 was down in the dumps people were having loads of fun with their Commodore 64s and TNCs on 2-meters, and some were predicting the END of HF and ham radio itself. But when 23 cranked up, the HF bands came back to life as sure as the Sun rises. :D
    G8ADD likes this.

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