Which bands for beginners??

Discussion in 'Straight Keys - CW Enthusiasts' started by KC6DXN, Jan 27, 2016.

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  1. WB2WIK

    WB2WIK Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    Timing is what's important. Also a G5RV is terrible on some bands, including 17m, so even if that band is wide open you'd be lucky to do much with it. It's also not great on 30m, and just sorta passable on 15m.

    Even with a very good tuner.

    The G5RV is mostly good on 40-20-12 meters, and part of 80m. Even with a very good tuner.

    The higher it is above ground, the better...50 feet or higher is ideal. Lower will 'make contacts' but not like it can do at a higher elevation.

    Then, timing is very critical. The higher bands 20m and above are mostly 'daytime bands' now...with some exceptions...but mostly good during daylight hours. 40m is good all the time, but local daytime and DX nighttime. 80m is even more local daytime, but also good for DX nighttime...often waaaaay past dark.

    My first suggestion would be antenna work. The rigs are fine, no problem there. I worked 277 countries with my TS-850S from 1990 to 2001, it's a great rig. But antennas are where to put the effort and the money.

    My 80/20 rule is what I mostly follow...20 percent on the rig, 80 percent on the antennas.

    I'm working China right now on 17m CW...it's wide open, but with a G5RV I think it would be unusual to experience that, as it's a lossy antenna on 17m and was never designed for it.
    VK5EEE and KD5DVM like this.
  2. PA1ZP

    PA1ZP Ham Member QRZ Page


    I totaly agree with WIK

    The G6RV is not a very good antenna.

    For the bands 40 night time Dx
    30 and 17 in daytime , butfor 17 a simple GP would be great.
    The same goes for 30 a simple vertical GP is a great antenna and very cheap to place and hard to beat.

    A dipole vould be good to but youre gone need the hight get it up high.

    and as WIK says the antenna is doing the work and not the rig, we have been saying for years the rig is totally not important as long as you have a 500 Hz CW filter any modern rig will do fine, the antenna is the most important thing.

    If i see your keys (Begali very expencive) and see your antenna systems , you have got to learn as most hams do.
    No trouble in buying a rig of $2K , but it is a problem of getting a good antenna, and they use a $25 G5RV (if you build it yourselve totaly).

    Wrong get a good antenna system, and a G5RV is a lot better if you loose the coax and tune it with a balanced tuner at the balanced lines.
    But yeah a good tuner costs about $1K much to expencive, throw away $2K to a rig wivh is the least important thing in your line up.

    73 Jos
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  3. KE4OH

    KE4OH Ham Member QRZ Page

    40m is still my recommendation as the must-have band for CW OPs . Just to point out that you can get some pretty good results with minimal gear on 40m ...

    I run only boatanchor tube gear. Last night I was using, basically, the worst gear that I own. 45w Hallicrafters HT-40 TX, drifty KnightKit V-44 VFO, Heathkit HR-10B receiver that was junk from the day it was designed, 40m resonant dipole sloping from 6' to 20' above ground. I had the receiver somewhere near 7.055 (can't be sure exactly!) just listening about 7:00 PM EST. Heard a PS7 (Brazil) calling CQ at about 10wpm. He was 579, I was 539. I had to call him twice, but we had a good QSO. Just fell in my lap. Not rare DX, by any measure. But that's 4,000+ miles on a really marginal rig at a speed and time of day most anyone can manage.

    I've gotten a pretty good handful of nice QSOs the same way on 40m in the evening. West Coast, Cuba, Puerto Rico, Panama, etc. Most important thing, though, is to get on the air. Can't work 'em if you don't have the rig turned on.

    73 de Steve KE4OH
    VK5EEE likes this.
  4. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    NOT 3710 !
    Not sure if someone else caught this but 3710, formerly in a Novice segment, has been Extra and Advanced class and Phone, Data mode territory since the last FCC rehashing and modifying the Amateur bands !! Several years ago.
    I spent my novice days on 80M (It's all I had then) but I know that 40M is a better band for a CW beginner.

    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
    W7UUU likes this.
  5. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    40M is easier but,...
    As for 80M, Yes there can be noise in the thunderstorm months but a few years ago I built a MFJ Cub for 80M in the spring time and over the summer months I ran it with my halfwave dipole and worked 25 states without much problem ! Just had to do it on the days with less QRN :D

    Last edited: Feb 29, 2016
    VK5EEE likes this.
  6. W7UUU

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

    Good catch JD - my bad. I too spent a great many hours in the 3700 neighborhood as a teen. Being an Extra myself, I missed the change. My bad

  7. W8AAZ

    W8AAZ Ham Member QRZ Page

    Seems to me that the area just above 7.1 is fine in the afternoons or daytime but in the evenings, phones and data type stuff will come in there and try to drive you off. But the closer you are to 7.1 the less you hear of that in the evenings and you can still maybe squeeze in a QSO between the junk with a sharp filter. And from the chirps and such I suspect a lot of the ops are using homebrew or vintage gear, which can make it more interesting. Soon as I get my HW 16 working good I might show up there with that. Assuming I can grind some of my cheap 7.100 xtals up a few kc to get more into that band. Lot of inexpensive 7.100 FT 243 xtals show up but specific made ones that are a bit higher but below 7.125 or so, seem to bring a lot of money if you can find them. Actually Ft 243 xtals that are usable for proper CW band freqs at all, seem to be all at once rare and expensive online, even though many thousands of novices must have had them in use. Or I could get some of the 7-7.060 range xtals an hope I am not just on a freq used by the 40 WPM boys.
    VK5EEE likes this.
  8. VK5EEE

    VK5EEE Ham Member QRZ Page

    Just a suggestion for you to consider in case its of use. You can save space, and have greater efficiency than with traps/coils, a fan dipole. On my QRZ page you can see 4 dipoles all on the coax, no balun, and good SWR on each of 15m, 17m, 20m, and 30m which is inverted V config, so 4 bands on one dipole and all work very well. Hard to go wrong with a half wave resonant dipole up in the clear. It's only 8.5m above ground, but no problems with DX. Then on 40m, I would aim for a full size antenna if possible, to radiate as much as possible, but, on 40m it really can be only 3m above ground for good results - I work DX with that, but also my signal is generally stronger on short skip paths than it would be if the dipole is higher and radiation angle lower. Also consider crocodile clips, my 40m is also a fan dipole with the second dipole being for 20m or 30m, I just have to go outside and clip or unclip across each leg to turn it from 20 to 30m or vice versa, and lowering it down on one end is easy and quick. For DX certainly verticals or slopers can be recommended. Then again, the old adage, get as much wire as high as you can in the sky, is true too.
    W5BIB and KG7TDC like this.

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