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Sat, 15/08/2015 - 01:10 -- andyripley

You know the scenario, you put the radio on and you can hardly hear anything. You check the connections, maybe take down the antenna and suspect that you've broken something. Well it's not your fault.
We have still had some action on 28MHz, but you might have to be working harder to take advantage of it. Like listening for the beacons for one. You could even keen an eye open on some of the  DX spotting websites. However it may be a case of just tuning round and working someone who nobody has noticed yet.
     It was odd earlier this year that in the Russian DX Contest in March there were plenty of contacts being made on the CW end of the 28MHz (10m) band but no-one seemed to have ended up there on SSB. I wonder if it hadn't been a contest if anyone else would have at least tried?
     We do know what the scientists are arguing about with respect to solar activity, are we going in for another minimum? There's no real way to predict this but the means of measuring it have improved with such as the SOHO satellites, and we have had some strong activity recently, it's just not really left good HF propagation behind.
     My advice is to just keep going, especially as the autumn Sporadic-E season should be back soon.
 
     Admittedly I have been let loose on VHF and discovered the RSGB's 2m Activity Contest. Having some spare time and deciding to get away for a few days and found myself near the North York Moors. I'd brought the ancient Yaesu FT290R and the 30W linear, short mast  and my HB9CV antenna. I picked a spot to work from at the "Hole of Horcum".
Well having set up I did manage to make 15 contacts in an hour and a half on 2m SSB. Being in the North of England means most of the contacts are South, and notably it seems many don't expect to hear anyone on IO94 square, however I did break the 200km barrier a couple of times. This has a very good view of the horizon to the south.
It's a different skill in landing the contacts, the directional antenna and low activity doesn't promote the same technique as HF operating, but it's a more technical challenge. Shame I didn't get the same as the last time I worked from home and had a 320km contact - although home hasn't as good takeoff there.
Still, a case of trying something else.
 
Have fun - and just keep trying.

Comments

Submitted by andyripley on

It is of course not the same mode of propagation used in VHF than HF, with only the occasional bout of Sporadic-E to liven things up. Operating at sunrise or sunset allows for the differences in air temperature to do some of the work. Once a number of years ago I was down in the fog and working PA and ON on 432MHz, but a fellow amateur on the heights of Harlow Hill in Harrogate couldn't hear a thing. The signals were being ducted under the fog.

Submitted by rogerkendall on

If you are not listening you will not hear anything! The same argument could apply to transmitting. If ALL you do is listen nobody will know you are there. Unfortunately there are too many who listen but do not announce their presence which means that opportunities for "unusual" contacts are missed. I have had contacts on 6meters into Poland in December whcih is unusual to say the least and it only happened because my signal was heard during a friendly multiband VHF contest. More recently on 4meters I had two contacts into Estonia during a UK cumulative contest. Remember that your transmissions during a contest or activity period encourage others to maintain their participation and even if it is a contest you do not have to enter to be a valued participant. On VHF/UHF there is always time for the exchange of a little chat if neither of you is a serious competitor.
Using WSPR mode yiou would be very surprised how far your signals travel even at low power levels. Australia on 30meters is normal!!
I f I had only been listening none of these contacts would have occurred
 
Roger, G8BNE

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