Archive for December, 2010

Don’t Forget About 6m Opening Up This Time of Year

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

   Back on Dec. 20th, I posted about 6m opening up with sporadic E skip.   This is the propagation mode that can suddenly make 400-1500 mile (or more, with double hop Es) contacts possible on 6m.   This is a big part of why they call 6m The Magic Band.   Since Dec. 20th, there have been some decent 6m openings.   One was on Sunday night, if memory serves.   Anyway, I’m reading email right now (4:00pm central) from an FM broadcast band DX’er in South Carolina who is hearing the Dominican Republic well up the FM radio band.   I wouldn’t be surprised if 6m is open.   I can’t monitor myself — my 6m beam broke in half 3 Sundays ago in the blizzard.  
    Get on 6 and have fun.   Winter openings are a lot more valuable than the long-lived, strong ones in summer.   Make the most of it.   Call short CQ’s on 50.125 but don’t hold QSO’s there.   Move up the band.   (You want to leave 50.100-125 open for the DX window — DX meaning no USA/USA contacts)   50.125 and above is where you want to operate stateside.   There’s also a CW-only portion from 50.080-50.100, and there’s often good activity there. 
     But don’t hesitate to call CQ.  You wouldn’t believe how many times the band is open but nobody is actually on.   How do you know the band is open?  By checking the beacon band –US beacons are from 50.060-50.080 and worldwide ones from 50.000-50.060.   Remember, if 100 guys are all listening and nobody is calling CQ, then no one will ever hear a thing.  
     Let me find the link to the good 6m beacon listing… make sure you save that.  
     Worldwide 6m beacons:   
     USA 2m and higher beacons:

     Oh yes — also remember that chat has a very active 6m room.   You want the IARU Region 2 room there (for 50 MHz)

KA0KYZ and WB9LYH Have a Combined 43 Check-Ins Last Night

Thursday, December 30th, 2010

8:05am Thursday —  Want to thank KA0KYZ and WB9LYH for taking the nets last night and for sending me email with their check-ins.   I’ll get the full net reports up here at some point before noon today, perhaps sooner.  
   When I got home last night, I noticed the APRS prop map was very orange from WI east to NY and PA.   Generally speaking, when it’s very humid, or there’s widespread fog, conditions improve, sometimes drastically.   There was a big band opening last January 16-17th.   Many guys were making 600, 800 mile contacts.   What I remember was we had an icy fog and the trees were just spectacular.   What I’m saying is today and especially tonight is probably a good time to get on and work some DX.  
    Really having fun going thru the email reports from KA0KYZ and WB9LYH.   After 30+ months of these nets, we’re still getting new all-time check-ins, plus callsigns I haven’t heard on the air in my 7 years of VHF’ing.   For instance, last night we had two new check-ins from EN55, KC9EGV and K9BTP.    Plus a new one from EN44 — N9MHV.  Also had a new one from EN40 — W9BBP.    New check-ins means the word is getting out, so thanks and congrats to all of us who are helping. 
    So many hams now have 2m all-mode capabilities, yet I bet less than 10% ever use it.   Or else they give it a try, hear white noise and give up.   Now if you can direct those guys toward a time and place where they will at least hear activity once a week, then you raise their interest.   Once that happens, they may improve antennas, feedline and really start enjoying the everyday DX potential on 2m SSB/CW.     Or better yet, add bands like 6m, 222 and 432 MHz and become a confirmed V/UHF’er. 

    Last night, KA0KYZ had 14 check-ins:  N9MHV, N9KOR and N9QWH EN44;  W0MTW EN24;   N9NYA EN43;  W8BYA EN70;  N0IRS EM29;  K0CQ EN32;  W0HXL EN21;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  K0SIX and KC0RQH EN35;  and KC0TRX EN34.

    Last night, WB9LYH had 29 check-ins:  KC9EGV, WA9ISG and K9BTP all EN55;  N9OLT EN64;  VE3LPY and N8WNA EN82;  W8BYA EN70;  W9YZU EM69;  N9YK EN71;  K9KHW EN63;  KC9GMF EN53;  W9BBP and WA9BNZ EN40.    (Nice to have expanding activity from EN40.)  Continuing — N0IRS EM29;  WB0YWW and KG0SJ EN22;  W0HXL EN21;  K0CQ EN32;  N9MHV, N9KOR and N9QWH EN44;  KC0PDX EN41;  WV9E and KA9FOX EN43;  KA0PQW and KA0KYZ EN33;  KC0RQH and K0SIX EN35;  KC0TRX EN34.     

    I already know that I have the 144.240 net next Wed.   WB9LYH is unavailable.   I am 40 miles north of Milwaukee, grid square EN63ao.   Just like WB9LYH, I start at 0100/7pm central by looking north into the U.P. of MI and then I go clockwise a full 360 from there over the next 90 minutes.   I call CQ frequently, every 20 degrees.   Call at least twice on a given heading before nudging the yagis.   So don’t worry about missing me.

Wed. Long-Range 2m SSB Nets — WB9LYH on 144.240 and KA0KYZ on 144.230 Tonight

Wednesday, December 29th, 2010

 WB9LYH in EN54 (middle of WI)  plans to be ON 144.240 tonight, starting at 0100Z by looking NE into the U.P. of MI, and then going clockwise, a full 360 over the next 60-90 minutes.   
  KA0KYZ in EN33 (far SE MN) plans to be ON 144.230 tonight.   Terry actually starts a little bit earlier, so guys in MI, OH and IN can concentrate on him from 0045-0100Z, without missing WB9LYH on 144.240.    KA0KYZ also goes clockwise a full 360, and will be happy to take a 2nd swing, if you ask him to on the real-time VHF chat.   (Choose the IARU Region 2 Chat for 144/432 MHz.)   Full instructions for signing up are at:
   Let’s hope that K8TQK can get some warmer weather in EM89, so he can get back on 144.250.  His antennas have been unable to rotate for several weeks now.   As soon as I hear good news from K8TQK, I’ll share it here.  

   I know many of you have been helping to spread the word about these weekly 2m nets.  Want to thank you for all the help.   Let’s keep attracting new guys to 2m SSB/CW all thru 2011.  And yes, re-energize the veterans to turn their rigs on more often and help keep the bands active.

   ALWAYS remember that even if nets don’t interest you, there are many guys on every Wed. night, across dozens of grids and multiple states.   We encourage our net check-ins to spread out down the band and call around on their own.   So whatever you enjoy doing on 2m, put Wed. night on the schedule.

WV9E 146.460 FM Net Keeps Improving — Now a Vertical Yagi for Working DX.

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

   Got a good email from WV9E overnight.   Let me share what he has to say:   “The net is on this week.  W9RPM has a vertical yagi and can work any weak ones so plan to give us a call.  All licensed amateurs are welcome to join us.
 Email me at :  and let me know you are planning to be on and from what grid square so we can get a beam your way…. 

 SSTV nite or event in LaCrosse area on 2 meter FM ?
 Does anyone in the area have ATV equipment ( I know there are 2 of us atleast).  Plan a new years ATV narrowcast?

 Hope to hear you on the air.
Dave, WV9E”

   This net is on every Thursday at 8:30pm central time, on 146.460.   Look toward the La Crosse/Onalaska, WI area (middle of EN43 grid).   More info is always available at

WB9LYH Enjoys 23 check-ins Last Night on 144.240

Thursday, December 23rd, 2010

   Very strong pre-Christmas turnout last night.   WB9LYH reported good propagation and strong signals.   He heard from:  N9OLT EN64;  N9NYA and W9RPM EN43;  W8BYA EN70;  VE3LPY and N8WNA EN82;  KC8ZJL EN71,  N9OO and N9NDP EN62;  K2DRH EN41;  N0PB EM39;  WB9TAE EN53;  WA9ISG EN55;  WB0YWW and KD0SJ EN22;  W0HXL EN21;  WD0BGZ EN10;  WA9BNZ EN40;  W0ANH EN47;  K0SIX EN35;  VE3KRP EN58 and K9KHW EN63.   
   Mark also listed a N8NA, which (on comes back to a HF guy from Delaware.  So not sure who N8NA actually was, but thanks for checking in.  🙂 

   Mark also says that as of now, he plans to be ON 144.240 next Wed., Dec. 29th.   KA0KYZ in EN33 also plans to be ON 144.230 that night.   Let’s hope that K8TQK can get some warmer weather in EM89, so he can get back on 144.250.   As always, we’ll update here toward next Tuesday.

146.430 Thursday FM Net OFF Until at least Jan. 6, 2011

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

    Please click on this link if you’re looking for info about the Thursday night, 146.430 FM net that I’ve been calling since July 2008.

Scroll Down to Dec. 20th post for Tonight’s 2m SSB Net Info

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

   Tonight we have WB9LYH in EN54cl, smack in the middle of WI.   He’s on 144.240, starting at 7pm central/8pm eastern.   Mark starts out pointing northeast toward the U.P. of MI and then swings clockwise over the next 60-90 minutes, calling CQ in a full 360 arc.

Month from Today — Next Big VHF/UHF Contest

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

   This website has the most visitors on Wed. and Thur. so I want to get the ARRL January VHF Sweepstakes information up here, front and center.   Visit this link for everything you need to know   At that link, there are rules, helpful hints, plus my series of articles called VHF Contesting School.   Feel free to share this info with your ham buddies or clubs.  
    The contest runs from 1900Z on Sat. Jan 22nd until 0400Z on early Monday Jan 24th.   In central time terms, that’s from 1pm Sat. until 10pm Sun.

222 Tuesday is ON Every Tuesday + SW Lower MI has 6 and 2m Activity Every Tuesday

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

  Unless you’re brand new to this website, you know about 222 Tuesday by now.   It’s a general activity night for this under-used VHF band.   Ops all across USA and VE are encouraged to get on and call CQ on/near 222.100 SSB/CW and 223.500 FM.   Swing the beams and see who all is out there.   No net control, no single area of focus, it’s as good as each 222 operator makes it.   Most guys have been getting on about 7-7:30pm your local time.  

    If you’d like more 222 Tuesday info, click on this link: 
   That link also details 2m and 6m activity out of SW Lower MI  (EN72) every Tuesday.

6m Has Been Opening up Lately. PA is Hearing 95.5MHz FM out of TX This Morning

Monday, December 20th, 2010

    9:55am Monday —  If you have a 6m antenna that isn’t broken (lost mine in the blizzard 2 weekends ago), then you want to pay attention.   I know I’ve seen email about little openings during the past week, and now this morning, I saw an FM broadcast band DX’er in Pennsylvania talk about receiving 95.5MHz out of Austin, TX, on a 1436 mile path.   That’s a pretty healthy MUF (maximum usable frequency).  
    If this is like a typical summertime day of sporadic E skip on 6m, the morning opening should grow more widespread, perhaps have an afternoon lull and then re-intensify toward mid-late afternoon, into the evening.  
    In short, be aware of potential on 6.   This is the time of year where we get the secondary, smaller pop of E skip.