Six Meters (50 MHz) Has Been Starting to Open Up

  8:35am Sunday 

   Back on Friday, May 3rd, I posted info about the 50 MHz Spring Sprint, which will be on Saturday, May 11th, from 6-10pm central time, 7-11pm eastern, 5-9 mountain and 4-8 pacific.  Six meters has been opening up some the past 3-4 days with sporadic E skip.  Sporadic E skip is the primary propagation mechanism that “opens” 50 MHz up for much of the time in May, June and July.  (Yes, openings can occur at other times of the year, but I’m going to keep it simple in this post)   Google sporadic E skip if you want to do more research.  

   6 meters has been very popular for many decades.  Many call it the Magic Band, because it can open up just like *that*.   When 6 is open, even guys with compromise antennas will hear some DX from 500-1500 miles away.  Sometimes there’s double-hop skip and contacts are made from one side of the US/Canada to the other.  6 can also open up to the Caribbean and occasionally overseas, but again, that’s beyond the scope of this post.  
   You want more 6m info?   This is a good website:  www.smirk.org .   I would especially pay attention to this page at the SMIRK website:  http://www.smirk.org/opaids.html  At that “opaids” page, there’s a wealth of information on how to be a smart 6 meter operator.  Take some time and get familiar with the rules of the road on the Magic Band. 

    You can also follow along with the very active 6m chat page at www.on4kst.com.  It’s exciting to see who is working who, where the band is open to, and learning how veterans operate on 50 MHz. 
    The main thing to know (and the reason I got interested in V/UHF) is that 6 is the one VHF band where you can work dozens of states and over 100 grids in a single weekend.  Hams who say V/UHF is boring are missing out — especially when it comes to 6 meters.

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