The so-called “Magic Band” was as unmagical as it has been for a very long time last night. My “best DX” from The Cloud G/SP-015 (IO83) was to stations in IO71, IO90, JO02, IO64 and IO94 in the activity contest. Just 46 QSOs made on 6m (all SSB bar one on CW) in the 2.5 hour contest period, which is very poor.
I was early on summit (for a change, usually last minute for the contest nights!) so tried a little 6m FT8. GM6NX was worked in IO86, and SM and OK stations were seen on the RX window (but not worked) - but things only deteriorated from there.
Let’s hope the magic starts to happen in June!
I believe the description comes from ww2 when it was used to link all of the RAF airfields day and night using 400W of cw from a pair of 4CX250B and a 3 E beam
If the SFI climbs above 200 the magic will get really sparkly! Hopefully by the next Activity contest my 6m antenna will be off the ground and in the air where it belongs!
No wonder we won the war… the RAF could do time travel by using 4CX250Bs in the 1940s when they were only 1st released in 1960
My humble apologies, I have done a trawl and although Beam Tetrode transmitting valves were manufactured before WW2 I can find no evidence of the system I described. It may be a bit of folk law. I am sure that at the introduction of the 6m band this use of 6m was discussed by fellow amateurs.
It’s based on fact but has been distorted in the telling.
US Military RADAR stations in the high Arctic (DEW line) used troposcatter links such as Ace High and White Alice on 900MHz with huge QRO transmitters to “billboard” sized fixed dishes. They also used meteor scatter links. Both enabled RTTY and telephone circuits to cover long distances where HF comms is less than guaranteed. This was in the 50s / early 60s before satellite links and both troposcatter and meteor scatter are resistant to nuclear attack effects.(Assuming you unplugged the antennas before a hot one went off!)
The meteor scatter systems were full duplex around 50MHz using about 1kW each end to small Yagis. There were enough sporadic meteors to allow an effective 9k6baud link, obviously in bursts. Each end of the consisted of a pair of duplex TX/RX and each end constantly sent a probing signal on its TX frequency and the other end listened for this. Once the probe was heard at the distant end then there was a meteor trail and it would start sending traffic not probes. The other end hearing traffic not probes stopped probing and also sent traffic (with handshaking). This would continue until the meteor trail ionisation failed and they went back to probing. This repeated over and over as sporadic meteors entered the path. So it was either probing or sending traffic.
As long as you don’t need instant comms but can wait till the next meteor it’s brilliant. It’s also hard to intercept.
6m Has been Magic already this year, UA, TA, 7X, PY and the usual EU stuff all worked this Month from IO84. Rather poor for the last week or so, but thats the Magic I guess.
6m has a contest filter maybe?
I’ve always thought that the magic is the way a completely dead band will in a matter of seconds become full of EDX signals, courtesy of sporadic E - and die again almost as fast, just as you have found a nice DX signal to call! I’ve never had the luck to encounter a world-wide F2 opening but I have been told that they are next level magic, sourcery perhaps (with apologies to Terry Pratchett!)
The magic has already started for DXers on 6m Tom. Openings to Africa and South America into the UK this month on several days.
Tom and others,
The magic is over here. In 40 minutes this afternoon I worked 22 JA stations. I missed the start of the frivolities by at least 15 minutes. I used FT8. 70 W, 3 ele beam.
Would have been hammered by the locals if I had tried SSB or CW and be lucky to get 1 contact.
I just called CQ and let the magic work.
JA is typically 8k km from here. London to Dallas or London to Beijing to give it some perspective.
In the middle of it I had one decode from a station in the Caribbean. I’m familiar with false decodes and this appeared real. More magic.
My hearing problems vanish on FT8. No accents. Just crisp text. And the log is kept for me in clear print. OK I do have to press a button to log a contact but I can do that.
I thought the TEP season was over. Down here we usually need an Es extension and that may have been the case today as some VK4s were seen.