In order to stay all VHF to MG (which I am contemplating) I want to expand my QSO count using QRP odds. My idea is, if I use my FT818 and have trouble on 2M/70cm switch over to 6M during the activation and try to obtain contacts. I have the idea of purchasing a EndFedz 6M antenna. Is using 6M realistic in remoter areas? Any thoughts on this welcomed.
With only 6W you will be well-served with any yagi - two elements is pretty easy to pack and assemble on a summit - a small tripod can support it (like a light stand). Here are two of similar design:
This weekend is the September VHF contest - you should make lots of contacts: A 2 Element Direct Feed Yagi for Multiple bands by WB2VUO
Yes, an end-fed will work - if there is both propagation and other hams on 6M. An end fed is light and easy to carry so worth taking along. I have made contacts using an end-fed - same as a conventional dipole in that regard. A 2 element beam or Moxon would help a great deal as Etienne pointed out and this weekend is a prime time due to the V/UHF contest.
The thing about 6m, Erik, is that it is either dead as a doornail or in your face open. It can go from dead to hopping in minutes as a sporadic E opening starts, and close up just as fast, with an almost audible clang! If it is open, then 5 watts to a wire antenna will get you S9 reports from improbable distances. To give an idea, when I decided to try 6m with my FT817 I built a wire antenna from the UKSMG website, a GW0GHF, basically a long wire and counterpoise, and in my first summer sporadic E season on SSB I worked 34 countries, in Europe and just barely into North Africa. Of course in EU we pack the countries in tightly, but by analogy you should cover the States. However, outside the Es season (late April to early September but there is usually a weak winter season centred on January) contacts will be few and far between. In short, go for it, when the band is open it is pure magic!
Take a look at the Par Electronics, 6m Moxon antenna. Light, easy to take apart but most importantly it has gain! A bit better than a 2 element Yagi.
73 Ed DD5LP.
Awesome thanks to all for input! I’ll be in southern Appalachian Mountains this weekend hopefully I can get in on VHF activities.
My advice is make sure you put Alerts on SW3 your intentions to use 6m from a summit to give any chasers a chance to see if they can hear you.
One other tip: If you have a 5/8 wave 2 meter [telescopic] antenna for your '818 all you need to do is add a 54" counterpoise to the ground connection on the radio and adjust sections to achieve best SWR. The 5/8 wave on 2M is very close to 1/4 wave on 6M.
Good Luck this weekend!
Howard. Yes I have read about the 5/8 wave 2M to 6M antenna and this post reminded me of it. I will pursue that option since I do have a 5/8 antenna! I’ll give it a go this weekend and report back!
What I have observed this year on 6m summer Es season:
Good Es openings and no one in cw, very few on ssb and an abundance of stations with high and very high power + very long yagis in digital modes.
Ham radio magazines such as CqDL report of very nice dx contacts but made with 750W and very long yagis by a large number of stations.
My conclusion digital mode on 6m is no more qrp mode but high power mode.
I would not be amused to see sota activation transform itself into a 90% digital mode thing.
To be honest, I was in 2019 very active on 6m with cw qrp and simple antenna. I switched to sota chasing because there was this year 0 activity on 6m cw.
There is a continuous confusion amongst many hams that FT8 is QRP mode. It is no such thing. It is a weak signal mode that can benefit significantly from QRO powers and big antennas. It just happens that as a weak signal mode it can produce great results for modest and QRP powers.
Likewise with many other digital modes. They are weak signal modes that enable small stations to achieve better than using SBS and CW.
A limit is that some digital modes require a very linear signal and for most 100W HF radios this is not possible at full power. Hence the commonly seen advice that PSK31 should be run at a maximum of 25% of full output.
Thanks for the Informations too.
I dont find the Sota Beams SB6 Meter on theire Page? Isnt it available ?
73 Greats Michael
The SB6 is no longer available, it also looks like the PAR electronics stressed Moxon is also out of production - I have e-mailed them this morning to ask.
Re 6m activity through lock down, I only had access to an indoor 20m loop antenna, but with the ATU could get a signal out on 6 and 4m. CW 1, SSB 2 contacts, FT8 around 500 with 23 Countries. FT8 had traffic almost every day between April and August, monitoring and calling on 6 SSB only brought a couple of contacts for the entire period. I was limited to a max 20w, but the lock down property sits on the 1500ft contour in IO84. 6m from the nearby fells (not SOTA) using a 5/8th ladder line vertical and 3w from the 818 reduced the high noise figure from home and with perseverance made a good number of contacts to around 1200km, further than that with my equipment was pushing it. Using a 4 ele wide spaced yagi at 40’ from the camper van from the road behind the house (after restrictions lifted) with 45w output changed the game completely, US, Canada, Guadalupe etc, but again FT8 with little or no activity on SSB despite putting the parrot on to call. The FT8 frequency always had multiple traces showing at the time. Just my observations…
When/where? I have an 817 and a 6m dipole. I’m a bit far from the “Southern Appalachians” being in NoVA, but can try and chase you if I know when. If you don’t mind hopping on 6m AM, I’ve been interested in trying that band/mode with my VX-7r HT (massive 1w carrier!). I’m in NoVA and could set up at W4V/SH-030 for a S2S.
I agree that both 6 meter CW and SSB activity has suffered due to the popularity of the digital modes. We have had the same situation here in NA this year: when we have a decent Es opening, no one is on CW and few are on SSB. I used to love operating QRP on 6 meters. I focus more on SOTA and satellites now.
There will be plenty of activity later this evening in UK and EU on 6m, between 1900z and 2130z. Including me activating a SOTA summit (with a rare antique SOTAbeams SB6).
Chris. I am planning W4C/EP-001 North of Winston-Salem this afternoon @3:00PM maybe some others around that area tomorrow depending on work schedule. I’ll put alerts out tomorrow morning.
I might be able to get out to Blue Mtn (W4V/SH-030) this afternoon if the weather holds out. However, there are a lot of mountains between us. What frequency will you start on? SSB or FM?
It is not that because a certain amount of power is allowed, that using it is wise or giving more fun.
I tend to having the impression that out of psychological reasons people have difficulty to resist the fast and easy way if it is presenting itself.
With regard to SOTA and my own chasing, well I do it with 5W qrp and a small antenna. And yes I will be very happy when I reach the 1000 points, being now about halfway.
With regard to the activators, I am highly impressed by all their skills, operational, physical and ham spirit. I am 100% sure that activators and chasers are belonging to the absolute top of what can be found in the ham radio world.
Chris, My tentative plan is another attempt at Mt. Moore north of Winston Salem around 14-1500 local. I called for 2+ hour yesterday and had 1 QSO. I tried to get into the repeater nearby but couldn’t so I thought maybe I wasn’t tx-ing but in testing last night all good. I guess not many simplex scanners in area. I’ll try 146.52FM and 6M Calling Freq. SSB during that time. I’m going to hike up but rain is forecast throughout the day.