Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Magic band?

There’s nowt magic about 6m when it’s dead - and when no-one is on it!

Last night it was open for DX until gone 10pm local. Today it was open as I left the house at 6.30pm. But by the time I had dropped Jimmy and his mate off at the scout camp, walked up Gun G/SP-013 and set up the delta loop, there was not a sausage.

Eventually, switching over to 6m SSB, and a 'phone call to M0GIA, brought me a very marginal 31 x 31 QSO into Macclesfield - yippee… Then it was a 59 x 59 solid contact into Stoke-on-Trent. Graham G3OHC then came up to give me an active SOTA chaser and a bit more distance - but that was my lot.

Lengthy periods of calling after self-spotting on 50.090MHz CW brought zilch, and indeed the band was as flat as a pancake. So still I remain on a princely ONE DXCC on 6m for the G3WGV UK CW Table. One day, one day…

Now, what band shall I do in the morning? Any requests?

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:Sorry Tom. I made a dipole specially and set everything up an hour before. The radio was tuned to the frequency and burbling merrily away. I returned to the house and then I forgot. The boys were fastened onto YouTube and forget, despite intense training, to look at SOTAWatch periodically for G and GW summits. I will try harder Sir to improve. Detention? [Yes please if it’s CW classes]. 73. David M6WOW

In reply to M1EYP:

It’s magic when you’ve not been licensed for long and hear dirty rough auroral signals for the first time and work all sorts of Scandanavian goodness with an FT690mk1 on it’s whip. Then later on that evening hear an SM station up above the Artic Circle on Auroral-Es as clean as a whistle. Then when the summer DX season starts you work 7Q7XX on about 1W into an HB9CV and only call 2 or 3 times to bust the pile up. Then feel sheepish when you see the pile up busting PA wasn’t switched on. That’s when it’s magic!

I’ve been licensed at two sunspot maxima and both times wasn’t able to partake in any F2 DX on 6m. I don’t intend to miss out the next time round.

Andy
MM0FMF

Tom,

I would be interested to know more details of your delta loop. Have you posted the information somewhere?

Thanks

Richard
G0IBE

Yesterday I was working on 50MHz from S5/PK-002 as S58SOTA/P with IC-703, 10W, 2el. HB9 antenna. Conditions were not very good. On 50MHz I made only 12 QSOs, 4 DXCC (S5, EN, LZ, T7). I hope I will catch better opening ( to G land, HI) next time.

73, Milos S57D

1 Like

Yes it can be the ‘magic’ band, but if it’s not being ‘magic’ and there is no contest it is almost certainly ‘dead’ !

During the 2008 UKSMG 50 MHz contest the band was open quite well with strong in-band video signals, yet hardly any one was on the band, it can be very frustrating too.

This years UKSMG was a little better, with two real DX contacts in the Log in the form of TR8CA on SSB on the Saturday (just over an hour after it started) and 5N0OCH on CW with about 30 minutes of the contest left, but it was still not very busy.

Lets hope is does become ‘magic’ for this Weekends RSGB 50MHz Trophy.

Stewart G0LGS

Thanks for the comments, all.

M6WOW - I’m more than happy to help with the CW if you’re having a crack at it. I’m a relative beginner myself, but have really enjoyed the learning process so far.

G0IBE - the 6m delta loop antenna actually belongs to Richard G3CWI; I’ve been borrowing it for rather a long time! Richard would be a better person to ask about all the particulars than me.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

G0IBE - the 6m delta loop antenna actually belongs to Richard G3CWI;
I’ve been borrowing it for rather a long time! Richard would be a
better person to ask about all the particulars than me.

That’s why it is not working for you Tom… make your own and it will work for you :wink:

Richard, the best details for a delta loop are on the website of Steve GW7AAV. I made one up using 75 ohm TV coaxial for the matching section and it worked first time with a near perfect match… fluke?

I went out portable for a short while on Tuesday up my local ripple to work Paul G4MD on Manod Mawr GW/NW-035 - the home QTH sits on the wrong side of the valley (huh, even valley is too strong a description for the landscape around here!). While I was waiting for Paul to appear I tried my 30m / 40m / 60m link dipole out on 6m. Surprisingly the 60m option worked best and I heard NP4A at 55, but couldn’t get my measly few watts back to him. For those that run HF from an 817/857/897 or something similar, it could be worthwhile checking whether the dipole works on 6m and then having a look on the band while out portable.

73, Gerald

In reply to S57D:

Hi Milos,

I keep looking on frequency for you, but nothing heard so far. S57RR is a regular signal in here on 6m CW, but not at times you have been portable. Hope you get some good results soon.

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG:

It works just fine Gerald, but relies on either activity (ie 4th Tuesday evening of the month) or the band being open. I strongly suspect results would be worse if I made my own!

BTW, did you make your 5 el 2m beam yourself then? :wink:

One of these days I will get that delta loop up when 6m is open! The last time the band was open and I was on a summit, I was actually operating through the 40m dipole. SWR was reasonably acceptable if not perfect, and I made QSOs into Gibraltar, Spain and Portugal.

So still waiting for a proper opening while using the delta loop; fingers crossed it could coincide with the 6m activity contest next Tuesday night - it would be nice!

Tom M1EYP

In reply to G4OIG:
Hello Gerald, I tured my antenna to G land, but there was no propagation in your direction. I hope for the QSOs on 50MHz band with United Kingdom in the future. It will be great to have S2S QSO. :-)))

73, Milos S57D

I hope to be indulging in a few ‘magic bands’ this weekend at the Rainow Jazz Festival. So unlikely that I’ll be activating this weekend, although if I do, I may well go with 6m again, what with the PW 50MHz contest.

Jimmy M3EYP is branching off without his usual activating partner (me) tomorrow. He is going up Shining Tor with his mates, one of whom he is busy cajoling into getting an M6!

Tom M1EYP

In reply to G4OIG:

I plan to activate Seager Hill this afternoon, and have a HF dipole & ATU in my rucksack, so will put out a few CQ calls on 50.150 ssb. Then it is off to B&Q to get the bits to make a proper 50MHz antenna. Thanks for the info.

Richard
G0IBE

In reply to M1EYP:

Just Googled that Tom, it looks good, pity I can’t manage it…I’ve just wiped the cobwebs off my alto so a workshop would help me get over a couple of decades of neglect!

…and good for Jimmy!

73

Brian G8ADD

PS The magic band has stayed in bed so far today but I notice the noise level is increasing so perhaps it’ll wake up this afternoon!

In reply to G0IBE:

Well that didn’t work. One single 6M contact from Seager Hill to Ledbury, all of 5 miles. Very quiet on 2M SSB as well with only G3OHC, and two 2M FM contacts to make up the four. A very quiet hill.

Richard.
G0IBE

In reply to G0IBE:
I listened for you on 2m SSB and heard nothing, that summit must be well screened as I’m only in Brum!

73

Brian G8ADD

PS A few weak S European stations coming through now on 6!

In reply to M1EYP:

BTW, did you make your 5 el 2m beam yourself then? :wink:

No, but the mods to make it into a dual bander were carried out by my fair hand to the dimensions prepared by Martin DK7ZB. I initially wondered whether 13 elements would be too fiddly to manage on a summit, but with the colour coding I’ve used it takes very little time to get it together.

I use 2 sections of 10mm diameter glass fibre tube to support the top of my 6m delta loop - they slide into an aluminium tube centre section about 300mm long which fixes to the pole using a pipe clip (now where did I get that idea from?). I don’t bother with fixings between the support tubes and the wire - small plastic ties fixed to the loop of wire indicate the 1/3rd points and I just tape the top section to the glass fibre - easy solution. By having the top section horizontal and the feeder at the bottom the antenna can be rotated.

Gerald

In reply to G0IBE:

Sorry I had to be at a meeting this afternoon Richard otherwise I would have definitely had a listen out for you on 6m. I remember Seager well - an evening activation with the temperature still about 25C (32C during the day) - I lay in the grass chatting. Idyllic!

Hope the construction works out okay.

73, Gerald

In reply to G0IBE:

Hi Richard,

Don’t be put off 6m due to lack of contacts today, as already stated, the band can be far from “magic” when it’s flat, or there isn’t a contest on. I suffer from tremendous electrical noise at my home QTH on both 6m & 4m, & have had to compromise on antenna’s for those bands because of it.

I built a Delta loop to Steve GW7AAV’s design & it worked very well, but after much experimentation I found a dipole worked better for me in my situation.

I had fixed my first dipole in the attic where I found the least noise so needed another for taking out portable. I made it from 2 telescopic whips, available from Maplin, & a piece of plastic as a supporting middle section.

I built it so that when fully extended it gives the best match at 50.150MHz but by sliding in the relevant number of the end sections it also works on 4m & 2m.

During a very leisurely activation of G/SP-008 Boulsworth Hill - Lad Law with Scott 2E0RCS this April, I put a call out on 50.150 SSB under flat conditions & was very pleased with the 4 contacts I got, the first of whom was John G4MBN in Sheffield, who along with Kevin M0XLT who was next to call are both 6m aficionado’s. A local chat with Mick M0PVA, way over on the other side of Pendle Hill was followed by a another very nice QSO with Doug G1KLZ. None of those QSO’s was hurried & I was talking with John in Sheffield for a good 12 minutes according to my log. Very pleasant :slight_smile:

When the band is open you do not need much power, or indeed much of an antenna to get surprising distances, so I would echo the comments already made to those with HF/6m radio’s, to take a listen on 6m & maybe try out your HF antenna on that band as sometimes, they can work without any modification.

I also had a go on 6m SSB from G/SP-011 Freeholds Top on the 3rd May using my 80m / 60m linked dipole & managed 4 contacts again, including a summit to summit with Tony 2E0LAE/P on GW/NW-012 which was his first S2S on 6m & also the first time Freeholds top had been activated on that band.

Steve’s delta loop design does work very well, & if he doesn’t mind me linking from here, it can be found at:
http://gw7aav.googlepages.com/50mhzdeltaloop

I uploaded a couple of photos of the telescopic dipole I made to my Flickr site, there’s not much on it yet, but it is quite new :wink:

Incidentally, there are a few 6m contests this coming weekend (20th/21st June) so there should be plenty of UK activity on the band even if it is flat. The RSGB 50MHz Trophy contest runs from 1400z on Saturday to 1400z on Sunday, & the RSGB 50MHz Backpackers contest runs from 1000z to 1400z on Sunday.

I would really like to take part in the backpackers contest as I now have an offer of a FT817 to use, as the rules for this contest are very restrictive (3 Watts maximum output & at least 100m from your transportation vehicle) but I would be very short of time after having other commitments on the Sunday morning. I may enter the 6 hour open section of the Trophy contest on Saturday instead, which would give me much more time & I could use my FT897 with 20 Watts from somewhere nice, or 100 Watts from somewhere near my bike.

I still haven’t decided yet, but at least I, and many others will be active on 6m this weekend & will gladly work any activators who chose to use the band. It would probably be helpful if you know the locator of any summit you activate, or point them to the database,where they can find it. Also be prepared to give any contest stations their serial (QSO) number.

In any case, 6m is a great band when it is open, which chances are, it will be at some point this weekend.

Have fun :slight_smile:

73,

Mark G0VOF

1 Like

In reply to thread:

When I first went on 6 metres I needed an antenna in a hurry, and I found the design for the GW0GHF antenna on the UKSMG website, basically this was a 66 foot long wire tuned against a quarter wave counterpoise. I ran it from the gutter to a conifer at about 5 metres above ground, the tuner under the gutter and the counterpoise dangling. Like all these long wires used on six metres it had a polar diagram like a hedgehog, with many deep nulls but several dB of gain on the lobes. It got me a lot of DX on sporadic E with some auroral E and true auroral, and I worked about 40 countries with my FT817, but I often wonder how many contacts the nulls cost me!

When I go out portable I use a folding dipole on 2 metres, but I carry a couple of lengths of very thick wire with crocodile clips on one end. When clipped to the ends of the 2 metre dipole it resonates on 6 metres, and this suffices for contacts into the Mediterranean area, east Europe and Scandinavia (oh, and Iceland…but not, so far, across the pond!) I think that unless you have ambitions for multi-hop contacts into the Americas, etc, this is all the antenna you need. Either the E layer is ackling, or it isn’t: the DX is S9 or it is absent. I won’t say you could do it on a piece of wet string…but if you use salt water it might be on!

Carrying a beam might help with G contacts if the band is closed, but it isn’t at all necessary if the band is open.

73

Brian G8ADD

PS Had an odd little opening this afternoon, nothing but HA’s coming through!