Monday, 16 February 2015

630m Crossband Summary

Saturday evening's crossband operation was a fun time. Conditions were reasonably undisturbed and some things were learned about the potential of our 'new band'. I really do hope that US amateurs can gain access to the band soon as there appears to be much interest in this part of the spectrum by hams south of the border.

Operating at the specified top-of-the-hour time slots only, proved to be a good way to go as it relieved the boredom of calling CQ for hours at a time while providing a wide variance in propagation conditions throughout the evening.

The breakdown of my log is as follows:

0305z K7EK Gary - Tacoma, WA 80m 599 / 559

0500z WA3TTS calls me following CQ ... sent several reports but N/C. He is 599 on 80m

0510z W7RH Bob - AZ 160m 579 / 579 reports no QSB and 'solid signal' 

0515z WØYSE Neil - near Vancouver, WA 160m 589/ 599 

0520z WA3TTS calls me on 80m following CQ ... sends 429 /QSB report but his 579 report sent several times not acknowledged, N/C [he later reports technical problems]

0555z AB0CW Mark - CO answers my 'early' CQ on 80m ... 599 / 559 solid QSO

0602z NO3M Eric - PA 160m, answers my CQ and we exchange reports 599 / 339

0704z NO3M calls me on 80m to report my signal now solid 559 and we have a few exchanges. Eric is really burning the midnight-oil for this one and much appreciated.

0707z W7DRA Mike, near Seattle, WA calls on 80m 599 / 569

0735z W7DRA 160m reports 579/ 579 

0740z QRT

John, VE7BDQ, operating from a small suburban backyard (80m Inverted-'L' loaded) reports working:

0203z  K7MXE WA / 80m
0259z  WØYSE WA / 160m
0517z  K7EK WA 80m
0707z  NO3M PA / 80m
0730z  W7DRA WA / 160m

One thing that was learned, and will be of interest to small backyard suburban locations, is that low 'cloudwarming' antennas will produce good strong signals both locally and on first-hop skywave stations. John's antenna system is both lower and smaller than my own and nowhere near the ocean. My antenna is probably about twice the height of John's and parallels the beach, almost suspended over the ocean and at an effective height of around 70' ... probably even more at low-tide ... yet, two stations (one in Washington) and one in Arizona, both reported John's signal slightly stronger than my own. Power-wise, I run a bit more output power as well. This bodes well for those who might be thinking that their low and short 630m antennas will not be effective radiators ... It seems that our new band is very forgiving and that not all of the RF is being used to cook earthworms after all!

My thanks go to all of those amateurs that took the time to work us, as well as those that sent SWL reports (received from WA, AZ, IL and CA) ... without your interest, there would be no event.

With two more VE7 stations now on the band (VE7CNF and VA7MM), it is great to see the interest building. It will soon be possible to call CQ and actually have another station respond, on 630m!

Hopefully, one more crossband evening can be had before the winter conditions vanish and maybe, by next season, there will be more VE stations on the other side of the Rockies to talk to!

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