Sunday 1 June 2014

Watching Six....Waiting For the Magic

It's that time of the year again. Those truly addicted to 6m know what I mean. Since the late 60's I have been held hostage by the 6m gods from mid May until late July. The 6m gods know when each of us leave the house, for it is usually then, that the band opens. Unsurprisingly, it closes just before we get home again. It's the time of the year when all activities must be carefully weighed against the risk of missing "the big one".

I first became intrigued by the magic of six meters even before getting my licence. As a highly impressionable early teen,  CQ's VHF column tantalised me with pictures of Japanese stations that had been working into North America during the peak of  Cycle 19, the monster of them all. Most of the stations were  homebrew AM and using amazingly simple transmitters, with single 6AQ5's or single 807's...tubes never designed to achieve such VHF greatness. As if that weren't enough, all had that beautiful M-131 microphone as well!

JA7JU's Homebrew 6m Cycle 19 Station

Today seems the first good opening to Europe for our east coast friends. More often than not, the rest of the country is left only to watch or to drool at what they are missing.


But....every once in a while the gods shine favourably on the west coast and heaven help you and those you live with should it happen on one of those days that you left the house!


It's still quiet today, here on the west coast, but soon the magic will happen once again.


Roger G3XBM said...

Good luck with the blog Steve.

Unknown said...

Steve, Glad to see you blogging. I hope the energy to continue remains with you. Hope you will keep the old site going too since there are a few projects there that may yet get the attention of my soldering iron. John AD7EV

Steve McDonald said...

Thanks John and Roger....and yes John, I hope so as well! The main website will continue for sure, especially to keep track of any 630m activity but I may remove the VA7LF page to gain some more storage space. My ISP gives me 20Mb for free and I'm right at the edge now.

73, Steve

Anonymous said...

Go Steve

from Fans in BC

Anonymous said...

Nice blog, although I do have a bias towards using Wordpress!

I too am a big fan of 6m. I used to have a crankup tower down in Tucson (DM42) and a couple of 3 el yagis (not phased, just one that I built myself for portable use elsewhere in the area). My most fond memory was during the last solar peak and hearing a station from FRANCE blasting in, 30-40 over S9! I thought it was a local and I couldn't believe what I was witnessing. I worked a pileup of EU stations for about 10 minutes. One of my best on-air memories in ham radio really.

- Bert WF7I

Steve McDonald said...

Thanks Bert - it really is an amazing band and glad you had a chance to hear it at a solar peak. At times like that there seems to be almost no attenuation of signals when arriving via F2. The past few cycles, except this one, had wall-to-wall (50.050-50.400) JA signals, hard against the pin, day after day...hard to believe that now. Maybe we will run into each other on six again from your new location.