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It's lonely down below 3700 kHz




 
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Author Topic: It's lonely down below 3700 kHz  (Read 14869 times)
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AB1GX
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« on: March 27, 2007, 08:34:56 PM »

It seems all the AM is jammed into the ghetto.  It pretty quiet down in the boondocks.

Are there any AM meeting places (like 3885) down there for the extras?
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Steve - WB3HUZ
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« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2007, 08:36:18 PM »

Any clear freq. Call CQ.
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AF9J
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« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2007, 07:09:43 AM »

I agree.  I know that there are a couple of groups that meet down around 3733, and 3720, but I have yet to hear them.  Everything I hear, is around 3885.  I hate that part of the band.  It's been a zoo for decades above 3850.  I could call CQ down in the 3600s (there's lots of space down there), but my presently ultra wimpy signal, doesn't exactly provide armchair copy in the noisy band condx. we're having.  So, many hams will just ignore it.  I prefer to answer CQs, when I don't have a killer signal.

73,
Ellen - AF9J

It seems all the AM is jammed into the ghetto.  It pretty quiet down in the boondocks.

Are there any AM meeting places (like 3885) down there for the extras?
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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #3 on: March 28, 2007, 01:32:10 PM »

It seems all the AM is jammed into the ghetto.  It pretty quiet down in the boondocks.
Are there any AM meeting places (like 3885) down there for the extras?

To borrow from Yogi, "This is like deja vu all over again..."

Limiting yourself to 'below 3700' can't be a whole lot more productive than limiting yourself to the ghetto. I've been down below 3800 MANY times, with hardly any regular activity beyond the Canadian group, 'KYV, 'HUZ, 'JN, 'BIL and very few others.

It's been posted and discussed a number of times ('beat to death' might be more accurate) in the QSO forum, but once more can't hurt?

3650-3750, with the 3725 being Canada's AM equivalent to our 3885. But any unused frequency is fair game. Weekends and afternoon/early evenings are best for low power, Ellen.

"Go where the action isn't. Call CQ. Don't wait for someone else to do it for you, they're already waiting for you to do it for them." he said, thinking of his crapped out rig. "It must've been all those unanswered CQs...."   Roll Eyes
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AF9J
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« Reply #4 on: March 28, 2007, 02:25:40 PM »

OK,

Thanks for the info Todd. Smiley  I'll try to make more of an effort to get on after I get home from work (where I am at the present time).  BTW, does AM activity taper off like other 80m activity does during the Spring and summer (due to the increase in weather related QRN)?

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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WD8BIL
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« Reply #5 on: March 28, 2007, 02:51:38 PM »

Yes!
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AF9J
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« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2007, 03:17:54 PM »

Bummer!  So then does anybody operate AM during the Spring & Summer (say on the higher bands)?

Ellen - AF9J
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Pete, WA2CWA
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« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2007, 03:30:36 PM »

Bummer!  So then does anybody operate AM during the Spring & Summer (say on the higher bands)?

Ellen - AF9J

Check and/or call CQ between 21.400 and 21.430
29.0 to 29.2 lots of AM during sunspot activity but most hang between 29.0-29.1; Sporadic E openings during late Spring and Summer months can excite activity even during sunspot minimum
Same is true for 6 meters around 50.4; I've worked lots of AM during "E" openings.

If you like to feel the pain, the 20 meter AM calling frequency is 14.286.
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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2007, 03:34:29 PM »

Sure 'nuff, Ellen. I just got back on the air in March of '06, so I was anxious make up for lost time. Never had trouble finding someone to talk with.
 
As the wx improves, many folks get busy with outside chores, BBQs, parties, vacations, and so on. But the improved wx brings with it T-storms and their accompanying static crashes. So it's difficult at times, but certainly doable. I did a lot of operating last summer.

If you get home before 1800, try jumping in with the 'What's For Dinner' crowd on 3733. They leave at 1800 to let a SSB net take the frequency.

You might try around 3725 also. Al, VE3AJM and a few of the gang in Ontario will probably hear you fine. They're usually on past 1800 and now make some evening appearances as well.

Higher bands (above 40) are still pretty dopey most days, but there are some openings.
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W1IA
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« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2007, 07:06:19 PM »

One of the reasons some don't wander down is that the big Broadcash rigs are a pain in the scroat to retune. But other than that I have found 3685 kHz to been a nice frequency...no relation to 3885 kHz...just a clear area.

But I agree with Steve, any frequency is fair game.

Brent(Tina) W1IA
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WA3VJB
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« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2007, 07:53:27 PM »

Look, if there's a 27-party round table on 3885, grab someone you'd like to talk to and drag them to a clear spot down low that you've already scouted out.

When you say as much, watch how many people join you.


This whole "oh please CQ, won't someone talk to me" thing is partly from heightened expectations. It may take YEARS for people to get in the habit of swinging down low. After all, not everyone keeps in mind that the phone bands have really expanded in just the past few months.

So, lead them down there, by one and two at a time, and help them get in the habit of enjoying a nice spot on the dial, wherever it happens to be at the moment.



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AF9J
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« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2007, 08:34:41 PM »

Hi Todd,

Yeah, I've noticed activity is spotty at best above 75m.  So you were QRT for awhile until 2006.  How long were you off the air? I went through 2 QRT periods myself:

1.)1978-1982: I got my license in Feb. '78 at age 14 (one of the last Novice WD9 calls). My parents had this hangup about me spending more than the cost of a mediocre CB, so it was virtually impossible for me to pick up a rig during this time frame.  I finally ended up getting my first rig (an HW-16 with an HG-10B VFO) right after I graduated high school, behind my dad's back.  Boy was he mad (he felt I was wasting money I needed for college)!  I almost let my license lapse in 1980 (my mom talked me out of it, said it wasn't hurting me to have my ham license, and maybe some day I'd get some use out of it), because I had no access to a club for loaner rigs, or even a club station to use, and felt I might not ever get on the air.

2.) 2001-mid 2005: the hard times I mentioned in my other active post, happened around this time period.  I ended up selling off all of my good gear to pay my bills.  I was left with nothing but an HT, and an Index Labs QRP Plus (which is not a very good rig).  I also had an antenna situation that left me with with a downright awful antenna at the apartment I was living in at the time.  Life was also very hectic for me in that time frame.  So I just put ham radio aside then.

I know about the What's for Dinner crowd on 3733, and Al's group on 3725.  The only problem I have, is that I occasionally have problems down around these freqs. with broadcast transmitter harmonics blowby.  This is due to the fact that I have at least 2, 50 KW, AM broadcast stations, whose antennas are literally in line of sight of the window next to my radio table. At most, they're a mile from me.  Go figure!

73,
Ellen - AF9J

Sure 'nuff, Ellen. I just got back on the air in March of '06, so I was anxious make up for lost time. Never had trouble finding someone to talk with.
 
As the wx improves, many folks get busy with outside chores, BBQs, parties, vacations, and so on. But the improved wx brings with it T-storms and their accompanying static crashes. So it's difficult at times, but certainly doable. I did a lot of operating last summer.

If you get home before 1800, try jumping in with the 'What's For Dinner' crowd on 3733. They leave at 1800 to let a SSB net take the frequency.

You might try around 3725 also. Al, VE3AJM and a few of the gang in Ontario will probably hear you fine. They're usually on past 1800 and now make some evening appearances as well.

Higher bands (above 40) are still pretty dopey most days, but there are some openings.

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The Slab Bacon
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« Reply #12 on: March 29, 2007, 08:13:23 AM »

Bummer!  So then does anybody operate AM during the Spring & Summer (say on the higher bands)?

Ellen - AF9J

With propagation as bad as it has been, I doubt you'll find much activity on 10 for a few years yet.

However, SOME of us are on 75 all summer. The statique is not that much of a problem if the signals are big and "squash" the noise out of your receiver. I have had many good summer nights on 75 during the summer. We quite often get real good short skip condx. But quite often you have to "crank up the wick" and tighten down the receiver.

                                                      The Slab Bacon
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flintstone mop
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« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2007, 10:12:59 AM »

Get a high quality automated voice calling CQ over and over and over and a legal limit radio and let it rip for about an hour and it might attract some attention.
I have also witnessed QSO's "down there" and it was WONDERFUL!!!!!!!!
Fred
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Todd, KA1KAQ
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« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2007, 10:40:20 AM »

Heh, never though of the automated CQ approach. It's big with the corn crowd, so maybe it would catch on. If so, we'd have to refer to it as 'mopping up a CQ' or 'using the CQ mop' to clean up a space for a QSO, in deference to the originator of the idea.  Grin

Paul's approach works too, but I've found folks reluctant to leave a roundtable they are entrenched in. Maybe because they've been waiting so long for their turn, or are hoping to beat the break-in guys at the next go-round? I've had good luck calling CQ in the 3705-3740 range, maybe an 85% success rate. One benefit is the number of folks who switch over from SSB and give AM a try to answer. I've had several cross mode contacts as well, but the amount of folks discovering or returning to AM after a long time is quite high below 3800.

Yeah, I've noticed activity is spotty at best above 75m.  So you were QRT for awhile until 2006.  How long were you off the air? I went through 2 QRT periods myself:

I was off AM from March of '95 until March of '06. I did make *one* AM contact during that time: September 11th, 2001. While in the radio room at the Vermont EOC, I found Joe WA2PJP on 75 having a chat about the events. So I fired up the TS-430 and amp, then tuned up for AM and gave him a call. Other than that, my only activity was public service/emergency stuff, SSB or FM. I did make a few SSB contacts while getting a newbie into ham radio and later after rebuilding a rig for him. Maybe 4-5 contacts. I can tell you, I missed it more than I realized.

You've got me beat on the license by a few years, despite being a few years younger. I was licensed in March of '83 at age 22. Made up my mind to upgrade each year so I was a tech in 84, General in 85, and Advanced in 86. That gave me time to get a handle on new privileges, allocations, and so on. Never went above Advanced due to time issues, GF issues, and life in general.

And I can certainly relate to the hard times. In the early 90s I lost my job and had to sell a bunch of my treasured boatanchor gear including my beloved KWM-2A and S-Line. Worked a lot of good DX with those rigs. Was able to replace the 2A in '96 with a newer/better version, probably won't bother with the S-Line. AM is too much fun. Smiley
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AF9J
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« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2007, 12:29:28 PM »

Hi Again Todd,

Thanks for the info on calling CQ between 3705 and 3740.  That'll give me some incentive to call CQ down there.  Not all of the freqs, in that range are blocked out by AM BCI for me.

Licensewise - hmmm lesseee.  General in 1986 in college at a hamfest (I would have went for my Advanced at the time [had a fair amount of electronics courses in college for my engineering degree], but I had to go to the bathroom, and the VEs were a bunch of jerks about letting me back in to the test site ["once you leave, you're done", grrrr]).  Advanced in 1993 (wanting join in with a VHF/UHF weak signal net that met on 3843 on Monday nights was the incentive for that). Extra in 1994. I sort of did that one on a lark.  In late 1993 I was a VE, and you had to do so many exams a year to keep your ARRL VE accreditation.  I drove 50 miles to an exam session, and there were more examiners than examinees at the session!  I was bored.  I heard the 20 WPM being given for the Extra code test at the time.  I sounded like 13 WPM to me.  So, I figured, "hey why not just go for the last license?"  I passed the code at that exam session, but missed the written by 2 points.  I studied up a bit, retook the Extra written in January 1994, and that was that. 

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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Ed-VA3ES
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« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2007, 03:04:23 PM »

The Canadians  often occupy 3725 starting at about 4:30 PM, or so.   Activity typically continues to about 6:00 PM, sometimes a bit later.    Occasionally, activity  perks up again around 7:30 or 8:00 PM.  Al, VE3AJM is the Big Gun, typically running about a KW or so.  The rest of us run anything from riceboxes running 30 W to DX-100's.   
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AB1GX
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« Reply #17 on: April 04, 2007, 07:28:37 PM »

Going way down to 160 meters, I noticed a fair amount of AM activity!

I still need to get a endless tape loop of "CQ" for 80 meters (below 3700 mHz)

Tom
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Don
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« Reply #18 on: April 05, 2007, 03:16:56 PM »

I just looked at the lightning storm map.  Very little T-storm activity, in the mountains of Colorado and the middle of the Gulf of Mexico.  If things stay quiet, and it's supposed to be near record cold here for the next couple of days (Dogwood Winter), I plan to get on 75 and/or maybe 160 to-night.

I called CQ on 3710 last night (Wed evening/Thurs morning) and had a 30-minute QSO with a ricebox on AM from Missouri, his first time to try out the mode.  No other AM breakers, but his 40 watts handled the QRN pretty well until he started to fade out at the end.  Then heard some of  the regulars up on 3880 or '85 from the northeast, full quieting into here,  but by then I was too tired to go outside and re-set the external antenna tuner at the base of the tower and re-tune the rig, so I just  listened for a while.

I plan to try to stir up some AM activity in the vicinity of 3700 after dark, and as the congestion thins out, maybe QSY up to the Ghetto later in the evening.
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AB1GX
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« Reply #19 on: April 05, 2007, 04:43:30 PM »

Don,

Yes, last night was very quiet.  Did you hear those red-necks in SSB mode on 3885.  What's a band-plan for?

There is a lot to be said for the tuner right at the antenna feed (up 50').  The problem is you gotta be a mechanical engineer to get all the servos working correctly to remote tune the damn thing.  Your tower approach seems a lot easier (even if you have to go outside to change a tap and twist a cap or two).  There's no doubt that a serious antenna is needed to play AM in the ghetto.  For that, I'm still in construction mode...
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« Reply #20 on: April 06, 2007, 09:59:29 AM »

...ELLEN...AS ED MENTIONED, THERE ARE A BUNCH OF US CANUCKS ON 3725, AND BELOW...SOME GUYS ARE ON IN THE MORNING, ABT 8:30 EASTERN..THERE IS A GOOD CHANCE U WILL FIND SOMEONE, BY CALLING CQ ON 3725. WEEK ENDS THERE ARE GUYS ON ABT 8:30 AM ON WARDS...I'VE BEEN OFF THE AIR FER ABT 5 MONTHS, SETTING UP NEW QTH...HAVE FUN...TIM....sk...
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AF9J
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« Reply #21 on: April 06, 2007, 12:55:05 PM »

Hi Tim,

Yeah, I've been listening for you guys, especially since you are relatively close to me (I live in Wisconsin).  But right now I have 2 problems I'm dealing with:

1.  Huge powerline noise (lately the 60 cycle buzz [and it's not in the rig, all of my rigs are hearing it] is S9 Plus on 160, 80 & 75m, and S6 to S7 on 40m) courtesty of not only the typical lines that feed your household current, but a fabulous (NOT!!) set of 250 kV lines that run about 1/2 block east of my apartment building.

2.  Also in my line of sight (1.5km away at the most), are some wonderful AM broadcast antennas for a station running at least 10 kW, and possibly even the 50 kW maximum allowed.  The harmonics from the station give me problems occasionally around the freq you guys meet on (moreso with the FT-897D than the other rigs). 

I'm hoping to get rid of the FT-897D (it's noisy, not so good for the corntesting I do, and lousy for AM), by using it as a trade-in for a Timewave ANC4 noise canceller, and MFJ 9406, 6m rig (yeah it's only a so-so rig, but I can't trade AES even-up for the ANC4, I'd be ripping myself off).

73,
Ellen - AF9J
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« Reply #22 on: April 06, 2007, 06:12:02 PM »

I was on 3725 Khz from around 3 to 4 PM EST today. Zero QRM, and I had a very nice QSO with W2VP who is located all of 4 miles from my QTH.

In fact, for most of this afternoon, the band was dead.

73,

Bruce
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