Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Courage Kenny Rehabilitation Institute Handiham World Weekly E-Letter for the week of Wednesday, 28 May 2014

Welcome to Handiham World.

What do you do when the HF band conditions are lousy? 

I can tell you what NOT to do:  Fret about it and moan and groan about how hard it is to make HF contacts, and then keep trying to make HF contacts in exactly the same way without much success.
One of my favorite daily activities is to check into 75 meter nets.  I'm also not a very nocturnal creature, which means that I'm awake during the daylight hours and asleep at night.  This has caused me to to be pretty unsuccessful at another of my interests, amateur astronomy.  Well, 75 meters is subject to lots of D layer ionospheric absorption during daylight hours, and there are LOTS of daylight hours in the summer.  A little over three weeks from now we will have our longest day of the year here in the Northern Hemisphere, and that means that 75 meter contacts will be really hard to make - at least for guys like me who like to be active on the air during the day. 
So what do I do to stay active in ham radio?  In a word, strategize.

My strategy is to stay active on 75 meters, but to do so early in the day before the sun's power has energized the D layer enough to completely kill regional HF propagation.  In high summer, by 10:00 AM you might as well forget about it, but shortly after sunrise the band can still be alive with stations.  After 75 meters closes up shop for the day, I can move to other bands that remain open - higher frequency bands like 14 or 21 MHz.  Since my Icom IC-7200 also covers the 6 meter band, I might also begin to get serious about monitoring 50.125 MHz upper sideband. That is the 6 meter calling frequency in the United States, and you could just hear a CQ from a station hundreds of miles away, even though 50 MHz is considered VHF and we normally think of VHF in terms of line of sight propagation as we use FM repeaters.