Tuesday, April 10, 2018

How to Improve Band Conditions...

This is going to sound nutty, but this is what I have found.  When the band conditions are poor, like tonight, according to every band conditions website I looked at, there is only one way to improve things.  Get on the air.  So I did.  In about an hour I had four new contacts in the log.

As you can see...the 40m band seemed to be offering the best opportunity at having a QSO or two this evening.  So I tuned to the good old SKCC region (7053-7056) and started pounding out CQ's on my Nye Viking Master Key.

Nye Viking Master Key

First one tonight was Neill K3RNC out in Maryland.  I sent him a 589 and he sent me a 559. Neill is a SKCC member and his number is 10667T and we have never worked each other.  This is good news for me because now I only need 7 more Centurions, Tribunes, or Senators to earn my next award.  Neill is a retired chemist and lives very near the shore.  He has been at CW for about 8 years now and enjoys operating from the outdoors.  Thanks for the contact Neill!

K3RNC at the Key on his HB1B QRP Rig
Next up was Butch KD5RSS from way out in Oklahoma.  Butch is a retired volunteer fireman and works as an electrician. He enjoys ham radio and has a Ten Tec Jupiter according to his QRZ biography.  Butch is SKCC 1910S and since we have worked before this one does not add to my award total but that's cool with me. I liked working Butch anyway.

Butch KD5RSS in his shack
Bernie KF0QS was next and Bernie brought me a new state!  Bernie is out in the state of Colorado, which is a new one for me this year.   He is SKCC 8872, a huge Elecraft fan, likes working CW and the sats, and is also an amateur astronomer.  I think it's is cool that a lot of hams are into astronomy as well.  I sent him a 589 and got back a 599 on my 4w K1...not too shabby!  Thanks for the QSO and the new state Bernie!

Elecraft Collection of Bernie KF0QS
Last but not least was Jim KI4VH down in Georgia, he's a peach of a fist and I enjoyed working him tonight.  We traded 599's and Jim is SKCC 12113.  He runs a Ten Tec Scout  out to a Hustler 4BTV vertical antenna.  He also has a OHR 20m QRP rig as well.  Jim is a retiree and has been a ham since 1962.  Great QSO Jim, and thanks for the 599!

SCout and OHR rig of Jim KI4VH - NICE Operating Position!
Not a bad collection of contacts tonight, sometimes even when the experts say the bands are bad, you just have to turn on the radio and go fishing.  Best 73!



  1. I agree 100% Brian. 40m has been my "go-to" now for several months and it never lets me down. I keep reminding myself... if I am having this much fun now during solar minimum, imagine how much fun I'll have when all the stars re-align and conditions improve. Keep up the great work!

  2. Mike just stick around...we're about to the bottom of this cycle supposedly.

  3. Thanks for the heads up on your headphones and such...as far as dead bands..last year I was tuning around on 21 mhz and hearing nothing I made some noise...on4un came back to me but the qso was cut short because some unruly European stations blasted in and refused to follow his instructions so he went qrt...bands sometimes are not really dead...but as you know...no one is making noise...73s and good evening.

    1. Victor, one of my elmers said a long time ago "The CQ never sent, is never heard." Basically get on and make some noise. The band is always open to somewhere...could be across the street or across the nation. You never know until you try.

  4. I forgot to ask about your mag loop.. what is it?

  5. Victor I bought a used Alex Loop from a friend of mine last summer. I only got to play with it for a month or so off the back porch. It's very interesting...not the most efficient antenna BUT it is extremely portable and does well on 10m-40m - looking forward to throwing it in my car with the K1 and a battery for lunch time Hfing.