We just had another new check-in on the Magician’s Net this week. His name is John, and his call is W3KFT (Kentucky Fried Turkey). For all you VHF fans John also runs a 6 meter net on 50.550 MHz (usb) at 9pm on Sunday evenings under the club call of W3AWA. It’s called the Mobile Sixers Club. As Magician’s we are always striving for new and better ways to explore the band. To the beginning 6 meter op it appears at first that the band is dead, but we’re here to show you that you just have to know where the action is. We’ve shared our discoveries with other clubs notably the Keystone VHF Club, the Packrats club, and now the Mobile Sixers Club. Everyone’s invited to the nets!! Being inclusive is one of our strengths!
Propagation Alerts: As we wind things down heading towards the Winter months that doesn’t mean we have to hibernate, at least not radio wise. There’s still a little life left in the 6 meter band, but again, you have to turn it on to find out. At this time of the year up until the month of January we can sometimes experience some great Es openings. Keep checking http://www.dxmaps.com/spots/map.php for updates. For a closer look at what Old Sol (the sun) is up to please check out http://www.solarham.net/ for the latest happenings in the current Solar Cycle. I know I hound you guys to death with this stuff, but if you’ve never worked Aurora you’re in for a treat! Look for elevated levels in the A & K indexes. The more uses you find for those radios, the more fun you’ll have. Speaking of fun I just started preparing my station to work some meteor scatter using a relatively new digital mode called MSK-144. It’s included with the newest WSJT-X software that’s been released. It’s an Alpha version which means it could be buggy, but so far I haven’t had any problems that I can point to, or at least none that were caused by this program. Time will tell. Turn on those rigs during the week, and please use those two links I gave in the last paragraph. I’ve found them to be indispensible when it comes to 6 meter propagation.
Past Week’s Net: Conversations were had about fixing older rigs, and whether or not that’s worthwhile. A lively discussion between Steve/K3ALV (Of Mini Boat Anchor fame), and Rob/N3KAL determined if the parts weren’t un-obtanium the older Icom could be revived. This is what we do folks. Somebody always has the answer, or will find it for you. General band conditions were noted to be “Generally Crappy”! While we acknowledge that to be generally true at least we were having a bit of fun on 50.130! The net is for “YOU”, but it doesn’t stop there.
Mini Boat Anchor Net: Sure we know it’s Ancient Modulation, but to underscore something that was said to me many years ago when I was quite a bit younger, “Without a past, you can have no future”. I never forgot that. That’s proof that I actually do remember sometimes! The future is all about keeping the bands active no matter the mode. Besides, how many of you came from… dare I say it…..CB? Remember the beautiful AM sound? Well, if you remember it, or you just want to experience the AM mode in all its wide band glory, please come join Steve/K3ALV as he fires up some of his carefully restored Gooney Boxes. Tubes baby!! Believe me, if you’ve never heard AM on 6 meters you just haven’t lived! You’ll think the guy you’re talking to is sitting right beside you, and yes, it really does sound that good. 50.400 is the calling frequency on 6 meters, and Steve will be in the driver’s seat every Wednesday night starting at 9pm.
Newbie Corner: We especially want to roll out the welcome mat for our newest members of the club. Especially since you guys are the future of the hobby. When you get that newly minted technicians license we want you to know that you have “FULL PRIVILEGES” on the VHF bands. Since it is 6 meters that we are most interested in at this time I want you to know that 6 meters offers propagation much like the HF, but wait…. There’s a twist. It does even more! Propagation like Tropospheric ducting, Aurora, EME, Meteor Scatter, Ground wave, Es, and occasionally F2. Yep, this band does it all. In fact it’s the only band that does! The catch is, that it doesn’t do it as regularly as some of the HF bands. You’re going to really work for the contacts sometimes, but that just makes it all the sweeter when someone answers your call. When the band is booming you can work 6 meters with a wet noodle. Check out those links I gave earlier in the newsletter. Some of the guys are doing digital modes like JT-65 up around 50.276, and one fortunate guyJoel/KB3OZC actually worked Japan a few months back. JAPAN!!! Now that’s one for the books. Congratulations Joel. One last note… please check out the ARRL VHF/UHF contests. For the beginner there’s no better way to become acquainted with VHF then a contest. Questions on how to do it? Email me: firstname.lastname@example.org I’d be glad to help get you started. It’s actually pretty simple, and FUN! The nets meet every Wednesday night starting with the Magician’s Net at 8:30 pm on 50.130 followed by the Mini Boat Anchor Net on 50.400 at 9 pm
See you guys on the band…………. Leonard/WV3P