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21

HF propagation over long distances is by skywave propagation, the reflection and refraction of radio waves between Earth's surface and the ionosphere. The ionosphere is a consequence of radiation from the sun ionizing Earth's atmosphere, so it changes significantly with time of day and sunspot activity. Although time of day is just one of many variables, ...


19

My two favorite locations for listening online are: http://websdr.org/ WebSDR was first conceived as a means to make the 25 m radio telescope at Dwingeloo available to many radio amateurs for EME reception. In order to test a preliminary version of the software without using the 25m dish, a shortwave WebSDR was set up on Christmas Eve 2007 at the radio ...


18

You are going to have a very difficult time achieving the first 4 with any band on a low budget. But in general, I'll say a few words to get you started. You probably want to be able to use digital modes. Your best bet to get consistently across the country will be via digital modes, as they can add something like 20-30 dB effectively to your signal. Olivia ...


16

Receive antennas are the easiest thing ever. You just need two things: something that conducts electricity another thing that conducts electricity Attach one to the center contact on a BNC connector. Connect another to the shield. Boom, done. If you can't find two things, then one can be the Earth. Alternately, you can use two ends of one thing that ...


15

Amateur Radio operators use this rule of thumb for historical technical reasons. SM0AOM on the QRZ forums writes: The changing of ISB sideband positions at 10 MHz actually has an engineering background. In the earliest ISB exciters, it was found appropriate to change the final mixer scheme from subtraction to addition mixing at around 10 MHz due to ...


14

First, I'd be sure it's actually the antenna picking up the noise, and not something else. If you don't have a balun on that dipole, probably your feedline is picking up all the noise in your house. Any other wires attached to your receiver can also make good noise antennas, especially the power cord, which is attached to your home's wiring, and coupled to ...


14

Some types of noise are very short bursts of energy. Car ignition noise is one example. Power-line noise caused by switching triacs in light dimmers is another. For example, see the top image here: (source: A Line-Synchronous Noise Blanker by KA7OEI) This image also illustrates the effect of band-pass filtering on these pulses. The middle image shows the ...


14

CW signals are not “transmitted on the upper sideband”, nor the lower one. A CW signal is approximately at a single frequency (with only the additional bandwidth required to allow the key-up and key-down transitions). However, the standard method of receiving a CW signal is identical in structure to a single-sideband receiver. The local oscillator (LO) of ...


13

The primary advantages of vertical antennas are that they are omnidirectional, and with an appropriate ground plane (radials) yield a low radiation angle; this reduces the number of "hops" that HF signals must make to reach their destination. Ignoring the ground plane, which might be radial wires or metallic screening buried just under the surface, vertical ...


12

You may be surprised to hear this, but the antenna you describe isn't actually a vertical, but a dipole. One half of the dipole is the IMax-2000, and the other half is your feedline. You can not simply not have radials and still have an antenna. An antenna works by making EM fields between two things. A dipole has two halves. A vertical works because the ...


12

It doesn't sound like you're doing anything wrong. Most likely, you are simply only hearing strong stations; broadcasters put much more power into their transmissions than amateurs are legally allowed to, so you can hear them over a much wider range. Advice on the practice of listening: For finding signals, first of all, always use SSB. Even if it's the ...


12

HF propagation is not only limited by manmade interference but also by natural phenomena like sunstorms. Anyway, I'd account that to social and technological reasons: HF activity suffers very much from the old men's club's image phenomenon (a term that I just invented!): How attractive is it to join a communication group that consists of old men? Old men ...


11

In general, the shorter wavelength HF bands are better during the day, and the longer wavelength ones at night. Although that depends a bit on what you want to do, and like all things propagation, it's subject to change. Let me try and give a rough mode of operations. Also take a look at the chart from eham. 6m- Randomly opened, in random directions. I ...


10

Yes, a random wire can be a practical antenna. Anything conductive can be loaded up. Somethings work better than others. But if you want to play around, there's no reason the antenna has to be an "antenna". There are, of course, some drawbacks: You must have a tuner. You might not get a match on every band you'd like to work. For efficiency, you need a ...


10

Satellites can and do use HF for communications. The first example would of course be Sputnik, which transmitted at 20 and 40 MHz. Amateurs use HF to communicate with satellites. According to Amsat, mode A: This mode requires a 2 meter SSB/CW transmitter and a 10 meter SSB/CW receiver... Mode K; This mode requires a 15 meter SSB/CW transmitter ...


10

The usual figure used in this context is, apparently, fractional bandwidth, defined as the bandwidth divided by the center frequency, and therefore having a range of 0 to 2. $$ \text{fractional bandwidth} \,=\, \frac{f_{\text{max}} - f_{\text{min}}}{f_{\text{center}}} \,=\, 2\frac{f_{\text{max}} - f_{\text{min}}}{f_{\text{max}} + f_{\text{min}}} $$ Given ...


9

In general, my experience is that band conditions are best for long-distance communication at sunrise and sunset. You generally want the sunset to be somewhere in between you and the person you are talking to, so probably something like 9 PM EST. Beyond that, things like solar weather can make a big difference. I tend to use VOAProp for predicting when and ...


9

The first thing to realize is that you can't make anyone move. So you can contact him and tell him (politely) the frequency was in use and he's interfering with you. At that point he may apologize and QSY. Yes, that does work, I have seen it happen. Or he'll tell you to pound sand or just plain ignore you. If that happens, there is really nothing to be ...


9

A pure tone is an unmodulated signal — it carries no data. Almost nobody intentionally transmits a pure tone — it would be wasteful. The exceptions are the time-and-frequency reference signals like WWV, but they have modulated time information in addition to the carrier which serves as a frequency reference signal. What you are receiving is almost certainly ...


8

Summary If you can have only one antenna and can chose between a vertical HF antenna or a relatively high horizontal HF antenna, go for the horizontal antenna. Modelling results In January 2008, L. B. Cebik, W4RNL (SK) published what was going to be the last entry of his seminal 10-10 News series. It turned out to be an interesting gain comparison of ...


8

According to NASA TP 2000 209756, particularly section 2.5, it shouldn't be too different from similar propagation on Earth during daytime, except we'd need significantly lower frequencies than we are used to for similar results. According to that report, The Martian dayside ionosphere at solar maximum has a peak density similar to that of the Earth ...


8

One strategy is to camp a frequency starting before the contest. No, those QSOs don't count for the contest, but it lets you get into the rhythm of things and shake down any issues with your setup before the clock starts running. Lots of contesters do this and you might pick up some DX while running like that. In multi-band contests, one strategy is to ...


8

We went through quite an extended sunspot minimum before the current sunspot cycle started, and I well remember what it was like. 10m was open only when there was e-skip, which wasn't very often. 15m had openings from time to time, but when it was open typically you'd only hear stations in one direction, like from South America for instance, and they'd be ...


8

So you want to broadcast your location using backpack-portable equipment from deep in a narrow valley hundreds of miles from civilization. I'll assume that you would also like the ability to get a message out when necessary. These are very demanding requirements. I don't think that there is any inexpensive, 100% reliable way to do what you seem to want, ...


8

The concrete is relatively transparent to radio waves of such large wavelengths (it attenuates, it doesn't reflect). However, steel bars within concrete typically convert that concrete to a solid reflector from the perspective of a wave with such a large wavelength. Basically, that effect scales: Just as your microwave oven's front door has a metal plate ...


8

The antenna itself won't be significantly affected by the water. However, waterproofing the coax connection is essential. If this is not done, water will creep inside the coax by capillary action and ruin the coax. There are several products that can be used, for some examples see 3M's application guide. However all have three elements: An underlying ...


8

The results depend on the two bands you choose. Frequency ratios of 2:1 are a good choice because the longer dipole, which is a full wavelength at the higher frequency band, will show high impedance on that band, while the shorter dipole, which is only a quarter wavelength at the lower frequency band, will show a high (capacitive) impedance on that band. ...


7

5 watts is probably what most JT-65 purists will tell you to use, but in practice, I tend to aim for 20 watts. That gives you a good 6dB boost (every doubling of power is equal to +3dB) which is actually meaningful in JT-65. Any more than that, and you'll start finding certain problems. Note that the same is true for the WSPR family of protocols. First, ...


7

It doesn't really matter. You're asking about a topic called polarization, which is really important in VHF and UHF. It's the reason why rotating your HT can improve or harm your reception, and it's also the reason why some 3D glasses and sunglasses work. But because of the way HF propagation works, it doesn't really matter. Any ionospheric propagation gets ...


7

We're about half way down in the waning years of Cycle 24. We're currently on a 9 day stretch with zero sunspots, the first such stretch since 2010. With the number of sunspots dwindling, we've seen little F layer propagation on frequencies above 25MHz in the last 2 months, and that downward trend is likely to continue. As we approach minimum in 2018(ish), ...


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