Sunday, June 1, 2014

6M Sunday Night Opening

I've been off and on 6M since I was 13 years old.  I lived in southern Indiana and had a 4el 6 meter beam on top of my dads TV antenna tower.  The beam was donated to me by a local Catholic priest, who was also an extra class ham, a pretty rare bird back in 1965.  I built a home brew xtal controlled CW transmitter using a 6146 and a TV transformer power supply for my novice rig and later after I upgraded since I had the antenna I had to try my luck on 6M AM.  I used the same power supply and built a 6146 modulated by I believe an 807 or a 1625 I can't remember.  The thing was a nightmare to neutralize but eventually I was able to get about 30w out on 6M AM.  I had saved up the dough from my paper route and bought a  Hammerlund HQ170 up at the old Allied radio store in Chicago.  The HQ170 had 6M built in and I thought OH BOY here we go!!  I had a green Shure bullet mic mounted on a dowel.  The 170 was deaf as a post.  I swung that beam every which way but loose and called CQ till I was blue in the face on the AM calling freq which I believe was 50.52 mhz and never made a contact, but I learned a hell of a lot trying.

My next try with 6M was with the TT Orion and a TT transverter.  Still pretty much a bust but at least I made a few sporadic E contacts.  I built a open wire link coupled tuner for 6 and used my 130 ft open wire fed dipole at 60ft as my antenna

This was the pattern.  It actually played pretty well.  I had 13dB gain in 4 directions and virtually no line loss.  The antenna accepted power like a dream and there was no heating in the tuner, a dead give away things were working like they should.

Roughly pointed up the east coast toward Europe an South America.  It worked pretty well for a $5 kluge.  I worked my first 6M out of the country contacts with this antenna into PR DR some Caribbean etc.  I have also used open wire with this kind of tuner on 2 meters SSB.  I used it with a double extended zepp beam I made.  I had a 1/2 wave element in front of each current maxima in the zepp both reflector and directors.  It worked great.  Lot's of gain in a small space.  The idea came from Russ Farnsworth W9SUV of Farnsworth morse code method fame.    Russ was a blind ham and lived about 60 miles south of me when I lived in Champaign, IL.  Incredibly interesting guy.

I've been using K9DUR's SDRmemoy 6K   as a means to get around the bands and to get on some of my favorite freqs with just a click,  For example 20M ssb is also the Flex radio net, 40 ssb goes to 7217.5 where some guys I've been talking to for 50 years hang out and 80M ssb takes me to 3895 my old stompin grounds.   I love this thing for convenience.  I run mine through DDUTIL V3 by my old friend K5FR  which has the best damn scratch pad memory for the SSDR ever!

Ray's little program allows me to go to SSB or CW on each band with the bonus of also choosing the default filter.  It makes checking the 600M band and 6M really easy.  Tonight I clicked on 6M and was greeted by this: 

Band opening!!  My openwire antenna is broken so I had to figure something out fast.  I just loaded up by 80M full size 60ft vertical.  Worst that could happen is no one would hear me and I would be back to where I was in 1965.  I hit tune on my MFJ 998 auto tuner and it tuned right up!  The Flex is a real joy to operate on 6M.  You can see everything.  I closed up the panadapter some so I could watch everything from the beacon band to some guy up at the top sending rtty.

I opened up the logbook and just started adding states and grid squares.  First I worked everybody I saw on SSB, then everybody on CW.  

I switched back to SSB and decided to call CQ.  My first CQ I recorded using the quick recorder.  I simply hit the red record dot on the flag switched on the transmitter and called CQ.  When I was done I turned off the transmitter and hit the red dot again.  I then proceeded to call CQ using that recording.  

Pretty soon me and my trusty 6300 feeding 40W into my 80M vertical had a friggin' pileup going!  I worked MA NH RI CT DE NY NJ OH PA WV, about 35 stations in the space of a couple of hours without even trying.  It was a total blast.  Here is the EZNEC of my 80M vert on 6M

Way too funny but also way too much fun!  This radio rocks on 6M  It is super sensitive, super quiet and super selective.  I can call CQ for hours on end at the press of a button.  If you look closely 2 CW stations were virtually on top of each other but were single signal to me.  Everybody got the biggest kick when I told them I was running a Flex and a 80M vertical because I was loud.  Cracked me up.  Figure out some way to get something going on 6M because sporadic E is on the way.

73  W9OY