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Author Topic: 6m AM.  (Read 13932 times)

gil

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6m AM.
« on: May 14, 2012, 04:07:58 PM »
Hello,

I really would like to organize a 6m AM Net. I have a Gonset Communicator III, and nobody to talk to once I get my license...

Gil.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 01:53:04 AM by gil »

raysills

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #1 on: June 08, 2012, 08:45:34 PM »
Hi Gil:

I can't help with a local net... as I'm in Eastern PA!  That old Gonset is a classic "boatanchor" radio these days.
Lots of fun working with them, but if you can swing it.. think about a more modern rig.  And, AM nostalgia aside, having a portable FM transceiver would likely be a lot more useful.

To me.. an ideal transceiver is the Yaesu FT-817.  It covers more amateur bands than almost any other transceiver.  It is low power, 5 watts, but that means you likely can power it without too much trouble during severe conditions.  And, it will operate in many modes: CW, SSB, FM, AM, and digital.

Also... try using some of the on-line tests to prepare for getting your Tech license.  Since the entire question pool that is used in the exams is public info, you can work your way through the questions, and learn enough to pass easily!

And, once you get a license, you can open up an "account" on Echolink.. the internet ham radio voice network.  That would be a great place to set up a nation-wide net.

73 de Ray
K2ULR


gil

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #2 on: June 09, 2012, 11:00:58 AM »
Thanks Ray! I didn't know about Echolink... Right now I am learning CW.. I just need to do a couple practice tests for each every day until I get the CW pat down. I am in no hurry, having fun building radio kits right now.

I do want a Yaesu FT-817ND. Like you said, the Gonset is a fun, cool looking radio. I will be changing all the electrolytic capacitors in it, so it gets a new lease on life.. I also bought an MFJ-9406 for a song..

Thanks for registering, even though we only have a few members... Have a great week-end,

Gil.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 01:50:39 AM by gil »

raysills

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #3 on: June 13, 2012, 05:01:33 PM »
HI Gil:

OK on the MFJ 9406!  I have one of those little rigs as well.  Simple to use, and when 6 opens.. it'll work whatever it hears.  This past weekend was the VHF contest, and there would have been a lot of 6 meter activity.  I heard quite a few stations, worked a few on 6 and on 2 with my FT-817.

I also have a couple MFJ QRP CW rigs.. the 9020 and the 9030.  Both work nicely, and again, very simple to operate.  And they are surprisingly low consumption on receive... a lot like the K1.  Receive power consumption is the Achilles heel of the FT-817.  As cool as the rig is... it's a power hog, compared to today's designs.  Another really good low power consumption rig is the Elecraft KX1.  Very portable and popular with backpackers.

Keep up with those license studies.. and even consider studying for the Extra.  You can take 3 tests for one fee, and who knows.. you might get lucky.  It would be a long morning at the exam desk, but you would be entitled to whatever you can pass at the session.  The examiners tell you what you've passed as you go along.

73 de Ray
K2ULR

gil

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #4 on: June 15, 2012, 04:05:28 PM »
Thanks Ray, I might give it a shot.. In no hurry, I want to get CW too, and it hasn't been easy. I have learned only a few letters, and I can copy them at 10wpm for a couple lines, then I stall... Hard to keep your mind a blank slate to write CW...

Gil.

raysills

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Re: Learning CW WAS:6m AM.
« Reply #5 on: June 15, 2012, 08:18:31 PM »
HI Gil:

Yeah, CW can be tough.. but it's not as hard as some might think.  There's a number of CW training aids on the web.  One of the highly recommended ones is that by G4FON:

<http://www.g4fon.net/CW%20Trainer.htm>

Once upon a time, I taught a group of Jr. High school kids who were interested in ham radio, to learn Morse.

I started with the easy letters: E-I-S-H for the first lesson.  (all dits).  You could even send a message with just those characters... e.g.  SHE IS HIS SIS.  The next lesson was all dahs.. T-M-O ... then A and N.
After a while we got through the whole alphabet.  Then we went for numbers.  Finally punctuation.  I don't really know if it was a good system, but it seemed to work OK for the kids.

One tip, and they do this with the G4FON system, I think... is to send at a high speed.. but increase space between letters.  You then get used to hearing the characters at the higher speed.. like 15wpm.. and it just does not seem fast at all later on. 

Word is that back in the day when the military would train radio operators, they'd spend all day listening to five letter code groups at 30 wpm.  After two weeks, most of the trainees could copy solid... and type the received characters on a typewriter, and have a chat with the next guy all at the same time.   World record for copying CW (morse) I think is 76 wpm.... faster than teletype!

73 de Ray
K2ULR

gil

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #6 on: June 15, 2012, 11:05:53 PM »
Hi Ray,

I can't believe they learned in two weeks! Shame on me.. Well, I don't have Windows, but I found a program for the Mac "Koch Trainer," which starts with the same letters as the iPhone app I am using: K, M, R, S. That's all I've got so far. I'll probably add the next one tomorrow...

Have a great week-end!

raysills

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #7 on: June 16, 2012, 05:32:19 PM »
HI Gil:

I am not a Windows? guy either.  And, it's good to see that there is a Mac versions.  And, I think there are simple on-line trainers too, that just use a browser.

I've heard that some people like to teach the "hard" characters, like Q and Z, P and L first, so that you gain from familiarity.  Could be something to that.  One of the things I used to like to do is to listen to W1AW's bulletins.  They are sent at 18 WPM, but there is a regular format to them:

QST DE W1AW HR ARRL BULLETIN NR 21 FROM ARRL HQ NEWINGTON, CT ... or something like that.  So, you sort of "know" what's coming, but it was nice to hear it coming in, and you could easily follow along.

Anyway, good luck with the practice.  And, all it takes is practice.

73 de Ray
K2ULR

Jim Boswell

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 12:49:14 PM »
Good luck learning the code. The best way to learn is the Farnsworth method. Learn the letters as a sound DO NOT count dits and dahs as you will never progress past 10 words per min. I own some CW rigs but I do SSB and FM the most. I repair and resell HF rigs and enjoy a good analog HF receiver. Since I love out in the country, I experiment with different antennas and hope to put up two towers this Fall.

Here, I have been a ham over 28 years and have worked in electronics over 35 years. Amateur radio is a great hobby and most hams are truly good people.

Like you, I feel USA is in for major changes. Some of us will be ready.  73'S  KA5SIW

gil

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2012, 06:29:06 PM »
Thanks Jim, I'll try the Farnsworth method, maybe it will suit me better..

As to the future, well, ten years ago I wasn't worried about it one bit. Today, I feel uneasy... Too many signs that economically, we are flying without a net. In any case, it's good to be prepared, and communications are important. Not knowing what's going on is sometimes the worst of all.

Welcome aboard :-)

Gil.

Jim Boswell

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #10 on: July 10, 2012, 11:22:58 AM »
Gil,
     When the band opens up, 6mt is nice for SSB or FM communication. Another thing that makes 6mt good is the smaller antennas required. My first 6mt contact was with a dipole and 2 watts. I talked from Arlington TX. to Minn.
Now there is no worry about TVI since TVs are most all UHF now. 
     I work at the VLA and now I need to finish the 3 radios install on the new ambulance. Working with this stuff sure dampens a good hobby.  73'S  KA5SIW

gil

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #11 on: July 10, 2012, 10:02:07 PM »
Hello Jim,

I did get a cheap MFJ-9406... It's SSB, 10W output on 6m. I don't have a very good antenna, and only listened a few times, never heard a soul.. The antennas are smaller, but still pretty big if you want a beam.. I should try a dipole. Mine is a vertical, and I doubt any SSB is vertically polarized.

I have been reading about 2m SSB and troposcatter propagation.. Pretty interesting. A 2m Yagi-Uda doesn't take too much space.. 200-300 miles range is pretty good for regional communications. 80m will do the same, but with a much longer antenna, not always possible.

You're lucky to be in the countryside.

My dream is a cabin in the woods somewhere, away from main roads or towns.

Anyway, 6m is sort of a curiosity for me.. It seems like a band that does it all, but not all that well.. I understand why it's called the magic band. For disaster preparedness, I would favor 40/20m for HF and 2m for VHF. That could probably cover all ranges, local, regional and long distance..

Gil.
« Last Edit: September 05, 2012, 01:40:10 AM by gil »

ConfederateColonel

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #12 on: September 01, 2012, 08:02:51 PM »
Gil > "For disaster preparedness, I would favor 40/20m for HF and 2m for VHF. That could probably cover all ranges, local, regional and long distance."

I'd say you have hit the bullseye on that. I have used 40 meters a good bit for Florida and the southeast. I'm able to reliably talk with a relative who lives in Alachua County - I live in Volusia County. That about the same distance from me to you. You may want to modify your thoughts for a net to use 40 meters - if for no other reason than you're a lot more likely to find folks with 40 meters than with 6. I have two HF rigs and neither one has 6 meters.

I strongly suspect that, should we find ourselves needing to use radio for real, the primary need will be for local and regional rather than long haul. 40 meters - especially when used with an NVIS type of antenna setup - would come closest to a one-size-fits-all setup.

Scott

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #13 on: September 02, 2012, 12:53:36 AM »
Your best bet is to start with an IRLP / EchoLink net on 9669 / U-node.  Get people friendly first, then identify where the local net opportunities are.

6m by me is pretty much just for skywarn weather-wackers.  Nobody else uses it.

OH, right.  Let's talk about why that might be:

1.  6m is fickle.  If it changes its mind at random, and it will, your net ends.
2.  6m antennas are huge, and usually useless for anything except 6m.  And for being huge.
3.  6m is right next to TV Ch2.
4.  6m portable is a lie.  Your 6m hand-held cannot do 6m.  Don't lie, you've never made a contact with it.
5.  6m repeater maintenance is a BITCH.  Do you know how big 6m duplexers are???  Nobody wants that kind of hassle.
« Last Edit: September 02, 2012, 12:56:56 AM by Scott »

raysills

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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2012, 04:01:54 PM »
Hi Scott:

Well, 6M is not for everyone.  However, it can be a very interesting band.  And there are many times when it is just plain quiet.  However, I want to take issue with some of your reasons.

1.  Fickle.. well, yes.. in the sense that it is not as consistent in propagation as some bands can be.
2. Huge antennas... disagree.. 160 meter antennas are huge.  6M antennas you can hold in your hand.. and even a yagi can be quite portable.
3.  Next to Channel 2.  True.  But, Channel 2 is no longer in use, thanks to the advent of digital TV.  So, it's not the issue it once was.
4.  HT's can't do 6M.  Mostly true.  I suppose a few can, but 6M is more a base or portable band.  More like CB.  When was the last time you saw a CB HT in use?  The FT-817, not an HT, but -very- portable, does 6M.
5.  6M repeater maintenance.  Well, maintenance is maintenance, regardless of band.  6m diplexers -are- big.  But once a diplexer is set up is should only need adjustment if the repeater frequencies change.  And, if you use a split site repeater, you don't need a diplexer.  Don't forget, some repeaters are on 10 meters!  And 10M uses 100KHz split!  That's even -harder- to implement.

6M groundwave is longer in range than 2M.  However, 2M antennas are dramatically smaller, and can offer good gain (10 dB or more) and still not be bigger than an old fashioned TV antenna.

The fact that 6M is not too "busy" might be an advantage, especially if you want to keep a low profile.

73 de Ray
K2ULR


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Re: 6m AM.
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2012, 04:01:54 PM »