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Author Topic: Have you tried the 160m band?  (Read 2500 times)

gil

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Re: Have you tried the 160m band?
« Reply #15 on: July 04, 2018, 04:31:14 AM »
I agree. I might still need to scratch that itch though, just as an experiment...
Gil

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caulktel

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Re: Have you tried the 160m band?
« Reply #16 on: July 04, 2018, 12:43:39 PM »
I always marvel at Peter Parker, VK3YE's videos running 160 meters AM/SSB QRP with a kite antenna and dipoles. https://youtu.be/ACiQlOThXR0 There always seems to be someone on the air in Australia and he always works from the beach with the wind blowing. It is a intriguing band alright. I wish I could try it out somehow, but kind of hard from a mobile home park.

Joel
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Quietguy

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Re: Have you tried the 160m band?
« Reply #17 on: July 04, 2018, 07:24:10 PM »
As I said before, I have no operating experience on 160m...  but I think maybe some options are being overlooked in this thread.  IMHO DX contacts with random hams is not the goal in prepper radio; reliable local/regional comms via NVIS (what RadioRay refers to as "one tank of gas range") is more relevant.  Any horizontal 160m antenna a normal non-contesting ham puts up is going to be primarily NVIS by definition - if we consider NVIS as any horizontal antenna less than 1/8 wavelength above ground (one common definition) then anything below 65 feet is NVIS.

I mentioned earlier in the thread the case where a friend located about 120 miles from me wanted to try 160m on Pactor 3 during the daytime.  He was using his random length doublet mounted about 4-6 feet off the ground on his back yard fence.  It worked well getting to me on 80m so he wanted to try 160.  I could not tune 160 with my main antenna so I was going to try an alternate antenna to see if it would tune and was in the process of switching cables to the remote tuner when he keyed his transmitter.  My Icom IC-706MkIIg, which had only about 20 feet of coax laying on the concrete floor connected to the antenna port, immediately keyed up in response.  I was startled at how strong his signal sounded on my radio and I had to quickly kill the power because there was no antenna load for the radio.  We were coordinating on the telephone at the time and he had inadvertently keyed his rig.  I could not tune the alternate antenna either, so the test was limited to how well I could hear his signal.  Based on the response from the coax, I believe I could have made a Pactor 3 contact with him using a quickly deployed short doublet laying on the ground, or maybe strung a few feet above ground, that was a length chosen to be "tunable" on 160m.

Think about it - a couple of nights ago I sat in my house playing with a tiny little Sony Walkman AM/FM portable radio with a loopstick antenna about 2 inches (5 cm) long, powered by a single AA battery.  I was able to tune in a strong signal from a Vancouver BC AM station 200 miles away.  The station is on 1130 KHz (265 meters) and the signal was solid.  A few nights earlier I had tuned in an AM station in Reno Nevada, 500 miles away, on 780 KHz (385 m) again with a good solid signal.  Ok, both of those are Clear Channel 50 KW stations with tall towers, but 50 KW is only 5 S units better than 50 watts, and I was using a 2-inch receiving antenna.

As the bottom falls out of the solar cycle the upper bands will get very hit and miss.  It has been said that 20 meters is going away as a reliable band; 40 meters will take the place of 20 and 80 meters will take the place of 40.  That means you almost have to go to 160m if you want to replace 80m as the reliable NVIS workhorse.  Your 160m antenna does not have to be an optimum 1/2 wavelength dipole to work, you just need to be able to couple it so your radio sees an acceptable SWR.

As for "nobody there" - well, what is your goal?  If you are doing "prepper" comms you should have an established network of contacts that you are practicing this stuff with.  I'm not talking about a camping trip "help, I've fallen and can't get up" general call for help, I'm talking about staying in contact with people who are important to you.

Wally

gil

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Re: Have you tried the 160m band?
« Reply #18 on: July 05, 2018, 06:42:17 AM »
Very good post Wally, thank you.

This is exactly what I am getting at... My recent experiments with 80m have been very successful. I was stupid not to have tried that band sooner because of perceived antenna issues, which did not materialize. For NVIS your antenna can be quite low, even a few feet off the ground. I have a 12m mast which could be used to make an inverted V on 160m. The SotaBeams wire is affordable and available in 100m spools... Maybe a 1.5:1 BALUN is in order, just to milk the transmitter to the max. My thinking is that if I was wrong about 80m being difficult to set up, maybe I am wrong about 160m. Or at least that it isn't as difficult as most operators say it is... Ray is the one who talked me into trying 80m, and he is right about the one-tank range being the most important. 2m SSB works well for that too, but I suspect 80m and 160m would be more reliable. 80m isn't the best during daytime, so I naturally wonder about 160m.

Too bad http://qrpkits.com isn't open now, because the Ft-Tut seems like a great rig. There is the 1-Watter on 160m, but I'd rather have 5W. If the Ft-Tut doesn't come back, I might go for the 1-Watter, or something else. Now if a few people inquired about the Ft-Tut to http://qrpkits.com, that might help, because the owner isn't sure about bringing it back... You guys know what to do!

Gil.