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 Checking for good DX propagation

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SangueG
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SangueG


Call Sign : 26-CT-3971 / 2E0LMI
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PostSubject: Checking for good DX propagation   Checking for good DX propagation Icon_minitimeSat Jun 15, 2024 7:23 am

When looking to see if conditions are good to try for some phone (SSB/AM/FM) DX on CB/11m or the 10/12m ham bands, and to see what areas of the world might be workable, do you:

  • Listen / look for strong +dB FT8 signals
  • Listen out for 10m beacons
  • Check out propagation prediction sites
  • Check out cluster(s) to see what contacts others have logged
  • Similar to above, check out social media logs to see what online friends have logged
  • Put a call out using a non-phone mode (e.g. FT8, PSK31, CW) and check out where in the world it's reached on a reporting site like PSK Reporter or the Reverse Beacon Network
  • Just go old school... Turn the radio on and have a listen, especially around popular frequencies like 27.555 USB, 27.385 LSB, or 27.025 AM


Am just generally interested. I've used all the above, but I still find the old school method of switching the radio on and checking out the triple 5 to be one of the best ways of finding out if there's any skip running and where from.

If you use any particular sites that really help you, that newer people to DXing could benefit from, or use any other methods, do let know below. Personally I often check out the following sites for conditions and activity:

hf.dxview.org
www.dxmaps.com
sm2.station-master.online - Social media themed logging that shows (if users enable) what frequencies they are operating on
www.propquest.co.uk/map.php - E skip prediction map. It sometimes is correct.. "sometimes".

If anyone uses 10m CW beacons I would be really interested. Been thinking of setting one up, but not been top of my list of things to do as I don't see much chatter about them anywhere nowadays, are they a bit too old school now? Listening to them repeat their their calls over and over have helped me learn to read the code, maybe setting one up will help someone else do the same, but as for a propagation aid... well many times I have heard OY6BEC booming, but not a sausage from Scandinavia on any other mode and no one from there returns my CQ calls, if others listened and heard that beacon surely more people would be putting out calls??


Last edited by SangueG on Sat Jun 15, 2024 7:59 am; edited 1 time in total

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Ivy Mike
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PostSubject: Re: Checking for good DX propagation   Checking for good DX propagation Icon_minitimeSat Jun 15, 2024 7:53 am

Although I'm not really a phone op, done all that before, I use the following.
https://prop.kc2g.com/
DX clusters
I have Hamclock on a Pi 400 that is connected to dxspider.co.uk.
Hamclock displays spots as paths forĀ  various bands I'm interested in plus it displays
all the space weather stuff
and of course I just listen, can suss out a band in a few seconds just by listening.

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VanRougeT4
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PostSubject: Re: Checking for good DX propagation   Checking for good DX propagation Icon_minitimeTue Jun 18, 2024 8:55 am

Hi Neal.

In the 'old days' just RX/TX on the bands was all we could do. Nowadays, with the internet, we have more tools forchecking propagation.

I'm fairly lucky in that there's a websdr website close enough to me to give me a real time indication of conditions before I even turn the radios on!

I tried FT8 purely for checking propagation. But, even with the host of YT vids on the subject, I found it difficult to make sense of the settings for my G90. I got it to work a couple of times, but now I just get sound card errors Sad

Deb

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Victor
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PostSubject: Re: Checking for good DX propagation   Checking for good DX propagation Icon_minitimeTue Jun 18, 2024 10:01 am

I started off using the usual online 'tools' but soon realised that they weren't up to scratch.

I've had great DX contacts when propagation conditions were reported as 'poor' and no luck whatsoever when apparently conditions were 'good'. Nowadays I usually just turn on the radio whenever opportunity presents and simply see what I get.

I wonder how many don't bother getting on air if they see an unfavourable report and cuss apparent good conditions because they're not at the radio?

Turn on, tune in and give a CQ whenever you can.


(Although like Mike I'm mostly FT8 active......voice often contains "When are you going to progress up the licence?" or "Are you sure you're only using 10/25 Watts?" let alone audio 'quality' guff or implicit details of the latest expensive radio/mic/linear they've bought. Rolling Eyes )

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FreqFreak
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PostSubject: Re: Checking for good DX propagation   Checking for good DX propagation Icon_minitimeTue Jun 18, 2024 12:49 pm

Serious DX intention here SSB phone and not a beam user. I usually go out for my DX and I do a bit from home.

https://www.solarham.com/index.htm

I use that site it has as good as info as there need be. If a flare has just erupted like it just has now chances are it might knock the bands out a bit. If your A and K are on the lower numbers that is usually good. Using SFI, flare checks, check no CME on its way, A and K being low it gives you a reasonable idea that things are good.

Much depends on what our personal goals are. For example... if I spoke to some African countries that's just 3 - 4,000 miles so in terms of distances we can manage not huge. However, new countries are very welcome and you do not always need superb conditions to make them.

A big part of that is there needs to be someone on their radio in that country in the first place.

Some people prefer some bands than others I find each has its own challenges. I do not use multi band antennas. I use a dedicated antenna per band so I am stuck with that band which has pros and cons associated with it. High performance but not much use if no new stations are on that band.

Most of my best contacts have been 3 years either side of the 11 year peaks.

You really cannot predict this stuff. You can make your best guesses though and that is worth doing I think, just. And even on what can be a broadly crummy day if you are calling and or listening at just the right time you can get a 5mins chance opening and bang you are in with the DX and then nothing the rest of the day.

When you think about what needs to align to make just one out of the blue contact it keeps things interesting.

If in doubt get on 20m, that band always amazes (and annoys) me.

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PostSubject: Re: Checking for good DX propagation   Checking for good DX propagation Icon_minitime

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