Propagation Activities - what is it and why do we do it

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G0KTN
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Joined: 2008/05/03 - 23:35
Propagation Activities - what is it and why do we do it

The purpose of the propagation activity days (see the left hand side of this page) is to gather a group of stations around bands that normally have little activity or offer more of a challenge. It's open to everyone to join in.

Every Wednesday/Thursday we run on two bands - one HF (including 6m) and one of the lower bands. You don't have to operate on both bands at once (although some stations have this capability) just pick one that suits you best. The idea is to test propagation conditions on bands that offer more of a challenge and provide an opportunity to try out antennas knowing that on a particular date/band there will (hopefully) be extra activity.

SWL's and stations unable to transmit on particular bands are encouraged to join in and provide reception reports for others. It's often the case that listeners have put a lot of effort into receiving systems, antennas etc and can provide valuable feedback.

The Wednesday activity day is followed by a QRP session on Thursday using the same two bands and for our purpose QRP means 500mW or lower. Various methods of reducing rig output to qrp levels (attenuators, audio level adjustments etc) have been described previously in the forums.

I haven't included 30m in the schedule because a quick look at the Activity Map will show that this band already offers excellent 24hr propagation to most parts of the world and has maintained a very high level of daily activity. The challenge here would probably be WSPR probes at QRPp levels - 100mW or lower.

Following the success of the 160m Summer project http://wsprnet.org/drupal/node/1774 it would appear worthwhile extending activity throughout the Winter season so there is a weekly event running from local sunset on Friday to local sunrise on the following Monday. This will allow those unable to get on during the week the opportunity to give top band a go and hopefully encourage stations from outside EU and US to join in as well. Its a good idea to keep an eye on the Activity page as stations come and go during the week and 160 being what it is you never know when the propagation will shine on you.

Many ops already know that greyline propagation is an important part of low band operations. However, for anyone new to the lower bands please remember to extend your operating periods to at least 90 minutes either side of local sunrise/sunset as strong signal enhancements can often be observed during this period. Its also worthwhile checking for mutual greyline, where your sunrise/sunset coincides with sunset/sunrise in the DX location.

Last but not least please ensure that the "Station info" section of your account profile is up to date and, most importantly, includes details of the antennas being used. If you receive a station at -5 from 20,000Km distant it makes a world of difference to know if he/she is using a random wire laying on the ground or a 5el tribander, 100m high.