Sunday, January 11, 2015

My DX Triangle

My DX Zone Examined
After spending several days studying the propagation here, I've found a consistent pattern to 20 meters. I've listened to the bands at all hours of the day and night and my study specifically of 20 meters has revealed some disappointing propagation. I've determined it's not mother nature, just my geographic location. I've watched stations all around me working each other and oftentimes, I'm not hearing a peep. But it seems that once the Zulu clock ticks 2300 to 0000, it seems propagation appears on the waterfall or emits from my speaker when listening to CW! That has been a constant pattern now for several days.

The Beginning
This consistent pattern is noted to the right with my screen shot of my daily monitoring of JT65A, which this one happened to be from today. You can see how the propagation begins and I start to see some regular activity. Signals are not the strongest, but that's expected with an indoor antenna. I don't often see much above a -15 dB, normally. But with this mode, any of these signals are workable and that's the beauty of JT65 or JT9. There seems to be much more activity on JT65, so I favor that mode right now.   

Realizing the terrain is going to make my contacts very tough, I just need to monitor and take advantage of those times when when I start to hear stations. I have the 20 meter pattern down and more times than not, I don't hear anything else on the higher bands. I will also call CQ and see what the Reverse Beacon system says of my signal. 

It Ends Just As Quickly
And just as quick as it begins, I find the band drops just as fast, if not faster than it shows up. Not much in the way of DX being heard here but I'm beginning to think anything more than 3 states away is DX! By studying propagation patterns for the last few weeks, at least I know what I'm up against.

I've been in reception mode for several days and ironically tonight, I worked K3Y/KH6 (Max) on 20 meter CW. It was not easy as it took a few times for Max to get my information after a few repeats. I began running 5 watts but as I listened to my path to Hawaii fade, I cranked up my IC-703+ to 10 watts, the maximum output for my rig. Max once again showed why he is a great operator. Normally, a QSO to Hawaii should be simple from here (Oregon). I've worked Max for the last several years and I know he has great station. Max had all the work and he pulled it off allowing me to add the QSO to my logbook. 

I'm excited to relocate from our temporary location to a more permanent location which I feel will be much better for propagation. It will be a more populated area, so I'll be leaving one problem (lack of propagation) for another (QRN). Either way, no matter how challenging the band or conditions are, I will always make an effort to get on the air when time allows. It's an addiction that I've had for years and one I'm okay with.     

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