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WN9JAT at aol.com WN9JAT at aol.com
Sun Dec 1 14:28:30 EST 1996

Bands a little slow, worked em all ? Well sound enable your web browser
and check out the K9MY web qth. Also have the Naval Observatory
UTC clock at the bottom of the page. If you haven't checked it out
make sure your browser preferences are set for Java animations
and see the Java applet, all contest related of course.


>From aa8u at voyager.net (AA8U)  Sun Dec  1 20:25:16 1996
From: aa8u at voyager.net (AA8U) (AA8U)
Date: Sun, 1 Dec 1996 15:25:16 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 160 Meter Cycle 23 Propagation Summary
Message-ID: < at voyager.net>

I have received many thoughtful replies to my initial inquiry. Below is a
summary of some of these responses. Thanks to all that took the time to
enlighten me.

Bottom line, I will continue with the 160m 4 square project AND the 10M
stacks. This plus the trip to N. Cook is going to make the coming year a
very busy one for me.

aa8u at voyager.net

I've been almost steadily active on the band since 1978. During
the sunspot peak period in 1981, I recall hearing many JAs on 160 at
sunrise, and then QSYing to 10 meters and hearing/working many JA longpath
on 10 meters! I worked VS6DO in Jan. of '81 on Top. He came in solid each
day for about a week or two. There was plenty of other long-haul stuff
during high sunspot years.

Activity on the band does decline, as more users migrate back to the higher

There are no off years for DXing on 160; there's always some new excitement.

Go for the 4-square!

Jon AA1K

Hey ! They ONLY safe bet is to do BOTH ! Top Band can be quite
interesting even at the sunspot max ... and TU for posting your
comments on other topics, and making us all think about it !

O, and don't forget Maria is on here also ... :)

Bill AA4NU 

Lanny (W1OO) and I had a long discussion about this last
year. He has been a top notch DXer for many years while I am rather
new at it. We aggreed that just about everything we thought we knew
about propagation had to be dismissed. Low band condx during the peak
of cycle 22 were superb. We had many long path openings to the far
east with very strong signals. Condx seemed to peak just before the
effects of a solar disturbance caused the A and K indexes to go out
of sight. In comparison, last winter we had not one long path opening!
Lanny and I both expected much better condx on the low bands with the
decrease in sun spots but it didn't happen. This year seems to be 
better so far. A few long path openings but sigs have been weak. To
sum it up...don't discount the low bands even when the sunspots are
around. A lot of good stuff is there for those willing to look.

Roger N1RJ

Well, I've been active on 160 for the past sunspot cycle and semi-active for
a cycle before that.  I started by buying a used Johnson Ranger.  I ran 50
watts into both sides of my 80-meter dipole feedline tied together and fed
against ground by the pi-net inside the Ranger.  I worked K1GQ at KH6RS in
one of the big DX tests back in the 70s that way.  It was kinda rough, but
it was sure exciting.

But to answer your question:  I fully expected 160 to go to pot with the
peak of the cycle.  Not so.  It has been my experience that big sunspot
numbers make ALL the bands better.  Strange as it may seem, low-band DXing
is even better when the 'spots are so numerous that 10 and 6 are open!  So
keep at the 160 antenna work -- activity on 160 continues to increase every
year, and a coming sunspot cycle peak is only going to add to that.

Been monitoring the contest and DX forums for some months now.  I enjoy your

Bud, K2KIR  

  The old cliche is, "When 10 is hot, 160 is not."  I don't feel that
this is true!  I feel that some of the best conditions are when the
sunspots are at least at a moderate level.
  When 10 is hot, people are on 10, less likely to be on 160.  Is the
band in worse shape because fewer people are on?  When the solar
flux is at a minimum people are "forced" onto the lower bands.  Are
ten 559 QSO's better than three 579 QSO's?
  While I wouldn't expect to copy ZL8RI again two hours after our
sunrise during a solar maximum, I'm looking for conditions to improve
on 160 during the coming years (but perhaps with fewer active

Bill     K0HA

No, I think you will see good conditions during the high of the sun spot
cycle.  My opinion is that during the high of the cycle, more guys just
gravatate to the high bands.  The conditions are there on the low bands
but not as much activity.  I've been chasing DX on 160 seriously since
1984.  the other low.  I have continued to work good stuff at all times of
the year and all phases of the cyccle.  1996/97 is starting out very good.
Could be the peak this winter.  I donno, not that smart here HI.

73 GUD DX and stay active.  Remember, any knuckle head can chase DX on 10
meters.  Not true on 160.


Propagation doesn't change much on 160 through the cycle, except that polar
paths get more difficult. Prop appears to drop off because when the HF bands
get better some people migrate to them. 
I think this will not happen so much this time, and there will be lots of
activity on 160 through cycle 23.
Enjoyed working you back in July during your Pacific stint. Excellent signal
and nice operation.

Bob  VE7BS

I wouldn't put away the plans for the 4 square just yet.  

Based on the last three cycles, you have about 3 years to go before 160 mx
becomes US.  Generally the flux needs to be well over an average of 150
before there is any noticeable increase in absorption at the propagation

I have found in VK that the sunset peak is the first to suffer from
increased absorption followed by the sunrise peak the next season.

Down under, we still believe that the peaks are actually stronger when there
is a bit of activity around and this has been backed up by our observation
that the last 12 months has been much poorer than the 1993 - 1995 period.  (
There have also been longer periods of coronal holes due to the weaker
sunspot activity)

This makes sense in that the focussing effect is stronger when there is a
more sudden rise/fall in MUF as the ionosphere goes through the E layer/F
layer transition.

Hope to hear you in the ARRL 160 mx test next weekend, although based on the
last 25 years of trying this test, I don't expect good propagation.  Best
time should be around 0930z to 1030z during our sunset transition time.

PS  send me a picture of your 4 square when you build it !!!!!!!

Cheers   Peter    VK3QI 

My interest is propagation, not Top Band.  But I worry about propagation 
there too.

The wisdom which I am aware has Top Band signals reaching DX via ducting 
in the night-time valley between the E- and lower F-regions.  Also, Top 
Band signals suffer the most ionospheric absorption of all the bands.  

Given that REAL DX involves going across the auroral zone and the polar cap,
signal absorption depends greatly on auroral activity which puts 
ionization on DX paths.  Thus, any increase in geomagnetic/auroral 
activity will adversely affect Top Ban DXing.  That means times of higher 
solar activity in the next cycle will be poor for Top Band DXing.

On the other hand, Top Band DXing is done mostly in winter darkness and 
about 150 years of magnetic data shows that the probability of magnetic 
storms is the least around the winter solstice.  So that's a positive 
thing to consider.

Going back to signal ducting mentioned above, the depth and width of the 
valley will depend on solar activity.  In particular, with higher solar 
activity, there will be more F-region ionization remaining at night.  
That will raise the bottom of the valley.  Beyond that, F-region critical 
frequencies rise with solar activity, more than E-region critical 
frequencies.  That means that vertical width of the valley will be less 
during times of solar activity.  Since the vertical width of the valley 
will determine, to a great extent, the length of hops/bounces in the 
valley, they will be shorter during times of high activity.  Thus, Top 
Band DXing will suffer as a greater number of hops/bounces will be needed.

If you want to see the quantitative side of all this, you will need a 
copy of PropLab Pro which is sold by the Solar Terrestrial Dispatch in 
Canada.  And summaries of the ideas mentioned above can be found in my 
articles in '96 issues of the DX Magazine and Worldradio.

On the other hand, if you're like the vast majority of Top Band DXers, 
you won't give a damn about understanding what is going on and just do 
your thing.  Somehow, those people seem to forget that the ionosphere is 
what we rely on and just ignore it.  Some say that ignorance is a 
blessing; you can sleep well in that condition.

Bob, NM7M

Couple of observations:

1.  More and more folks on 160 during this cycle but some will disappear to
higher bands as they open.  So they pileups may not be as fierce.

2.  We still get good openings - just not as many of them and the signals to
we folk in the northern latitudes aren't as strong.  I sort of keep track of
the countries available on top band by season (by year).  In the low sunspot
years, they usually total 110 - 120 available countries.  In high sunspot
years, that declines to 80 - 100.  But I have worked new ones each season -
as low as 7 and high of 14 in recent years (I now have 233).

Bottom line - you'll probably want both systems up, hi.  Certainly 10 meters
will get hot agn and 160 won't absolutely die.  You have a good top band
system now - unless u want to be very competitve, I doubt u'll need more for
most piles.  Any help?

Geo  W8UVZ

Don't cut down that vertical.  I started DXing on 160 durning the 1986/87
season.  I massed well over 200 countries during the sunspot peak years.  I
worked some amazing DX and distances during the peak years.  

Granted,  the activity will not be there during the high sunspot years,
neither will be the competition and all the lids.

Jerry  WB9Z 

This is a real useful question, and I have the same dilemma.

If you get any useful answers, would you post them please?

Mike  K1MZ

Bruce, please summarize what the responses are.  Enquiring minds want to
know and so do the rest of us who have no hearing due to 160 QRN! 
I've been on for 4 seasons and have pulled 149 countries out of the soup.  I
am presently buying tower etc.. also.  I just put up a 2 element inverted L
array switchable; NE/SW or omni.  Just the coax cost $400! It works but as
you know the competition is stiff over here; the openings are short in
western Maryland too.

Sid  K3SME

I glad you asked that question abt Cycle 23 and 160. Pse copy me on what
you get back.

Scott K8SM

Bruce, 160 will continue to be a good band as the cycle goes up. One of the
nice things about 160 is its unpredictablity.  Just when the flux is low and A
and K are rock bottom you expect it to ROAR---and it doesn't.  But then it
nasty  (solar flux wise) and 160 springs to life.  I worked Europe on 100
in 1989 during the CQWW160 test.  
The problem that wil happen is this: Lack of activity.  When 10 opens and
20 is
open round the clock only the diehards will be on 160. Many openings go
because of lack of activity.  More than any other band Ws don't CQ-we listen
and if we don't listen we miss the stations who are active.
I will continue to keep up my 160 antennas and hope for good utilization.
Things that favor continued good activity.
1. Many people have discovered how to put up good antennas for 160.
2. Many listening antenna ideas are out there.
3. Equipment is generally better.
4. MANY countries who were inactive on 160 now allow at least limited use of
5. The internet-topband reflector will still let us know whos out there and
whats up.

Good luck and see you on 160 (unless 10 is open to JA!!!!! hi hi )


Personal oppinion, 160 is best when Sunspots are best, with some
paths and situations not following the rule.  Activity nosedives
when there is something easier/better/different to do.  Also
when things are red hot, besides being tired by then end of a day
of 300/hr on 10, 160 might not open as long, and garden variety
DX doesnt show up for much if any action.  
I could be wrong, but quality wise, I think its a matter of activity,
quantity wise...there may be shorter or fewer easy path openings
when there are lots of sunspots.

See if this agrees with the real experts on the band...I just work
contests there.

Chas K3WW

Get after the 4-square right away in order to fully enjoy it for the remaning 
good years of TB. Then in a couple more years, build your 10 M stuff to be
for the peak of the next cycle. I did a similar, but reversed prep, about 7 
years ago: I went crazy on 10-20 M, upgrading antennas for those bands and 
working everything I could find while it was there. A couple years later, I 
built my FW loop for 160 M, a 550 ft piece of #12 stranded, insulated wire,
by pulleys from 110 ft Redwood trees, in the vertical plane. It works pretty 
well on 160 (113 worked, including the XZ1N) and using my HB link-coupled
and 450 ohm ladder line feed system, I also get good service on 80 and 40 M
it. The DX will still be there on 160 in the coming peak years, but 
unfortunately, the many days/nights of really quiet geomagnetic conditions
be fewer than now. I'm sure you know the importance of quiet geo-magnetic
for excellent TB DX. Have fun.

John Farber   KG6I


>From john.devoldere at innet.be (John Devoldere)  Sun Dec  1 20:32:40 1996
From: john.devoldere at innet.be (John Devoldere) (John Devoldere)
Date: Sun, 01 Dec 1996 20:32:40 +0000
Subject: Antenna rotors parts and service
Message-ID: <199612012032.VAA28048 at mail.be.innet.net>

A few days ago I asked for info about places where I could obtain spare
parts for rotators.
I received the following info, which I want to share with all of you:

Norm's Rotor service
5263 Agro Drive,
Frederick Md 21701
tel 301 874 5885

7368 Sate Rout3e 105
Pemberville, Ohio 43450

73, and thanks to all who helped.

John, ON4UN

john.devoldere at innet.be
Call us in all major 1996 contests: ON4UN (OT6T in WPX)
John Devoldere (ON4UN-AA4OI)
B-9000 Ghent (Belgium)

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