[CQ-Contest] [cq-contest] Re: What To Expect for 10-Meters???

Ward Silver hwardsil at centurytel.net
Wed Dec 7 00:57:58 EST 2005

> I am a novice contester and was wondering what to expect from this 
> weekends
> ARRL 10 Meter contest? Will be trying as a single op low power (100watts)
> without any fancy equipment just my FT-840 and a 80 meter dipole. My big
> vertical is at a friends house after a snow storm took out his antennas.
> Just wondering. . .
> Jacob Tennant - K8JWT

Hi Jacob,

First of all - you're from West Virginia, so you should be popular!  Call CQ 
a lot and you may be pleasantly surprised.  You don't say whether you're 
mostly into phone or CW or both, but either way, you should get answers as a 
semi-rare multiplier.

The band should open up slowwwwly after sunrise towards the east and south. 
Tune around carefully, listening for weak signals - you may be surprised at 
what you can work, even Africa, even though signals strengths are low. 
After the band gets going, you'll experience short periods when signals from 
one region are strong - this is sporadic-E propagation, just like on 
6-meters.  The solar flux isn't high enough to get the F2 layer ionized 
enough for reliable propagation, so signal strengths will be way up then way 
down in various directions.  With an 80-meter dipole, you won't have to 
worry about turning the beam, so you can hear well in most directions. 
There will likely be some trans-equatorial skip - listen for LU/CE/southern 
PY and stations in those areas to the far south.  When the band seems 
lively, call CQ and stick it out - stations needing WV will find you :-)

This is one contest you can get some sleep in at the bottom of the cycle. 
After sundown, what you'll hear is strong stations within a couple hundred 
miles coming in by groundwave, backscatter, and sporadic-E farther out.  If 
you have a voice/CW keyer, put it in beacon mode and call nice slow CQ's 
with lots of time between calls.  This is a good time to fill out QSLs, read 
a magazine, or watch basketball while keeping an ear on the radio.

10-meters will surprise you.  It will be dead all week and then just at 
0000Z, whaddaya know, lots of signals!  At the bottom of the solar cycle, 
like this, you'll get to experience some really unusual propagation that in 
high-sunspot years isn't emphasized.  In low-flux years, it's all we've got!

Good luck!

73, Ward N0AX

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