Topband: 160m historical perspective

Jim Kearman jkearman at
Wed Dec 28 13:26:44 EST 2005

> It's time for the ARRL to quit treating 160 like an unwanted
> out-of-wedlock accident they are stuck with, and welcome it
> into the family with loving arms.

Getting down to specifics, what would you (and others) suggest? 

Not to be an apologist for them, but they do publish John's and Jeff's books. John's book, being more technical, probably has broader appeal, extending beyond the amateur community, and has likely done well for them. I say that because it has gone through several editions. As interesting as Jeff's book is, it probably isn't a big money-maker, but they took a shot at it. I sense they are not doing very well financially right now, which makes publishing such an esoteric book even more remarkable. I say esoteric only because you are right, 160 is not considered a 'normal' band by most hams. 

That's why I am interested in seeing information that will get more hams to at least try 160. My previous comments re the Devoldere book were not an indictment of the book, which is excellent. But being the main text on 160, I think many hams who bother to look at it will be overwhelmed. The wavelength and propagation anomalies make it necessary to use fairly large antennas to work lots of DX, but you _can_ make contacts with what most topbanders would consider inferior antennas. Getting people to at least try, by presenting information about small-scale antennas, will no doubt induce a handful to go on to build better stations. Not many people with zero experience on 160 are likely to start out with even a K9AY antenna for receiving. 

Remember, most of us started out as crystal-controlled Novices, running QRP and low wire antennas. We evolved, but we started out small. Some couldn't cut it and quit, but the bug bit many of us hard enough to encourage us to improve our stations and operating skills. I think the same model could be applied to 160. Not everyone who gives it a try will stick around, but some will. The trick is to get them on 160 in the first place. 

I wish someone on this reflector would try to publish a QST article on the order of "Getting Started on 160." The emphasis I would like to see is that, "Yes, bigger is always better, but there are enough big stations on 160 that you can make contacts with even modest antennas." If such an article were published a month or so before the ARRL 160 contest, when there are many U.S. stations on the band, it might snare a few newcomers. Your experience and accomplishments on 160 would provide the bonafides needed to give the article credibility. You don't have to make it look easy, but you can make it look challenging and worthwhile without making it look overly difficult. Perhaps include a couple of anecdotal sidebars from hams working from small lots. This article would also be a good place to revisit DX windows, as it will be read by anyone with an interest in 160, including those already on the band. As a former QST and ARRL book editor and author I would be happy to help in an
 y way.


Jim, KR1S 

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