Topband: 160m Activity...musings from VE6

Tim Shoppa tshoppa at
Fri Nov 2 15:11:11 EDT 2018

In the pre-stew, I was honestly surprised how many EU guys I worked for the
first time ever. Not just the first time on 160M, but first time ever on
any band or mode.

I have been quite impressed with W3 <-> W6 QSO's at 100W CW on topband in
the past few weeks too. It really seems easier than in past years.

Tim N3QE

On Fri, Nov 2, 2018 at 3:02 PM VE6WZ_Steve <ve6wz at> wrote:

> This season there has been some discussion on this reflector about
> activity levels on 160m (or lack thereof) and the possible negative effect
> of the FT-8 on CW.
> Here are my observations.
> CW is **very much** alive and well, and DX activity on TB has been
> exceptional.
> Compared to many on this list, I might be considered a “newcomer” to TB,
> but I have been QRV on 160m for 28 years so I do have a baseline.
> I did a .csv export from my log and a pivot table in Excel gave me a quick
> analysis of my 160m QSO for the one month period beginning Oct 1. Mode- CW
> only.
> Looking at EU-AF only, the log shows 270 total EU-AF trans-polar QSOs. 34
> EU-AF DXCC, and 162 unique callsigns.  There are many first time ever
> callsigns in my log on 160 this season so far.
> Three evening sessions stand out, Oct 19- 54 EU qsos, Oct 29 - 76 EU qsos,
> and Oct 31- 35 EU qsos.
> The log shows that 196 qsos or 72 % of the EU contacts were made in the 2
> hour period between 0400z and 0600z.
> I suspect that one significant contributor to the high level of EU
> activity were the numerous OC DX-peds…5W, YJ0, VK9X, VP6D etc.  Its likely
> that more EU operators were compelled to be at their radios early in the AM
> to try and get a new one.  However, I suggest that to work EU on the
> low-bands we need to be aware of the local times at the DX end. This may
> seem like I’m stating the obvious, (and I AM stating the obvious) but to
> expect a lot of activity at 0300z may be unreasonable. How many EU hams are
> that dedicated to get up at 2-4 am local time to sit at their radio except
> during a contest?  During my CQ sessions, I can observe the activity sweep
> across EU as the sun is starting to rise and the operators are getting up
> and taking the first sip of the coffee. The same is true with EU
> expectations of NA. As my log analysis shows the peak time for EU
> trans-polar QSOs (72 %) is from 0400z-0600z.  That is around midnight local
> for me. I am on the westcoast, but for the east and central NA boys its 2-3
> in the morning.  Sure there are a few dedicated ops, but most are sound
> asleep.
> Calling CQ.  If no one calls CQ, there will be no QSOs.  However, before I
> moved the station to the new remote set-up, I rarely called CQ for two
> reasons.
> 1. I would usually modulated my neighbours stereo and computer speakers in
> spite of my efforts to fix it. Less TX was better.
> 2. With my limited inner-city RX capabilities I knew I was an alligator.
> There was just too much RFI to hear well.
> The benefits of calling CQ for extended periods is to beat the usual 160m
> QSB.  Short (2X2) CQs allow callers to time the QSB wave and call on a
> peak. The 160m “cat-and-mouse” game as signals go from 579 to oblivion in
> 30 seconds.  It can be slow going, but a lot of chair time listening to
> static can pay off waiting for the callers to get you on the peak.
> There is no doubt that this last month from VE6 has been excellent for
> trans-polar propagation, and I know that its just a matter of time until
> the aurora door will slam shut and I will be sitting on the sidelines
> listening to the guys down south working all the DX.
> However, my point is that there is still a great deal of CW activity on
> TB….maybe as much as there ever has been? Not everyone is exclusively using
> FT-8.
> BTW…my log also shows 120 JA-Asia QSOs for the same last one month period.
> de steve ve6wz.
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