Lack of Band Activity - Well maybe not -The band is not “dead;” it’s just “selective.”
In general, the bands seem empty –but not really:
One way I catch some activity – while still not enough – is to check in on the weekly CW contests: google RADIO CONTEST CALENDAR. This site lists, among other things, the main contests for the week, Saturday through the next Saturday. Nearly guaranteed to make 10 to 30 contacts, try one of the three Wednesday CWT one-hour tests. The exchange is CALL, RST # (if a member)– or- CALL rst ST. You can pick the morning, early afternoon and/or mid-evening sessions. I usually go for the noonish one. You don’t have to be a member. Only hook is that most of the operators run at about 20 to 30 WPM. Good call sign copy practice if nothing else. You can send your logs in via www.3830scores
Another example, I worked the IARU HF CW contest (ARRL) this past Saturday...........I was on the air for about 1.5 hours only; but had some fun. My P3 panadapter showed 30 some signals across the CW band at first glance! I had 36 contacts and a score of 588 for the hour+. Poor score for that 24 hour contest but my goal was simply to make some contacts for an hour or so and practice copying calls at 20-25 WPM. It was fun. One nice thing about this contest is the simple exchange: CALLSIGN 5NN ITU# (MY ITU IS 06 FOR ME IN KANSAS) OR CALLSIGN 5NN ST/P if not a member. Most of the most common contests are supported log-wise by www.N3FJP.com logging programs. Another positive of this activity is I am trying to learn to copy the CW into the contest log with a keyboard. It’s getting better, including callsigns.
I also find during the week that I almost always make ONE TO THREE contacts on 20 meters meter CW mid-morning each day. Not sure why. I’ll leave the K3 and P3 on with speaker and occasionally glance at the screen. If what I’m doing at the desk is done or I need a break, I’ll break in and try to capture the signals seen on the P3 display. Seems like 5 out of 7 days can catch at least 3 short QSOs this way.
The band is not “dead;” it’s just “selective.”
PS: Did you read your JULY 2016 QST yet? Here’s an activity that doesn’t need to worry about HF propagation. Read up on Dennis Schaefer, W5RZ’s NATIONAL PARKS VIA THE MOON article. He shows us the way to moon-bounce and I might just try it. He lists his details on the article so I will not duplicate that here. Just a few comments: the mode used is JT65B (a digital mode), he’s running on UHF and listed an iphone app for locating where the moon is at any time: LUNATIC. I’ll download that onto my phone today and see what’s up. In “hindsight” it is obvious; you can moon-bounce during the day as well as night; you don’t have to see the moon – only the RF cares, hi.
I also need an APP for recording CW contacts on my phone. Anybody recommend one?
72, 73, Uncle Phil, W0XI