Monday, July 20, 2009

/ Beacons

Just tonight, I happened to tune down to 28.400 and I heard a ham talking to a few others. I did not catch his callsign but I really didn't care as I actually heard someone talking on 10 meters! Band is open, yes!! So, I do what I normally do, tune down to the beacon portion of the band to see what I can hear.

As I began tuning, it was obvious that the band was open into Canada, FL, LA, GA, and even into WA on the west coast. Not really strong beacons but easily copied. I began to do what I normally do, spotting them on the DXCLUSTER. I do this because I want anyone watching the cluster to know that the band is open into Alaska in hopes they turn their antennas northward. The opening lasted from roughly 0450z to about 0510z and the last beacon heard was WA4ZKO located in EM78.

During that time, I flipped from CW to the beacon portion of the band and up to the SSB portion. I called CQ on 28405 and then went down to 28400 and called several times. The short of it, our 4 hour time difference to the east coast just bites. I have experienced this more than once with the band being open when the rest of the world is asleep. And oddly enough, the band really does not open during the weekends when most people stay up late. I like to refer to these midweek openings as, "crock-a-gation". It's a crock that ten meters opens when it is the worst possible time but thankfully, I have the beacons to listen for and spot. And it's not uncommon to hear some activity on 6 meters during these types of openings.

For now, I will continue to hope that someday I can experience a multi hour band opening on 10 meters and work many hams in many states. I have heard the long time Alaskan stations up here talk about the exciting band openings with wall to wall signals for hours on end. I stand ready, ready to grab my microphone and my key and work as many hams as possible when that day comes. But until then, at least I have the beacons to keep me company when nobody else is around.

Oh, and a pet peeve of mine, why have a beacon if it does not broadcast the grid square?
There are so many that just transmit their callsign and some other odd and end stuff. And why have a list of beacons without the grid square information? With callsigns today not being representative of their call areas, I think this would be a good practice.

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