HF or VHF?

Depending on the solar cycle, and how good it is, both 10m and 6m can behave quite differently. Sometimes 10m is a true HF band with good worldwide DX possibilities. In better years, even 6m can support F2 worldwide propagation. However, for a lot of the solar cycle both 10m and 6m behave like VHF bands.  This means Es can be an effective mode on both bands especially in the spring and summer months. Other modes like tropo can also be used on 10m and 6m. Both bands can be used for local natters on any mode.

At the moment we are in a transition period. On better days 10m is still good for worldwide DX but as time progresses, it will behave more and more like a VHF band with long periods of quiet. Especially as we move to more VHF conditions modes like WSPR become even more useful: short DX openings can be detected with WSPR.   Leaving a simple WSPR rig running can be so useful and take very little power.

As I have mentioned before, I have worked real 10m N-S DX (11000+ km) on QRP SSB even in the quietest of sunspot years. WSPR is considerably better than SSB, requiring far less power and can be used unattended running in the background. I tend to run 10m and 6m WSPR most days and monitor WSPRnet on a different PC in the lounge.  It takes just seconds to go into the shack and make any adjustments needed.  It means, whilst running WSPR, you can do other things.

Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cambridge, England.

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