The April 2010 issue of QST, the ARRL’s monthly magazine came in today and the lead editorial is all about the excitement of operating on 6 meters. For those of us who lived in cities where TV channel 2 was active (here in the Toronto area we had to contend with a weak signal from Channel Two Buffalo, New York), there was little to no 6-meter activity. There’s a famous story about one Toronto ham who back in the 60′s ran a kilowatt on six and caused TVI for miles around.
With the re-allotment of analogue U.S. TV to the higher UHF digital bands, 6-meters is pretty safe for hams across North America.
So what’s so great about 6?
As David Sumner, K1ZZ, ARRL CEO says in his editorial, we don’t call 6-meters the “Magic” band for nothing. Six is famous for its unpredictable openings thanks to sporadic E propagation which can allow for transmissions over 1,000 miles using relatively small antennas. Most new HF rigs include the 6-meter band. If your rig has a squelch, it’s easy to leave it on full time at 50.125 mHz (a calling frequency) and wait for the action.
Conditions get really good in May so now is the time to get your 6-meter antenna up.
And more good news: Modest 6-meter antennas work really, really well. At VE3HG, I’m using two square-halo antennas (in photo) on a 16′ mast on top of a TV tower at 30′. So no rotor needed and I can easily work into the U.S. and the Caribbean when the band is open using 100 watts.