The Prepared Ham newcomer should seriously consider using what we tend to call “digital” modes.
Why? I’ll create another topic to explain that in this category. This topic is designed to alert the digital newcomer to the fact that we’ve crafted the Amateur Radio Service regulations to allow for a huge number of frequencies that you can operate “digital” on.
By clicking on this link, you’ll be presented with a graphic that shows most of the frequencies that we can use.
Assuming that you’re just starting out and would likely be getting the Technician class license, you should be looking for the portions of the graphic that show a “T” or even a “N, T”.
For example, look at the “6 meter 50 mHz” area. There, you’ll see that “T”, meaning that even the beginner has access. But, there’s a couple of things that are not so obvious about 6 meters:
1. By passing your Tech exam, we grant you the use of a bajillion frequencies on 6 meters.
2. By passing your Tech exam, we grant you access to a large number of modes. And — you guessed it — lots and lots of digital modes as well.
There’s a couple of other interesting things about six meters. For one, the area around 50 mHz (any of you not – yet – licensed folks, know why the “H” in mHz is always capitalized?) supports some of the digital modes that are utilized for “meteor scatter”, or the use of ionized meteor trails (or aircraft for that matter!) as a means of bouncing your signals back to earth. Secondly, this area of the frequency spectrum — loaned to you for your use, just by having passed that pesky little exam! — is as free and clear of interference as you could possibly hope for. For many of us, six is the greatest band.
Ah, but then, there’s ten meters. Look for it on the frequency chart, above. Ten is very very close to the CB frequencies and, as such, shares the same kind of propagation. In other words, sometimes it’s world-wide in nature and at other times, it’s akin to a door nail; deader’n one.
For me, personally, ten meters is King of ’em all. I’ve worked thousands of stations all over the world, using many many different modes.
And, as on six meters, we offer the Technician a gigantic chunk of spectrum on 10, as well as almost all of the digital modes. And since the sun (and its much-aligned eruptions) is being very very kind to us this year, it’s a fabulous time to put your efforts into 10 meters.
Oh, and one last thing about 10. A dipole antenna for 10 meters is about 16 feet long (eight feet on each side of the insulator) which is SO easy to do…
More to follow! Questions? Count on answers.
73 de “Luck” WA4STO