10 Meter Ham Radio
10 meter ham radio has much to offer.
Most "Bang For The Buck"
In other words, here is a band on which you are likely to get the "biggest bang for the buck" than on any other HF band ... if you are looking for DX that is. Why?
Sunspot cycle number 24 will be putting new life in this band until at least 2017 or 2018. How?
For more info on the sun, visit: http://sohowww.nascom.nasa.gov/classroom/classroom.html
The sun is entering another one of its 11 year cycles of activity. This activity is characterized by "spots" appearing on the outer limits of the sun's atmosphere. These spots are huge nuclear explosions.
During cycle 24, the sun will be producing an increasing number of nuclear explosions until about 2014.
10 Meter Propagation
The "solar wind", generated by the sun's explosions, impacts the earth's upper atmosphere. When it does, ionized layers (called "F2" and "F1") form in the ionosphere, some 160 to 500 km above the earth's surface.
The "F2" layer acts like a mirror to a 10 meter radio signal. The "F2" reflects the signal back to earth, thousands of kilometers beyond your antenna.
Often, the signals you hear have "bounced" a few times between the "F2" layer and the earth's surface. This is commonly called "skip".
When that happens, radio signals can be exchanged between ham radio stations located on opposite sides of the earth!
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A Simple 10 Meter Ham Radio Antenna
During the most active years of a solar cycle, often a simple dipole will work wonders. It's easy to put one up because of its relatively small size.
The formula to calculate the length of a dipole on 10 meters is:
Of course, as you operate higher in the band, that dipole will be too long. You can either
Many Years Of "DX" Ahead
Beyond 2014-2015, the sun's activity will slowly subside again, but will still throw enough energy toward earth to maintain the "F layer" in good enough shape to continue reflecting 10 meter radio signals for a couple of years.
Even during years of low sunspot activity, 10 meters can sometimes offer "DX openings". The best way to take advantage of them is to have a good 10 meter ham antenna system and an excellent receiver.
10 meter ham radio is my favorite for low power DX.
It's 1.7 MHz wide! That's a big slice of radio spectrum, as much as all the lower bands put together! Lots of "elbow room". I'll see you there!
Author: Claude Jollet - VE2DPE