The results are in for the Tech Night program survey. We had 18 respondents and several volunteers to help with presentations.
In order to produce a meaningful ranking, a weight was given to votes for High, Medium, and Low. High was assigned a value of 10. Medium was assigned a value of 3. Low was assigned a value of zero. The score for each idea was then tallied, and the table sorted by score. Anything with a score below 95 was considered uninteresting at this time. Note that future surveys may have these very same ideas, and new members (or even old members) may rate the ideas higher later. Just because an idea didn’t get scheduled this year doesn’t mean it is off the table for next year.
I’m happy to say that five of the ideas that ranked highest have already been scheduled. We are also doing an Antenna Modeling program two nights, and a two-night kit build event in January and February to round out the package. As for the other popular ideas, we’ll be seeking out presenters for these in the coming weeks and months.
Here is a list of the ideas that made the cut:
Here are the remaining issues ranked, and a few more that were suggested during the survey.
Our hope is to bring interesting speakers and ideas to Tech Night. If you have ideas for program topics, or if you’d like to present at a Tech Night, please contact me.
Here are the plans for Tech Night for the first half of 2018. If you haven’t already done so, please fill out the 2018 Tech Night Survey to provide your input on your choices for future Tech Night activities.
Is 20 meters open to the location of the latest DXPedition on the bands? When is 6 meters open for Sporadic E? Looking for a weak signal 2 meter contact with a specific grid square? There are websites you can visit that give you a prediction of whether the band you are on is open to a given destination.
The simplest HF propagation prediction is the widget that is seen on many Amateur Radio Websites – QRZ.com,DXSummit.fi, and more. This gives you a rough idea of what bands are open day and night. Data is based on the Sunspot Number, A and K indices and other indices. But this doesn’t take into account many factors like your location, the DX location, the characteristics of your station and the DX station. Just because 15m says Poordoesn’t mean you won’t hear anything on the band.
VOACAP – HF Propagation Prediction
VOACAP, is the Voice of America Coverage Analysis Program, and provides detailed information about the HF propagation. You can choose transmitter and receiver locations from many cities around the world. It also provides choices of Antennas, Power, Mode, and more for each end of the contact. You can look at several different views of propagation. If you spend some time delving into the details of propagation visit this site.
For a faster view of whether you will be able to contact a specific DX Station that is currently on the air, the DXSummit.fi spotting website has incorporated propagation predictions on their website. If you find a DX station spotted there that you contact, just right click on the DX callsign and select VOACAP from the drop-down. You just need to choose whether you are a Basic (100 watts and a Wire) or a Super station (Amplifier and Directional Antenna). You can also look at views of Short Path or Long Path. It will give you a good view of when you need to be on which band to contact the DX station.
6 Meters – The Magic Band
The best website that I have found for 6 meters is DXMaps.com . It provides a map view of the world or you can select a continent. Based on spotting network data, it shows 6 meter contacts and color codes them by Sporadic-E, Multihop ES, Meteor Scatter, etc… even Aurora. You can also get a view of 10 meters, 2 meters or 70 cm. If you sign up for a free account, you can subscribe to real time notifications when there is an opening near you.
2 Meter Propagation
Looking for a tropo opening for a weak signal 2 meter contact? Visit the website http://aprs.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/ to see a VHF Propagation map. This shows tropo openings as color coded clouds – with brighter colors for the longer openings. This is based on APRS data.
These are the websites that I like to visit to understand the propagation forecast for the day. If your favorite site is not on the list, add a comment so the rest of our readers can check it out.