6 Meters – The “Magic Band“

As we are approaching the height of solar cycle 25, 6-meters has had quite a few openings recently. We have been hit with several flares taking out most of the HF bands for what seems like more than a month now. This provides for some DX, perhaps not always phone mode, but weak signal modes such as FT8 are possible.

Since the last few large flares (seemingly one right after the other lately), I would keep my FT-991A listening in on the 6-meter FT8 frequency. When I hear some stations, I would transmit a few CQs and see the spots.

6-meters was the first band I made a relatively distant contact with, using FT8 as a Technician. This was shortly after setting up the MFJ-2012 in the attic. It was my first try at FT8 and it just so happened that night (around 10 PM EST) the band was open a bit. I had made contacts into the mid-west with about 50 watts.

I have since upgraded to General, and have a whole bunch of new bands open most of the time lately (except after these flares). However, returning to the 6-meter band lately has been rewarding.

FT8 Spotters – May 31, 2024 7:30 PM EST

I made my longest DX contact to CU3EM in the Azores, 3,975 miles from my antenna Saturday morning June 1, 2024, just by chance. This contact was made with 50 watts on the MFJ-2012 outdoors.

FT8 Spotters – June 1, 2024 7:20 AM EST
FT8 Spotters – June 2, 2024 9:00 PM EST

Final Thoughts

Although I have yet to make any DX contact via phone on 6-meters, FT8 offers a window of visibility into the conditions of any given band if you monitor it. If conditions are favorable for FT8, it might be favorable for other modes as well.

Even though band conditions have been amazing during this solar cycle, its often more rewarding when the conditions are normally not so great and a DX window opens up.

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