Friday, 8 September 2017

12m is Dead. Not this year, it isn't!

12m is my favourite band.  I fell in love with it when I had a reasonably good, vertical 2-ele yagi set up (and how infrequent they are!), with pole fixings that let the reflector be moved around the radiator.  Since then, I've upgraded to a 3-ele LFA Yagi.

No other band I've operated on follows the day quite so well.  Mornings are announced with lots of Russian stations.  Then it's across to Europe for a good fraction of the day, with the odd opening to the Indian Ocean, Africa and, sometimes, the Pacific.  Sunset brings a brief period of US Pacific coast stations, and again, sometimes the odd Pacific island QSO.

2016 was notable here for quite a drop in 12m QSOs.  Certainly, 2017 hasn't seen any 12m ragchew sessions that were common until early 2016, across to the US. 

But the band isn't dead.  Far from it!  In fact, 2017, a point that should be lower in solar activity and quite close to minimum, has been substantially more active than 2016.  Almost all days have at least one QSO, with the equinoctal periods turning up the QSO rate significantly.

A lot of the QSOs are on the back of various Es mechanisms, of which there are many.  Normal summer Es, plus lots of solar outbursts that give a good kick to propagation.

Thanks to fast modes like the recent FT-8, it's now quicker and easier than ever to test the waters and see if someone answers.  Most times, someone will!

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