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SS Contest Stratgy

Oct 20th 2013, 16:39


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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I would like to plan for the upcoming SS to up my QSOs (increase coverage) on the 15 and 10m bands. I am in Illinois. What propagation software would be recommended for viewing domestic propagation, and either provide take off angles or account for antenna (i.e. 15m dipole at different heights)? Or what other combinations of software should I look at?
I'm looking to up my odds of getting some more sections , I know some may be hard to impossible--but I would like to plan as best as I can, check what options I may have and can implement, and see what happens.

Tnx es 73,
Olaf W9FY
Oct 21st 2013, 03:33


Joined: Aug 10th 2011, 09:34
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I have recently started using ACE-HF but not sure how it would work for close contacts, i.e. state to state. It also takes a bit of trial and error to figure out how to manage it's output vs the real world. There are a number of antennas already modeled in it so that should be helpful.

73, Dan 9V1DB
Oct 28th 2013, 14:21


Joined: Nov 9th 2000, 00:00
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I wouldn't say "hard to impossible." Plenty of stations work the sweep each year. In fact, operators at my station (built for DX contests) last year worked a sweep and my antennas are poor to the southwest. Being in 9-land, you stand at an advantage as well.

As for propagation prediction software, I am unaware of any program that will produce useful results for such close-in contacts. However, I would certainly look into EZnec and even YW (Yagi for Windows) as two programs that will help with modeling your antennas. Once you have an effective model of each antenna, you will be better able to plan your effort.

As a side note, last year a 5 element 15 meter monobander was often beat by a low (30' high) 40m dipole for working sections on 15m out to Michigan/Ohio from here.

73 es GL
Mike, N1TA
Nov 1st 2013, 00:35


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Appreciate all your comments.

Thanks es 73!
Olaf W9FY
Nov 2nd 2013, 13:14


Joined: Jan 17th 2003, 07:42
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VA3MN will be active on 80-10

from Sault Ste Marie, Ontario North.
Find us on RBN using


Chet, VA3MN
Eric, VA7DZ
Vic, VE3YT

Nov 9th 2013, 17:39


Joined: Apr 4th 1998, 00:00
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Total Posts: 0
Dear Olaf,

I'm just sorting out my planing for the SSB Sweepstakes and came across your question on the forum.

Try the Austrialian Government Website.

This has tools for making real time predictions for HF comunication. I have just used the Combined HF Prediction Tool for the HF Amateur bands in your area for throughout today.

Even for me the site is fairly straight forward to use and has much information on it. But here is how I used it.

1) from the home page click on 'HF Systems'
2)Then under 'Online Tools' click on 'Prediction Tools'
3) Click on ' Combined HF Prediction' A Java aplet will start to run. Make sure that it is allowed to run. Also any 'pop ups'
4) Click on the 'HAP' button and the World map will appear.
5)Put in the Map location by one of three ways. Move your mouse to the location and 'Left Click'. Fill in the Lat and Long boxes. Or click on the 'Base Location' tab and type in/sellect the City from the list. Chicago and Boston are in it.
6) Click on the 'Frequencies' tab.
7) Click on the 'Amateur' tab
8) Click on the 'Date and T-Index' tab and select 'Northern Hemisphere' in the 'Current real-time T- Index section' button.
9) Click on the 'Predict' button. You will then be instructed to 'define the area' This is done using the Left Click of the mouse to form a box.
10) Click on the Predict' button and then a new web page will appear with four sets of prediction maps. Make sure 'pop ups' are allowed.

As far as suitable antennas are concerned. There is much infomation on the ARRL website. Including an article for Sweepstakes in 'The Doctors In'

I myself use an inverted V antenna at about 45ft. It is quite long ( 500ft) and so has many lobes on the 15m/10m bands. With propagation moving throughout the day. It can act like a 'search light' for my QRP signal to various areas of the USA. Helping me a little more, when there are large signals all around. The ARRL website also has an article on the design of a 10m/15m/20m two element wire beam antenna for the Sweepstakes. Hopefully I will have mine completed before next weekend. A few days ago I had a very low, at10ft, inverted V dipole as an antenna here in Europe and managed to work VE3, VE5, 9X, ZS, GI on 10m with 5 W. So there will always some close in signals getting through.

The contest is great for learning about local propagation. I know for my location during the short time the Greyline moves accoss my location I will get very good propagation on 20m,15m,10m up to WA, NT and AK. Before they disappear and I get great coverage to Australia and New Zealand. Last year 40m went long much earlier than I thought so I couldn't work stations which I would normally 300 mls away.

Look forward to working you in the contest

Simon GW0NVN

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