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Bredhurst Receiving and Transmitting Society

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Using HF

As with the VHF section the other day a (relatively) recently successful M3 candidate mentioned that whilst information on the band plan showed that there were various frequencies allocated that it was not until he started to operate that he fully appreciated what was what.

He commented further that he would like to see a page on the web site that helped to give more information.

This page has been written to provide some more information.

1. Antenna polarization- SSB horizontal or Vertical:

No where in the syllabus does it make any reference to polarization of antennas relative to the mode / frequency that is being used.

Whilst with VHF there is considerable different found if the polarization is when is know as crossed one vertical and the other horizontal, for HF there is no such significance as when the signal is bounced off the ionosphere it self twists and turns so that at one moment a vertical antenna will receive better and the next a horizontal. Thus use what ever you have the space to use.

2. The Band Plan

Unlike the VHF 2m Band plan the HF bands do not as a ruled have what are know as "Calling Channels" however there are areas of the band where operation is strict prohibited such as in the 14MHz band beacon section. If you are not sure about this look it up on the band plans as it is part of the examinable section of the syllabus.

However there are difference sections of each band that are used for different modes. Please sure that you use the band as they are intended.

As was mentioned in the VHF section you will also see from looking at the Band plan more information about how the band is used so it is recommended that you take your time to look through it and anything that you do not "fully" understand ask your lead instructor for more interpretation.

3. Which sideband to use ?

Whilst not published generally on band plans those from the RSGB indicate that SSB operation below 10MHz generally uses LSB (Lower Sideband) and frequencies above 10MHz use USB (Upper sideband).

The result of using the wrong side band is that whilst you could hear the station your reply signal could be outside the other operator's passband and he may not hear you and thus would ignore your reply to a CQ call.

4. Joining an existing QSO

If you have already read through the "Using VHF section" then some of this may seem familiar to you but joining a QSO on HF is different from joining a QSO on VHF.

If you are tuning across the bands and hear an interesting QSO in progress please do not think that you can boldly just call in between overs. Think of conversation like any other between two persons. If you think that you would like to contact one or other of the station then the correct procedure is to "tail end" their QSO and NOT to butt in because you think you have something of interest to say.

"Tail ending" means after the stations have said their good bye 73 etc, you call one of the station

".... (Callsign) this is ........(your callsign)

Say no more. If the station wishes to acknowledge you then it will but if it chooses to ignore you then that is a sad reflection on them but it does happen.

Assuming that you are called back then it you be best to start with :-

.....(their callsign) this is ..... (your callsign) I thought that you might like to know that in .... (give your location) your signal report is .... (give RST) and that ......... (give a very short comment on what the station has been talking about).

Then give the transmission back to the station.

So back to ..... (Callsign) this is .......(your callsign).

You will have then given interesting information to them in the form of the accepted report of RST and a short snippet of information. If the station wishes to continue with you in the conversation then transmission will be again given to you but do not expect to be called in again.

5. Working a DX station

1. In some areas of the US, amateurs are restricted from transmitting in the upper part of the 7mh band. So you might hear a ham calling below 7.100 mhz 'CQ Contest, listening seven two thirty.'

2. To avoid a pile up from an exotic station he may call 'CQ - listening up 5 to 10' or may be only "CQ up". Stations returning to the CQ call will then call between 5 kHz and 10 kHz up from the station. The exotic Dx station then picks a clear station in that spectrum.


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