My wife and I are lucky enough to have pretty great neighbors. Since adding the 2 meter radio to the Jeep, our neighbor across the way noticed the new antenna. He asked Brianna about it and she told him we’re new amateur radio operators. He headed into his garage and then returned with a 10 Meter Ranger RCI-2970 and gave it to us. I was totally blown away, especially because it was brand new in the box. I have zero experience with 10 meters and I wasn’t even sure my technician license allowed me on the band. As luck would have it, I get a slice from 28.3Mhz to 28.5Mhz to enjoy.
After doing a little research into 10 meter antennas, I built a simple “inverted V” Dipole using an online calculator. A quick trip to the hardware store to pick up some PVC pipe, I constructed a 20ft mast to lift my dipole above my roof line. Being completely new to HF, I basically spun my wheels for hours trying to make contact with anyone. The first few days I didn’t even receive a transmission from anyone.
Later through the power of google I learned that 10 meters and HF in general requires special solar conditions to reflect or skip radio waves off the ionosphere. The more solar flares on the Sun, the more ionization in the ionosphere and the further radio waves will bounce. The 10 meter band is consider “open” during these events and “closed” when there is poor wave propagation.
Armed with that information, I found a good resource (below) to know the state of the 10 meter band (and others) over at solarcycle24.org:
I was finally monitoring for activity during peek times of good performance and started to pick up CW and Voice communication between other hams. With a little patience I was finally able to make my first QSO over 10m with John – WA2OOB. While not a DX, it was a successful contact and I now know all my equipment is working correctly!
Update: Shortly after making contact with John – WA2OOB, I was finally able to make a contact outside of the United States. My first official DX goes to James – VK4XJB in the great land down under, Australia!