How Loud is your Ham Radio Signal?
1300Z CWT 6AM Local PST (60-minute CW contest)
Wow. Ham Radio is fun again! Wednesday's CWT contests are always an adventure. I wanted to see how well my amateur radio station was getting out to the world. This is a fun way to test the short wave gear.
CWops, CWT: These 1-hour CW contests each Wednesday have become a lot of fun. 3000+ members and growing, 1-hour per session, and 4 times each Wednesday, year round. These are the CWops CWT contests.
Are you new to ham radio or returning? Join us! -- (let's chat in the comments below)
This morning, from Northern Idaho, 40M was the only real band expected to be open at 5AM local, the first one of four contests expected today. I spun 20M quickly and did hear VE3EJ and a couple others but as they were quite weak and it was still dark, 40M was the obvious choice.
My alarm is always set for 5:45AM in preparation of Wednesdays fun-mode on the radio, and I'm typically into a book by 4:30AM anyway, but a much needed 'loud and clear' is a welcomed reminder from the daily distractions, "the alert buzzer announcing that I turn the radio on and be ready to go" was heard while the Italian espresso on the stove percolated its final bubbling steam. The smell of a dark roast during the season change can be Christmas-like... (or reminiscent of a CQWW contest morning from yesteryear in any case).
In Idaho this time of year it's still dark outside, and has been that way for a few weeks now as the summer sunrise falls back until spring when these contests find 20M open at 6AM yet again, for this weekly CW festivus.
With the fireplace warm, the coffee mug steaming, and the radio on 40M, I put on the headset and enter the world of Amateur Radio. A world so familiar, for so many years. Full of friendships and stories that go back to the mid-1980s...
Today was strangely, in a tin-can, sounding, like being under water. As if everyone was bouncing over the water above us, they were seemingly in another world. In the distance, and crystal clear, albeit weak I do hear a few W3's warming up. So the murky water is not entirely widespread yet the signals were fluttery and muted, everyone seemed to be S-0. For a while, I listened to K7RL who was running guys, as he should be. Mitch has a 180-foot tower over a salt water cliff scape towards all directions... he will make some noise and he had a steady stream of callers, one after another WB8's, W9's, and K4's and 5's were getting through to him, all of which were barely audible here. After a few minutes of bouncing between 20 and 40M, I settle back into 40M to hear K6RB and KC7V, who are both S9+ so the band is experiencing a sort of “spotlight opening.” Mike is not always an easy Q for me with the usual line up of ops calling him and he's been just S5-6 the past few weeks. I drop in my call and it's an easy Q. "GM Jon #77" - "GM Jon, 73 KC7V"... I work a few guys, realize the bands are not favoring the PNW of W7 and phase into a non-Wednesday style morning routine.
Looking at the RBN report, my signal was okay but not commanding. There is a noon contest coming I’ll try to make time for.
Towards the end of the 6-7AM segment of CWT, I run a quick RBN test of my signal strength:
Who does hear me?
K9IMM is the only RBN that hears me! That's a little odd. He usually reports much higher SNR for me and 8 dB is considered rather low, especially for today and considering the sound of the band. Good decision to lay low on this one. For good measure I went up to 20M and ran the same test, super loud into W8WWV and decent to KD7YZ who is on the east coast. With just a few minutes left in the contest, this test was simply for the record.
1900Z CWT: The Noon Test in W7
20-15M were both super fun today. Here is a few minutes of audio including 20-15M USA and European callers. (below: look at the signal strengths now!)
How Loud is your Ham Radio Signal?
FUN RADIO EXPERIMENT
See how loud you are and where in the world you are being heard. Try this.
FT8 Map showcases the entire planet "live" on the air.
See the map, here: https://pskreporter.info/pskmap.html
RBN Signal Data: http://www.reversebeacon.net/srch.php
2. Call "CQ CQ your-call your-call"
3. Type your name in the Spot Search
4. See where you are heard around the world.