I was digging around on the net today looking for simple deigns for Topband, 160M gear. I found this article saying that it was best for solar minimum: “The 160-Meter Band: An Enigma Shrouded in Mystery” which first published in CQ magazine in 1998. Here is some of what it says:
“Topband is one of the last frontiers for radio propagation enthusiasts.”
“The correlation between sunspot numbers and signal strength is only about 5% as strong as the correlation on higher frequencies.
”There are several important components that can improve your chances of successfully working DX on Topband. […] The trick here is to wait for sustained intervals of quiet conditions over the high latitude regions.”
It used to be the band for local rag chewing and I get the feeling it is either classed as just that or seen as the preserve of DX chasers with huge antennas farms. It can be both, but we can all have fun on Topband over the coming years without the constant depression of low or non-existent sunspots. I have a 38m long inverted L and had reasonable results on 160M a few years back so please do not dismiss the band without giving it a try.
It also appeals to me because it was my first intro to amateur radio. I used to look out of my bedroom window across the road to an aerial pole in the back garden of the next street. It belonged to G3LIO, Jim Gibbs. He was the first licensed amateur that I knew, and he and his father were very generous in helping me to start short wave listening back in the mid-1960s.
I have a few projects to complete to get back on the air but over the coming months I will make some Topband gear and give it a try. It will be low(ish) power AM to begin with. I also like the idea of working /P with long wire antennas supported by tall trees. It is time to modify the catapult launcher!