[AMRadio] "AM Ghetto"


Todd, KA1KAQ ka1kaq at gmail.com
Fri Nov 8 09:55:05 EST 2013


On Fri, Nov 8, 2013 at 8:11 AM, Steve WA1QIX <wa1qix at piesky.com> wrote:

> We definitely need to expand - but such expansion may occur more quickly
> if we don't "move" so far away from the defacto center of AM activity.
>  Realistically, we will probably not be able to move that defacto center -
> at least not any time soon.
>

I think the root issue has more to do with a basic fact about human
behavior that applies to AMers as much as any other group: There are far
more followers than leaders. As Don said, we use to have a lot more
activity down below 3.750 nightly, to the point that a lot of 'regulars'
from the 75m portion either came down to join in or complained that were
were 'abandoning our obligation to defend the [imaginary] AM window', which
was pure hogwash on numerous levels.

Activity dropped off when the regular core group people had other
obligations or just got busy with life. At one point there were regular
groups on 3.705, -10, -15, and 3.725 which has been a long time Canadian AM
hangout. There is still nightly activity around 05 most nights and
occasionally other points, but as Don mentioned - activity is way down
overall regardless of mode.

At night (and during much of the day, at least around here), everyone knows
> we have firmly established 3885 and 3875 as regularly used (essentially,
> every night), AM frequencies.
>

My favorite time to operate there was weekend afternoons, with Jackson
Bob/K1REC (Roosters Enjoy Chickens) and other lower power stations who were
seldom heard after dark. Though I did get my first coast-to-coast contact
with Mike/KO6NM on 3.870 late one night. the 75m portion of the band is
still fun but too annoying for me most nights due to the noise and other
garbage. The 80m portion is virtually devoid of that, and 40m has really
filled out for nighttime activity as of late.

We need another around frequency, maybe 10kHz away.  3865 might be the
> logical choice, or we might have to compromise and start out with 3868 or
> 3867 to deter any bucketeers from trying to start a QSO 3kHz up the band
> and causing interference until things are firmly established.
>

I think that will invite a fight from the SSB ops who feel they own that
area as much as some AMers believe they have exclusive rights to
3.870-3.885. Few stations have the signal that you have Steve, which can
actually prevent nearby operation. :D

Of course the 5kHz spacing we run into sometimes is JUST TOO CLOSE unless
> the band isn't open, and the stations are REAL far from each other
> geographically.
>

Ugh. That reminds me of soooo many nights on 75m before the phone band
expansion when we all congregated there instead of spreading out and
*tried* to use 5kHz spacing in order to get 3 groups going. Too close?
Yeah, I'd say so. After a headache set in I'd just switch off the station
and go do something else.  Especially now with all the available space, it
makes zero sense to get that close to any AM group no matter what you might
believe about 'necessary bandwidth'.

There is probably some merit in having a contiguous band segment that we
> regularly use for AM.  Yes, we can go anywhere, etc. etc. etc., but
> sometimes reality suggests a different course of action.
>

Especially for the followers. I recall one AMer (though I'm not sure he's
active anywhere other than the internet these days) complaining that he had
"listened around but heard no activity", he wanted to get on the air but no
one was there to talk to etc etc. When I asked if he had called CQ he
replied "No, I'm not very good at calling CQ". Prior to that I never
realized how difficult it is to call CQ, or how gifted a few of us must
truly be to be able to do so (tongue firmly in cheek). From the number of
similar comments I've seen over the years, it became obvious that on any
given night there is an opportunity for plenty of AM operating on 40-80m
but much of it goes unnoticed since so many are waiting for someone else to
start the party so they can join in and leave at their leisure.


> Just my opinion :-)
>

With a lot of valid points backed up by actual experience. (o:

As with so many other things, there is no 'one size fits all' solution.
Some prefer the channelized/same group every night approach, some like to
seek out a quieter part of the band and work different stations and west
coast or European AM DX. If only we could convince more AMers to do one of
the above instead of just talking about it online, what wonderful sounds
we'd enjoy from our speakers.

It was great seeing you at NEAR-Fest, Steve. Especially enjoyed chatting
with you at the AM Dinner. Looking forward to the next time.

~ Todd,  KA1KAQ/4


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