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Thread: Propagation better when?

  1. #1

    Default Propagation better when?

    On Ham Test there was a question that stated that propagation is better by day an almost non existent by night.

    Back in 1970s when I was in my teen years, I remember that on the simple AM radio I had, there was always much more activity on both LW and MW bands in the evening than there was during the day. Its almost like the bands came alive in the evening and I had always assumed that this was in some way down to atmospheric conditions.

    Was this assumption incorrect?
    Was this not down to propagation?

  2. #2
    M0TTB's Avatar
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Hertfordshire, England


    I think, or would hope, that the original question made mention of the band involved, and maybe the desired distances to be heard, as that is vital to know the correct answer.

    Propagation for long distance reception/communication is better in hours of darkness (or near darkness) on the lower HF frequencies, take the 80m (3.7mhz) amateur band for example, where-as the opposite is true of higher frequencies in the HF spectrum, take 15m (21mhz) amateur band as an example.
    Last edited by M0TTB; Sun 30th Sep 2012 at 11:27.

  3. #3


    Propagation is really too big a subject to round up in a few short sentences. The lower end of the HF spectrum does as a rule tend to come to life as darkness falls. In some case you wont hardly hear a thing on 160m or even 80m during daylight. Then you get 40m where weak signals heard during the day can come pounding in after dark. Then you can start dabbling with grey line propagation, the supposed holy grale of DX communication! In fact, didn't there used to be a grey line calculation tool of some type, almost like a kind of protractor? Then you have VHF where if memory serves me rightly cold frosty mornings favour VHF contacts (the wife would have great success on 2m's if this is true) add to that meteor scatter, tropospheric ducting. Its a right can 'o' worms!

    I have somewhere a small RSGB paperback covering all forms of propagation, I'll have to dig it out and have a re-read!

  4. #4
    WB9UDA's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2014
    Central Florida


    Just about when you think you've got propagation all figured out, and you're thinking about writing a book about it, the sun puts out a huge Solar flare and everything you thought you knew is just blown to Hades.

    There are just too many variables, to say that anything is going to work the same, day after day. You just turn on your radio and you take what you get.
    Or as the carnies used to say, "you pay your nickel and you take your chance".

    An Example:

    Back in the 70's when I was a Legal CB Radio (11meter band) Operator, 5W, Call Sign and all that legal stuff, I would be talking to my wife, mobile to base in the morning as I drove the 17 miles east, to work.
    Usually things were pretty quiet, till one morning we got interrupted by a strong male voice asking for a "Break". My wife responded to him and we found out that he was in the American Embassy in Paris, France.
    We didn't hear from him again, but a few days later, we got another Breaker in Nova Scotia.

    Calling my wife on my way home from work one day, on my mobile CB Radio, I got a response from a guy in Washington State. Did I mention we were living in Central Illinois at the time.

    That year the 'skip' was jumping all over the place. It was never the same, two days in a row. So that year, everything I thought I knew about propagation, went right out the window.

    Cheers mates!

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Jan 2017
    Meadville, Pa.


    In the late 70's I was a patrolman in the local police dept. I happened to be parked near our fairgrounds and the skip was coming in from the south.
    I was doing paperwork when I heard (southern) cops talking about seeing a group of bikers coming and car 2 was told by car 1 to pull out in front of them when they approached. They would get behind them and they'd do some license checking.
    Car 2 responded in the affirmative. It dawned on me that if I could hear them, then they could probably also hear me, so when car 2 said they were ready to move, I said, "Good luck, Johnny Reb!" After a few seconds I heard two replies of, "Ten fer!"
    I'm still laughing about that 40 years later.

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