Any good idea to activate 40m?

RBN tells my signal reaches the West Coast with decent strength. However, no reply to CQ for many times. I have noticed this lowered activity there for years, as I repeatedly mentioned here.

There must be less number of hams operating HF CW even in the US. Recalling those who used to be active on 40m around our sunset hours, I must admit most of them have already gone silent key. In addition, or probably more likelily, 40m around this time may not attract CW operators in the US so much. Because there are much less activity in VK/ZL, who used to operate in old fashioned style one decade or two ago. There were many couples on 40m between W and VK/ZL those days. In '60s, K6NB kept a regular schedule with VK2NS. K5BGB used to work with VK4BQL on regular basis. There are a number of such examples so far as I know. On 40m, the West Coasts have only the path to Oceania as well as East Asia at this time in a day. Lowered activity in VK/ZL must necessarily made the Ws lose interests in 40m at this time in a day, I am afraid.

On the other hand, 20m might open to the other parts of the world in the West Coast at the same time in a day. It may be more fascinating to those who enjoy conversational QSOs. Actually, I often have more replies from the West Coast on 20m at the same time than on 40m. Or 30m might take over the role of 40m for them.

Anyway, even though 40m opens so nicely at our sunset, there are very few who would enjoy conversation on CW. It not only saddens me, since 40m CW has been my 1st love in ham radio, but also is a too bad loss in ham radio. Any good idea to activate 40m around this time in a day?


  1. Shin San,
    I read and then read a second time your most recent blog on CW activity. I recently read an article that indicates the number of new hams that enter into getting a ham radio license is significantly less than the number of hams who are passing away and becoming silent keys. It further stated that the new hams are not going into or planning on CW operations, which is one of the main reasons there are fewer people on 40 or for that matter on any CW bands. I hear stations on DX frequencies on 20/17/15 meter bands calling CQ quite often without any answers. 6Y5wj recently has been operating in the early evening hours on 40 and 20 meters and sometimes will call CQ a half a dozen times before anyone calls him. The band conditions have not helped in recent weeks the bands, even 40 meters has been very poor in early morning or early evening hours. So that is making a lot of discussion on the bands about how poor the situation has been recently and how the guys are not even turning on their radios, totally unlike the way we did things only a few years ago. When I went up to the mountains to operate CW for field day,
    there were 4 times as many voice operators as there were CW operators in our group. All of these situations continue to add to the down fall of CW operations.

    Yesterday morning I had two very nice rag chew's on 40 meter cw, one started with K6XG, dave at 13:46 on 7.027 and we chatted for 35 minutes. A bit later I called W6TUR as he was signing clear from a prior QSO and again I chatted with him for about 35 minutes.
    Sorry I did not catch you as I know you were on 40 that morning, but I had not talked with Dave for a very long time, and he lives in an area of the Northern Redwoods of California which I always loved, and he rides a bicycle a lot, so our conversation was great.
    But I am getting up earlier again now over the past few days so I am sure to catch up with you if the band conditions are better than they have been recently. I have no answers to the CW situation, only that more of us need to get on early in the mornings over here, and this being summer usually discourages this because in my area it is hot even in the morning. I was out this morning at 12:30 UTC using my yard blower at slow speeds to try and clean up the leaves, and other debris from the neighborhood trees that seems to settle in my yard more than others! But at that time of the morning it was warm enough to begin Sweating immediately!

    Bob Gates

    1. Bob, I have replied to you in the comment to John. Thanks.

  2. Hi Shin, Bob

    40m is open most nights to USA west coast from here in Singapore, as are 30m and 20m as well. But all these bands are quiet even though my signal gets out OK. I am new to amateur radio but many old timers talk of the bands being full of CW operators in previous sunspot highs. Partly it is due to the lack of solar activity, and partly due to the decreasing number of CW ragchewers. The bands suddenly come alive during contests though, proving that the conditions are not really that bad.

    I don't have any suggestions other than to remain as active as possible on 40m. Even that is not easy when you call CQ for 15 minutes and can't get any replies.

    Then I start to think of the book I am half-way through or the film I have been meaning to watch with my son, and I ask myself if the time spent at the radio desk is really worthwhile? Maybe we are all starting to ask ourselves ... could the time spent on this hobby be put to better use?

    1. Bob and John,

      Thanks for the comments.

      Bob, I meant the opening at our sunset, which is always very good without much QRM/N as at later time in a day. 6Y5WJ or K6XG sounds very familiar to me. I actually met Dave in Seattle last summer. Please turn on the radio for a while if you get up earlier, around 2 to 4 AM, in your time. You may find a fantastic path like in your NF7H days!

      John, I haven't heard you on 40m in your this days off. I am afraid contesting has a kind of rebound that suppresses the activity of CW operators. Who would try to spend some time after having spent hours in any contest? No one would do that. They may feel bored with ham radio for a while. A good friend of mine, an old timer, Matt N7EG, formerly K7PKG, most pertinently expressed that in this way like "Contests demean ham radio!". I fully agree this proverb.

      No way to complain of the low activity. It may be a trend of this style of radio communication. Noone could resist that. All we could do is, as you said, to keep ourselves active on the radio. Although I won't repeat calling CQ more than 3 times in an occasion. RBN tells people I am there. So if I won't get any call in that time, it will be most likely I won't get any more with further calling CQ.

      I hope your ham radio desk and radio gear won't be put into a closet there!!


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  3. Hi Shin

    I hear you now on 20m calling (Tuesday morning) but too weak to have a decent QSO. I worked a few EU on 30m earlier. There is no chance for a decent chat with anyone the way the conditions are. I am getting a bad reputation as an alligator (small ears, big mouth) in FOC and other circles. QRN here has always been very bad.... sometimes I wish all those experts would come to Singapore and try to set up a station here with no permissions to use a beam, only a stealth wire antenna. Then they would find out for themselves how difficult it can be....still struggling. I will look for you in the evenings on 40m Shin, take care...

    1. John,

      You should let them know why you became an alligator in the following ways to the contrary of your wish:

      1)Record or take a video of the scene you are trying to listen to weak signals in the sea of much QRN. And publish it with a title of "A tear of an Alligator".

      2)When you work with such a guy naming you an alligator, gradually reduce your power in the QSO. Let him know you are listening him in that way.

      I fully understand your situation. Pretty densely populated area. A hidden anntena. Isn't it rainy season there? As I told you, I used to operate XU0JA in 1991 almost in the same circumstances. Don't worry. It is not what you have chosen for your radio environment by yourself. You are never responsible for that. They should run a bit more power. That will be the solution.

      Give me a call on 20m even if ths signal is too weak there. My beam is always off to you. When it is turned your way, the signal could be much better.

      Have a nice vacation!