An homage for the memory of the good old days

In this season, an hour or two before sunset, 40m sounds quiet without the static noise or the messy SSB from SE Asia. I know it is still open to NA or Pacific area. In fall, it could open to all over the world at the same time. Pointing beam to NE, I start calling CQ. No caller. I repeat it two or three times. The band is still quiet. Listening for any weak callers for a while, I quit there.

This 40m is special to me in a couple of senses. One is that, as I have repeatedly told in this blog, this band at this time in a day has been my first love in radio since I started it in '60s. There have been a lot of fascinating people and QSOs with them. The other is that the condition is always coming upward to the peak around the sunset. The band is heading to miraculous opening to various parts of the world at the same time. It is the band of youth, isn't it? Even with a small 6AQ5 single TX with a dipole fed with a ladder line, I could work DX  far away in '60s. I could join CW ragchewers around the Pacific Ocean from time to time. Yes, I have written of this same memory so many times. That is why I come back to 40m at this time in a day.

Unfortunately, there are very few getting on the air around this time. It may mean how CW communication has come along and where it is heading to. I won't care for that. Calling CQ as told above, I go off the radio. It is an homage for the fond memory of this band in my young days.  


  1. Welcome to the present, Shin. Unfortunately, your comments are the same for all of us who entered the hobby in the fifties and sixties, when ham radio was the "Internet craze" for many young kids. Some days I go up to the radio and find one or two great QSOs, where we whiz along at 30-35 WPM and talk and talk, but that's getting to be the exception. The "rule" now is finding someone who wants to exchange a report, name and "my rig is ..." and say 73. But we keep trying. The really fast guys, those who can converse at 45-60 WPM, have it much tougher, as they are few and far between, and have to make pre-set schedules since most of the operators now-a-days can't do that speed. But don't give up. I am listening for you every day I do get on in our mornings here in Texas on 40 meters, and my very good friend, W5JAW, says you are active in our evenings/your mornings on 15 meters with good signals. "Keep the faith," it's all we have. Jim N3BB

    1. Jim,

      I am pleased to have such as you for my company. See you oftener. Even though we might be in the last brilliance of this kind of enjoyment.


  2. Shin, I felt a wave of nostalgia as I read your comments. I got my ticket in 1956 and for me that band was 10m in the daytime and 40m in the evening. I can almost smell the vapors of components out-gassing in the heat of the adjacent tube on top of my home-brew transmitter. I had a simple long wire at first and then a open-wire fed dipole. In truth, the downside of "good old days" is not always remembered accurately, but they were truly all "good" days for me in ham radio.
    Yes, Jim, I too miss the QRQ of the sixties. Even then, though, I found myself with the same familiar gang on the low end of 80m and 40m in a seemingly endless round of chat. We played a game called error. One kept sending at slowly increasing speed until an error was made - any kind, spacing included. A barrage of QSK interrupts let you know when that happened :)

    1. Dan,

      I miss the photo of the old equipment and the antenna. All is in my memory, though. I have had troubles with my home brew set up. I wished I had had some commercial equipment. But the days were shining those days indeed.


  3. Your comments made me remember my high school days in New Jersey. I had a 60W tube transmitter and a ladder line fed zepp up only 8M. I used to wait for my parents to go to bed and sneak down to my basement shack so I could work stations on the West Coast. 40M continues to be my favorite band and I have no problem working DX with my Inverted V at 15M. Lately about one QSO out of Three is a nice rag chew :-)

  4. Boy, you guys sound old. I was "uptown" with a DX60 Heathkit, Hammerlund HQ170 and a 14AVQ vertical. Nice to have a father who was also a new novice. My novice logbook (only one I still have) has every CQ perfectly logged, including the ones with no answer. Lots of those, by the way. May 1962 to be exact.

    1. Shin

      The SSB from SE Asia is all coming from Indonesia. Just as an aside, from 1995-96 I was working as a commissioning engineer for a company which won a government contract to install marine GMDSS land radio stations all around the archipelago. It was quite an interesting couple of years, and I travelled from Sanana Island north in the Sulawesi Sea to the Kalimantan coast, and in various places in Java, Sumatra and Irian Jaya. A lot of stories to tell..

      What I found was that on all the small remote islands I visited, there would be one or two illegal 100 Watt SSB stations with a dipole or vertical. They all had free- running VFOs from 1.6 to 30 MHz. Thet were paid for by the villagers who all contributed a few dollars. The operators would make skeds with other islands, or on the four main land masses (Irian Jaya, Kalimantan, Sumatra and Java) so that the mothers and fathers on the islands could talk to their sons who had travelled away to get work in the larger cities.

      There were no cellphone networks on the islands then, and I believe that is still the case now. There are approximately 400 island still on the air with the 100Watt SSB rigs, according to one GMDSS station manager I spoke to recently.

      The ops know nothing of international regulations. The rigs are very easy to buy in kakarta, no license needed. Singapore is the main supplier.

      Ops use 10.000 MHz as a common calling frequency (!!). Most working is done between 6 and 8 MHz on any clear spot they can find. This is because in the area covered by all of Indonesia, these frequencies are usable 24 hous a day.

      I kind of forgive them because they have no other way for loved ones to keep touch, but I do get angry when they blast me out in the middle of a QSO.

      They don't know what CW is so just come right on top.

      All the best
      73 / 161
      John 9V1VV

      (sent from Saudi)

  5. Shin, John,
    I notice the same SSB operators often on the cw end of 40m. They were very strong when I was in V85 and I used to chase them out of the cw section sometimes. but they always returned. Even down here in southeast Australia those ssb stations chatting and making noises (maybe they are kids?) are quite loud at times.
    vk1da/vk2uh ex v85da