This is my favorite book on radio propagation. Ian covers all bands and the theory is described in a way that is very easy to understand – and this is a fairly abstract and complex topic. ALL DX-ers need this book!
This is THE classic book on Lowband DX-ing. Get your copy because the ARRL is not going to come out with another version – this was John’s last edition. At least that’s what I was told by the ARRL. Its gets very technical, but it stands as one of the top books in my library – the learning experience has been outstanding.
What is very interesting is that the ON4UN book only covers 160 – 40M. This means that its pretty “hard core” low band. I know the feeling – if you are really worth your salt, you will work half way around the world on 160M. I worked FT5ZM and VK0EK on Top Band, and both are more than 11,000 miles away. There is only ONE entity that is farther away, and that’s FT/W – Crozet, and I do not expect to ever get a chance to work Crozet on 160M in my life time. As I understand it – Crozet will never see a mega DX-pedition, but will occasionally see an odd scientist visiting.
The joke amongst low banders is that 40M isn’t a low band – its more like 20M . . . (but I disagree and also feel that 30M is more of a low band than a high band) . . .
What really is interesting is how little information you can find on 30M. During the middle of winter during the years just before the last sunspot minimum, 30M was just awesome. Its “sweet spot” seemed to be in and around the TO4E – Europa DX-pedition in 2003:
I’ve drawn a box around the years where I remember 30M being awesome and a lot like 40M in the early morning in the Fall and Winter in the years 2003 – 2005. I remember that like 20M, 30M died and was closed at solar minimum. So it seems that that is why some say that 30M behaves like 20M some years.
I looked at my log and Clublog and cannot find a definitive pattern at all regarding 30M. I was thinking that 30M was best at the same time as 40M, and in a way it is – which is to say that 40M is by far the “best” DX-ing band if you want to work the world during all years of the sunspot cycle. I think 30M is not quite as good – because I do remember during the last bottom of the cycle that even 30M as dead when 40M offered some life.
I’ve always avoided 80M, but I need to start paying more attention. I earned DXCC on it and then stayed away.
I have been told about 2 years at the bottom of the last cycle when “160M was like 20M” – and boy am I ready for that.
This is why the most exciting times for me are at the bottom of this cycle – not in these “doldrums” where the numbers can be good or bad – but the disturbances have ruined things more than not.
However – I do notice that the aurora chasers have been very happy for what seems like years now.