Texas radio amateur and FCC Part 5 Experimental licensee John Langridge, KB5NJD/ WG2XIQ, reported “an amazing night” for the 630-meter special event on November 12-13. One highlight was a North America-to-Europe Amateur Radio contact on the medium-wave band, to which US operators are still awaiting access.
“Last night is what it is all about, and I had a front row seat for the festivities,” Langridge said in his lengthy post-event report, adding that the activity represented “a significant moment in 630-meter lore.” The weekend event featured participation by the Marine Radio Historical Society’s KPH, Canadian radio amateurs making cross-band contacts with US stations, and Part 5 Experimental stations either beaconing or contacting other experimental stations.
Langridge credited radio amateurs in Canada, who already have access to the 427-479 kHz band, with playing “a massive role” in providing cross-band QSOs, with many showing up each night to listen for signals and make their own signals available. Advance publicity also helped, he said.
“I think all of the Part 5 operators who participated this year, whether beaconing or making QSOs, made for a fun event. For me, it’s about communication, so to make meaningful QSOs with Mike, WD2XSH/12, and Eric, WD2XSH/46 (WG2XJM), is important to me.” WD2XSH is the call sign of the ARRL 600-Meter Experimental Group.
Newfoundland MW enthusiast Joe Craig, VO1NA, completed a contact on CW with Kees Nijdam, PE5T, in the Netherlands. Langridge said the contact was among only a handful of transatlantic CW contacts completed so far on 630 meters. Others in Europe reported hearing VO1NA.
Mitch Powell, VE3OT, worked several other North American stations cross-band, with all contacts — from Maine to Iowa to Alabama — took place on 80 meters. “I am sure everyone participating was pleased to see how 630 meters worked out,” Powell said. On the other side of North America, many stations in western US were also successful in working or hearing stations in British Columbia.
Down Under, Roger Crofts, VK4YB, reported “horrid conditions,” with just a single transpacific report.
Laurence Howell, KL7L/WE2XPQ, in Wasilla, Alaska, reported a lot of noise on VLF and warble on HF signals, with periods of total blackout overnight. Merv Schweigert, K9FD/WH2XCR, in Hawaii, experienced a massive night with stations in Japan. He shared two-way reports with JA1PKG and received reports from at least four other stations in Japan. He was also able to decode VK4YB.
Paul Kelley, N1BUG, in Maine, was among those who copied the WG2XKA CW beacon in Vermont, operated by John Molnar, WA3ETD. He also completed cross-band contacts with VO1NA and with VE3OT.
ARRL 600-Meter Experimental Group Coordinator Fritz Raab, W1FR, reported hearing several other US experimental stations as well as VE3OT, from his midwest location.
“We live in a time when a lot of people want the easy way out, and there is nothing easy about 630 meters, even when the band is in good shape,” Langridge said. “One has to ‘want it’ to dig in the noise and listen for stations.”