Translated by Andy Hewitt, G3SVD
The Magic Band
In Mexico the Six Metre band of 50MHz is assigned exclusively to radio amateurs with a bandwidth of 4MHz, from 50 to 54MHz. As it is located in frequency between the 10 metre and two metre bands it is subject to some very interesting propagation characteristics. Whilst there are days during which absolutely nothing may be heard, on others we make very surprising contacts, for this reason it is also known as the `Magic Band'.
At the time of writing there are few Mexican stations active on six metres and it is not easy to find information about their activity as contacts between Mexican stations are at the best sporadic.
One of the few sources of historic information available is packet cluster reports. Fortunately, the site known as DX Summit (oh2aq.kolumbus.com/dxs) has available historical information that allows us to find some extremely interesting data.
To realize the following analysis the past 16 months were studied. This is from 00:00 GMT on 1st January 2000 through to 29th April 2001 at 23:59 GMT.
It was necessary to filter and correct the information, such as deleting self-reporting, and messages and reports appearing in the space dedicated to comments were excluded. Obviously incorrect callsigns were corrected. Beacon reports were differentiated from operated stations.
Some examples of the forgoing:
Self-reporting (not considered):
XE1KK 50130.0 XE1KK The band is open! 0140 19 Feb 2001
Messages (not considered):
SV1DH 50000.0 XE1KK pse pass 3GØZ to look EU skewe 2203 29 Mar 2001
Reports indicated in the comment zone (not considered):
KB6NAN 50103.0 3D2AG/P hearing XE1KK/B he will stay o2053 19 Apr 2001
Very many callsign errors were corrected:
K6RMJ 50125.0 XE2XED 0417 09 May 2000
PY2BW 50130.0 XE1AVV and many other XE's 0214 22 Mar 2000
Beacon reports were differentiated from operator controlled stations:
K0YW 50023.0 XE1KK still 559 dn67 2028 20 Jun 2000
V73AT 50028.0 XE2UZL 529 into rj38 2323 05 Nov 2000
What type of activity occurred?
During the past 16 months 442 reports were found on the DX Summit. 45% of these reports were for the reception of beacons:
|Zone 1||Zone 2||Zone 3|
The location and operating frequencies of these beacons can be seen from the map, figure 1.
Figure 1: Mexican beacon map.
Which stations were active?
55% of the stations reported to DX Summit were actively operated stations. Here we found only 32 distinct active individual stations with very unequal levels of activity.
In first place is Roman, XE2EED with 30 mentions, almost drawing with him is Bernado, XE2HWB with 29 mentions. Other stations with more than 10 reports are: XE1KK, XE1BEF, XE1UN, XE1AVM, XE1J, XE2OR and XE1/G3SVD.
Where is the activity?
Going by states we find that even though the Mexican states with the highest number of active stations are the Federal District, Baja California and the State of México, it is the State of Colima that has the most active six metre addicts, in Hector XE1BEF, Ismael XE1AVM, Pepe XE1J and Audómaro XE1AQX.
An unhappy fact is that it is in only 12 states that we have found six metre activity, this is less than half of the 31 states making up the Federal Republic.
When does the majority of the activity take place?
As the Magic Band is very cyclical it is important to consider in which months these reports on DX Summit show activity/propagation to take place.
From the following graph one can appreciate that during the period under study the majority of DX reports occurred during the months of June, July, August and November. Nevertheless it was this April when the number of mentions was extraordinarily high: 92, when, as the graph in Figure 2 shows, in a good month the average would be about 30 mentions.
Who is reporting this activity from Mexico?
These statistics have only been obtained thanks to the stations that have reported us. On the HF bands this is desirable but on 50MHz it is indispensable if we are to take advantage of the limited periods of propagation.
Of these 442 reports exactly half, as may be expected, come from the United States. In second place is Brazil with 8% and in 3rd place Argentina with 8%. With more than 5 reports we find also Panama, Australia, Canada, Japan, Mexico and Chile.
Figure 2: Reports of XE stations on the DX Summit web site.
To my great surprise I did not find any reports submitted by our friends from New Zealand, a country that many of us operating in Mexico have contacted during these 16 months. This could be because they prefer to use the 50MHz Propagation Logger (dxworld.com), another report page on the Internet, rather than the DX Summit.
Many other countries have heard or worked us but we discovered this from sources other than DX Summit and because of this, these reports are not considered in these statistics. In the case of XE1KK/B there have been reports from 3D2, 3D2/R, CP, CE0Y, CE0Z, FO, CO, OA, ZK, ZL, KH8, VR6, amongst others.
It is important to mention that 28% of all the reports which we used in this analysis were provided by only six stations. The champion reporter is PY5CC, one of the great DXers on this band with 36 messages. In second place is Gerardo, LU8MB always consistent and precise in his reports and the third is the very active José, HP2CWB who was the only station to report the three XE zones. Diana, KB6NAN not only gave many good reports but also consistently advised us by e-mail when there was some good DX. All these together with Jaime, PP5JD and Steve, VK3SIX allowed us to know from their reports when we may be able to make contact with them.
Outside of a small group of very active stations there is very little Mexican activity on six metres. This is one of the best moments for the band, it is now or never. It is indispensable to submit constant and accurate reports to the DX cluster of the stations we hear. No report is too much.
Footnote: Since the publication in México of this paper two well known DXers are now quite active on six metres: Vic, XE1VIC and David, XE1/AA6RX.
© Copyright reserved 2001, Ramón Santoyo V, XE1KK. The publication of this article in its entirety or of extracts in any form or medium is permitted provided due credit is given. Any comments or suggestions will be gratefully received at at email@example.com.
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