Sic Meters - The Tragic Band ? Click here to go back to the home page

by Jim, KH2D in Guam |

There are, I must say, a few bands that amateurs are allowed to operate on that are not included in the list of 'my favorite bands'.

One Sixty, for example. The 'Gentlemens Band'. Yeah, rite. Somewhere I heard 'Gentlemen prefer blondes'. These gentlemen prefer noise. Should be called the 'Static Crash Band'. All you need for 160 meters is about 400 miles of radials and beverages, a couple kilowatts, and you can work anybody who lives in the same state as you do.

But my MOST UN-favorite band has to be Sic Meters. Some people call it the 'Magic Band'. Why, I dunno. I think it should be called 'The Tragic Band'. Why? That's easy to explain. I think it's tragic that some hams have nothing better to do than sit around and talk to each other for six months on ten meters so that they can talk to each other for two minutes on sic meters. Sound silly? Well that's the way it works .....

So what do you need to operate on sic meters? Well, the first thing you need is a personality that is not type A. Then you need patience, a ten meter radio and antenna, a sic meter radio and antenna, and a baby monitor. You also need to know what TV sync signals sound like. And you have to know what grid squares are and what your grid square number is.

28.885 is the 'coordination frequency' for sic meters. Why, you might ask, would any ham band need a coordination frequency on another band? Well, basically, because sic meters is never OPEN. And when it does open, it might only stay that way for fifteen minutes.

So you have to find something to do while you are waiting. What you do is listen to 28.885 on your ten meter radio, make friends with all the other sic meter operators you'll find there, tell them how much you'd really like to work them on sic meters, and every now and then, just for practice, go to 50.110 and call CQ or call one of the other guys you talk to every day on 28.885.

What's the baby monitor for? Well, like I said, sic meters isn't open much and when it is, it doesn't stay that way long. If you leave the room, you don't want to miss any openings, so you sit the baby monitor in front of the speaker on the sic meter radio, clip the pager part to your pants, and then you can listen to sic meters no matter where you go in the house.... If you hear a noise, immediately flush, drop dinner, stop what you are doing and RUN, don't walk, back to the shack.

Why do you need to know what TV sync signals sound like? To the seasoned sic meter operator, TV sync signals are the same as the Bible is to a Born Again Christian. TV sync signals give sic meter operators something they all desperately need - HOPE. If they hear TV sync signals on 49 mhz, then they HOPE ham signals on 50 mhz will follow shortly. I imagine the average TV station runs a bit more power than the average sic meter ham operator, but what the heck, where would we all be without HOPE ? The other thing about TV sync signals is that your knowledge of them makes you sound technical - you can announce on 28.885 'I'm hearing 49mhz video from WRAT in Houston' and impress the other sic meter operators with your technical expertise.

What's this bit about grid squares? Well, for most of the ham bands, we divide the world up into zones and countries. But working other zones and countries on sic meters take YEARS of patience. So in the mean time, we divided the world up into little tiny squares, so you'll have something to shoot for until a biggy like another zone or country comes along. Plus it gives you something to impress other hams with on the local DX cluster. You can put out spots like 'DX DE KH2JU 50.125 KH2D QK23JK > QK23JL'. Most of the guys on the packet cluster don't have the slightest idea how far it is from grid QK23JK to grid QK23JL, so they think you are a six meter DX'er when you are really only talking to the guy six miles up the road.

What else can you do while you wait for sic meters to open? Well, sic meters is an excellent band to monitor color burst crystals, the birdies from your computer, etc. You can swing your antenna around and listen to weird squeals and howls emitting from electronic devices all over your neighborhood. If you have a neighbor you don't like who doesn't have cable TV, it's also an excellent band to cause TVI, so you can practice your CQ's and QRM the neighbors TV.

OK, so what DO you do when sic meters finally does open? First, get really, really excited. This shouldn't be hard to do, because you probably haven't heard another ham signal on sic meters in six months, unless your friend up the street is a sic meter operator too. Second, go immediately to 28.885, and tell all the guys you have been talking to for six months 'THE BAND IS OPEN !!'. Then pick a frequency, call your friends on 28.885 one at a time, tell them what frequency on sic meters you are calling them on, and then if you hear them on sic meters, give them a signal report and quickly move on to the next guy - you never know how long sic meters is gonna STAY open....

Well, what's the difference between talking to your friends on sic meters or on 28.885 on ten meters?
I don't know, I haven't figured that part out yet.

If you ever go on a DX-pedition, please don't make the mistake of taking along only a sic meter radio. Sic meter DX-pedition operators have been know to die from boredom on tropical islands in many parts of the world.

Anyway, is it MAGIC or is it TRAGIC ? You tell me....

73, Jim KH2D

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