Low Band Operation, 17 Jan 2019


Welcome to the Thursday edition of “Big Island ARRL News.”  Views expressed in this Amateur/Ham Radio news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.  Today’s topic comes from Joseph Speroni (AH0A), the ARRL Pacific Section, Section Manger and Merv Schweigert (K9FD/KH6), a Molokai radio amateur who experiments on the 630 meter band.

Accessed on 17 January 2019, 1614 UTC, Post 838.


Email message from Joseph Speroni (AH0A) via Merv Schweiger (K9FD/KH6).

Here’s the complete text of Joe’s and Merv’s message:

Low Band Operation

ARRL website

ARRL Members Only Web site

3:10 AM (2 hours ago)

 to me
Aloha all!

It used to be that when we used the phrase “low bands” we were
talking about 160M or 80M.  With our new 2200-meter and 630-meter bands
this can be confusing.  These band are really low.  Below AM broadcast
bands — 135.7-137.8 kHz (2200-meter) and 472-479 kHz (630-meter).

Merv Schweigert, K9FD/KH6 on Molokai, has been working the “low
bands” for a number of years, with an FCC experimental license even
before the bands were open to all.  I asked Merv for an update on his
activities and he passed this on for those interested.

Give it a read and maybe you’ll join the growing list of Amateurs on
the new low-bands.

–       ———–

Aloha, my name is Merv,  call sign K9FD,  and I have lived on Molokai
for the past 18 years. I have held other KH6 calls over the years, KH7C,
KH6JJ, etc., but decided to keep my old original call sign.

I have always been a low band fan and 160 has been my band of choice. My
QTH is the former AM Broadcast station,  KAIM 50KW  built back in the
1980s.  I purchased the property some years ago and the station license
and equipment was sold and moved to Honolulu.

I became interested in 630 meters several years ago and obtained an
experimental license WH2XCR and was active on the band for several
years.   Since the band has been opened for amateur use,  I have been
active now using my regular call K9FD.

The 630-meter bad  has become quite active with many mainland and
foreign countries represented.   It’s not unusual running WSPR over
night to have reports from 70 to 80 stations around the world.  At
sunset and sunrise there is quite a bit of JT-9 and CW modes also used.

An example of reports/QSOs made:

•       All across the USA, all of Canada, ZF, JA, VK, ZL, KL7 and LA.

•       For the past couple weeks, the path to Norway has been open and I
receive reports from 2 LA stations.

•       For two years I have kept track with VK4YB and we have been able to
have daily two-way reports, only if there is severe QRN have we had no

•       The over water paths to the north and south are open all year.

My equipment is an Elecraft K3, an older model updated to new specs, so
it does work on 630M.  The K3 puts out 1 mW on that band,  I feed that
into a homemade single MOSFET amplifier for about 50 to 75 watts.   The
antenna is a 160-meter inv L at present.  For 630M I have a large
variometer at the base which tunes the wire to 475 kHz. This is fed
through 350 ft of hardline to the shack.   I get 1-watt ERP from this
setup. measured at the antenna with a RF ammeter.  I use the former AM
broadcast stations ground system so the ground is decent.

I usually listen at sunset for CW and JT-9 signals and then change to
WSPR and let that mode run all night,  checking again at sunrise for
other mode activity.

Many stations are running small vertical antennas with top loading on
630M and of course low power and are very successful.   Best way to
check 630M is to set you radio to 474.2, run WSPR software,  and listen
for a few hours and see what you can hear.  To try the band almost any
antenna can be used for receiving. I originally used an 80-meter dipole
with the feed line shorted together,  fed to the receiver. It worked
very well.

I would encourage anyone interested in low bands to take a listen.  You
may get bitten by the LF bug and join in.  Welcome to the world below
the broadcast band.

If that’s not low enough there is also the 136 kHz band now open to
amateurs,  I have copied mainland US on that band,  but so far have not
ventured to transmit down there.

I hope more KH6 hams take a try on 630M. Since there is little to no
commercial gear available so far for the band,  it promotes some simple
home brew amps and radios. Several hams have built 1930s type breadboard
transmitters and are having a great time, there are pictures of those on
the web.  NO3M is one, and he has some very nice-looking gear.

For what’s happening on 630M check the web page of John KB5NJD.  He
has a daily report blog,  and much info on the band and even some
construction articles!

73 and look forward to seeing you on 630M.
Merv K9FD/KH6


–       ———–

Follow us on:
Face book –
Twitter –
Instagram –
Blog –
LinkedIn at ARRL Pacific Section

ARRL Pacific Section
Section Manager: Joseph Speroni, AH0A

Hawaii Island Amteur/Ham Radio notes:

The Original Big Island of Hawaii International Swap Meet/

Hamfest is set for Saturday, 02 February 2019, at the Waimea

Community Center.  For more information, please contact

Steve Milner (WH6N) at

Licensed radio amateurs are needed to provide communications

support for the Sunday, 17 March 2019, Big Island International

Marathon in Hilo, Hawaii.  For details, contact Sean Fendt (KH6SF)

at 430-1884 or via email at

For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please

check the blog sidebars and links. These news feeds are updated

daily and weekly.

Aloha es 73 de

Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)

Public Information Coordinator

Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section

%d bloggers like this: