The 6 metre band primarily covers 50.000 to 54.000 MHz, it is a really fascinating amateur band, as it is the crossover between HF and VHF, so it has propagation peculiarities of both HF and VHF which makes for some exciting long distance contacts, to be successful at getting the really long hauls, such as the other side of the world, you need to have a very well equipped station and be willing to spend alot of time monitoring and watching for the signs of good propagation, it requires effort, on the other hand, you can have fun with very modest equipment and still make some good contacts over several thousand kilometres. Important facts concerning the 6 metre band from a VK/ZL perspective: WHERE TO OPERATE: 50.000 to 50.300 - is considered as 50 Mhz, it is for weak signal DXing, avoid use of wide band modes such as FM to minimise QRM to highly sensitive receivers. 50.000 to 50.100 MHz - International beacon segment 50.050 to 50.100 - restricted to CW only in some countries 50.100 to 50.130 MHz - International DX Window, weak signal DXing via F2 layer propagation, ie. greater than 10,000km. Not suitable for mediocre equipment and simple antennas. 50.110 MHz - is the International SSB/CW Calling frequency, via F2 layer propagation, (greater than 10,000km), 50.125 MHz - the U.S. call frequency 50.130 to 50.199 - secondary International DX Window - try to minimise local contacts (less than 10,000km) to minimise QRM to F2 Layer DXers. 50.200 to 50.300 MHz - VK local/interstate activity, caters for E-layer propagation (up to 10,000km) ie VK-VK, VK-ZL, VK-FK8, VK-P29, etc, Note: only ZL's with a 50 Mhz Permit can operate here. 50.200 MHz - a VK National Calling frequency to cater for E-layer propagation (up to 10,000km) ie VK-VK, VK-ZL, VK-FK8, VK-P29, etc. 50.280 to 50.300 MHz - local beacons (stay clear) 52-54 MHz SEGMENT: 52.000 to 52.500 MHz - for CW/SSB DX & some beacons, generally considered for E-layer/Tropo propagation. (less than 10,000km) 52.050 MHz - historically, the CW/SSB Calling Frequency, prior to getting 50 Mhz back, people use this for VK/VK and VK/ZL DX. You will likely find ZL's here. Note: the majority of ZL's only permitted to operate above52 Mhz 52.100 MHz - recently made the VK National SSB calling frequency to keep in line with 144.1 and 432.1 Check here, as many ZL's not permitted on 50 MHz and restricted to 52 MHz due to TV coverage. 52.500 to 53.999 MHz -is pretty much anything goes, where all the FM activity occurs, including repeaters. 52.525 MHz - is the FM Calling Frequency and generally a local chat frequency within VK/ZL for E-layer/Tropo propagation (less than 10,000km) 52.886 MHz - historically the AM call/operating frequency. VK/ZL GUIDELINES: - Try to avoid annoying our neighbours e.g. FK's when they call CQ on 50.110, they are "trying" to work the world too. Let the FK's call you, when they feel like it, as working a hundred VK's is no challenge to them. - Try to avoid re-working distant or rare countries just for the sake of it, unless nobody elses is working them. Give someone else a chance of making a contact with them. - Operate in the appropriate 50-54 Mhz segment that suits your license and the capability of your station. This means if you expect to work Europe or NA on 50 MHz, you need to be set up well. Having a tiny signal from this end of the world, wont get you through the EU or NA QRM. - Try to avoid operating contests from within the 50 Mhz DX window, if working a contest via F2, move upwards nearer 50.200 end. Never call CQ contest on 50.110 - Try to avoid 50 - 50.199 for local contacts (less than 10,000 km) if you can, so as to avoid QRM to F2 layer DXers. - Try to avoid chatting on any call frequency. Establish contact then try to QSY off the call frequency if you can. VK LICENSING: Advanced license holders 50.000 to 50.300 Mhz and 52 - 54 Mhz. With exception of No operation between 50.000 and 50.300 within 120km of a Channel 0 TV transmitter. Standard license holders (ex-novice) is limited to 52 - 54MHz VK HISTORY: 1964 - lost 50 Mhz, to accomodate the 13 channel TV system. 1984 - regained 50-50.3 for International F2 compatibility ZL LICENSING: It is illegal for New Zealand operators to operate on 50Mhz without a 50 Mhz permit. Note: the 50Mhz permit is ONLY for fixed location. ZL Mobile operation is NOT permitted on 50 Mhz. You will find them on 52.100 if they not permitted on 50 MHz. Propagation: 6 metre DX is heavily impacted by the Solar Cycles, past and present are Cycle 21 started June 1976, peaked September 1979 Cycle 22 started September 1986, peaked August 1990 Cycle 23 started May 1996, peaked April 2000 Cycle 24 started August 2006, expected peak in 2012 (now revised, was 2010) Latest prediction now May 2013. Cycle 25 expecting peak in 2024, but don't expect much of a peak. My 6metre details:
I have been operating on 6metres since 1980, (Cycle 21) began on MR-10 from Dave VK2YME on 52.525 FM simplex, purchased a Plessey C-42 36-60Mhz tunable, 10 w o/p, ex-Army transceiver from Centurion tanks, used in Vietnam, worked plenty of DX within Australia with it, then used a Icom IC-502 on the 52 MHz SSB segment, next used a Yaesu 680R All Mode to also on the 52 MHz segment, up until 1984, then moved to 50 MHz segment, tried a little mobile work with it, which was absolute waste of time. Best results using yagi during field day contests, such as Ross Hull VHF and John Moyle, working the south pacific region. Cycle 22 - Unfortunately, due to unforeseen circumstances, I dont have any 6 metre all-mode equipment any more, at present only have a FM mobile transceiver for 6m, for scanning the 6m FM repeater segment and occasionally working a few friends on 52.525 FM simplex. January 2003,(Cycle 23) modified an AWA RT85 25w mobile to 6m FM (52.5 to 54) for mobile FM simplex & repeater activity. March 2005, When I am mobile, I have 6m FM on scan, pretty much 52.500 to 53.975, sorry still no 50 MHz gear. October 2007, still just FM, at home and in the car, 52.525 simplex and scanning 6 metre repeaters. January 2011,(Cycle 24) ramping up on planning for Cycle 24 peak (currently expected for May 2013) The bad news is Cycle 24 not expected to peak as high as expected, with Cycle 25 peak looking even worse. What that means is I'll probably be retired for Cycle 25 peak but won't find much long distance DX. (a big fizzer) December 2011, did manage to get on 6m FM, working Fm rptrs and FM simplex contacts in VK2,3,4,5. Nothing for VK7 this Xmas, but did hear the Auckland rptr on 53.725 for first time that I know of (hard to tell, as it has no ident and have to rely on a ZL answering you to know that it is the right repeater.
Some great 6 metre DX and related links, for you to look at: