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Ten Meters for Technicians and for All!

Sporadic E skip propagation

Solar Cycle 25 is Here!

During the solar cycle 24 peak in 2011, the 28 MHz band (10 meters) supported excellent world-wide F2 ionospheric propagation for the first time in many years.  Many new radio amateurs for the first time enjoyed the thrills of daily long distance DX contacts with low power and relatively small antennas.  Solar cycle 25 has already begun, and rising solar flux indices will bring increasing long distance daytime F layer propagation over the next few years. Of course, sporadic E skip continues to occur randomly with peaks around December and June providing very strong skip signals over distances up to 1200 miles. 10 meters is unique—the band from 28.0-28.5 MHz being where all licensed US radio amateurs from Novice through Extra Class have voice and digital mode privileges.

28.0-28.3 MHz - CW and Digital

In the United States, the FCC has allocated the 28.0-28.3 MHz segment for CW (Morse code) and digital modes (up to 200 watts PEP for Novices and Technicians). Although knowledge of Morse code is no longer a license requirement, many new hams enjoy learning and operating CW. Even if you have not learned to send and receive code by ear, programs like the free CW Decoder and Ham Radio Deluxe will allow you to send CW with your computer keyboard and will even decode the received Morse code.

The digital modes include radioteletype (RTTY), packet, and the new “soundboard” modes that include the popular FT8, PSK31, JT65, Olivia, WSPR and others. All licensed hams can now enjoy all these digital modes on 10 meters by connecting a computer to a SSB transceiver using an MFJ-1204RIGblaster, SignaLink or a similar inexpensive homebrew sound card interface.

28.3-28.5 MHz - Novice and Technician SSB

The 28.3-28.5 MHz segment is where U.S. Novices and Technicians may operate SSB voice using up to 200 watts PEP. The SSB Calling frequency is 28.400 MHz.  During the 11-year solar cycle maximum, daily contacts using low power are common from Northern California towards Europe and the east coast USA in the mornings and towards Japan, Australia and the Pacific Islands in the afternoons.

Introduction to the 10 meter amateur radio band

Ten Meter Equipment

New hams who only have a VHF/UHF radio will be looking for a 10 meter radio. Here are a few options:

  • Several 10 meter only radios in the lower 20-50 watt range are on the market around the $200 price point, such as the Anytone AT-6666MFJ-9410, Radio Shack HTX-10, HTX-100 and others.  Avoid AM/FM only radios that lack SSB, and avoid radios that have been illegally modified for CB as they might not be easily restored to 10 meters.
  • New all HF band radios are advertised in QST magazine and sold by many distributors like DX Engineering, Gigaparts and Ham Radio Outlet. Prices range from around $600 for the basic 100 watt entry level Alinco DX-SR9ICOM IC-718, Yaesu FT-891 and up depending on features. One benefit for Novices and Technicians going this route will be access to all the other HF bands when they upgrade their license.
  • Used all-band HF radios can be had in the range of $100 and up online and at ham swap meets. Some older radios may not include the 12, 17 and 30 meter “WARC” bands and may use vacuum tubes that are getting harder to find replacements for, but they still can provide good service on the 10 meter band.

Ten meter antennas are conveniently moderate in size, ranging from a small 3 foot diameter magnetic loop antenna or a 8 foot vertical whip to a 16 foot long homebrew dipole or a multi-element beam if you have the space. Many CB antennas will work on 10 meters—some can be trimmed a few inches shorter to get an optimum match.

There is increasing activity on 10 meters: US and DX stations during the daylight and evening hours; contests and awards for the 10-10 International Net; and our local weekly River City ARCS 10 meter net on 28.420 MHz USB Wednesday nights around 8:30 pm Pacific Time.

For those who are interested, there is plenty more information at http://www.hamuniverse.com/10meterinformation.html

73 and see you on 10!  Carol KP4MD, 10-10 Net #7616

Here are some frequencies where 10 meter activity can be heard in the Sacramento, California area:

Freq. MHz Mode Callsign Description
28.055 CW AI6UO Slow Speed CW Net - Tues. & Thurs. 10:00 am Pacific Time
28.060 CW QRP QRP Frequency
28.074 FT8 FT8 FT8 Segment
28.1426 WSPR WSPR WSPR Segment
28.200 CW W6WX/B Mt. Umunhum, CA - NCDXF Beacons
28.2313 CW KE6TE/B Elk Grove, CA - Beacon
28.240 CW WE6Z/B Granite Bay, CA - Beacon
28.2418 CW K6JCR/B Roseville, CA - Beacon
28.250 CW K6FRC/B2 Sutter, CA - Beacon
28.265 CW N7SCQ/B Dixon, CA - Beacon
28.300 CW K6FRC/B Tracy, CA - Beacon
28.400 USB CALLING 10 Meter USB Calling Frequency
28.420 USB N6NA River City ARCS 10 meter net - Wednesdays ~ 8:30 pm Pacific Time
28.480 USB W6HIR RAMS 10 meter net - Sundays 8:00 pm Pacific Time
28.680 SSTV SSTV Slow Scan Television Frequency
29.300 FM SIMPLEX 10 Meter FM Simplex Calling (Japan)
29.500 FM SIMPLEX 10 Meter FM Simplex
29.600 FM CALLING 10 Meter FM Simplex Calling Frequency
29.620 FM N6JSL/R Auburn, CA - FM Repeater
29.660 FM KG6TXA/R Copperopolis, CA - FM Repeater

Learning The HF Ham Bands: 10 meters/28mhz, Introduction to HF

ARRL 10 Meter Band Plan


QRP CW calling frequency




Automatically controlled data stations




IBP/NCDXF beacons


QRP SSB calling frequency






Satellite downlinks


Repeater inputs


FM simplex


Repeater outputs