17 METER PROPAGATION GROUP PURPOSE AND PROCEDURES
The 17 meter Propagation Group is an informal round table group (We are Not a Net) that meets daily officially starting at 1200 Eastern Time on or near the primary frequency of 18.163 MHz (Plus or Minus QRM) 17 Meter USB. An alternate frequency of 18.153 MHz (Plus or Minus QRM) may be used if the upper portion of the band is too crowded.
Early check-ins can rag chew as with any other group prior to start. The Group is led by a Control Operator who directs round table communications and manages a list of check-in stations. Stations who typically serve in this role are MARC, W0KYZ in Arkansas, ROBERT, W5IUA in Virginia, ROB, AA1BS in Maine, and PAT W4FO in Florida.
Due to the nature of 17 meter propagation conditions, many in the Group access Software Defined Radio (SDR) online receivers to improve the ability to hear stations that otherwise cannot be directly copied. NOTE 1
The following information is typically exchanged initially by each station checking in:
• Call sign, name, and QTH
• Local weather (current temperature, sky conditions, expected high temperature)
The Group session then moves from station to station in order of check-in, repeating the rotation as time and band conditions permit. On subsequent transmissions, any interesting local, current events are shared (time limiting, please).
When new check-ins arrive, typically the control operator will try and pick them up right away and then return to the list to get back in order. Before you key the mic, wait just a couple of seconds to see if a new station checks in so the control operator can pick them up. Pausing between transmissions is also a courtesy to those stations that may have to listen via SDRs that can have several seconds of latency.
After 1200 Eastern Time please follow the following guidelines, keeping transmissions short and to the point. As the Group list grows we want to keep things moving so wait times between transmissions are not too long.
1. Report signal strengths only for stations copied directly on your receivers. Avoid repeating signal reports unless there is a substantial change (i.e. loss of signal, several S units, etc.).
2. Don’t report SDR signal strengths. SDRs are mainly to avoid having to listen to “dead air”. Report stations only receivable on SDRs by noting just the SDR used (i.e. Utah, Maui, etc). Account for the latency of SDRs by pausing before keying to avoid doubling.
3. Don’t repeat signal strength or weather conditions previously given on subsequent transmissions.
4. Discussions of ham related or personal topics are fine. Keep these concise and not too lengthy.
5. Keep your initial transmission to 2 minutes or less with subsequent transmissions to a minute or less. Keep the line moving.
As in any group, there will be times when things may deviate if some specific topic or item of general interest comes up requiring extra discussion or handing the mic off to other stations for comments.
ON or before 1300 Eastern Time (based on group size and band conditions), the Control Operator shares the latest Solar Indices Information with the Group; then we QSY to 24967.5 MHz USB (12 meters) for a brief period of time, and if band conditions are good, to 28.987 MHz USB (10 meters) for a brief period of time, noting what stations were heard on each band. We all then return to the 17 meter frequency and go through the list for a final “73” round exchanging what was heard on the upper bands before signing off. NOTE 2
NOTE 1 – Robert, W5IUA has created a webpage for the Propagation Group listing a number of SDR receivers which can be accessed easily with a web browser. Also, the common Group frequency of 18.163 MHz USB has been pre-selected for these links to make tuning easier. Daily QRM/QRN may require users to adjust the Group frequency above or below 18.163 MHz. This webpage of SDR websites can be found at: https://hams.live/17mag/propsdr.pdf Robert also runs an online system called hams.live that uses OBS Studio to help others manage online SDR Sources. This web-based system operates using client software instead of a web browser, and contains powerful features such as synchronization of frequency, mode, and waterfall level across hundreds of available SDR links worldwide. Also, up to four SDR Sources can be simultaneously launched at once for signal comparison purposes. For more information on system registration, installation, and configuration please go to http://hams.live
NOTE 2 – After the regular daily session closes, some stations may coordinate separately with each other for QSY to 40 meters on 7.150 MHz LSB or 7.238 MHz LSB (Plus/Minus QRM), or to 15 meters on 21.387 MHz USB Plus/Minus QRM.