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Websites that can enhance the pleasure and safety of HF & VHF operations.
Listed in no particular order, except the order in which I usually check them when I decide to ‘play radio’ as my lovely wife refers to my serious hobby time.
On HF my experience is that the best indicator of the ‘band conditions’ is simply tuning to the band and the frequencies you like and see what is happening. However, I like to compare my own experience with two particular sites.
The first is:
Bandconditions.com (CONUS HF BAND CONDX)
The purpose of this experimental website is to provide 24-7-365 actual ( REALTIME ) band condition information to CW QRPp, QRPe and CW / SSB Contesters interested in increasing their scores. It can also be of benefit to other Radio Amateurs to determine band condtions for Nets and casual QSO's. This information is NOT based on any software predictions or any kind of satellite based readings. It's is based on a new Ionospheric sounding method called "HF Ionospheric Interferometry" which operates very similarly to the PolSAR system used by NASA.
This pages shows the ACTUAL REAL TIME conditions of the 80 to 15 meter bands across the Continental US ( CONUS ), with the exception of Alaska.Reports are generated and uploaded to the web server every 30 seconds. Header information includes a Date, Time in GMT and a REPORT number in sequencial order. A web browser refresh command is also sent so the user does not have to hit the refresh button for the latest report. The web browser does it automatically for them. The display shows the Meter Band in RED and the BAND QUALITY INDEX ( BQI ) as a BLUE number at the bottom of the band scale.
The second is:
The Australian Government Bureau of Meterology Ionospheric Map
Data Providers for the World Ionospheric foF2 Map (updated every 15minutes)
The data presented in this page are derived from the automated interpretation of ionograms from around the world. Regional data are obtained from the Space Weather Network (SWN), formely known as IPSNET, (Australia Pacific Region). Global data are obtained from the NICT Space Weather Information Centre of Japan (Japanese region), the Space Physics Group at Rhodes University's Hermanus Magnetic Observatory (South African region), the Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e Vulcanolgia, Rome, Italy (Italian Region), the Facultad Regional Tucumn, Universidad Tecnolgica Nacional, Argentina, (South American Region), the Global Ionospheric Radio Observatory (GIRO), and the United States of America Space Weather Prediction Centre (SWPC). The ionospheric data available from the SWPC and GIRO are contributed by the International Space Environment Service's (ISES) Regional Warning Centres (RWCs)located around the globe, the United States Air Force (USAF) and several research institutes.
As far as safety goes whenever I am transmitting or listening and particularly if I here some static bursts, I like to check:
When working on HF it is also fun to see where in the world lightning is an issue to better understand the conditons being experience by DX contacts.
LightningMaps.org is an additional service to the main project Blitzortung.org. For general questions about this project and for ordering the necessary hardware have a look at the appropriate documentation, FAQs and instructions before contacting us. Also, the discussion board is a good place for all questions and they will be quickly answered there by us and the participants on most times.
The data provided by Blitzortung.org is for entertainment purposes only. We are not liable for the completeness, timeliness, quality and accuracy of the information on our website. We are not responsible for damages, resulting from trusting the content of our website or its use. The data of Blitzortung.org is not suitable for a plausibility check in insurance matters and it is not intended for protection of life and property! You must contact a commercial lightning data provider in such cases!
Any listing of Ham related websites that can increase the enjoyment of the hobby would not be complete without mention of:
It is enjoyable to get more information on the Hams you meet on the radio and QRZ.com provides instant information that can be used to send QSL cards and learn about the type of radios and antennas that are involved in the QSOs you have. All you have to do is use the simple search box.
The available search types are:
• By Callsign - search for a specific callsign. Can use * to search for prefixes or suffixes. For example, W1* finds all W1 calls. *XX finds all calls ending in XX
• By Name/Address - Type in a name or part of a name, street, city, etc., to search the address records
• In Biography - Type in one or more keywords to search all biography pages. For example, KENWOOD finds all bios that mention Kenwood. Upper/lower case is treated the same.
• By County - Type in the name of a USA county
• By Grid - Type in all or part of a Grid Square locator
• By DXCC - Choose this option then hit Search to get a country list (non-USA only).
Please list below any and all websites that you find can increase the fun and safety of HF & VHF operations.