It’s taken exactly two beautiful nights of low humidity and cool temperatures to get me thinking about 80 meters. I don’t have room for a decent TopBand antenna so that’s out, but 80 is definitely workable.
My HF antenna for the last decade has been a center-fed zepp at thirty feet that performed well on 40 thru 10 meters. Using the auto-tuner (and a little patience) I could get the transmitter happy on 80, but it wasn’t efficient and my results there have always been meager.
I have a K1JEK Cobra UltraLite for 80 thru 10 meters still in the unopened bag and could easily put it into service for the upcoming low-band season. I could even get the center support up higher, but the end supports would remain at 30 feet so raising the apex would only serve to make more of an NVIS cloud warmer out of it.
Checking the log, I still need a dozen confirmations for WAS 80 CW via LoTW and any DX worked would be an added bonus. But mostly, my imagination is stoked by Novice memories of long, cold winter nights spent cozy in the shack while trolling 80 for solid-copy rag chews and regular weekly net check-ins.
Besides, a potent station on 80 meters is one way of flipping the bird to the extended solar minimum that has slowly and permanently settled over the HF bands and ruined much of the fun we’ve taken for granted since the dawn of the radio age.
Get ready. 80 meter nights are coming.