SIXTY METERS (5 MHz)
The 60 meter band though approved by WRTC has yet to be authorized in many countries. In the US, it is channelized with five channels authorized for SSB, CW, and digital modes. Channel 3 by general consensus has become the digital channel. The human ear can only understand sounds down to about -8db. With the JT65A mode and current software you can detect and decipher signals as low as -30 db. This is a real boon in weak signal work (the US power limit is 100 watts ERP and most of the rest of the world is limited to 15 watts). One very well known and rare DX station was operating 60 on CW and only working his part of the world. I emailed him and asked if he did digital. His reply was negative. I then advised him of the weak signal capability of JT65A. He tried it and since has been very diligent in working it. He has worked innumerable North American stations on 60 which would be nigh impossible on CW.
One thing I notice is that in bad QRN S9 or plus situations like summertime, the software will decode signals that would be inaudible by ear on CW.
ARRL does not yet issue DXCC for 60 meters (not unlike as I recall when 30 meters was first authorized also on a secondary basis). Ultimately ARRL did issue DXCC for that band and I suspect they will do the same after the 60 meters FCC actions are formulated. Meanwhile there is a group of 60 meter afficinados (K5YY, K3ZXL, and W8GEX) that does issue an unofficial DXCC. See http://60metersonline.com/12-17-2015.html
My observations re DX on 60 meters:
1. I start hearing Caribbean, South America, African and southern European stations from 1.5 to 2 hours before my local sunset. Signals improve as we move towards sunset
2. I usually am spotted on PSKREPORTER about 75 to 45 minutes before my sunset (most often by HB9HFN). During last season I was reported many early evenings by DP1POL (Antarctica) and VK6KXW (latter by long path). Interestingly, DP1POL was copying us (and working us later after Germany permitted 60 meters operation) during his daylight hours. Australia does not yet have authorization but we're ready to welcome our VK brethren to the band.
3. I usually start working DX about 30 minutes before my sunset and thence until bedtime
4. Mornings our time, have worked a few Oceania stations but not many are active yet. I suspect once VK/ZL and F permit 60 meters, there will be many opportunities to work this area.
W8GEX regularly issues an email bulletin on current and upcoming 60 meters DX stations. Contact Joe at W8GEX@aol.com
We appreciate the mutual recognition that Channel 3 during evening hours is primarily for 60 meters digital operations, both domestic and DX.
COUNTRIES CONFIRMED (Purple)/WORKED UNCONFIRMED (Green)
Currently stand at 160 worked and 159 confirmed.
I am QRV on 5 MHz every evening! 5.357 FT8 or 5.405/5.373 CW/SSB