Lance, W7GJ, is well-known for his 50MHz EME exploits, both from his home location and abroad from many exotic locations expedition-style. Details of his activities along with a lot of useful information regarding 6m EME can be found on his website. When terrestrial propagation is poor, I sometimes set the 6m 6el antenna towards the setting Moon to “see” what is happening: On the 30th December 2014 I noticed that Lance was a very good and consistent signal via EME, at -19dB in JT65A. I decided, rather tongue-in-cheek, that I’d call him with the barefoot FT857D (i.e. certainly no more than 100W in the shack, and somewhat less into the antenna 150m away) – To my amazement, and thanks in no small part to Lance’s tenacity, we managed to complete a QSO! It took quite a while and required all of Lance’s skill to dig my signal out of the noise, but it just goes to show what’s possible as long as we try. I really recommend everyone to at least take a look for Lance’s EME signal and perhaps give it a go – not least because his QSL card is rather nice 😉
F2 propagation on 50MHz reached Irish latitudes on 2nd February, which can’t be a bad sign as we approach the Spring equinox. The opening could have been easily missed, were it not for the Senegal beacon 6V7SIX (50.013MHz): This was the only signal heard for a while (at a good 599), but widespread reporting on the packet cluster probably encouraged Francis, 6W7SK (aka F6BLP), to come on to the band. Francis was a good signal here, resulting in a nice contact using my barefoot FT857D to the 6el LFA2.
I made this recording shortly after our QSO, of Francis calling CQ on CW…
Today (04/04/14) brought some nice surprises…
On 2m I worked a couple of new ones on random EME at moonrise: YL2AJ (KO16) for a new initial, and ER5GB (KN45) for a new DXCC which I was very happy about!
On 6m we had some interesting F2 propagation into Africa with, once again, the 6V7SIX beacon paving the way. For a change, today there was another signal in the form of Fernando, TZ6BB (IK62). I was hearing Fernando hovering above the noise for some time, working into central and southern Europe before propagation finally shifted more in our direction. I finally worked him on CW with excellent 599+ signals (at 15:48z). A little later Fernando moved up to SSB, and at 16:!3z we had another nice contact.
By the way, TZ6BB uses a G5RV antenna on 6m! I was only using the FT857D barefoot (100 Watts), so it just goes to show how good the band can be when one is in the propagation zone – and it can be equally as frustrating when not… The 6V7 beacon was in for several hours until quite late, but nothing else was heard here.
Six metres has been trying hard to open, but on most days the propagation stops in the Mediterranean and at these latitudes headphones are just full of white noise. However, I managed a couple more DX QSOs on 19th March around 13:50z with ZS6EZ (KG44) on cw, and ZS6NK (KG46) on ssb, with ZS6JON/B also making an appearance.
Thursday, 20th March, was quite an interesting day, albeit frustrating! The 6V7SIX (IK14) beacon was widely heard across Europe during mid/late afternoon, and put in a good signal here:
There were also a lot of backscatter signals from a similar direction to the 6V7 beacon. For example, I heard IW0FFK, EA4TZ, EA6BB, F4EZJ, S59A and many others, all on a heading of around 200 degrees. I only had the barefoot rig available at the time and, as is usual for backscatter, its 100 Watts wasn’t enough to make any QSOs. However, the widespread scatter seemed to bode well for some South American propagation but, at that time at least, nothing materialised.
Meanwhile, the more southerly stations are having a field-day… I’m guessing that all of us in northern Europe are eagerly awaiting some early Es, to get us into that lucrative F2/TEP region before it’s too late 😀