It was a pleasant surprise to get a nice Es opening to the north-east earlier today. The signs were looking good, with Dave, G7RAU’s LiveMUF (it’s latest feature incorporating real-time Band II spots from the fmlist website), showing a patch of Es building over the North Sea through the morning.
I put my newly built in-mic voice keyer into action on 144.300MHz, but shortly after I’d started I heard a signal slightly HF. A quick tune brought in SM5KWU (JO89ip/1762km) at a good 59, resulting in a quick QSO. There were then patchy signals in and out, until SM5KQS (JO88it/1736km) appeared very strong at 11:08z, and stayed in for at least thirty minutes. I also managed a QSO with Kjell SM7GVF (JO77gq/1565km), but his signal was weaker, indicating that path was right on the margin of what was possible. The propagation was very selective and most of the other geometries during the opening passed over each other, indicating a very small “reflection point” that was slowly moving as new paths opened.
Sometime later, after a period of perhaps twenty minutes with no signals, I found Len, SM3BEI (JP81ng/1847km) and had a very quick QSO for my ODX in this opening.
Some audios here (apologies to SM5KWU and SM3BEI, I didn’t have the recorder running during our qsos):
2m Es QSOs, 24/07/13
Quite a surprise this morning, with not too much predicted by the usual tropo web sites: I could see a few cluster spots for Kjell, SM7GVF (JO77ga/1565km), on 144.345MHz, so I took a quick look and was amazed to hear a weak signal which was Kjell trying a test with Dom F6DRO! Very soon after, Kjell turned his antenna and the signal came up. We had a very nice CW QSO, followed by an SSB contact about 20 minutes later.
There were absolutely no other signals from Scandinavia so the propagation duct was very selective, although I could hear Kjell for at least an hour. I did have a few much weaker contacts into PA and DL at around 1000km, so the propagation was a little up in that direction too.
2m tropo QSOs 21/07/13
Tropo conditions were good all day today to the south, with both the ED1ZAG (IN53re/973km) and ED1YCA (IN73al/955km) beacons coming in at a constant 59. The Madeira Island beacon, CS3BTM (IM12or/2244km) was also a good signal, peaking around 56 in the early afternoon (as often seems to be the case), then fading at around 20z. Very soon after, several EA8s in IL18 came up to a good strength and remained so for the rest of the evening.
At around 21z Tony, CT1FFU reported that CT3KJ (IM12or, the same locator as the beacon) was hearing some Gs on 144.300MHz, and was calling there. Unfortunately the Madeira beacon had already faded here and I was disappointed not to hear anything from Antonio. However, Tim G4LOH and Terry M0VRL (both IO70) did hear him, and made good contacts. During Tim’s QSO with Antonio, Xara, D44TD (HK86no) reported that he could hear Tim, and another fabulous contact resulted! Xara also went on to work Terry, to prove that his existing Region 1 tropo record (4106km) wasn’t a fluke. Again, nothing from the far end was received here.
Of course, I was extremely disappointed not to hear Xara (or Antonio), especially when I suspect it would have been possible earlier in the day. However, it’s great to know that they are both active on 144MHz – One day conditions and activity will coincide and it will work!
Just to note, there’s a good chance there will be a dedicated tropo dxpedition to D44 during the first two weeks of August (HK75, possibly the D4B site in HK75xx?), so that will be one to watch for. Unfortunately I’ll only be able to be QRV towards the very end of that period, so it’ll be a bit of a nail-biter for me…
Moonrise today was in a very favourable position for this location, in a direction I know from past experience provides good ground gain. It was also at a conveniently sociable time, which is always a bonus!
I saw on the N0UK EME chat that Bob, ZL3TY (RE57om) was active and he was kind enough to set up a sked for 07z, at which point my Moon was just starting to rise and his was setting: We had a little over ten minutes of common window.
Almost exactly on cue, Bob’s signal appeared and the QSO ended up being quite easy. I had a nervous moment when Bob continued to send “RO” after I’d sent a period of “RRR”, but signals were back up in the next period and all was ok.
So that’s my longest distance QSO (ODX) on 2m, at 18956km (or 18984km, it depends on how it’s calculated?) – many thanks to Bob for making my day. It’s going to be a difficult one to beat!
Transcript of JT65B sequences:
065700 Transmitting: JT65B ZL3TY EI3KD IO51
070400 2 -24 1.9 100 3 * EI3KD ZL3TY RE57 0 10
070500 Transmitting: JT65B ZL3TY EI3KD IO51 OOO
070600 10 -25 102 4 RO
070700 Transmitting: JT65B RRR (Shorthand)
070800 2 -30 103 3 RO
071000 10 -24 104 1 73
071100 Transmitting: JT65B 73 (Shorthand)
071400 2 -26 2.1 108 4 * CQ ZL3TY RE57 1 10
During the past week on 2m I’ve been hearing the ED1ZAG beacon (IN53re/973km) almost continuously at decent strengths. The Madeira Island beacon, CS3BTM (IL12or/2246km) has also appeared, weakly, at times. Apart from a few JT65A QSOs with Domingo EA8TJ (IL18rj/2707km) at around the -25 level no other QSOs resulted until the band opened properly this afternoon and evening.
Firstly, CS3BTM appeared at a very good strength in the afternoon, around 15:30z:
The beacon message is: “V V V DE CS3BTM CS3BTM CS3BTM LOC IM12OR IM12OR PWR 1W ANT 3L HRZ QTF 30 ARRM MADEIRA K”
At this stage, Tim G4LOH was already getting very strong signals from EA8 into IO70jc, but there was really nothing much here. The propagation duct was surprisingly selective, i.e. there was no guarantee of being in the opening just because there is a sea path from here! However, during the evening signals started to improve from EA8 (whilst fading slightly to CS3) and eventually became quite strong. I don’t have a recording of everyone worked, but here’s a selection:
A nice selection of QSOs resulted:
01/07/2013 16:19 F9OE IN78QG 481km
01/07/2013 16:45 EA8TX IL18QI 2713km
01/07/2013 19:12 F5EJZ IN98GO 606km
01/07/2013 19:14 F4ELJ IN78RJ 472km
01/07/2013 19:17 F1SAH IN88LT 505km
01/07/2013 19:27 EA8CQS IL18AT 2694km
01/07/2013 19:29 EB8BRZ IL28HA 2725km
01/07/2013 19:31 EA8CTK IL18NI 2718km
01/07/2013 19:33 EA1YV IN52OC 1094km
01/07/2013 19:39 EA8TJ IL18RJ 2707km
01/07/2013 19:48 EA8AVI IL28FC 2719km
01/07/2013 20:09 EA8/DL3GCS IL17AT 2802km
01/07/2013 20:14 EA2AWD IN93CI 1067km
01/07/2013 20:30 EA8YT IL18SL 2696km
144MHz tropo QSOs on 01/07/13
And finally, a joker heard by myself and several others at around 19:49z – This is definitely not Xara’s voice! The real D44TD is in HK86no and 4135km away from here, but you never know, one day the real station will appear…