Today was spent with the antenna heading mostly to the south. After lunch I checked the beacons and heard ED1ZAG/B (IN53re/973km) at a stable 529, although there were no other signals on the band at that time. I spotted the beacon on the cluster and shortly after Pedro EA1FCH (IN63in/933km) appeared calling cq on cw on 144.300MHz, so we had a quick QSO. Pedro then moved to 144.186MHz and started calling using JT65B, and we had another quick contact to check everything was working ok: It seems Pedro has something like a +40Hz drift, strangely in two 20Hz jumps, during his JT65 tx period but WSJT’s AFC coped with it fairly well.
A little later, the ED1ZAG beacon had improved (audio with two complete keying cycles):
At around that time I heard, quite weakly, the new Spanish beacon ED1YCA/B on 144.445MHz, which is in IN73al/955km: That looks like it’ll be another useful propagation indicator!
Because the tropo seemed to be reasonable, At 16:00z I asked Domingo, EA8TJ (IL18rj/2707km) if we could try a JT65B sked. We arranged to run on 144.186MHz, and he started transmitting straight away. I was still setting up the rig for digital when I heard this (audio starts T+30s into Domingo’s period, the four “blips” are me changing rig settings):
Amazing! Clearly digital tones followed by Domingo’s CW ident “EA8TJ”, but what was the propagation mode? I doubt it was tropo because it didn’t persist, and I also doubt it was meteor scatter because there doesn’t appear to be any doppler. The most likely thing is a brief Sporadic E enhancement, especially considering the band was to open to the south just over an hour later, albeit on a much more easterly path? Anyway, there was no tropo detected over a period of about 15 minutes, although we both heard further pseudo-ms from each other.
I continued to monitor 144.300MHz and at 16:50z heard Jose, EB1DPB calling on ssb, very weakly. After a couple of calls I got his attention and we had a nice QSO, with the signal increasing all the time. By the end, it was quite good:
To round off a fascinating afternoon there was a reasonable Sporadic E opening at around 17:10z, but the main geometry landed signals from EI on the north coast of Algeria (7X). Ever the optimist I tried many calls on 144.300MHz and 145.500MHz (FM), but to no avail 🙂 The only station heard, very briefly at 59, was Juan EA7AJ (IM87cs/1612km).