Wednesday, July 8, 2020

First time USA on 6 this year

Yes, I know. More propagation openings are there in the afternoon. I view it all on the DXcluster. But unfortunately it takes another 16 years before I can think about retiring, I have a daily job and not at home in the afternoon. So I depend on propagation in the evening. This was the first evening I could actually see some USA stations. It was special since the stations came from the west and west-coast instead of the usual east-coast. It's much further away. I was spotted in Arizona and received stations as far as California. I don't think that happens often. Unfortunately no QSO, but others with better equipment from the Netherlands did. At least in the end I made a quite difficult QSO with K1TO who is from Florida. Not that bad for a first one with the US this year. I hope more has to come in the next few days...

Saturday, July 4, 2020

Shoreline propagation again?

Now you probabely think that I finally took my portable gear to the shoreline to compare a difference in signals with my basestation for example on WSPR signals. But no, that still has to come. At the moment I have a discussion with John MW1CFN about 50MHz propagation that occurs at the bottom of the solarcycle. It certainly has to do with sporadic-E or ES propagation as we call it. But how on earth is it possible to receive and sometimes transmit signals to Japan on 50MHz. Besides that John recorded some interesting signals with some signal peaks that occur on the Europe/USA path that needs explanation. I listened for those strange peak signals on the Europe/Japan path this morning and it occured to me that I hear them as well.

The above was recorded this morning between 7:47-7:50 UTC on 50.313MHz FT8 beaming 30 degrees. You can briefly hear the peaks on signals in the first 3 timeslots. Then suddenly like someone flipped a switch the propagation lifted and signals got very strong. A few moments later I worked 7Z1SJ from Saudi Arabia with very strong signals RX/TX +3/-4dB. A few time slots later the signals disappeared and it sounded like the first 3 timeslots on this recording again.

I only received 1 station from Japan this morning. Yesterday was a lot better with at least 10 stations received. Unfortunately transmitting a signal to Japan seems to be more difficult for me.

I'm not an expert in propagation or propagation anomalies. But I like to investigate and contribute to someone that does probabely know more. John wrote me something last year that I will always remember. Propagation on 50MHz is like the surface of the sea, lots of waves and sometimes you're in the the "water" between the waves. But sometimes you're on the shoreline, waves (signals) are just touching your antenna. You know what it is when you are standing close to the sea and waves are breaking, water flowing just touching your tones or if you're too close over your feet.

But who am I, just starting seriously with 50MHz DX. I find it very interesting but have no experience. I never experienced the DX possebilities they had back in 1978/79 and 1988. Will we have them ever again. Back in those days you could get a experimental 6m license here in the Netherlands and explore the (DX) possebilities. However you did need to keep a record and write a report for the authorities. I found such a report at the blog from PA2S Henk. Henk wrote this together with PF5X Enno. Both are still very active operators. The report is about F2 propagation at the peak of the solarcycle. And actually I think they know a lot more about the propagation anomalies that occur now since they have a lot of experience.

This certainly will not be the last post about 50MHz propagation. And though I'm actually more interested in HF I really like these kind of questions/challenges in this experimental radio hobby.

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Finally in the 6m DX spotlight

I had a afternoon off the job since I had a dentist appointment. So I had some time for radio on a unusual time for me. Unfortunately didn't hear or see much signals on 6m but trying on 4m gave me a new DXCC on that band contacting M1BXF from England. Funny thing is that when I switched to 6m later on I worked him on 6m as well. Later in the afternoon propagation was increasing, I even managed to make some SSB contacts with Italian stations. Dx wise I was not that lucky, 7Z1SJ from Saudi Arabia had a great signal here with peak -3dB but I guess there were too many calling and I couldn't get through. Well, I guess there will be another chance another day...

After diner I got a message from PB7Z Bernard that he worked PV8DX on 6. Wow, I checked PSKreporter if I had received this station as well but I didn't although my beam was pointing towards South America. I had received PV8ABC, PZ5RA, 9Y4D, FG8OJ, WP4G and NP4W. Of course none of them were there when I returned to my radio. Disillusioned I installed my laptop downstairs and logged into the shack computer to keep an eye on things when I suddenly see PZ5RA from Surinam with a good signal. So, I just seems I was right in the spotlight since a couple of calls and I was in the log.

Thanks for a new one Ramon!

PZ5RA Ramon's 8 element 6m beam @12m high.