Saturday, May 15, 2021

Short Skip on 28 MHz - Fri 14th May 2021

Friday the 14th of May was another day where the 28 MHz band seemed to be open for nearly 21 of the 24 hours.

I left the radio on the WSPR frequency all day and heard 903 WSPR transmissions from 86 stations on 28 MHz.

The most interesting signals were again the closest ones due to very short Sporadic-E skip.

These were the WSPR stations that were heard just from England alone...

UTC (y-m-d) TX txGrid RX rxGrid                          MHz     W SNR  drift  km
2021-05-14 14:54 G8CQX/A IO80jq EI7GL IO51tu 28.126063 20 -8 0 382
2021-05-14 14:52 G6GN IO81rm EI7GL IO51tu 28.12615       1 -13 0 404
2021-05-14 14:52 G3RVX IO81uj EI7GL IO51tu 28.126081     5 -15 1 423
2021-05-14 19:10 G4GVZ IO81wv EI7GL IO51tu 28.12615  5 -16 0 429
2021-05-14 13:26 G0LQI IO80sp EI7GL IO51tu 28.126175 1 -14 0 433
2021-05-14 10:48 G4ZTM IO92al EI7GL IO51tu 28.126101 1 -20 0 443
2021-05-14 15:16 G4BMC IO90es EI7GL IO51tu 28.126101 5 -16 2 484
2021-05-14 12:04 G4CUI IO93fi EI7GL IO51tu 28.126147 1 -24 0 490
2021-05-14 13:38 G4BOO IO91ij EI7GL IO51tu 28.126049 5 -17 0 491
2021-05-14 09:24 G7GXK IO90is EI7GL IO51tu 28.126015 0.2 -17 0 507
2021-05-14 10:40 M0SDM IO92pv EI7GL IO51tu 28.126008 2 -11 0 533
2021-05-14 10:36 G8IOA IO92rp EI7GL IO51tu 28.126096 5 -21 -1 540
2021-05-14 10:08 M0GBZ IO91vv EI7GL IO51tu 28.126148 0.5 -22 0 560
2021-05-14 13:28 G6JVT IO90st EI7GL IO51tu 28.126121 0.2 -18 0 562
2021-05-14 14:58 G4LRP IO91ta EI7GL IO51tu 28.126148 5 -13 1 562
2021-05-14 13:20 G4NXH IO94hu EI7GL IO51tu 28.126109 0.1 -24 0 572
2021-05-14 15:26 G4YBN JO01bs EI7GL IO51tu 28.126087 1 -19 -1 584
2021-05-14 10:10 G4VME JO02cg EI7GL IO51tu 28.126175 0.2 -21 0 588
2021-05-14 13:56 G8AXA JO01bi EI7GL IO51tu 28.126117 0.5 -20 -3 589
2021-05-14 10:22 G4KPX JO02dj EI7GL IO51tu 28.126138 0.005 -24 0 594
2021-05-14 10:18 M0XDC JO01dq EI7GL IO51tu 28.126088 5 -20 -2 596
2021-05-14 20:12 G6AVK JO01ho EI7GL IO51tu 28.126149 0.5 -22 0 620
2021-05-14 15:10 G8LVK JO01in EI7GL IO51tu 28.126098 1 -19 0 626
2021-05-14 10:40 G4NJJ JO02 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126081 0.2 -19 -2 640
2021-05-14 03:08 G0MBA JO01 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126055 0.2 -27 0 645
2021-05-14 18:24 M0XYM JO01 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126108 0.2 -31 0 645
2021-05-14 03:08 G0PKT JO01mt EI7GL IO51tu 28.126066 0.2 -19 0 647
2021-05-14 13:38 G0FTD JO01mi EI7GL IO51tu 28.126121 0.2 -20 0 652

There were 9 that were under 500kms.

Friday, May 14, 2021

28MHz band stays open all day - Thurs 13th May 2021

After the aurora and disturbed conditions on Wednesday the 12th of May, the 28 MHz band opened on that evening at about 18:00 UTC. What was really unusual was that the band stayed open that night and all through Thursday the 13th of May... roughly 36 hours. This is in marked contrast to the Sporadic-E openings for the previous few weeks where the band might open at some stage during the day and then close late in the evening.

As the 28 MHz band was open all day, I left the radio monitoring the WSPR frequency for the 24 hours. I heard a total of 945 WSPR transmissions from 87 stations around Europe which is very encouraging as it looked a few week back that there was very little WSPR activity.

The map above shows what I heard. What makes it different from FT8 is that there is a wide distribution of FT8 stations spread across Europe that are trying to make contacts. WSPR however is concentrated in pockets of activity based around mainly the west of Germany, the Netherlands and the south of England.

What I found of interest was the short skip opening to the UK...

Distances of about 1000 to 2200 kms are pretty common on 28 MHz during Sporadic-E openings but the opening needs to be really intense for the skip distance to drop down to 500kms or less.

UTC (y-m-d) TX txGrid RX rxGrid MHz W SNR drift km
2021-05-13 04:58 EI2SBC IO63dj EI7GL IO51tu 28.126074 5 -27 -3 177
2021-05-13 09:38 MW0GRJ IO83kf EI7GL IO51tu 28.126038 5 -27 4 386
2021-05-13 10:10 G4SRD IO81wi EI7GL IO51tu 28.126088 10 -17 -1 435
2021-05-13 09:38 G4SDL IO83tk EI7GL IO51tu 28.126101 1 -21 1 441
2021-05-13 07:14 G4HZW IO83uh EI7GL IO51tu 28.12613 5 -20 1 442
2021-05-13 10:04 G7GXK IO90is EI7GL IO51tu 28.126099 0.2 -27 0 507
2021-05-13 10:38 2M0WHX IO75wv EI7GL IO51tu 28.126035 5 -16 0 529
2021-05-13 06:20 M0SDM IO92pv EI7GL IO51tu 28.126006 2 -26 1 533
2021-05-13 06:36 G8IOA IO92rp EI7GL IO51tu 28.126092 5 -16 -1 540
2021-05-13 06:30 M0NMA IO92sp EI7GL IO51tu 28.126077 5 -11 -1 546
2021-05-13 06:08 M0GBZ IO91vv EI7GL IO51tu 28.126143 0.5 -19 0 560
2021-05-13 09:44 G6JVT IO90st EI7GL IO51tu 28.126111 0.2 -26 -1 562
2021-05-13 10:16 G4NXH IO94hu EI7GL IO51tu 28.126101 0.1 -26 0 572
2021-05-13 06:40 G4KPX JO02dj EI7GL IO51tu 28.12607 0.005 -23 0 594
2021-05-13 06:18 M0XDC JO01dq EI7GL IO51tu 28.12607 5 -22 0 596
2021-05-13 12:28 G4EDR IO94uf EI7GL IO51tu 28.126091 5 1 2 601
2021-05-13 10:08 G3JKF JO00bs EI7GL IO51tu 28.126125 5 -27 0 603
2021-05-13 10:42 G3DVF IO95 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126179 0.2 -26 0 629
2021-05-13 08:10 G4NJJ JO02 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126076 0.2 -21 -3 640
2021-05-13 05:58 G0MBA JO01 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126046 0.2 7 0 645
2021-05-13 05:58 G0PKT JO01mt EI7GL IO51tu 28.126056 0.2 0 0 647
2021-05-13 06:38 G0FTD JO01mi EI7GL IO51tu 28.126112 0.2 -24 0 652
2021-05-13 09:34 GM1OXB IO87lp EI7GL IO51tu 28.126049 2 -6 0 729

The most unusual signal was that of EI2SBC (Shannon Basin Radio Club) which was 177kms to the north of me. I heard two WSPR transmissions...

UTC (y-m-d) TX txGrid RX rxGrid MHz W SNR drift km
2021-05-13 04:58 EI2SBC IO63dj EI7GL IO51tu 28.126074 5 -27 -3 177
2021-05-13 14:58 EI2SBC IO63dj EI7GL IO51tu 28.126078 5 -26 -3 177

Propagation mode? At 177kms, tropo is a possibility even on 28 MHz but I don't think it was. I suspect is was either very short Sporadic-E or Sporadic-E back-scatter. They were running 5 watts which is reasonably high power level for WSPR so it's difficult to be sure.

QRSS: One of the advantages of listening to WSPR is that I can see any QRSS (very slow morse) signals as well as those signals are just below the WSPR ones.

The image above shows a screen grab I took early on Thursday morning. Most of those stations in the Uk were east of London and about 650kms from me.

As an example, the signal say from G0FTD in this image is probably weaker than -20dB and in reality is buried in the noise.

Thursday, May 13, 2021

Contact between Ireland & Croatia on 40 MHz - 7th May 2021

Tim, EI4GNB reports making a FT8 contact on 40.680 MHz with 9A5CW in Croatia during the big Sporadic-E opening on the 7th of May 2021.

The screen composite below shows the FT8 contact from Tim's station.

While this wasn't the first 40 MHz contact between Ireland and Croatia, I think it may have been the first time 9A5CW has worked Ireland on this new amateur radio band.

This is the screen from 9A5CW...

It's good to see activity on the increase on 40 MHz from Croatia.

For more information on the 40 MHz amateur radio band, go to

Opening on 28 MHz after Aurora - Wed 12th May 2021

Wednesday the 12th of May 2021 was an unusual day. The first half of the day seemed to be dead on 28 MHz with very little happening which was probably due to an aurora in progress. From about 18:00 UTC onwards, it sprung into life. This is what I heard on FT8 up until 18:30 UTC...

Once it was obvious that the signals were getting stronger, I moved over to monitoring for WSPR signals...

A total of 20 stations were spotted from the northern part of Europe. What was unusual was that the band just seemed to stay open up till midnight and then stayed open overnight.

What was also unusual for me was that I was hearing the SE of the UK which is about 650kms away for several hours. These are some weak QRSS signals I got a grab of...

What was unusual was just steady the signals were. Normally with short skip on 28 MHz, the signals are fading. QRSS signals come in and fade away. On the 12th, the QRSS signals from the UK just seemed to be there at a pretty consistent level for hours. They never got that strong as can be seen from the WSPR reports below but the QRSS signals never really faded out either.

UTC (y-m-d) TX txGrid RX rxGrid MHz W SNR    drift km
2021-05-12 20:48 G0MBA JO01 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126053 0.2 -25 0 645
2021-05-12 18:48 G0PKT JO01mt EI7GL IO51tu 28.126062 0.2 -23 0 647
2021-05-12 19:48 G0PKT JO01mt EI7GL IO51tu 28.126062 0.2 -28 0 647
2021-05-12 20:48 G0PKT JO01mt EI7GL IO51tu 28.126064 0.2 -21 0 647
2021-05-12 20:58 G0PKT JO01mt EI7GL IO51tu 28.126063 0.2 -23 0 647

This was the day of the season where the band seems to stayed open to Europe overnight.

A connection with the aurora event or just coincidence?

Wednesday, May 12, 2021

Report on 40 MHz activity on the 8th of May 2021 EI7HBB

Lloyd, EI7HBB reports that he was active on the 40 MHz band on the 8th of May and caught the extensive Sporadic-E opening. He managed to work S50B in Slovenia twice on SSB during the day as well as hearing S57RW and S5/M0MPM on FT8.

LLoyd also reports managing to complete a 40 MHz / 50 MHz crossband SSB contact with Hugo, ON6ID in Belgium at a distance of about 900kms. ON6ID was on 50.145 MHz and EI7HBB was on 40.680 MHz and the contact took place at 15:22 UTC. He also wonders if this was a first EI-ON crossband contact for 8-metres?

LLoyd was also heard in the Netherlands at a distance of about 1000 kms.

Modest day on 28 MHz - 11th May 2021


After the big Sporadic-E openings over the weekend, Monday the 10th of May was pretty subdued on 28 MHz with just 7 stations heard on WSPR. Tuesday the 11th of May was however somewhat better with 29 stations heard on WSPR on 10 metres.

It was nice to hear the ZB2TEN WSPR beacon eight times which I think might be running 200mW rather than the 100mW listed. 'Hear' might be a bit misleading in that the strongest signal was -24dB which is about 10dB lower than what I could hear by ear. It just goes to show the power of WSPR fir digging out those weak signals.

It still amazes me that I am listening to a signal coming from their little SOTABEAMS WSPRLite transmitter shown above into a wire antenna.

When there were no WSPR signals for a while, I switched over to monitoring FT8 and it seemed to be mainly the south of Spain, the south of Germany and the north of Italy. The only signal of note was 9G5FI from Ghana.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

144 MHz beacon on Hawaii heard in California - Apr 2021

Back in April of 2021, there was an opening on 144 MHz between Hawaii and California, a distance of approximately 4074 kms.

 Timestamp Call MHz SNR Drift Grid Pwr Reporter RGrid km az Mode
 2021-04-24 11:00   KH6HME/B   144.277007   -31   0   BK29go   20   N3IZN/2   DM13ji   4074
 2021-04-24 10:58   KH6HME/B   144.277007   -31   0   BK29go   20   N3IZN/2   DM13ji   4074
 2021-04-24 10:56   KH6HME/B   144.277008   -29   0   BK29go   20   N3IZN/2   DM13ji   4074
 2021-04-24 10:48   KH6HME/B   144.277008   -31   0   BK29go   20   N3IZN/2   DM13ji   4074
 2021-04-24 10:46   KH6HME/B   144.277008   -29   0   BK29go   20   N3IZN/2   DM13ji   4074

The reports shown above are from Chris Arnold, N3IZN in California who heard the WPSR transmissions on 144 MHz from the KH6HME beacon on a mountain in Hawaii.

The tropo duct across the eastern Pacific usually opens up several times a year and allow signals from 144 MHz to the microwave bands to propagate through it. It's probably one of the best long distance VHF paths in the world.

Monday, May 10, 2021

28 MHz Report for Sun 9th May 2021

Sunday 9th May 2021: While the 9th didn't seem to be as good as the 7th & 8th, there were still lots of Sporadic-E signals on 28 MHz for most of the day. Again, I spent most of the day on WSPR with the receive map for me shown above.

This time, I heard 7 stations running 50mW or less.

(y-m-d) TX txGrid RX rxGrid MHz W SNR drift km
2021-05-09 10:56 G4KPX JO02dj EI7GL IO51tu 28.126063 0.005 -6 
2021-05-09 09:06 DJ4RH JN49bx EI7GL IO51tu 28.126088 0.01 -23 
2021-05-09 10:06 PD0KT JO33le EI7GL IO51tu 28.126094 0.01 -23 
2021-05-09 09:56 OZ0RF JO65fr EI7GL IO51tu 28.125994 0.02 -23 
2021-05-09 08:36 DL1WER JN58cd EI7GL IO51tu 28.126116 0.05 -18 
2021-05-09 08:54 DK9ES JO31 EI7GL IO51tu 28.12608 0.05 -24 
2021-05-09 18:04 ON4LUK JO11  EI7GL IO51tu 28.126197 0.05 -23 

When the skip went short, I managed to get two QRSS (very slow morse) plots from two stations east of London, about 600kms from me.

I also spent some time monitoring the FT8 frequency and I heard 279 stations in 36 countries.

Sunday, May 9, 2021

Guest Post: 40 MHz band on 7th & 8th May 2021 F1EIT

Thanks to José, F1EIT for the following information which forms the basis of this post.

Friday May 7th was surely a great day for the S55ZMS beacon with the first 40 MHz spots but also
for 8m Sporadic-E activity that increased on the 8th .

Joan EA3ERE put the first spots (PI4) for EI1KNH on the 23rd of April but I heard nothing on CW.

On the 7th of May, Michel, F6HTJ heard the EI1KNH beacon on CW but I still heard nothing!

Finally today the 8th of May, both Michel and myself heard the EI1KNH beacon on CW and we also were able to hear the S55ZMS beacon in Slovenia at the same time.

I have a lot of QRM in the 40 MHz ISM band (Industrial, Scientific, Medical) and sometimes also on the beacon frequency.

I am still using my 50MHz Hentenna with an ICOM 575A. I am also working on a 40MHz wire halo based on the G3XBM (10m) design and am also looking at building a YU7EF 4-element Yagi.

José, F1EIT

Info from DXMaps website...
Date & time Spotter QRG Mode DX km Prop. Comments SFI A K E.MUF
2021-05-08 14:43:17 F1EIT (JN03SJ) 40.670 CW S55ZMS (JN86CR) 1207 JN03SJ<ES>JN86CR CW 519 growing
2021-05-08 16:27:52 EI7GL (IO51TU) 40.670 CW S55ZMS/B (JN86CR) 1860 IO51TU<ES>JN86CR 
2021-05-08 16:13:15 G7PUV (JO00AT) 40.670 CW S55ZMS/B (JN86CR) 1265 JO00AU<ES>JN86CR Beacon 579
2021-05-08 14:41:02 F6HTJ (JN12KQ) 40.670 CW S55ZMS/B (JN86CR) 1143 JN86cr<ES>JN12kq 8m beacon

2021-05-07 18:10:43 F5JRX (JN26AC) 40.670 CW S55ZMS (JN86CR)934 JN26AC<>JN86CR 529 on BIGWHEEL 
2021-05-07 17:34:48 F4CXO (JN26PP) 40.670 CW S55ZMS (JN86CR) 831 JN26PP<ES>JN86CR HRD 559 
2021-05-07 14:15:01 F1EIT (JN03SJ) 40.670 CW S55ZMS (JN86CR) 1207 JN03SJ<ES>JN86CR BCN CW+PI4 
2021-05-07 14:46:10 F6HTJ (JN12KQ) 40.670 CW S55ZMS/B (JN86CR) 1143 JN86cr<ES>JN12kq 8m beacon 

Date & time Spotter QRG Mode DX km Prop. Comments SFI A K E.MUF
2021-05-08 14:32:37 F1EIT (JN03SJ) 40.013 EI1KNH (IO63VE) 1228 JN03SJ<ES>IO63VE CW529rising 
2021-05-08 14:59:02 OE3FVU (JN78VE) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1638 59 - 51 with heavy QSB 
2021-05-08 14:51:27 S57RW (JN65UM) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1666 559 in jn65um 
2021-05-08 14:31:54 F6HTJ (JN12KQ) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1346 IO63ve<ES>JN12kq 8m beacon 
2021-05-08 14:12:36 F4CXO (JN26PP) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1095 JN26PP<ES>IO63VE HRD 539 QSB 
2021-05-08 13:55:44 IW4BET (JN54QL) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1602 579 io63ve<es>jn54ql 
2021-05-08 11:11:52 S50B (JN65XU) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1659 

2021-05-07 15:42:38 IZ0CBD (JN61FP) 40.013 EI1KNH (IO63VE) 1891 JN61FP<>IO63VE 558 very clear 
2021-05-07 18:23:22 IK0OKY (JN61ES) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1876 JN61ES<ES>IO63VE 559 hrd 
2021-05-07 15:45:20 9A3TN (JN85UH) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1931 JN85UH<AUE>IO63 
2021-05-07 15:12:43 F6HTJ (JN12KQ) 40.013 CW EI1KNH/B (IO63VE) 1346 IO63ve<ES>JN12kq 8m beacon 

2021-04-23 13:42:28 EA3ERE (JN11CX) 40.012 PI4 EI1KNH (IO63VE) 1394 JN11<ES>IO63 PI4 -9 dB 1396 km 

For more information on the 40 MHz band, visit

28 MHz report for Sat 8th May 2021


Saturday 8th May 2021: This was another day where the 28 MHz band seemed to be wide open with lots of Sporadic-E signals from Europe. I heard 358 stations on FT8 in 29 countries but that was only listening on the FT8 frequency for a few hours.

I spent most of the day monitoring the WSPR frequency instead and the chart of stations heard is shown above. As can be seen from the chart, I heard 3 stations running less then 100-milliwatts.

Beacons: These were the beacons heard.

EI7GL 28207.1 ON0RY/B 19:37 08 May IO51TU<ES>JO20CK Belgium
EI7GL 28243.0 F5ZWE/B 14:03 08 May IO51TU<ES>JN02TW France
EI7GL 28194.0 IW4EIR/B 13:04 08 May IO51TU<ES>JN54AS Italy
EI7GL 28240.0 IZ8RVA/B 13:01 08 May IO51TU<ES>JN70LI Italy
EI7GL 28227.2 IW3FZQ/B 13:00 08 May IO51TU<ES>JN55VF Italy
EI7GL 28173.1 IZ1EPM/B 12:57 08 May IO51TU<ES>JN35WD Italy
EI7GL 28257.8 DK0TEN/B 11:02 08 May IO51TU<ES>JN47NT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28205.0 DL0IGI/B 10:23 08 May IO51TU<ES>JN57MT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28241.6 F5ZUU/B 08:12 08 May IO51TU<ES>JN24IL France

QRSS: The best thing about listening to WSPR is that I can monitor for QRSS signals as well as they just 500 Hz or so below the WSPR frequency. I managed to get one screen grab of ON4CDJ in Belgium.

The Sporadic-E season has well and truly started at this stage and you can expect to see lot of signals on the 10m band from now until late July.

Saturday, May 8, 2021

PSK Reporter website passes 20 Billion Reception Records

On the 8th of May 2021, the PSK Reporter website hit another milestone when it passed the 20 Billion reception records mark. As the image shows above, it was recording almost 1000 reception reports per second on Saturday afternoon as it whizzed past 20 billion.

The vast majority of these reception records are of course due to the hugely popular FT8 mode.

The chart above shows the most popular modes over a 2-hour period just after the site passed 20 billion.

The reception reports for FT8 are 46 times the size of those for FT4.

In terms of software used in the last 7-days, the WSJT-X suite is still the largest with 23,741. The next largest is JTDX at 9,935 which seems to becoming more popular. I think when I checked this a year or two back, WSJT-X was a lot more dominant.

The PSK Reporter website can be found here...

S55ZMS 40 MHz beacon heard in France - 7th May 2021

Jeff, F0FYF in the south-east of France reports hearing the new S55ZMS 8-metre beacon in Slovenia on 40.670 MHz on Friday the 7th of May 2021.

F0FYF wrote... "recycling is good .. an old 4-element antenna for Swiss TV, somewhat retouched for 40 Mhz with its reception amplifier and the beacon #S55ZMS is received intermittently #hamradio#radioamateur" (via Google translate) (Radio = Yaesu FT-897)

The beacon transmits in CW and PI4 and some of the decodes by Jeff are shown below...

The distance was in the region of 775kms which suggests that the propagation mode was short hop Sporadic-E.

In terms of short hop Sporadic-E, the 40 MHz band is worse than 28 MHz but better than 50 MHz. Under exceptional conditions, anything down to 500kms might be expected at 40 MHz.

Since this new 40 MHz beacon moved to its final location at the end of April 2021, it has been now been heard in Ireland, Portugal and France.

For more information on the 40 MHz band, go to

Big Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz - Fri 7th May 2021

Friday 7th May 2021: This was the second big Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz with 568 stations in 52 countries heard on FT8 (30th of April was 403 in 39). This wasn't even the full extent of the opening as I spent maybe 2 hours listening for beacons or WSPR signals.

The map above shows the big Sporadic-E opening to the centre of Europe and you can see the arc of double hop Sporadic-E stations further east.

The one signal of interest for me was VO1CH in Newfoundland, Canada which was probably double hop Sp-E and a hint of things to come towards North America.

Beacons: I also managed to log 11 beacons on CW...

EI7GL 28257.8 DK0TEN/B 20:12 07 May IO51TU<ES>JN47NT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28245.2 DB0TEN/B 20:10 07 May IO51TU<ES>JO42UV Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28237.4 LA5TEN/B 19:11 07 May IO51TU<ES>JO59JP Norway
EI7GL 28273.0 DB0BER/B 19:09 07 May IO51TU<ES>JO62QL Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28227.2 IW3FZQ/B 17:23 07 May IO51TU<ES>JN55VF Italy
EI7GL 28271.0 OZ7IGY/B 17:22 07 May IO51TU<ES>JO55WM Denmark
EI7GL 28278.9 DB0UM/B 17:19 07 May IO51TU<ES>JO73CE Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28298.0 SK7GH/B 17:18 07 May IO51TU<ES>JO77BF Sweden
EI7GL 28205.0 DL0IGI/B 17:15 07 May IO51TU<ES>JN57MT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28194.0 IW4EIR/B 17:13 07 May IO51TU<ES>JN54AS Italy
EI7GL 28251.0 ED4YAK/B 12:27 07 May IO51TU<ES>IN80FK Spain

WSPR: As the band was open to central Europe, I managed to hear a few stations on WSPR...

Even though FT8 is excellent for monitoring band conditions, I find WSPR more interesting in terms of trying to hear weak signals.

I understand the 50 MHz was also open on the 7th but I didn't check. I did try listening for the OZ7IGY beacon on 40 MHz but had no luck.

Friday, May 7, 2021

Video: Introduction to QRP Dick, G0BPS

Mid-Ulster Amateur Radio Club in the north of Ireland hold online ZOOM presentations every few  weeks which they then post to their YouTube channel.

This week, they had a presentation by Dick Pasoe, G0BPS about the history of QRP (low power) radio operation. 

Many radio amateurs prefer the challenge of building their own low power radios and have the satisfaction of using something they built themself  rather than buying a 'plug n play' commercial radio.

 The video gives a general overview of what is involved.

Modest opening on 28 MHz - 6th May 2021

Thursday 6th May 2021: Another modest day on the 28 MHz with 302 stations in 43 countries heard on FT8. Outside of the Sporadic-E to Europe, a number of signals came through from South America, Africa and the Middle East.

Two signals of note were 5T5PA from Mauritania and 9J2BS from Zambia.

I did a few scans of the band during the day and I didn't hear a single CW beacon. 

I'll probably spend a few more days monitoring the band to see when the first multi-hop Sporadic-E opening to the USA occurs.

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Opening to Siberia on 28 MHz - 5th May 2021

Wednesday 5th May 2021: This was an unusual day on the 28 MHz band in that the main opening seemed to be to the east with very little from the south. The furthest station heard on FT8 was UA0SU near Lake Baikal in Siberia.

As for the propagation mode? Probably multi-hop Sporadic-E but you can never rule out F2 on 28 MHz over those kind of distances.

A total of 157 stations in 25 countries was heard on FT8 on 28 MHz.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Guest Post: Experimental reception of the OZ7IGY 40 MHz beacon via meteor scatter S57RW

Andrej, S57RW in Slovenia left the following comment on the blog today under an old post. Rather than leaving it there largely unnoticed, I am putting it up as a short guest post.

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Wednesday 5th May 2021:  Today I tried to listen to beacons on the 8m band and around 09:30 UTC, I got two bursts from OZ7IGY in Denmark. 

Both had a duration of about 10-seconds. First, I got a part of the PI4 transmission but that was not long enough to decode. After 2-3 minutes, I got a second burst and copied part of locator and final carrier.

This one was quite strong about S5 to S7 and had a typical burst and after burst. Don't know if that is the right term but it sounded like typical strong MS burst. 

It may be worth listening in the morning when there are more meteors around :) 

RIG was IC-7300 and a dipole for 8m abt. 4m high N/S direction. 73 Andrej - S57RW!

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As the map shows above, S57RW is about 1200kms from the OZ7IGY beacon in Denmark, an ideal distance for meteor scatter on the 40 MHz band.

Note that the Eta Aquariids meteor shower peaks on the 6th of May.

Looking back at the start of the Sporadic-E season on 28 MHz - April 2021

For every day during the month of April 2021, I listened from about 08:00 to 22:00 UTC every day for FT8 signals on the 28 MHz band. For the first few days, I heard only a few countries every day. The chart below shows from the 7th to the 30th of April.

As can be seen from the chart, the second week of April continued at a low level with just a few countries heard every day. The 10th was one of those exceptions in that I didn't hear a single signal  despite listening all day. 

The chart clearly shows that the Sporadic-E season started on the 15th of April with the third week being in marked contrast to the second week.

Lyrid Meteor Shower: For Sporadic-E to occur, there needs to be a supply of metallic dust from the residue of meteors burning up in the atmosphere at a height of about 100kms. The first real meteor shower of the Spring is the Lyrids which goes from the 18th to the 25th of April and peaks on the 22nd.

Was the early arrival of the Lyrids responsible for the Sporadic-E season starting on the 15th and 16th. The exact start and finish of the shower seems to be different depending on what source you look at.

The 23rd of April is for me always a main date for Sporadic-E. I just noticed every year from my logbook that it was a date that stood out. It's probably no accident that it comes just a day after the peak of the Lyrids.

Methodology & shortcomings: In hindsight, I probably should have recorded the number of stations and countries on a day by day basis but I wasn't really planning to record the start of the season. The chart was just an idea I had once the month was over.

I was able to extract the number of countries heard on FT8 from my previous blog posts but the exact number of stations heard wasn't good enough that I would have confidence in the data for a chart.

As we are still near the bottom of the solar cycle, most of the signals that were heard were via Sporadic-E. It might be more difficult to repeat this test near the sunspot peak as there could be a F2 propagation in the mix as well.

I'll make a note in my calendar and I might repeat the exercise in 2022 and see if the results are the same.

Sporadic-E on 28 MHz for 9 hours - 4th May 2021

Tuesday 4th May 2021: The 28 MHz band was open more or less continuously for about 9 hours from about 13:00 to 22:00 UTC with signals from most of Europe coming through via Sporadic-E.

A total of 358 stations in 42 countries were heard which is usually a sign of a reasonably good day. 

The main Sporadic-E opening seems to have been to Italy as can be seen from the concentration of stations on the map. While I wasn't able to do that many scans of the band, I did hear two Italian beacons on CW...

EI7GL 28218.0 IQ5MS/B 18:31 04 May IO51TU<ES>JN54AB Italy
EI7GL 28227.2 IW3FZQ/B 18:28 04 May IO51TU<ES>JN55VF Italy

The Eta Aquarid meteor shower peaks on the 6th of May and that should provide even more fuel for the Sporadic-E propagation. The season is only just starting.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Free online Amateur Radio magazine from South Africa - Apr 2021

Radio ZS is the journal for the South African Radio League and the April 2021 edition is now available online and free to download.


The PDF publication is 72 pages long and there is a lot there that would be of interest to the wider amateur radio community.