Friday, October 22, 2021

Opening to Australia on 28 MHz - Fri 22nd Oct 2021

Friday 22nd October 2021:
Compared to some of the recent openings on the 28 MHz, the day wasn't all that exceptional with 204 stations in 44 countries heard on FT8.

However, it's always nice to hear Australia on the 10-metre band. VK6JJJ in Perth is just over 15,000kms from my location.

The solar flux was at 82.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

TEP opening on 144 MHz between Argentina & the Caribbean - 20th Oct 2021

Wednesday 20th October 2021: It's interesting to see that the TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) openings are continuing on 144 MHz in South America.

This is a sample of the TEP spots from the DX-Cluster with distances in the region of 5300 to 6000kms...

 Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
LW2DAF 144180.0 HI8DL 00:12 20 Oct CQ CQ Q65B 15s Dominican Republic
LU5BE 144180.0 HI8DL 00:11 20 Oct Q65B -4 dB 961 Hz Dominican Republic
LU5CQC 144290.0 HI8DL 00:04 20 Oct USB PHONE S5 A 6022 KM Dominican Republic
LU5CQC 144180.0 HI8DL 23:52 19 Oct Q65 DX 6022KM TEP Dominican Republic
LW2DAF 144310.0 HI8DL 23:42 19 Oct 55 IN GF05rk Dominican Republic
LU7DW-@ 144290.0 HI8DL 23:38 19 Oct Dominican Republic

 Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
LU5CQC 144180.0 PJ2BR 00:11 20 Oct Q65 DX 5300 KM TEP Curacao
LW2DAF 144180.0 PJ2BR 00:11 20 Oct CQ CQ Q65B 15s Curacao 
LU5BE 144180.0 PJ2BR 00:11 20 Oct Q65B -3 dB 1395 Hz Curacao
LU5BE-@ 144300.0 PJ2BR 23:48 19 Oct cq CQ Curacao
LW2DAF 144300.0 PJ2BR 23:44 19 Oct CQ CQ 55 in GF05rk Curacao

It's nice to see that a lot of the reports for the opening were on SSB...

In the video, LW2DAF near Buenos Aires is working HI8DL in the Dominican Republic. Note the distortion due to TEP.

In the second video clip, LW2DAF is working PJ2BR in Curacao and the distortion is even worse.

This is actually a very good reminder to all of those stations who stay all of the time on FT8 that they might be missing some good openings. If the TEP signals are too distorted then FT8 doesn't work.

It's all about using the appropriate mode for the conditions at the time.

Update: As the frequency gets higher then only signals that are at right angles to the Geomagnetic Equator are propagated. This means that signals at say 28 MHz can arrive at a wide range of angles but 144 MHz signals need to be close to 90 degrees. 

The result at 144 MHz is that stations in Argentina are working Curacao, Aruba and Dominican Republic, stations in the south of Brazil are working Guadeloupe and Martinique.

This is a video of PY2AOL working FM5CS on the 20th of October...

Sunday, October 17, 2021

First contact between Slovenia and South Africa on the new 40 MHz band - 17th Oct 2021

Sunday 17th October 2021: A little bit of radio history was made today when there was a successful two way contact between S50B in Slovenia and ZS6WAB in South Africa on the new 40 MHz band.

Not only was this the first contact between Slovenia and South Africa but it was also the first contact between Europe and Africa on the new 8-metre band.

Borut, S50B reports that he worked Willem, ZS6WAB on 40.680 MHz using the FT8 digital mode...

As can be seen, the signal was quite weak at -8dB and -10dB which suggests that a contact on CW might have been possible but unlikely on SSB.

S50B writes... "I'd like to announce the first 8m, 40mhz, FT8 qso between AF-EU and South Africa and Slovenia. Mny tnx to ZS6WAB.....Juupii 🙂 73 de Borut s50b"

The key point about this contact is that it shows the 40 MHz path between Europe and South Africa is possible and in future, CW and SSB contacts may follow.

Distance: The contact was in the region of 7925kms which means by default, it also sets a new distance record for the new 40 MHz band.

Propagation Mode: If this contact was on 50 MHz, I'd probably be saying it was TEP - Trans-Equatorial Propagation. At the moment, we're getting modest East-West openings at 28 MHz further north in Europe. It stands to reason that openings from the south of Europe on paths to the South must extend well up into the low VHF region above 30 MHz.

Does the F2 MUF to the south extend up as far as 40 MHz? I really don't believe anyone can say with 100% certainty that this opening was only F2 layer or it was only TEP. The solar flux today was just 78 which isn't all that high.

Equipment: Subject to confirmation, I think S50B was using 100 watts from an ICOM IC-7100 into a 4-element Yagi as shown above. 

ZS6WAB uses an old ICOM IC-706 for the 8m CW beacon with a 5-element YU7EF designed Yagi so I presume that is what was used.

Antenna stack at ZS6WAB with the 40 MHz Yagi at the top

Hopefully, this contact will encourage more experiments on the 40 MHz band. There is a number of new 40 MHz experimental stations in the USA and an 8m contact contact between South Africa and North America would be really interesting.

As always, if you want more information on the new 8m band then check out the links in my 40 MHz page.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

South African 8-metre beacon on 40.675 MHz heard in Greece - 6th October 2021

In a report by email, Leonidas SV2DCD in Greece informs me that he heard the ZS6WAB 8-metre beacon in South Africa on 40.675 MHz.

"Hi there John. TEP is back again on 8m band. Today me and SV8CS had copy from ZS6WAB/B 40.675mhz with peak around 16:50z best copy 539 qsb

Here is a video of my copy ZS6WAB/B @ SV2DCD via TEP 6/10/2021 16:40z 40.675mhz "

You can see a video of the reception below...

As outlined in the video title, Leonidas feels that the propagation mode was TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation). I have shown the Geomagnetic Equator in the map above and it seems to be roughly equidistant from both stations.

The distance was approximately 7,220 kms. Leonidas was using an 8-element Yagi for 50 MHz to listen to the beacon on 8m.

I also understand that the South African 40 MHz beacon has been heard in the south of Portugal in the last few days as well.

SV2DCD also reported hearing the same 40 MHz beacon in April of 2021. See previous post HERE

Now that we have concrete evidence of the 8m South African beacon being heard in Europe, hopefully others will try to have a listen and report it.

Analysis... This new 40 MHz beacon could prove very useful for serious 6-metre operators in Europe checking to see if there is a propagation path to South Africa. There is quite a jump from say 28 MHz to 50 MHz where as if the band is open at 40 MHz then 50 MHz may not be far behind.


1) My previous post about the ZS6WAB beacon

2) My 40 MHz page

Australia heard on 28 MHz - Fri 15th Oct 2021

Friday 15th October 2021: It wasn't a great day for propagation on 28 MHz but it was interesting all the same to see Australia coming through on FT8.

VK8NSB 10m FT8 14315 km 10:03:44

Everything is relative I suppose, it's down on other recent days but way ahead of the poor conditions at the bottom of the sunspot cycle two years ago.

There was some Sporadic-E from Spain and a reasonable F2 opening to Greece, Turkey, Ukraine and southern Russia.

A total of 151 stations were heard in 37 countries. The solar flux was 83.

Friday, October 15, 2021

EI1KNH 40 MHz beacon heard in Lincoln, England - Oct 2021

I got a recent email from Keith, G0RQQ to say that he was hearing bursts of the Irish EI1KNH beacon on 40.013 MHz recently. The distance is approximately 370 kms.

Keith, who is in the city of Lincoln, England heard the 15-second burst with a signal of S5 at around 08:15 UTC on the 13th of October 2021. He was unable to listen to the PI4 signals as he didn't have the software installed. 

Keith is using a Yaesu FT-817ND wide-banded, and the antenna is an end-fed wire 20m long and about 1.5m above ground.

It's just a reminder that it is very easy for anyone in the UK to listen to the Irish 40 MHz beacons during the early morning (~6-7am) when meteor scatter conditions tend to be best.

For EI1KNH/B, just leave your receiver on SSB about 800 Hz lower on 40.0122 MHz and you should hear the CW and PI4 tones eventually.

For more information on the 40 MHz band, check out my 40 MHz page.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Opening to China on 28 MHz - 13th Oct 2021

Wednesday 13th October 2021:
The big openings to the USA on 28 MHz seemed to have eased back a bit in the last few days and no two days seem to be the same. The 13th of October was a bit like that with an F2 opening to the east but very little to the west.

A total of 200 FT8 signals from 39 countries were heard on the day but most of these were due to a  Sporadic-E opening to Europe. In truth, there weren't that many F2 signals in comparison to some of the openings of late.

The ones I found of interest were the signals from China which I think were the first for me this season. On 28 MHz, it's not always the stations that are furthest away that are the most interesting but it can be  those East-West signals with the most northerly path.

The solar flux on the day was at 84.

Signals from China...
BG9NJY 10m FT8 8148 km 10:56:59
BH8MDV 10m FT8 9094 km 10:26:14

Monday, October 11, 2021

Antarctica heard on 28 MHz - Sun 10th Oct 2021

Sunday 10th October 2021: I got a bit tired of listening for FT8 signals on the 28 MHz band so I decided to go back to WSPR instead. As I had expected, the amount of activity on this digital beacon mode was drastically lower.

I had the radio on from about noon on and as you can see from the map above, it's a bit sparse. I know that if this had been FT8, there would have been lots of stations heard.

The BIG surprise however was the German research station DP0GVN in Antarctica! Wow! 

It's always interesting to see Antarctica coming through but it's really nice on 28 MHz. According to their WSPR page, they run 5-watts on WSPR. 

The signal however was very weak here. According to the log, I had one single decode at -26dB which is well below what is audible by the human ear.

Looking at the map, there is other evidence of F2 propagation as well. During the Summer months, I used to hear VE1VDM in Nova Scotia via multi-hop Sporadic-E. On the 10th of October, it was very likely due to a single F2 hop as the solar conditions improve.

The solar flux on the day was at 85.


Related to 10m info  on I would like to add, that yesterday, during Makrothen RTTY contest, there was interesting and excellent 10m opening towards USA. This is extract from S53M log.

QSO: 28085 RY 2021-10-10 1502 S53M          599 JN86 K3MM          599 FM19
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1503 S53M          599 JN86 K1MK          599 FN32
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1505 S53M          599 JN86 NA3M          599 FM19
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1505 S53M          599 JN86 K2YG          599 FN20
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1506 S53M          599 JN86 N1MGO         599 FN42
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1507 S53M          599 JN86 KB3AAY        599 FM19
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1508 S53M          599 JN86 KC2WUF        599 FN20
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1509 S53M          599 JN86 ND2K          599 FN20
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1510 S53M          599 JN86 W9ILY         599 EN51
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1515 S53M          599 JN86 WQ5L          599 EM50
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1515 S53M          599 JN86 KG4W          599 FM17
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1516 S53M          599 JN86 WA3AFS        599 FN32
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1516 S53M          599 JN86 KO7SS         599 DM42
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1517 S53M          599 JN86 K2AL          599 FN20
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1519 S53M          599 JN86 VA3LR         599 EN93
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1520 S53M          599 JN86 WA4EEZ        599 EL87
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1522 S53M          599 JN86 W9FFA         599 EM69
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1524 S53M          599 JN86 WA1GOS        599 FN42

Kind regards
Miha, S51FB

Saturday, October 9, 2021

553 stations heard on 28 MHz - Fri 8th Oct 2021

Friday 8th Oct 2021: This was a really good day on the 28 MHz band with a total of 553 stations in 52 DXCC countries heard on the band.

The high number of stations was due mainly to two factors...

1) An extensive Sporadic-E opening to Europe which shows that even though we are in early October, there can still be Sp-E openings. It's not confined totally to the Summer months.

2) Good F2 layer opening especially to the eastern part of the USA. 

As always, it's the East-West propagation that it the most interesting rather than what rare stations popped up. If the maximum usable frequency (MUF) was struggling to reach 28 MHz then all of the propagation would be North-South. The fact that I'm hearing stations in the USA and Russia on 28 MHz probably means that the MUF to the south for me was up above 30 MHz and into the low VHF spectrum.

It's interesting to note the sharp cut-off of the stations in the USA at about 6500 kms. This was likely due to the limit of two F2 hops and there wasn't a third hop to go further.

For me, the most interesting station was AB6A in Oregon. Not so much because of the distance but because of the northerly path.

The solar flux on the day was at 93 which is on the way back up again.

FT8 / SSB... I know all of these reports are for FT8 signals but it just happens to be the easiest way to monitor band conditions. If you operate on SSB only then get ready for the CQWW SSB contest at the end of the month. I expect the 28 MHz band then to be excellent.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Big opening to the USA on 28 MHz - Wed 6th Oct 2021

Wednesday 6th October 2021: After a few modest days, there was a good opening on 28 MHz again with plenty of East-West propagation. Quite a number of FT8 from the USA were heard but the pick of the crop was W6IBU in California. 

That makes California interesting is not so much the distance but the fact that the path was well to the north.

It was also interesting to see Mexico coming through as well as 3B9FR on Rodriguez Island in the Indian Ocean.

Between the extensive worldwide F2 opening and the Sporadic-E to Europe, a total of 488 stations in 54 DXCC countries were heard.

The solar flux on the day was 85.

Here are the maps for the previous few days but didn't really warrant an individual post.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Opening to Texas on 28 MHz - Sat 2nd Oct 2021

Saturday 2nd October 2021: It looks like the 28 MHz band is on a bit of a roll at the moment with plenty of DX signals coming in from across the world every day. No two days are the same and the defining feature is how good the East-West propagation is.

On the 2nd, there was a very good F2 opening to the East but the multi-hop to SE Asia wasn't as good as the previous day. On the other hand, there was a good opening to the USA.

From my location in Ireland on the NW of Europe, the first and best F2 openings on 28 MHz are usually to the SE of the USA as this is the most southerly path. This turned out to be the case on the 2nd with a lot of stations from Florida making it through.

The most unusual signals were from Texas which required a more northerly path. This was another first for this season as these are the first signals that I have heard from the Lone Star state.

The Solar Flux on the 2nd was 87 and dropping. A total of 243 stations were heard on FT8 including 12 alone from South Africa.

The CQ WW SSB contest is coming up at the end of the month and I suspect all of the HF bands will be in great shape for it.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Opening to Australia on 28 MHz - Fri 1st Oct 2021

Friday 1st October 2021: The map above shows the 206 stations that I heard on 28 MHz during the day and it shows signals coming in from all over the world. 

Considering I'm only listening with a simple half-wave vertical antenna, it shows that the band is really begin to open up as we climb out of the sunspot minimum.

There wasn't much in the way of Sporadic-E propagation to Europe and the main mode was F2 as the solar flux is at 91.

For some areas of the world, it seemed that the limitation what the number of stations that were active rather than how good the propagation was. Here are some of signals...

VK8NSB from the north of Australia, the first VK this season. There is always something special about an opening to VK from Europe on the 10m band.

49 stations from Indonesia, 13 from Israel and 10 from South Africa.

D60AC from the Comoros Islands, FR4OO from Reunion, VU3RGB from India and 4S7AVR from Sri Lanka.

5H1FF in Tanzania, 9G5FIin Ghana, V51MA in Namibia and 5T5PA in Mauritania. 

It wasn't a great day towards the west with only one lone signal coming through from New Hampshire in the USA.

Friday, October 1, 2021

More US stations on 28 MHz - Thurs 30th Sept 2021

Thursday 30th September 2021: This was a mixed day in terms of propagation. On the one hand, a total of just 61 stations were heard on FT8 and there was a very little Sporadic-E propagation. The usual F2 opening to South America was subdued.

On the other hand, the was some interesting East-West propagation with stations further north in Russia and the USA coming through. It was also the first time I heard someone from Canada this season.

I have seen reports of plenty of DX on the lower bands where things are much easier in terms of propagation but I don't really have much interest in the lower HF bands.

The Solar Flux on the day was 95.

Thursday, September 30, 2021

4800km+ opening on the Band 2 VHF band between Chile and Columbia - Sept 2021

In some recent posts, I noted how there was openings on 144 MHz between the Caribbean and Brazil via TEP - Trans-Equatorial Propagation. The distances were in the region of 4600kms.

As can be seen from the graphic above, there was also an interesting TEP opening further west with Band 2 FM signals at 102.7 MHz in the north of Columbia being heard in Chile in early September, a distance of just over 4800kms.

The recording below is from Felip, CE3SAD in Chile who is an avid FM DX-er.

Small opening to the USA on 28 MHz - Wed 29th Sept 2021

Wednesday 29th September 2021: This day was a little bit more subdued than the 28th of Sept but there was still a nice mixture of Sporadic-E and F2 signals on the 28 MHz band.

What was of interest to me was the small opening to the USA which is a sign of the more elusive East-West propagation. It certainly wasn't huge as I only heard four US stations signals on FT8.

Overall, a total of 99 stations were heard with the solar flux jumping up to 102 from 89.

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Opening on 28 MHz to the Far East - 28th Sept 2021

Tuesday 28th September 2021: There was an extensive opening on the 28 MHz band with signals coming in from several continents as can be seen from the map above. 

If this map was for say 14 MHz then I'd be thinking 'so what?' but it's not, it's for the 28 MHz where we are just below the low VHF spectrum. At 28 MHz, we're near the limit of what is and isn't possible with F2 layer propagations.

What does the map show???

1) Sporadic-E to Europe - Despite the fact that it's the end of September, there are still Sporadic-E openings. Not only do these allow contacts in the 1000-2000km region but they also allow you to reach further south where F2 conditions are more likely.

2) Real East-West F2 propagation - Notice all those stations in the south of Russia, Turkey and the Middle East. That is genuine F2 payer propagation and it's East-West as opposed to North-South. That is a really good sign that we're coming out of the low point of the sunspot cycle.

It's also likely that if there were East-West openings on 28 MHz then North-South paths in the low VHF spectrum above 30 MHz were also likely to be possible.

3) Far East - This opening to Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore was via multi-hop F2 layer propagation. I heard 38 separate stations from Indonesia in the region of 12000 to 13000 kms using a simple half-wave vertical antenna so conditions must have been good.

4) South Africa and South America - Possibly a mixture of F2 layer and TEP propagation. As already noted, it was likely that the opening in this direction extended up into the low VHF spectrum.

5) USA - This is the first time that I heard the USA this season and I wasn't expecting to hear it for another few weeks. In truth, it was barely open and it was what I would have expected i.e. the south-east corner of the USA. What was missing were the single hop F2 signals from Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Maine.

In Conclusion... In total, I heard 368 different stations in 42 DXCC countries on 28 MHz on the 28th of September 2021. The Solar Flux was at 89.

If we are getting East-West propagation now on the 28 MHz at the end of September, I'd expect there will be some pretty good conditions in October and November.

Friday, September 24, 2021

Extensive opening on 28 MHz - 23rd Sept 2021

Thursday 23rd September 2021: There was a reasonably extensive opening on the 28 MHz band with FT8 signals heard from Indonesia to South Africa to Puerto Rico. There have been hints of various openings in the last week or so but this is the first time this season that it has been so extensive.

A total of 139 stations were heard with a combination of some Sporadic-E from around Europe and F2 propagation further afield.

The most unusual signal was D60AC on the Comoros Islands in the Indian Ocean.

DX Stations over 4000kms...

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
YB1TQL 10m FT8 12255 km 15:18:44
PY5JO 10m FT8 9472 km 15:00:14
ZS6AF 10m FT8 9411 km 10:27:29
PY2THO 10m FT8 9100 km 14:54:44
PY2EBD 10m FT8 9084 km 14:55:14
PY2RSA 10m FT8 9073 km 14:46:59
PY4EV 10m FT8 8682 km 14:49:29
D60AC 10m FT8 8621 km 11:45:44
5Z4VJ 10m FT8 7260 km 12:43:44
WP4G 10m FT8 6211 km 16:45:44
9G5FI 10m FT8 5197 km 17:59:59
4Z5ML 10m FT8 4107 km 11:16:29

All of these were heard with a simple CB vertical half-wave antenna.

The solar flux was 90 which is on the way back up again, it had dropped down to 73 a week earlier.

As it's only the end of September, it is still very early in terms of real DX. I suspect once we get to November, we might see some really interesting openings on the 10m band.

Thursday, September 23, 2021

144 MHz TEP openings from Brazil to the Caribbean continue - 23rd Sept 2021

Following up on my previous post, the TEP openings on 144 MHz from the Caribbean to Brazil are still happening. On the 23rd of September 2021, there was a modest opening from FG4SU in Guadeloupe, FM5CS in Martinique and 8P6ET in Barbados to the south of Brazil.

Signals on FT8...

 Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
PY2EDY FG4SU 2m FT8 4742 km 00:23:12
FG4SU PY2BL 2m FT8 4649 km 00:23:27
FG4SU PY2OAL 2m FT8 4566 km 00:21:59
FG4SU PY5EW 2m FT8 4558 km 00:16:29

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
PY2DPM 2m FT8 4365 km 01:34:56

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
FM5CS PY2BL 2m FT8 4450 km 00:26:26

The distances were all in the region of 4500 to 4700kms which is typical for Trans-Equatorial Propagation.

Monday, September 20, 2021

5000km+ paths on 144 MHz recorded in South America as the TEP season begins - 20th Sept 2021

It was interesting to note that there were several openings over the last few days on 144 MHz between the Caribbean and South America.

The map above shows the 5155km path that was open on 144 MHz between Aruba and Argentina.

P41E 144300 LU8FLB 00:59 20 Sep 21 Tep Argentina

The DX spot was most likely for a SSB signal and the propagation mode was TEP or Trans-Equatorial Propagation.

At around the same time, the path was open for FG4SU in Guadeloupe to the south of Brazil.

These are the FT8 spots...

20th Sep
Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
FG4SU PY2OAL 2m FT8 4566 km 01:04:59
PY2BL FG4SU 2m FT8 4649 km 00:27:44

Notice how the signals from the two locations are different. At 144 MHz, only signals that cross the Geomagnetic Equator at right angles tend to get propagated via TEP. What this means is that stations near Aruba work Argentina while stations further east in Puerto Rico work the south of Brazil.

While I was looking up some information for this post, I noticed that there were also TEP openings on 144 MHz on the 17th and 19th of September.

PY5EW 144174 FM5CS 01:04 17 Sep 21 FT8 -13 dB 1716 Hz Martinique
PY2OAL 144175.2 FM5CS 01:00 17 Sep 21 FT8 TNX 4300KM TEP Martinique
PY2EDY 144174 FM5CS 01:18 17 Sep 21 FT8 -5 dB 1651 Hz FK94 Martinique

PT9FD 144174 NP4BM 00:47 19 Sep 21 FT8 GG27OR TEP FK68LM TU QSO Puerto Rico
PT9FD 144150 WP4KJJ 00:28 19 Sep 21 Q65C TU QSO GG27OR TEP FK68 Puerto Rico

It's likely there are going to be plenty of more openings between the Caribbean and South America on 144 MHz over the next few weeks. It would be interesting to see some reports of similar openings from the south of Europe to Africa.

Irish Amateur Radio Survey & SWOT Analysis Report 2021

The Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS) conducted an online survey a few weeks back and the results are available now. You can view the PDF document HERE

A 64 minute video outlining the findings is shown below...