Saturday, June 30, 2018

Opening to Japan on 50 MHz...Fri 29th June 2018

I saw a note on G3XBM's blog today that 6m was open to Japan from the UK. I checked the online FT8 log of local station Tom EI4DQ on 50 MHz and sure enough, there was an opening from Ireland to Japan as well.

Several other EI stations on 50 MHz such as EI3KD and EI7BMB had similar FT8 spots to Japan.

What I found interesting was that I heard nothing like this on 28 MHz with a vertical half-wave and I was listening all day.

Usually 28 MHz is better than 50 MHz and it opens earlier and closes later. Nothing on 10m this time though.

Was the path only open to the higher frequency signals? Was it a case that beams and high power were needed to exploit this opening on 50 MHz?

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Interesting opening to the USA on 10m - 27th June 2018

When I checked the PSK reporter this morning, I noticed that I had heard one lone signal on FT8 on 28 MHz from the USA overnight. It turned out to be NF3R in Pennsylvania who was heard at 2:54am local time here.

As can be seen from the chart above, NF3R was being heard all across the USA. The interesting thing is that I was the only station in Europe to hear NF3R in the early hours of the 27th.

At 5156 kms, it was probably three Sporadic-E hops across the Atlantic. I guess that's the thing with Sp-E, you can never tell when and where it will open to.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

Illegal fishery buoy on the 28 MHz FT8 frequency

Anyone that uses 28 MHz on a regular basis will have heard illegal driftnet fishing buoys which give out a short carrier followed by an id in morse.

Over the last few days, I have heard one on the FT8 frequency of 28.074 MHz (USB). It is shown below in the waterfall plot as a short narrow carrier in amongst all the FT8 signals.

It is a solid carrier for about 10 seconds and is then followed by the letters E H in morse code. (Something like a 10 second dah followed by dit.....dit dit dit dit ). It transmits every 2m 30s.

I only noticed it in the last few days so I presume that it was only recently switched on.

As for the location, these are the FT8 signals I was hearing at the time....

I would guess either the western Med or out in the Atlantic but it's very difficult to know.

1) IARU Region 1 page on 28 MHz driftnet buoys

Friday, June 22, 2018

New page for 40 MHz...

At the moment, there is very little material or information on the web about any type of 40 MHz activity. As it is likely to become a new amateur band in Ireland, I have set up a page on this blog so that people can have a look at the information that I have already.

You can see it here...

Thursday, June 21, 2018

Another big opening on 10m to North America... 20th June 2018

Wednesday the 20th June 2018 was another busy day of FT8 signals on 28 MHz with plenty of Sporadic-E signals being heard including China and Thailand.

Later in the day, it opened to North America. Florida with it's southerly path seems to be the location that I hear first or most often.

The real interesting ones this time though were the signals from Arizona and New Mexico.These are the first multi-hop Sporadic-E signals I have heard from that area this summer on 10m FT8.

I have also noticed that sometimes, I might be the only person hearing a station in my general area. For example, only a Spanish station and myself heard one of the Arizona stations on 10m.

I'm only using a vertical half-wave so it's not like I have any kind of huge antenna array, it's just that I am further west than the other UK and European stations.

The faded markers in the graphic above are I believe stations monitoring at the time I made the map. When the band was open, there were many others.

Sunday, June 17, 2018

Opening on 28 MHz to North America... Sat 16th June 2018

There was another nice opening to North America on Saturday the 16th of June 2018 with quite a number of stations being heard on the FT8 digital mode. The signals seem to have been there at various times from about 13:00 to 23:00 UTC.

The signals were almost certainly via multi-hop Sporadic-E. If you listen to one particular station then it just looks as if the band is just open to the United States. However if you look at a plot of many stations received over time, patterns emerge.

The station in Newfoundland at about 3200 kms was probably double hop Sporadic-E... 2 x 1600 kms.

The bulk of the stations in the east of the USA at about 5,000 kms were probably triple hop... 3 x 1700 kms.

The stations in Texas, Arkanas, Louisana and Oklahoma at about 7,000kms were probably four hops... 4 x 1300 kms.

What is interesting is the skip zone going from Alabama to Missouri at about 6,500 kms. It was a bit too long for triple hop (3 x 2200) and too short for four hops (4 x 1600 kms) on this particular day.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

CEPT not in favour of 50-54 MHz Primary allocation

CEPT...The European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations is meeting in Estonia from the 12th to 15th of June 2018 to discuss a wide variety of radio and technical regulatory topics.

One of the items on the agenda was whether there should be a primary allocation for radio amateurs from 50 to 54 MHz in Region 1 which includes Europe.

Sylvain Azarian F4GKR who is a member of the IARU Region 1 Executive Committee is at the meeting and is Tweeting updates.

On Thurs 14th June, he said..."CEPT countries not in favor of more than 2MHz secondary at this stage of the discussions on the 6m band. "

In a message yesterday, he said that the Swiss and French administrations had objected on the grounds of interference...

Monday, June 11, 2018

SIRIO 5/8 ground plane antenna for 40 MHz

The Italian firm SIRIO manufacture vertical antennas that cover 36 to 60 MHz. The TORNADO 35-42 model covers 35 MHz to 42 MHz which would tune nicely to the new 40 MHz (8 metre) band.

Wednesday, June 6, 2018

Mount Snowdon worked on 145 MHz...

I made an interesting contact this morning when I worked Dave, GW8NZN/P on the summit of Mt.Snowdon on 145.400 MHz FM. The distance was 200 miles / 323 kms and it turned out that the mid point for the path was over the east coast of Ireland.

On my end, I was using 5w & 50w into a home made vertical antenna in the attic of my house. Dave was using 5w from a Yaesu FT60 handheld and a Moonraker MRW222 telescopic whip. Obviously being on the summit of the highest mountain of Wales at 1085m helps a lot but I thought it was an interesting contact on FM all the same.

After the contact, I came across the SOTAWATCH website which has lots of information about current and upcoming summit activations. It's worth keeping a watch on it if you want to try to make some distant contacts. The website is

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

Photos from Ham Radio 2018 in Friedrichshafen, Germany

Ham Radio is a 3 day event held from 1st to 3rd June 2018 in Friedrichshafen, Germany and showcases products for amateur radio enthusiasts. It is currently the largest one in Europe.

I came across this photo gallery which gives a flavour of what the 2018 event was like.

Monday, June 4, 2018

Multi-hop Sp-E opening to the United States on 10m...3rd/4th June 2018

At the moment, I have the HF rig tuned to the FT8 digital mode frequency of 28.074 MHz more or less all the time with the reception spots being uploaded to the PSK reporter website.

On Sunday the 3rd of June, there was a very strong Sporadic-E opening to Europe. Later in the day, there was an interesting multi-hop opening to the United States. What was unusual was just how late the opening was with many of the signals being heard at 2am local time on the 4th of June.

Looking at some plots for other local stations, it looks as if 50MHz was open as well so it must have been a pretty good opening.

As it turned out, I was too busy to get near the radio but it's interesting to see just how good FT8 performs. This digital mode seems to a critical mass of users on 28 MHz that makes the mode useful for monitoring propagation where as there is an obvious shortage of stations on modes like WSPR.