Sunday, October 21, 2018

Big opening on 144 MHz... Sat 20th Oct 2018

Back in early September, I tried listening to FT8 signals on 144 MHz on what a pretty flat band and the results were mediocre at best. My conclusion was that I was too far west to hear FT8 signals on 144 MHz with a very basic antenna when the band was flat.

On Saturday the 20th of October, there was a big lift on 2 metres with French repeaters coming in on 145.350 MHz and 145.775 MHz. I had a listen on the FT8 frequency for about 18 hours and this is what I heard from about 18:00 UTC on Saturday to about noon on Sunday...

It was pretty amazing what could be heard using just a simple Slim Jim vertical half-wave in the attic of my house. If I heard that many signals with a basic indoor vertical, just imagine the number of stations I might have heard if I had been using a small horizontal beam outdoors.

The three furthest signals heard were...
DK5DV 1139kms, DK5WO 1008 kms & F5EZJ 984 kms.

The mode of propagation was probably tropospheric ducting which allowed the VHF signals travel well over the horizon. Unlike the openings to Canary Island and Cape Verde, this was probably an elevated duct by a layer much higher in the atmosphere.

I have worked plenty of stations in Europe like this before on 2m SSB but it's always interesting to hear. It seems as if FT8 might be giving 2 metres a new lease of life?

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