Monday, March 30, 2020

Opening on 28 MHz - Mon 30th March 2020

Monday 30th March 2020. I had the radio on in the background all day and it seem pretty quiet with only a few FT8 signals on 28 MHz audible. It was a suprise at the end of the day when the PSKReporter map showed that I had heard FT8 signals from South Africa, Chile and Europe.

It certainly wasn't an extensive opening and the map above really shows an accumulation of stations heard during the day gradually building up to populate the map.

At one stage when the FT8 signals were about S3 which seemed to be the strongest, I had a listen on the beacon part of the band and heard the German DL0IGI/B and DK0TEN/B beacons.

A total of 43 stations were heard. This is a list of the stations heard in order of distance...

Sunday, March 29, 2020

Minor opening on 28 MHz - Sun 29th March 2020

Sunday 29th March 2020. This was one of those days where the FT8 frequency on 28 MHz seemed pretty quiet with just low level signals heard on the band.

The signal levels were so low that I didn't even bother scanning for beacons. I was actually suprised that there was some nice DX buried in those weak signals.

As the map shows, there was a low level Sporadic-E opening to the south of Spain and this no doubt coupled into some F2 propagation to Canary Islands, St.Helena Island and Brazil.

These are the 37 stations heard in order of distance...
Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
PY2WD 10m FT8 9183 km 18:09:29
PY2BL 10m FT8 9120 km 18:05:29
PU2VLW 10m FT8 9099 km 18:07:29
PY2EBD 10m FT8 9084 km 18:09:44
PU2PPP 10m FT8 9073 km 18:08:59
PY2RSA 10m FT8 9073 km 15:19:15
PY2TMV 10m FT8 9037 km 18:09:44
PU1KAQ 10m FT8 8928 km 15:10:14
ZD7JC 10m FT8 7542 km 17:37:44
EA8EE 10m FT8 2733 km 19:08:29
EA8VJ 10m FT8 2724 km 18:26:29
EA8A 10m FT8 2718 km 17:59:44
EA8AFB 10m FT8 2718 km 17:48:14
EA8DFQ 10m FT8 2705 km 19:32:59
EA8FB 10m FT8 2698 km 17:43:29
EA8DIB 10m FT8 2685 km 17:56:44
IT9FSH 10m FT8 2472 km 15:14:44
IT9AAI 10m FT8 2265 km 15:43:59
EA9BO 10m FT8 1791 km 18:04:44
EA7FKY 10m FT8 1741 km 15:50:47
S50XX 10m FT8 1737 km 15:11:44
EB7KA 10m FT8 1733 km 15:31:59
EA7PY 10m FT8 1723 km 17:44:14
EA7Y 10m FT8 1723 km 17:23:29
EA7UW 10m FT8 1714 km 17:57:44
EA7TR 10m FT8 1709 km 17:59:29
EB7HEM 10m FT8 1709 km 17:34:44
EA7KJE 10m FT8 1704 km 18:10:29
EA7KIY 10m FT8 1703 km 17:38:59
EC7KW 10m FT8 1667 km 17:49:59
EA5AD 10m FT8 1650 km 15:22:29
CT2GQN 10m FT8 1632 km 18:22:59
EA7BUU 10m FT8 1618 km 17:56:29
EA7KHU 10m FT8 1617 km 17:46:29
EA7YB 10m FT8 1616 km 18:04:29
EA4CUO 10m FT8 1499 km 15:36:44
EA4YR 10m FT8 1444 km 17:38:29
EA1AF 10m FT8 1141 km 18:36:59
DL4CQ 10m FT8 1028 km 17:43:29

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Opening on 28 MHz - Sat 28th March 2020

Saturday the 28th of March 2020 was pretty similar to the previous day with a Sporadic-E primarily to Spain and Italy with some more DX further afield.

Nice to see St.Helena in the South Atlantic making it though as well as South Africa, Brazil and Israel.

This is a close up of the European stations heard on FT8 on 28 MHz...

The band was open to Spain for most of the daylight hours with some smaller openings to Italy as well.

It's worth noting that the PSKReporter website seemed to be down at times during the day so I'm not sure if all of my reports were uploaded?

These are the beacons heard on cw...

EI7GL 28240.0 IZ8RVA/B 15:45 28 Mar IO51TUJN70LI Italy
EI7GL 28194.0 IW4EIR/B 13:53 28 Mar IO51TUJN54AS Italy
EI7GL 28218.0 IQ5MS/B 13:52 28 Mar IO51TUJN54AB Italy
EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 13:45 28 Mar IO51TUIN80FK Spain
EI7GL 28255.8 C30P/B 13:43 28 Mar IO51TUJN02SM Andorra
EI7GL 28173.1 IZ1EPM/B 13:39 28 Mar IO51TUJN35WD Italy
EI7GL 28321.5 IZ1KXQ/B 13:34 28 Mar IO51TUJN54AC 0.1w Italy

The number of Italian beacons heard is more of a reflection on the smaller number of beacons in Spain.

It's interesting that for the last week or so, there have been plenty of Sporadic-E openings to say Spain and Italy but there has been very little to the Nordic countries or the Baltic states. There does seem to be fewer openings the further north you go.

A total of 282 stations in 25 countries was heard.

This is a list of stations heard in order of distance...

Looking at the German 28 MHz beacons heard in 2019

During the months of April, May and June of 2019, I did many scans of the 28 MHz beacon band from about 28.160 to 28.340 MHz. This post is about the number of days that I heard one of the beacons in Germany.

The map above shows the distribution of 28 MHz beacons in Germany. Note that the DB0BER beacon near Berlin was off air during the period I was monitoring so it is not included in the data below.

The chart below shows the number of days in 2019 that I heard a German beacon on 28 MHz...

1) DL0IGI with its 50 watts into a vertical antenna was heard on 35 days and is easily the most consistent German beacon here in Ireland.

2) DL0UM has just 4 watts into a vertical dipole and was heard on 26 days. Like DL0IGI, it is about 200kms further away from me compared to some of the other beacons and perhaps the slightly longer skip distance made a difference?

3) DB0MFI (9w GP), DK0TEN (10w GP) and DB0TEN (2w GP) were all about the same mark with 22, 21 and 20 days respectively. (Note - GP is a ground plane vertical antenna)

4) DF0ANN (5w dipole) and DM0AAB (10w GP) at 16 and 14 days were noticeably behind. Was it just pure chance or was there a reason?

5) DB0FKS was heard on just 8 days but this can be easily explained due to the fact it has just 1-watt into a small DV-27 vertical antenna (i.e. a loaded mobile whip).

In terms of distance, the German beacons are about 1,200 to 1,500 kms from my location in Ireland.

In conclusion... The reason I collected this data was to see if there was any unusual findings.

a) Was there a difference in the number of days heard between North and South Germany? The answer seems to be no.

b) Did distance matter? Maybe but the evidence isn't that strong. I seemed to hear beacons at 1,200kms as often as ones at 1,400kms.

The main factor determining what I heard from my location in Ireland seems to be just power and antenna performance of the beacons. 

German 28 MHz beacons... These are the current ones as of the end of 2019

28.205 MHz - DL0IGI - JN57MT - 50w Vert
28.210 MHz - DB0FKS - JN49IT - 1w DV27 GP
28.245 MHz - DB0TEN - JO42UV - 2w GP
28.257 MHz - DK0TEN - JN47NT - 10w GP
28.265 MHz - DB0ANN - JN59PL - 5w Dipole (Used to be DF0ANN)
28.273 MHz - DB0BER - JO62QL - 5w
28.278 MHz - DM0AAB - JO54GH - 10w GP
28.279 MHz - DB0UM - JO73CE - 4w Vert Dipole
28.285 MHz - DB0MFI - JN58HW - 9w GP

Methodology notes...
1) The equipment used for reception was a Kenwood TS690 transceiver with a vertical half-wave antenna. The take off to the east towards Germany is good with no obstructions.
2) I usually scan the beacon band on 28 MHz once I hear FT8 signals at a reasonable level that are easily audible. i.e. I know for sure the band is open.
3) All beacons must be positively identified before I post them on DXMaps which in turn puts them on the DX Cluster.
4) The mode of propagation for all signals heard was Sporadic-E.

Friday, March 27, 2020

More Sporadic-E on 28 MHz - Fri 27th March 2020

There was a reasonable Sporadic-E opening on Friday the 27th of March 2020 with signals from Italy and Spain mainly been heard.

In terms of DX, TR8CA in Gabon, 9G1SD in Ghana and HZ1SK in Saudi Arabia were heard.

This is a map of the opening to Europe in more detail...

These are the beacons that were heard...

EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 15:02 27 Mar IO51TUIN80FK Spain (2W)
EI7GL 28321.5 IZ1KXQ/B 14:19 27 Mar IO51TUJN35TB Italy (100mW)
EI7GL 28322.7 F1VJT/B 14:12 27 Mar IO51TUJN33CI France  (2W)
EI7GL 28194.0 IW4EIR/B 14:02 27 Mar IO51TUJN54AS Italy (2W)
EI7GL 28173.1 IZ1EPM/B 13:59 27 Mar IO51TUJN35WD Italy (20W)
EI7GL 28218.0 IQ5MS/B 13:57 27 Mar IO51TUJN54AB Italy
EI7GL 28227.4 IW3FZQ/B 13:57 27 Mar IO51TUJN55VF Italy (5W)

A total of 154 stations were heard today. They are listed in order of distance below...

Thursday, March 26, 2020

Modest Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz - Thurs 26th March 2020

Despite what the map above might suggest, Thursday the 26th of March 2020 was one of those days where the 28 MHz seemed to be just about open. I could hear signals for most of the daylight hours from Spain and Italy but it felt as if the MUF (Maximum Usable Frequency) was just above 28MHz.

During the day, it felt like the actual footprint of the Sporadic-E was pretty small allowing only a small number of stations to come at any one time.

This idea of a small footprint ties up with the fact that I only heard one beacon all day despite several scans.

EI7GL 28227.4 IW3FZQ/B 15:21 26 Mar IO51TUJN55VF Italy

The small footprint might also have been the reason for a lack of stations heard outside of Europe as the small area covered didn't line up with the paths to any DX stations when there was F2 propagation about.

In total, 167 stations were heard during the day which isn't bad for late March.

List of stations heard in order of distance...

Another big opening on 28 MHz - Wed 25th March 2020

Wednesday the 25th of March 2020 was pretty similar to the previous day with a widespread Sporadic-E opening on the 28 MHz band even though it is still only late March.

As the map shows above, a very large number of European stations were heard. Signals from South Afrcica and Gabon were also heard as well as  Qatar and Kuwait in the Middle East. Unusual European ones were Georgia and Crete.

It's hard to tell whether the signals from Greece and Turkey were double hop Sporadic-E or F2.

I expected to hear some signals from South America but I heard nothing.

This is the map of European stations heard...

Some points...

1) Short Skip... There seemed to be less short skip compared to the previous day.

2) Scandinavia... Like the previous day, there were no openings to Norway, Sweden, Finland or the Baltic states.

3) Maritime Mobile... One unusual station heard was UR7FM/MM on a ship near the Straits of Gibraltar.

4) Beacons... These are the beacons that were heard...

Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
EI7GL 28255.8 C30P/B 19:37 25 Mar IO51TUJN02SM Andorra
EI7GL 28241.6 F5ZUU/B 19:34 25 Mar IO51TUJN24IL France
EI7GL 28194.0 IW4EIR/B 18:38 25 Mar IO51TU<>JN54AS Italy
EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 18:03 25 Mar IO51TUIN80FK Spain
EI7GL 28227.4 IW3FZQ/B 18:01 25 Mar IO51TUJN55VF Italy
EI7GL 28218.0 IQ5MS/B 17:32 25 Mar IO51TUJN54AB Italy
EI7GL 28321.5 IZ1KXQ/B 17:24 25 Mar IO51TUJN54AC Italy
EI7GL 28240.1 IZ8RVA/B 15:25 25 Mar IO51TUJN70LI Italy 
EI7GL 28278.9 DB0UM/B 13:30 25 Mar IO51TUJO73CE Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28245.3 DB0TEN/B 12:57 25 Mar IO51TUJO42UV Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28205.0 DL0IGI/B 12:16 25 Mar IO51TUJN57MT Fed. Rep. of Germany 
EI7GL 28257.8 DK0TEN/B 12:13 25 Mar IO51TUJN47NT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28188.0 OE3XAC/B 12:11 25 Mar IO51TUJN78SB Austria

5) QRSS... One of the Italian beacons sends out the code 'SP' as very slow morse...

A total of 562 stations in 36 countries were heard on FT8 during the day.

Stations heard based on distance...

Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Big opening on 28 MHz on Tues 24th March 2020

Tuesday the 24th of March 2020 was a really good day on 28 MHz with an extensive Sporadic-E opening on the band.

The FT8 signals heard on the band are shown above. In total, 764 stations and 39 countries were heard which was just like a day in June was like a day in the June at the peak of the Sporadic-E season.

As well as a large number of signals from Europe, Lebanon, Israel, Western Sahara, St. Helena Island in the S Atlantic, Columbia, Brazil and Argentina was also heard.

I also heard TT4AM in Chad on cw.

This is the map of European stations heard...

As you can see, there was quite a concentration of stations from Italy, Spain, Germany and France.

Some notable features of the maps are...

1) Missing... Nothing heard from Norway, Sweden, Finland or the Baltic states.

2) Short Skip... Quiet a few signals from Brittany which is about 600kms from me. This is normally in the Sp-E skip zone and is hard to hear.

3) Numbers... The large number of stations heard was probably helped by the fact that countries like Spain, France and Italy are in lock down due to the Corronavirus epidemic. However, it was still exceptional for the end of March.

4) Double-Hop... You can see from the map where my one-hop Sporadic-E limit of about 2,200 kms is. There is a sudden drop of of stations in Southern Italy and Eastern Poland. The signals from places like Greece, Bulgaria, Romania and Turkey were probably double hop.

5) High MUF... It looks as if the 50 MHz band was open as well and they are report of Band 2 radio stations from Spain and France being heard in the northern part of Ireland. The maximum usable frequency reached at least 100 MHz.

Normally I just leave the radio monitoring the FT8 frequency and check the PC occasionally to see if anything was heard. As I could see the signals were reading 'S9' at times, I tuned around the band as well for beacons and this is what I heard...

EI7GL 28167.4 ZB2TEN/B 17:25 24 Mar IO51TUIM76HD Gibraltar
EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 17:20 24 Mar IO51TUIN80FK Spain
EI7GL 28207.2 ON0RY/B 16:59 24 Mar IO51TUJO20CK Belgium
EI7GL 28188.0 OE3XAC/B 16:49 24 Mar IO51TUJN78SB Austria
EI7GL 28269.0 SV6DBG/B 16:41 24 Mar IO51TUKM09KQ Greece
EI7GL 28257.8 DK0TEN/B 16:37 24 Mar IO51TUJN47NT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 282231.1 F5ZEH/B 16:35 24 Mar IO51TUIN88VA France
EI7GL 28227.4 IW3FZQ/B 16:32 24 Mar IO51TUJN55VF Italy
EI7GL 28205.0 DL0IGI/B 16:29 24 Mar IO51TUJN57MT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28194.0 IW4EIR/B 16:28 24 Mar IO51TUJN54AS Italy

F5ZEH/B in Brittany is an unusual one as it's normally in the skip zone and I think I have only heard it a few times.

SV6DBG/B in Greece was probably double hop Sporadic-E.

IW4EIR/B was a new one for me. According to QRZ, it's a 1.5-watt beacon. Looking at the DX-cluster, there are no spots for this beacon between May 2018 and December 2019 so I presume it was off air for 18 months.

I spent about two minutes listening around the SSB part of the band and there seemed to be plenty of activity although to be honest, I was bored after the two minutes.

On the CW portion of the band, I heard TZ4AM in Mali working a pile up split.

Overall, a really good day on the 10-metre band considering it was the end of March at the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

List of FT8 stations heard...

Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Good opening on 28 MHz - Mon 23rd March 2020

Monday the 23rd of March 2020 was a pretty good day with plenty of FT8 signals heard on the 28 MHz band.

As the map shows above, there was a good Sporadic-E opening to Europe as well as an F2 opening to Israel, Lebanon, Chad, Brazil and Argentina.

A total of 126 stations in 24 countries was heard. It also means that Brazil was heard on the band on 11 out of the last 14 days, not bad for the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

List of stations heard...

Sunday, March 22, 2020

Opening to Africa on 28 MHz - Sun 22nd March 2020

There was a modest opening on 28 MHz to Africa on Sunday the 22nd of March 2020 with FT8 signals from Gabon and South Africa being heard. I suspect a lot more stations in Africa would have been heard if they were actually on air.

One lone decode from PU2VLW in Brazil was also heard. This is the 10th day out of the last 13 days that I have heard Brazil on the 10-metre band.

There was also a modest Sporadic-E opening to Europe.

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
CT1FSC 10m FT8 1440 km 18:25:44
CT1IUA 10m FT8 1649 km 17:48:29
CT1EXR 10m FT8 1635 km 17:46:14
F4IDT 10m FT8 1034 km 17:29:17
MM3NRX 10m FT8 622 km 17:07:59
DJ8QX 10m FT8 1058 km 17:04:15
EI7HVB 10m FT8 90 km 16:09:29
DJ6GK 10m FT8 1196 km 16:06:59
G0MBL 10m FT8 675 km 16:06:59
EI3JB 10m FT8 96 km 15:50:29
IZ8WGU 10m FT8 2389 km 15:33:45
IU8JPG 10m FT8 2116 km 15:15:30
EA3IGU 10m FT8 1409 km 14:51:46
EA5AD 10m FT8 1650 km 14:39:29
ZS1SC 10m FT8 9645 km 14:26:59
TR8CA 10m FT8 5948 km 14:07:14
ZS1SBW 10m FT8 9913 km 13:52:44
F5FDC 10m FT8 1132 km 13:49:29
EA7D 10m FT8 1715 km 13:30:29
IZ8CPZ 10m FT8 2100 km 13:01:59
IK7LJZ 10m FT8 2146 km 12:24:44
IZ6BXV 10m FT8 1987 km 12:23:59
IU7MZC 10m FT8 2253 km 12:10:59
IU7HDQ 10m FT8 2209 km 12:00:29
I0UZF 10m FT8 1828 km 11:56:14
F4BVK 10m FT8 1171 km 10:03:16

181830 -13  0.3 1193 ~  EB7HEM PU2VLW -04

Opening to Brazil on 28 MHz - Sat 21st March 2020

Saturday the 21st of March 2020 was a pretty quiet day on 28 MHz but the band still managed to open up to South America.

It's interesting to note there has been an opening on 28 MHz to South America on 9 out of the last 12 days.

The Solar Flux is way down at 71 so we are still hopping along the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

List of stations heard on FT8...

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
PU1MXA 10m FT8 8795 km 18:37:59
PU7GMY 10m FT8 6965 km 18:13:14
PY2XU 10m FT8 9178 km 18:03:48
F5RRS 10m FT8 1251 km 16:53:32
PD2VE 10m FT8 877 km 14:30:31
PE4BAS 10m FT8 1034 km 11:17:14
PC7B 10m FT8 1023 km 11:16:44
G0MBL 10m FT8 675 km 11:12:29
EI3KF 10m FT8 217 km 10:53:00

Saturday, March 21, 2020

Opening to South America and Africa on 28 MHz - Fri 20th March 2020

Around the time of the equinox can be good for North-South paths on 28 MHz and that seems to be the case at the moment. On Friday the 20th of March 2020, there wasn't much in the way of Sporadic-E to Europe but the 10-metre band still opened up to Africa and South America.

In Africa, three stations were heard on FT8... TR8CA in Gabon, ZS1DX in Cape Town and ZS6WN in the NE part of South Africa. Only the decode from ZS6WN was uploaded to the PSKReporter website.

Just two stations on FT8 were heard from Brazil.

131500   0  0.2 1484 ~  CQ E73B JN93
131500 -12  0.2 2183 ~  EA4E ZS1DX -12
132430  -3  0.2 1746 ~  PD2VE DF1BV 73
133015 -19  0.2  975 ~  PY2THO SP2MKZ JO93
133515 -18  0.2 1235 ~  PY2THO F4GFP R-07
135130 -11  0.2 1458 ~  CQ ZS6WN KG46
142730 -17 -0.1 1117 ~  SQ7FPH TR8CA -14
164515 -20  1.2 1133 ~  EB5EEO PY1VOY GG87
165000 -20  0.2  870 ~  CU3EQ PY2RJ -03

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Good opening to South America on 28 MHz - Thurs 19th Mar 2020

Wednesday the 18th of March 2020 was pretty quiet on the 28 MHz with just a few European stations heard on FT8.

On Thursday the 19th of March, the Sporadic-E opening to Europe was slightly better but there were also some suprising signals from Lebanon, South Africa, Brazil and Argentina.

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
PY2BL 10m FT8 9120 km 16:24:14
PY2TMV 10m FT8 9037 km 16:22:44
SM6MLY 10m FT8 1452 km 16:19:44
LW5DR 10m FT8 11172 km 16:19:29
LU3DW 10m FT8 10787 km 16:18:44
LW1DZ 10m FT8 10762 km 16:12:14
LU9ELB 10m FT8 10790 km 16:09:44
LU3EMI 10m FT8 10774 km 16:08:16
LU9FVS 10m FT8 10718 km 16:02:44
PU1JDX 10m FT8 8992 km 15:57:59
PD0ARI 10m FT8 910 km 15:08:45
OD5YA 10m FT8 4020 km 14:49:44
ZS6BUN 10m FT8 9375 km 14:27:29
EA8CYU 10m FT8 2679 km 14:19:14
GM4FVM 10m FT8 604 km 14:15:14
IK3BNO 10m FT8 1659 km 14:06:44
IV3JVJ 10m FT8 1645 km 13:53:44
EA5GI 10m FT8 1505 km 13:52:29
IW0HBY 10m FT8 1924 km 13:46:44
G0OYQ 10m FT8 579 km 13:41:44
SM7CAD 10m FT8 1660 km 11:37:14
OK2DW 10m FT8 1875 km 11:05:45

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Opening to N Africa on 28 MHz - Tues 17th March 2020

There was a modest opening on 28 MHz on Tuesday the 17th of March with FT8 Sporadic-E signals from mainly Spain and Italy in the mix.

Best DX heard S01WS in Western Sahara in the north-west of Africa.

81 stations in total were heard on FT8.

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
EA4LU 10m FT8 1449 km 13:37:29
EA7K 10m FT8 1624 km 13:34:59
EA1NL 10m FT8 1052 km 13:32:59
EI9FVB 10m FT8 14 km 13:24:44
CT1HMN 10m FT8 1478 km 13:24:30
EA4GWT 10m FT8 1330 km 13:07:14
EA7TV 10m FT8 1618 km 13:06:59
EA4AAI 10m FT8 1324 km 13:06:44
EA4DEI 10m FT8 1327 km 13:04:14
EB7DX 10m FT8 1624 km 13:02:44
EA7ST 10m FT8 1671 km 13:00:29
EA4EUW 10m FT8 1339 km 12:58:44
CT1FOQ 10m FT8 1292 km 12:58:14
EA5AD 10m FT8 1650 km 12:57:00
EA7JFJ 10m FT8 1593 km 12:56:14
EA1YV 10m FT8 1084 km 12:56:14
CT1IUA 10m FT8 1649 km 12:56:14
EA4E 10m FT8 1354 km 12:56:14
EA4GAO 10m FT8 1309 km 12:56:14
CT7AOL 10m FT8 1290 km 12:52:18
EA5RU 10m FT8 1466 km 12:48:48
EA7TR 10m FT8 1709 km 12:47:45
EA1DA 10m FT8 1137 km 12:47:15
CT5KAO 10m FT8 1645 km 12:47:14
EA3AXV 10m FT8 1389 km 12:44:45

Tuesday, March 17, 2020

Big opening on 28 MHz - Mon 16th March 2020

There was a pretty big opening on 28 MHz on Monday the 16th of March with FT8 signals from Europe and South America. All of the FT8 stations heard are shown above.

As the European map shows, it was quite an extensive Sporadic-E opening and was exceptional considering it was in the middle of March. An opening like this might be typical during say the Summer Sporadic-E season from May to July.

The Sporadic-E also likely coupled into some F2 layer propagation further south with signals from Brazil, Argentina and Venezuela making it through.

Again, it shows that the 28 MHz band can still suprise even at the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

In total, about 270 stations were heard. A list of them is shown below...

Monday, March 16, 2020

Opening on 28 MHz on Sun 15th Mar 2020

These are the FT8 signals heard on 28 MHz on Sun 15th March 2020.

It was very similar to the two previous days except 5T5PA in Mauritania popped up as well.

The solar flux is down around 69 so it just shows that there is still DX about even at the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

List of stations heard...
Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
5T5PA 10m FT8 3518 km 18:18:29
PU5BOY 10m FT8 9550 km 18:01:44
HA9AL 10m FT8 2034 km 17:14:18
OE3DMB 10m FT8 1812 km 17:13:55
EI5HTB 10m FT8 276 km 17:05:45
HA5KN 10m FT8 2032 km 16:59:55
OM1CI 10m FT8 1874 km 16:49:14
HA7ME 10m FT8 2116 km 16:37:59
I1JTQ 10m FT8 1401 km 14:49:11
G0GGG 10m FT8 432 km 14:23:00
OH1MRE 10m FT8 2097 km 13:29:08
LA7EIA 10m FT8 1446 km 12:54:14
OH6QU 10m FT8 2139 km 12:52:00
UA3D 10m FT8 3082 km 12:37:44

Sunday, March 15, 2020

Opening on 28 MHz - Sat 14th March 2020

Conditions on the 28 MHz band on Saturday the 14th of March 2020 were pretty similar to the previous day with a Sporadic-E opening to Europe although there was just one signal this time from Brazil in South America.

These were the stations decoded on FT8...
135230 -20 -0.1  976 ~  CQ LA1DBA JO59
142930   2 -0.2 1721 ~  CQ SM1HOW JO97
144000 -17 -0.2  962 ~  CQ DL6RDM JN68
145315 -13  0.7 2135 ~  CQ R2WN KO91
145345   0 -0.2 1714 ~  CQ SM7LHI JO65
145500 -14 -0.3 1517 ~  CQ DG0KS JO64
145600  -8 -0.1 1169 ~  CQ OZ1BFM JO65
152045 -14 -0.3  962 ~  CQ DM1FL JO30
155800 -13 -0.3 1847 ~  CQ PE1LJY JO22
163615 -16  0.1 1107 ~  EA3GNR PP5JR GG52
164930 -19 -0.1  967 ~  CQ DO1ARF JO72
165530 -13 -0.3  843 ~  CQ EA4GWT IN80
165600 -10 -0.1 1010 ~  CQ DO2SBS JO71

Saturday, March 14, 2020

2020 IRTS AGM Cancelled

The organisers of the 2020 Irish Radio Transmitters Society AGM have announced that it will be cancelled due to the ongoing COVID-19 virus. It was due to be held on the 18th and 19th of April in Co.Carlow.

See statement below...

**********AGM WEEKEND CANCELLED**********
We regret to inform all our delegates and guests that due to the Covid-19 situation and in consultation with all of our partners the joint decision has been taken to cancel all the events of  the 88th Annual IRTS AGM Weekend due to be held over the weekend of the 18th/19th April 2020 in the Woodford Dolmen Hotel, Kilkenny Road, Carlow in the interest of public safety. We would like to thank everyone for their help, cooperation and understanding in this regard. We hope you and your families stay safe in these challenging times.

Kind Regards,

Sean Byrne EI2HZB

on behalf of IRTS & EI2WRC

Friday, March 13, 2020

Opening to South America on 28 MHz - Fri 13th Mar 2020

The 11th and 12 of March 2020 were pretty quiet on 28 MHz with just a few signals from around Europe.

On Friday the 13th, there was some Sporadic-E from around Europe again but it opened to South America as well.

One lone decode from PU2MVE in Brazil at 13:57 UTC. Later around 17:30 UTC, there were multiple decodes from PU5BOY.

111015 -11 -0.3  931 ~  CQ EB5AG IM98
111730 -15 -0.3 1516 ~  9A5ABH ON8DM -15
112100 -12 -0.2 1730 ~  CQ IK3BNO JN65
113015 -16 -0.3 1125 ~  CQ S51KK JN76
115900 -12 -0.2  313 ~  CQ IK0XBX JN63
121930 -19  0.1  681 ~  OV1PH IK3BNO 73
130030 -10  0.0 1035 ~  CQ M5RJC IO82
135730 -16 -0.1 1735 ~  EA4GYW PU2MVE -23
162315 -12  0.0 1111 ~  CQ IS0KNG JM49
162530 -14 -0.5 1477 ~  EA4M OZ1MFP JO55
172700 -15  0.2  866 ~  CQ DX PU5BOY GG53
183915 -16 -0.0 1899 ~  CQ EA7KHU IM77

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Spring 2020 edition of ECHO IRELAND now available for IRTS members

The Spring 2020 edition of ECHO IRELAND is now available for IRTS members to download in PDF format. Any member wishing to change from the print version to the electronic PDF format should contact the Membership Records Officer...

Suprise opening to South America on 28 MHz - Tues 10th Mar 2020

On Tuesday the 10th of March 2020, I had the radio listening on the FT8 frequency on 28 MHz from noon on.

I heard very little except for late in the evening when a signal from Chile was heard at 17:50 UTC and several signals from PY2XS in Brazil at 20:30 UTC.

175045 -15 -0.3 2502 ~  CQ CE2SV FF47
202745 -14  0.3 1302 ~  CQ PY1XS GG87
203145 -14  0.3 1302 ~  PY4BK PY1XS RR73
203315 -11  0.3 1302 ~  CQ PY1XS GG87
203345 -12  0.3 1303 ~  CQ PY1XS GG87
203415  -9  0.3 1302 ~  CQ PY1XS GG87

This was about two hours after local sunset and was at a time when you'd expect to hear nothing on the band.

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Limerick Radio and Electronics Rally on Sun 15th March 2020 cancelled

Please note that due to ongoing concerns about the COVID-19 virus (Coronavirus), the Limerick Radio and Electronics Rally on Sunday the 15th of March 2020 has been cancelled.

This is a statement from the organisers... The committee of the Limerick Clare Amateur Radio Club in the interest of its members and the general public has taken the decision to cancel the annual rally that was due to take place at the Radisson Hotel Ennis Road on Sunday the 15th of March 2020.

Mile EI3KO Secretary

Dermot EI2T Chairperson

Opening on 28 MHz - Sun 8th March 2020

Sunday the 8th of March 2020 was reasonably quiet on 28 MHz but there was still an opening to South Africa.

FT8 signals from ZS6BUN were heard from 13:41 to 13:48 UTC.

I got the impression that the lack of other signals from South Africa probably had more to do with a lack of activity rather than actual propagation.

I suspect more people just stay on the lower HF bands like 40m and 20m where it is much easier to make contacts.

These were the stations heard on the day...

102045 -10  0.1 1195 ~  CQ SP2OFW JO82
102430 -16 -0.2 1387 ~  CQ EI9IB IO63
104515  -9  0.1 1200 ~  F5CUN DL8MKG JO52
105845  -6 -0.0  845 ~  CQ DL1KID JO31
134330 -12 -0.0 1971 ~  CQ ZS6BUN KG43

Saturday, March 7, 2020

Opening on 28 MHz - Sat 7th March 2020

There was a modest opening on 28 MHz on Saturday the 7th of March 2020 as shown above. While the map shows HZ1SK in Saudi Arabia, I also heard 3B8CW in Mauritius and ZS6LKF in South Africa. The solar flux is down at 70 which is pretty much rock bottom.

These are some of the decodes from today...

093315 -15  0.2 2657 ~  CQ DO5BV JO43
112115  -8 -0.2 1487 ~  CQ SP9MRP JO90
113830 -11 -0.4 1400 ~  4X1SK 3B8CW RR73
115245 -13 -0.3 2147 ~  ZS6AYE ES5RY +01
115530 -20 -0.2  563 ~  CQ SP3VST JO82
120245 -12 -0.3 2151 ~  CQ ES5RY KO38
120345 -17 -0.2 1221 ~  ZS6LKF IK0LKL 73
122615 -17 -0.0 1223 ~  ZS6LKF DK2CI JO50
123030   4  0.0  312 ~  CQ EA3HRU JN01
123400  -6  0.1 1642 ~  PE1NPS HZ1SK RR73
123430  -4  0.1 1642 ~  CQ HZ1SK KL91
123500   0  0.1 1642 ~  CQ HZ1SK KL91
123515  -2  0.1 1856 ~  PE4BAS IU2KXV -19
123530  -3  0.1 1642 ~  IZ5IMD HZ1SK -06
123715  -9  0.1  330 ~  EA4E IU2LVV JN45
123915  -1  0.1 1313 ~  HZ1SK EA6ET JM19
130315 -18  0.5 1224 ~  EA4AAI ZS6LKF -19
135730 -15 -0.0 1599 ~  CQ PD1WLM JO21
141615 -17  0.2  975 ~  CQ DL0ZB JN39
170200 -11  0.0 1386 ~  CQ F4BVK JN14

Opening to South Africa on 28 MHz - Fri 6th Mar 2020

Thursday the 5th of March 2020 was one of those few days where I heard nothing on 28 MHz.

Friday the 6th of March was a bit better with an opening to South Africa which lasted for about 50 minutes.

The spots from ZS95SARL didn't upload to PSK Reporter probably because of the unusual call. It was a special event station commemorating the 95th anniversary of the founding of the South African Radio League.

These are the main decodes for the day...
110930  -9 -2.2 1694 ~  CT3HF ZS6NL 73
111030 -20 -0.3  963 ~  CQ ZS95SARL
111030 -14 -2.2 1694 ~  CQ ZS6NL KG44
111100 -19 -0.3  963 ~  CQ ZS95SARL
111130 -19 -0.2  963 ~  CQ ZS95SARL
111130 -14 -2.2 1694 ~  CQ ZS6NL KG44
111230 -17 -2.2 1694 ~  CQ ZS6NL KG44
111245 -15 -0.9  634 ~  DG7LAN IS0HGX -17
111300 -17 -2.2 1695 ~  CQ ZS6NL KG44
111330 -13 -0.3  964 ~  CQ ZS95SARL
111345 -13 -0.9  635 ~  CQ IS0HGX JM49
111415 -18 -0.9  635 ~  CQ IS0HGX JM49
111445 -19 -0.9  635 ~  CQ IS0HGX JM49
114900 -19 -0.2  971 ~  CQ ZS95SARL
115730 -18 -0.2  973 ~  CQ ZS95SARL
125315 -12 -0.0 1128 ~  CQ G0OYQ IO93

Friday, March 6, 2020

EI VHF Convention - May 1970

This old photo was posted on the RSGB Twitter page recently and it shows... (L-R) Barney Patterson EI4BC, Tommy EI5BY, Jack GI5ALP,  Michael Burke EI4AL and Bob EI7AF.

I was curious as to how old it was and it seems as if it was taken at a VHF convention in London sometime back in 1969-1970.

After doing a bit of searching, I came across a copy of an old Short Wave magazine which had details of an Irish VHF Convention in Birr, Co.Offaly in May of 1970.

Irish VHF Convention
G3BA took time off while recovering from the strenuous EI2AX/P trip to send in this report : The Convention, which took place on May 24, was organised by Bob Williams, EI7AF, and Paul Quast, EI5BH, at the County Arms Hotel, Birr, which is in the mid -West of Ireland in Co. Offally. 

Some 55 EI and GI VHF'ers attended this first -ever event, and many had travelled long distances to get there. The Convention opened at noon and visitors spent their time greeting old friends and making the tour of the trade stands which had been set up by local radio retailers, selling good components and modules for the D.I.Y. amateur. The ladies managed to extract money for the raffile from all those who went, and the prizes were of a high standard for such an unsubsidised event.

After lunch, the lecture session started with Brian Meaden, G3BHT, giving an entertaining dissertation on the organisation, background and practical set-up of the various expeditions, which he has organised with G3BA and others, to EI, GM and the Continent. 

The second lecture was given by Tom Douglas, G3BA, who spoke on aspects of transmitter design and construction, as well as operating methods which ought to be considered for VHF working in the '70's, stress being laid on adequate filtering, the use of NBFM and translator techniques for multi -mode facilities.

The Convention ended with a high tea, raffle draw and a convivial session in the Hotel lounge and bar. Several visiting amateurs made spontaneous speeches complimenting the organisers on their efforts, the undoubted success of this first VHF Convention to be held in El, and comments were passed about the relaxed friendliness of all those who attended the function.

It was certainly a different era and there is no way you could get such numbers for a VHF convention in Ireland today.

The same issue of the magazine had details of VHF DX-pedition by G3BA and G3BHT as they traveled around the country and operated as EI2AX/P.

The El2AX/P expedition to Eire went off with the efficiency which one associates with any of the trips made by G3BA and G3BHT. From the reception point of view, it is obviously impossible to comment on success or failure over the whole country, but from the South, conditions were most favourable for Dublin, Carlow, Wexford and Wicklow. Leix was just there, Waterford extremely difficult, and Kilkenny only a little better.

Signals in the early evenings were not as good as they were must before close -down at 11.0 p.m. and the early morning sessions were best of all-which bears out what has been emphasised in " VHF Bands " for many a year.

It was interesting to observe a direct relationship between the propagation during the 80m. " admin. sessions " with G6CW and the subsequent two -metre transmissions If conditions were poor on Eighty, they were poor on Two also, and vice versa. 

The time division allowed between SSB, AM and CW appeared to be about right. It looked at first as if the SSB session was going to be too short because of the pile-up on, instead ofnear, the EI2AX frequency, but this sorted itself out eventually, particularly after the gentleman with the prolonged whistle test exactly on QRG decided he had had enough, a decision which other operators had reached some ten minutes earlier!

Sked-keeping appeared to be good, although one or two attempts on AM to pass a mass of, under these circumstances, irrelevant detail, held up proceedings unjustifiably. All in all, another very successful foray, and many thanks go to Tom and Brian for their efforts to give so many new counties to so many.

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Opening to South Africa on 28 MHz - Sun 1st March 2020

On Saturday the 29th of February, I dropped the 10m vertical due to high winds and Storm Jorge passed over the country.

I put it back up on Sunday the 1st of March and I caught a Sporadic-E on 28 MHz with an opening to Spain and Portugal.

The really interesting signal though was ZS6NL in  South Africa which I heard around 11:30 UTC.

Stations heard...
Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
DL1REM 10m FT8 1071 km 15:03:45
CT2FEY 10m FT8 1263 km 12:59:29
EA4I 10m FT8 1449 km 12:41:44
EA7KJE 10m FT8 1704 km 12:25:29
CT1IUA 10m FT8 1649 km 12:21:44
CT1FMX 10m FT8 1400 km 12:18:44
CT7AOL 10m FT8 1290 km 12:13:29
EA2A 10m FT8 1236 km 11:58:14
EA6XQ 10m FT8 1646 km 11:56:59
EA4M 10m FT8 1365 km 11:51:59
F4VTG 10m FT8 1315 km 11:50:14
EB1HRW 10m FT8 1164 km 11:49:59
EA4ESM 10m FT8 1318 km 11:49:29
EA4GWT 10m FT8 1330 km 11:47:14
ZS6NL 10m FT8 9328 km 11:30:14
EA6ACX 10m FT8 1601 km 11:26:14
EA6A 10m FT8 1617 km 11:23:59
EA3HKQ 10m FT8 1391 km 11:22:14
EA6VQ 10m FT8 1608 km 11:16:14
OE3WMA 10m FT8 1762 km 10:49:44
OM5XX 10m FT8 1941 km 10:48:59