Thursday, April 30, 2020

Opening to Denmark on 40 MHz - Thurs 30th April 2020

There was another opening on the 40 MHz band to Denmark on the 30th of April with the OZ7IGY beacon on 40.071 MHz been heard for about 70 minutes. The beacon was also spotted by EI3GYB.

This was the 4th opening so far this month and the Sporadic-E season has just started.

During the months of May to July, there will be many more openings so I'll probably just keep a note of the number of opening I hear per month rather than reporting each one individually.

PI4 Decodes (lowest -22dB)...

Big opening on 28 MHz - Wed 29th Apr 2020

Wednesday 29th April 2020. As the map shows above, there was an extensive Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz with 689 stations from 46 countries being heard on the band.

The unusual one was the short opening to North America. More later.

First off, here is the map for Europe...

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

Opening to Denmark on 40 MHz - Wed 29th April 2020

Wednesday 29th April 2020. There was another opening on the 40 MHz band to Denmark and this was probably the best opening so far for 2020.

There was Sporadic-E on 28 MHz during the late morning to central Europe. In the early afternoon, the propagation moved north and the OZ7IGY beacon on 28.271 MHz appeared.

Not long after that, the OZ7IGY beacon on 40.071 MHz came up out of the noise. The PI4 decodes are shown below...

Opening to the Caribbean on 28 MHz - Tues 28th April 2020

Tuesday 28th April 2020. The map above shows the FT8 heard on 28 MHz, not bad for the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

The main Sporadic-E opening was to the south to Spain and Portugal with a weaker opening towards Italy and the south-east.

The main point of interest for me was the opening to the Caribbean and the northern part of South America. North-South paths to the likes of South Africa and Brazil are very common but it's the East-West paths that are more unusual.

In total, I heard 191 stations in 27 countries which actually sounds low considering how long the band was open for.

These are the stations over 3,000kms...

Tuesday, April 28, 2020

Opening on 28 MHz - Mon 27th Apr 2020

Monday 27th April 2020. A pretty modest day on 28 MHz with a hint of more to come.

The main Sporadic-E opening was to the south to Spain and Portugal.

There was a weak Sp-E opening to Germany but I was unable to hear any of the German beacons. This suggests that the band in that direction was just about open on 28 MHz and the Sp-E footprint was probably small and patchy.

In line with the conditions, just two beacons were heard...

EI7GL 28292.2 SK0CT/B 13:18 27 Apr IO51TUJO89XK Sweden 
EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 11:30 27 Apr IO51TUIN80FK Spain

The most notable signal of the day for me was actually hearing MW0ZZK in the NW of Wales. I could actually hear his FT8 signal by ear even though he is some 280 kms away. This signal was direct and not via Sporadic-E, backscatter or the like.

That kind of distance might be common enough on say 144 MHz with tropo and beams but it's unusual enough on 28 MHz.

I also noticed that MW0ZZK had heard Indonesia and the Caribbean on 28 MHz during the day so there was some decent DX buried in the noise.

Monday, April 27, 2020

Opening on 28 MHz - Sun 26th April 2020

Sunday 26th April 2020. Another good day for Sporadic-E on the 28 MHz band although not as intense as the previous day. The map shows what I heard on FT8 when I wasn't using the radio elsewhere.

Beacons... I heard 13 beacons on 28 MHz during the day which is a sign of good conditions.

EI7GL 28245.2 DB0TEN/B 15:33 26 Apr IO51TU JO42UV Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28257.8 DK0TEN/B 13:22 26 Apr IO51TU JN47NT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28222.0 F5SN/B 13:13 26 Apr IO51TU JN27RB France
EI7GL 28205.0 DL0IGI/B 13:09 26 Apr IO51TU JN57MT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28173.1 IZ1EPM/B 13:06 26 Apr IO51TU JN35WD Italy
EI7GL 28255.8 C30P 12:33 26 Apr IO51TU JN02SM Andorra
EI7GL 28271.0 OZ7IGY/B 12:29 26 Apr IO51TU JO55WM Denmark
EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 12:28 26 Apr IO51TU IN80FK Spain
EI7GL 28241.6 F5ZUU/B 12:27 26 Apr IO51TU JN24IL France
EI7GL 28322.6 F1VJT/B 11:55 26 Apr IO51TU JN33CI France
EI7GL 28298.0 SK7GH/B 11:54 26 Apr IO51TU JO77BF Sweden
EI7GL 28292.2 SK0CT/B 11:34 26 Apr IO51TU JO89XK Sweden
EI7GL 28227.2 IW3FZQ/B 11:34 26 Apr IO51TU JN55VF Italy

The unusual one was F5SN/B in the east of France which runs just 3 watts into a dipole. That was a new beacon for me and it looks from the Dx Cluster as if it may have been off for a few years.

WSPR on 28 MHz - Sat 25th April 2020

Saturday 25th April 2020. There was a pretty good Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz with very strong signals from around Europe.

Rather than just logging hundreds of signals on FT8, I had a listen to the WSPR frequency instead.

I listened at two different stages during the day and the WSPR results were quite different.

When the band was wide open to Spain and Portugal with very strong signals on FT8, I heard just two signals on WSPR i.e. there is a lack of WSPR activity across the south of Europe.

By contrast, when there was a strong opening to the Netherlands and Germany, I heard plenty of signals.

What I find really interesting about WSPR are the stations running less than one watt output power...

Timestamp Call MHz SNR Drift Grid Pwr Reporter RGrid km az # Spots
 2020-04-25 17:38 EA5CYA 28.126058 -19 -1 IM99 0.2 EI7GL IO51tu 1488 340
 2020-04-25 17:38 G6NHU 28.126070 -17 0 JO01ou 0.2 EI7GL IO51tu 658 274
 2020-04-25 17:36 CT1EBQ 28.126063 -22 0 IM58gr 0.1 EI7GL IO51tu 1462 3
 2020-04-25 17:24 F5REF 28.126018 +6 -1 JN07 0.2 EI7GL IO51tu 828 309
 2020-04-25 17:20 DL6DAV 28.126130 -22 0 JO41ic 0.2 EI7GL IO51tu 1183 281
 2020-04-25 17:16 ON4LUK 28.126187 -21 0 JO11 0.05 EI7GL IO51tu 782 277
 2020-04-25 17:12 ON7WP 28.126153 -12 0 JO21ic 0.2 EI7GL IO51tu 909 280
 2020-04-25 17:10 PA2LVD 28.125995 -18 0 JO21 0.2 EI7GL IO51tu 919 278
 2020-04-25 13:06 OZ2JBR 28.126079 -13 0 JO65di 5 EI7GL IO51tu 1412 263
 2020-04-25 13:04 DC8FG 28.126085 -11 -4 JO44xq 0.2 EI7GL IO51tu 1255 263
  2020-04-25 12:40 DC7JZB/B 28.126042 -15 -1 JO62qk 0.5 EI7GL IO51tu 1480 276
 2020-04-25 12:40 PD0KT 28.126005 -6 0 JO33le 0.01 EI7GL IO51tu 1046 268
 2020-04-25 12:40 PA0GAB 28.126110 -21 1 JO33ge 0.05 EI7GL IO51tu 1018 268
 2020-04-25 12:32 PA0JED 28.126101 -8 0 JO31aw 0.1 EI7GL IO51tu 988 275
  2020-04-25 12:30 PA9MD 28.126076 -26 3 JO21px 0.1 EI7GL IO51tu 936 275
 2020-04-25 12:30 PA0HEJ 28.126094 -15 0 JO31ix 0.1 EI7GL IO51tu 1033 275

It's amazing to hear signals from stations running 10 milliwatts and 50 milliwatts.

Beacons... The really good conditions also allowed a number of beacons to be logged...

EI7GL 28207.1 ON0RY/B 16:49 25 Apr IO51TUJO20CK Belgium
EI7GL 28255.8 C30P 16:04 25 Apr IO51TUJN02SM Andorra
EI7GL 28205.0 DL0IGI/B 16:01 25 Apr IO51TUJN57MT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28298.0 SK7GH/B 14:00 25 Apr IO51TUJO77BF Sweden
EI7GL 28271.0 OZ7IGY/B 13:11 25 Apr IO51TUJO55WM Denmark
EI7GL 28279.0 DB0UM/B 12:51 25 Apr IO51TUJO73CE Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28277.3 DM0AAB/B 12:49 25 Apr IO51TUJO54GH Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28245.2 DB0TEN/B 12:48 25 Apr IO51TUJO42UV Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28188.0 OE3XAC/B 11:57 25 Apr IO51TUJN78SB Austria
EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 10:59 25 Apr IO51TUIN80FK Spain
EI7GL 28218.0 IQ5MS/B 09:47 25 Apr IO51TUJN54AB Italy 
EI7GL 28173.1 IZ1EPM/B 09:44 25 Apr IO51TUJN35WD Italy
EI7GL 28226.0 ED1YCA/B 09:39 25 Apr IO51TUIN73AL Spain

The unusual ones were ON0RY/B and ED1YCA/B which are about 1,000kms from here and require short skip to be heard on Sporadic-E.

FT8... When I wasn't using the radio, I left it on the FT8 frequency on 28 MHz. As can be seen from the map, the opening around Europe was quite intensive.

Sunday, April 26, 2020

Reception of the OZ7IGY beacon on 40 MHz - Sat 25th April 2020

There was a pretty intensive opening on 28 MHz on Saturday 25th of April 2020 with the MUF going up as high as 50 MHz.

After hearing the OZ7IGY beacon on 28.271 MHz, I had a listen for the beacon on 40.071 MHz and it eventually came out of the noise.

These were the decodes with the PI4 programme...

40M 13:30 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=-22 dB Q=64 T=-0.06 s F=3 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 13:31 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=-1 dB Q=100 T=-0.06 s F=3 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 13:32 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=-12 dB Q=98 T=-0.06 s F=3 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 13:34 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=-21 dB Q=38 T=-0.08 s F=3 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 13:38 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=-11 dB Q=100 T=-0.08 s F=3 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 13:39 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=-15 dB Q=78 T=-0.08 s F=3 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 13:40 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=0 dB Q=100 T=-0.06 s F=3 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 13:41 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=6 dB Q=100 T=-0.06 s F=9 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 14:16 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=-16 dB Q=82 T=-0.16 s F=3 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB
40M 14:17 UTC OZ7IGY PI4: S/N=-20 dB Q=62 T=-0.15 s F=9 Hz Carrier: F= Hz C/N= dB

The strongest signal had a signal to noise (S/N) ratio of +6dB, the weakest -22dB.

Updated version of PI4 reception software... After a successful decode of the PI4 signal, there is the option to right click on it and spot it on the DX Cluster.

OZ7IGY Beacon website... These spots also appear on the OZ7IGY website. When I tried this a few days ago with an older version of PI4 (Ver, the spots didn't on the site. With the newer version (Ver, they do.

This is screen shot of the site showing the 28 MHz and 40 MHz spots from the 25th...

It worth noting that the various DX Clusters seem to handle the PI4 and 40 MHz spots differently.

DXWATCH DX Cluster... On the DXWATCH site, the PI4 spots sent from within the programme don't appear. The site also seems to filter out 40 MHz as it assumes it's a mistake as it isn't one of the usual bands. The spot above for 28 MHz from me was sent via the DXMaps website.

DXSUMMIT DX Cluster... On the DXSummit site, the PI4 spots appear successfully.

These are the spots on the DXSUMMIT site for OZ7IGY on the 25th of April 2020...

The spots from me shown as just 'EI7GL' are from DXMaps where I am a registered user.

The spots with 'EI7GL-@' were sent from within the PI4 programme.

Also note that EI3GYB also heard the beacon an hour later later at a location further north.

More information about the OZ7IGY beacon and the PI4 can be found here...

Saturday, April 25, 2020

Conditions on 28 MHz - 23rd & 24th April 2020

Wednesday 23rd April 2020. There have been many big Sporadic-E openings on the 23rd of April in years past but alas, not this year. A handful of FT8 signals from around Europe were heard, a really quiet day.

Thursday 24th April 2020.  Conditions were marginally better with a hint of some DX.

Besides a small Sporadic-E opening to the south of Spain, there was a short opening to Brazil.

During the day, I also got single decodes on T8 from YC8DE in Indonesia and ZD7JC in St.Helena Island in the South Atlantic.

104430 -18  0.1  870 ~  4Z5VI YC9DE R-16
190930 -20  0.2  803 ~  EA8CPN ZD7JC -21

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Quiet day on 28 MHz - Wed 22rd April 2020

Wednesday 22nd April 2020. A quiet day on 28 MHz and yet, a signal from South Africa managed to make it through on FT8.

ZS1XG 10m FT8 9900 km 15:35:44

There was a very weak Sporadic-E opening to the south-east of Spain but the FT8 signals were just about audible.

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Good Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz to Northern Europe - Tues 21st Apr 2020

Tuesday 21st April 2020. There was a nice strong opening on 28 MHz to the northern part of Europe with the MUF extending up as far as 50 MHz.

The opening started from here to Norway and Sweden and then moved south into Denmark, the northern part of Germany and the Netherlands.

The map of the left shows some of the FT8 stations heard during the day but it's incomplete as I only spent part of the day on FT8.

These are the beacons heard on 28 MHz...

EI7GL 28254 PI7BXM/B 14:16 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO31WF Netherlands 
EI7GL 28245.2 DB0TEN/B 13:32 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO42UV Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28277.3 DM0AAB/B 13:31 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO54GH Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28279.0 DB0UM/B 13:29 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO73CE Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28301.8 PI7ETE/B 13:27 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO22QD Netherlands
EI7GL 28271 OZ7IGY/B 12:01 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO55WM Denmark 
EI7GL 28298 SK7GH/B 11:32 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO77BF Sweden
EI7GL 28292.2 SK0CT/B 11:31 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO89XK Sweden
EI7GL 28237.4 LA5TEN/B 11:30 21 Apr 20 IO51TUJO59JP Norway

As can be seen, only the beacons from the north of Germany were heard. The unusual ones were PI7ETE/B and PI7BXM/B from the Netherlands as it requires the skip distance to be shorter for me to hear them (~1000kms).

PI7ETE/B runs just 300 milliwatts into an indoor antenna. PI7BXM/B was a new one for me as I've never heard it before.

WSPR... I spent a bit of time on WSPR as well while the band was open. It's always interesting to hear those stations using less than 1 watt/

Timestamp Call MHz SNR Drift Grid Pwr Reporter RGrid km az # Spots
 2020-04-21 14:24 ON7KB 28.126014 -20 -1 JO21ei 5 EI7GL IO51tu 881 279
 2020-04-21 13:58 OZ1IDG 28.126027 -14 -2 JO65bg 5 EI7GL IO51tu 1400 263
 2020-04-21 13:48 UR5KSH 28.126057 -22 0 KO30co 0.2 EI7GL IO51tu 2389 287
 2020-04-21 13:46 PA3EGH 28.126045 -13 -2 JO21qx 5 EI7GL IO51tu 942 275
 2020-04-21 13:42 SM7WVZ 28.126047 -26 0 JO65 0.1 EI7GL IO51tu 1456 263
 2020-04-21 13:40 PA0PPW 28.126057 -17 -2 JO21dw 1 EI7GL IO51tu 868 274
 2020-04-21 13:40 DC7JZB/B 28.126021 -15 -3 JO62qk 0.5 EI7GL IO51tu 1480 276
 2020-04-21 13:40 PA0HEJ 28.126074 -19 0 JO31ix 0.1 EI7GL IO51tu 1033 275
 2020-04-21 13:38 OZ7IT 28.126062 -3 0 JO65df 5 EI7GL IO51tu 1410 263
 2020-04-21 13:38 DC7JZB 28.126097 -4 0 JO62qj 5 EI7GL IO51tu 1480 276
 2020-04-21 13:36 SQ9RIL 28.126055 -14 0 JO90lk 5 EI7GL IO51tu 1902 285

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Opening to Denmark on 40 MHz - Tues 21st April 2020

There was a good Sporadic-E opening on Tuesday the 21st of April 2020 with three stations reporting reception of the  OZ7IGY beacon in Denmark on 40.071 MHz.

The screenshot above is from the DXMaps website which has a special page for 40 MHz reports.

Considering the low level of activity on the 40 MHz band, this page is normally blank so it was unusual today to see three traces on it!

These are some of the 40 MHz spots from the DX-Cluster...

EI7GL-@ 40071.0 OZ7IGY 13:12 21 Apr PI4 -6 dB Q=98 (es) Denmark
G7CNF 40071.0 OZ7IGY/B 12:39 21 Apr 559 Denmark
EI7GL-@ 40070.0 OZ7IGY 12:20 21 Apr PI4 -4 dB Q=100 (es) Denmark
EI7GL 40070.0 OZ7IGY/B 12:19 21 Apr IO51TUJO55WM Denmark
EI7GL-@ 40070.0 OZ7IGY 12:15 21 Apr PI4 -3 dB Q=100 Denmark
EI7HBB 40071.0 OZ7IGY 11:43 21 Apr Denmark
EI7HBB 40071.0 OZ7IGY/B 11:36 21 Apr 539 Denmark

Lloyd, EI7HBB was the first to spot the OZ7IGY beacon on 40 MHz at 11:36 UTC.

I came across the 28 MHZ version of the beacon at 12:01 UTC during a scan of the band. As the 10-metre signal was strong, I then had a listen on 40 MHz and sure enough, the 8-metre beacon was audible. I spotted it on the cluster at 12:15 UTC.

The distance from the beacon is about 1350 kms for Lloyd and 1390 kms for me.

At 12:39 UTC, G7CNF spotted the  beacon from the south-west of England.

The PI4 in the cluster spot refers to the PI4 software which decodes the OZ7IGY signal which alternates between giving out its ID in morse and in PI4.

The amazing thing about the PI4 software is that it can hear the signal buried in the noise. At one stage, it decoded a -18dB signal and I could hear nothing.

More information about this beacon and the PI4 software can be found on the OZ7IGY website.

This is a screen shot of the PI4 software...

More 40 MHz & 60 MHz news from the IRTS

The Irish Radio Transmitters Society (IRTS) had some news updates (19th April 2020) about the new 40 MHz and 60 MHz bands recently.

EI1KNH is QRV on 60.013 running CW/PI4 for it's first e-season, which might be a good indicator that 4m is opening if anyone spots it ex-EI, and if any EIs spot it, it's a clear sign 4m and maybe 2m are available. It's located at the same site as EI4RF and EI0SIX, running 35w to a folded dipole at 1000ft ASL.

Meanwhile on 8m, the proposed EI1KNH beacon on 40.013 is on hold thanks to the lockdown, but will be deployed rapidly when the movement ban is Lifted. It will run CW/PI4 with 40w to a vertical monopole.

EI0SIX, which is /qrp at the moment, pending a PA and antenna upgrade - also ready to deploy as soon as the lockdown lifts. For anyone that has a MARS-Modded (non-SDR based) radio with 6m, they should be able to run on 40 MHz/8m, in RX mode at least, and the frequency to watch is 40.220 - this is the spot frequency LY2YR (Gintas) is allowed run on this season. He has a MARS modded FT2000 & a hexbeam ready to go.

At EI4GNB a MARS modded FT857d and a 2 element Quad are setup. Last year Gintas worked EI4GNB on 5m for a first, and what may be a 5m distance record, this year it's about 8m, which should be easy enough. Any EIs looking for a new band, or to set a distance record might want to get set for this. One word of caution, especially with 5m (60 MHz) - just because Your radio can be tricked into TX out of band does not follow that it will be clean or any use, this is especially true of the current crop of hybrid & SDR-cored radios.

Comparing an Icom IC7100 and an Icom 7300 for OOB use is night & day - the 7100 has acceptable emissions on 5m and 8m, but the 7300 has been found to be strongly not suitable. A general rule of thumb is, if it's in warranty, or just out of warranty, don't try to use it, get a transverter instead.

A beacon on 40.675 MHz is being run in grid KG46rc. The beacon uses an Icom Ic706 radio, 30 watts to a 5 element YU7EF Yagi on EU. So, with some luck, EI,

ZS [South Africa] and LY [Lithuania] can be worked on 8m this year.

Opening on 28 MHz - Mon 20th Apr 2020

Monday 20th April 2020. There was more weak Sporadic-E around Europe today on 28 MHz with 52 stations heard in 13 countries.

The most interesting signals for me were from the Canary Islands. As the list shows below, I heard eight EA8 stations on FT8.

I also managed to work AM8WARD on CW who had a genuine 599 signal.

That level of signal suggests to me that it was coming back off the F2 layer in the ionosphere and was not multi-hop Sporadic-E.

It just goes to show that the F2 MUF can reach as high as 28 MHz at 52 deg North even at the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

It was also my first contact on 28 MHz since July 2019!

Stations heard on FT8 over 2,500kms...
Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
LU9DCE 10m FT8 10778 km 15:07:59
LW2DAF 10m FT8 10776 km 15:08:29
LU1VFU 10m FT8 10705 km 15:12:44
ZS1F 10m FT8 9891 km 14:32:44
ZS1A 10m FT8 9887 km 15:19:59
EA8BEV 10m FT8 2803 km 16:57:59
EA8DSB 10m FT8 2737 km 16:58:29
EA8AUW 10m FT8 2705 km 16:58:44
EB8AC 10m FT8 2704 km 16:59:44
EA8DIG 10m FT8 2693 km 16:45:44
EA8DIB 10m FT8 2685 km 17:07:29
EA8AR 10m FT8 2681 km 17:01:59
EA8CZK 10m FT8 2681 km 17:04:47
YO9HP 10m FT8 2628 km 15:11:44

Monday, April 20, 2020

Short opening to Italy on 28 MHz - Sun 19th Apr 2020

Sunday 19th April 2020. It was another quiet day on the 28 MHz band with just a short Sporadic-E opening to Italy.

One late signal from the Canary Islands was heard around 21:00 UTC.

EA8AJC 10m FT8 2729 km 21:04:45

The map shows the signals heard on FT8.

I'd expect some sort of decent Sporadic-E opening in the next few days on 28 MHz and possibly 50 MHz.

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Weak opening on 28 MHz - Sat 18th April 2020

Saturday 18th April 2020. The 28 MHz band was almost identical to yesterday except just weaker.

Again, there was a Sporadic-E opening to Spain and Portugal but the FT8 signals were pretty weak.

Just one station from Brazil made it through.

There was a modest opening to EA8 (Canary Islands) around 21:00 UTC which was about 1h 20m after sunset.

What's unusual about the Canary Islands is that it is about 2,700 kms from here, well in excess of a single hop Sporadic-E. This suggest some sort of multi-hop Sp-E path.

I also noted that one of the EA8 stations was working Australia...

205115 -19  0.0  652 ~  VK4CZ EA8AXT RR73

Stations heard over 2,500 kms...
Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
PP5JR 10m FT8 9663 km 15:24:44
EA8AUW 10m FT8 2705 km 20:47:29
EA8EK 10m FT8 2696 km 20:54:29
EA8DIB 10m FT8 2685 km 21:03:44
EA8CYU 10m FT8 2679 km 20:57:14

Humour: 28 MHz V 14 MHz

I came across this on Facebook and I thought 'Yup'! 😂😂

Opening to Sierra Leone & St Helena on 28 MHz - Fri 17th April 2020

Friday 17th April 2020. Another pretty quiet day on 28 MHz and typical for April.

There was a modest Sporadic-E opening to Portugal and the west of Spain when the FT8 signals were actually well above the noise level. The footprint however seemed pretty narrow and I was unable to hear any beacons or cw/ssb signals on the band.

It opened to Brazil again with ZD7JC from St Helena and 9L1YXJ from Sierra Leone making an appearance as well.

These are the FT8 signals over 2,000kms in order of distance....

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
PP5JR 10m FT8 9663 km 18:37:29
PY2OAL 10m FT8 9249 km 17:06:44
PY2RPM 10m FT8 9229 km 15:02:29
PU2LAV 10m FT8 9175 km 17:21:59
PU2XMY 10m FT8 9156 km 18:46:44
PY2EBD 10m FT8 9084 km 15:56:29
ZD7JC 10m FT8 7542 km 18:48:14
PY7VI 10m FT8 7121 km 20:26:45
9L1YXJ 10m FT8 4847 km 16:53:59
EA8AUW 10m FT8 2705 km 18:02:14

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Opening to South America on 28 MHz - Thurs 16th Apr 2020

Thursday 16th April 2020. Conditions were slightly better than yesterday on 28 MHz with an opening to Brazil, Paraguay, Falkland Islands and St. Helena in the South Atlantic.

There was also a minor Sporadic-E opening to Spain and Portugal.

These were the stations over 2000 kms that were heard via FT8 on 28 MHz...

EA8CZK 10m FT8 2681 km 20:34:14
EA8DIB 10m FT8 2685 km 20:42:44
EA8DX 10m FT8 2685 km 20:32:29
EA8OM 10m FT8 2695 km 20:34:44
EB8AC 10m FT8 2704 km 15:59:44
EA8DGZ 10m FT8 2705 km 21:09:44
EA8UE 10m FT8 2726 km 20:35:59
EA8AJC 10m FT8 2729 km 15:52:44
EA8EE 10m FT8 2733 km 20:52:59
ZD7JC 10m FT8 7542 km 18:52:44
PU1JSV 10m FT8 8972 km 14:55:59
PY1VOY 10m FT8 8978 km 15:21:14
PY2EBD 10m FT8 9084 km 14:39:14
PU2XMY 10m FT8 9156 km 15:43:14
PU2LAV 10m FT8 9175 km 14:55:14
PY2RPM 10m FT8 9229 km 14:43:59
PY5WW 10m FT8 9477 km 15:51:44
PP5JR 10m FT8 9663 km 15:20:44
ZP5DVD 10m FT8 9819 km 14:45:44
VP8LP 10m FT8 12411 km 14:54:14

Hint of an opening to Africa on an otherwise quiet day on 28 MHz - Wed 15th April 2020

Wednesday 15th April 2020. This was one of those days where it seemed to be extremely quiet on 28 MHz. As usual, I had left the radio on the FT8 frequency of 28.074 MHz all day monitoring.

When I checked at the end of the day, I had heard a few European stations possibly via meteor scatter or possibly via aircraft reflections for the closer ones.

However when I checked the WSJT-X programme, I had two decodes as well from Africa, 9J2BS in Zambia and ZS1DX in Cape Twon, South Africa.

152600 -20 -2.3 1920 ~  KC3LEE 9J2BS -07
154230 -17 -0.4 2436 ~  IT9IHB ZS1DX RR73

I had decoded just one 15-second transmission from each station and as can be seen from the signal levels... -20dB and -17dB, the signals were buried well into the noise and well below a level I could hear by ear.

Propagation... When I checked who else had heard ZS1DX, I got the map shown top right above. Notice the footprint in the UK. It is a long narrow corridor and it seems to have been around the same time as when I heard ZS1DX, i.e. 15:30 UTC.

As for what happened? I suspect there was either a F2 or TEP opening to from Cape Town to the southern part of Europe. There was probably a weak Sporadic-E cloud somewhere over the western part of France where the MUF got up as high as 28 MHz for a while to allow the ZS1DX signal to extend from southern Europe up into the UK.

As with a lot of Sporadic-E openings, the Sporadic-E cloud was small so the footprint in the UK was small.... or at least narrow and elongated as I'd expect.

As to how I heard ZS1DX, it was possible just one lucky meteor burst over the Bay of Biscay to the south. This allowed me to hear for 15 seconds what the stations in Spain were hearing to the south. It's also possible that there was some weak Sporadic-E that got intense enough for a very short period to allow propagation of 28 MHz signals.

As for 9J2BS, there was no similar opening to the UK or northern Europe for him according to the PSK Reporter website.

Reception reports for the Danish 40 MHz beacon OZ7IGY - 2017, 2018 & 2019

The Danish OZ7IGY beacon on 40.071 MHz is at the time of writing (April 2020) the only operational beacon on the amateur 8-metre band.

While there have been some gaps in its operation over the last three years, this blog post is a record of who posted reception reports on the DX Cluster.

2017... The OZ7IGY beacon on 40 MHz was only spotted by these stations in Denmark... OZ2M, OZ5XN, OZ8ZS, OZ2PBS, OZ1QX, OZ1BNN & OZ1DJJ

2018... In 2018, some stations outside of Denmark posted reception reports on the DX Cluster...

Call < > Locator
EI7GL < > IO51TU
F5DQK < > JN18GR
F6HTJ < > JN12KQ
OZ5XN < > JO65GQ

2019... In 2019, there was an increase in the number of reception reports...

Call < > Locator
EI7GL < > IO51TU
EI8DJ < > IO51UT
EI9KP < > IO54MB
F6ACU < > JN38FC
LY2YR < > KO24OS
OH5IY < > KP31JK
OZ1QX < > JO65FQ
OZ5XN < > JO65GQ

As the map shows, there was a marked increase in the number of reports from Ireland which is obviously due to the fact that there is now an allocation there for the new 40 MHz band.

Propagation... All of the reception reports outside of Denmark for 2018 and 2019 are in the range of 800 kms to 1800 kms. This is pretty typical of a Sporadic-E opening on the band.

It should be possible for anyone in Europe in that range to hear this beacon during Sporadic-E openings in May, June and July.

Dx Cluster... If you do hear the beacon then make sure to report it on dx-clusters like DXSummit or DXMaps as some of the other clusters ignore spots for 40 MHz as they assume they're a mistake.

More information about the OZ7IGY beacon can be found here...

For more information on the 40 MHz band, go to this page...

Wednesday, April 15, 2020

Irish 60 MHz beacon EI1KNH/B heard in West Wales - March 2020

Back in early 2018, the 60 MHz (5-metre) band was allocated to radio amateurs in Ireland (EI) on a secondary non-interference basis. A new 5-metre beacon with the call EI1KNH became operational on the 16th of December 2019. See previous post.

It is on 60.013 MHz and runs 25 watts into a vertical folded dipole. This is currently the only 5-metre beacon operational in the world.

The new 5-metre beacon is co-sited with some of the existing Irish beacons - EI0SIX on 50 MHz, EI4RF on 70 MHz. The elevated site has a locator of IO63VE and is located about 20 kms to the south of Dublin.

On Sunday the 29th of March 2020, Steve GW0GEI in West Wales reported reception of the EI1KNH beacon on the DX Cluster, a distance of about 175 kms.

While there isn't anything particularly remarkable about this reception, it does seem to be longest reception report to date on the cluster.

It's also an excuse for me to remind people about this beacon on 60 MHz as we head into the Sporadic-E season. A lot of people will have SDR receivers that cover that portion of the spectrum and might well be able to hear it.

More info about the EI1KNH beacon in this previous post.

If you do hear the beacon then make sure to report it on dx-clusters like DXSummit or DXMaps as some of the other clusters ignore spots for 60 MHz as they assume they're a mistake.

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Opening to Indonesia & Falkland Islands on 28 MHz - Tues 14th April 2020

Tuesday 14th April 2020. Despite what the map above would suggest, it was only a modest day on 28 MHz with most of the signals heard being pretty weak. Despite this, YB0BOB from Indonesia and
VP8LP from the Falkland Islands did make it through.

A total of 236 stations from 31 countries were heard on FT8 and the majority were of course from Europe...

The one notable feature on the map is the cluster of stations in Russia and Ukraine. This indicates the likely presence of double hop Sporadic-E which is the first major multi-hop opening of the new season.

Beacons... Despite all of the FT8 stations, just four beacons were heard which ties in with the modest conditions...

EI7GL 28205.0 DL0IGI/B 17:47 14 Apr IO51TUJN57MT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 15:33 14 Apr IO51TUIN80FK Spain
EI7GL 28245.2 DB0TEN/B 13:05 14 Apr IO51TUJO42UV Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28279.0 DB0UM/B 13:02 14 Apr IO51TUJO73CE Fed. Rep. of Germany

As we heard into the second half of April, we should start seeing more openings on 28 MHz and above.

FT8 stations heard that were over 2,000kms...

Opening to Thailand on 28 MHz - Mon 13th Apr 2020

Monday 13th April 2020. The big suprise on 28 MHz was the reception of HS5YLK in Thailand in SE Asia at the distance of 9,460 kms. This coincided with a reasonable Sporadic-E opening in Europe which was further to the north than usual.

This is a map showing the stations in Europe that heard HS5YLK...

Its interesting to see a small footprint across the south of the UK and Ireland and yet, there were no reports from the Netherlands and just one in Germany. There are large numbers of active stations there on FT8 but it looks as if they were in the skip zone for this particular hop.

In Europe, there were reasonable signals to the north of Italy, the north of Germany, Denmark and the south of Sweden.

Beacons... There were the beacons heard...
EI7GL 28298.0 SK7GH/B 14:57 13 Apr IO51TUJO77BF Sweden
EI7GL 28292.2 SK0CT/B 14:56 13 Apr IO51TUJO89XK Sweden
EI7GL 28271.0 OZ7IGY/B 14:53 13 Apr IO51TUJO55WM Denmark
EI7GL 28245.2 DB0TEN/B 13:40 13 Apr IO51TUJO42UV Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28278.1 DB0UM/B 13:37 13 Apr IO51TUJO73CE Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28276.7 DM0AAB/B 13:36 13 Apr IO51TUJO54GH Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28173.1 IZ1EPM/B 12:52 13 Apr IO51TUJN35WD Italy
EI7GL 28188.0 OE3XAC/B 12:49 13 Apr IO51TUJN78SB Austria
EI7GL 28321.7 I3GNQ/B 12:11 13 Apr IO51TUJN55VJ Italy
EI7GL 28227.2 IW3FZQ/B 12:04 13 Apr IO51TU<>JN55VF Italy

This was the first time I heard the Danish and Swedish beacons this year. There was no sign of the beacons from the south of Germany this time.

These are the FT8 station heard in excess of 2000kms...

Monday, April 13, 2020

Big opening on 28 MHz - Sunday 12th April 2020

Sunday 12th April 2020. This was the first proper opening of the Summer Sporadic-E season with an extensive opening to Europe and beyond on 28 MHz. A total of 524 stations were heard on FT8 in 35 countries.

As can be seen from the map above, the strong Sporadic-E conditions in Europe coupled into F2 and possibly TEP propagation further south. It just goes to show the potential of the band when there is some Sporadic-E about.

There are some interesting points to note from the map.
a) I heard 3 stations from Lebanon and none from Israel which suggests a small footprint.
b) Nothing from Norway, Sweden, Finland or the Baltic states as the opening was primarily to the south of Europe.

This is the European map in more detail...

The main Sporadic-E opening from Ireland was to the north of Italy as can be seen from the concentration of FT8 stations heard.

As can be seen, there was a lack of propagation to the northern half of Europe.

Beacons... As the FT8 signals got strong, I started listening around for some beacons...

EI7GL 28251.4 ED4YAK/B 17:23 12 Apr IO51TUIN80FK Spain
EI7GL 28241.6 F5ZUU/B 15:56 12 Apr IO51TUJN24IL France
EI7GL 28322.6 F1VJT/B 15:51 12 Apr IO51TUJN33CI France
EI7GL 28321.7 I3GNQ/B 14:52 12 Apr IO51TUJN55VJ Italy
EI7GL 28188.0 OE3XAC/B 14:06 12 Apr IO51TUJN78SB Austria
EI7GL 28257.8 DK0TEN/B 13:31 12 Apr IO51TUJN47NT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28227.2 IW3FZQ/B 13:30 12 Apr IO51TUJN55VF Italy
EI7GL 28205.0 DL0IGI/B 13:27 12 Apr IO51TUJN57MT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28194.0 IW4EIR/B 13:26 12 Apr IO51TUJN54AS Italy
EI7GL 28173.1 IZ1EPM/B 13:24 12 Apr IO51TUJN35WD Italy
EI7GL 28218.0 IQ5MS/B 12:45 12 Apr IO51TUJN54AB Italy
EI7GL 28321.4 IZ1KXQ/B 12:37 12 Apr IO51TUJN54AC Italy

I heard 6 beacons from the north of Italy including I3GNQ/B on 28.3217 MHz which also gives out a slow morse QRSS signal. It only uses 0.2 watts into a vertical which is a sure sign of just how good the conditions were.

As we move into the second half of April, the Sporadic-E openings on 28 MHz and above should become more frequent and intensive.

Stations heard in order of distance....

Sunday, April 12, 2020

Historic first Trans-Atlantic contact made on 432 MHz - Tues 7th April 2020

On Tuesday the 7th of April 2020, a remarkable contact was made with the FT8 digital mode on 432 MHz between D4VHF on the Cape Verde Islands off the coast of Africa and FG8OJ in Guadeloupe in the Caribbean.

This was the first 70cms trans-Atlantic contact without using satellites or the moon. The most likely mode of propagation was marine ducting with the signal being trapped close to the ocean.

* * * * *

Update: Saturday 11th April 2020 - D4VHF in Cape Verde and WP3ND in Puerto Rico complete a contact with FT8 on 432 MHz. This extends the trans-Atlantic distance to approx 4,367 kms. Full info further down this post.

* * * * *

(Make sure to scroll down for updates)

SEARG IRTS news moves to 8pm from the 14th of April 2020

The news from the Irish Radio Transmitters Society is broadcast every Tuesday evening on the Southern Ireland Repeater Network on 2m and 70cms.

As of the 14th of April 2020, they will be moving the time from 9:30pm to the earlier time of 8pm.

Opening to St Helena on 28 MHz - Sat 11th Apr 2020

Saturday 11th April 2020. There was perhaps a sign of things to come with a weak Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz to the Iberian Peninsula.

The morning seemed pretty quiet with just a few signals heard.

In the afternoon, ZD7JC on St Helena Island was heard at about the same time as EA7HPI in the south of Spain.

It's likely that there was a Sporadic-E opening from Ireland to Spain around this time and then the path was either F2 or TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) down to St Helena in the South Atlantic.

I saw a report of a TEP opening on 50 MHz between the USA and Argentina on the 11th so TEP is certainly a possibility.

In the evening time, there was a weak Sporadic-E opening to Spain and Portugal which lasted until 22:00 UTC.

The full list of stations heard on FT8 are shown below.

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
CT1ADT 10m FT8 1546 km 21:59:14
EA3GXK 10m FT8 1623 km 21:39:00
CT1CLO 10m FT8 1470 km 21:24:59
CT7ADH 10m FT8 1399 km 21:21:59
CT1IUA 10m FT8 1649 km 21:19:59
CT1AGS 10m FT8 1369 km 21:14:44
CT1BWU 10m FT8 1406 km 21:13:59
CT1HMN 10m FT8 1478 km 21:05:44
CT7AQS 10m FT8 1340 km 20:56:45
F5NTD 10m FT8 1160 km 20:49:14
EA8DFQ 10m FT8 2705 km 20:41:29
EA8AJC 10m FT8 2729 km 20:37:59
EA7KHU 10m FT8 1617 km 20:02:59
IZ8WGU 10m FT8 2389 km 19:56:59
EC5W 10m FT8 1626 km 18:54:59
EA5AD 10m FT8 1650 km 18:35:14
EA3GJO 10m FT8 1053 km 18:31:44
EA4AAI 10m FT8 1324 km 18:03:44
EA4AD 10m FT8 1321 km 18:01:14
EA4GWT 10m FT8 1330 km 17:50:29
EA3IGW 10m FT8 1352 km 17:33:44
G4DBW 10m FT8 657 km 17:20:14
EA5HEN 10m FT8 1616 km 17:09:14
EA5KN 10m FT8 1529 km 17:07:14
EA6AAB 10m FT8 1607 km 17:03:29
EA5DIC 10m FT8 1577 km 16:52:14
G0IUE 10m FT8 427 km 16:51:14
ZD7JC 10m FT8 7542 km 15:21:14
EA7HPI 10m FT8 1728 km 15:18:53
M0BJL 10m FT8 484 km 12:52:14
MW0ZZK 10m FT8 283 km 12:03:00
DJ5JD 10m FT8 1069 km 11:14:59
M0ADH 10m FT8 551 km 10:37:50
M0SSK 10m FT8 608 km 09:59:29
M0AHN 10m FT8 452 km 09:26:29
PD3LPA 10m FT8 862 km 09:00:59
F4CIB 10m FT8 1177 km 08:18:16
DO1RJB 10m FT8 1010 km 07:46:59
G7BXU 10m FT8 512 km 07:43:30