Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Opening on 28 MHz between Alaska and Europe - 30th June 2021

Wednesday 30th June 2021: This was an unusual day in that there was an opening between Alaska and Europe on the 28 MHz band. The map above shows the 24 hour plots for KL7J for the FT8 digital mode. 

Usually signals passing over the Arctic region have a distinctive distortion so it's interesting to see the digital FT8 signals getting through.

I wonder if there are similar openings but nobody notices because the FT8 signals get too distorted?

Here are the DX-Cluster spots...

Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
SV2AEL 28074.0 KL7J 17:23 30 Jun tu 73! Alaska
PG7M 28074.0 KL7J 16:53 30 Jun What a surprise !!, tnx Alaska
KL7TC 28074.0 5B4AMM 09:10 30 Jun Cyprus
DO2HQS-@ 28074.0 KL7XO 07:20 30 Jun -08 73s Alaska

Some of the logs from the PSK Reporter website...

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Extensive opening on 50 MHz from the UAE - 27th June 2021

On the 27th of June 2021, A65BR in the UAE posted on Twitter that he was hearing both Japan and the USA at the same time on the 50 MHz band.

This is an extract from the PSK Reporter website which shows it was open to Japan the USA.

A65BR JH8XTZ 6m FT8 7776 km 12:53:14
A65BR JA8XTG 6m FT8 7785 km 12:58:14
K4RX A65BR 6m FT8 12491 km 13:00:56

As can be seen from the map above and the PSK Reporter site, it's nearly 8000kms to Japan and over 12,000kms to the USA.

If we were to subscribe to the multi-hop Sporadic-E model of propagation then we would believe that there was 4 hops to Japan and 6 hops to the USA at the same time on the 50 MHz band. What are the chances of that?

I wonder if the amateur radio community are too quick to assume everything is 'Sporadic-E' during the Summer months?

Sunday, June 27, 2021

3500km+ opening on 144 MHz between England and Israel - 25th June 2021

Friday 25th June 2021: There was an extensive Sporadic-E opening on 144 MHz across Europe that lasted several hours. Stations in the south of England were able to work the south of Italy, Greece, Albania and North Macedonia. Most of there were in the region of about 2000kms which is pretty normal for one-hop Sporadic-E.

For a brief window of about 10-15 minutes around 16:40 UTC, the path on 144 MHz from England opened up to Israel.

The map above shows three stations in Israel that were heard by G4LOH on FT8.

4X/OM2IB was around 3840kms, 4X1GA was around 3845kms and 4X1BG was around 3820kms.

This is the map for G4FUF near London who heard two stations in Israel.

The distance to 4Z5CP was around 3750kms and around 3520kms for 4X4MH.

From what I understand, both of the English stations were unable to complete the FT8 contacts.

It once again highlights the FT8 paradox.

Because everyone is on the one frequency, FT8 is great for being able to hear unusual signals.
Because everyone is on the one frequency, FT8 is terrible for making contacts because there is too  much interference.

These are the spots from the DX-Cluster which are all for FT8.

G4FUF 144174.0 4Z5CP 16:49 25 Jun JO01GN<ES>KM72MT lost EU QRM Israel
G4FUF 144174.0 4X4MH 16:44 25 Jun JO01GN<ES>KM72KD TX 2nd Israel

G4LOH 144174.0 4X/OM2IB 16:42 25 Jun IO70JC<ES>KM72JC Hrd -5 Israel
G4LOH 144174.0 4X1BG 16:34 25 Jun IO70JC<ES>KM72KM Hrd 3 pds Israel

Propagation Mode: It seems likely that the 144 MHz opening from England to Israel was via double hop Sporadic-E. Whether it was via a reflection at the midway point or went from Sp-E cloud to Sp-E cloud (chordal hop) is open for debate.

This is the tropo prediction map from Pascal, F5LEN which shows some enhancement over the eastern part of the Mediterranean. Again, whether a tropo duct was involved in the eastern part of the 3500km+ path is open for debate.

In Conclusion: Israel has been worked from England before on 144 MHz so this opening is nothing new. It is however a reasonably rare occurrence. Any path that on 144 MHz that is well in excess of 3500kms is always worth reporting.

1) See my 144 MHz page of plenty of examples of 3000km plus openings on 144 MHz.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Second Spanish station identified on 95.8 MHz in Trans-Atlantic opening on the 21st of June 2021

As outlined in a previous post, Larry Horlick VO1FOG in Newfoundland heard a trans-Atlantic Spanish radio station on 88.8 MHz on the 21st of June 2021. Thanks to recordings that Larry has sent on to me, another Spanish radio station has now been identified.

This one was RNE Radio 3 on 95.8 MHz from the 100 kW transmitter at Navacerrada near Madrid.

The distance to Newfoundland is in the region of 3940 kms and it was very likely to have been due to double hop Sporadic-E as outlined in the previous post.

As well as the distance being 200 kms or so longer, it's interesting to note that the maximum usable frequency (MUF) for this double hop trans-Atlantic path was 7 MHz higher and well into the Band 2 broadcast band.

This is a recording of the signal on 95.8 MHz as it was heard in Newfoundland...

This matches the podcast for the RNE Radio 3 programme on the day. Link HERE

Credit: Thanks to FM DXer Paul Logan in the north of Ireland who helped identify this station and who also heard a FM radio station in Quebec during the same opening.

Sporadic-E footprint: It's interesting to see how the path from Madrid to Newfoundland is almost exactly in line with the other reception of the RNE R5 station on 88.8 MHz near Zamora. 

Sporadic-E openings on the 88-108 MHz band are often like this with the stations heard stretched out in a straight line.

In Conclusion: I have covered the likely propagation mode in the earlier post which is HERE. As well as the distance and frequency of this second report, I am also struck by it's symbolism. 

If a FM transmitter on 95.8 MHz serving Madrid, the capital of Spain can be heard across the North Atlantic in Newfoundland then what can FM Dxers and other radio enthusiasts in the Iberian Peninsula hear from North America?

And on a final note. Larry observes that there were MANY other radio stations in Spanish during this opening. We were able to identify just two from the audio recordings.

Mystery Station: There is a third and final recording but it's just a song. 

It is the song 'Black Velvet' from Alannah Myles and it was heard from 11:55 UTC to 11:59 UTC on 89.9 MHz. Station? Location?

* * *

Update - 27th June 2021: The mystery third station has now been identified as Los 40 Classic. A visitor to the blog (FinnDX) saw the comment above about the mystery station and then used this website to check back through the playlist of stations for the last week...

This is a composite of a screen capture that I took before it disappeared. The website seems to be showing what the time was in my location which is an hour ahead of UTC during the Summer months.

12:54 Irish time = 11:54 UTC.

This is a 2kW transmitter located at Segovia which is just to the north-west of Madrid.

15,000km+ opening on 50 MHz between Australia and Europe - 25th June 2021

Friday 25th June 2021: Yet another opening on 50 MHz between Australia and Europe.

The map above is the FT8 report for VK4MA who had paths to around 17 European stations. When I checked his log on the PSK Reporter website, the path for him was open to Japan at the same time that he was hearing Europe.

Looking back through my recent posts about these recent Europe to Australia openings on 50 MHz, they all seem to be around the same time when they do occur... i.e. mainly 05:00 to 06:00 UTC. 

I checked and the sunset for Brisbane (VK4) seems to be at 07:01 UTC while Adelaide is 07:43 UTC.

The regular pattern of the openings from Australia to Europe does suggest to me that the time of day in Australia is be a factor. This is a map of the daylight at 06:00 UTC which shows that sunset in the east of Australia doesn't happen for another hour.

If I use HF propagation prediction sites like PROPPY, then I can see a big spike in the MUF between the east of Australia and Japan at around 06:00 UTC. Is it high enough for 50 MHz? Is it TEP related?

DXCluster & FT8 reports below...

Friday, June 25, 2021

Spanish radio station on 88.8 MHz heard across the Atlantic in Newfoundland, Canada - 21st June 2021

Back on the 21st of June 2021, Paul Logan in the north of Ireland confirmed that he had heard a FM radio station across the Atlantic near Quebec City in Canada on 90.7 MHz.

I can now confirm that Larry Horlick, VO1FOG in Newfoundland, Canada managed to hear RNE-R5 Todo Noticias in the north-west of Spain on 88.8 MHz on the same day!

This is I believe the very first reception of a European FM station station on the 88-108 MHz band in North America.

It looks as if the signal came from the 80 kW transmitter near Zamora in Spain and the distance was in the region of 3780 kms.

I have two recordings which Larry very kindly sent on. The first one is at 11:46 UTC...

In the above recording, the cities of Zamora, Segovia and Burgos are mentioned. It would seem as if this is from the Castilla y Léon regional news bulletin which runs from 13:10 to 14:00 Spanish time.

This is the second audio recording at 11:50 UTC...

This one is a bit more noisy but the distinctive little 'jingle' between the news items can be heard.

Credits: I must thank Paul Logan in Ireland and Jorge Garzon in Spain for confirming that these were  indeed recordings of the RNE-R5 Todo Noticias radio station and that the transmitter site was near Zamora. Both are very experienced FMDXers and it's great to have their expertise to call on to make sure there was no mistake.

Newfoundland: On the receive side, Larry Horlick was using an ICOM IC-R8500 receiver with a centre-fed vertical dipole at 18m above ground level, cut for the lower end of the VHF LO TV band (essentially, non-resonant on Band 2).

Larry has only been listening seriously on the 88-108 MHz bands for a few weeks and he has already managed an incredible reception report. As well as being in a relatively quiet location (FM wise), he does have the advantage of being at the most eastern pat of Canada. 

It also helps that anything that Larry hears on the 88-108 MHz band is likely to be in English or French so any other language really stands out.

Propagation Mode: It seems very likely that this was a case of double hop Sporadic-E at 88.8 MHz.

The above diagram shows the signals 'bouncing' off Sporadic-E clouds at about 110kms above ground level and being reflected off the ocean at the mid way point. It's possible that this was also chordal hop with the signal going directly between the two Sporadic-E clouds without hitting off the Earth.

Note that the angles and height of the Sp-E cloud in the above diagram are greatly exaggerated. In reality, the angles are very shallow and are probably just a few degrees above the horizon.

This is another diagram showing the suggested path and the two Sporadic-E regions.

Paul Logan in the north of Ireland reports that he was hearing FM radio station from the Azores Islands for about five hours that day which he says was highly unusual. The MUF went up as high as 104 MHz.

It's likely that the Sporadic-E region responsible for the Azores to Ireland path was also responsible for the eastern first hop of the trans-Atlantic path between Spain and Newfoundland.

It's seems as if this eastern Sp-E region was present for several hours and it just required one Sp-E path at the right spot on the western part of the path to complete the 2 x 1890 km circuit.

In Conclusion: This really is an amazing reception report and is part of radio history in that it is the first proven reception of a European FM station on Band 2 in North America.

It also raises some interesting questions...

1) If someone in Newfoundland can hear a FM radio station in Spain then why can't FM radio stations in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, Quebec and Maine be heard in Spain and Partugal?

2) If a Sporadic-E cloud in the western part of Atlantic can support a signal at 88.8 MHz then can it reach 144 MHz at times? And if so, could it couple into a tropo duct of say 1500 kms to complete the path to Spain or Portugal?

A double hop Sporadic-E trans-Atlantic path at 144 MHz is highly unlikely but a mixed Sp-E / Tropo propagation mode is much more likely.

The best thing about this trans-Atlantic reception report is that it now 'opens the door' on what might be possible. My hope is that it now raises awareness and more people will now listen for trans-Atlantic signals on the 88-108 MHz and 144 MHz bands.

Larry, VO1FOG informs me that he is building a 10 el K6STI Yagi for 88-108 MHz so hopefully we will get to hear of some more trans-Atlantic signals.

Addendum: This is a photo of the vertical Band 1 dipole that was used for the reception.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

15,000km+ opening on 50 MHz between Europe and Australia - 23rd June 2021

Wednesday 23rd June 2021: There was another opening on the 50 MHz band between Europe and Australia on the 23rd. While the distances weren't as good as a few days previous, some of the paths were still in excess of 15,000 kms.

It looks as if that most of the opening from the SE of Australia was to the Ukraine and Russia but there were a few stations further west in Europe.

The DX-Cluster spots and FT8 reports are shown below

Tuesday, June 22, 2021

FM radio station on 90.7 MHz near Quebec is heard across the Atlantic in Ireland - 21st June 2021

21st June 2021: This was a remarkable day for VHF propagation with a very rare trans-Atlantic opening on the 88-108 MHz FM band.

As outlined in a previous post, Paul Logan in the north of Ireland managed to hear a radio station from Greenland on 88.5 MHz from roughly 13:00 to 14:00 UTC on the 21st of June.

Near the end of this opening, Paul also managed to hear a radio station near Quebec in Canada, a distance of approximately 4,270 kms !

The radio station in question was the 100 kilowatt transmitter of CBRX-FM-3 ICI MUSIQUE which is located at Riviére-du-Loup just to the east of Quebec City in Canada.

A short audio clip from Paul is embedded below...

This second clip which is very noisy is of weak music and a woman speaking in French.

Paul was able to listen later to the podcast version of the show online and it matches what he heard on the radio.

Additional info: Paul Logan near Enniskillen in the north of Ireland is an avid DX-er and has logged hundreds of radio stations on the 88-108 MHz FM band over a period of 20+ years. For the reception, Paul was using a ELAD FDM S2 SDR receiver with a Band 2 9-element Yagi 8m above ground level.

Analysis: With the opening to Greenland and now the 4270 km opening to Quebec, it looks as if this was a very rare Band 2 double hop Sporadic-E opening across the North Atlantic. 

While it it quite common for signals on say the 50 MHz band to cross the North Atlantic, the maximum usable frequency rarely reaches as high as the 88-108 MHz FM broadcast band.

Paul Logan has logged more of these trans-Atlantic Band 2 VHF openings than anyone else and this was only his 7th opening to North America in 20 plus years of listening.

As of 2021, not one single person in North America has heard a Band 2 radio station from Europe. Why?

FM radio station on 88.5 MHz in Greenland is heard in Ireland - 21st June 2021

Monday 21st June 2021: This was an exceptional day for Sporadic-E propagation with FM radio stations on the 88-108 MHz band in Greenland and Canada being heard across the North Atlantic in Ireland.

In this post, we'll look at the reception of the Greenlandic station.

Paul Logan near Enniskillen in the north of Ireland is an avid DX-er and has logged hundreds of radio stations on the 88-108 MHz FM band over a period of 20+ years.

On the 21st of June, he managed to hear the KNR radio station from Greenland on 88.5 MHz for the best part of an hour from 13:00 to 14:00 UTC. An audio recording is shown below...

Paul also listened to the online feed and it matched what he was hearing.

For the reception, Paul was using a ELAD FDM S2 SDR receiver with a Band 2 9-element Yagi 8m above ground level.

At the moment, Paul is trying to ascertain where the exact location of the transmitter in Greenland.

Analysis: It's very likely that this reception was via one hop Sporadic-E as the map at the top of the post suggests. The maximum distance for a single Sporadic-E hop is in the region of 2300kms and the southern part of Greenland seems to be just about within range of Paul Logan's location.

What is highly unusual about this reception report is getting Sporadic-E at 88.5 MHz from so far north in the North Atlantic.

It raises the question: If an 88 MHz signal can get from Greenland to Ireland then could a 144 MHz on a more southerly path head from say the south of Ireland the UK / NW France across towards Newfoundland and Nova Scotia?? 

Could one Sporadic-E hop with a tropo extension reach across the North Atlantic on 144 MHz???

Monday, June 21, 2021

144 MHz station VO1FN listening for trans-Atlantic FT8 signals: 21st-25th June 2021

Frank, VO1HP reports that the VO1FN monitoring station will be listening for trans-Atlantic FT8 signals on 144.174 MHz from the 21st to the 25th of June.

As I write this on the 21st of June, there are reports of Sporadic-E on 88.5 MHz between Ireland and Greenland.

If stations in the west of Europe can hear strong VO stations in Newfoundland on 50 MHz then they should consider trying to point their 144 MHz beams towards Newfoundland and give a few calls on FT8.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

Opening on 50 MHz from Australia & New Zealand to Europe - Sat 19th June 2021

Saturday 19th June 2021: Yet another day of openings on the 50 MHz band between Australia and Europe and there doesn't seem to be a clear answer as to why this is happening. We have just moved past the bottom of the sunspot cycle and yet we are seeing almost daily 15,000km+ openings on a VHF band.

I'll outline what I have found on the 19th of June so that there is a record of it.

* * *
The 19th was different from previous days in that some VK3 stations in the SE corner of Australia managed to get in on the action.

This is the maps for VK3OT...

FT8 paths for VK3OT...

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
IW5DHN VK3OT 6m FT8 15925 km 05:55:14
IK0FTA VK3OT 6m FT8 15737 km 05:48:44
S57RR VK3OT 6m FT8 15708 km 04:56:14
VK3OT S57RR 6m FT8 15708 km 04:54:29
I6WJB VK3OT 6m FT8 15612 km 05:18:14
VK3OT IZ8VYU 6m FT8 15568 km 05:33:29
S59A VK3OT 6m FT8 15552 km 05:00:44
VK3OT OG3G 6m FT8 15199 km 04:25:29
VK3OT SV1DH 6m FT8 14675 km 05:17:30

* * * 

This is the FT8 map for VK3DUT...

The paths for VK3DUT seem to be somewhat earlier than for VK3OT for whatever reason.

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
S59A VK3DUT 6m FT8 15993 km 04:30:11
SP4K VK3DUT 6m FT8 15675 km 04:31:14
HG2DX VK3DUT 6m FT8 15670 km 04:32:11
YL2GD VK3DUT 6m FT8 15256 km 04:24:56
UR3EO VK3DUT 6m FT8 14617 km 04:34:11

* * * 
Paths for VK3BD, VK2WTF & VK5PJ

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
S59A VK3BD 6m FT8 15828 km 04:30:14
HG2DX VK3BD 6m FT8 15505 km 04:33:14

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
S59A 6m FT8 15158 km 04:30:14

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VK5PJ OH2BU 6m FT8 14623 km 04:08:31
UX1UA VK5PJ 6m FT8 14164 km 03:56:41
UT5UGR VK5PJ 6m FT8 14135 km 03:56:44

* * *

VK4MA on the east coast of Australia had the advantage of being further north and had an opening to Europe as well...

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
I6WJB VK4MA 6m FT8 15804 km 05:36:14
IZ7NLJ VK4MA 6m FT8 15617 km 05:03:14
IZ7DPB VK4MA 6m FT8 15553 km 05:01:14
VK4MA E72U 6m FT8 15386 km 04:53:59
E72U VK4MA 6m FT8 15386 km 04:42:44
Z37CXY VK4MA 6m FT8 15205 km 04:43:44
VK4MA UT4XU 6m FT8 14558 km 04:37:59
VK4MA UT2XQ 6m FT8 14524 km 04:49:29
UT7UJ VK4MA 6m FT8 14439 km 05:16:14
UX1UA VK4MA 6m FT8 14436 km 05:14:44
VK4MA UX1UA 6m FT8 14436 km 04:49:27
UY5ZZ VK4MA 6m FT8 14429 km 04:41:44
UX4UA VK4MA 6m FT8 14426 km 04:57:44
UT5UGR VK4MA 6m FT8 14415 km 05:10:14
VK4MA US5CCO 6m FT8 14328 km 04:50:11
US5CCO VK4MA 6m FT8 14328 km 04:43:14
UR3EO VK4MA 6m FT8 14115 km 04:42:14
UT7QF VK4MA 6m FT8 14112 km 05:01:44
UT9EZ VK4MA 6m FT8 14109 km 05:02:44
UR5LAK VK4MA 6m FT8 13972 km 04:41:14
UR0MC VK4MA 6m FT8 13870 km 04:21:44

* * *
The best distance for VK4HJ was slightly longer at 15,871 kms....

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
I6WJB 6m FT8 15871 km 04:31:14
E72U 6m FT8 15457 km 05:04:14
UX1UA 6m FT8 14515 km 04:42:44
UY5ZZ 6m FT8 14508 km 04:43:14
UT5UGR 6m FT8 14494 km 04:29:14
US5CCO 6m FT8 14405 km 04:43:14
UR3EO 6m FT8 14190 km 05:02:14
UR7EU 6m FT8 14190 km 04:44:44
UT7QF 6m FT8 14186 km 04:14:44
UT9EZ 6m FT8 14184 km 04:39:44
R6KA 6m FT8 14127 km 04:50:14
UR5LAK 6m FT8 14049 km 04:41:14
UR0MC 6m FT8 13946 km 04:47:14

* * *
VK4WTN also was heard in Europe...

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VK4WTN Z37CXY 6m FT8 15201 km 04:41:56
VK4WTN UX1UA 6m FT8 14431 km 04:41:57

* * *
To finish off the Australia tour, just one European station was heard by VK6KXW on the west coast...

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
IW5DHN 6m FT8 13630 km 05:45:44

* * *

New Zealand: The longest path of the day was 18,144 kms from ZL3RC in New Zealand to S59A in Slovenia.

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
S59A ZL3RC 6m FT8 18144 km 04:41:44

The map above also highlights one of the problems with FT8 and the PSK Reporter website. It might seem at first glance as if there is a multi-hop path from Slovenia to Australia with stations like T6AA and 9M2TO spaced at roughly 4500 km intervals.

The 'problem' with the PSK Reporter site is that it only shows the last reception report for an individual station, you can't see the earlier reports. This is especially true if you do searches covering several hours like I did. Paths to stations on a map can be at completely different times and you need to be careful not to make assumptions based on just an initial view.

I have included a long list of the FT8 reports for S59A at the end of the post if anyone wants to examine them.

* * *

DX-Cluster: The spots on the DX Cluster suggest that all of the activity was on FT8...

Spotter  Freq.  DX  Time  Info  Country
S57RR 50313.0 VK3OT 04:58 19 Jun -16 into JN65>QF12 Tnx steve! Australia
UX1UA-@ 50313.0 VK4MA 04:53 19 Jun TNX Australia

Spotter  Freq.  DX  Time  Info  Country
VK6KXW-@ 50315.2 IW5DHN 06:36 19 Jun FT8 13622km OF87<>JN53 -18dB JTDX Italy
VK3OT-@ 50315.0 SV1DH 05:17 19 Jun km27<ft8>qf12 1ST vk3 sv1 Greece
VK3OT-@ 50313.0 S59A 05:02 19 Jun CQ JN76<>QF12 FT8 Slovenia
VK3OT-@ 50314.0 S57RR 05:01 19 Jun Tnx QSO FT8 Slovenia
VK3OT-@ 50313.0 E72U 05:00 19 Jun calling u Bosnia-Herzegovina
ZL3RC 50313.0 S59A 04:44 19 Jun -16 calling CQ Slovenia
VK3OT-@ 50314.0 OG3G 04:32 19 Jun KP00 callin you Finland
ZL3RC 50313.0 UR0MC 04:28 19 Jun -12 rx only Ukraine
VK3DUT-@ 50313.0 YL2GD 04:26 19 Jun -17 rx only Latvia
VK3OT-@ 50313.0 UT5UGR 04:24 19 Jun KO50 FT8 calling u Ukraine
VK3DUT-@ 50313.0 S59A 04:23 19 Jun -15 rx only Slovenia

FT8 reports for S59A which shows the times of the openings to Japan and Australia / New Zealand. All single hop stations of under 2,300 kms have been omitted...

Trans-Atlantic opening on 28 MHz (QRSS signals from VE1VDM & N8NJ) - 19th June 2021

19th June 2021: After getting an email from Vernon VE1VDM, I fired up the Spectrum Lab programme and managed to grab TWO trans-Atlantic QRSS signals on 28 MHz...

(QRSS are morse code signals sent very slowly over a period of several minutes. This is an analogue method of reading signals that are buried in the noise)

It was probably the strongest capture I've got to date of VE1VDM and the first time I've managed to capture N8NJ. His power was 2-watts.

N8NJ is also the longest distance QRSS signal on 28 MHz I've captured as well. His power was 1-watt.

These are the WSPR reports around that time so you can compare what the QRSS signal looks like against the WSPR signal report.

2021-06-19 13:20 VE1VDM FN85ij EI7GL IO51tu 28.126151 2 -15 0 4001
2021-06-19 13:20 N8NJ EN81go EI7GL IO51tu 28.126069 1 -20 0 5574
2021-06-19 13:30 VE1VDM FN85ij EI7GL IO51tu 28.126151 2 -13 0 4001
2021-06-19 13:30 N8NJ EN81go EI7GL IO51tu 28.12607 1 -24 0 5574
2021-06-19 13:40 VE1VDM FN85ij EI7GL IO51tu 28.126151 2 -15 0 4001

VE1VDM at -13 to -15dB was at a level which would be barely detectable by ear. It's too weak for CW sent at normal speed.

N8NJ at -20 to -24dB was buried well into the noise.

In truth, there's nothing that remarkable about hearing Canada or the USA on 28 MHz during the peak of the Summer Sporadic-E season but it was still nice to get a screen capture of two low power stations from the other side of the Atlantic.

Friday, June 18, 2021

3000km+ opening on 144 MHz from the Madeira Islands to Europe - 17th June 2021

Thursday 17th June 2021: As I spend more time looking at Sporadic-E openings on 144 MHz, it's becoming clearer that distances in excess of 3000kms are actually a lot more common than we might have expected.

On the 17th of June, there was what I believe to be a double hop Sporadic-E opening from the Madeira Islands to Italy, Croatia, Slovenia, Hungary and the Ukraine.

These are the FT8 paths on 144 MHz for CT3HF...

Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
UT5ST 2m FT8 3893 km 14:34:26
HA6NQ 2m FT8 3521 km 13:27:59
S51ZO 2m FT8 3221 km 13:19:59
9A6NA 2m FT8 3214 km 13:14:29
S55OO 2m FT8 3078 km 13:14:56
S52LM 2m FT8 3003 km 13:20:56
S59F 2m FT8 3003 km 13:20:57
IV3/HB9CAT 2m FT8 2997 km 13:21:00
IV3BLQ 2m FT8 2973 km 13:21:29
IV3GTH 2m FT8 2966 km 13:18:56
I3VWK 2m FT8 2856 km 13:27:59
IK3MLF 2m FT8 2852 km 13:14:56
IK4CBO 2m FT8 2711 km 13:21:26

If we look at the map for UT5ST in the Ukraine, this is what it looks like.

Notice how there are stations in the south of France and the NW of Spain at roughly the midway point.

EA6VQ UT5ST 2m FT8 2001 km 14:47:56
CT3HF UT5ST 2m FT8 3893 km 14:34:26
F1HQM UT5ST 2m FT8 1609 km 14:31:59
F4VTP UT5ST 2m FT8 1776 km 14:24:26
EB2FJN UT5ST 2m FT8 2191 km 14:24:26
F5DYD/P UT5ST 2m FT8 1933 km 14:15:26
EB3JT UT5ST 2m FT8 1983 km 14:04:11
UT5ST IS0YFG 2m FT8 1644 km 13:54:44

This to me suggests that for there were two Sporadic-E hops involved rather than one hop (2300kms) with a tropo extension.

Just to note that the opening from UT5ST to the NW of France was at the later time of about 18:18 UTC.

These are the spots from the DX-Cluster which suggests that all of the activity for these long paths was on the FT8 digital mode...

F6GNR 144174.0 CT3HF 16:43 17 Jun IN97FD<ES>IM12OP -20 FT8 Tnx Madeira Islands 
G4FUF 144174.0 CT3HF 16:38 17 Jun JO01GN<ES>IM12OP Madeira Islands 
EA2Z 144174.0 CT3HF 16:33 17 Jun 73. FT8 ES Vert antenna Madeira Islands
HA9AL-@ 144174.0 CT3HF 14:21 17 Jun BIGGEST DX FOR ME RX 3442KM Madeira Islands
S57A-@ 144174.0 CT3HF 13:30 17 Jun tu your best+4 Madeira Islands
S51ZO 144174.0 CT3HF 13:27 17 Jun Jn86/ES/IM12 -08db tnx Madeira Islands

 Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
CT3HF 144174.0 F5DYD/P 14:52 17 Jun IM12OP<ES>JN03 France
CT3HF 144174.0 F5PSR 14:43 17 Jun IM12OP<ES>JN13 France
CT3HF 144174.0 UW8SM 13:32 17 Jun IM12OP<ES>KN28 HRD -13 into IM Ukraine
CT3HF 144174.0 S57A 13:28 17 Jun IM12OP<ES>JN65 +13 Slovenia
CT3HF 144174.0 S51ZO 13:24 17 Jun IM12OP<ES>JN86DR FT8 +05 Slovenia
CT3HF 144174.0 S55OO 13:22 17 Jun IM12OP<ES>JN76 Slovenia

Note the second Ukrainian station UW8SM who was at 3,875 kms.

Tropo: This was the tropo prediction map at the time....

It looks as if the usual path from Portugal to the Madeira Islands and the Canary Islands is a bit weaker than usual. This ties in with no CT stations in Portugal hearing CT3HF. It supports the theory that it was two hops.

Canary Islands - EA8: It looks as if stations on the Canary Islands were a bit too far south for nearly all of the opening that occurred around 13:30-14:40 UTC. They had their own opening to France, England and Belgium around 16:30 UTC.

In the above image, the image on the left shows the paths from one of the EA8 stations. The image on the right shows the paths from G4ZFJ in England with a Sporadic-E footprint around Lisbon in Portugal.

Considering that the EA8 stations didn't seem to be hearing the CT/EA stations on tropo, I think this was another opening on 144 MHz with two Sporadic-E hops.

As the FT8 reports below show, some paths were just short of 3000 kms. 

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
ON4KHG EA8CSB 2m FT8 2993 km 16:41:56
G0MBL EA8CSB 2m FT8 2938 km 16:39:42
G4ZFJ EA8CSB 2m FT8 2937 km 16:30:57
F6EAS EA8CSB 2m FT8 2629 km 16:25:41
F6GNR EA8CSB 2m FT8 2444 km 16:29:27
EA8CSB F4EZJ 2m FT8 2387 km 16:30:12
F4EZJ EA8CSB 2m FT8 2387 km 16:25:56

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
F6EAS EA8AO 2m FT8 2698 km 13:09:26
F6GNR EA8AO 2m FT8 2516 km 16:35:56

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
F4EZJ EA8AR 2m FT8 2403 km 16:26:27

In Conclusion: It does seem as if the opening from the Canary Islands (EA8) was a bit more patchy that the one from the Madeira Islands (CT3) but the distances were still up around 3000kms and above. 

Before the introduction of FT8 in 2017, I think the general consensus was that there were a handful of 3000km+ Sporadic-E openings on 144 MHz every Sporadic-E season. 

Now that I am keeping a record of them for the Summer of 2021, it seems as if 3000km openings at 144 MHz are a lot more common than we thought.

16,000km+ opening on 50 MHz from Australia & New Zealand to Europe - 17th June 2021

Thursday 17th June 2021: Another day, another opening on 50 MHz between Australia and Europe. This one however was different as several stations from the Adelaide area (VK5) in the south of Australia were involved.

It also seems as if a small number of stations in New Zealand and the Australian states of Victoria & Western Australia managed to work Europe as well. Info further down post.

All the areas of Australia are not the same in terms of propagation, Stations on the north coast have a pipeline into Japan & China via TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) whereas stations in the south of the continent are a bit too far south.

That's why openings on 50 MHz between the south of Australia and Europe are always of interest. It raises the very real question of just how exactly does a signal at 50 MHz travel so far near the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

The maps and station list below are derived from FT8 reports on the PSK Reporter website and it may well not include everyone. I couldn't find any information on SSB or CW contacts being made but that doesn't mean they weren't.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

15,000km Opening on 50 MHz between Western Australia and Europe - 16th June 2021

Wednesday 16th June 2021: There was another opening on the 50 MHz band between Australia and Europe on the 16th. This one was slightly different in that it went from the west coast of Australia to the UK & Ireland.

The distances to Western Europe are in the region of 14,000 to 15,000 kms. If we subscribe to the idea that it was via multi-hop Sporadic-E all the way then at least 7 hops are required. I suspect though that the large TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) zone centred either side of the geomagnetic equator may have been a factor.

It would be interested to hear if anyone experienced skewed paths.

I have included a list of stations heard on FT8 below.

3000km+ opening on 144 MHz from Spain to the Ukraine & Russia - 16th June 2021

Wednesday 16th June 2021: There were extensive Sporadic-E openings on 144 MHz on the 16th with many parts of Europe working other regions. The FT8 map above shows what looks like a double hop Sporadic-E opening from the south of Russia to the east coast of Spain, a distance well over 3000 kms.

The map below for EA5WU in the east of Spain shows the extent of the openings and again, it shows the double hop Sporadic-E to Russia and the Ukraine.

You'll notice that the Russian and Spanish stations were both hearing plenty of stations at the mid-point suggesting that it was double hop Sporadic-E in this instance.

Just for the record, I have put some of the logs from the PSK Report website below and there are some DX-Cluster spots at the end of the post.

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

Reception of the World Music Radio station on the 11m Short Wave Band - June 2021

16th June 2021: I noticed a post on my Facebook feed yesterday about a Danish station transmitting on 25800 kHz on the 11m broadcast band. I really don't have much interest in short wave stations but this one caught my attention as it is reasonably close to the 28 MHz band.

The post from the 14th of June 2021 read... "WMR (World Music Radio) is now on the air on 25800 kHz - locally audible in Aarhus, Denmark -  and sometimes by eskip og F2 propagation."

Today, I noticed I was hearing OZ7IT in Denmark on WSPR on 28 MHz via Sporadic-E propagation with a good 0dB signal. I then checked for the OZ7IGY beacon on 28.271 MHz and sure enough, it was there.

When I checked 25.800 MHz, the World Music Radio station was there on AM with a signal strength of about S '5' to '8' with a lot of fading. The distance was in the region of 1300 kms to my location.

In response to a question, they said that they were running 100-watts into a vertical antenna on top of a tall tower. Photo at the end of this post.

100w sounds like a lot but in terms of short wave broadcasting, it's very low power.

Sporadic-E propagation: If anyone wants to have a listen during the Summer Sporadic-E season (May to July), I have put together a map showing the likely range.

The signal is likely to be heard in the range of 500 kms to 2000 kms. Anything under 500 kms is in the skip zone. anything over 2000 kms is likely to be too weak.

The best spot is roughly between the two, say 900 to 1600 kms.

In conclusion: Putting a short wave transmitter on 25800 kHz near the bottom of the sunspot cycle seems like a strange choice. It will probably be a few years before there will be consistent F2 propagation at that frequency and even then, 100-watts on AM will only go so far.

The 11-metre broadcast band is an unusual band with very few stations on it and many of the typical small portable radios don't cover it.

I checked my own TecSun PL-380 and it tops out around 22 MHz.

Yet for all that, it's interesting to see if it can be heard. I'm thinking already if that nice 100-watt carrier could be used for meteor scatter tests! 😂

If you hear Danish stations on 28 MHz then have a listen and you should be able to hear it.


Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Newfoundland 144 MHz monitoring station VO1FN hears US station at 1760kms - 13th June 2021

Normally, a reception report of a station at 1700km on the 144 MHz band isn't all that special as we're in the middle of the Summer Sporadic-E season but I found this one of interest.

13th June 2021: The VO1FN station at St.John's, Newfoundland was set up to monitor the 144 MHz for Trans-Atlantic signals. On the 13th of June, it heard a FT8 signal from K1TEO in Connecticut in the USA.

The distance was just over 1760 kms which is pretty typical for Sporadic-E or meteor scatter at 144 MHz.

This is the tropo prediction map for the day from Pascal, F5LEN...

It shows some enhancement on the 1760 km path but probably not enough to explain the propagation mode.

Propagation Mode: Frank, VO1HP outlined in the update at the end of this post how the signal was heard off the back of the beam. As there was just one decode, I don't think it was tropo. If it was meteor scatter then it required a burst that was at least 15 seconds long. The other option was a very short Sporadic-E opening. 

My interest in this reception report is how it compares to the distance from Newfoundland to the Azores Islands.

The beam heading from VO1FN to K1TEO is 254 degrees which is 16 degrees south of West. I calculated what the equivalent point is at 16 degrees south of East and it is shown above.

As you can see, the distance to the Azores is just a few hundred kms.

It's my opinion that proof of a 144 MHz path between Newfoundland and the Azores would be a valuable first step in the eventual goal of a Trans-Atlantic 144 MHz contact on 2-metres. I think this is most likely to happen between the north-west of Spain / Portugal and either Newfoundland or Nova Scotia in Canada.

Update 15th June: From Frank, VO1HP... "The antennas were pointing at Ireland. I regularly monitor 144.174 even though EI2DKH is opearting on 144.488Mhz Q65 every time there is an opening on 6M.  The actual decode took place on Jun 13 2021 not Jun 14.  Jun 14 was the date displayed by WSJT-X on Monday when I logged on to the PC using Anydesk.  The time stamp of the recording is 20210613_101845"

Update 16th June: VO1HO informs me that K1TEO was using 1 kilowatt to a 4 x 9-element Yagi array at 25 metres above ground level.