Friday, July 30, 2021

Video: Transceiver Performance for the DXer by NC0B

In a recent presentation to the Madison DX Club, Rob Sherwood NC0B gave a talk on transceiver performance on the HF bands.

As Rob outlines, receivers are now so good that the real limitation is with the transmitters. Note that receiver limitations due to someone else locally using an amplifier.

The 66 minute video is shown below...

The first half is about receivers and Rob talks about transmitters from 33:00 minutes onwards. 

Thursday, July 29, 2021

Video: Modes of Propagation on 50 MHz by K9LA

In June of 2021, Carl Luezelschwab K9LA gave a presentation to the Madison DX Club titled 'Modes of Propagtion on 6 meters'.

There are plenty of guides and explanations about propagation on the 50 MHz band in books and on websites and they tend to be pretty basic. In this video, K9LA looks at propagation modes in more detail and as expected, things are often not as simple as they seem.

It's very easy to look at long distance contacts on the 50 MHz band and just blindly assume it has to be multi-hop Sporadic-E. As you will see in the video, we should all keep an open mind and accept that it may be due to other propagation modes. This is especially true now as the FT8 digital mode is showing that weak signal paths exist that weren't so obvious in the past with SSB or CW.

The 51 minute video can be seen below...

Some timestamps and items of interest...

00:00 to 02:20 Introduction

02:20 to 04:20 Old 50 MHz radios

The talk is then broken down as follows...
Review of all these modes
Antenna considerations
Solar Cycle 25

04:50 to 09:30 Fundamentals of the atmosphere and ionosphere.

It's interesting to note that K9LA questions if PMSE (Polar Mesospheric Summer Echoes) at 85kms above the Earth plays a part in bending radio signals slightly before they reach the higher Sp-E and F2 layers.

In the slide for trospheric ducting, there is an error in that it should read 450 metres as opposed to 450 kms. As K9LA observes, tropo ducting at 50 MHz is very unusual in temperate regions.

At 15:45, K9LA talks about SSSP - Short-path Summer Soltice Propagation which is linked to PMSE. It may well be that this propagation mode is responsible for many of the openings from Europe to Japan on 50 MHz as opposed to the standard 'it must be multi-hop Sporadic-E explanation'.

At 27:30, there are charts suggesting that Sporadic-E may be changing over the years.

At 32:00, Carl suggests that equatorial Sporadic-E may be a significant factor where signals are crossing the equator at local noon.

At 36:00, the video looks at Chordal Hop modes. As the image below shows, there can be a lot more going on than just simple hop Sporadic-E...

At 41:00, skewed paths are examined.

45:20 Antenna considerations

46:50 Cycle 25 status

1) I have some examples of unusual long distance paths on the 6m band on my 50 MHz page.

Sunday, July 25, 2021

US Experimental 40 MHz Station WL2XUP is heard across the Atlantic in England - 22nd July 2021

On the 18th of July, I had a post up about the new US experimental station WL2XUP on the 40 MHz band. Just four days later on the 22nd of July, a WSPR signal from WL2XUP was heard across the Atlantic in England.

The owner of the experimental station WL2XUP is Lin, NI4Y and in a message he writes... 

"I can report that VE3QC and VE2DLC received my station via Eskip on July 22nd. Shortly after VE3QC received my signal G7PUV received WL2XUP via multi hop Eskip. The following Day KI4RVH received the WSPR signal via what was likely tropo ducting. 

VE3QC also reports hearing my FT8 signals transmitted later in the day on July 23rd. 

2021-07-22 19:00 WL2XUP 40.663508 -26 -1 EM73vv 20 VE3QC FN25fk 1557 29 2 

2021-07-22 20:42 WL2XUP 40.663488 -34 0 EM73vv 20 VE2DLC FN58rk 2155 35 2 

2021-07-22 19:40 WL2XUP 40.663514 -26 -1 EM73 20 G7PUV JO00au 6869 46 2 

2021-07-23 14:08 WL2XUP 40.663536 -13 -2 EM73 20 KI4RVH EM95 429 58 2"

Paul, G7PUV is located in the SE of England and was using an SDRPlay RSP1A SDR and a W4KMA 18-100MHz Log Periodic on a 6.2M boom up at 15M AGL.

Paul heard seven WSPR transmissions from WL2XUP between 19:40 and 20:42 UTC and the strongest signal was -16dB. 

The 40 MHz trans-Atlantic opening coincided with a big opening on 50 MHz between Europe and North America.

Analysis: As NI4Y points out, this was very likely to be a multi-hop Sporadic-E opening across the North Atlantic with maybe 3-4 hops involved. What is significant about this reception report is not so much the distance but the fact that this is the first crossing of the Atlantic on the 40 MHz band.

During Sporadic-E openings on 50 MHz, it's very likely that paths on lower frequencies like 40 MHz will be open as well. It's just a question of more people listening on the band and reporting what they hear.

This new experimental 40 MHz station has already sparked some interest in the 8m band in North America so hopefully it will encourage activity on the band.

Update: The exact frequency was 40.662 MHz USB with the WPSR signals roughly 1.5kHz higher.


1) See my 40 MHz page for more info on the band

Saturday, July 24, 2021

Lightning detected on the 28 MHz band - 23rd July 2021


Friday 23rd July 2021: During the afternoon of the 23rd, I noticed what sounded like a continuous stream of static crashes on the 28 MHz band. I checked the Irish weather website Met Éireann and sure enough, there was a huge thunder storm crossing Ireland about 130-150kms to the north of me.

I have heard static crashes from lightning before but never on this scale. It's usually a static crash every 10-20 seconds but this one was almost continuous.

I was wondering at first if it was some local noise source but I could hear the number of static crashes reduce as the storm moved west.

Even though I am using just a basic CB type half-wave vertical on 28 MHz, I do have a good view to the north. If some of these strikes were from cloud to cloud at a km or two above the ground then I was probably line of sight to some of them.

FM radio stations from the Azores (87-93 MHz) are heard in Newfoundland - 23rd July 2021

Friday 23rd July 2021: Larry Horlick, VO1FOG in Newfoundland reports that he heard FM radio stations from the Azores on frequencies ranging from 87 to 93 MHz. The opening lasted one hour.

* * *

UTC QRG ITU Station, location Details, remarks Distance km Received by/in kW ERP Pol

22:30 UTC 90.50 MHZ AZR RTP Antena 1, Serra de Santa Bárbara (tce) Live Stream, 2309kms 35 h

21:51 UTC 92.70 MHz AZR RTP Antena 1, Pico Bartolomeu (smg) Presumed, reference to Ponta Degada, 2524kms 0.5 m

21:14 UTC 87.70 MHz AZR RTP Antena 3, Pico da Barrosa (RDP) (smg) Live stream, 2501kms 40 v

* * *

It's interesting to see that Larry also heard the Azores two days earlier on the 21st of July.

Propagation Mode: It's almost certainly single hop Sporadic-E with a possible small tropo extension near the Azores. 

In a message, Larry VO1FOG notes that during this reception of Band 2 signals up around 88 MHz, the 6-metre band at 50 MHz appeared closed. It's very likely that there was a good single hop Sporadic-E opening from Newfoundland to the East but there is nothing out there in the mid-Atlantic.

As Larry notes, it's wrong to assume that just because there is nothing on 50 MHz, the higher bands will be closed. 

Analysis: Even though reports of FM radio stations from the Azores being heard in Newfoundland were only documented for the first time in 2021, it's likely that this 2300-2500km path is open every year. What is different this year is that there is someone activity logging these stations from the Newfoundland end.

While single hop Sporadic-E openings on Band 2 are nothing special, I would suggest that the ones between the Azores and Newfoundland are. Not in terms that they actually happen but in terms of what times they happen.

The more Newfoundland to Azores reception reports that are logged then we might be able to see a pattern of what is the most likely time of day that these openings happen. 

If the maximum usable frequency gets up to 88-108 MHz on a regular basis then there may be times that it goes up as far as 144 MHz. Add in a tropo duct at the eastern end and a trans-Atlantic path from Newfoundland to Spain or Portugal might be possible.

Friday, July 23, 2021

Top spotter for WSPR on 28 MHz - 22nd July 2021

22nd July 2021: On a few occasions, I have been one of the top five spotters worldwide for WSPR signals on the 28 MHz band. On the 22nd, I was in first place!

As the chart shows, I reported 101 separate WSPR signals which is over 20 more than those in the other top 5 spots.

I should point out that this really has nothing to do with me as it's just my radio listening for WSPR signals on the 28 MHz band all day. The reason I ended up in the top spot is because of my location in the north-west of Europe.

The map above shows the location of the 101 stations. Other than four in North America, the rest were in Europe. The problem with the WSPR mode is that there is a lack of stations transmitting in comparison to say the hugely popular FT8 mode.

This is a closer look at the European stations. The main reason I ended up in top spot was probably because I heard 30 stations from the UK via short skip Sporadic-E and this was in addition to the more usual single hop Sp-E signals out around 1000-2000kms.

At the moment, I am just using a simple half wave vertical above 4m above the ground for reception and it really is nothing special. 


1) VK7JJ's WSPR Top Spotters website 

FM radio stations in Maine heard across the Atlantic in the north of Ireland - 22nd July 2021

Thursday 22nd July 2021: Openings on the FM band (88-108 MHz) between North America and Europe are very rare and it's always interesting to hear about these very high frequencies crossing the North Atlantic.

On the 22nd, Paul Logan in Lisnaskea in Co.Fermanagh in the north of Ireland managed to catch a short 5-minute opening to the state of Maine in the NE of the USA. 

* * *

UTC QRG ITU Station, location Details, remarks Distance km Received by/in kW ERP Pol

14:06 UTC 89.70 MHz USA WMED, Calais (ME) Weak. End of wx report. Start of "On point" show. Fits with online edition. Brief. 4294kms 30kW m

14:06 UTC 92.90 MHz USA WEZQ, Bangor (ME) Sports talk, same time as 88.5 4390kms 20kW m

14:05 UTC 88.50 MHz USA WHCF, Bangor (ME) Religious show, Scottish preacher // web 4353kms  35kW m

* * *

As the log from the FMLIST website shows above, Paul managed to log three separate stations at the bottom of Band 2 with frequencies in the range of 88 to 93 MHz.

To put this opening in perspective, this was only the 9th trans-Atlantic Band 2 opening for Paul Logan in a period of about 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.

Propagation Mode: As can be seen from the log, the distances were in the region of 4300kms. It's likely that the mode of propagation was double hop Sporadic-E i.e. 2 x 2150km hops.

For more examples of long distance reception reports on Band 2, visit my 88-108 MHz page.

Thursday, July 22, 2021

FM radio stations on the Azores are heard again in N America - 21st July 2021


Wednesday 21st July 2021: At the start of July, FM radio stations on the Azores were heard in the USA. On the 21st, the North Atlantic path opened again with FM stations being heard in Newfoundland and Cape Cod, MA.

This is a log of what was heard by Larry Horlick (VO1FOG) in Newfoundland and Bryce Foster in the US...

* * *

UTC QRG ITU Station, location Details, remarks Distance km Received by/in kW ERP Pol

19:32 88.90 MHz AZR RTP Antena 1, Horta/Cabeço Gordo (fai) Recording verified by Paul Logan,  2218kms by Larry Horlick, Coley's Point (CAN) 9.1 c

19:36 90.50 MHz AZR RTP Antena 1, Serra de Santa Bárbara (tce) Recording verified by Paul Logan 2309kms by Larry Horlick, Coley's Point (CAN) 35 h

19:44 87.70 MHz AZR RTP Antena 3, Pico da Barrosa (RDP) (smg) Antena tres, Recording verified by Paul Logan  2501kms by Larry Horlick, Coley's Point (CAN) 40 v

21:33 88.50 MHz AZR Rádio Atlântida, Pico da Barrosa (smg) // webstream,  3830kms  in Mashpee, MA (USA) 3 m

21:33 87.70 MHz AZR RTP Antena 3, Pico da Barrosa (RDP) (smg) Antena 3 ID, // stream,  3830kms in Mashpee, MA (USA) 40 v

* * *

Propagation Mode: It looks very likely that this was a case of single and double hop Sporadic-E again.

The distance from the Azores to Newfoundland is in the region of 2200-2500kms and this was most likely one hop Sporadic-E with a small tropo extension.

The distance from the Azores to Cape Cod in the US is 3830kms and this was very likely to be double hop Sporadic-E.

It's interesting to see that the path from Newfoundland to Bermuda was open at 21:00 UTC which suggests the location of one of the Sporadic-E clouds.

For earlier trans-Atlantic reception reports, see my 88-108 MHz page.


1) FMLIST website log for the 21st of July 2021

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

EI2DKH - The 144 MHz trans-Atlantic beacon

The EI2DKH beacon in the south-west of Ireland is now running 24/7 beaming across the Atlantic hoping to make contact with North America. 

The station run by Tony EI8JK transmitting Q65 (60 sec, sub mode C) with CW ID every even minute on 144.488 MHz with audio frequency of 1500 Hz and it receives Q65 every odd minute on 144.178 MHz with audio frequency of 1500 Hz.

The beacon runs 100-watts into 4 x 5-element LFA-Q antennas beaming 270 degrees.

The beacon locator IO51DO90CL and the site is about 40 metres above sea level.

Analysis... The beacon site is somewhat obstructed to the west with a 220m metre hill about 2.5kms away (3.2 deg elevation at 279 deg) which will prove to be a challenge.

Horizon for EI2DKH

Tuesday, July 20, 2021

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

Saturday 17th July 2021: There was an extensive opening on 144 MHz on the 17th between the Canary Islands and Europe with distances of over 3000kms being recorded. 

Looking at the spots on the DX Cluster, at least 19 stations from the Canary Islands were active on both FT8 and SSB.

The map above which is generated from DX Cluster spots gives an example of some of the paths from EA8JK. There were almost certainly a lot more paths than this on the day.

Propagation Mode: It looks as if both tropo and Sporadic-E propagation modes were present on the day. 

It would seem that at times, there was a tropo duct between the Canary Islands and the SW of the UK. The tropo prediction map from F5LEN suggests that there was a strong marine duct between the Canary Islands and the Iberian Peninsula.

It's highly likely that all of the 2300km+ from the Europe to the Canary Islands were due to one hop Sporadic-E with a tropo extension at the SW end.  

In the example of say the 3000km+ signals from the south of Germany, there was a Sporadic-E opening to the SW (~2000kms) and the signals entered the tropo duct somewhere off the NW coast of Morocco to complete the path to the Canary Islands. 

These are the spots on the day from the DX Cluster.
a) Spots from the Iberian Peninsula (EA/CT) have been omitted so what is shown below are over 2000kms.
b) SSB reports in Red
c) There are 3 spots from ES1CCM which seems to be a bogus callsign and are therefore crossed out. It's also extremely unlikely that the Canary Islands was heard in Estonia. (Update: A reader of the blog suggested that it might have been EA1CCM but it was misspelt)

Monday, July 19, 2021

17,000km opening on 50 MHz between Europe and Australia - 18th July 2021

Saturday 18th July 2021: After a lull on the 17th, the path on 50 MHz between Europe and Australia opened up again on the 18th. The longest path I could find was 17,122kms from F4ARU in France to VK3ZYC in Victoria. 

From what I can tell, this 6m opening seems to have been mainly confined to the VK1 and VK3 area of SE Australia. In Europe, there was a limit as to how far north it went.

The opening seems to have started around 04:45 UTC and lasted until about 06:15 UTC. This is similar to previous openings and suggests that it is dependent on the position of the sun.

These are the DX spots from the opening...

Spotter  Freq.  DX  Time  Info  Country
VK3OT-@ 50313 IZ2RLO 05:35 18 Jul 21 JN55 FT8 Copy Italy
VK3OT-@ 50313 I2FAK 05:35 18 Jul 21 JN45 FT8 Italy
VK3OT-@ 50313.9 DK8NE 05:13 18 Jul 21 FT8 JO50<>QF12 Fed. Rep. of Germany
IK7EOT 50313 VK3ZYC 05:11 18 Jul 21 FT8 tnx qso B -12 Australia
IK7EOT 50313 VK3DUT 05:11 18 Jul 21 FT8 tnx qso b-09 Australia
SV2JAO 50313 VK3DUT 05:00 18 Jul 21 kn10<es>qf32 Australia

These are the FT8 reports from the PSK Reporter website...

Sunday, July 18, 2021

New US experimental station WL2XUP now operational on the 40 MHz band

In June of 2021, the FCC in the USA issued the experimental call sign WL2XUP to conduct tests on the 40 MHz band. The owner of the call, Lin Holcomb (NI4Y) reports that the station is now on air.

The license allows for operation between 40.660 MHz to 40.700 MHz with a maximum output of 400-watts ERP. The license was issued on the 17th of June 2021 and it lasts until the 1st of July 2023.

As of mid July 2021, WL2XUP is intermittently transmitting WSPR on 40.662 MHz (1500Hz). It transmits for 2 minutes out of every 10 with an output power of 20-watts ERP into an omni-directional antenna. For FT8 skeds and tests, an ERP of 100-watts can be used.

It is hoped in time to upgrade to a log-periodic antenna pointing at Europe.

Location: The experimental WL2XUP station is located near the city of Atlanta in Georgia in the SE of the USA. It is in the EM73 locator square.

Propagation & Range - What to expect: The band is affected by several propagation modes. Let's have a look at them...

a) Tropo: It's likely that it will have a range of up to 200kms locally but it's unlikely that there will be many listening from that small area.

b) Sporadic-E: This will be main propagation mode from April to August every year and it WILL be heard all over the eastern half of the United States. The map above shows the likely range being in the range of 500kms to 2200kms. The most consistent signals should be in the 1200 to 1800km range.

In terms of double hop Sporadic-E, there may be a skip zone out going from Arizona to Montana but anyone in California to Washington should get signals in June and July. The one issue for the western states may be interference from SNOTEL stations on the same band.

Looking further afield, there will also be times in June and July when there will be multi-hop Sporadic-E to Europe, a distance of about 6000-8000kms.

Trans-Equatorial Propagation (TEP): The experimental station is also well placed for tests to South America in May and November. While it is too far north for TEP, just one Sporadic-E hop is required to the south to open up the path to Argentina (LU), Uruguay (CX) and Brazil (PY).

F2 Propagation: The 40 MHz band will be certainly be impacted by the rising solar flux as we approach the peak of the next sunspot cycle. The 40 MHz band will open a lot earlier than say 50 MHz and it could prove to be a useful resource for European stations monitoring the trans-Atlantic path.

In Conclusion: This new experimental station is a very welcome development and it establishes a presence on the 40-MHz band in North America. It may also allow for more US stations to follow this lead and apply for similar permits.

The really big challenge now is trying to raise awareness amongst the amateur radio community in North America and making them aware of the 40 MHz band and the activity on it. 

Saturday, July 17, 2021

South African 8-metre beacon on 40.675 MHz heard in SE England - 13th July 2021

On the 13th of July, there was a good opening on the 50 MHz band from Europe to South Africa. During this opening at about 13:50 UTC, Paul G7PUV in the south-east of England managed to hear the South African 8m beacon ZS6WAB/B on 40.675 MHz.

This beacon was heard in the Mediterranean area several times during the month of April 2021 and this is the first time that it has been heard so far north. The distance is around 8,800kms.

For the reception, Paul was using a custom made W4KMA Log-Periodic antenna covering 26-100 MHz at 15-metres above ground level.

Paul reports that the beacon which transmits only on CW peaked at S2.

Propagation Mode: It's probably one of two options.

a) Multi-hop Sporadic-E which would require 4-5 hops and crossing the equator to the southern hemisphere where it's their winter season.

b) A combined TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) and Sporadic-E opening. TEP from South Africa to the Mediterranean area and then via a Sporadic-E hop from there to England.

I suspect it may have been TEP + Sp-E even though we are not near the Equinox and the peak of the TEP season.

Info: For more information of the ZS6WAB beacon and previous reception reports, see my 40 MHz page.

Friday, July 16, 2021

Big opening on 50 MHz between Australia and Europe - 16th July 2021

16th July 2021: There was a pretty big opening on the 50 MHz band on the 16th between Australia and Europe. The map of FT8 reports for VK5PW near Adelaide is shown above. It's interesting to note that the propagation extended as far west as Belgium and the Netherlands and as far north as Finland.

These are the reports from the DX Cluster which suggests that all of the activity was on FT8...

 Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
VK3ZAZ-@ 50313.8 UR0MC 08:30 16 Jul Open from 0500 to 0730 Ukraine
VK3ZAZ-@ 50313.0 OH3XA 08:29 16 Jul worked in VK3 VK5 Finland 
VK3ZAZ-@ 50314.0 OH4SS 08:29 16 Jul worked in VK3 FT8 Finland
VK3ZAZ-@ 50313.0 OG3G 08:28 16 Jul CQ KP QF FT8 Finland
VK6KXW 50313.0 4L/DL7ZM 07:37 16 Jul 0620UTC,r--08,late spot Georgia
VK3OER 50313.0 PA2M 07:35 16 Jul CQ -14, few min ago Netherlands
OH4SS 50313.0 VK3OT 07:18 16 Jul KP21UC<ES>QF12AG CQ tu Australia
OG3G 50313.0 VK3OT 07:18 16 Jul CQ -12dB Australia
US0ZZ-@ 50313.7 VK5PJ 07:05 16 Jul FT8 -18 Australia
VK3OER 50313.0 OG3G 06:59 16 Jul -15 CQ DX OG3G Finland
UT4EX 50313.0 VK3OT 06:54 16 Jul tnx CQ Australia
VK6OX-@ 50313.5 OG3G 06:49 16 Jul FT8 13286km -13dB Finland
SV2JAO 50313.0 VK4HJ 06:43 16 Jul kn10<es>qg63 Australia
OG3G 50313.0 VK5SFA 06:39 16 Jul call corr Australia
VK3OER 50313.0 OH4SS 06:35 16 Jul -18 CQ DX OH4SS KP21 Finland
UT4EX 50313.0 VK5SFA 06:26 16 Jul tnx Australia
VK2WJ 50313.0 HG2DX 06:11 16 Jul FT8 QF56ss -> KN06cq Hungary
VK3OER 50313.0 YU1EL 06:04 16 Jul -22 CQ YU1EL KN04 Serbia
UR0MC 50313.0 VK5DK 05:54 16 Jul Tnx Australia
VK6OX-@ 50314.1 UT7QF 05:51 16 Jul FT8 11915km -15dB Ukraine
UT4EX 50313.0 VK5PJ 05:35 16 Jul tnx QSO 73 Australia
VK6KXW-@ 50314.9 DF5VAE 05:15 16 Jul FT8 -18dB 13751km Fed. Rep. of Germany
VK3OER 50313.0 4L/DL7ZM 05:12 16 Jul FT8 -14 wkg JA-JL Georgia
VK6KXW-@ 50314.7 DF5VAE 05:11 16 Jul FT8 -16dB 13751km Fed. Rep. of Germany
VK6KXW-@ 50314.0 HA8CE 05:07 16 Jul FT8 -13dB 12972km Hungary
VK6KXW 50313.0 UR5LAK 05:06 16 Jul tnx qso Ukraine
VK3OER 50313.0 S59A 05:05 16 Jul -17 0.5 2530 ~ CQ S59A JN76 Slovenia
VK6OX-@ 50314.7 UR5LAK 05:03 16 Jul FT8 11892km -17dB Ukraine
VK6OX-@ 50314.3 UR0MC 05:00 16 Jul FT8 11766km -26dB Ukraine
VK6KXW-@ 50314.9 UR0MC 04:43 16 Jul FT8 -14dB 11894km Ukraine
VK6KXW-@ 50314.4 OZ1IEP 04:42 16 Jul FT8 -20dB 13894km Denmark
VK6KXW-@ 50313.3 UB7K 04:39 16 Jul FT8 -12dB 11802km European Russia

It seems that when the band does open, it's pretty much at the same time every day. That's NOT a characteristic of Sporadic-E. It suggests that there is a solar influence on the propagation.

One of the more interesting paths was from VK6KXW in the west of Australia to 7S2W in the north of Sweden.

Just think about that for a second. A path on 50 MHz from Perth in Australia to a spot close to the Arctic Circle in the north of Europe AND we're near the bottom of the sunspot cycle.

It looks like the VK3, 5 and 6 stations got the best of this particular opening. The VK2 and VK4 stations were almost absent.

The longest path I could find was just over 16,000kms.

These are the FT8 reports from the PSK Reporter website...

Opening on 50 MHz from Europe to Western Australia - 15th July 2021

15th July 2021: There was a small opening on 50 MHz this time between the west coast of Australia and Europe. The two stations concerned were VK6KXW and VK6OX near Perth and the maximum distances were just over 15,000kms.

These are the spots from the PSK Reporter website...

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
CT1EKY VK6KXW 6m FT8 15143 km 07:10:14
VK6KXW IZ7NLJ 6m FT8 13052 km 06:45:56
IZ7NLJ VK6KXW 6m FT8 13052 km 06:42:44
4O6AH VK6KXW 6m FT8 12924 km 06:40:14
YT1Q VK6KXW 6m FT8 12865 km 06:51:14
Z37CXY VK6KXW 6m FT8 12724 km 07:29:14
VK6KXW UR0MC 6m FT8 11898 km 06:45:26
UR0MC VK6KXW 6m FT8 11893 km 07:19:14

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VK6OX CT1APE 6m FT8 15043 km 07:19:29
CT1EKY VK6OX 6m FT8 15036 km 07:14:44
VK6OX SV2DCD 6m FT8 12581 km 06:50:57
UR0MC VK6OX 6m FT8 11794 km 06:45:44

The only other Australian stations reported were from Darwin in the north of the continent.

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
UR0MC VK4ABW 6m FT8 11218 km 06:06:44
Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
UR0MC VK8MS 6m FT8 11235 km 06:11:44

It seems unusual that there seems to be more openings from Europe to the SE of Australia (VK2 & VK3) than the west coast (VK6). From the perspective of say someone in central Europe, the west coast of Australia is a lot closer.

I would have expected a lot more openings on 50 MHz to the west of Australia (VK6) than the SE of Australia (VK3). Instead, it seems to be the other way around.

Is it a lack of big stations on the west coast? If VK6KXW is not on air then does it just seem like the VK6 area is missing?

These are the spots from the DX Cluster...

Thursday, July 15, 2021

144 MHz signals from Minnesota & Illinois heard in Newfoundland (3100kms) - 14th July 2021

14th July 2021: The VO1FN receiving station in Newfoundland is currently listening for 144 MHz trans-Atlantic signals from Europe. On the 14th of July, some amazing FT8 signals were heard in the opposite direction with some off the back of the beam.

The map above shows how the receiver at VO1FN caught a Sporadic-E opening in progress to the west.

The cluster of FT8 stations in the centre are all single hop Sporadic-E but the two of real interest are the double hop signals further west.

KA9CFD in Illinois was at a distance of 3,109 kms

W0ZQ in Minnesota was at a distance of 3,102 kms.

These are the FT8 reports from the PSK Reporter website in order of time...

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VE3ELL 2m FT8 2118 km 19:52:41

W0ZQ 2m FT8 3102 km 19:22:44
N1BUG 2m FT8 1270 km 19:19:26
N2OA 2m FT8 2047 km 19:18:56
VE3WWR 2m FT8 2159 km 19:18:11
W1FKF 2m FT8 1531 km 19:13:26
K2TER 2m FT8 1984 km 19:07:26
KA2LIM 2m FT8 1984 km 19:05:26
NA2NY 2m FT8 1681 km 19:02:26
VE2PN 2m FT8 1389 km 18:59:57
VA3KA 2m FT8 1806 km 18:54:56
VE2UG 2m FT8 1590 km 18:48:11
VE3FN 2m FT8 1767 km 18:47:14
VE3DS 2m FT8 2120 km 18:46:56
VE2DFO 2m FT8 1658 km 18:44:59
VE3CIQ 2m FT8 1811 km 18:44:29

K1KA 2m FT8 1559 km 18:24:26
WA1T 2m FT8 1496 km 18:23:26

KA9CFD 2m FT8 3109 km 17:14:26

It's interesting to note that the opening seemed to be in different phases rather than in just one short window. 

The station manager of VO1FN is Frank, VO1HP and he did mention that the beam was turned west during the opening so there would probably have been even more stations heard if the beam was pointing west from the start.

I should also point out that the PSK Reporter site only shows the last heard signal. Some of the stations around 19:00 UTC may have been heard earlier at 18:23 UTC but the site only shows the most recent signal.

What I found interesting was that there was almost two hours between the two double hop signals.

I did check to see if the International Space Station was in the sky at the time and it wasn't so that's not a factor.

Trans-Atlantic on 144 MHz??... If there can be a 3100km opening from Newfoundland to the West then why not to the East across the North Atlantic?

The map above shows two beam headings from VO1FN in Newfoundland. 279 degrees and 3100kms to the West and 81 degrees and 3100kms to the East.

Surely there are times when there is a path at 144 MHz between Newfoundland and Spain???


Wednesday, July 14, 2021

15,000km+ opening on 50 MHz between SE Australia and Europe - 14th July 2021

Wednesday 14th July 2021: Openings on the 50 MHz between Europe and Australia near the bottom of the solar cycle are supposed to be 'special'... i.e. a rare occurrence... something that doesn't happen very often.

And yet the 14th of July saw yet another opening. I'm in two minds at this stage if I should be even recording these events are they seem so common? I need these openings to stop soon so I can take a break! 😂😂

The map above shows the extent of the opening from VK2XN in New South Wales in the SE of Australia. You'll notice that opening on the 14th seems to be mainly to the south-east of Europe. The longest path on FT8 was to IS0AWZ in Sardinia at 16,334kms.

I found the map for VK2OO near Sydney to be of interest...

Notice how the 50 MHz went up as far as Finland. Also notice how VK2OO also had what seemed to be a big opening to Japan at about 04:00 UTC (~8000kms) and this was followed later by the opening to Europe around 07:00 UTC. It has all the appearance of TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation).

As far as I can tell, the opening from Europe seemed to be largely confined to VK2 and VK3 stations in New South Wales and Victoria in the SE of Australia.

These are the spots from the DX Cluster... 
VK2WJ 50313.0 UR0MC 07:36 14 Jul FT8 QF56ss -> KN99ea Ukraine
VK3OER 50313.0 LY2IJ 07:20 14 Jul 071830 -10 0.2 2342 ~ CQ DX L Lithuania
LY2IJ 50313.0 VK3OER 07:17 14 Jul TU QSO! Australia
DO5OT 50313.0 VK3DUT 07:13 14 Jul JO62WL<ES>QF32VF ft8 TNX new o Australia
LY2IJ 50313.0 VK3ZYC 07:04 14 Jul TU QSO! QF31<>KO25 Australia
IK6DTB 50313.0 VK2XN 06:35 14 Jul TNX 73 Australia
SV2JAO 50313.0 VK2XN 06:12 14 Jul kn10<es>qf59 Australia
VK3ZAZ 50313.0 S57RR 05:49 14 Jul FT8, CQ vk Slovenia
VK3OT-@ 50313.5 S57RR 05:46 14 Jul into vk3 Slovenia
VK3OER 50313.0 4O6AH 05:31 14 Jul 052700 -14 0.2 922 ~ CQ DX 4 Montenegro
VK3DUT-@ 50313.0 406AH 05:31 14 Jul -17 rx only Montenegro
VK3DUT-@ 50313.0 I6WJB 05:30 14 Jul -18 rx only Italy
SV1DH 50313.0 VK3BD 05:30 14 Jul CQ -16db and gone Australia

FT8 paths for Australian stations on 50 MHz to Europe are shown below...

3000km+ opening on 144 MHz between the USA and the Caribbean - 13th July 2021

In this post, we'll look at what looks like an unusual 3000km+ opening in North America between the USA and the Caribbean on the 13th of July 2021.

There seems to have been two very active Sporadic-E regions that were both capable of supporting propagation at 144 MHz. The map above shows the paths on FT8 from WP4KJJ in Puerto Rico to the USA. Most of the stations in Florida, in the SE of the USA and up the east coast are all likely to be one hop Sporadic-E. That cluster of stations out around the 3000km mark are probably double hop Sporadic-E.

The longest path that I found on the PSK Reporter website was between WP4KJJ in Puerto Rico and K2DRH in the NE of Illinois, a distance just over 3470kms.

The double hop part of the opening seems to have been mostly confined to Puerto Rico (KP4) and the Dominican Republic (HI8). The map above from HI8DL shows the same single hop and double hop Sporadic-E pattern.

K2DRH seems to have been the furthest away from the Caribbean stations and this is the FT8 map for him...

As you can see, it shows some single hop Sporadic-E to Florida as well as double hop to the Caribbean.

I also found another 3000km+ opening between K2TXB in New Jersey and PJ4NX in Bonaire at 15:02 UTC.

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
K2TXB PJ4NX 2m FT8 3172 km 15:02:30

NV4B also reports that he made a FT8 contact with J79WTA in Dominica, a distance of just over 3370kms.

NV4B 2m FT8 3381 km 15:51:30
WB4OMG 2m FT8 2548 km 17:05:29

On the DX Cluster, N0JK in the east of Kansas reported hearing WP4KJJ at -18dB although the report didn't appear on the PSK Reporter website. The distance was just under 3650kms.

N0JK 144174.0 WP4KJJ 17:05 13 Jul EM28IX<>FK68XF copied -18 rpt

While there were some SSB contacts made, most if not all of the double hop ones were via FT8.

Propagation Mode: It does seem that in this instance, it really was a case of a double hop Sporadic-E opening. The tropo forecast shows some enhancement over the ocean but I suspect it was mostly double hop. 

Whether it reflected off the Atlantic ocean at the mid point or was chordal hop (Sp-E cloud to cloud) is open to debate.

There did seem to be another smaller double hop opening around 22:00 UTC but the data I have presented here is after the first one.

These are the FT8 reports that I saw over 2500kms for the opening around 17:00 UTC...

Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Opening on 50 MHz between Europe and SE Australia - 13th July 2021

13th July 2021: There was yet another opening on the 50 MHz band between Australia and Europe. In contrast to other openings, this one was a bit unusual in that it seemed to be largely confined to the state of Victoria in the SE of Australia.

These are the spots from the DX cluster which seems to suggest that once again, all of the activity was on FT8...

VK3OT-@ 50313.0 UY1HY 05:48 13 Jul heard in to vk3 Ukraine
VK3OT-@ 50313.0 UR9QQ 05:45 13 Jul in to QF12 32 Ukraine
VK3OT-@ 50313.0 DK8NE 05:45 13 Jul In to Qf12 22 32 Fed. Rep. of Germany
VK3OT-@ 50313.0 SV1DH 05:44 13 Jul into VK3 QF122232 Greece
VK3OT-@ 50313.0 UR0MC 05:43 13 Jul Into Qf12 Qf22 Ukraine

50 MHz paths from DK8NE were confined to the state of Victoria

It's interesting to note that the opening seemed to have a one-hour window lasting roughly from  05:15 to 06:15 UTC. Local sunset in Victoria was at 07:12 UTC.

The longest path that I could find was from VK3DUT in Victoria to F4HMQ near Paris in France, a distance of almost 17,000kms.

These are the FT8 reports from the PSK Reporter website...

3000km+ opening from the Canary Islands to Germany - 8th July 2021

On the 8th of July 2021, there was another example of a 3000km+ path on 144 MHz between the Canary Islands and Germany. As can be seen from the map above and the DX Cluster spots below, both DK5AI and DL8DAU in German managed to complete a digital FT8 contact with EA8JK.

DL8DAU-@ 144174.0 EA8JK 15:00 08 Jul JO40<ES>IL18 -20/+6 tnx! Canary Islands
DK5AI 144174.0 EA8JK 14:59 08 Jul JO51GO<ES>IL18 Thanks 73! Canary Islands

The distances were 3674kms for DK5AI and 3287kms for DL8DAU.

Update: Frank, PA4EME in JO20WX also reports reception of EA8JK as well.

Propagation Mode: It would seem to be another example of a combined Sporadic-E and tropo ducting path. The tropo prediction map below from F5LEN shows the presence of a maritime duct between the Canary Islands and the south-west coast of the Iberian Peninsula.

It's likely that this tropo duct accounted for 1000-1300kms of the total path. The rest was due to a short Sporadic-E opening from Germany which coupled into the NE end of the duct.

There is also the possibility that it was double hop Sporadic-E but the probability of this is a lot lower than a combined tropo/Sp-E path.

More examples of 3000km+ openings can be seen on my 144 MHz page.

Sunday, July 11, 2021

18,000km opening on 50 MHz between New Zealand and Europe - 11th July 2021

Sunday 11th July 2021: It looks as if there was another extensive opening on the 50 MHz band between Australia and Europe with ZL1RS in the north of New Zealand managing to get in on the action as well.

These were the FT8 paths open to ZL1RS and as can be seen, the longest one was 18,126kms to IK8GYS in the south of Italy.

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
IK8GYS ZL1RS 6m FT8 18126 km 06:09:44
I6WJB ZL1RS 6m FT8 18077 km 06:20:14
SV2DCD ZL1RS 6m FT8 17542 km 04:36:14
HA2NP ZL1RS 6m FT8 17497 km 04:23:14
SV2JAO ZL1RS 6m FT8 17457 km 06:10:14
SV1DH ZL1RS 6m FT8 17309 km 05:34:14
SV9CVY ZL1RS 6m FT8 17199 km 05:13:14
R6KA ZL1RS 6m FT8 16326 km 06:46:45
UB7K ZL1RS 6m FT8 16281 km 06:13:44

The main opening was from Australia to Europe...

One of the longest paths from Australia was from VK2EFM near Sydney to EA6VQ on the Balearic Islands, a distance of about 17,100kms.

The DX Cluster spots for the day are shown below and they suggest that all of the activity was via the FT8 digital mode.

Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
VK2WJ 50313.0 IT9PQJ 06:41 11 Jul CDM IT9* CDM I* IOTA EU-025 Sicily
IW0FFK 50313.0 VK2WJ 06:39 11 Jul JN61FS<ES>QF56 tu 880 Hz Australia
4O6AH 50313.0 VK4MA 06:38 11 Jul tnx for FT8 QSO new one Australia
HA8CE 50313.0 VK4HJ 06:31 11 Jul Tnx !! Australia
IW0FFK 50313.0 VK2EFM 06:30 11 Jul JN61FS<ES>QF56 tu nw cq Australia
SV9CVY 50313.0 VK4HJ 06:21 11 Jul 591 ~ CQ EU VK4HJ QG63 Australia
IK1EGC-@ 50313.6 VK4HJ 05:43 11 Jul FT8 JN35<>QG63 Australia
VK3DUT-@ 50313.0 R6KA 04:49 11 Jul tu B +3 European Russia
UR0MC 50313.0 VK1KW 04:42 11 Jul Tnx New Grid Australia
VK3DUT-@ 50313.0 SV1DH 04:41 11 Jul Best +6 Greece
VK3OER 50313.0 R6KA 04:40 11 Jul 043900 -9 0.4 522 ~ CQ R6KA European Russia
VK3OT-@ 50315.0 UR5LAK 04:26 11 Jul KN89<FT8>QF12 QSO 73 again Ukraine
VK3DUT-@ 50313.0 UR0MC 04:15 11 Jul wkg S50R Ukraine
VK3DUT-@ 50313.0 UR0LAK 04:14 11 Jul FT8, into VK3 Ukraine
ZL1RS 50313.0 4L/DL7ZM 03:34 11 Jul RX only calling ZL Georgia
Z32ZM 50313.0 ZL3RC 03:57 11 Jul -14 dB 600Hz - and gone New Zealand

The opening seems to have been from 04:00 to 07:00 UTC which is 2pm to 5pm in Sydney. When the band does open, it seems to be pretty consistent around this window which suggests that it is not due to some random alignment of Sporadic-E clouds.

These are the paths on FT8 for the various Australian stations to Europe that I could find.

Saturday, July 10, 2021

FM radio station on the Azores (87.7 MHz) heard across the Atlantic in Ontario, Canada - 8th July 2021

Thurs 8th July 2021: I reported recently on how a FM radio station on 88.0 MHz in Iceland had been heard near Cape Cod on the NE coast of the USA, a distance of some 3900kms. I can now report that a FM radio station on the Azores was heard in Ontario, Canada on the same day.

At 10:39 UTC on the 8th of July, William Hepburn near Grimsby in Ontario, Canada managed to hear RTP Antena 3 on Ponta Delgada in the Azores on a frequency of 87.7 MHz.

The distance was approximately 4,520 kms which is very close to the limit for double hop Sporadic-E.

William writes... "It took some investigation, podcasts, and a mix-up with Azores vs. Portugal time zones, but I managed to confirm reception of 87.7 RTP-3 Ponta Delgada, Azores (Pico de Barrosa xmtr) here in Grimsby, ON at 6:38-6:40 p.m. EDT July 8th. Top-of-the-band skip to Newfoundland was in at the time."

You can find a recording of what was heard on William's blog post HERE

For this extraordinary catch, William was using an ICOM R-8600 with a CHANNEL MASTER CM-3671 antenna.

Analysis: This is yet another example that Sporadic-E regions with a high maximum usable frequency (MUF) up as far as Band 2 (88-108 MHz) can occur over the North Atlantic. It may be possible that at times, one of the two regions may have a MUF up as high as 144 MHz.

It's interesting to look at the 4500 km circle and seeing how it reaches the Caribbean. 

Is there anyone in the Caribbean listening for FM radio stations on the Azores and the Canary Islands?

Is there anyone on the Azores or the Canary Islands listening for FM radio stations in the Caribbean?

If a FM radio station on Band 2 (88-108 MHz) can be heard then perhaps a contact on 144 MHz might be possible?

Friday, July 9, 2021

Mystery US callsign spotted on WSPR on 80m to 10m in Europe

The callsign K9YO with the locator square JO22SA has been reported on WSPR on 80m to 10m since the 28th of June 2021. 

The transmitter doesn't seem to be operational all of the time and the WSPR signal has been reported by 47 stations since the 28th of June. The map above shows those who have heard this signal on 28 MHz (10M) which suggests that the transmitter was only on air for a short period.

Does anyone have any info as to why is there a US callsign in the Netherlands???

Update: The LU7AA.ORG website suggests that it might have been a balloon.

FM radio station in Iceland on 88 MHz is heard in the USA (3900kms) - 8th July 2021

Thurs 8th July 2021: Over the last few weeks, there have been some remarkable openings on the FM band in the North Atlantic. Links to post HERE

On the 8th of July, there was yet another opening in the North Atlantic when a FM radio station on 88 MHz in Iceland was heard by four individuals in the USA. Three in the state of Massachusetts and one in New Jersey.

21:53 UTC 88.00 MHz RÚV Rás 1, Stykkishólmsbær/Stykkishólmur-símstöð (3,945 kms) 18kW (Bryce Foster (K4NBF), Mashpee, MA, USA)

22:06 UTC  88.00 MHz RÚV Rás 1, Stykkishólmsbær/Stykkishólmur-símstöð (3,921 kms) 18 kW (Jeff Lehmann, Rockland, MA, USA)

The individuals concerned were... Bryce Foster, K4NBF (MA), Jeff ?? (MA), Keith McGinnis (MA) and Nick Langan (NJ).

As can be seen above, the distance was just over 3,900 kms. The likely propagation mode was double hop Sporadic-E (1950 kms x 2). 

However, that part of the Mesosphere where Noctilucent Clouds are found has been shown to reflect radio signals and that can't be ruled out.

One hop Sporadic-E reception on Band 2 over southern latitudes for example in Europe or the USA is really nothing special. When we start getting up into the Arctic regions, it's less obvious what the cause is for long distance VHF signals and that's why these reports are of interest.

Thursday, July 8, 2021

FM radio stations from Spain & Portugal heard in Canada again - 7th July 2021

Back on the 21st of June 2021, there was a remarkable opening across the North Atlantic when a FM radio station in Spain was heard by Larry Horlick, VO1FOG in Canada for the first time. Post HERE

On the 7th of July 2021, there was another trans-Atlantic opening when Larry Horlick heard five FM radio stations in Spain & Portugal on frequencies ranging from 88 to 93 MHz.

UTC MHz Station, location (Distance km) kW ERP 

13:18 87.90 RTP Antena 1, Serra da Lousã/Trevim, Portugal, (3,657 kms) 34 kW

13:52 89.90 Los 40 Classic, Segovia, Spain, (3,916 kms) 2 kW

13:53 90.00 Cadena 100, Salamanca, Spain, (3,799 kms) 6 kW

14:08 93.10 RNE Radio Clásica, Valladolid/Cerro de San Cristóbal, Spain, (3,838 kms) 30 kW

14:15 88.20 Los 40, León/Las Lomas (CAL-LE), Spain, (3,728 kms)  4 kW

Larry reports that the opening started at 12:54 UTC and lasted until about 14:27 UTC (~90 mins). Some of the Spanish stations were really strong and nothing was heard above 93.1 MHz.

During the opening, Larry tried three different antenna types on receive.... a half-wave dipole (retuned from lo Band TV to  FM BC), a new 10 el K6STI Yagi, and  a discone. 

The Yagi was superior all the time even though it had to be pointed to a beam heading of 45 degrees to prevent overload and intermod from the local FM radio stations in St.Johns. (Spain is 084 deg)

Even being outside the 3 dB beam width, Larry reports that signals were MUCH stronger on the Yagi than on the dipole. The discone antenna was useless.

Credits: I must thank Paul Logan in Ireland and Jorge Garzon in Spain for confirming that these recordings. Both are very experienced FMDXers and it's great to have their expertise to call on to make sure there was no mistake.

Propagation Mode: It looks likely that it's a case of double hop Sporadic-E again with perhaps two 1900km hops.

The weather map for the day shows an interesting kink in the Jet Stream in the middle of the North Atlantic and these features have been associated with Sproadic-E regions overhead.


Considering that this is the second time a Spanish FM radio station has been heard in Newfoundland in 3 weeks, it raises some questions...

I really wonder if this opening is exceptional or does this trans-Atlantic path on the 88-108 MHz band open a lot of the time? Do FM radio stations in Spain & Portugal cross the Atlantic on a regular basis?

And if FM radio stations from Spain are reaching Newfoundland then FM radio stations in Canada must be reaching Spain. Is anyone listening? Who will be the first person on the Iberian Peninsula to hear a FM radio station from North America?


1) Larry's log on FM list for the 7th of July 2021