Sunday, October 31, 2021

Big opening on 28 MHz - 30th Oct 2021

Saturday 30th October 2021:
As can be seen from the map above, this was a really good day on the 28 MHz band with  total of 634 stations in 59 DXCC countries heard on FT8.

The signals ranged from Australia to the East to California to the West. The solar flux was at 107.

A total of 7 stations from Australia were heard.

 Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VK3GA 10m FT8 17435 km 09:40:59
VK3AXI 10m FT8 17299 km 09:22:59
VK4CAG 10m FT8 16889 km 09:41:59
VK6RK 10m FT8 15064 km 12:17:59
VK6XN 10m FT8 15056 km 12:24:44
VK6AS 10m FT8 15053 km 12:19:29
VK6MIT 10m FT8 15043 km 07:18:29

It's worth pointing out that these signals were heard with just a vertical CB type half-wave antenna and not a beam on a tower.

1) No sign of Japan or the NW coast of the USA. Conditions were good but not that good.

2) 634 stations heard on FT8 despite the fact that one of the largest SSB contests was going on at the same time. A lot of people don't like contests and in the past, they might have avoided using the radio this weekend because it would appear as if there was nothing but contest stations running kilowatts on the band. 

Now with FT8, they can get on the air and make contacts. Not everyone likes FT8 either but at least it's a real option for a contest weekend.

3) Big gap again down the middle of Europe showing where the shorter range Sporadic-E signals end and the longer range F2 signals start. At about 12:00 UTC, I looked at the map of what was heard in the last 6 six hours and nearly all of the Sporadic-E signals from Western Europe were missing i.e. proving that the signals from Eastern Europe are via F2 layer propagation and not some sort of double hop Sporidic-E.

Saturday, October 30, 2021

Opening to Australia & China on 28 MHz - 29th Oct 2021

Friday 29th October 2021: I switched back to FT8 for this day to check for the aftereffects of the solar flare of Thursday on the HF bands. It looks as if the 28 MHz band has fully recovered although that might change on Sunday once the material from the flare hits the earth.

On the 29th of Oct, there was a nice opening to China and Australia. A total of 8 stations from Australia were heard on FT8 which is always nice on the 28 MHz band. I wouldn't be too bothered if this was on the lower HF bands.

 Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VK1MA 10m FT8 17437 km 08:13:59
VK2LAW 10m FT8 17434 km 08:01:59
VK2AHE 10m FT8 17368 km 08:16:14
VK2MBK 10m FT8 17325 km 08:27:29
VK5XY 10m FT8 16798 km 10:25:59
VK5DOC 10m FT8 16787 km 10:24:14
VK6AS 10m FT8 15053 km 11:41:29
VK8NSB 10m FT8 14315 km 09:27:14

A total of 291 stations in 43 DXCC countries were heard on FT8 on the band and the solar flux was 108.

Friday, October 29, 2021

Solar noise detected on 28 MHz after X1 flare on the sun - 28th Oct 2021

Thursday 28th October 2021: I spent most of the day listening for WSPR signals on the 28 MHz but it was pretty poor mainly due to a lack of WSPR signals.

The big surprise during the day was the large burst of solar noise on the band in the afternoon. This sounded like a loud hissing sound and it was spread across the band. 

Solar noise has a softer kind of sound as compared to electrical interference and it rises and falls in amplitude whereas electrical noise tends to be on/off.

The solar noise got up as high as S8 at one stage which is way above my usual noise floor of S1-2. It was so pronounced that I wrote down the time... 15:28 UTC.

I checked the X-Ray flux later in the day and sure enough, a big X1 flare had gone off on the sun at the same time I heard the solar noise.

You will notice from the image at the top of the post that the flare is pointing right at Earth. It's likely that the material ejected from the sun will reach the Earth this weekend resulting in possible auroral conditions and making a mess of the HF bands in general.

Update: The material is likely to impact the Earth after 21:00 UTC on the Saturday the 30th of October which will be almost in the middle of the CQWW SSB contest. The overall impact will be dependent on the magnetic polarity of the incoming material.

Video: Space weather physicist Dr. Tamitha Skov has a lot more detail about the event below...

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Opening to Antarctica on 28 MHz - 27th Oct 2021

Wednesday 27th October 2021: For a change, I decided to monitor the 28 MHz band for WSPR signals even though I knew the level of activity would be dramatically lower than FT8.

FT8 is a really good mode for monitoring band conditions and seeing what part of the world the 28 MHz band is open to. The problem for me is that when things start getting too easy and every days looks the same then I get bored.

The same happens in April of every year. I start off looking for the start of the Sporadic-E season with FT8 and seeing how it progresses. Once the season gets underway and there are hundreds of stations heard on FT8, I get bored and move to WSPR.

On the 28th of October, I heard just 28 stations on WSPR as compared to the usual several hundred on FT8. Despite the low number, it was enough to make it interesting.

The longest reception reports are shown below but it was nice to see VK2DVM near Sydney and the German Antarctic station DP0GVN make it through.

 UTC (y-m-d) TX txGrid RX rxGrid MHz W SNR km 

2021-10-27 08:36 VK2DVM QF56di EI7GL IO51tu 28.126094 10 -24 17364 
2021-10-27 12:48 DP0GVN IB59ui EI7GL IO51tu 28.126032 5 -26 13621 
2021-10-27 09:00 HS0AJ OK03ft EI7GL IO51tu 28.126075 1 -26 10045 
2021-10-27 10:18 4Z4SI KM72 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126165 0.2 -23 4086 
2021-10-27 11:58 5T5PA IL10 EI7GL IO51tu 28.126181 0.2 -25 3569 
2021-10-27 08:48 TA4/G8SCU KM56vo EI7GL IO51tu 28.126034 5 -22 3561 

WSPR is far from perfect though. I heard nothing from North or South America and this was more due to a lack of stations rather than a lack of propagation.

Most of the WSPR signals heard were due to a Sporadic-E opening to Europe.

The solar flux was up to 111.

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

Skip Zones on 28 MHz - 26th Oct 2021

Tuesday 26th October 2021: As the solar flux jumped up to 109, it was another good day on the 28 MHz band with 538 stations heard on FT8 in 49 DXCC countries.

The band looked pretty similar to previous day  although what stood out for me was the opening to China and Australia. These are some of the more interesting signals heard on the day...

 Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VK2MBK 10m FT8 17325 km 08:22:59 (Australia)
VK2IS 10m FT8 17275 km 08:05:29 (Australia)
VK6APK 10m FT8 15125 km 09:30:14 (Australia)
9W6EZ 10m FT8 11726 km 08:57:14 (East Malaysia)
3B9FR 10m FT8 10540 km 15:51:44 (Rodriguez Is)
BX5AA 10m FT8 10221 km 08:25:14 (Taiwan)
VR2XYL 10m FT8 10046 km 08:50:29 (Hong Kong)
BD7JQD 10m FT8 10037 km 08:46:29 (China)
BG7PHA 10m FT8 10037 km 08:30:59 (China)
BD7MJO 10m FT8 10003 km 08:28:44 (China)
BA7IO 10m FT8 10003 km 08:43:14 (China)
BG0COH 10m FT8 9888 km 08:34:44 (China)
BG7SAY 10m FT8 9784 km 08:14:29 (China)
7P8RU 10m FT8 9715 km 16:22:44 (Lesotho)
BA7BK 10m FT8 9438 km 08:26:44 (China)

Skip Zone: I'm sure a lot of radio amateurs monitoring the band have no idea what type of propagation is responsible for what they are hearing and some won't care. However some of the newer operators on the band may be curious.

In this post, I'm not going to get into what Sporadic-E and F2 layer propagation is as this is explained on many other websites. 

I will however have a quick look at what the actual difference means on the 28 MHz band by looking at the map below from the 26th of October 2021.

Sporadic-E signals come off a layer in the atmosphere that is about 110kms up and the maximum range for signals is in the region of 2200kms. This is shown by the YELLOW line above. Even though the main Sporadic-E season is in the Summer months, we can still have plenty of Sporadic-E in October which is strong enough to support 28 MHz signals.

F2 layer signals come off a layer that is about 400kms up and as a result, the signals have a much greater range. F2 layer signals on 28 MHz are due to radiation from the sun and are getting better as we start heading back up towards the sunspot maximum in a few years. The GREEN line shows the minimum distance for F2 layer signals which for me is about the 2800km mark. Anything shorter and the angle is too high. Anything longer and it's probably ok out to a maximum one-hop range of 4000kms. 

The map shows the skip zone for me on 28 MHz on the 26th of October 2021. If you are on 28 MHz then you will probably have a similar skip zone. 

Just check the PSK Reporter website and see what you have heard in the last 24 hours. See if there is a gap out around 2200-2800kms.

Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Good opening to the USA on 28 MHz - 25th Oct 2021

Monday 25th October 2021: This was a pretty similar to other recent days on 28 MHz with 591 stations on FT8 in 61 countries heard on the band. 

What was different was that it seemed pretty good to the USA with a good few stations coming in from the eastern half of the country.

Interesting to see a pocket of stations in Arizona and New Mexico making it through.

The solar flux is at 101 which is well up on the 76 of a week ago.

Monday, October 25, 2021

51 DXCC countries heard on 28 MHz - 24th Oct 2021

Sunday 24th October 2021: This was a pretty good day on the 28 MHz band with 681 stations in 51 DXCC countries heard on FT8. In terms of numbers, that's about the same as a very good day at the peak of the Sporadic-E season during the Summer.

In this case however, it's a mix a some Sporadic-E to Europe and some F2 propagation to the rest of the world.

As always, it's the East-West propagation that is interesting. What I noted were...

a) Five stations from Australia.

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VK6APK 10m FT8 15125 km 08:30:59
VK6IR 10m FT8 15097 km 08:58:44
VK6DW 10m FT8 15061 km 09:07:14
VK6OZ 10m FT8 15056 km 11:36:14
VK8NSB 10m FT8 14315 km 10:32:14

b) RA9 stations from Asiatic Russia coming through. When I heard UA9/RA9 stations on 28 MHz then it's a good sign.

c) K7SP from Arizona.

d) Skip zones... If you look at the map, you'll notice a zone going through Bulgaria, Romania, the far west of Ukraine and European Russia. This is where the Sporadic-E stops (max distance) and the F2 propagation starts (min distance).

What's missing are stations from Japan and the west coast of the USA. As we get further up the solar cycle, those paths will be possible to stations with very modest antennas.

The solar flux was 93.

Sunday, October 24, 2021

Big opening on 50 MHz between South Africa & Europe - 23rd Oct 2021

Saturday 23rd October 2021: I was first alerted to this big opening on the 50 MHz band between Europe and South Africa when Tom, SP5XMU posted the map on the left on Twitter and tagged me.

This is a snapshot of FT8 signals on the 50 MHz over a short period but it clearly shows an opening in progress.

As well as posting the photo, Tom writes... "First solid Trans-Equatorial Propagation #TEP on 50 MHz in Solar Cycle 25 from south Europe to South Africa"

In this post, we'll look at the opening and keep a record of how extensive the opening was.

FT8: As per usual, FT8 was the dominant mode for the opening and the list below shows how many European stations were heard by each of the African stations.

Call - # of stns heard
ZS6NJ - 86 (10 DXCC)
ZS6NK - 79
ZS6WAB - 53
ZS6AF - 44
ZS6OB - 23
ZS6JGL - 18
V51WC - 16
ZS6BOS - 15
ZS4TX - 6
ZS6AYE - 5

ZS6NK: While ZS6NK was the second highest in terms of stations heard, it was interesting to see that the path for him extended beyond the usual TEP zone.

You can see the line of stations in the south of Europe that ZS6NK heard but it goes up to the UK and Germany as well.

Here is the map of Europe in more detail...

FT8 reports from Germany & England...

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
ZS6NK G0BNR 6m FT8 8965 km 14:45:26
ZS6NK DK8NE 6m FT8 8489 km 15:34:59
ZS6NK DL1YM 6m FT8 8370 km 15:34:59

It's likely that there was some Sporadic-E which allowed the TEP signals from Africa reach further north into Europe.

Sometimes, the locations where there are no signals can be interesting as well. For example, there was no path for ZS6NK to Slovenia, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania. Likewise in South Africa, it was the stations in the north of the country that were enjoying the TEP opening and there was no sign of the stations further south near Cape Town.

Namibia: V51WC in Namibia was also active and his FT8 is shown below...

Like the stations near in the north of South Africa, he is far enough north to avail of the TEP opening.

SSB & CW: Looking at the DX Cluster, there was some activity on SSB and CW as well. See below...

The DX cluster spots for V51 & ZS on the day are shown below. Non-FT8 are in bold...

TEP opening on 40 MHz between South Africa and Europe - 23rd Oct 2021

Saturday 23rd October 2021:
This seemed like a particularly good day for TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) with signals on the 40 MHz (8m) and 50 MHz (6m) from South Africa reaching Europe. In this post, we'll just look at the 40 MHz opening.

The map above shows the reports from the DX-Cluster with several stations across the south of Europe hearing Willem, ZS6WAB on 40.675 MHz.

Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
SV8CS 40675.0 ZS6WAB 14:04 23 Oct FT8 Beacon South Africa
I0YLI 40675.0 ZS6WAB 13:28 23 Oct JN61HU<TEP>KG46RB Calling CQ . South Africa
EA3ERE 40675.0 ZS6WAB 13:18 23 Oct JN11CX<ES>KG46 +2db cq South Africa
IZ0CBD 40675.0 ZS6WAB 13:00 23 Oct JN61FP<TEP>KG46RB Rx 589 South Africa
IK0OKY 40675.0 ZS6WAB/B 12:52 23 Oct JN61ES<TEP>KG46RC 559 South Africa

Most of the distances seem to be in the region of 7000-8000kms.

SV2DCD in Greece and 9H1TX on Malta also report hearing ZS6WAB.

Report 1: Francesco, IZ0CBD in JN61FP near Rome reports hearing the ZS6WAB beacon on 40.675 MHz with a Kenwood TS2000 transceiver and a 6-element Yagi for the 50 MHz band.

Here is a nice video from Francesco showing his reception of the 8m beacon...

Report 2: Emilio, IK0OKY writes to say that he and Pino, IK0SMG both heard ZS6WAB/B on 40.675 MHz from JN61 Square. IK0OKY writes... "Signals were very good with peaks up to 559 on a FT 847 and 2 element quad fractal antenna for the 6 meter band. Pino uses an IC7300 plus a 2 el HB9CV for 6m as well. After a nice 50 Mhz opening to South Africa and Namibia took place as well with ZS6 and V51 stations coming in."

Video 1 from IK0SMG shows how strong the signal was...

Video 2 from IK0OKY shows reception of the 8m beacon on a Yaesu FT-847...

Propagation Mode: It seems to be assumed that the propagation mode for these low band VHF signals near the bottom of the sunspot cycle are TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation). However as the solar flux rises, there will be a stage where North-South paths on the low VHF bands are possible via F2 layer propagation.

Considering this opening reached 50 MHz as well, I suspect it was due to TEP but as the solar flux rises, I don't think we can always assume it is. It could well be that paths that cross the equator like this will be a mixture of both.

1) As always, there is plenty of information about the 8m band on my 40 MHz page HERE

Saturday, October 23, 2021

28 MHz band opening to Australia - Sat 23rd Oct 2021

Saturday 23rd October 2021: This was a pretty big day on the 28 MHz band with 439 stations in 46 DXCC countries heard with the FT8 mode. The bulk of these were due to a Sporadic-E opening to Europe and a very good F2 opening to Ukraine & Russia.

The signals that caught my interest though were the three stations from Australia.

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
VK4ZC 10m FT8 16973 km 08:25:44
VK8NSB 10m FT8 14315 km 09:34:44
VK8ZJZ 10m FT8 14314 km 08:39:29

It was very unusual to hear VK4ZC near Brisbane on the east coast. As you can see, nothing else was heard along that northerly path. I have no proof but I suspect the path may have been skewed with the signals staying closer to the equator.

The solar flux was at 87.

Friday, October 22, 2021

Opening to Australia on 28 MHz - Fri 22nd Oct 2021

Friday 22nd October 2021:
Compared to some of the recent openings on the 28 MHz, the day wasn't all that exceptional with 204 stations in 44 countries heard on FT8.

However, it's always nice to hear Australia on the 10-metre band. VK6JJJ in Perth is just over 15,000kms from my location.

The solar flux was at 82.

Wednesday, October 20, 2021

TEP opening on 144 MHz between Argentina & the Caribbean - 20th Oct 2021

Wednesday 20th October 2021: It's interesting to see that the TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) openings are continuing on 144 MHz in South America.

This is a sample of the TEP spots from the DX-Cluster with distances in the region of 5300 to 6000kms...

 Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
LW2DAF 144180.0 HI8DL 00:12 20 Oct CQ CQ Q65B 15s Dominican Republic
LU5BE 144180.0 HI8DL 00:11 20 Oct Q65B -4 dB 961 Hz Dominican Republic
LU5CQC 144290.0 HI8DL 00:04 20 Oct USB PHONE S5 A 6022 KM Dominican Republic
LU5CQC 144180.0 HI8DL 23:52 19 Oct Q65 DX 6022KM TEP Dominican Republic
LW2DAF 144310.0 HI8DL 23:42 19 Oct 55 IN GF05rk Dominican Republic
LU7DW-@ 144290.0 HI8DL 23:38 19 Oct Dominican Republic

 Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
LU5CQC 144180.0 PJ2BR 00:11 20 Oct Q65 DX 5300 KM TEP Curacao
LW2DAF 144180.0 PJ2BR 00:11 20 Oct CQ CQ Q65B 15s Curacao 
LU5BE 144180.0 PJ2BR 00:11 20 Oct Q65B -3 dB 1395 Hz Curacao
LU5BE-@ 144300.0 PJ2BR 23:48 19 Oct cq CQ Curacao
LW2DAF 144300.0 PJ2BR 23:44 19 Oct CQ CQ 55 in GF05rk Curacao

It's nice to see that a lot of the reports for the opening were on SSB...

In the video, LW2DAF near Buenos Aires is working HI8DL in the Dominican Republic. Note the distortion due to TEP.

In the second video clip, LW2DAF is working PJ2BR in Curacao and the distortion is even worse.

This is actually a very good reminder to all of those stations who stay all of the time on FT8 that they might be missing some good openings. If the TEP signals are too distorted then FT8 doesn't work.

It's all about using the appropriate mode for the conditions at the time.

Update: As the frequency gets higher then only signals that are at right angles to the Geomagnetic Equator are propagated. This means that signals at say 28 MHz can arrive at a wide range of angles but 144 MHz signals need to be close to 90 degrees. 

The result at 144 MHz is that stations in Argentina are working Curacao, Aruba and Dominican Republic, stations in the south of Brazil are working Guadeloupe and Martinique.

This is a video of PY2AOL working FM5CS on the 20th of October...

Sunday, October 17, 2021

First contact between Slovenia and South Africa on the new 40 MHz band - 17th Oct 2021

Sunday 17th October 2021: A little bit of radio history was made today when there was a successful two way contact between S50B in Slovenia and ZS6WAB in South Africa on the new 40 MHz band.

Not only was this the first contact between Slovenia and South Africa but it was also the first contact between Europe and Africa on the new 8-metre band.

Borut, S50B reports that he worked Willem, ZS6WAB on 40.680 MHz using the FT8 digital mode...

As can be seen, the signal was quite weak at -8dB and -10dB which suggests that a contact on CW might have been possible but unlikely on SSB.

S50B writes... "I'd like to announce the first 8m, 40mhz, FT8 qso between AF-EU and South Africa and Slovenia. Mny tnx to ZS6WAB.....Juupii 🙂 73 de Borut s50b"

The key point about this contact is that it shows the 40 MHz path between Europe and South Africa is possible and in future, CW and SSB contacts may follow.

Distance: The contact was in the region of 7925kms which means by default, it also sets a new distance record for the new 40 MHz band.

Propagation Mode: If this contact was on 50 MHz, I'd probably be saying it was TEP - Trans-Equatorial Propagation. At the moment, we're getting modest East-West openings at 28 MHz further north in Europe. It stands to reason that openings from the south of Europe on paths to the South must extend well up into the low VHF region above 30 MHz.

Does the F2 MUF to the south extend up as far as 40 MHz? I really don't believe anyone can say with 100% certainty that this opening was only F2 layer or it was only TEP. The solar flux today was just 78 which isn't all that high.

Equipment: Subject to confirmation, I think S50B was using 100 watts from an ICOM IC-7100 into a 4-element Yagi as shown above. 

ZS6WAB uses an old ICOM IC-706 for the 8m CW beacon with a 5-element YU7EF designed Yagi so I presume that is what was used.

Antenna stack at ZS6WAB with the 40 MHz Yagi at the top

Hopefully, this contact will encourage more experiments on the 40 MHz band. There is a number of new 40 MHz experimental stations in the USA and an 8m contact contact between South Africa and North America would be really interesting.

As always, if you want more information on the new 8m band then check out the links in my 40 MHz page.

Saturday, October 16, 2021

South African 8-metre beacon on 40.675 MHz heard in Greece - 6th October 2021

In a report by email, Leonidas SV2DCD in Greece informs me that he heard the ZS6WAB 8-metre beacon in South Africa on 40.675 MHz.

"Hi there John. TEP is back again on 8m band. Today me and SV8CS had copy from ZS6WAB/B 40.675mhz with peak around 16:50z best copy 539 qsb

Here is a video of my copy ZS6WAB/B @ SV2DCD via TEP 6/10/2021 16:40z 40.675mhz "

You can see a video of the reception below...

As outlined in the video title, Leonidas feels that the propagation mode was TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation). I have shown the Geomagnetic Equator in the map above and it seems to be roughly equidistant from both stations.

The distance was approximately 7,220 kms. Leonidas was using an 8-element Yagi for 50 MHz to listen to the beacon on 8m.

I also understand that the South African 40 MHz beacon has been heard in the south of Portugal in the last few days as well.

SV2DCD also reported hearing the same 40 MHz beacon in April of 2021. See previous post HERE

Now that we have concrete evidence of the 8m South African beacon being heard in Europe, hopefully others will try to have a listen and report it.

Analysis... This new 40 MHz beacon could prove very useful for serious 6-metre operators in Europe checking to see if there is a propagation path to South Africa. There is quite a jump from say 28 MHz to 50 MHz where as if the band is open at 40 MHz then 50 MHz may not be far behind.


1) My previous post about the ZS6WAB beacon

2) My 40 MHz page

Australia heard on 28 MHz - Fri 15th Oct 2021

Friday 15th October 2021: It wasn't a great day for propagation on 28 MHz but it was interesting all the same to see Australia coming through on FT8.

VK8NSB 10m FT8 14315 km 10:03:44

Everything is relative I suppose, it's down on other recent days but way ahead of the poor conditions at the bottom of the sunspot cycle two years ago.

There was some Sporadic-E from Spain and a reasonable F2 opening to Greece, Turkey, Ukraine and southern Russia.

A total of 151 stations were heard in 37 countries. The solar flux was 83.

Friday, October 15, 2021

EI1KNH 40 MHz beacon heard in Lincoln, England - Oct 2021

I got a recent email from Keith, G0RQQ to say that he was hearing bursts of the Irish EI1KNH beacon on 40.013 MHz recently. The distance is approximately 370 kms.

Keith, who is in the city of Lincoln, England heard the 15-second burst with a signal of S5 at around 08:15 UTC on the 13th of October 2021. He was unable to listen to the PI4 signals as he didn't have the software installed. 

Keith is using a Yaesu FT-817ND wide-banded, and the antenna is an end-fed wire 20m long and about 1.5m above ground.

It's just a reminder that it is very easy for anyone in the UK to listen to the Irish 40 MHz beacons during the early morning (~6-7am) when meteor scatter conditions tend to be best.

For EI1KNH/B, just leave your receiver on SSB about 800 Hz lower on 40.0122 MHz and you should hear the CW and PI4 tones eventually.

For more information on the 40 MHz band, check out my 40 MHz page.

Thursday, October 14, 2021

Opening to China on 28 MHz - 13th Oct 2021

Wednesday 13th October 2021:
The big openings to the USA on 28 MHz seemed to have eased back a bit in the last few days and no two days seem to be the same. The 13th of October was a bit like that with an F2 opening to the east but very little to the west.

A total of 200 FT8 signals from 39 countries were heard on the day but most of these were due to a  Sporadic-E opening to Europe. In truth, there weren't that many F2 signals in comparison to some of the openings of late.

The ones I found of interest were the signals from China which I think were the first for me this season. On 28 MHz, it's not always the stations that are furthest away that are the most interesting but it can be  those East-West signals with the most northerly path.

The solar flux on the day was at 84.

Signals from China...
BG9NJY 10m FT8 8148 km 10:56:59
BH8MDV 10m FT8 9094 km 10:26:14

Monday, October 11, 2021

Antarctica heard on 28 MHz - Sun 10th Oct 2021

Sunday 10th October 2021: I got a bit tired of listening for FT8 signals on the 28 MHz band so I decided to go back to WSPR instead. As I had expected, the amount of activity on this digital beacon mode was drastically lower.

I had the radio on from about noon on and as you can see from the map above, it's a bit sparse. I know that if this had been FT8, there would have been lots of stations heard.

The BIG surprise however was the German research station DP0GVN in Antarctica! Wow! 

It's always interesting to see Antarctica coming through but it's really nice on 28 MHz. According to their WSPR page, they run 5-watts on WSPR. 

The signal however was very weak here. According to the log, I had one single decode at -26dB which is well below what is audible by the human ear.

Looking at the map, there is other evidence of F2 propagation as well. During the Summer months, I used to hear VE1VDM in Nova Scotia via multi-hop Sporadic-E. On the 10th of October, it was very likely due to a single F2 hop as the solar conditions improve.

The solar flux on the day was at 85.


Related to 10m info  on I would like to add, that yesterday, during Makrothen RTTY contest, there was interesting and excellent 10m opening towards USA. This is extract from S53M log.

QSO: 28085 RY 2021-10-10 1502 S53M          599 JN86 K3MM          599 FM19
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1503 S53M          599 JN86 K1MK          599 FN32
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1505 S53M          599 JN86 NA3M          599 FM19
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1505 S53M          599 JN86 K2YG          599 FN20
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1506 S53M          599 JN86 N1MGO         599 FN42
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1507 S53M          599 JN86 KB3AAY        599 FM19
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1508 S53M          599 JN86 KC2WUF        599 FN20
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1509 S53M          599 JN86 ND2K          599 FN20
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1510 S53M          599 JN86 W9ILY         599 EN51
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1515 S53M          599 JN86 WQ5L          599 EM50
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1515 S53M          599 JN86 KG4W          599 FM17
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1516 S53M          599 JN86 WA3AFS        599 FN32
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1516 S53M          599 JN86 KO7SS         599 DM42
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1517 S53M          599 JN86 K2AL          599 FN20
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1519 S53M          599 JN86 VA3LR         599 EN93
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1520 S53M          599 JN86 WA4EEZ        599 EL87
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1522 S53M          599 JN86 W9FFA         599 EM69
QSO: 28086 RY 2021-10-10 1524 S53M          599 JN86 WA1GOS        599 FN42

Kind regards
Miha, S51FB

Saturday, October 9, 2021

553 stations heard on 28 MHz - Fri 8th Oct 2021

Friday 8th Oct 2021: This was a really good day on the 28 MHz band with a total of 553 stations in 52 DXCC countries heard on the band.

The high number of stations was due mainly to two factors...

1) An extensive Sporadic-E opening to Europe which shows that even though we are in early October, there can still be Sp-E openings. It's not confined totally to the Summer months.

2) Good F2 layer opening especially to the eastern part of the USA. 

As always, it's the East-West propagation that it the most interesting rather than what rare stations popped up. If the maximum usable frequency (MUF) was struggling to reach 28 MHz then all of the propagation would be North-South. The fact that I'm hearing stations in the USA and Russia on 28 MHz probably means that the MUF to the south for me was up above 30 MHz and into the low VHF spectrum.

It's interesting to note the sharp cut-off of the stations in the USA at about 6500 kms. This was likely due to the limit of two F2 hops and there wasn't a third hop to go further.

For me, the most interesting station was AB6A in Oregon. Not so much because of the distance but because of the northerly path.

The solar flux on the day was at 93 which is on the way back up again.

FT8 / SSB... I know all of these reports are for FT8 signals but it just happens to be the easiest way to monitor band conditions. If you operate on SSB only then get ready for the CQWW SSB contest at the end of the month. I expect the 28 MHz band then to be excellent.

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Big opening to the USA on 28 MHz - Wed 6th Oct 2021

Wednesday 6th October 2021: After a few modest days, there was a good opening on 28 MHz again with plenty of East-West propagation. Quite a number of FT8 from the USA were heard but the pick of the crop was W6IBU in California. 

That makes California interesting is not so much the distance but the fact that the path was well to the north.

It was also interesting to see Mexico coming through as well as 3B9FR on Rodriguez Island in the Indian Ocean.

Between the extensive worldwide F2 opening and the Sporadic-E to Europe, a total of 488 stations in 54 DXCC countries were heard.

The solar flux on the day was 85.

Here are the maps for the previous few days but didn't really warrant an individual post.

Sunday, October 3, 2021

Opening to Texas on 28 MHz - Sat 2nd Oct 2021

Saturday 2nd October 2021: It looks like the 28 MHz band is on a bit of a roll at the moment with plenty of DX signals coming in from across the world every day. No two days are the same and the defining feature is how good the East-West propagation is.

On the 2nd, there was a very good F2 opening to the East but the multi-hop to SE Asia wasn't as good as the previous day. On the other hand, there was a good opening to the USA.

From my location in Ireland on the NW of Europe, the first and best F2 openings on 28 MHz are usually to the SE of the USA as this is the most southerly path. This turned out to be the case on the 2nd with a lot of stations from Florida making it through.

The most unusual signals were from Texas which required a more northerly path. This was another first for this season as these are the first signals that I have heard from the Lone Star state.

The Solar Flux on the 2nd was 87 and dropping. A total of 243 stations were heard on FT8 including 12 alone from South Africa.

The CQ WW SSB contest is coming up at the end of the month and I suspect all of the HF bands will be in great shape for it.

Saturday, October 2, 2021

Opening to Australia on 28 MHz - Fri 1st Oct 2021

Friday 1st October 2021: The map above shows the 206 stations that I heard on 28 MHz during the day and it shows signals coming in from all over the world. 

Considering I'm only listening with a simple half-wave vertical antenna, it shows that the band is really begin to open up as we climb out of the sunspot minimum.

There wasn't much in the way of Sporadic-E propagation to Europe and the main mode was F2 as the solar flux is at 91.

For some areas of the world, it seemed that the limitation what the number of stations that were active rather than how good the propagation was. Here are some of signals...

VK8NSB from the north of Australia, the first VK this season. There is always something special about an opening to VK from Europe on the 10m band.

49 stations from Indonesia, 13 from Israel and 10 from South Africa.

D60AC from the Comoros Islands, FR4OO from Reunion, VU3RGB from India and 4S7AVR from Sri Lanka.

5H1FF in Tanzania, 9G5FIin Ghana, V51MA in Namibia and 5T5PA in Mauritania. 

It wasn't a great day towards the west with only one lone signal coming through from New Hampshire in the USA.

Friday, October 1, 2021

More US stations on 28 MHz - Thurs 30th Sept 2021

Thursday 30th September 2021: This was a mixed day in terms of propagation. On the one hand, a total of just 61 stations were heard on FT8 and there was a very little Sporadic-E propagation. The usual F2 opening to South America was subdued.

On the other hand, the was some interesting East-West propagation with stations further north in Russia and the USA coming through. It was also the first time I heard someone from Canada this season.

I have seen reports of plenty of DX on the lower bands where things are much easier in terms of propagation but I don't really have much interest in the lower HF bands.

The Solar Flux on the day was 95.