Monday, November 29, 2021

Example of TEP on 40 MHz between South Africa & Spain - 30th Oct 2021

Back on the 30th of October 2021, there was a nice TEP opening on the new 40 MHz band between South Africa and Spain.

Joan, EA3ERE reports that he heard the ZS6WAB beacon on 40.675 MHz using an ICOM IC-7300 and a dipole for the HF bands. The distance was almost 8000kms.

Joan kindly sent on a video of the reception and it's shown below...

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Galway Radio Club Newsletter - Issue 3 - Winter 2021

Galway Radio Club have just released their Winter 2021 edition of their annual newsletter and as always, it's packed full of interesting features.

It literally covers the whole spectrum going from a 5-element beam for the 80m band to WiFi interference in the microwave bands.

You can view the PDF document HERE

For a free publication, a lot of work has obviously gone into compiling it and it a credit to what is a small radio club.

I have links to the 2019 and 2020 editions below.

3) For more information on the Galway Radio Club, visit

Friday, November 26, 2021

Baofeng UV5R is banned for sale by German authorities

The Baofeng UV-5R is a hugely popular handheld radio covering both the 144 and 432 MHz bands and is usually available for a very low price.

It is also well known for not being the cleanest of radios transmit wise with many spurs which aren't that far below the fundamental signal which can be a potential source of interference to other services.

On the 24th of November 2021, the German authorities announced a ban on sale of this radio.

Will a EU wide ban follow??

From Google translate...

Official Journal of the Federal Network Agency for electricity, gas, telecommunications, post and railways 
22 2021 - regulation, telecommunications - 1457

Ordinance No. 91/2021
Law on the provision of radio equipment on the Market (Radio Equipment Act -FuAG):
General decree regarding a sales ban for a machine
As part of the market surveillance according to the FuAG, the Federal Network Agency pointed out that the below named device does not comply with the requirements of the FuAG.
The Federal Network Agency issues on the basis of Section 23 Paragraph 2 No.4 i. V. m. § 30 Paragraph 3 FuAG the following
General decree:
1. The further provision, placing on the market and the passing on of the device listed below is prohibited.
Information about the device:
Product Type: Radio
Device type: radio telephone
Model: UV-5R 5W HT
Trademark: BAOFENG

Importer: Agnieszka Bastek Demo Bis, Warsaw

Modest conditions on 28 MHz - 25th Nov 2021

Thursday 25th November 2021:
For the last week or so, I've left the radio listening for WSPR signals on 28 MHz and the number of stations that I am hearing has seemed to decrease.

For a change, I listened to the much more active FT8 frequency on 28 MHz and and the map for the day is shown above. There are some DX signals in there including Australia and Thailand but I wouldn't say conditions were particularly good.

I heard a few Sporadic-E signals from western Europe but most of the stations heard were via F2 propagation. You can clearly see the first hop F2 signals going from the south of Italy, though Greece and up to the Ukraine and Russia.

The solar flux was 84 which is low enough as the sun seems to have lost a bit of its recent sunspot activity.

Wednesday, November 24, 2021

Video: A beginners guide to FT8 VK7HH

Even though I don't use FT8 for making contacts, I find it to be a very useful tool in that it can give me a very good idea of what band conditions are like after listening for just a few minutes.

Hayden, VK7HH recently released this video which might be of interest to anyone new to the mode.

0:00 An Introduction for Beginners
0:28 What is FT8?
2:16 A QSO Example & How well does it work?
4:16 Get Your Timing Right!
5:12 Setting up WSJT-X for the FT8 Mode
8:29 My Waterfall settings
9:44 Transmitting and message sequencing
14:54 Setting your TX audio level and ALC drive
17:15 I've never worked that country before!
18:11 How much Power should you run?
19:48 A bonus tip to level up your DX abilities!

Tuesday, November 23, 2021

FM radio station in Colombia on 93.1 MHz heard in Chile via TEP opening - 21st Nov 2021

21st November 2021: Back in October, I had intended to publish a post about reception of a FM radio station on 93.1 MHz in Columbia by Alejandro, CE3VRT in Santiago, Chile. The distance was 5000kms and the propagation mode was TEP - Trans-Equatorial Propagation.

I was so busy, I forgot to publish it and it remained as a draft! The post is now shown below for the 20th of October 2021. 

What reminded me of this was that CE3VRT heard the same radio station again on 93.1 MHz but this time the TEP signals were so strong, he was able to hear them with just the telescopic whip on his TecSun PL398.

Back in October, Alejandro was using a log periodic directional antenna outdoors on a mast to hear the signals but to hear FM radio signals on 93.1 MHz on the VHF FM band from 5000kms away with just a telescopic whip is really amazing.

20th October 2021:  Recepción FM DX via TEP (muy fuerte) "La Mega" 93.1Mhz Colombia, desde Stgo, Chile. Reception of 'La Mega' radio station in Colombia on 93.1 MHz by CE3VRT in Chile

Propagation mode: TEP
Distance: Approx 5000kms

"TEP opening (trans-equatorial propagation) very strong and somewhat short. The station tuned is "La Mega" from Barranquilla, Colombia, reception in the southern zone of Santiago de Chile (~ 5000km) using an Airspy HF + dual port and a logarithmic directional antenna for TV / FM."

Reception on Wednesday, October 20, starting at 21:30 PM local time (Oct 21 - 00:30 UTC)

Monday, November 22, 2021

EI2TKR 2m repeater in NW Ireland to return to service soon

The EI2TKR repeater in north-west Ireland has been off the air for a number of years. It used to operate on 145.700 MHz.

The good news is that the repeater has been upgraded and is currently on test at a site near Bundoran in the south of Donegal.

It is currently running 25 watts and it is hoped to upgrade that to 50 watts in a few weeks time. 

The eventual plan is to put the repeater back up on Truskmore, a 647 metre high mountain in the NE of Co Sligo sometime in 2022.

Details of the FM repeater...

Channel RV56 (R4).
Output Frequency 145.700MHz
Input frequency 145.100MHz
CTCSS only 77Hz.

Reports to EI5IMB.

Friday, November 19, 2021

There are now 7 experimental US stations on the 40 MHz band - Nov 2021

18th Nov 2021:
In previous posts, I detailed how some amateur radio stations in the USA had managed to obtain special experimental permits to operate on the new 40 MHz band. 

The first 40 MHz permit WL2XUP near Atlanta was issued back in June of 2021. See this previous post.

The second permit WL2XZQ near Houston was issued in August. See this previous post.

As of mid November 2021, there are now seven experimental permits for the 40 MHz and these are shown on the map above and in the list below. An eight from Alabama is pending.

The permit allows for experiments in the frequency range of 40.660 to 40.700 MHz which is the 40 MHz ISM band (Industrial, Scientific, Medical).

The permits allow ERP powers in the region of 100-400 watts and the license lasts for two years.

Propagation: If you examine the map above, you'll note that the distances between the various experimenters.

For example, take WM2XCS in New Jersey. He is 950kms from WM2XAN, 1200kms from WL2XUP and 2250kms from WL2XZQ. 

WL2XZQ in Houston is 1800kms from WM2XAN.

WM2XCC in California is 2100kms from WL2XZQ, 3050kms from the stations near Atlanta, 1800kms from WM2XCW.

WM2XCW is the far north-west of Washington state is 3150kms from Houston and 3900kms from New Jersey.

It is highly unlikely that tropospheric propagation will contribute much to the experiments. The distances for aircraft scatter are also likely to be too far. Some in the 500-1200km range may manage to complete contacts with digital modes like MSK144 with meteor scatter.

The real workhorse on the 40 MHz band is going to be Sporadic-E. There may be a few openings over the next few months but things will really get going at the end of April 2022. At that stage, the experimental stations will have had time to get their radios and antennas ready for the band and I'd expect that contacts in the range of 800 to about 2200 kms will be common with something in the region of 1700kms being the most common distance.

In the second half of May 2022, double hop Sporadic-E openings will become more common and at that stage, contacts from the west coast to the eastern half of the USA should be possible.

Crossband: Just like in Europe, there are likely to be crossband contacts from 40 MHz to 28 MHz and from 40 MHz to 50 MHz with those who cannot transmit on the 8m band. 

Someone doesn't need an special 40 MHz permit to take part in the experiments. The experimental stations are likely to be using SSB, CW, FT8 and WSPR and I'm sure they would like to make as many crossband contacts as possible as well as receiving any reports of their transmissions.

Analysis: It's great to to this surge in interest in the 40 MHz band in the USA. The 8m band is NOT just another band. It is halfway between the 28 MHz and 50 MHz bands and it can be useful for exploring just how high the maximum usable frequency (MUF) goes as the solar activity increases as we head towards the sunspot maximum.

For example, it would be interesting to know what kind of solar flux/sunspot number is required before there are east-west openings between say California and the eastern part of the United States.

It would be really nice if some stations in South America were able to listen on the 40 MHz band and then try to complete some crossband TEP contacts with experimental stations in the southern states of the USA.

Check out my 40 MHz page for more info...

Wednesday, November 17, 2021

Some local tropo on the FM band (88-108 MHz) - 17th Nov 2021

Wednesday 17th November 2021: I noticed some tropo signals on Band 2 (88-108 MHz) this afternoon and I spent a while doing a scan of the band.

The biggest problem is that I can hear around 75 signals on the band under flat conditions and that doesn't leave many gaps on the band for distant signals to come through.

I did hear four stations that were certainly via tropo propagation with distances ranging from 167 to 281 kms.

Under flat conditions, I can hear some of the main network FM stations on mountains that are about 130kms away.

While this reception report isn't all that unusual, it was still nice to catch these signals by just using the telescopic whip antenna of my TecSun PL-380 standing at a north facing window of my house.

It always impresses me how well this little radio works with just its own antenna.

Analysis of Sporadic-E propagation with WSPR reports by KN6DAD

In a recent article titled 'Detecting Putative Sporadic E Propagation in WSPRNet Spot Records ' for TAPR, Jeanette Zhou, KN6DAD outlined how she used data from the WSPRnet website to investigate Sporadic-E propagation.

She writes... "WSPRNet propagation data were downloaded from  and solar indices were from the German Research Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) ( in February, 2021. 

WSPRNet spot records of 28, 50, and 144 MHz transmissions during 2020 were then used for the analysis, combining related spot records with the same timestamp and sender call sign to remove duplicates.

Putative sporadic E propagations were identified as when a transmission’s distance was about 1200 km in the above identified bands; the total number of records used for the analysis was 1,118,989. "

She then used the data to general the chart above which clearly shows the Summer peak of the Sporadic-E season although I suspect that many of the reports on 144 MHz in July, August & October were due to tropospheric propagation. The 144 MHz data may also be skewed from the fact that there aren't that many people using WSPR on 144 MHz in Europe or North America.

It was interesting that she found that a high Kp index resulted in poor Sporadic-E conditions.

"In conclusion, the putative sporadic E propagation in the WSPRNet spot records seems to be consistent with known seasonal variations of sporadic E propagation and corresponding geographic distribution, which suggests that these records provide a large number of observations that could be used to study sporadic E formation.

Exploratory data analysis also suggests that Kp index may be negatively correlated with recorded sporadic E propagation."

This corelates with the theory that quiet geomagnetic conditions are better for Sp-E formation. 

In summary... I found this article interesting not only because it shows the Sporadic-E season but also it shows the perils of using WSPR spots for analysis. 

For example, look at how poor the numbers are for April on 28 MHz and yet we know that there are always plenty of Sporadic-E openings at the end of April. 

The reason there are so few WSPR spots for April is because there are so few people using it on the 10m band. Once the propagation starts getting better in May then a lot more people start using WSPR on the band. 

In other words, a lot of the data is due to human activity rather than actual conditions. If a band looks dead then people are less likely to have WSPR transmitters active which means many openings generate no reports.

A million plus WSPR records sounds impressive but a lot of the data in there will be skewed by assumptions about the propagation mode, a lack of WSPR stations on the higher VHF bands and human behaviour.

WSPR reports can probably be used for propagation analysis but you would need to be very careful about what data you select to use.

The full article can be seen on Page 7 of the PDF document HERE

Friday, November 12, 2021

IW0HK QRSS beacon heard on 28 MHz - 12th Nov 2021

Friday 12th November 2021:
Normally it's during the Summer months and the main Sporadic-E season that I have a look for QRSS signals on the 28 MHz band (QRSS - Very slow visual form of morse code).

During a short Sporadic-E opening on 28 MHz the 12th of November, I noticed that I was hearing the IW0HK beacon near Rome on 28.3219 MHz. I didn't recognise the callsign and I had to check the cluster to see that I last heard it back on the 25th of May 2019.

I noticed on the beacon list that it was also a QRSS beacon so I fired up Spectrum Lab and grabbed the screen shot above.

As you can see, the QRSS ID is 'H K' which is sent over the space of about 1-minute.

The power is listed as 1-watt and the antenna is a vertical.

The distance as seen from the map below is about 1900kms which is pretty normal for Sporadic-E. It's just a little unusual to get it at nearly 9pm local time in November.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

Hong Kong beacon heard on 28 MHz - 10th Nov 2021

Wednesday 10th November 2021: There are so many signals on FT8 on the 28 MHz band at the moment, it's almost got too easy. It seems I'm happiest when the band is barely open at sunspot minimum! 😂

I really don't have much interest in making any DX contacts so I like to have the occasional trawl through the beacon band to see what's coming through.

It was nice to hear the CW beacon from Hong Kong (VR2B) this morning on 28.200 MHz. As the image above shows, this is part of the IARU International Beacon Project.

I spotted the beacon on the DX Cluster as did F4CXO in France.

  Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
EI7GL 28200 VR2B/B 09:26 10 Nov 21 IO51TU<F2>OL72BG Hong Kong
F4CXO 28200 VR2B/B 09:02 10 Nov 21 JN26PP<>OL72BG 519 Hong Kong

The distance for me was just over 10,000 kms.

Tuesday, November 9, 2021

All 5 Greek 10m beacons heard on the 28 MHz band - 9th Nov 2021

Tuesday 9th November 2021: I did a scan of the 28 MHz band this morning and I heard all of the five Greek beacons on the band.

My DX Cluster spots from the morning...

 Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
EI7GL 28265.4 SV2RSS/B 11:43 09 Nov IO51TU<F2>KN10LO Greece (3w GP)
EI7GL 28271.6 SV2HQL/B 11:36 09 Nov IO51TU<F2>KM09UV Greece (5w 5/8 vertical)
EI7GL 28269.0 SV6DBG/B 11:34 09 Nov IO51TU<F2>KM09KQ Greece (2w vertical)
EI7GL 28244.4 SV2FQN/B 11:30 09 Nov IO51TU<F2>KN10FC Greece (5w GP)
EI7GL 28224.8 YM7TEN/B 11:28 09 Nov IO51TU<F2>KN91RB Asiatic Turkey
EI7GL 28224.7 IT9EJW/B 11:27 09 Nov IO51TU<F2>JM77NN Sicily 
EI7GL 28201.4 SV2HNE/B 11:25 09 Nov IO51TU<F2>KN10LL Greece (5w GP)
EI7GL 28200.0 VK6RBP/B 09:45 09 Nov IO51TU<F2>OF87AV Australia

I hear several of these every Summer via double hop Sporadic-E but this time around, it was via F2 layer propagation as the solar conditions improve.

With just one F2 hop, the signals are stronger and I heard all five of the Greek beacons in the space of 20 minutes.

As can be seen from the list above, they are transmitting with just a few watts. It's pretty common for me to see my PC decoding FT8 signals from Greece but it nice to be actually listen to the morse code ID from 2700kms away.

One of the more unusual signals is that of SV6DBG/B...

As part of its transmission sequence, it also sends out a RTTY signal.

To be honest, I have no interest in RTTY but I had a quick try off decoding it as the signal was reasonably strong (519). 

I fired up the FLDIGI programme that I had on my PC... selected RTTY 45 (first on the list!)... two Red lines appeared on a waterfall display... I tuned the signal on USB so that the two RTTY tones lined up with the Red lines... a bar went Green... and hey presto, it started decoding!


Maybe not the rarest of DX but nice to hear some beacons via F2 layer propagation on the 10m band.

Sunday, November 7, 2021

Darwin beacon heard on 28 MHz - 7th Nov 2021

Sunday 7th November 2021: Over the last two weeks or so, I have 'heard' plenty of signals from Australia on the 28 MHz band... 'heard' as in my PC decoded FT8 and WSPR signals that may well have been buried in the noise.

I was pleasantly surprised this morning when I did a scan of the beacon portion of the 10m band and came across the VK8VF beacon near Darwin in the north of Australia.

As you can see from the image above, it is on 28.268 MHz and the signal was 419 at max with me. 

There is something special about listening to a CW signal from Australia on 28 MHz and knowing that my antenna is just a simple vertical half-wave.

The map above shows some of the stations that have spotted the VK8VF 10m beacon on the DX Cluster in the last 30 days using the proper locator format.

As can be seen, the distance is in the region of 14,000kms.

Saturday, November 6, 2021

40 MHz signals from South Africa heard in Europe - 5th Nov 2021

Friday 5th November 2021: This was an interesting day for the 40 MHz band with signals from South Africa reaching Europe and a big Sporadic-E opening in Europe.

The map above shows the reports from the PSK Reporter website...

 Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
SV1DH 8m FT8 6898 km 15:02:56
9H1TX 8m FT8 6828 km 15:02:29
G7PUV 8m FT8 8798 km 15:01:30

TEP Reports: Paul, G7PUV on the SE coast of England (JO00AU) writes... "Willem ZS6WAB has been on 40.675MHz today using FT8 but I was surprised to get some decodes from him around 1500UTC. The path length is around 8800KM and his peak signal was -10dB although I've listened back to my IQ recording and it was strong enough to hear quite clearly.

I think it's the first FT8 reception from South Africa in the UK on 40MHz, and presumably all TEP as I had no reception towards EA/CT/I on 10 or 6 to suggest mixed mode."

Reception of ZS6WAB by G7PUV

Thomas, DF6HT in the NE of Germany (JO63BT) writes... "Hi all, today received for the first time a signal on 40.675, around 8minutes long was the call from ZS6WAB who called there CQ, received here on a 15m sw vertical For me a sign to check sometimes this qrg for some action, and also a sign that North DL also have a chance to work on that interesting band! 73s from Thomas, DF6HT"

TEP Analysis: Paul is using a log periodic antenna for the low VHF bands. I suspect that there may have been one Sporadic-E hop from G7PUV to the north of Africa where the signals were coupled into the TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) path to ZS6WAB.

It was probably the same for Thomas in Germany with one Sporadic-E opening to the south.

The problem in Europe is that there can be an excellent Sporadic-E opening to the south but as there are no stations in the north of Africa ,we hear nothing and think the band is closed.

Sporadic-E in Europe: There was also a very good Sporadic-E opening in Europe on the day as can be seen from the report below and the report from 

Report from Borut, S50B... "Very good prop on 8m today in EU. As far, EI1KNH have the strongest signal....599+++ on CW ever on my side. Hrd EI7HBB on SSB too.
Hrd also EI1CAH/b and OZ7IGY/b. I forgot to monitor ZS beacon. Tomorrow....
I was also on 40662, but every time I was on this freq I have strong qrm from some device only in dir of EI and US. I hope that till next year, qrm will be lower/disappeared.
 IC-7100...80W.....4 EL YAGI (YU7EF) 10m high.

DX-Cluster Spots for the day...

Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
G7PUV 40675.0 ZS6WAB 15:08 05 Nov JO00AU<TEP>KG46RB CQ FT8 -10dB South Africa 
EA3ERE 40016.0 EI1CAH 13:44 05 Nov JN11CX<ES>IO53CK cw 419 Ireland
EA3ERE 40013.0 EI1KNH 13:42 05 Nov JN11CX<ES>IO63VE cw 559 Ireland
EI7GL-@ 40016.0 EI1CAH 13:29 05 Nov PI4 -25 dB Q=50 Ireland
S50B-@ 40670.0 S55ZMS/B 13:07 05 Nov PI4 -20 dB Q=48 Slovenia
F4CXO 40013.0 EI1KNH/B 13:03 05 Nov JN26PP<ES>IO63VE 519 Ireland
F4CXO 40016.0 EI1CAH/B 13:01 05 Nov JN26PP<ES>IO51CK 519 in CW Ireland
S50B 40070.2 OZ7IGY/B 12:50 05 Nov Denmark 
F4FRQ 40016.0 EI1CAH 12:44 05 Nov JN37KQ<>IO53XK CW 559 Ireland
F4FRQ 40013.0 EI1KNH 12:40 05 Nov JN37KQ<>IO63VE CW 559 Ireland
S50B 40680.0 EI7HBB 11:38 05 Nov Ireland
S50B 40013.0 EI1KNH/B 11:32 05 Nov Ireland
EI7HBB 40670.0 S55ZMS 11:18 05 Nov 529 Slovenia

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

Friday, November 5, 2021

Danish OZ7IGY 40 MHz beacon now back on air - Nov 2021

5th Nov 2021: Back at the end of August 2021, the OZ7IGY 8m beacon on 40.071 MHz had to be turned off due to a faulty trimmer in the power amplifier stage.

At the end of October 2021, it was turned back on after the faulty part was replaced.

It has since been reported on the DX Cluster...

 Spotter  Freq.  DX  Time  Info  Country

OZ1BNN-@ 40071.0 OZ7IGY 15:51 02 Nov PI4 16 dB Q=100 37 km Denmark
EA3ERE 40070.2 OZ7IGY/B 11:37 31 Oct JN11CX<ES>JO55WM CW-PI4 Denmark
EA3ERE 40070.2 OZ7IGY 10:21 31 Oct JN11CX<ES>JO55WN cw pi4 -5db Denmark

As can be seen from the reports, EA3ERE near Barcelona heard the beacon via Sporadic-E propagation at a distance of about 1660 kms.

The website for the beacon is here...

Thursday, November 4, 2021

6000km opening on 144 MHz between South America & the Caribbean - 3rd Nov 2021

Wednesday 3rd November 2021: The TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation) season seems to be in full swing at the moment with stations in South America and the Caribbean making contacts on the 144 MHz band.

The map above for HI8DL in the Dominican Republic and WP4KJJ in Puerto Rico shows some of the contacts that were made.

Most of the contacts were made with the Q65 digital mode as opposed to the usual FT8. The spots below from the DX Cluster shows some activity on CW as well.

 Spotter  Freq.  DX  Time  Info  Country
LU2DPW-@ 144180.0 HI8DL 00:45 03 Nov TKS Q65B QSO Dominican Republic
LU5CQC 144180.0 WP4KJJ 00:20 03 Nov Q65 15S SUB B TEP Puerto Rico
LU5CQC 144180.0 HI8DL 00:19 03 Nov Q65 15S SUB B TEP Dominican Republic
PY5EK 144180.0 WP4KJJ 23:42 02 Nov Q65B -3 dB 1362 Hz TNX TEP Puerto Rico
LW2DAF 144180.0 WP4KJJ 23:41 02 Nov CQ Q65B 15s Puerto Rico
LU7DW-@ 144300.0 HI8DL 23:36 02 Nov GF05sh<TEP>FK58al CW Dominican Republic

Diego, LW2DAF near Buenos Aires in Argentina reports working Puerto Rico for the first time on 144 MHz... "My first contact with Puerto Rico on 144MHz via TEP.......TEP doesn't cross between LU and KP4. Q65B 15s mode. LW2DAF<>WP4KJJ"

Diego writes to say that while there have been contacts between LU and KP4 in the past, there haven't been many in recent years.

Analysis... For TEP signals at 144 MHz, they need to cross the Geomagnetic Equator at or very close to 90 degrees.

What this usually means is that stations in the Dominican Republic (HI) normally work stations near Buenos Aires in Argentina while stations in Puerto Rico (WP4) normally work stations in the far south of Brazil.

It seems as if signals that were slightly further away from 90 degrees got through this time.

Reports... Christian, LU5CQC in Argentina also reports working Puerto Rico for the first time on 144 MHz.

Joe, WP4KJJ in Puerto Rico reports that a ZP station in Paraguay was active on SSB on 144.300 MHz during the opening and he was worked them many times.

These are some of the reports from the PSK Reporter website showing distances in the region of 5000-6000 kms.

Txmtr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
HI8DL 2m Q65B 6020 km 01:24:34
WP4KJJ 2m Q65B 5923 km 00:32:34
PJ2BR 2m Q65B 5306 km 00:30:25
PJ4GR 2m Q65B 5294 km 00:07:59

Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Openings on the 40 MHz band - 1st & 2nd Nov 2021

Monday 1st November 2021: The was a nice Sporadic-E opening on this day and extended in frequency at least as high as the 40 MHz band.

Christian, F4CXO in the east of France heard the two Irish 40 MHz beacons and managed to complete a 40 MHz to 50 MHz crossband contact on SSB with Lloyd, EI7HBB.

  Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
G7PUV 40670 S55ZMS/B 19:54 01 Nov 21 JO00AU<ES>JN86CR weak Es Slovenia
F4CXO 40016 EI1CAH/B 15:20 01 Nov 21 JN26PP<ES>IO53CK 529 QSB Ireland
F4CXO 40680 EI7HBB 15:14 01 Nov 21 JN26PP<ES>IO53SQ 50140 X Band Ireland
F4CXO 40680 EI7HBB 15:05 01 Nov 21 JN26PP<>IO53SQ 52 Ireland
F4CXO 40013 EI1KNH/B 14:47 01 Nov 21 JN26PP<ES>IO63VE 539 QSB Ireland

As the DX cluster spots above show, Paul G7PUV in the SE of England heard the 40 MHz beacon in Slovenia.

The two Irish beacons were also heard by a listener in Belgium.

Tuesday 2nd November 2021: There are reports that the ZS6WAB beacon in South Africa on 40.675 MHz was heard by 9H1TX in Malta and SV8CS in Greece. The propagation mode is believed to have been TEP.

G7PUV also reports hearing the ZS6WAB beacon a week earlier when there was a Sporadic-E extension allowing the TEP signals to reach that far north.

Joan, EA3ERE near Barcelona (JN11CX) reports hearing the OZ7IGY beacon in Denmark on 40.071 MHz on the 31st of October at 09:20 UTC. Joan also reports hearing the ZS6WAB beacon on the 30th of October using just a dipole for the HF bands and an ICOM IC7300.

1) Lots of info about the 8m band on my 40 MHz page HERE

Tuesday, November 2, 2021

Mystery signal heard on 28.124 MHz - 2nd Nov 2021 - RESOLVED

I got tired of monitoring FT8 signals on the 28 MHz band so I switched over to WSPR for a change. While I was listening during the morning, I heard an unusual signal on SSB.

It sounds like a slightly rough tone that lasts for about 7 seconds, stops for 1 second and then restarts as a different tone for another 10 seconds.

It then turns off for a second and the cycle starts again. The whole process seems to last for about 2-3 minutes.

The waterfall display above from the WSJT-X programme shows that the tones are in fact composed of several distinct frequencies.

It is not an amateur radio signal and I am assuming that it might be some sort of military OTHR (Over The Horizon Radar) signal but I have no idea about it's source?

Others must have heard this signal, anyone have any idea about its source???

Update: It looks as if this is Over The Horizon Radar (OTHR) from Iran.

"Ghadir, is an Iranian over the horizon radar Ghadir is a 360°, 3D-radar, with a ceiling of 300 km, and a maximum range of 1,100 km. You can hear a high and a low tone, corresponding to the sweep rates of 870 and 307 sweeps/sec. sent in two separated bursts."


This video from YouTube from IZ0KBA shows what it sounds like...

From the URE, the national body for radio amateurs in Spain..."New Radar OTH (Over The Horizon) in the 10-meter #radioamateur band. Received since the last week of October 2021. QRG: 28,000 kHz CF. AMOP. BW ca 45 kHz. 307 and 870 sps, alternately. IRN

This radar comes in addition to the Iranian one that broadcasts daily on 28,860 kHz CF, with the same bandwidth, but with a scan rate of 150 and 313 sps, alternatively.

The RADAR Over The Horizon Radar (OTH Radar, Radar beyond the horizon), is a type of radar system with the ability to detect targets at very long distances, typically hundreds to thousands of kilometers, beyond the radar horizon, which is the range limit for ordinary radar. Various OTH radar systems were deployed beginning in the 1950s and 1960s as part of early warning radar systems, but these have generally been replaced by airborne early warning systems.

The use of OTH Radars has receded nowadays, as the need for accurate long-term monitoring becomes less important with the end of the Cold War, and less expensive ground-based radars are once again being considered for functions such as maritime reconnaissance and surveillance of drug trafficking. However, old facilities are still in use and we are witnessing the creation of new ones.

Signal captured by the URE listening service, IARUMS URE (IARU Monitoring System, URE)."

Another big opening on 28 MHz - 1st Nov 2021

Monday 1st Nov 2021: It was a case of Deja Vu as conditions on the 28 MHz band were almost identical to the previous day. A total of 981 stations in 65 DXCC countries were heard on FT8.

Beacons: During a short break, I had a listen around the beacon portion of the band and there was a Sporadic-E opening in full swing. The familiar beacons from Belgium and the Netherlands were coming through which meant the skip distance went as short as 1000kms.

EI7GL 28188.0 OE3XAC/B 13:04 01 Nov IO51TU<ES>JN78SB Austria
EI7GL 28207.1 ON0RY/B 13:03 01 Nov IO51TU<ES>JO20CK Belgium
EI7GL 28210.7 DB0FKS/B 13:02 01 Nov IO51TU<ES>JN49IT Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28214.5 FR1GZ/B 13:00 01 Nov IO51TU<F2>LG79RC Reunion Island
EI7GL 28270.4 PY4MAB/B 12:59 01 Nov IO51TU<F2>GG68RE Brazil
EI7GL 28273.0 DB0BER/B 12:55 01 Nov IO51TU<ES>JO62QL Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28301.8 PI7ETE/B 12:53 01 Nov IO51TU<ES>JO22QD Netherlands
EI7GL 28279.0 DB0UM/B 12:51 01 Nov IO51TU<ES>JO73CE Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28265.0 DB0ANN/B 12:50 01 Nov IO51TU<ES>JN59PL Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28245.2 DB0TEN/B 12:49 01 Nov IO51TU<ES>JO42UV Fed. Rep. of Germany
EI7GL 28225.0 YM7TEN/B 12:48 01 Nov IO51TU<F2>KN91RB Asiatic Turkey

It was nice to see some F2 signals (in bold) in there as well from Brazil and Turkey. The pick of the lot though was the FR1GZ/B beacon on Reunion Island in the Indian Ocean.

It's fine for my PC to decode a FT8 signal that may be buried in the noise but it's nice to actually listen to a CW signal coming though from an exotic location so far away.

The solar flux on the day was down to 98.

Monday, November 1, 2021

78 DXCC countries heard on 28 MHz - Sun 31st Oct 2021

Sunday 31st October 2021:
I have no idea what is was like on the lower HF bands but conditions were really good on the 28 MHz band on Sunday. 

I recorded a total of 1164 stations in 78 DXCC countries on FT8 which is really good. It seems to have been mainly due to a very good Sporadic-E opening to Western Europe as well as a very good F2 layer opening to the eastern half of the USA, South America and the eastern part of Europe. It probably helped that it was a Sunday and many people were off.

I had a quick listen to the SSB portion of the band and there were plenty of signals. It was nice to hear some CW beacons just below 28.3 MHz coming in from the USA for a change. 

The solar flux was 103.