Tuesday, March 8, 2022

18,000km+ opening on 50 MHz between New Zealand & the Canary Islands - 7th March 2022

Monday 7th March 2022: There was an extremely long distance opening on the 50 MHz band between the north island of New Zealand (ZL1) and the Canary Islands (EA8) and in most cases, the distances were well in excess of 18,000kms.

If you consider that the circumference of the Earth is 40,000kms then this opening was close to the border line of what is short path or long path. See EA7 below.

Looking at the reports on the PSK Reporter website, the opening from ZL1 to EA8 occurred around 22:30 UTC. What's interesting is the EA8 stations had what looks like a TEP opening to South America about an hour later but it didn't seem to coincide with the ZL1 opening.

Questions... Like many openings, this one raises more questions than it answers.

1) Was part of the path due to TEP (Trans-Equatorial Propagation)? If it coincided with the opening to South America then yes but it seems to have been before it.

2) The map above for ZL1RS in New Zealand shows the shortest paths to the stations in the log on the PSK Reporter website. Was the path to EA8 direct or slightly skewed? Was the real path not actually over South America?

3) I checked the reports for the ZL1 stations and none of them show a South American station and yet, the opening was supposed to have gone over the continent of South America. There seems to have been an opening later from the south of New Zealand (ZL3) to Central America and Mexico. Was the real EA8-ZL1 path skewed and further north?

4) Propagation mode?... I would think that a large part of the path was due to chordal mode without the signal hitting the ground.

Did the signal pass over South America by chordal hop without reaching the ground?

5) How did the signal get across the Pacific which is a feat in itself?

6) How much of the path was due to F2? Sp-E? TEP?

Answers... If we were at the peak of the solar cycle then it may not be a big deal. But we're not, we're just on the way out of solar minimum, the solar flux is just 118 and this is up at 50 MHz. 

I think at best, we can make educated guesses but I think that's all we can do. Whatever the reason for the opening, it's probably no accident that this opening occurred near the equinox and it's likely to happen again.

Reports...These are some of the reports from the PSK Reporter website...

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
ZL1RS EA8/DF4UE 6m FT8 18986 km 22:23:29
ZL1RS EA8AXT 6m FT8 18828 km 22:19:29
ZL1RS EA8RH 6m FT8 18745 km 22:35:56
ZL1RS EA8TL 6m FT8 18742 km 22:34:56
ZL1RS EA8TH 6m FT8 18694 km 23:19:26

Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
ZL1SG EA8/DF4UE 6m FT8 19019 km 22:06:56
EA8AQV ZL1SG 6m FT8 18929 km 21:48:11
ZL1SG EA8AXT 6m FT8 18861 km 22:00:59
EA8AXT ZL1SG 6m FT8 18861 km 21:49:41
ZL1SG EA8RH 6m FT8 18777 km 22:33:56
EA8RH ZL1SG 6m FT8 18777 km 22:31:41
ZL1SG EA8TL 6m FT8 18774 km 22:34:59
EA8TL ZL1SG 6m FT8 18774 km 22:31:41
EA8TH ZL1SG 6m FT8 18725 km 23:17:41

ZL1RQ... Note CN9YZ in Morocco & YS1AG in El Salvador...
Txmtr Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
ZL1RQ CN8YZ 6m FT8 19768 km 20:52:26
ZL1RQ EA8/DF4UE 6m FT8 19019 km 22:10:56
ZL1RQ EA8AXT 6m FT8 18861 km 21:36:29
EA8RH ZL1RQ 6m FT8 18777 km 22:30:41
ZL1RQ EA8RH 6m FT8 18777 km 22:11:29
ZL1RQ EA8TL 6m FT8 18774 km 22:29:29
EA8TL ZL1RQ 6m FT8 18774 km 22:17:41
EA8TH ZL1RQ 6m FT8 18725 km 23:22:41
YS1AG ZL1RQ 6m FT8 11511 km 01:31:41

Rcvr Band Mode Distance Time (UTC)
EA8TH 6m FT8 18318 km 23:17:26

EA5GJ reports the following... "ZL1RS receives 3 decodes from EA7HCL on 50 MHz for the long step in an intense opening this afternoon with South America, we are facing the first Pacific-Europe Long Path openings on 6 meters, in many years... #50MHz #Propagation". 
Note that none of these appeared on the PSK Reporter site.

EA7HCL is in the far south of Spain and this opening for him was actually long path. For the EA8 stations, it was short path.

These are the spots from the DX Cluster for the evening / morning. As you can see, all of the activity seems to have been via digital modes like FT8 on 50.313 MHz...

Spotter Freq. DX Time Info Country
ZL3OZ 50313.0 YS1AG 00:36 08 Mar wkng PY. -18 El Salvador
ZL3OZ 50313.0 XE1HG 00:20 08 Mar part QSO tnx. Mexico
XE1MEX 50313.0 ZL3OY 00:04 08 Mar Tnx QSO New Zealand
XE1MEX 50313.0 ZL3OZ 00:00 08 Mar Tnx QSO New Zealand
ZL3OZ 50313.0 XE1MEX 23:30 07 Mar CQ at -6 through -19 Mexico
EA8TH 50313.0 ZL1RS 23:23 07 Mar FB Signal. TU Bob New Zealand
ZL1RS 50313.0 EA8TH 23:23 07 Mar tnx qso Canary Islands
EA8RH 50313.0 ZL1RS 22:17 07 Mar tnx qso new one New Zealand
ZL1RS 50313.0 EA8RH 22:09 07 Mar tnx qso Canary Islands
ZL1RS 50313.0 EA8TL21:48 07 Mar tnx qso Canary Islands
EA8TL 50313.0 ZL1RS 21:45 07 Mar calling you ft8 New Zealand
ZL1RS 50313.0 EA8AQV 21:32 07 Mar tnx QSO Canary Islands
ZL1RS 50313.0 EA8/DF4UE 21:26 07 Mar Canary Islands
ZL1RS 50313.0 CN8YZ 21:01 07 Mar rx only, calling ZL1RQ Morocco
ZL1RS 50313.0 EA7HCL 20:18 07 Mar 3 decodes ... Spain


Unknown said...

Really interesting reporting and analysis here John. I am fascinated to continue to follow this over the coming weeks and months - it feels like the tools like FT8 that we have at our disposal now vs. at the same time in the last solar cycle, along with the research and analysis that you and others are doing, are enabling you to really be right at the forefront of some big discoveries propagation research. Exciting times. Cheers Graeme M0EUK

Unknown said...

another possibility is antipodal focusing propagation. The late Gary Bold ZL1AN (SK) wrote his doctoral thesis on "Antipodal HF propagation" (http://hdl.handle.net/2292/2595) which may be worth a look.
jon, ea2sn / ae2sn

Anonymous said...

All my QSOs were done with my yagi beaming SA. Once done, I pointed NA and EU but best SNR always got via SA. No doubt.
73 de EA8AXT

F4EPP said...

Yesterday night 17h30 UT, I made an amazing QSO with Costa Rica TI5MVJ on 28.535 Mhz RST: 59 +10 db. Very unusual according to my current working conditions. There was an ES opening at the same time, I could hear some spanish stations around. This Costa rican station appeared with absolutly no usual long distance voice distortion what makes me think it probably was a phone chordal hop QSO too.

Bob Sutton said...

The EA7 and CN8 reception at ZL1RS did not appear on PSKr because I had the 'reporting' switched off at the time. Here are decodes from my JTDX 202203_all.txt file:

20220307_200945 -12 -0.0 1188 ~ ZP9HTL EA7HCL -17
20220307_201015 -18 0.0 1188 ~ ZP9HTL EA7HCL -17
20220307_201045 -11 -0.0 1188 ~ CQ EA7HCL IM76

20220307_205230 -2 -0.2 1544 ~ ZL1RQ CN8YZ IM63
20220307_205300 -8 -0.2 1545 ~ ZL1RQ CN8YZ IM63
20220307_205330 -10 -0.2 1545 ~ ZL1RQ CN8YZ IM63
20220307_205400 -3 -0.2 1545 ~ ZL1RQ CN8YZ IM63

73, Bob ZL1RS