Friday, January 6, 2023

Results of the 34 MHz Propagation Tests - 4th Jan 2023

On the 4th of January 2022, Phil EI9KP carried out a series of test transmissions on the 34 MHz band. This coincided with the peak of the Quadrantids meteor shower. See previous post.

The map on the left shows the reception reports.

Phil writes... "The following reception reports have been received by email:
Stations that were listening but "nothing received":
SWL F-10255 Stephane IN87NP
Stations who sent me a report:
M0TXN Kev IO83ML 02:32 FT8 -17dB
EI7GL John IO51TU 01:02 FT8 -10dB
PB8DX Flo JO21DU 08:20 FT8 -16dB
SWL EA7-3173 Juan IM76GC 11:40 FT8 -19dB
SWL PA-11605 Jan JO22NU 01:13 FT8 -12dB
SWL WESSEXSDR Martin IO80QR 13:12 FT8 -8dB

It's likely that the close in reports (<1000kms) were probably due to meteor scatter and not Sporadic-E although at the peak of the shower, it might not be possible to tell the two propagation modes apart.

I managed to get one successful FT8 decode but it was only one over the space of 12-hours. If the propagation mode was tropo or aircraft scatter then I'd expect a lot more decodes. I think I probably caught a large meteor burst at 01:02 UTC.

There were no F2 propagation reports but the 34 MHz signal will almost certainly cross the Atlantic when the conditions are good. 

EI9KP's 1-watt beacon on 34.013 MHz is based on a RF Zero board with GPS stabilisation. The beacon is self contained in a die cast aluminium box with a 2x16 char. LCD display and a few status LEDs. The sequence was 3 x FT8 transmissions, then a CW ID and then a carrier.

The beacon antenna is also an experiment in that it is a shortened (capacitive hat) dipole with sliding end tubes that can adjust for frequencies from 32MHz to 60MHz.

Other Tests... Phil reports... "I have been testing on 34MHz on and off during 2022. On 12/06/2022, I  had a 2-way QSO (FT8) with EI4GNB Tim in IO63 and on 2-4/12/2022, I was testing 34MHz propagation with LY2YR, but no reception his side.

On New Year's Day listener Paul Logan in Lisnaskey, Co. Fermanagh received the beacon signal at 12:03 and with a Delta Airlines jet passing over the signal, the beacon signal jumped suddenly from 0dB to +11dB for one over.  He heard it fluttering up.  So a groundwave (note: Cuilcagh sits prominently in the path) plus aircraft scatter?

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