Sunday, October 22, 2023

27,300km Long path opening on the 50 MHz band from Italy to Hawaii - 16th Oct 2023

Now that we have reached October and at this stage in the solar cycle, the 50 MHz band is starting to open up with some remarkable paths. This is especially true for stations in the south of Europe.

Riccardo, IZ5BRW in Italy reports a very interesting long path opening on the 50 MHz band on the 16th of October 2023 to Hawaii, a path of about 27,300kms.

IZ5BRW writes... "The opening occurred mainly on Monday 16th Oct. (09 to 11 UTC +/-) and on Tuesday 17th. (8 to 10:30 UTC +/-).

I only worked KH6HI on Monday 16th. There were also other friends able to work the KH6 stations here in Zone 5 – Tuscany.

Tuesday was stronger even though I was not at home to work KH6. My friend Steve IK5MEJ worked 3 different stations on Tuesday 17th., KH6HI – KH6WI – NH6Y.

Anyway, all qsos made in FT8 and Long Path, which is more or less 170° from my qth JN53OP. My setup is FT-5000 + 7L Yagi EF0607X home made + 500W.

It’s a 27,000Km+ path and for me, KH6 was a new one on 6m as well as a new grid and new WAZ!

Albert, KH6HI has already confirmed the qso on LOTW."

Thanks to Riccardo for the report.

Comment & Analysis... As can be seen from the screenshot above, the contact was made with FT8 and the signals were in the region of -9 to -13dB. This is just about audible to the human ear and it would be difficult to have a CW QSO at this signal level. Obviously, those signal levels are not a problem with FT8.

No doubt there were others who made similar long path contacts like this on the day but this one is a good example of what the opening was like and that others should be looking for this path as well. Note the time and beam heading.

As for the mode of propagation, it was probably multi-hop or chordal hop F2-layer.

Sunset in Hawaii was about 18:00 local time or 10:00 UTC. It's no great surprise that the opening was about 30 mins after sunset and the F2 layer would have tilted at this stage to the west of Hawaii. This allows propagation of higher frequency signals and at a lower angle.

The takeaway message from this is to look at the sunset for a region you're interested in working and try beaming long path to see if an opening is possible. 

Links... 1) See my 50 MHz page for examples of other long distance openings on the 6m band.

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