Wednesday, March 27, 2024

Reception reports for the Arctic VY0ERC 28 MHz beacon - March 2024

VY0ERC is an amateur radio station located at a weather station on Ellesmere Island at 80 degrees north in the Canadian Arctic. They operate a WSPR beacon on several HF band including one on 10m on 26.1246 MHz.

I noticed that this was one of the unusual stations that I had heard on the WSPR mode on 28 MHz recently so I checked to see what stations reported hearing this Arctic beacon on 10m over the last 5-weeks. The results are shown above.

Some observations...

1) Over the 5-week period, just 101 stations reported hearing VY0ERC on 28 MHz. In the same time period, I heard 1224 stations here on the south coast of Ireland. G0PKT near London runs a similar power (0.2w) but was reported by 1224 stations.

2) The closest reporting station to VY0ERC was TF3HZ in Iceland at 2583kms. My location is 4134kms. The best DX was EA8BFK in the Canary Islands at 6545kms.

3) From what I could tell, VY0ERC was reported somewhere on nearly every day during the 5-week period. 

4) These are my decodes of VY0ERC and I would have been listening nearly every day for the 5-weeks on 10m.

  local   y-m-d txCall txGrid rxCall rxGrid MHz W SNR drift kms
2024-03-11 15:38 VY0ERC ER60tb EI7GL IO51tu 28.126173 0.2 -18 0 4134 
2024-03-11 15:18 VY0ERC ER60tb EI7GL IO51tu 28.126109 0.2 -13 -1 4134 
2024-03-11 14:58 VY0ERC ER60tb EI7GL IO51tu 28.126160 0.2 -17 -1 4134 
2024-03-11 14:38 VY0ERC ER60tb EI7GL IO51tu 28.126168 0.2 -24 0 4134 
2024-03-11 13:58 VY0ERC ER60tb EI7GL IO51tu 28.126088 0.2 -18 0 4134 

All of my decodes were on the 11th of March and were between 13:58 and 15:38 UTC. The signal strength ranged from -13dB to -24dB so it was really buried in the noise.

In conclusion... I included this report of VY0ERC because it's a good example of how different propagation is just 10 degrees from the North Pole. While we're all enjoying worldwide propagation on 28 MHz at more southerly latitudes, it's a very different story in the Arctic region.

The two primary reasons for the lack of signals are a) the maximum usable frequency (MUF) drops are you head towards the polar regions and b) VY0ERC is in the auroral zone and this can severely distort digital signals like FT8 & WSPR.

The lack of signals coming from VY0ERC might also suggest that some of those long distance paths we see on 10m going over the polar regions are in fact not direct at all and might be skewed further south?

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