Tuesday, June 4, 2024

2024 10m QRSS Challenge: - M0GBZ & G0FTD in England - 3rd June

As part of a challenge for 2024, I've decided to see how many QRSS signals I could capture on the 28 MHz band during the year. On the 3rd of June, I added M0GBZ and G0FTD to the tally during a short skip Sporadic-E opening at about 16:00 UTC. 

The map below shows the location of the stations shown in the screen grab above.

TF3HZ in Iceland is a relatively easy catch at 1576kms and I got a screengrab of his signal back in January. The stations near London in the east of England are about 560 to 650kms from my location and require the skip distance for the Sporadic-E opening to be shorter than usual.

Getting good screen captures for both M0GBZ and G0FTD is quite difficult for me. It's not really the distance as it's June and there are plenty of short skip openings on 28 MHz. The problem is that the signals from G0PKT and G0MBA are so much stronger.

This is my usual screen grab during a short skip opening...

My sound card in the PC seems to get overloaded by the signals from G0MBA and G0PKT and I get a screen of false signals. If I adjust the audio levels to a low enough level to get rid of these false signals, M0GBZ and G0FTD disappear.

What happened on the 3rd of June is that there was a very small footprint for the Sporadic-E signal.

The footprint of a Sporadic-E opening tends to be in the shape of an oval and as suggested by the image above, the footprint favoured both M0GBZ and G0FTD with G0MBA and G0PKT being at the edge of the footprint.

This meant I could get good QRSS signals from both M0GBZ and G0FTD while the signals from the G0MBA - G0PKT duo were weaker and not overloading my sound card.

What's really interesting about this is the relatively short distances between these stations. G0FTD is at the south side of the Thames Estuary while the G0MBA - G0PKT duo are at the north side, a distance of about 50 kms.

From my location on the south coast of Ireland which is about 650kms to the west, I could see how the small Sporadic-E footprint allowed me to hear stronger from one side of the Thames Estuary compared to the other side.

This is a nice example of just how small and localised Sporadic-E openings can be. You can hear big signals from a particular station and someone a short distance away hears little or nothing.

This gets even more pronounced for higher frequencies like 50 MHz, 70 MHz or even 144 MHz.

QRSS... It also shows how QRSS (slow morse code) signals allow you to 'see' the propagation moving. With modes like WSPR or FT8, you either get a decode or you don't. 

With QRSS, you can see the propagation moving in real time. Several times during short skip openings, I have seen QRSS signals disappear in the space of a minute as the Sporadic-E footprint moves.

In summary... That brings the QRSS tally so far for 2024 up to 23-callsigns & 10 DXCC.

1) 8th Jan 2024: VE1VDM - DXCC #1
2) 10th Jan 2024: VA1VM
3) 15th Jan 2024: G0MBA - DXCC #2
4) 15th Jan 2024: G0PKT
5) 15th Jan 2024: AE0V - DXCC #3
6) 16th Jan 2024: RD4HU - DXCC #4
7) 16th Jan 2024: W1BW
8) 17th Jan 2024: OH5KUY - DXCC #5
9) 18th Jan 2024: TF3HZ - DXCC #6
10) 6th Feb 2024: VA3RYV
11) 16th Feb 2024: IK2JET - DXCC #7
12) 16th Feb 2024: N8NJ
13) 21st Feb 2024: PY3FF - DXCC #8
14) 26th Feb 2024: VE6NGK
15) 27th Feb 2024: NM5ER
16) 28th Feb 2024: VK4BAP - DXCC #9
17) 2nd Mar 2024: WA1EDJ
18) 5th Mar 2024: FR1GZ/B - DXCC #10
19) 30th Apr 2024: IK1WVQ
20) 8th May 2024: IW0HK/B
21) 14th May 2024: IZ1KXQ/B
22) 3rd Jun 2024: M0GBZ
23) 3rd Jun 2024: G0FTD

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