It’s the Sporadic E (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sporadic_E_propagation) season at the moment. The season in the northern hemisphere is generally accepted to start 1 May and finish 31 August. However it possible to hear Sp E in April and (more rarely) other months. However this four-month summer season is generally accepted to be “The” season.
This year in the UK it started quite slowly and you had the usual culprits on Skywaves bemoaning the awful season – some people just don’t understand the meaning of sporadic I guess. However that all changed the last couple of days with a sustained opening to Eastern Europe Monday 2 June and a smaller Scandinavian focused opening 3 June. The previous 3-4 years I have wasted too much time doing Band I Tv dxing. My urban location in the London ‘burbs mean that there’s an awful load of muck in the video passband and getting good video is practically impossible (i.e. I have a S9 baby monitor on 49.850 Mhz and various carriers, data signals etc).
So this year I decided to focus on getting my 6m scores up. I like to set targets in my dxing and this season I determined I should reach 50 DXCC on 6m and 200 locator squares. Thanks to this superb opening I am now at 54 DXCC and 199 squares – new countries worked on 6m include SV9 Crete, EA8 Canary islands and ZA Albania.
Given the complete lack of F2 propagation on 6m this sunspot cycle high (sic) I think a final target of 60 DXCC and 250 squares on 6m should be achievable with 3-4 years. For 6m I use my Icom 7600 into a Sandpiper 3 element up at about 10m on the Tennamast or the Diamond V2000 triband co-linear- the beam being far superior of course.
I could not quite resist doing a bit of TV and OIRT dxing. The morning of 3 June saw some very strong Band I TV carriers – I view the audio output from my AOR AR5000 into Spectrum Lab on the PC. So i fired up the separate PC I use for TX dxing – this has a flyvideo 3000 card inside with the saa7134 chip. I feed my HS Pubs VF1004 4 element (45-70 MHz) into a 4-way tv distribution amplifier from Maplin (brand NIKKAI). One output goes to the AR5000, another to the Sony XDR (see below), the third to my JVC 610 tv and the fourth to the HS Pubs D100 narrow bandwidth converter whose output is fed into the Flyvideo TV card. I then use dscaler and freerun to view on the PC. So this morning I was watching Ukrainian 1+1 TV on channel R1 on the JVC, 1+1 on channel R2 on the PC, listening to OIRT stations on the Sony XDR and monitoring TV carriers in Spectrum Lab.
After doing the Konrad GTK mod on the Sony XDR it can now tune the OIRT frequencies where its performance is not too bad at all though I do get images from the strong BBC Band II stations. You can see my OIRT loggings at http://www.fmlist.org/fm_logmap.php?datum=2014-06-03&omid=2121
As I mentioned it’s very hard to get decent TV DX video here – despite the S9 signals. However i did make three small videos:
Ukraine 1+1 R1
Ukraine 1+1 R2