Category Archives: Sporadic E

6m Squares Worked

This is a great website (http://wg7j.reinalda.net/gridmapper/gridmapper.php) that enables you to display the 6m grid squares that you have worked. Actually you can display for any band, mode etc but I use it to show the 6m squares as think it’s really interesting to see where the Es cloud have formed.

Below is a picture of all the 6m squares I have worked (224) since being licensed (click to see large picture). A red square means the QSO is unconfirmed in LOTW whilst green is confirmed.

6m squares

Band I Italian STL

Tuesday 16 June 2015 saw a big Sporadic E opening in the UK. I managed to work SV2RJO on 6m cw which was confirmed on LOTW – super fine business! He’s a distance of 2,154 km from me which is about the furthest I’ve worked on single hop Es. Last night we had some interesting short range Es and I worked F2DX in Sorges France which is a distance of 704 km – two 6m single hop extremes!

I’ve almost achieved my very modest goals for this season which was to get to 60 DXCC on 6m (achieved with Macedonia and Greece) and 225 locator squares (1 to go).

On Tuesday I checked for Italian STLs on Band I and found:

52.60 Radio Radar, Castel di Casio/Casola (bo)
54.37 Simply Radio (tivoli) (rm)
56.50 MEP Radio Organizzazione (P. Net), Rieti/Frazione Campoforogna (Monte Terminillo) (ri)

http://www.fmlist.org/fm_logmap.php?datum=2015-06-16&omid=2121&band=ALL&target=ALL&rxin=ALL

No sign of the two Jonica Radio outlets or AFN on 48.50.

First Band I Video of the Season

Had a decent opening on 14 May with TV DX from Belarus and Ukraine seen, as well as some OIRT logged and 6m stations from Latvia, Ukraine, Sweden and Finland! As we know my Band I video pass band is full of carriers, baby alarms etc and I was playing with a HS Pubs R1 Notch filter. The first video below is without the filter in line. The second video is with it in line and after I had played with the notch frequency and depth in order to try and reduce the patterning interference (from a baby alarm I’m sure).

 

R1 Ukraine 1+1 TV (no notch filter)

R1 Ukraine 1+1 TV (notch filter in line)

Here are the same two videos but using an older avi to mp4 converter app.

No Notch

Notch

Update – mainly Band I related

Well it’s been a while since the last post. DX activities have been neglected in favour of the excellent World Cup and this year’s cricket test match series which has seen the beleaguered English team actually deservedly win a couple of matches.

Sporadic E wise I have easily surpassed my season’s targets (200 squares and 50 DXCC) on 6m. At the time of writing I have 214 squares and 58 DXCC. Still got some supposedly easy ones to go as well such as Z3. I’m well pleased with this year’s season and feel set-up for next year to stretch and get beyond 225 squares and 65 DXCC.

We have had one or two excellent TV DX openings and OIRT as well. Here’s a couple of videos from 3 July 2014 and the mainly Belarus OIRT logs on the same date can be seen at:

http://www.fmlist.org/fm_logmap.php?datum=2014-07-03&omid=2121&band=ALL&target=ALL&rxin=ALL

R1 Ukraine 1+1 TV

An oddity of Band I are the number of Italian STLs (studio to transmitter) links you can hear. On 21 July I heard Radio Delta from central Italy:

http://www.fmlist.org/fm_logmap.php?datum=2014-07-21&omid=2121&band=ALL&target=ALL&rxin=ALL

I had a triple whammy identification process: audio was parallel to web stream at http://www.streamsolution.it/onair/RadioDelta.asx, RDS PI Code 5362 appeared on XDR GTK display and there was a clear jingle id!

FMLIST is a simply superb resource. It does get very slow at times and I wish the operators would accept donations or adopt a membership scheme – something like £20 or €25 per annum would be excellent value to take advantage of this resource. Something akin to the QRZ.com XML subscriptions for automated lookups which are around $30 per annum.

I have not bothered too much with Band II this season. It’s a zero-sum game in London with Ofcom’s abdication of its responsibilities for keeping the band clear. In any case my priorities were 6m and some Tv DXing before the latter becomes impossible due to the digital uhf take-over.

It’s mid-August and the NA MF season has started already! We’re still getting some LA DX as well with a  good Peruvian opening on 5 August. More details on that one in the next update!

 

Sporadic E Season

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