August 31, 2005

Lightning strike

The tower took a direct hit this morning as I was watching. I had just unplugged about 3 minutes earlier and disconnected the phone line too as last year a nearby hit took out 3 computers and an ethernet switch. Looking up at the tower from 20m away there was a loud "click" with a flash then a huge thunder clap.

Amazingly no damage.

So I was QRV in the aurora this afternoon but storms up country still caused huge QRN making reception very difficult and I abandoned the exercise after half an hour

1637 IK2YXK 53a 55a QTF 075
1640 IV3GTH 53a 55a QTF 075
1656 9A1CCY 53a 55a QTF 070

Thanks for these contacts and sorry to those who called without success, there were too many static crashes to read any CW.

Posted by Tim at 06:24 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2005

Tropo extended MS didn't work this time...

The news from Alex was that he didn't get a single ping from G4RRA or I when we called yesterday. I guess the tropo duct was not strong enough to carry the MS reflections all the way, there certainly were pings from me arriving at the duct entrance as some EA7 stations kept reporting them on KST chat, tnx :-)

Today the EA1VHF beacon was up and down but often 599, at 1225 I worked Avelino EA8BPX at 2600km signals were not strong (52).

Posted by Tim at 07:20 PM | Comments (0)

August 29, 2005

Band open again! 3444km tropo.

Weather has been wet and windy and almost autmnal so I thought that was it for summer tropo this year. Alex RW1ZC/MM is still QRV from the coast of Mauritania and I was hoping to try some Meteor Scatter tests with him over a 3500km path, using his reliable tropo to CT to extend the normal 1500-2000km MS range.

Today seemed like a good day for this and we had a sked for this evening, he was strong with Joe CT1HZE this morning and even reported the EA1VHF beacon. The beacon was heard here also but only 319-519.

Joe called me on KST at 0930 this morning to say Alex was calling on 144300 cw and sure enough I could hear him again!!! quick qso through many stations CQ'ing followed:

29th August 2005
0945 UTC 144300.0 RW1ZC/MM 539 559 IO70jc-IL10ip 3444km

RW1ZC 29 8 2005 JPEG.JPG

Then again at 1008 with 559 53 (ssb) reports.

The signals then faded so we tried FSK with myself and Paul G4RRA calling from 1040 to 1130 and Alex listening.....

I am waiting to hear from him if he decoded anything and hope to add to this entry later if it worked....

No EA8 stations heard and nil from Joe in another Teide reflection test.

The signals on this path seem to peak at local midday which makes me think it is an Evaporation Duct as maximum vapour will surely be at midday. It would also be low level, maybe just a few 100m above the surface, which would explain why EA1VHF (which is on exactly the same QTF but 615m asl) is not a good indicator of this path.

Posted by Tim at 01:36 PM | Comments (0)

August 20, 2005

Band finally closed now..

I drew this map to show the extraordinary tropo opening of the recent few weeks.

The tropo ODX for region 1 has progressed admirably this year, the previous record was D44TD - EA1DIH listed as 3371km (although the locators don't agree with this calculation ?!)

Pity that the official DX records listings are such a mess, being out of date and confused between different proagation modes.

Charlie's latest 144MHz contact is further than the elusive EI - VO1 transatlantic path.....although it has been interesting this summer to see how often the tropo is open to the SSW (EA8) but how infrequent it is open to the WSW (The CU8DUB beacon has only been heard once via tropo here) I think this means that the chances of tropo to the WNW (VO1) are very slim indeed.

EI5FK G4LOH RW1ZC JPEG.JPG

Posted by Tim at 11:25 AM | Comments (0)

August 16, 2005

Still Atlantic tropo is open

It will be interesting to analyse the log at the end of the year and see just how often there is tropo out into the Atlantic, today it all seemed quiet and i just switched the amplifier off having called periodically during the day and then at 15:55Z up pops EA8BPX 2600km again, and 59 too. I didn't hear any other stations and it seemed to close after a short while. There was no trace of EA1VHF at the time either, it might even have been Es which was open on 6m at the time.

Posted by Tim at 08:14 PM | Comments (0)

August 15, 2005

Another new DX record...

Only not for me...... It was nice to have the DX record for a few days but today EI5FK worked Alex RW1ZC/mm who had sailed even further south to IK18 for a new record of 3744km, couldn't happen to a nicer chap. Charlie will/has put some recordings on his website It makes you wonder just how far the tropo path over sea might get if more stations were QRV.

I thought I heard Alex briefly here but couldn't be sure, I later heard that he did hear me calling in CW , so it probably was him I heard. Would have been great to work IK18 which is a bit obscured by the hills of EA1 from here.

The tropo path was open to EA8 again and again signals peaked at around midday with EB8AYA over S9 again. In the evening I heard him and EB8BTV but not so strong and nothing from D44TD who was QRV and reached CT land and EA7.

Posted by Tim at 09:51 PM | Comments (2)

August 07, 2005

More Atlantic super-tropo 3493km on 2m......

Switched on about 0900 Z and heard Peter EA8AVI IL28fc calling CQ but the pa was off and he was gone by the time it warmed up, someone in chat mentioned that RW1ZC/MM was qrv somewhere off the African coast and had been spotted earlier, I hadn't seen the spot. The duct didn't seem that strong but grew over the next hour:

0927 EA1FDI/P IN52LW was 59+20dB (He had spotted 5T5SN's beacon earlier but I couldn't hear it)
0930 EB8BTV 55002 59038 IL18qi
0935 EA8BPX 55 55 IL18sk
0955 EA8IF 25W to a vertical !!! thus giving a clue as to how strong the duct really was....

Then, bingo!

1000 144300.0 MHz, RW1ZC/MM 429 529 IO70jc-IL10gf 3493km Wow!

Of course, in all the excitement the recorder was not on but I did then switch it on to catch him calling CQ:

RW1ZC/MM CQ from IL10gf


There then followed a certain amount of panic and attempts to contact D44TD, unfortunately he was not at home so it was not possible to try an even longer path.

I think the peak time for the opening was just before local midday when SSB was easy:

1048 144300.0 MHz, RW1ZC/MM 55 57 IO70jc-IL10gf 3493km SSB, very strong now :-)

1149 EB8AYA 55004 53036 IL18ri 100W/2x17ele

1315'ish I heard RW1ZC/MM again and we started another CW qso but it was not complete. He had by this time sailed south into IK19gx which would have been another rare grid and over 3500km.

Signals to EA8 stayed in until about 1500Z with Fernando EB8BTV being the last station heard.

Posted by Tim at 07:55 PM | Comments (0)