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Ham Radio DX joins us again on another interview to talk about his experience on how to work sporadic E for long distance comunication from 10 meters through 2 meters.
This morning I was randomly checking the 6 metre WSPR results for my station and I noticed the following:
Why is this interesting? Well let's show all the stations on a map.
Notice how the stations are evenly spread out. The red circles are estimated midpoints of the path. If this was Sporadic E (remember we are still only just into Spring here in VK) then there was potentially three clouds that had formed or, a really intense cloud somewhere over the north of Tasmania which was allowing 6 metre signals to be much shorter than normal. You'll notice the signals to VK3DXE and VK3II were in the + range at around 550km. Of note is that the above stations only received one spot from me at this time of 04:44 (2.45pm local).
Just another example of how WSPR finds potential openings that would otherwise remain undiscovered.
Over the past few weeks I have been running a WSPR transmitter, using 50W predominately beaming toward VK2. An interesting thing occurs on this path.
These are the stations that have heard me:
VK2HC: Once (1081km)
VK2DVM: 3 times (1095km)
VK2ZMT: 22 times (1189km)
VK2XN: Once (1443km)
What is interesting about this, is that it is currently Spring and not in Sporadic E season. The approx midpoint of most of these paths is over the Australian Alps. It's not uncommon in summer to see stations on this path very very strong. In fact they are probably the strongest 6 metre stations during E events. But what about these events out of season? Are they random Sporadic E clouds forming? From the data that I have, I can ascertain that spots were received by the VK2 over at least three separate days, and I recall at least two days in a row where VK2ZMT was hearing me.
I recently come across this video on YouTube from the RSGB: https://youtu.be/wn5as91ndG4
Watch the whole video but if you skip to 9:12 the speaker talks about "mountain waves" which may be a contributing factor to Sporadic E. An interesting theory and thought.
On the evening of 31st January there was a small opening to ZL on 6m as indicated by my WSPR reports - although not overly strong. Several mainland stations were working across the Tasman on 6m. I tuned to ZL2WHO/B on 50.024MHz and had a clean 5/6 report on it.
As the 6m yagi was already pointing that way I decided to leave the 2m radio running on ZL2WHO/B on 144.271MHz JT4D, not expecting anything to come about. At 0822 UTC a short burst from the beacon came through and decoded at -16. Screenshot below.
The trace is quite clearly visible. Hepburn charts indicated at the time some intense tropo off the coast of ZL.
Distance is 2,381.9 km. Also below is the WSPR signal spots over to ZL at the time. Notice the two really strong signals either side from 3WE to ZL. This path is difficult to estimate short skip Es as there is no stations 300-700km off the coast of Tasmania.
On 12/01/17 a large number of stations started to be reported on 6 metres WSPR. At around 0913UTC I received a text message from a local amateur who was hearing Tamworth Airport on 123.8MHz ATIS (1370km).
DXMaps at the time was reporting a MUF of around 80MHz. Having a look at the 6m spots at this time showed an interesting thing.
Extremely strong signals. These were the only three spots recorded for this distance, everything was over 800km, or under 160km (local). This I just guess goes to prove that the E layer can increase it's MUF in an instant, and for very very short durations.
Have a look below, this is the path from 3WE to 2HC. Note the midpoint of the path, roughly SE of Canberra.
Now lets compare with the path from Hobart to Tamworth. Note that the midpoint of the above path crosses almost exactly over the Hobart to Tamworth path, probably just past halfway. This is probably a single hop E skip on 126MHz. I didn't have 2m WSPR running at the time, and there were no operators or beacons regardless in the area.