Homebrewing and Operating Adventures From 2200m To Nanowaves
Monday, 22 June 2015
Summer Solstice Magic
As I write this on Sunday evening, June 21st, the
magic band has been open here for over 16 hours straight and shows no signs of
slowing down! What has been one of the poorest Sporadic-e seasons in
memory, did not disappoint today, on what should theoretically be the peak day
of the season.
A loud NØLL in Kansas was the first station heard this
morning at around 0600 local time but I suspect the band had been open even
earlier, judging by the strength of the signals. It didn't take long for the
band to stretch out further and not too much later, signals from the Caribbean
were making it into southern British Columbia, as well as many parts of North
At times the band seemed as crowded as 20m CW during the Sweepstakes as so many of the CW stations congregate in the 20KHz slot just
below 50.100MHz. Before breakfast, the following stations were in the
ZF1EJ Cayman Islands 9Y4D Trinidad YV1KK
Venezuela 6Y5WJ Jamaica KP4EIT Puerto Rico XE2MVY Mexico XE2X
Mexico WP3C Puerto Rico NP4BM Puerto Rico
Around 10 am local time, the VA5MG beacon was
suddenly heard pounding away ... often a good sign that propagation may be going
'polar'. Sure enough, stations to my south (Oregon and Washington) started to
hear and work Europe. I was lucky enough to hear what can only be described as
the contact of a lifetime, when K7CW (about 140 miles to the south) was heard
working HVØA, the Vatican!! Paul was apparently in the sweet spot of the moment
and his efficient homebrew array was up to the job. Over the next hour or so,
the European propagation swung wildly between W7 and W6 as well as points to the east. The only Europeans that I heard were two Italian stations, briefly hitting 559
but unable to hear me. Johnny, KE7V (and also the brother of K7CW), about 40
miles to my south, managed to work both stations ... it seems that we were both
just on the northern edge of the teasing footprint.
At times, several in band 'growly' carriers with polar flutter were heard as well as weak signals from some of the 49MHz videos still operating in central Europe.
It will be interesting
to see if we have a repeat of this prop tomorrow (Monday) but I rather suspect
much of this was the result of two well-placed solar flares earlier in the morning and will not be
repeated ... I hope I'm wrong!
Impact from the flares plus a slower moving one is expected later today.
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