Monday, 22 June 2015

Summer Starts with a Bang on 6m

On June 21st, the first full day of Summer in the Northern Hemisphere, 6m was in fine form. After noticing various CW and SSB signals on the 'scope, I managed to work a couple of US stations but found that most signals I was seeing were answering other stations rather than calling. To see how conditions were, I fired up WSJT-X and connected to the pskreporter web site.

This combination can show who hears your station, whether they answer or not. I only starting using it this year and have seen nothing like it before. Most of the time I see half a dozen stations that can hear me - often less. When there's no enhanced propagation it's usually the same 3 stations, VE3NLS, VE3CGR and K2MJ across the lake. Many openings go to the South East US stations but it is rare to see the Western US. The picture I saw when I opened pskreporter this time was extraordinary. I wish I could have worked them all.

Each of the little balloon tags represents a station that heard me. You can see a huge swath in the South East US but also the North East, Mid West and South West all well-represented.

By the end of the day I'd logged a couple of new countries (Venezuela and the Dominican Republic) and a dozen new grid squares. Pretty good for a little delta loop antenna that is lower than the roof of the house.

It's also interesting that stations 100km away are almost always workable on 6m. This is well beyond line of sight and more than likely is a result of tropospheric scatter, too weak for SSB communications but easily done with JT65.

What an amazing day for 6m!

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