Double hop Sporadic-E into EA8 on 4 m

Wow, what a great day! It didn’t look too promising during the morning. There was a nice ES cloud with MUFs up into the 80-90 MHz but too close, i.e. just 250 km east above SP2. Nevertheless I went to the station after enjoying a great lunch meal at my mom’s. Nothing spectacular on 6 m but 4 m opened shortly down into Romania enabling another QSO with YO7BSN. The band later opened up quite nicely between G and 9A, S5, etc. Taking the E-skip geometry into account the band must have been wide open into France from here but as they do not have a 4 m allocation (yet) it was only listening to noise while monitoring all the cluster spots of the QSOs between the UK and Southern Europe.

I hoped the clouds would move south-westwards to then allow working into Spain but that did not happen. The more excited I was when stumbling across EA8TX calling CQ on 4 m – double hop ES to the Canarian Islands! That’s 3.750 km to Teneriffa, wow! 😎 Fernando struggled a bit to copy me but we eventually made it. I was even more excited when Alex, EA8DBM, popped up on 70 MHz, too:

He was an easy QSO and signals were great throughout the whole opening that lasted about 50 minutes here. Unfortunately EA8ACW, who is QRV on 4 m, too, was not around. He’s in IL28 while the former two guys are both in IL18. Thus “just” one new gridsquare and a new DXCC worked. 😉 If you are interested I also made a short video clip of EA8TX (link) as well as EA8DBM again, now on CW (link). Sorry for the a little unstable video shots – seems my mobile (a good old-fashioned Blackberry, hi) is too small for such things … or maybe I was just too excited and therefore kept trembling. 🙂

BTW: Alex, EA8DBM, was also worked by Oleg, LY3UE, afterwards – that’s a whopping 4.500 km! Lithuania has a special permit for 4 m now, too, and Oleg is the first guy QRV from there and EA8 was just his 5th QSO ever on the band! Quite sure he opened a nice bottle afterwards. 😎

So definitely a day to remember (although I have been told double hop on 4 m happens a few times each summer). It will be difficult to higher that ODX now. Theoretically there are 2 chances for even bigger distances on terrestrial propagation modes from here: Bahrain, A9, has a 4 m allocation, too. That would be around 4.250 km. Dave, A92IO/EI3IO, worked quite a number of double hop contacts into Europe on 70 MHz while there but unfortunately he returned to Ireland at the end of 2013 so currently no active station there as far as I know. Another option would be working ZS, South Africa! No kidding! They are allowed to work on 4 m as well and there have already been TEP contacts between Southern Europe and South Africa with SV2DCD – ZS6WAB being the first one ever, afaik. That would be 8.700 km then! Unfortunately chances are extremely low. We would need to have a good ES opening into the Mediterranean to link into a possible TEP opening from there. With TEP peaking in April and October so before and after the 4 m ES season in Europe and knowing how we already struggle to work ZS’s on 6 m from up here I’d render that a “no chance at all”. But if it ever happens I’d take it, of course. 😎

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