Totally unexpected tropo!

Two blog posts on the same day always mean something special! 😉 Well, after all the hard antenna work today I spent the evening at the contest station, working a few DX stations on HF here and there, working my friends DL5CW & DL9USA who are currently QRV from Crete as SW9CW and SW9AG respectively, and also playing around a bit on 60 m to grab some new band points (well, almost every QSO is a new one on 60 m, hi).

While doing so I saw a few DX spots on the cluster of western Germany working into France and the UK on 2 m. The F5LEN tropo forecast showed something like that would probably happen. Condx overhere were rather horrible. We’re currently sitting right below a big low pressure system, wind and rain, ugly autumn weather and the 2 m beacon signals are all down from normal. So I didn’t expect anything but with all the spots I decided to wire the local VHF station for digimodes, too, and see what’s around. I was simply curious. Imagine how astonished and excited I was suddenly seeing stations from 1.400 km away! Guess it was some good tropo ducting until around JO30/31 and then some “normal” troposcatter up to JO73 coupling into it. Dave, G7RAU, reported s9+50 signals from JO30 so that probably backs up my theory.

Signals overhere were not strong and FT8 really shined again, most if not all QSOs would not have been possible on CW or SSB! This is my tonight’s VHF-DX log:

20:12  G7RAU         IN79JX   -03   -07    2 m.   FT8   TR    1383
20:16  F8DBF         IN78RI   -17   -13    2 m.   FT8   TR    1418
20:23  G4RRA         IO8ØBS   -04   -07    2 m.   FT8   TR    1263
20:37  F6DBI         IN88IJ   -14   -24    2 m.   FT8   TR    1336
21:19  F1NZR         IN88HM   -16    NC    2 m.   FT8   TR    1335

Unfortunately the QSO with F1NZR was not complete, I lost him when signals dropped, quite a pity. Worked a few other stations, too, but all in normal troposcatter distance range. While there was a lot of traffic between F & G & DL & PA on SSB, too, none of it made it overhere, just noise to be heard. So this kind of propagation is where I really see a benefit through FT8 but also good to see all the SSB activity in the west. 😉

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