144 MHz Tropo opening September 9th, 2020 / ouverture Tropo 9 septembre 2020

Le 9 septembre 2020, nous avons été gratifiés d’une belle ouverture tropo sur 144 MHz. Depuis JO10, le conduit (“duct”) permettait des QSO jusqu’en SP et l’ouest de la Biélorussie, mais aussi et surtout jusque dans l’est de l’Ukraine, via ce qui semblait être un second conduit jumelé au précédent.
Mon log se trouve ci-dessous. Tous les QSO’s ont été réalisés en FT8, seuls certains vers SP auraient pu être réalisés en CW.
Deux QSO à plus de 2000 km, avec US8AR (2065 km) et UY0LL (2264 km). Bien que nous nous soyons “entendus” (plutôt vus) mutuellement, le QSO avec UR7IMM (2410 km) n’a pu être compété.

On September 9, 2020, we were gratified with a beautiful tropo opening on 144 MHz. Since JO10, the duct allowed QSO’s up to SP and the west of Belarus, but also and above all up to the east of Ukraine, via what seemed to be a second duct twinned with the previous one.
My log is below. All the QSO’s were made in FT8, only some to SP could have been made in CW.
Two QSO’s at more than 2000 km, with US8AR (2065 km) and UY0LL (2264 km). Although we “heard” (rather saw) each other, the QSO with UR7IMM (2410 km) could not be completed.

Tropo 09092020

Ci-dessous le log / Below the log :

UTC Callsign QRG Mode Sent Rcved Locator
05:07 EU3CZ 144,174 FT8 -15 -04 KO12UB
05:11 SP6ECQ 144,174 FT8 -12 +01 JO71SD
05:14 SP1MVG 144,174 FT8 -08 -01 JO74JA
05:30 SP1FJZ 144,174 FT8 -03 +08 JO84EE
05:34 US8AR 144,174 FT8 -20 -13 KO60RR
05:38 SP6URZ 144,174 FT8 -10 -13 JO71MD
05:42 SP7CKH 144,174 FT8 -15 -08 JO92QF
05:47 EU3AI 144,174 FT8 -19 -02 KO22CE
06:09 UY0LL 144,174 FT8 -12 -01 KN79XX
06:12 SO3Z 144,174 FT8 -07 -02 JO82LJ
06:31 SQ5ESM 144,174 FT8 -16 -14 KO02HC
06:33 EW3AA 144,174 FT8 -19 -04 KO12TC
07:40 SM7MBH 144,174 FT8 -14 +02 JO75EM
07:43 SP7MTU 144,174 FT8 -16 -14 JO91RR
08:02 SQ2SAT 144,174 FT8 -16 -10 JO83XG

Extrait de PSK Reporter qui montre les stations qui ont reçu ON4KHG (et qui le rapportent sur PSK Reporter) :

Extract of PSK Reporter showing the stations that have received ON4KHG (and are reporting it to PSK Reporter) :

Display Reception Reports - Google Chrome_2020-09-09_10-06-04

Extrait de PSK Reporter qui montre les stations reçues par ON4KHG :

Extract of PSK Reporter showing the stations received by ON4KHG :

Display Reception Reports - Google Chrome_2020-09-09_10-07-43

Capture d’écran de WSJT-X montrant le QSO avec UY0LL :

Screenshot of WSJT-X showing the QSO with UY0LL :

WSJT-X v2.2


UT1FG/MM (Yuri) – 144 MHz

 Update dating 23/11/2020 (see also original post of 06/01/2019 below)

These last weeks, Yuri was again on the seas !
Thanks to the kind support of a few PA and DL hams, Yuri operates now with 150W on 144 MHz. The whole VHF DX community should be grateful for that support ! It allows every interested ham to work even more new “wet” squares !

Looking back at all the wet squares I have worked so far on 2m thanks to the operations of Yuri, it looks like this (Tropo and MS) :

Wked UT1FG-MM 27112020
However, the antenna used by Yuri is a “tiny” 5 elements that holds on a 80 cm long boom, as you can see on the pictures below (click on the pictures to enlarge). This is a dual band VHF/UHF antenna with a gain of 5  dBi on 144 MHz.

It is amazing to see how such a setup can produce FB MS reflections at 2000 km+, and how the tropo coverage extends far away too. In this regard, the uncluttered and flat surroundings, the sea, is quite helpful…

A 25 sec MS reflection (mode FSK441) from UT1FG/MM received by Bernd, DF2ZC (JO30RN) at +/- 2000 km  :

A 2 sec one received here at my station when Yuri was in HN83XL (2112 km far away) :


…But the sea is not always that flat !

Yuri at its operating position : WhatsApp Image 2020-11-17 at 13.44.24



Thanks again to Yuri and the supportive team behind him. Well done !



Post of 06/01/2019 

Yuri, UT1FG is often active as UT1FG/MM on 144 MHz. He operates from the ship “Goldeneye”, a bulk carrier sailing under Cyprus flag. On the QRZ.com page of Yuri, one can see the ship.

2019_01_06_21_02_48_https_s3.amazonaws.com_files.qrz.com_g_ut1fg_IMG_1476453682005_V.jpg_InterneThe Goldeneye has left San Lorenzo in Argentina on 8/12/2018 with Riga (Latvia) as destination. Yuri has been active during the travel from several “wet” squares on 144 MHz. I have been lucky enough to work him when he was in IN66, JO12, JO25 and JO36. Three of them were new #. The mode Yuri used was FT8. One likes FT8 or not is another discussion ! I wanted to know the full (6 digits) loactors where Yuri was when I worked him. Provided the latitude / longitude position of the ship can be received by costal stations receiving AIS (Automatic Identification System) frames emitted by the boats (161.975 and 162.025 MHz), it is quite easy to derive the QRA locator. I describe here the way I proceeded.

I go the either vesselfinder.com or marinetraffic.com. One has sometimes a more recent position that the other or vice-versa. The AIS frames contain the latitude and longitude of the ship ; these are broadcasted on the above mentioned frequencies. Once received by a costal AIS station that reports the received postions of the ships to vesselfinder or marinetraffic over the internet, one can retrieve the latitude and longitude of the ship. Below is an example with marinetraffic. Look for “Goldeneye” on the top right when accessing the website and you will get this if you select the Goldeneye from Cyprus, i.e. [CY] (click on picture to enlarge) :


From there, you can see the latest postion of the ship, its past track and even its forecasted route.


On the top right of the picture above, one can see the latitude and longitude of the ship, expressed both in DD and DMS. Feeding an online QRA locator calculator2019_01_03_09_39_15_QTH_locator_calculator (e.g. www.giangrandi.ch) with these data and one get the QRA locator of the ship. In the present case, it was in JO24KH. Again, this is possible provided the ship is under the coverage of a costal AIS receiving station. Otherwise, satellite positioning of the ships is also possible but this is a paying service !

End of January 2019, on his way from Estonia to Brazil, Yuri has activated again wet squares on 144 MHz. Yuri is transmitting with 20W into a 5 elements antenna. Hereby a screenshot from JO35 :

UT1FG-MM JO35 30012019
Many thanks to Yuri for activating all these wet squares !


144 MHz Es opening May 29th, 2020 / ouverture Es 29 mai 2020

Le 29 mai 2020, une ouverture Es particulièrement exceptionnelle est survenue sur 144 MHz, d’abord de par sa durée et ensuite, de par l’étendue géographique couverte. Vu depuis ma station (JO10XO), ça a commencé le matin avec 3 QSO’s vers 9h. Fin d’après-midi, c’était ouvert de E7 (Bosnie-Herzégovine) jusqu’à EA7 en passant par S5, 9A, I0, I7, I8, IT9, EA6, 7X, EA3 et EA5. Et pour une fois, davantage de QSO ont été réalisés en SSB plutôt qu’en FT8. Finalement, exceptionnellement tard le soir (plus de minuit !), une troisième ouverture a eu lieu vers CT. La carte et le log des QSO sont disponibles ci-dessous. Durant l’ouverture nocturne vers le portugal, la géométrie du tarjet Es était parfaite pour que mon signal entre dans le conduit (“duct”) maritime entre CT et D4 (Cap Vert), si bien que j’ai été “entendu” (-15 dBJT) chez D4VHF, à 4548 km (combinaison Es-Tropo maritime), comme le montrent les cartes plus bas.

On May 29th 2020, a particularly exceptional Es opening occurred on 144 MHz, firstly because of its duration and secondly because of the geographical extent it covered. Seen from my station (JO10XO), it started in the morning with 3 QSO’s around 9 am. Late afternoon, it was open from E7 (Bosnia Herzegovina) to EA7 via S5, 9A, I0, I7, I8, IT9, EA6, 7X, EA3 and EA5. And for once, more QSOs were conducted in SSB rather than in FT8. Finally, exceptionally late in the evening (more than midnight !), a third opening took place towards CT. The map and log of the QSO’s are available below. During the night opening towards Portugal, the geometry of the Es path was perfect for my signal to enter the maritime duct between CT and D4 (Cape Verde), so that I was “heard” (-15 dBJT) at D4VHF over a distance of 4548 km (Es-maritime Tropo combination), as shown on the maps below.

ES 29052020

44 QSO’s dans le log, mais de nombreuses autres stations entendues/vues :

44 QSO’s in the log, but many other stations heard/seen :

UTC Callsign QRG Mode Sent Rcvd Locator
09:24 9H1TX 144,300 SSB 59 59 JM75FU
09:32 9H1BT 144,290 SSB 59 59 JM75EU
09:34 9H1FL 144,310 SSB 59 59 JM75GT
15:04 IT9ZVL 144,300 SSB 59 59 JM68SA
15:09 IW0FFK 144,310 SSB 59 59 JN61FS
15:10 IT9YLF 144,285 SSB 59 59 JM68QC
15:12 9H1LO 144,300 SSB 59 59 JM75GV
15:17 IT9FSH 144,174 FT8 +05 +05 JM77PC
15:19 I8IGS 144,174 FT8 +09 +08 JM78TC
15:25 IC8AJU 144,315 SSB 59 59 JN70CN
15:26 IT9FRH 144,302 SSB 59 59 JM76MW
15:31 IK8IOZ 144,290 SSB 59 59 JN71DB
15:33 IU8HEP 144,305 SSB 59 59 JN70EV
15:34 IW0HLE 144,281 SSB 59 59 JN61WK
15:35 IK0OKY 144,265 SSB 59 59 JN61ES
15:45 9A7BB 144,174 FT8 -16 -11 JN75FI
15:46 9A7JCY 144,174 FT8 +07 -13 JN74OC
15:48 E78AB 144,174 FT8 +02 +09 JN84OS
15:51 S59GS 144,300 SSB 59 59 JN75OO
15:58 IK7LMX 144,000 SSB 59 59 JN80XP
15:58 7X2RO 144,320 SSB 59 59 JM16MS
16:04 IZ8WGU 144,302 SSB 59 59 JM88AQ
16:19 EA7MT 144,260 SSB 59 59 IM87ED
16:20 EA3CBH/6 144,315 SSB 59 59 JM19HN
16:38 EA6SX 144,260 SSB 59 59 JM19IK
16:51 EB3FSE 144,174 FT8 +05 -03 JN11AH
16:54 EB5BQC 144,174 FT8 -05 -01 IM98OL
16:59 EA5IPM 144,322 SSB 59 57 IM98QG
17:01 EB5YF 144,236 SSB 55 57 IM99SL
17:04 EA5AJX 144,302 SSB 59 59 IM98KU
17:05 EA5IEA 144,275 SSB 59 59 IM97JV
17:11 EA5CLH 144,285 SSB 59 59 JM08BR
17:15 EB3CWL 144,300 SSB 59 59 JN01PK
17:17 EA3ABK 144,250 SSB 52 59 JN01OK
17:18 EA5GX 144,335 SSB 59 59 IM99WV
18:18 IT9GSF 144,174 FT8 -18 -09 JM67SS
18:30 I8TWK 144,174 FT8 +12 +04 JN70FS
18:36 IZ8IBB 144,290 SSB 59 59 JN70FP
18:48 IK8CNT 144,174 FT8 -10 -09 JM78WI
23:06 CT1HMN 144,174 FT8 -06 -10 IM58NN
23:09 CT7AQS 144,174 FT8 -18 -02 IM69FT
23:10 CT1EOD 144,174 FT8 -10 -13 IM58KQ
23:13 CT2HRB 144,174 FT8 -04 +09 IM58JT
23:31 CT7AGI 144,174 FT8 +06 +00 IM59IC

Voici la carte des stations que j’ai vues en FT8 durant les deux ouvertures diurnes (les stations proches vues en tropo sont également visibles). En plus des DXCC contactés durant l’événement, j’ai aussi vu des stations YU, LZ, SV et EA4 :

Here is the map of the stations I saw in FT8 during the two daytime openings (the nearby stations seen in tropo are also visible). In addition to the DXCC’s I worked during the event, I also saw YU, LZ, SV and EA4 stations :

ES 29052020-4

Et sur l’ensemble de l’événement (ouvertures diurnes et nocturnes), voici l’ensemble des stations qui m’ont entendu/vu, en tropo, en Es, mais aussi tropo+Es (EA8 et D4VHF donc) :

And over the whole event (day and night openings), here are all the stations that heard/saw me, in tropo, in Es, but also tropo+Es (EA8 and D4VHF therefore) :

ES 29052020-2

Et finalement, ci-dessous les stations vues depuis D4VHF. Je suis donc la seule station d’europe occidentale a avoir été entendue par D4VHF au Cap Vert durant cet événement. On voit bien que lorsque je faisais QSO Es avec des stations CT, ces mêmes stations étaient entendues/vues en tropo (maritime) par D4VHF, qui entendait/voyait également des stations EA8 et CT3 (Madère). Sur la carte, la ligne en pourpre indique l’alignement parfait entre ma station et CT via Es et, de là, jusqu’à D4VHF en tropo maritime. D4VHF m’a reçu -15 dBJT. Sachant que j’ai 4,5 dB de puissance en plus que D4VHF, un QSO aurait pu être possible à -20 dBJT chez moi.

And finally, below are the stations seen from D4VHF. I’m the only station in Western Europe having been heard by D4VHF in Cape Verde during this event. You can see that when I was doing Es QSO with CT stations, these same stations were heard/seen in tropo (maritime) by D4VHF, who also heard/saw EA8 and CT3 (Madeira). On the map, the purple line indicates the perfect alignment between my station and CT via Es and from there to D4VHF via maritime tropo. D4VHF received me -15 dBJT. Knowing that I have 4.5 dB more power than D4VHF, a QSO could have been possible at -20 dBJT at home.

ES 29052020-5 



CU8 <> ON Tropo path on 144 MHz

On Tuesday September 3rd, 2019, I have been lucky enough to work CT8/W6PQL on 144 MHz in FT8 (QRB 2875 km) in Tropo. James is active in August/September 2019 from his holiday house on Pico Island (HM58RN) in the Azores archipelago.

backyard2From HM58, James was so far active mostly in EME with 2x10el Xpol and 1kW. I worked James already last year and one week ago in EME. I wasn’t aware James was also active in Tropo. So, when I saw the spot of F8DBF (IN78) highlighting a QSO with CT8/W6PQL, I turned my antennas towards Azores, tuned my transceiver on 144.174 MHz and started calling “CQ DX ON4KHG JO10” in FT8, without too much hope…

After a few sequences, and despite some non-DX stations were calling me (a real problem in FT8 sometimes…), I couldn’t believe my eyes, CT8/W6PQL was calling me ! Actually, “W6PQL” was calling. Indeed, James is used to EME JT65 operation and in JT65, a callsign like “CT8/W6PQL” isn’t supported (I think). In FT8, “CT8/W6PQL” is well supported but then the QRA locator isn’t sent (exchanging the QRA locator isn’t mandatory for a valid QSO according to the IARU however). Since the callsign was truncated, a few ones (against digital modes) will probably claim the QSO wasn’t valid (or just not valid at all because being in FT8 ;o). Well, it is just a matter of software “misuse” (if the callsign of James would have been CT8XYZ, there wouldn’t be any discussion) and most important, the propagation path was open, allowing distant stations to exchange a minimum set of information for a valid QSO. So, from my own perspective there is no question the QSO is complete or not,… it is ! After our QSO, I saw James calling again, as can be seen on the screenshot below seen from my station :


James sent me the screenshot of our QSO from his station :

W6PQL - 2

The strongest James received me was -12dB (in a 2500 Hz BW) and me -15dB from him. This shouldn’t have been strong enough to sustain a CW QSO. This is the second time I work Azores on 144 MHz in Tropo.


The first time was on May 17th, 2011, when I worked Fred, CU8AO (HM49KL) in SSB over a 2991 km path. The CU8DUB beacon was then audible here quite strong for hours :


CU8AO calling DX on May 17th, 2011 :



Frank, PA4EME, heard CU8DUB too over 3150 km. One year before, on September 14th, 2010, the same beacon was heard 529 in Belgium by Michel, ON4POO, and CU8AO made several QSO’s with UK and French stations on the Atlantic coast, but none with Belgium.



For my 2 QSO’s with Azores, the path wasn’t totally over the sea. To the QTF of Azores, I’m living 180 km inland. For the QSO with CT8/W6PQL, the path was even more further interrupted by lands at two occasions, the French “presqu’île du Cotentin” (Normandy) and at James’ side the Sao Jorge Island.

2019_09_04_11_45_35_Document1_Compatibility_Mode_Word 2019_09_04_11_48_12_Document1_Compatibility_Mode_WordSAPCE

Right after the QSO with James, CT8/W6PQL, I listened to the French beacon F5ZSF in Brittany (IN88) on 144.409. It wasn’t stronger that usual, just about normal (539 or so).



Path to ON from James’house in CT8 :


The F5LEN tropo forecast indicated a strong tropo enhancement between Azores and Brittany, but not extending any further. This forecast turned out to be quite reliable however !





So, beside the now famous UK/EI <> EA8/D4 path, the CU8 <> F/UK/ON path deserves attention though the CU8DUB beacon isn’t active anymore unfortunately.



Perseids / Perséides 2019

Quick summary of the Perseids 2019 on 144 MHz. Between August 8th and 18th, 2019, I made 43 QSO’s with the following stations : UT2UB, EW7AW, SP8OOU, EA4SG, OK2WO, EU4AX, C37MS, 9A3MR, SM3LBN, SP2MHR, UA3LID, UT9UR, LA/SM5EPO (JP72, 75, 76), SQ5GVY, SP7QJF, OH1ND, OH1MN, EM44T, UT7KF, OG2Z, YO2LSP, YU7ON, RA1TL, R5WM, SM4GGC, LZ0C, US8AR, UT8AL, EA3MS, OH1XT, SM3XGV, EB5EEO, CT7ABA, SF6F (2 QSO’s), S50TA, S51ZO, LZ2FO, SV2JAO, YO2BBT and HA6VV.

I omit the reports on purpose (MS Sprint Contest). The furthest station worked was R5WM over 2166 km. Amongst other 2000 km+ QSO’s, US8AR was using 100W/9el and UT8AL used only 25W/21el ! On August 18th in the morning, during the YO Marathon, 9A, Italian FD contests, there was an outburst. I worked YO2BBT in SSB but failed to complete with YO7FWS during a 1 min MS burst. Both called me at the end of a Tropo QSO with OK1RDO, also in OK Contest.

Most of the above mentioned QSO’s were random, few ones by taking a sked on ON4KST. 32 out of the 43 were made using MSK144, 10 were in FSK441 and 1 in SSB.

Squares worked (click on the maps below to enlarge) :

Perseids 2019

I didn’t notice a real peak of the Perseids, or perhaps on the 13th in the early morning. Also visually, it wasn’t that much a fireworks, at least when I watched outside ! This year during the Perseids, we “suffered” from the same newbies we face in FT8 : people ignoring what MS is all about, calling you via Tropo and using uncoordinated 15 sec periods, just because it is embedded as is in WSJT-X…

By making some data processing (excluding the stations < 800 km) with exports from PSK reporter in Excel and kml mapping tools outputing into Google Earth (drop me a mail at on4khg@voo.be to know how to), one comes up with the map of all the stations I heard (mostly MSK144) during the Perseids (the furthest heard was UR3EE at 2314 km) :

Stations received by ON4KHG Perseids 2019

By making a likewise data processing for the stations that heard ON4KHG, we have (furthest was RA3EL at 2206 km) :

Stations who received ON4KHG Perseids 2019Space