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 :

W6PQL

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.

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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 :

SAPCE

QSL CU8AO

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.

SPACE

SPACE

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.

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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).

SPACE

SPACE

Path to ON from James’house in CT8 :

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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 !

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SAPCE

SAPCE

PACDE

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.

SPACE

SPACE




144 MHz tropo opening of end of 2018 and beginning of 2019

Below the map of the QSO’s I have been lucky to work on 144 MHz during the period December 25th, 2018 to January 6th, 2019. The conditions lasted for days, thanks to a steady high pressure system over Western Europe. Stations on the North coast of Spain were hearing the OY beacon but unfortunately there was no activity from the Faroes Islands. In JO10XO, I was out of the North-South duct but I could benefit however from excellent conditions from South-West to North-West. UT1FG/MM was worked while in IN66, JO12, JO25 and JO36 (3 new #). I missed IN67 as I was out for the New Years eve. The map depicts SSB, CW and FT8 QSO’s.

Tropo opening 144 MHz end of 2018

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144 MHz – Ouverture Tropo opening – Oct. 2015

Ouverture Tropo sur 144 MHz ces 23, 24 et 25 octobre 2015. Le 23 d’abord vers le sud (F1EYB près de Marseille reçu 57) et le sud-est, puis vers l’est et le nord-est le 24. Pas contacté OH6KTL ni LY5G car en déplacement de basket. 

Tropo opening on 144 MHz on  October 23rd, 24th and 25th, 2015. First on the 23th towards the South (F1EYB close to Marseille received 57) and the South-East, then to the East and the North-East on the 24th. No contact with OH6KTL nor LY5G due to basket-ball game away.

 Tropo opening October 2015SPACE