CT3 <> ON Tropo path on 144 MHz

On August 19th, 2021, I had the surprise to see “CT3KN” (IM12MT) on my screen in FT8 on 144 MHz at 10:56 UTC. Unfortunately, we couldn’t make a 2 ways QSO over that 2614 km path, 2-3 dB were missing to achieve it ! In 2011 and 2019, I already worked the Azores Islands (CU8) on 144 MHz in Tropo. Nevertheless, I never thought the path to CT3 (Madeira Island) would ever been possible. Indeed, if the sea propagation seems sometimes without “limits” (see the QSO’s on 144 MHz between D4 and EA8 and the Caribbean Islands), when there is land in between, that is another story. If on the path to the Azores the amount of land is very limited, on the path to Madeira, there is about 750 km of land to cross, with as many opportunities to have the tropo sea duct being interrupted.

Nevertheless, knowing that G stations as close to me as JO01/02 made their way to the Ricardo (CT3KN)’s log on August 18th evening, I called “CQ” from time to time with the antennas heading to the Azores on the 19th. And it paid ! Below a screenshot taken at my station :

CT3KN 144MHz Tropo SS WSJT 19082021

And here is the screen at Ricardo’ side at the same time :

ON4KHG at CT3KN side 19082021 reworked

Ricardo is using 80W and 2×9 elements antennas. I’m using 1,2 kW and 2×9 elements too. It makes a difference of more than 10 dB, which is somehow reflected in the reports seen. I saw Ricardo -19 dB at best and he saw me -11 at best. At -11 dB, my signal was barely audible in a reduced bandwidth. Hence, even in CW, a QSO would have been hard to achieve (at same RF power level both sides).

In the morning of August 19th, 2 EA1 stations lying on the path (both in IN73DM) have been worked too. EB1B has been worked at 07:27 UTC and EB1FNS at 09:42 UTC.

After analysis of the PSK Reporter data and my log, one can see :

  • 06:22 UTC : CT2HXM (IN60CR) sees my signal -12 dB. Thierry sees also G0MBL in JO01 at 07:23 UTC, nobody else around or in between. This can be MS or Tropo but I assume it was more MS than Tropo. See the map below.
  • 07:27 UTC : I make QSO with EB1B in IN73DM (-08 dB / -08 dB)
  • 09:42 UTC : I make QSO with EB1FNS in IN73DM (-08 dB / -01 dB)
  • 10:56 UTC : uncomplete QSO with CT3KN in IN12MT (2614 km)
  • 11:40 UTC EB1FNS sees my signal +15 dB. So, the duct seems to be stronger now, provided the antenna at the EB1FNS’ side was heading the same QTF (to me ?) at 09:42 too.

This is the complete path :

CT3KN Google Maps
CT2HXM, Thierry sees “local” stations and my signal at 06:22 UTC. G0MBL (JO01) is seen at 07:23 UTC. Surprisingly, no stations in between or around G0MBL and I. However, I checked PSK Reporter and there were not many F stations QRV on the path between 06:10 and 06:40 UTC (F0FWC and F0GFI, both in JO10. F4KKV in IN98. F4ELJ in IN78). At 07:27 UTC, about when CT2HXM sees G0MBL, I have worked EB1B but CT2HXM doesn’t see me then. So, the spot of 06:22 is probably MS, unless CT2HXM has turned his antenna between  07:23 and 07:27. Or, since I was in QSO with EB1B, not CQing, PSK reporter didn’t report my signal around 07:23-27 UTC at CT2HXM’ side ?

ON4KHG - CT2HXM 19082021

Looking at Hepbrun’s Tropo maps, the duct was clearly visible. It seems it peaked (for my location) between 09:00 and 12:00 UTC. The map below shows the Tropo forecast at 09:00 UTC on August 19th :

Hepburn Maps

This was a very thrilling experience, even though we couldn’t complete a 2 ways QSO !

In such nice tropo conditions, working Ricardo (CT3KN) should be easy in Meteor-Scatter (actually “Tropo-enhanced MS”). Hopefully, as from IM12MT, Ricardo is located on the North side of Madeira, while Funchal (the capital city), is located on the South side, obstructed to Europe by mountains. I’m looking forward to try in MS with Ricardo, if not trying again and succeeding in Tropo !


Reception of 144 MHz beacons OY6BEC and IQ2MI in Tropo on July 23rd, 2021

Good Tropo conditions on Friday July 23rd, 2021 on 144 MHz.

Reception of the beacons IQ2MI in JN35WW (first time heard) and OY6BEC in IP62MD.

Beacon reception 23072021

IQ2MI-BIQ2MI/B is the Europe highest VHF Beacon, located at “Capanna Margherita” refuge, at 4560 m asl. The power is only 500 mW into a dipole !

Below, you can hear the recording of the beacon received on July 23rd, 2021. There is a transverter 144 > 28 MHz in front of the FT-857, so that the “real” frequency is 144.415 MHz, not 28.415.

Morse code translation :
V V V de IQ2MI/B JN35WW BAT 13.82V SUN 14.03V TIN 29C TOUT -32C www.arimi.it

Message format :
“V V V de IQ2MI/B JN35WW BAT nn.nnV SUN nn.nnV TIN xxC TOUT xxC www.arimi.it

VBAT = battery voltage
VSUN = photovoltaic panel voltage
TIN = radio box temperature (°C)
TOUT = external temperature (°C)

You will hear that there is another beacon on the same frequency, it is DB0JW in JO30.
Well, I have some doubts about the outside temperature… -32°C mid day during the summer (even if the altitude is high) ?

Now, heading north to the Faroes Islands, the 2m OY6BEC is located in that radome, in IP62MD :




Geminids / Géminides 2020

Ci-dessous quelques cartes des stations entendues durant les Géminides 2020 sur 144 MHz, des stations qui m’ont entendu et des stations que j’ai contactées.

Below are some maps of the stations heard during the 2020 Geminids on 144 MHz, the stations that heard me and the stations that I worked.

QRA locators entendus (Tropo ou MS) / QRA locators heard (Tropo or MS) :

Locators heard by ON4KHG - Geminids 2020

Stations entendues (Tropo ou MS) / Stations heard (Tropo or MS) :

Stations heard by ON4KHG - Geminids 2020

QRA locators où j’ai été entendu (Tropo ou MS) / QRA locators where I have been heard (Tropo or MS) :

Locators where ON4KHG has been heard - Geminids 2020

Stations qui m’ont entendu (Tropo ou MS), la plus lointaine RQ7R en KN64SO = 2305 km / Stations that have heard me (Tropo or MS), the furthest RQ7R in KN64SO = 2305 km :

Stations where ON4KHG has been heard - Geminids 2020

Stations contactées (MS) / Stations worked (MS) :

Log ON4KHG Geminids 2020



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 !