Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Sporadic E on 50Mhz

Well today was quite amazing, for the first time ever I was able to work some DX on 50Mhz through 'Sporadic E'. It is amazing listening to stations from the continent on 50Mhz, I have heard it once before, but didn't have a transmitter then.

Today I managed to work some stations using my Yaesu FT817 and 50Mhz halo. Only 5 Watts output from the FT817. The opening seemed to be mainly into JN square which includes France, Spain and Italy, but at it's peak today I could also hear HB9, Germany, Austria and Portugal.

Here are the stations I worked today:

EA3EVL  (JN00AR)  Spain

F6ITD   (JN03SN)  France

I2PJA  (JN45PB)  Italy

OE1WEU (Austria)

IW3INQ (JN65EU) Italy

It was quite tricky working these stations as QSB was very deep and variable, but it was great to experience Sporadic E conditions on 50Mhz for the first time.

What is Sporadic E?

Sporadic-E (also known as Es) propagation is probably familiar to many low-band operators as the summertime "short skip" on 10 meters. It is also responsible for most of the long-distance (600km and greater) contacts on the 6-meter band. Sporadic-E is a type of ionospheric E-layer reflection caused by small patches of unusually dense ionization. These sporadic E-layer "clouds" appear unpredictably, but they are most common during the daylight hours of late spring and summer. Sporadic-E events may last for just a few minutes to several hours; a given event usually affects only small areas of the country at any one time. During June and July, signals propagated by means of sporadic-E ionization may be heard on 50MHz for several hours a day on more than half the days. Sporadic-E is observed on 144 MHz less than a tenth as often as on 50MHz. Signals are often remarkably strong, allowing 50 and 144MHz stations running 10 watts, and often much less than that, to make contacts 1500 km and longer with relative ease.