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10m/12m VK/ZL to EU via LP ever tried for SOTA?

I wonder if anyone has tried working VK/ZL <> EU on 10m/12m via LP around 22-23 UTC (local midnight in EU).
With the excellent conditions at the moment the path is definitely open. The question is whether QRP signals from VK/ZL will be sufficiently loud to be heard in EU. Operating CW might be an advantage.

If an activator in VK/ZL wants to give 10m/12m a try, I’ll be happy to listen for her/him. Maybe just call CQ for a few minutes?

73, Roman

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Hi Roman,

You could just see how strong the WSPR signals from VK are at that time, add or subtract dB to assess the S:N you’d get from a 10w signal into a zero db gain antenna.

My brother has been telling me about a lot of Europeans he is hearing and working on FT8. But that’s FT8,…

I am not sure about being on air tomorrow, but early next week is a possibility for an activation. My weekend is booked for a training course on chainsaws.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2DA

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QSO party anyone?

Could try tomorrow (Friday) night from 2200z (Saturday AM for VK/ZL).

It’s time my 10m/12m dual band vertical + GP had an outing.

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Sounds uncomfortable.

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I’m bracing myself.

Hi Tom and others, will monitor 10m, 15m and 20m using FT 8 and phone during those times. Will monitor sota watch3 too. Look forward for any contacts.

cheers, Geoff vk3sq

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@VK1DA: Having checked the WSPR database, the time slot 21:00 - 00:00z seems to be suitable (though 21:00z is a bit early in VK for activators and 00:00z is already a bit late here even for chasers).
SNR on 10m/12m was up to 0dB with 5 to 10 watts. This confirms my observations, having worked VK3DOU last night on 10m with RST 439/419 (at least 100 watts on both ends and a Cushcraft R5 on my roof).
It’s going to be a challenge with marginal CW signals! Chances for SSB will be slim.

@M1EYP : Not sure if the CQ WW WPX could spoil the fun on 10m CW. If the band’s open there will be lots of stations all over the CW segment. Maybe better focus on 12m then or other modes (alas, no FT8 here)
I’m still hesitating to join in on such short notice. I could set up a VDA for 10/12m and bring the K3 and a reasonable battery to my local summit. But we would need a couple stations on both ends to make sure it’s fun :wink:

73, Roman

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Hi Roman,
Is such communication via multiple Sporadic E clouds as I can’t see the F2 MUF being that high at that time of day? Looking at the path between DL and VK3 on 40/20m around that time, it’s the short path not the long path via F2 skip normally.

This is a great (near real time) E’s prediction site: PROPquest | EPI

73 Ed.

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Hi Roman, when not at work, I am often active on 10/12m in the VK mornings beaming NA/SA on the SP (which is close enough to LP EU) and have a small number of contacts into EA8/CT3/CU areas on the LP. Last weekend I had quite strong FT8 contacts with EA8 on 10m at 0240Z and 12m at 0400Z and I think have been seen in a couple of EU spots on PSK reporter. But that is not QRP with a dipole or simple vertical on a summit.
SP in the VK afternoon/EU mornings seems to be a much better option and I have been able to work 10/12m SP into EU on most afternoons for the last 8 months or so with FT8. Those with large yagis stations are having regular SSB contacts, but others even with simple setups have reported making some SSB contacts.

Matt
VK1MA

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@DD5LP, Ed, it’s hard to say whether sporadic E is involved in this phenomenon. It is likely, though.
This is what the f0f2 chart shows for last night, at the time when I worked VK3DOU on 10m. Maybe a single Es-hop above France? Further down the LP, f0f2 seems to be high enough to support propagation via F2 while on the SP f0f2 isn’t high enough for 10m.

grafik
Source

@VK1MA, Matt, thanks for the feedback! It’s also my observation that 10m produces louder signals on SP. Maybe 10m LP isn’t suitable for QRP but it’s fascinating to do some experiments :wink:

73, Roman

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I won’t be activating this evening. @m0hgy and his brother are dragging me into town for a boys’ night out.

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Hi Roman, so I gave FT8 a little play this morning running 120W into the yagi. Beamed LP EU and over a 45 minute period (from about 2200Z) was seen across western EU on FT8 - best signal I think was about -12dB which would not be strong enough to support SSB contacts, CW maybe. Only the one EU contact made (CT7AQS) - and that was after I went back to NA SP beaming about 60 degrees (compared to 120 degrees for the LP EU bearing). Certainly possible (more so with QRO), particularly when conditions are heightened, but nowhere near as reliable (or predictable) as the SP.

Matt
VK1MA

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Hi Matt and all,

It’s unlikely long path would work on 10 m at present even with the high sunspot counts we have. As you observe short path does work. I’ve worked many EU stations on 10 m this year via short path. On FT8. The best signals are in our late afternoon. I’m running 70 W to a 2 element trapped beam.

I usually look on 12 m first, then 10 m. When 10 starts to collapse I head for 15 m. If there’s no one new there It’s down to 17 m. Briefly on 20 m and finally on 30 m for a few minutes before the dinner gong.

CW is likely to be the best mode if FT8 is not available.

When we get a sunspot count of 170 or so then a SOTA station should get some good results. Mostly they won’t be able to run a beam so if set up for long path it will be fine for short path.

The changeover frequency for LP/SP EU VK seems to vary from 15 MHz to 24 MHz.

Openings for well equipped stations on 6 m for EU to VK are possible later this year. Maybe.

73
Ron
VK3AFW

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Thanks @VK1MA and @VK3AFW for sharing your experience! They correspond with what I observed during the past (utc) nights: CW Signals on 10m/12m long path around 22:00z were always weak (if audible at all). It will sometimes work, but hardly predictable - and most likely not from a summit. 10m short path on utc morning seems to be more reliable currently.

Last (utc) night and the one before I saw cluster spots on 10m/12m CW of (mostly) ZL big gun stations, but could only hear EUs further south and west working them (on a slightly different path, probably with a more favorable f0f2)
It was possible to work contest stations from the Caribbean, though. Even with 5 watts and a vertical. For me, this is basically the same direction as VK/ZL LP.

I’ll continue observing 10m/12m LP as it is fascinating. Maybe once cycle 25 is in full swing, we’ll get a more reliable signal path :wink:

73, Roman

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Hi Roman,
As well as a possibly better Fof2 path, should the path go more over water (which is the case for parts of countries with borders on the Mediterranean Sea for example) there is less signal loss on each “bounce”. In central Europe both our long and short paths to VK/ZL start off over land which reduces signal strength on transmit and receive.

73 Ed.

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Conscious that I hadn’t been taking full advantage of the current decent conditions from a SOTA activating perspective, I had a wander out this evening to The Cloud G/SP-015.

The DX Heat Map indicated that 15m was the place to be, so I left the Alexloop in the car and took up a SOTA Pole and my homemade 15m quarterwave vertical with GP antenna.

The wallabies were very sociable tonight, all three of them right up against the fence next to the path halfway up The Cloud, and seemingly enjoying the attention! They all hopped over and socialised again on my descent later!

Anyway, the activation was good fun with five continents worked (OC and AN the ones missed) and a log dominated by DX. Out of the 28 QSOs, only 2 were “non-DX” - LZ and G.

All contacts were on 15m CW as I gave the FT8 tablet a rest and did some proper radio!

4L Georgia
CT3 Madeira (2)
D4 Cape Verde
G England
LZ Bulgaria
P3 Cyprus (2)
P4 Aruba
PU Brazil (5)
TA Turkey
VE Canada (2)
W USA (9)
ZF Cayman Islands (2)

Satisfying stuff with 5 watts and a homemade antenna!

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Nice. I didn’t have a 15m antenna with me and had to make do with working OD (Lebanon) for the 1st time on 10m. The 9K2 station I could hear couldn’t hear me.

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