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Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Here we go down again … This just in from Southgate News:

Geomagnetic storms likely this week

A large hole has opened in the sun’s atmosphere, and it is spewing a stream of solar wind toward Earth. Estimated time of arrival: Oct. 24th.

First contact with the gaseous material is expected to produce minor G1-class geomagnetic storms, intensifying to moderately strong G2-class storms on Oct. 25th as Earth moves deeper into the stream.

Arctic sky watchers can expect to witness bright auroras. The lights could descend to lower latitudes as well, with sightings in northern-tier US states along a line from Maine to Washington.

Visit Spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

Very Quick Report, G/SP-017 Billinge Hill, 28/10/2017.

As is customary at this time of the year, in order to work DX into VK/ZL you have little choice but to walk to the summit by head torch, however, I hadn’t banked on the drizzle that would greet me. Once again, I was plagued with strong, cold winds and was forced to work with a short antenna.

Adding insult to injury, there was a big contest and 20m was wall to wall with QRM. Finding somewhere to park up on the band was a nightmare. Nevertheless, I squeezed in and put out a CQ. After 5 minutes of calling, first in my log was John ZL1BYZ at 0717z. While we were chatting, his signal was coming up and during our last over, he was an easy copy.

A further 5 EU stations were worked before Ernie VK3DET, finally broke through the QRM. Cheers Ernie! Next call was s2s with Bojan S56LXN and dragging a signal report out of him wasn’t easy. However, his patience paid off and he was in my log. Bojan was the final call on 20m.

By now, I was pretty much fed up with the contest and WX and so it was time to pack up, however, I took a listen to 10m just before I pulled the plug. There on 28.520 was VU2RCT working a pile-up. The odd thing was, I couldn’t hear any of the stations he was working and so I assumed he was working split. I popped up 5 Kc’s and heard nothing, then went back to 520 and heard him call CQ contest. He was 5/9 on my FT-857’s meter.

When the Antron-99 pulls in a 5/9 signal on the 10m band, I can almost bet my house on it finishing in my log. However, it took a number of attempts to get his attention and then he struggled with the first number of my prefix, before calling back 2E0YYY with a contest 5/9 report. Job done. I’ve worked loads of VU contacts from SOTA summits, most of then on 10m but this contact was just plain weird. Three G stations were then worked on groundwave and that folks, was that.

Due to a combination of bad WX and dreadful contest QRM, just 13 contacts were logged for the activation. I suppose, I could have QSY’d to 40m or VHF, but the wind was giving me too much grief. Thanks to all the callers.
9 contacts on 20m ssb
4 on 10m ssb.

73 Mike

There’s a huge brick building on the summit on G/SP-017. Whenever I’ve been up there in strong wind, I’ve simply set up on whatever side of that structure is lee of the wind - and fairly close to it. That keeps the strain off the antenna and the chill out of your body.

Struggling to explain this. Maybe there is light at the end of the tunnel?

VK2KRR appears to be a major RF research station, so either they have some really good antennas, or perhaps, just perhaps, they were connected to a remote station in Europe when your signal was received?


2m FM SOTA activation, from SOTA summit, Gun G/SP-013 at 385 Metres or 1263 feet ASL, just outside of Leek in Staffordshire. IO83XD

At about 0800z I was messaged to say a lift was in full swing and I just couldn’t resist going out.

I was tempted to make my way to Shining Tor near Buxton, which is 559m or 1834 feet ASL, however, I was concerned about putting myself above the duct, as happened to me a few years ago…Very annoying…

At about 1000z, I had the X-300 colinear mounted on 15 feet of poles and bungeed into the hawthorn tree next to the trig point. The rig was an FT-857, running about 15-20 Watts, but did peak at 40 watts occasionally

At 1015, I put out a CQ and ran into quite a pile up, with stations coming in from all over the place. The South Coast and South Wales, was easy, Isle of Wight, Kent, Essex, Devon, Hampshire, EI, the list goes on. France was coming in nicely as was Belgium. The QRM from the French and German stations, was a real test of patience.

There was no end to the pile-up and I was still on the summit at 1530. This was a whole heap of fun and as lifts go it was extremely good.

Thanks to John MW0XOT, for a couple of s2s

The lithium battery took quite a hammering and I’m hoping I haven’t overdone it :frowning:

155 contacts for the activation all 2m FM.

Notable DX…
9 x France
5 x Belgium.

ODX, F8CHM, 680 km into Tours…

Probably would have got a lot further with a beam, but I can’t be bothered to turn them, these days. Anyway a colinear is much more fun :wink:
Thanks to all the callers…

73 Mike

Nice job Mike @2E0YYY

I did call you several times from across the valley on The Cloud G/SP-015 for the S2S on 2m FM, but you’re still not responding to my calls. Still at least for every point I am denied in the chaser section, I pick up a point in the SWL section :wink:

I did work Pete 2E0LKC and Anne 2E0LMD while on the VHF handheld, then I set up the 20m GP. 24 QSOs in twice as many minutes including seven from across the pond. Most pleasant - as was the weather.

This was in-between a day of supply teaching in Crewe (first time I have been in a school this academic year!) and a private tutoring booking in Congleton. Many thanks to all the chasers that called in.

Hi Ed,

RF research station? Nope, just a keen amateur living “Out of Town”. Mainly interested in VHF/UHF DX but sometimes slums it on HF.

I worked a F station on 10 m a couple of days back - FT8 of course. I’ve also seen G stations in the early morning on 80 m, grey line stuff - just running the FT8 monitor.

So there is some low level propagation at predictable times but it’s spotty and signals are well below the SSB threshold.


This from qrz.com makes interesting reading …

The NOAA website has issued a “ALTEF3” warning 12h ago. This warning refers to high electron flux, which is caused by a persistent “Coronal Hole” at the sun. Corona is equivalent to clouds on our planet. If there are none the particle on the surface of the sun can escape easier. Since this hole is facing earth some of the particles that escape the sun will hit us eventually. The particles that do hit excite the ionosphere just right and we get excellent propagation event tough flux based indicators stating otherwise.

Solar flux output is very low (sere image below), but at the MDSR test station we can hear 20m,15m wide open.

Check out the propagation at our test site:

You can also view our propagation listing:

We are used to hear people say low solar flux is bad for propagation…, but it turn out a coronal hole can be very effective, even when flux is low!

Article from Alex - VE7DXW posted on Wednesday 5:37 AM - so these conditions have now passed but the info is interesting - low SFI doesn’t always mean bad conditions when there is a coronal hole.

(Richard G3CWI - perhaps this was the reason for your WSPR signal being heard in VK2?)

73 Ed.

UPDATE: Just for clarity don’t mix up a Coronal Hole (where elctrons can escape fromthe Sun and come our way and “can” help propagation sometimes) and a Coronal Mass Ejection (CME) which is damaging to RF communications.

P.S. I have just heard that the next Coronal Hole is expected around the 18th. so we can check out this theory to see if it can make conditions better during our EU-NA S2S event!

Yesterday and today I had two great activations on 20m band. The pileups were enormous and in my excitement I had to work through all the callers.Thank you very much for your patience.

Besides the many well-known voices, today I was also very happy about the call of the “Super Sloth” chaser Robert, AC1Z and the qrp specialist Guru EA2IF.
Unfortunately, it was very cold and wet on the summit, so I did not want to call 40m after that.

Greetings from the currently gray northern Germany

73 Chris, DL1CR


Hi Christoph,
It looks like you got the “pre Solar hit” conditions as look at the readings this morning:

SFI 68 and K = 6 !! If it stays this way, there’s no point me heading out tomorrow!

73 from the grey and cold Southern Germany - Ed. :snowflake:

I’ll be out today K index or not. I haven’t got the chances to waste!

Sorry it’s cold Ed, 24C here.

Actually, despite the values, 20 metres (although with a high background noise level) seems to be OK with a few SSB activators appearing on the band, so CW should be fine.

Regarding whether I move my activations from tomorrow to possibly Saturday I’ll see what the next 12 hours or so bring. Managed a quick test of a new wire antenna in the garden this morning before dashing back into the warmth.
Two degrees at the moment - minus 1 over night. Brrrr.

I’ll look out for your spot if you have time for SSB.

73 Ed.

This just appeared on Southgate News, which explains the high K index I think:

Geomagnetic storm in progress

As predicted, a solar wind stream engulfed Earth on Nov. 7th, but the geomagnetic storms it is producing are stronger than expected.

Moderate G2-class storms are underway at the time of this alert, sparking auroras around both of our planet’s poles. The gaseous stream is flowing from a wide hole in the sun’s atmosphere, and Earth could be inside it for days.

NOAA forecasters say there is a > 50% chance of continued storming (most likely G1-class) on Nov. 7th, 8th and 9th.

Visit Spaceweather.com for more information and updates.

I have moved my activations from Tomorrow to Saturday, by which time this solar event should hopefully be over.

P.S. in this case it appears the Coronal Hole has not been good to us and just increased ionisation (and hence improved propagation), rather it is hitting the Earth’s atmosphere with some force causing a high noise level.

I’ve been out in worse conditions (propagation). I couldn’t hear a single SSB signal on 20 or 17m. But I was able to work 13 on 20m CW and 9 on 17m CW. 5 US stations and the rest Western Europe. Lots of QSB didn’t help. I was running about 22W on 20m and 15W on 17m.

Victor EA8/GI4ONL was in QSO on the phone but we did not have a QSO for 2x completes, drat! Worse Victor with a KX2 could hear me but my 817 heard no Victors. Double drat!

Very short report for Gun G/SP-013 activation 15/11…

When I arrived at the parking spot, it was pitch black! No moon or stars and thick fog. The head torch was working overtime.

For anyone who is planning to activate this summit, be warned, the track is a total mud plug, you’ll need boots or better still, wellies.

As per usual the Antron-99 was bungeed into the hawthorn tree, then connected to the FT-857 and tuned for 20m ssb.

My first impression of the band was not good, however, I had skeds arranged with Ernie VK3DET and Jonathan VK7JON, so wasn’t overly concerned. My first contact was YO2BP at 0730z and he was a big signal. A further four stations were worked, when John ZL1BYZ called in at 0745 with a reasonable signal. Little did I know, John was the only DX, I would work all morning. To be honest, I couldn’t buy a call into VK :frowning:

Nevertheless, I pressed on and worked through a large number of European chasers, this kept me busy, until, John ZL1BYZ called me again, about an hour later for a quick chat and signal update. This time, he was an armchair copy. I carried on for about another 30 minutes by which time, I’d milked 20m dry. Nice to get Peter OE5AUL in the log.

A look at both 10 and 15m found the bands quiet and so I pulled the plug at about 0920z. While I was packing up I noticed a spot for John GW4TQE, activating GW/NW-053. I grabbed the Wouxun handy and made an easy s2s into North Wales, my final contact of the morning .
Many thanks to Ernie and Jonathan, for trying so hard, it just wasn’t to be. Also, to John, ZL1BYZ for coming to my rescue on the DX front.

With the current solar numbers, 68 contacts for this activation must be classed as good result.

67 contacts 20m ssb.
1 s2s contact 2m fm.

Thanks to all the callers…


Another good result Mike. Conditions were a bit odd. One of my receivers here caught VK8AW on 10m and 10:10z this morning.

Just before I packed up, I checked the DX maps and noticed, there was some E’s about on 10m and spotted myself.

I was really surpised to find my begging going unanswered.

That’s radio for you!

You did well Mike. 20m was pretty quiet for my activation this afternoon. It was yet another case of nipping up The Cloud G/SP-015 ahead of some maths tutoring work in Stoke-on-Trent, although I had a bit more time to spare on this occasion, hence the HF.

As I was walking up, I noticed a National Trust working party loading equipment back into their van, which was parked in the grounds of the upper farmhouse. There are signs up about work to repair the footpath and also the vegetation to its sides, so I presume they were making a start on that, although the only difference I noticed was the establishment of a rough path from the farmhouse grounds across to the main path to the summit, just after the NT signs.

I operated for 15 minutes and made just 4 QSOs - one into Italy, one USA and two Canada.

Anyway, I believe this is the 500th post on this long-running thread - and possibly the final one too if my memory of our Discourse reflector settings is correct! Cheers!

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