I write this post also in behalf of the EA SOTA chasers signing below to try to make all the Northamerican activators aware of the good timing they should try to observe in case they want to be chased by EA chasers and possibly other European chasers.
The following table shows my SOTA chases over the month of November. You can see date and time of the QSO and I have included those days sunset times in the comment column.
As you can see, with the exception of the really late and rare QSO on Nov 11th with KI4TN, which was 2 hours and a half after sunset and the one on Nov 14th with KN4SXM about 1 hour and a half after sunset, the other 12 QSOs were made either before our sunset or within a maximum of about 30 minutes after sunset.
After sunset, two important things happen making it harder for us to copy weak signals and be able to chase Northamerican activators:
1- Propagation conditions start to gradually decay. Grey-line enhancement just lasts about 30-40 minutes.
2- Neighbours start arriving home after work and start switching on LED lamps and TV sets and various QRM-making devices. Also, the street lights automatically switch on in towns with the sunlight decay.
For these reasons, we, EA chasers, highly recommended the Northamerican activators to get on air on 20m before or not much later than our sunset if they want to have better chances to be chased by us.
We are often stalking for you with our yagis while in touch with each other through a whatsapp group we share.
This is our sunset time for today and the following days in my QTH at IN92CQ:
Nov 18th: sunset at 16h43z
Nov 19th: sunset at 16h42z
Nov 20th: sunset at 16h41z
Nov 21st: sunset at 16h40z
Nov 22nd: sunset at 16h40z
Nov 23rd: sunset at 16h39z
Nov 24th: sunset at 16h38z
Nov 25th: sunset at 16h38z
Nov 26th: sunset at 16h37z
Nov 27th: sunset at 16h37z
Nov 28th: sunset at 16h36z
Nov 29th: sunset at 16h36z
Nov 30th: sunset at 16h35z
Three more tips before finishing off:
1- Alerts are very helpful.
2- The use of CW is preferred over SSB. The same activator can often be easily copied and chased on CW in spite of a very weak signal, while he/she can’t be copied at all on the noisier and less efficient SSB mode.
3- CW weak signals at lower speeds (18-20WPM) are easier copied than faster (23-25WPM and up). Any little bit of band noise and/or rapid QSB can make big parts of the QRQ CW message lost, while QRS CW is far less penalised by band noise and QSB.
Guru - EA2IF + Jorge - EA2LU, Ric - EA4ZK and Alf - EA4CWN