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Was 5MHz in poor shape today?


I tried to activate G/NP-011 on 5MHz this afternoon but got no contacts at all. I initially had battery problems which were mentioned on the spot but was able to overcome them. Still nothing though.

Channel FE had some French fishfone splatter from 5.400 so I called both there and on other channels. There was a ragchew going on on FK with very long overs; signals there seemed weak though.

If anybody heard me and replied I’m afraid I didn’t hear you. But were band conditions generally poor as I suspect, or do I have an equipment problem?

I qualified the summit on 2m so I’ve got my points, but it was a bit disappointing to get nothing at all on 5.


In reply to M1MAJ:

Hi Martin,
Steve GW7AAV and myself were listening for you on 5 Megs, after seeing the spot for Caroline on 2Mtrs.
I was desperate for just one point to qualify for Shacksloth X3 and could only just hear Caroline now and again as she moved about, presumably on a handie.
I thought I heard you momentarily on fox kilo, but wasn’t sure if it was a desperate mind playing tricks.
The two stations on fox charlie were audible but only one of them was strong, condx on 5 megs were poor again.
I managed to get the elusive point after a difficult but successful contact with Caroline, so please pass on my humble thanks and gratitude to her for her patience in helping me through the 3000 point barrier.
I might be on gw/nw-062 again tomorrow 20th to adapt my 5 meg dipole for 40Mtrs use, by cutting it and inserting some powerpole joints, then running tests on both 5 and 7 megs.
vy 73 to both of you,



In reply to GW0DSP:
I was on np-029 yesterday ,i tried 5 mhz and couldnt manage a contact ,suspect it was condx.


In reply to G4CPA:
Yes, the NVIS propagation on 5 MHz has been poor for the last few days. I tend to check the F2 critical freq through http://www.spacew.com/www/fof2.html
It is updated every 10 minutes or so, and although the scale of the map is a bit all-encompassing in that it covers the whole globe, sufficient details can still be extracted for the UK.
I have not found any source of data for “extraordinary propagation” which is reputed to be responsible for the longer inter-UK skip we get at times on 5 MHz even when F2F0 is well below the 5 MHz band. Anyone got any source of info on this?
73 de Ken


In reply to GM0AXY:

I use http://www.ips.gov.au/HF_Systems/3/3 which gives a view of the critical frequency over the UK and Europe. I can’t class myself as any form of expert on propagation but by checking the display and comparing that to what you can hear and work you should be able to get a feel for what kind of paths are workable. The current view, based on my limited experience suggests that conditions are probably down a bit on 5MHz today.

This is not updated as often as http://www.spacew.com/www/fof2.html but I think is easy to read.

Also I live about 100miles from RAF Inskip which radiates the RAF Volmet information service on 5450kHz. I monitor the strength of Volmet to also gauge propagation. Volmet has a big antenna and a big TX unlike many SOTA activators but if Volmet is a few S points down, it’s indicative to me that I might stuggle on 5MHz.

The advantage that we Socttish stations have is that for once our distance from the population centres of England is an advantage unlike on VHF etc. It means that for me I’m about 200 miles from the 1st major UK population centre (NW England) whereas activators in say the Pennines or Lakes will be only 50 miles or so. It makes their job much more dependant on the critical frequency being higher. Whereas when it’s low, I can still scrape some contacts to those stations 400 miles away on the South coast/East Anglia which may be marginal for English activators at only 200 miles.

I can recommend http://www.ips.gov.au/HF_Systems as there are other pages there which can be useful for activators/chasers.

Any one else with any comments to help me understand better?



In reply to MM0FMF:

Try Chirpview:

If you set this up for Inskip you will be able to see the MUF on the path between it and you in real-time. There are probably other UK-based sounders that you could use too.

There are examples at:




In reply to M1MAJ:

I’ve just been listening to you on Yarlside (sri no tx capability at the present or I’d have called you). The IPS site shows the critical frequency below 5MHz for the North and above from Chester southwards. RAF Volmet is only 54 instead of 59+++. You were were very, very weak, 31 at best. The distance between us is about 110miles. I heard you work Brian, G4ZRP who is 175 miles from me and was about 52. Now Brian is running <10W into dipole that is less than 2m AGL at the centre and on a good day is 57-58 and I’d expect you to be about 55. As stations from further and further South called in, they were progressively stronger.

So the observed results fit what the propagation charts were showing.