Sunday, April 26, 2009

G to K6 on 25W

A lot of people are spending a lot of time online complaining about poor HF propagation at the moment. Sure, the bands have certainly been better. But rumours of the death of the ionosphere have been greatly exaggerated.

Yesterday, after putting out a few calls and making a few PSK31 contacts on 20m, I was surprised to find on PSK Propagation Reporter that my signal had been spotted in California. I was even more surprised to find that it had been spotted by the station of Leigh, WA5ZNU. Leigh is a fellow Elecraft K2 owner and also a member of the Fldigi development team, with whom I have exchanged emails in the past. It was so unexpected that my signal made it all the way to the US left coast I wondered if my spot was actually down to some testing Leigh was doing on Fldigi rather than real propagation. VOAProp certainly didn't think propagation to California was possible with my modest set-up.

However, around the same time this afternoon I was calling CQ on PSK31 again and was answered by Dave, KJ6P, also in California. His print was a bit corrupted although his trace on the waterfall was clear - I sent him 599 because my reactions weren't quick enough to change the report in the box after he called me, but a 479 might have been more appropriate. Nevertheless it seems that my signals really are making it over to W6 land.

Bear in mind, I'm using a dipole in the attic of my house, and the K3 was loafing along at a mere 25 watts output. No HF propagation? I don't think so.
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