Tuesday, May 19, 2009

A tropo summer?

According to the BBC website, the UK should prepare for a heatwave. Well, that will be nice, especially as few of us can afford to go abroad to seek the sun thanks to the government's incompetent handling of the economy and a pound that is worth little more than a euro.

Of course, in nanny state Britain, such news must be accompanied by advice on how to teach grandmothers to suck eggs, etc. According to the article, the Department of Health has advised that homeowners can stay cool by painting their houses white and planting shrubs for shade. I can see that going down well in a conservation area. I presume this advice came from the same source as the recommendation to place a paper bag over your head in the event of a nuclear attack.

Another "tip" for surviving the heatwave is to "identify the coolest room in the house." Thanks, I'd never have thought of that. It seems to me a good place to start cutting government spending would be to sack all these so-called advisors.

One possible benefit of this heatwave, should it actually come to pass (and I'll believe it when I see it) is that we could have a summer of fantastic tropospheric propagation on 2 metres.

Does anyone remember the scorching summer of 1976? I was licensed as G8ILO then, and had an IC-202E - a little 3W output battery powered SSB portable transceiver. When I got home from work in London I used to drive to a nearby high spot and make S9+ contacts into continental Europe. I even worked Belgium on the built-in telescopic whip of the IC-202 from inside a pub!

These exceptional conditions hung around for several weeks. Some people got so tired of working Europeans they started calling "CQ G only." That was a fun time. If it happens again, it will be a nice compensation for the lack of sunspots.
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