Sunday, July 04, 2010

VHF NFD washout

Conditions could hardly have been worse for the RSGB's VHF Field Day contest this weekend. Yesterday I worked a few southern Scottish portables on 2m and 6m, plus the Lincoln Radio Club station G5FZ/P on 2m, and that was that. There did not appear to be a shred of Sporadic-E on either 2m or 6m, according to DX Sherlock. 6m was so quiet my K3 S-meter wasn't even moving.

Today when I turned on the radio I tuned both 2m and 6m without hearing a single signal. The map on the right probably shows why. We awoke to heavy rain and gale force winds, and I immediately thought of those poor guys on hilltop sites with their guyed poles supporting their beam antennas. If the wind didn't force them to take the antennas down I dare say the rain and the poor propagation made them decide they might just as well give up.

This has been a really disappointing year for me too, VHF-wise. After working Spain and Portugal on 2m on two separate occasions last year - the last being exactly one year ago - I improved my antenna by 3dB and my output power by 6dB in the hope of doing better during this year's season. But I have worked nothing and as far as I know the sporadic-E this year has hardly been heard this far north. DX Sherlock showed that a couple of well-sited northerly stations managed to make a few contacts a few weeks ago and I fleetingly heard a station from Romania complete a contact and call CQ at that time, but that was that.

Something is becoming clear to me that I never realized when I lived in the south, which is that just a couple of degrees of latitude can make a huge difference to the amount of Sporadic-E you get. The season isn't over now but it must be on the wane and I'm soon going to be away from the radio for a couple of weeks, so it's looking as if 2010 is going to pass for me without any 2m Sporadic-E DX.

2 comments:

Steve GW7AAV said...

Missed the action yesterday because I was working but today has been brilliant. High winds made the antenna swing about a bit but lots of quality contacts on 2m SSB. Most of what I worked (from home) was 150 miles and furthest 240 miles. Worked a few SOTA stations on 2FM and HF for an all round good day. Two short showers through the day. Lots of EI and GI but mostly Southern England. Furthest North was Northumberland. No GMs at all which surprised me, so maybe the propagation stopped somewhere South of you and North of me.

Julian said...

Like I said, I think the GMs all packed up and went home.