Autumn tropo

On the first day of autumn, we were treated to some nice VHF/UHF tropo. I was alerted to it on Twitter, by Rob, MW0DNK saying that he was going portable and then later on, saying that he had worked some nice DX from Anglesey on 144/432MHz.

Driving home from the station, on 145.650, when GB3WH was not transmitting, I heard a French repeater in Limoges, JN05. Not bad, considering I was only using the Moonraker MD-7400 antenna in 1/4 wave configuration.

Once I was home, I had a quick look on 432MHz and heard John G3WZT calling CQ on CW on 432.200. To my surprise, I was able to hear DL5MAE come back to him. I waited for the QSO to finish and then called DL5MAE a couple of khz higher than their QSO frequency. Often this doesn’t work, but this time it did! I was thrilled to work Wolfgang, who was one of my 144MHz meteor scatter pals back in the 1980s – a nice distance to JN58.

Other stations popped up on 432Mhz during the evening, a couple of DLs, LX1DB, who I didn’t manage to work and French station in JN27. Closer to home I worked F5MFO in JN19, also on CW.

I’m not on 144MHz CW.SSB currently, but I listened on FM, where there were lots of French voices and some repeaters from interesting locations coming through. Listening on 145.725, there was a particularly loud signal. I was just scanning the French repeater list to see what it was likely to be, when it IDed on CW; HB9G!

OK! I waited for the QSO to finish, turned my CTCSS off, so as to try and avoid bringing closer repeaters and called F6BPZ. I think Jean was surprised to be called by a G station and I was surprised that he heard me! We had a pleasant, brief QSO, before the repeater dived in fading, though it came up again later.

Although this morning dawned foggy and there is some good enhancement on UK signals, I’ve not heard anything more distant so far.

Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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