Fickled Propagation, Working FT5ZM

One fun thing about ham radio and propagation in particular is that no two days are exactly the same. One day a given path is open and signals are booming, the next day, nothing. Thus the challenge in working difficult paths. Amsterdam, FT5Z, is on the opposite side of the earth from where I live in Texas and is tough entity to work, especially when thousands of others are calling. So the challenge is on.

For those trying to work FT5ZM from the states it has been widely chronicled that the signals are coming in via multiple paths, even the indeterminate "skew" path. In other words just rotate your antenna until the signal peaks. I have heard them on such a path which is more east that the SSE short path heading from my QTH. Last evening they were spotted on 12m, 15m and 17m. I swung the beam SP and, as I would expect, nothing but noise. Skew path, same thing. Well, let me try long path and viola, there they were. A very nice signal on 15m, a fluttery signal on 17m and nothing on 12m. The better signal on 15m was also heard very well in JA as that was all the operator was working. So let me try the weaker signal on 17m. First find where he is listening....he is working a W7, good,  and I can hear both ends of the QSO, cool,.....I drop my call in figuring other west coasters will beat me out, but what do I hear? ....AD5A 599...jubilation...... and with that another band counter in the log.

They will be there for two weeks and working them should get easier, but don't give up, try some of the sneaky ways into the log, it's a lot more fun.

I must issue a disclaimer: This is not a QRP story, I was hitting on all cylinders on this one:-)
Mike Crownover, AD5A, is a regular contributor to and writes from Texas, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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