Whilst I was scanning the 6m band during my white noise listening experience (or UKSMG 50Mhz Summer Es contest) I started a little googling and came across a tool that I hadn’t used before. From the website description it calls itself a ‘DX cluster (DXC is its name by those in the know) telnet client which attempts to resolve propagation modes from spots and also attempts to calculate sporadic e possibilities purely based on incoming data from the cluster’
It uses a great circle map and a the ON4KST telnet client as well all from the comfort of a single simple desktop. A little screenshot is below for reference based on my settings and a bit of ‘personalisation’
The software seems to be developed for those with an interest in 2m really but works well for 6m as well as I found out to my surprise on Friday evening when I was hit by a wall of QSO’s from all round me. Live MUF showed a whole range of spots almost like a cloud on the screen moving from the south east of the great circle map up to just below me on the south coast where the yellow patches in some cases had turned red.
Whilst I am increasingly sceptical of propagation prediction tools I think as this is based on actual data it has saved me quite a bit of time and heartache having this running in the shack telling me if I am likely to be lucky enough to be involved in any QSO’s.
If this is your thing and you’ve already come across it then this won’t be news to you, but if like me you’re gun is more like a 99p water pistol (And I’m talking about it in a radio sense before we get carried away) then give it a try. As far as I can tell there is no installation as such it just runs an executable file and so could be used portable from a USB drive if you desire. There is also a web based version for those who might like to take a look when away from the shack. Have a look here (ps the site seems to be down at the moment but hopefully not for long).