Magic: right place, right time

I put the 3-element 50-MHz Yagi (Cushcraft A50-3S) up yesterday morning with the 6-element 144-MHz Yagi (WA5VJB design) above it—just in time for the ARRL June VHF contest!  The 50-MHz transverter is not yet complete, although I have the RX side done and the TX side makes about 250 mW.  It’s not integrated and I haven’t started building the PA.  Bummer because yesterday was a pretty good Es day from what N3OX told me last night.

With 10 watts from a TS-700S to a 6-element Yagi at 30 feet, there’s not a whole lot you can work on 144 MHz.  Plus, everybody was on 50 MHz, so I could only hear the multi-operator and serious single-operator stations on 144 MHz locally.  Around 21:00 local time, Sarah and I had just returned from a walk.  I had pointed the beams WSW (my best shot from here is SW) and was slowly tuning up and down the band hoping for some tropo enhancement or something…and after a few passes, I heard on 144.210 MHz…

“CQ contest, CQ contest, looking for sporadic-E on two meters, CQ contest, Kilo Five Quebec Echo…”

That’s something alright!  I figured the beam was in approximately the right place and gave him a call.  He came right back and we exchanged grids.  He was there for a few minutes and then disappeared as suddenly as he had appeared.  I know he made at least one other QSO, but he was starting to fade by that point and I couldn’t hear the other side.  Cool!

My logging software calculated the great circle distance as 1037 miles (1669 km) between FM19 (me) and EM31 (him).  Either it was one heck of big meteor or (more likely) one heck of a sporadic-E opening.  Either way, I’m pleased.  Want more of that!

Ethan Miller, K8GU, is a regular contributor to and writes from Maryland, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Leave a Comment

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter
News, Opinion, Giveaways & More!

Join over 7,000 subscribers!
We never share your e-mail address.

Also available via RSS feed, Twitter, and Facebook.

Subscribe FREE to's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

We never share your e-mail address.

Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!

  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor

Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: