New Year’s Eve Magic

9el LFA at VE7DAY
When the winter solar flux numbers drop to dismal levels, many 6m guys just stop watching the band...myself included.
During the last solar rotation, flux values rose to near-Cycle highs and quickly plummeted, along with any hope of finding that six-meter Holy Grail...long-haul F2 propagation. Many six meter ops quickly found other things to do.

One person that didn't stop watching, and never does, was John - VE7DAY, in Campbell River, B.C., on Vancouver Island. John is VE7's iron man of 6m and spends almost 100% of his radio time seeking the magic.

For the past few winters, John has pointed his beam towards the south Pacific at around sunset, and called CQ from the VE7 black hole....on Tuesday evening he was justly rewarded.

At 00:50 UTC on the 31st, John's CQ was answered by Roger, ZL3RC in Christchurch, on New Zealand's South Island...12,021km from Campbell River.

6el Yagi at ZL3RC

One minute later, John worked Chris, ZL2DX, in Martinborough, on the North Island.

8el Yagi at ZL2DX

At 0111 UTC, John completed the hat-trick by working Paul, ZL4PW, in Oamaru, back on the South Island.

Paul, ZL4PW / 7el at 7m
The last contact was a new CW distance record for John, at 12,233 km! He also broke some records on the PNWVHF Society's Distance Scoreboard as announced in a congratulatory e-mail by K7CW, keeper of the books, and one of many dedicated 6m operators from Seattle:

"Decades ago, many DXers believed that Argentina was the world DX hot spot. DXers and contesters seemed to do the best down there. When I was in Brazil, one of the places I lived in was the state of Mato Grosso do Sul, PT9-land. It was only about an hour-and-a-half's drive to the Paraguay border, so conditions there were pretty near like those in Argentina, which was also nearby. I ran 100 watts to a vertical wire taped to a bamboo rod... and thought my QTH must have been included in the hot spot area.

I think now we are becoming aware of another hot spot, this one being in North America on Vancouver Island. I'm speaking, of course, of the your QTH, John! You seem to be doing quite well from that location. Keep it up!!

I see you worked clear down to ZL4. I'm envious. I've been looking for a ZL4 contact for a long time. Today when the band was open to ZL, I was on the road returning from Tacoma. Well, I'm glad you were able to work that great DX.

I will change the Distance Scoreboard to indicate the new records you established today. Congrats!

73, Paul K7CW"

With the present dismal solar flux and low solar activity, it is not likely that these contacts were via the F2 mode, but you wouldn't know it from the size of John's signal, recorded by ZL3RC. Being in the middle of our secondary sporadic-E season, north of the equator and at the peak of the major Es season down-under, I think a better candidate is an Es-link from both sides into the Trans Equatorial afternoon 'bubble'....certainly Es from both ends into whatever is happening in the ionospheric cauldron at the equator!

All four stations were running high power and big antennas, and with a little help from the seasonal E, it all seems to have come together nicely.

 Congrats to all involved, and especially John, as all of the other 6m ops in this part of the country, including myself, were asleep at the switch it seems!

Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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