Propagation: one of the fascinations of amateur radio

For me, and I’m sure I’ve said this before, one of the fascinations of radio is how how signals travel from one place to another; how signals can be strong one day and almost inaudible another. I find this true at both VHF and HF.

One of the pleasures I find on HF is to listen to a band that you think should be closed and see what’s coming through. That’s what happened the other night. I’d had a quick spin around 28MHz which wasn’t doing anything at all (it was well after sunset) so I went down onto the bottom end of 14MHz.

The band was pretty quiet – but the great thing was that the only signals coming through were from several thousand miles away. First heard was a chirpy weak one, which turned out to be from Honduras, working into the USA. I listened to him for a while and tuned up and down the band a bit, only to find a Venezuelan station at good strength. He was also working into the USA.

Though I didn’t get a chance to call, I’ll bet a contact would have been possible and it’s often fun to surprise people with a call from far away.

Even when you think the band is closed – have a listen!

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

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