Sporadic on Six

Today there has been a really big Sporadic-E opening on 6m which lasted for several hours. In fact it is still going on as I type this.

This snapshot of activity from DXMaps gives an idea of what the opening was like at its peak. The whole of western Europe must have been covered by a reflective Sporadic-E cloud!

From DXMaps I could see that the opening extended up to 2m for a time, though I didn’t hear anything myself. Unfortunately my QTH is poor for VHF so conditions have to be exceptionally good for me to hear any 2m DX let alone work it. So 6 remains my favourite VHF band.

I made several 6m contacts on SSB and several on PSK31. The most interesting call was LY44WFF, a DXpedition to Klaipeda, Lithuania KO05oi which is quite a rare square so I’m told. Best DX on PSK31 was probably David, 5B4AHY.

I never quite know how to answer calls on 6m PSK31. Some operators seem to use quick, contest style operating while others reel out their name, QTH, EPC number and so on. I prefer the quick format myself, with the aim of getting the contact completed before the conditions fade out. But if someone wants to exchange a bit more information I try to do that too.

A station operating RTTY was an unwelcome presence among the PSK just above 50.250. One RTTY station came up right smack on top of someone operating PSK63. Surprisingly I got perfect copy of the PSK63 station which was straddled by the RTTY signal! Surely it is time to abandon this old, wide, slow outmoded mode?

Julian Moss, G4ILO, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cumbria, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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