The changing seasons – with an eye on propagation

Living where we do in the country, we feel the change of the seasons quite intensely. Far more so, I think, than when I lived in a town. Here, I have cried with happiness to see the first blossom on the cherry tree signalling that the darkness of the Winter is behind us - and the first sighting of a swallow or swift back from Africa in the Spring is something that never fails to bring me joy.

From a radio point of view, just as welcome, in the Spring, is the return of the Sporadic E propagation and I realise that it is a milestone of the year which makes me happy. So, since May I have been happily employed working as many Es openings as I could on 50 and 70MHz and have been thrilled by the contacts I've had. It's a form of propagation that continues to fascinate me year in and year out. This year, having 27/28MHz in the car to monitor propagation as provided extra interest.

But the Es openings though not gone, are less frequent than they were a month ago. Over the last week, I have noticed, not only a changing quality of light, but a changing in the propagation in the morning on 144/433MHz. As the nights are cooling down a little bit more, the first couple of hours or so after sunrise see some 'local' enhancements with VHF/UHF repeaters 50 to 100 miles away coming through better and then fading as the temperature of the day rises.

Like it or not, and I must say, I do not, Autumn is on the way.
Tim Kirby, G4VXE, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Oxfordshire, England. Contact him at [email protected].

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