The Sporadic-E is the strongest available propagation mode. An ionized “cloud” acts like a metal reflector, that allows signal to skip over a huge distance. It is possible to receive many stations with just a small portable radio and a telescopic antenna. With better equipment, when the frequency is clear, it is also possible to receive stations that transmit at extremely low power, like 50W, with full RDS and stereo! So, the signal level must be really strong, but how strong?
February 11, 2015 is a day that will mark itself in history of FMDX. For the first time ever I have experienced a winter tropo with distances over 1000 km including Belgium, Netherlands and Norway. Furthermore, both Dutch and Norwegian signals were persistent at the same time! First signs of propagation appeared on February 10 evening. I heard a weak, but stable 89.3 hr3 from Frankfurt am Main, which is a relatively good beacon for tropo. This was the first distant DX over 800km and it lasted continuously during almost entire tropospheric ducting opening. Other locations from Germany were also audible – some frequent ones like Torfhaus, Kreuzberg, Brocken, but also rare Ederkopf (100.7 WDR4).
Geminids are one of the most known meteor showers with very high theoretical ZHR rate of around 120. Its maximum was calculated to be between 13th and 14th December. This time I rotated my Körner 19.3 antenna at north-eastern direction for an overnight recording. The results in evening were really encouraging with pings and bursts every few seconds! I added a preamp between XDR-F1HD and antenna and set the squelch few dBs over the noise floor. Tropospheric conditions were rather poor due to a cold front, so the VHF band was quiet and ready for MS reception.
XDR-GTK v0.3.1 is out. New features include:
- stereo squelch
- frequency scheduler
- simple RDS logging
- stereo pilot injection estimation
- 1/9kHz steps on LW, 1/9/10kHz on MW, 5/10kHz on SW (using keyboard)
- separate RDS error correction level setting for PS and RT
- improved antenna switching (with selectable RDS data reset)
- automatic connect on startup
- rewritten connection and settings dialog
- fixed bug with memory management in SRCP (StationList)
- other stability improvements
The last weekend of September featured fantastic troposhperic ducting conditions in Central Europe. This time I got stations from southern Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Croatia, Slovenia and Hungary! We are used to receive stations mainly from northern directions here in Poland, as the terrain is flat and the nearby Baltic Sea is a perfect enviroment for tropo. Every year we listen to stations from Denmark, Sweden and possibly other countries depending on conditions, location and equipment. DX from southern countries is limited due to the hilly terrain. However, reception of Croatia or Slovenia is possible even in central Poland via aircraft scatter, when a plane is at 12km+ height over the Polish-Czech border.
Just like almost every year in the past, I have visited Polish coast at the Baltic sea this summer. My QTH – Chłapowo near Władysławowo (JO94ET) was very well-elevated. It is over 40 m ASL, 3 m AGL and less than 200 m to the coast! I took my 5-el Yagi designed by Brian Beezley, K6STI. Moderate gain, F/R 20dB over entire band and small dimensions make this antenna perfect for portable usage. All elements are assembled with wing nuts, so it can be ready to go in just a few minutes.