Topband: Boring Report - December

Thu Jan 6 15:13:22 PST 2011

>> All of this sort of adds to me thinking conditions are 
>>significantly worse than they were the past couple or >>years. 


I believe that there is no simple answer to your well 
timed question. Yes, I am one those who believe that 
conditions have not been very good, especially in 
December. On the other hand, I also believe that there 
have been some additional factors at work.

My friend, Tomi, HA7RY, and I have been doing some 
informal testing for the past few months. He has been 
listening to my signal from FL around 0500Z to see at what 
power level does my signal disappear in Hungary. (We 
communicate via Skype or 40 meters.) About 50% of the time 
he could not hear my 1500 W signal at all (using a Pennant 
and an Orion RX). The rest of the time, as I reduce power 
from 1500 W the signal dropped below the noise between 
1500 and 100 watts. So I believe that there has been 
usable propagation between FL and Central EU at least 50% 
of the time.

On many nights, when conditions seemed to be good (i.e. 
Tomi could hear my 1500 W at S6 to S7), I have called CQ 
for 20 to 30 minutes with no response. It is hard to 
believe that my signal would have been readable only in 
Hungary. I am tempted to believe that the lack of DX has 
been party due to diminished activity!

Another possible factor: From Florida it appears that 
signals in Europe have been peaking around 0400 -- i.e. 
well before Central EU sunrise -- and before many TB 
operators (early risers they may be) get on the band.

DX clusters could also be a factor: i.e. fewer stations 
are scanning the band. Rather, they rely on cluster 
postings. Often, I call CQ for many minutes with no 
response, but once I am spotted, activity perks up 
quickly. Also, with fewer stations scanning the band, 
there is an increased likelyhood of short openings being 
missed. What will happen when everybody will be waiting 
for somebody else's posting to get on the air?

George, AA7JV

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