Topband: Poor conditions in 2018 so far for working VK6 to NA long path

daraymond at daraymond at
Mon Nov 12 22:03:43 EST 2018

Topbanders. . .

Although my geographic perspective is much different than Steve's, I concur 
that conditions so far this season have been very poor with the exception of 
an occasional bright spot. . . many nights/mornings being remarkably poor. 
Far inland here in the Midwest (Iowa) I go night after night listening to 
European stations (and mornings looking toward VK, JA, etc.) that have 
typically in years past been Q5 with S5/S6 signals. . . but the signals are 
now weak, just above the noise floor, and often uncopyable.  Probably the 
bright spot this season has been with VK.  While I have only been QRV on TB 
since 1987 (many of you have me beat by two decades or more), I have gone 
through several sunspot cycles.  The old adage that low sunspot numbers 
bring good conditions to 160m does not necessarily seem to hold true. 
Obviously, there are other significant factors at work (or combination of 
factors).  I was holding my breath, hoping that the bottom of the current 
cycle would bring great conditions but it simply has not happened. . .at 
least here.  A classic example is a stalwart topbander in Germany.  In years 
past (several years ago actually) he would have S5-S8 signals, night after 
night, week after week, season after season.  Many nights this season he is 
barely copyable and often not even copyable.  Upon inquiring he informed me 
earlier in the fall he had not made any changes in his nice station.  My 
last good skewed path opening (w/9M2 my morning hours) was September, 2010. 
I have seen virtually no signs of skewed path since.  While all this is a 
bit discouraging we, of course, plod on in anticipation of better conditions 
to come. . .which will happen.     73. . .Dave, W0FLS

-----Original Message----- 
From: Steve Ireland
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2018 7:32 PM
To: Topband reflector
Subject: Topband: Poor conditions in 2018 so far for working VK6 to NA long 


With the exception of last Sunday I've been on 160m for east coast NA sunset 
from 7/11/18 until 12/11/18 to try to give out some ‘long path’ contacts 
with USA/VE.

Although there has been some spotlight propagation into Europe (today was 
Southern Europe/North Africa and S01WS for a new country) the LP into North 
America has seemed to be non-existent
so far.

2017 and 2016 were definitely better, with my recollection of LP openings 
present on several mornings during this period.

My reference point is if I can hear or work Jeff VY2ZM, then I know there is 
a chance of working into NA further south.  Every morning I regularly check 
Jeff's transmitting frequency - and during the aforementioned period I
haven't heard Jeff once!

Since Jeff started his station on PEI, we have worked on 160m many times - 
and on SSB at least once - and usually I can hear him virtually daily at 
this time of the year.  This year is definitely the worse I can recall since
I first came on 160m from VK6 back in 1995.

I guess the take-away message is 2018 is a very bad year but east coastal NA 
stations don't give up hope that a LP QSO is possible (but perhaps not this 

Vy 73

Steve, VK6VZ

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