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

Steve Ireland vk6vz at
Thu Nov 15 20:46:50 EST 2018

G'day Dave (and all)

Your observation that the low sunspot numbers does not bring good conditions 
to 160m definitely holds for VK6.

Mike VK6HD told me he had observed this over several sunspot cycles when I 
first became active on 160m from VK6 in 1995.

Most of the best DX conditions I've experienced here has been a few years 
before or after the sunspot peak. Without checking the log, I'd guess the 
actual peak has been better than the minimum here.

This may have something to do with the fact that the most important paths 
here are more easterly-westerly than north-south.  When I lived in the UK, I 
always remember working heaps of African and South American stations on the 
low bands at the sunspot minimum - which were, of course, north-south paths.

Vy 73

Steve, VK6VZ

...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.
...     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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