[TowerTalk] Skewed Path to BQ9P

Dick Green Dick Green" <dick.green@valley.net
Fri, 13 Nov 1998 07:04:39 -0500

While we're on the subject of compass directions, here's a question that
might be bit more relevant to the subject of directional antennas:

This morning I was listening to BQ9P from Pratas Island on my 40M 4-square
(he was working JAs, unfortunately.) The bearing from here to Pratas is
about 350 degrees, but I was surprised to find that BQ9P was noticably
stronger on the Southwest element (190-280 degrees) than on the Northwest
element (280-10 degrees). Neither signal moved the S-meter, but the signal
from the SW was definitely louder. This phenomenon lasted throughout the
brief opening from about 1000z to 1130z. Just as I was about to hit 'SEND'
on this message, a W8 posted a spot on the PacketCluster calling out BQ9P at
220 degress. Nice to know I wasn't just imagining this and that nothing is
wrong with my 4-square!

I've certainly experience the famed "long path" opening, but this was quite
different. I've  heard about "skewed paths", but really haven't experienced
one as dramatic as this (then again, I've had decent directional antennas
for only a year -- after 15 years with mostly verticals and wires.) Is this
sort of thing common on over-the-pole paths? Is it more of a 40M phenomenon
or does it happen on the other bands, too? I had expected that a skewed path
would  be no more than 90 degrees off, but this one was about 130 degrees
from where it was supposed to be. One of my propagation programs predicts a
long-path opening simultaneous with the short-path opening, but at very very
low signal levels (i.e., less than noise level.) Is that what causes the
skewed path?

73, Dick, WC1M

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