Saturday, 18 June 2016

4 metre band dx - here one minute, gone the next.

I guess you know by now that I can support almost any activity within this hobby (well, RTTY is a bit difficult for me to support these days) except doing nothing.

Or, even worse, doing nothing and complaining about it.

So today I was sitting at the rig doing ... ah well ... short wave listening. Like the good boy scout I never was, I was being prepared.

I had this hunch about an opening to the East. For a couple of days I had been able to hear, but unable to work, stations in Kazakhstan on 6m. I know that they recently got 4m too, or some of them did, so that might be possible too. Keep one ear open.

Starting at 07:29 I worked a series of stations to the East on 6m, then oddly EA2ARD, due South.

Time to try 4m. After working EA on 6, I tried to look for CT beacons on 4, but nothing. Try East again. Then at 08:58 I worked a regular Gabi, HA1YA, on 4m. Interesting.

Time for a CQ to the East on 4m. Nothing except some distant SPs chatting away in their own language. Try again at 09:03.

QRZ? This was SV2DCD in KN00 (2413km). I have only worked SV once before on 4m. Minimum QSO completed and he was gone. Silence. He came straight back with a posting on the cluster so he had definitely got all my details. Wow!

I tried CQ again and then I was called at 09:06 by OH7RJ in KP33 (1836). Pena heard me despite the difference in beam angles from the last QSO. I was beaming to Greece (125 degrees) when he heard my call and he is 53 degree from here.

Two new DX squares on 4m then but after 09:08 ... nothing. The whole 4m opening was over in 10 minutes. Later I went on 6m SSB (unusual mode for me these days) to work 2 OKs and 1 OE. Then back to 6m JT65 for UR5WCE in JN97 (1722). But 4m ... nothing.

This is the thing about 4m. You might expect it to be like 6 metres when it comes to Es, but it is just high enough in frequency to produce these remarkable spot openings. Greece and Finland in a instant and then gone.

There are more and more 4m stations on the air now, and in rarer squares. Now that Elecraft make a 4m transverter to add inside their rigs (albeit a low power one) and Icom have the IC-7300, more and more stations are able to come on from less common squares.

It pays to be in the shack while you are thinking about what might happen next.

Still no sign of Kazakhstan on 4m!

Not yet. But I might have 10 minutes to spare this afternoon.



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