Tuesday, 14 June 2016

Transatlantic on six metres

I know that several readers of this blog managed to get across "the pond" on 6m yesterday using the multi-hop Es opening. I managed to get a few glimpses of the dxMaps screen to see how everyone was getting on, but I was pretty tied up on the band myself.

I might add that as I only moved here after the solar cycle decided to deflate, I do not have much of a track record on six. So I have only managed to cross the ditch with 6 metres from here on two occasions  - once to VO1SO (GN37, 3621km by SSB) on 18 June 2011, and then to WP4JCF (FK68, 4186 by JT65) on 17 June 2014. So total DXCC count to date = 2, Newfoundland and Puerto Rico.

You would have thought that I might be looking for such an opening around the middle of June this year. I wasn't. I was daydreaming, as usual.

As I often point out (at length), 6m has been a bit of a missed opportunity for me. Even at the peak of antenna expansion, I only had a 3 element up there, and for most of my time I have only used a Diamond HB9CV-alike. Just 2 elements.

So when I noticed the usual suspects near the South West tip of Portugal working across the pond I did not take much notice. They can get across the Atlantic to North and South America fairly easily. Despite this, I thought it was worth a chance and turned the antenna to 285 degrees and called CQ on JT65. After a short while I noticed AB1NJ (Vermont FN34 4920) calling CQ and I was off. I even turned the power up to 125 watts (which is as much as the antenna can cope with).

I stuck to JT65 for the whole session. Later I worked KB1ESS (Massachusetts FN32 5069), KB2FCV (New Jersey FN20 5337), W3CP (Georgia EM74 6452), KB3OZC (Pennsylvania FN20 5449). After that I was called by TF3MSN (HP84 1440) before taking a break. Then I wanted to work Canada and managed a QSO with VE2DLC (Quebec FN58 4424). Finally, I worked TF3ML/P (HP93 1375), though I had worked him earlier, before this opening. Still, he was really really strong, so I felt I should tell him so.

Click to enlarge if you cannot see it clearly.

Not only my first Continental US contacts on 6m, but five in a row, and all in different states. Very nice. Each of those contacts exceeded my best dx for the band before yesterday.

Plus Canada. It took a few moments to realise that Newfoundland and Canada count as one DXCC. During my schooling at a proper "Empire Loyalist" type school - to use a Canadian expression - I knew that Newfoundland had joined Canada in the 1940s, but the DXCC status eluded me. Dodecanese, which joined Greece about the same time, counts as a separate DXCC. Confused? You will be...

Most of these guys had good antennas and I don't. Most of them seem to have kilowatt linears too. It did not bother me that I might have worked more using a Yagi and full legal power, or more still using CW. It was just great fun as it was. There may not be another big 6m opening for me for years.

I hope those of you who could get in on it enjoyed this opening.




  1. I'm sure 400W helped along with a 3 el Yagi but it was nice to have nearly 40 QSOs with NA on 6m yesterday on CW. So now you know :)
    A delightful experience - it really is the magic band.
    My own skimmer spotted MD0CCE on 6m and when I listened in I found I could hear the US station he was working. It didn't take long to get a wee pileup going - all good fun indeed.
    73 Richard GI4DOH

  2. Well done Richard. For some of those people that will have been their first long distance DX on 6m too. Good to see that you were around and able to take advantage of it. Now, all we need is another one. 73. Jim