Thursday, 8 June 2017

A bit of an Es opening.

"Somehow we have so far avoided those ear-bending days on 4m where your head is spinning after working seven or eight DXCC in half-hour whirlwind of broadcast interference and huge signals. Yes, we have had the broadcast stations, but not a full opening. Not so far. Not here."

Was it only yesterday morning I wrote that on this very blog (check below if you want to read it all)?

There was a bit of an Es opening here yesterday.

Somebody somewhere was listening to my pleas. Must be "The Es Fairy".

It says something that I have not quite assimilated everything yet and only the 2m band contacts have really stuck in my mind. I still have to work out exactly what new squares and so forth I have worked. There are now 40 cards waiting in my in-box at eQSL and I have not had the time to look at them.

Firstly was this opening was on 6m, which I largely avoided due to local QRM. I did a little bit of 6m WSPR to inform me what was going on....
6m WSPR at GM4FVM on 07/06/17
That was nice enough but eventually, late in the evening, the local QRM had gone to bed and I went back on JT65...
6m JT65 contacts at GM4FVM 22:40 to 23:00 on 07/06/17
There were lots of stateside stations on but I was having a bit of a problem with the linear, plus, to be honest, I was not operating at my peak. Past my bedtime.

Most operating was done, as so often here, on 70MHz (4m band).
4m SSB contacts at GM4FVM on 07/06/17
I was pleased to work at least 2 new squares in Germany but I need to analyse it all further. I tried my
"doing the treble" trick (see here). Honestly, I forgot to do it, but a German station was complaining that he heard no 2m opening, so that reminded me!

This worked 100% on this occasion. Moving up from 6m, 4m was open and I knew which way to beam. Coming back down to 4m when 2m had closed, though a technical success, came at a time when I was exhausted. "Brain fade" I think is the modern term. Anyway, I had a pile-up to work through and ended up trying to work a Polish station twice.

Meanwhile, when I was on 2m ....
2m SSB contacts at GM4FVM on 07/06/17
Now this did make me sit up and pay attention. Nine contacts. Four new countries, Ukraine, Czech, Slovakia and Hungary, plus a new square in Poland.

2m Es is different from 4m, and totally different from 6m. It is hectic. Your best hope is exchanging callsign, report and locator as quickly and clearly as you can once. Any hanging about and the other station has faded away. The area covered is small and moves about quickly. Plus, we usually only get an hour or so of it on two or three days in any year. Before I worked out the "treble" approach I almost always missed it. So you have to make it count if you happen to find it. No wonder I was knackered after all this.

It would be easy to relax now and just analyse it all but we are off again today. 4m and 6m have been open into Europe. I spent a long time listening to Japanese stations on 6m. I worked some stations on 6m JT9 and then SSB on 4m. It seems that no recovery time is possible.
VHF contacts at GM4FVM up to 13:30 on 08/06/17
Several of you have sent me your experiences of the 7 June opening. This one from Mike GM3PPE seemed to hit the nail on the head for me ...

I have just had the most amazing opening ever on 6 meters.  Between 1827Z and 1857Z I worked WP2B, WP4JCF, VP2ETE, NP2J and PJ4NX - all about 56, giving me an average of 55.  Just astonishing.  The VP2 was calling CQ and getting no replies.  WP2B peaked a genuine 59 and worked a number of GMs!  I keep saying - just astonishing.  I missed FG4NN who was only about 44 with me and had a massive Eu pile-up calling him.  ...  I see now why they call it the "magic" band!

It just goes to show what can be done with modest equipment and a certain thirst for knowledge. Curiosity, is what I would call it, and it is well repaid when it all goes right.

Well, I guess that today's situation will be different from yesterday's. That is what makes it interesting. That is why I am curious.



GM4FVM (going to lie down and rest)

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