Thursday 3 October 2013

Good autumnal HF conditions are back

Got a real shock this morning. Was playing with a little Realistic DX-394 receiver, which is more cute than a serious HF receiver. Anyway, I had it connected to a dipole in the loft and thought I heard someone sending "VK" on 20m CW.

Sure enough it was VK2PN Pat in New South Wales working a host of Europeans. Switching to my Icom 756 Pro 3 and the trusty 20m Off Centre Fed Dipole, which is hung from a tree, and at times he was peaking 599.

I diligently waited my turn to call him - and then he got spotted on the DX cluster. At this point all hell broke loose with OMs, YUs, ITs and everyone else piling in.

Anyway, the moral is that Autumn brings good HF conditions and the greyline long path to Australia suddenly becomes very attractive - see the image from VOAProp above. The K index had been up to 5 overnight, but this path doesn't really go though the poles so was relatively unscathed.

Ten metres was humming on Monday with low power beacons being heard in the UK from Florida and New England. On Tuesday I heard nothing. With the bad geomagnetic conditions on Wednesday night I'm not expected much today.

I expect 10m to the USA to pick up a little later in the month.

So the moral is keep looking on the bands - you never know what you might hear.