After a long time with no decent tropo it has been an interesting week with a good opening to Scandinavia and the Baltic. Conditions were first good on 17th September when I worked OZ on 23 cms, but on 2 metres it seemed initially that the good propagation was going over our heads on the East Coast, with the West, Wales and Northern Ireland being favoured into Scandinavia. I cannot complain too much. I did make some good QSOs as the days moved on, the highlights being on 2 metres SM4GGC at 1183 km and on 70 cms SP1MVG who called me when I was just finishing with OZ1BNN. Poland was a new country on 70 cms and obviously a new square.
I run 100 watts on 2 metres and 10 watts on 23 cms with my IC-9700, and 50 watts on 70 cms using my FT991.
Here is a summary of the most pleasing contacts, all SSB:
We had an interesting tropo event starting on 28th December and ending at my QTH on 30th. All QSOs were SSB. Conditions were very good to the East and North East, and good to the South and South West, but surprisingly from my QTH there was less propagation to the South East, so no HB9s etc. On 2 metres I used my newish IC9700 with 100 watts to my 7 element and on 70 cms my FT991 with 50 watts to a 13 element.
On 2 metres amongst others I worked on the 28th:
F5ICN JN03 933km
EA1MX IN73 974km
SM7EQL JO65 940km
GU0UVH IN89 not so far but I had never worked Alderney!
EB1AH IN73 and he was running 5 watts to a 3-element antenna
On 70 cms amongst others and still all on SSB on 29th:
GJ8CEY IN89 not so far but a new country and square on 70 coms
GU6EFB IN89 new country 😊
DJ8MS JO54 793km
OZ9FW JO65 883km
OZ1HDF JO55 852km
OZ9GE JO66 905km
OZ8ZS JO55 851km
EI19RE IO51 New country and square on 70 cms
Conditions were so good for a period that the OZs called me on the back of the beam as I was looking South West.
I know that others worked more DX than did I, but I enjoyed the event and am happy with the results.
We had an interesting opening over the evening of 14th and the following morning. It started with a couple of very strong French stations in JN18. I then found the following all worked on SSB on 14th:
OE5XBL JN68, 700m asl, 988 km
DF6MH/P JN57 2400m asl, 902km
On the morning of 15th when there was a contest in Central Europe:
OM3RM JN88 1263 km!
OE3REC JN77 1147 km
OK1DOL JN69 906 km
OE/OK5SE/P JN77 1137 km
OK1KKI JN79 1059 km
Plus, some more local Continentals.
My return to 2 metres SSB after 30 years absence was only in February 2018, so OE, OK and OM are new countries on the band for me from this QTH. The Slovak Republic was a particular surprise, being so strong and my thinking he was Belgian until he gave his locator. It was early and I was still half asleep; at least that is my excuse.
The above was my first DX foray with my FT991 running 50 watts rather than the 25 watts from my old FT290R and small amplifier, but I am not mothballing the old radio and will keep it ready to go.
Having missed out on all the Sporadic E on 2 metres save IK8EVE (JN71) on 1st June it was good to be treated to some decent tropo. Starting on the evening of 27th June, on 2 metres I worked with my 25 watts all on SSB:
On 28th June in the evening on 2 metres:
On 29th June in the morning earlyish
SM7YES JO67 and incredibly strong signal.
On 29th June, SK6VHF (JO57) on 144.404 MHz was audible until about midday but faded as pressure fell so that when we were down to 1012 millibars at 1700 I knew the event was over.
I did try my luck on 70 cms with my one watt, and worked on 28th June:
So, a little bit of fun finding and working a little way away. I seem to have some advantage with sea paths, being near to the Thames and Crouch estuaries, and reaching mainly stations near the coast in Scandinavia.
After several decades absence I have been operational on 2 metres SSB since the end of February 2018. I have been using an old Eighties FT290R and a small amplifier running only 25 watts to a 7-element antenna.
I have not observed any spectacular tropo openings, but last week we had some propagation into Scandinavia.
On 8th October in the evening I worked
OZ6OL JO65dj 878 km
SM7DTT JO65lj 923 km
SM7NR JO76rc 1091 km
And on the morning of 9th
SM7NR JO76 again with minimal activity from UK.
On 70 cms with one watt SSB from an FT790R I worked on the morning of 9th:
OZ9FW JO65co 882 km
And in the UKAC 70 cms contest in the evening of 9th with one watt:
SK7MW JO65mj 923 km
OV2T JO46qh 774 km
The opening seemed very localised. There was not much good propagation in between, at least as far as my location in Hockley, Essex was concerned. However, good results can be had with a modest station. I am hoping to have a bit more power soon.