In this post, written once back home from last summer holidays, I told about how troposheric reception enhancement allowed good signals, on the beach of Cattolica (loc. JN63IX) and with a simple HT, from the 9A0VRI 2m repeater, located in Ucka, Croatia (loc. JN75CG). One morning, I noticed that tropo was so strong, that not only receiving the repeater, but also transiting through it Read more →
Tag Archive for: tropo
Each restaurant has its own “dish of the day”. It's true in general, and also for “radio specials”. If your final destination is Italy, and you decide to head to the Adriatic shore, in the “Romagna” region (one hour drive from Bologna), the special meal will be named “tropospheric enhancement”. The exact definition is “any condition that scatters, reflects or refracts signals in the Troposphere allowing long distance reception (and hence interference) to occur in the VHF, UHF and/or microwave radio bands”.
In the past years, I did experience this mostly on FM band, hearing many station from Veneto and Friuli area (as an example, this is a reception of AFN 106.0 “The Eagle”, broadcasting from Aviano/Vicenza, dating back to 2009). However, this year marked my first holiday with an ham license, and the eight days I spent in Cattolica (20 kilometers south of Rimini) told me a lot also about tropospheric effects in V-UHF. In global terms, however, it's been a special vacation, radio wise, providing many unexpected and long time chased goals, and I'm glad to class the results in various categories.
To be completely sincere, I didn't spend so much time in exploring FM spectrum during this holiday. It's what I mainly did last years, and I wanted to look on others bands, and also, being tropo heavily conditioned by weather conditions (it requires calm atmosphere, and warm temperatures), the end of august with its wind didn't help a lot. However, a couple stations ended in my log. On 3rd September, I did hear, from the beach, Radio Company, from two of its transmitters: on 96.0 MHz in the heights of Vicenza, and on 105.2, in Attimis (Udine). Latter was stronger than former, but both were above average. Two remarks, on this issue. First, I've to say that RDS on DE1106 is not very sensible (if the signal is not booming, PI Code won't be available). Then, the not perfect weather (it did never rain, and temperature was always in the high half of twenties in Celsius, but facing the sea was always very windy) made me miss all the Croatian and Slovenian station that I had plenty of in past holidays. Anyways, I repeat myself, it wasn't my priority and, even just one reception, has been fun!
V-UHF ham bands
I will try to keep this short, but there is a lot to tell. Tropo effects are incredible (or it's just me, who has never experienced them, that gets easily impressed by “standard” performance). With the Wouxun KG-UV2D, and just its “stub”, I managed to receive some sixteen different repeaters. Seven has to be counted as local, even if some of them were more than 20 kilometers far from me (RU4A at “Lido degli Estensi”, RU13 in Cesena, RU4 and 8 in Rimini, R1 and RU21 in Pesaro, RU28 in Ancona and T70A in San Marino), but all the others (RU10 in Pordenone, RU5, RU6a and RU13a in Treviso, RU2 in Verona, IR3UT at Cima Carega – Trento, and 9A0VRI in Ucka, Croatia) were surely signals lifted to my area by tropo. Speaking distances, the map on the side, speaks for itself.
So, after discovering so many signal sources, and listening carefully to identify positions, what has an OM to do? To call. I did, and the 5 watts of my Woxun were enough to bring me somewhere. I went prudent on this side, as I could engage those repeaters not very well, and I didn't want other stations to go crazy trying to hear me well. However, some five QSO did end in the log: with IV3NSP, I5JKI/3 AND IV3BCA/M on Pordenone's RU10; with 9A7KDT/M on Ucka's R4 (9A0VRI ), with IZ1PIX/4/M on Monte Agaro's R5a, with IZ3JZF/3/M on Monte Cesen's RU13a, and with IW3RWZ on Sacile's (Pordenone) RU5. What else to say, except “thanks a lot” to all the stations that I contacted for their patience. I've not been an easy QSO, with my voice between statics and noise, but you contributed to make my holiday special!
SWLing on the shore
Tropo doesn't enhance shortwave reception, but being on the sea creates optimal conditions for going between 2 to 30 MHz. I have to say, although I did try this during past holidays, this year I realized a lot about how much mountains, at my home QTH, do attenuate signals. If I didn't live it, I probably wouldn't believe it, but in my first day at sea, 11am local time, I switched on DE1106, and tried to put on 15 MHz. Faint, but time code and WWVH's female voice were there. On that frequency, in six years, in Aosta I never heard it! Then, a text message from a friend, warned my: “try also 25 MHz, sometimes Finland's time signal is there”. I did, and “beep, beep, beep…”. Again, weak, and sometimes completely vanishing, but readable. In less than half an hour, I had achieved two results that I never got close to at home. Exciting, at last! But the best moment had yet to come. On 3rd September, at 10.45 UTC, after a negative scan for tropo FM signals, I felt to check 11870 kHz. I had a weak song by Michael Franti and Lorenzo “Jovanotti”. Then, a voice in English. I couldn't believe myself, but the signal did increase. It turned out to be “Creation Moments” on KNLS. Alaska with just a telescopic antenna! That one, in five years, was never heard in Aosta, with better receivers and external antennas. After some five minutes of decent readability, the signal vanished, also because when 11 UTC approached a strong station switched on 11875, wiping out the channel. Anyways, an unforgettable moment, for what I have to thank the guys (you know who you are!) who patiently repeated me, from time to time, “don't get desperate if you don't get Alaska, it's just a matter of time”.
As far as SWLing ham bands is concerned, I had great fun, also thanks to the Field Day contest on the 3rd and 4th Sep week-end. Various stations from the US were heard on 21 and 18 MHz. The most interesting catch, anyways, looks to me like two guys from P.R. China, BI7LSI and BD7IXG. You can witness their signal below, and be sure I'll try more and more to bring radios on the shore. The Adriatic one also offers very good seafood, and a friendly atmosphere. Nothing more to ask, when it comes to holidays!