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Aurora scatter?


farm24

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Posted (edited)

Yap, here. Yesterday was good SSB activity in EU with strong 59A signals. I forgot my mic at home, so no aurora QSO. I'm a phone operator.

Why don't you give SSB a try? The trick is to speak clear and slooowly.

 

Ahoi

Pom

Edited by Pom
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I have made a lot of CW contacts via Aurora, from The Netherlands. Contacts were made on 144 MHz.

The aurora came far south so via reflection it was possible to contact Italy, Hungary, Slovenia and Romenia, and of course a lot of countrries noth of those.

There is a lot of doppler, causing spread of the CW, so a pure tone sounds like a hiss.

Henk

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Posted (edited)

It's time to give something back. Thank you for running SWL.com and thank you to all members of the community for sharing their knowledge!
This report is hopefully of interest to non-ham SW enthusiats. If I "talk too much RF" (radio frequency) let me know and I will be glad to provide details for non-hams.

 

Sorry for this post being huge and containing no pictures. I would have loved to post pictures of the aurora and my station setup, but the forum wouldn't let me. 200 kB per file 😵 are you serious? Worse, it's not even 200 kB. I rendered one pic down to 135 kB and it still wasn't accepted. 🫢

 

I am a keen VHF portable operator and wouldn't want to miss a chance to work aurora (AU). Yes, aurora causes radio blackouts on HF bands (< 30 MHz), but does enhance VHF radio propagation above 30 MHz. So I packed my radio rucksack and camera and headed for Kulm, a summit 480 m asl in Thüringen, Germany. My location was JO50QQ in 6-digit Maidenhead Locator, which is on VHF the format how we let the other station know, where we are. It gives an accuracy of roughly +/- 3 km, which is good enough for us to calculate distances. It had to be Kulm, as it is almost perfect for both, aurora observation and VHF radio fun. There is a 20 m viewtower on top and the view to all directions, especially to the North, is superb. Kulm is also referenced for Summits On The Air (SOTA), an amateur radio award scheme dedicated to hillwalking and playing radio atop mountains. The basic rules are simple, pack all needed radio gear (transceiver, antenna, mast, batteries, cables, etc...) in your rucksack, climb a mountain not using a motor vehicle, and make as many radio contacts as possible. A few years back, a popular US outdoor magazine called it "Biathlon for nerds".

 

I deployed my station on the viewing platform with the telescopic glass fibre pole carrying the antenna velcroed to the rail in a corner. It had to be 144 MHz, as it is my favourite band.
On Friday night, the platform was full of locals. Glad I was first, so no probs to claim a spot to deploy my station. The later the evening, the louder the signals on 144 megs got. First only faint and few signals in the CW (morse) portion of the band, later many and loud signals, even in SSB. SSB is short for Single Side Band, a phone mode prone for long-distance wireless communications.
This was my time! Not. Just when I wanted to plug the headset and join the AU fun, I found that I left the headset at home. How would you operate phone mode without having a microphone?! So, no AU contact. Instead I kept admiring the beautiful visible aurora. Not only red, but also green curtains moving in the sky. I wouldn't have expected a spetacular visible aurora like this at 50° North. Amazing.

As we were expecting six closely-following impacts from Friday night on, I gave it another go on Saturday local noon. Radio amateurs don't need dark skies or brilliant weather to take advantage of a solar storm. After waiting a while and having a few chats with local OPs, solar storm increased, Kp 8 / G4 reached and the band started playing. A real Hannibal Smith moment, I love it when a plan comes together. And this time, I had the headset with me.

This is the first AU contact I had that day with a station from Norway. His callsign is LA3EQ, Lima Alpha 3 Echo Quebec. All important information like callsign and location are given in ICAO spelling. Keep this in mind, if you want to understand which information he was giving me. Try for yourself, do you have radio OPs ears and do you get his information?

 


Spoiler:


The recording started after he came back to my CQ call. Cq means, "Is there anybody fancying a contact?"
So my information for him was:
LA3EQ, his own callsign, to let him know I got it right
Thank you (for coming back to my CQ call)
My report for him, 57-aurora. 5 - a very well-readable signal, 7 - of decent strength. "Aurora" indicates that the signal is scattered and hard to read, which puts the "5" into perspective.
My location JO50QQ

Over

He came back with
"Roger, roger, roger" to let me know he received all information I gave. In fact, it was one roger given too many. ;)
His report for me, 57A (3x)
His location JO28XJ (3x)
"Over"

I completed the contact by giving him (all twice)
"Roger, roger, roger". Three rogers indicate I received all Information and from my perspective the contact is now complete and valid.
Thank you (for the contact)
7 3

He closes with
73s

7 3 is the radio amateur's farewell from past times when Morse code was the only mode. "Dadadididi Didididadah" just sounds nice and used to be given at the end of a contact. Today there are more modes than Morse, but we still wish farewell by giving 73.

DG7AC setup used:
Icom IC-9700, 100 W PEP
5-Elli, a homebrew 5-elements 28 Ohms OWL Yagi (design DK7ZB) 8.5 dBd, 1.5 m boom
SHF-Elektronik Mini2 low noise preamp @ ~ 12 dB
2 x 10 Ah LiFePo4 batteries

 

log.jpg.c17687fcc605c3e0aa5509911bd39277.jpg

 

Ahoi
Pom

Edited by Pom
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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Now I had the time to write a detailed report of my SOTA activation on 10th/11th May. Much to read, mostly of interest for the OPs, and a sum-up of how forecast and space weather data got me going days before the impact (SWL app mentioned 😉).
SOTA Reflector | DM/TH-832: 144 MHz Aurora

Ahoi
Pom

 

Edited by Pom
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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Pom said:

Now I had the time to write a detailed report of my SOTA activation on 10th/11th May. Much to read, mostly of interest for the OPs, and a sum-up of how forecast and space weather data got me going days before the impact (SWL app mentioned 😉).
SOTA Reflector | DM/TH-832: 144 MHz Aurora

Ahoi
Pom

 

Awesome write up Pom!  A ham here posted a 144 mhz Aurora contact along with suggested methods.  Another interesting thing perhaps non Auroral @KW2P had a CW contact with fading with another ham on ten metres only 30 miles from him not long ago.  Putting the MUF above 2 metres by my calculations!  Way cool stuff!  Mike 

Edited by hamateur 1953
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On 5/12/2024 at 9:57 AM, Drax Spacex said:

https://youtu.be/1-w9LEdIQ94

Real world example of the aurora propagation on the 6 meter band and characteristic raspy voice sound from backscatter.

This is yet another way cool post worth viewing. @Drax Spacex posted a bit ago.  The guy is talking with a local ham via aurora and swings his beam 90 degrees to make a much more intelligible contact showing just what is possible during Auroral propagation. Was pretty amazing.  

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