Latest 50MHz DX spots

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VHF/UHF QSOs real time maps (click below)

50MHz is probably the easiest VHF band to achieve regular long distance (DX) communications, but radio conditions can vary tremendously depending on the time of year and the solar cycle. The best time of year is from MAY to AUGUST during the Sporadic-E season, where with low power and simple aerials anyone can work most of Europe up to 2,300km distance from your station and with very strong signal strengths in both directions.

 

Double hop Sporadic-E is sometimes seen in the Summer with distances in the order of up to 4000km to areas like Israel (4X) or the Canary islands (EA8). Some distances worked when at solar minimum in June and July 2007 have been in the order of 6000km to parts of the USA; is this triple hop Sporadic-E or something else such as the less well known Short-path Summer Solstice Propagation (SSSP)? It cannot be F2 layer reflections as we are at solar minimum in 2007.

However, outside of the summer months conditions can generally be poor and the band appear totally deserted. There are exceptions as at the maximum of the solar cycle when 50MHz signals are reflected by the F2 layer just like on HF and it is possible to work all continents including Australia! The pileups can be frustrating to break though.

Also it is possible at all times of year to work stations in Europe up to 2,300km away by bouncing your signals off the ionised trails left by meteors entering the Earth's atmosphere. You will need WSJT software and a computer linked by a soundcard interface to your USB transmitter, but there is plenty of Meteor Scatter activity, most mornings and evenings, around 50.230 MHz using JT6M mode. You will also need a directional aerial. N.B. 50 MHz is considered poorer than 144 MHz for tropo scatter communications.

 

PRIMARY EUROPEAN METEOR SCATTER FREQUENCIES & WEAK SIGNAL DATA MODES USED

Old Region 1 Band plan had 50.200-50.300 MHz for Meteor Scatter (still largely seen in 2013)

FREQUENCY

MODE

COMMENT

50.230 MHz* JT6M

 

95% European activity this mode seen here 2013
50.235 MHz* ISCAT-B 100% European activity this mode, seen here 2013, better performance than JT6M but not readily adopted by users yet
50.270 MHz* FSK441

 

Not ideal for 50MHz use, JT6M mode superior for longer reflections found on 6m
50.280 MHz* PSK2k

 

New none WSJT mode, difficult to install, but fully automatic

New Region 1 Band plan since 2012 suggests 50.320-50.380 MHz for Meteor Scatter

(largely not adopted yet by MS community)

FREQUENCY

MODE

COMMENT

50.330 MHz JT6M 5% European activity this mode seen here 2013
50.350 MHz ISCAT-B No European activity this mode seen here 2013
50.370 MHz FSK441 No European activity this mode seen here 2013
     

NOTES

*As of June 2013 the new Region 1 (European) band plan, that came into effect on 1st January 2012, is largely being ignored by the VHF community, as all data modes in Europe were recommended to move above 50.300 MHz to free up space for more SSB voice, however 50 MHz is often capable of Intercontinental communications and there remains much US data activity below 50.300 MHz so that is where European stations remain to work them.

 

PRIMARY EUROPEAN WEAK SIGNAL FREQUENCIES & DATA MODES FOR OTHER PROPAGATION TYPES

FREQUENCY

MODE

COMMENT

50.250 MHz* PSK31  SPORADIC-E / F2 Transatlantic
50.276 MHz* JT65A  SPORADIC-E / F2 Transatlantic
50.278 MHz* JT9-1  SPORADIC-E / F2 Transatlantic (was 50.293 until 19th July 2013)
50.293 MHz* (+ >1500Hz) WSPR  US / EUROPE*
50.305 MHz PSK31  No PSK31 observed here in 2013 yet
50.333 MHz JT9-1  Japan - US - Japan
50.401 MHz (+/- 500Hz) WSPR  New Region 1 Band plan

NOTES

*As of June 2013 the new Region 1 (European) band plan, that came into effect on 1st January 2012, is largely being ignored by the VHF community, as all data modes in Europe were recommended to move above 50.300 MHz to free up space for more SSB voice, however 50 MHz is very often capable of Intercontinental communications and there remains much US data activity below 50.300 MHz so that is where stations remain to work each other.

 

 

50 MHz  Links

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Useful 6M links

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JT6M (50.230 MHz)

 

Band 1 TV Maps & Channels

TVDX - Long Distance television reception

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Asia, Australia & Pacific Islands TV frequencies 45-57 MHz

 

Africa & Middle East TV frequencies 48-55 MHz

  Worldwide TV frequencies & links

European TV frequencies 45-225 MHz

 

 

 

VHF DX Year Planner

 

One of the very best and easiest ways to work DX from the UK on the 50 MHz (6 metres) band is via the Sporadic E propagation for which the season usually occurs between May - August each year. With low power it is possible to work all over Europe via single hop or as far as Israel and Cyprus via double hop propagation. Many theories exist for the cause of Sporadic-E propagation such as thunderstorms, lightning and wind shear.

In 2011 there remain a few Band 1 TV transmitters in Europe that can still be used to monitor for Sporadic-E openings, before they appear on the Amateur Radio bands, due to their very high power levels. The TV station in Prague, JN79 locator square, on a carrier frequency of 49.740 MHz CW being very useful. The Sporadic-E clouds are often associated with thunderstorms.

 

 

On the evening of Tuesday 1st August 2006 at around 1930-2030 UTC there was an intense Sporadic E opening from the UK in the less common direction of Scandinavia. Shown below is a map indicating the DX being worked from the UK. There is a distinct concentration of reflecting areas just to the West of Denmark over the North Sea.

     

When I viewed the animated lightning map for Europe, I was able to observe that throughout the day there had been multiple lighting strikes near Denmark and therefore thunderstorms. This would appear to confirm that there might be a link between the two.

 

In my experience by far the best way to monitor band conditions on 50 MHz is to monitor Band 1 VHF TV video carrier frequencies. These television transmitters often use many kW's of Effective Radiated Power (ERP) and signals can be detected before weaker amateur radio transmissions. In Navacerrada, Spain the TV video carrier on 48.250 MHz CW, locator square IN70, was, until 2010, almost always be heard here in the UK when there was the slightest Sporadic E propagation, it could be heard as pings via MS reflections at all times. The map below shows some historical stronger 100kW+ TV transmitter sites in Europe, together with their channel number from 1-4, their ERP in brackets and their polarisation h - horizontal or v - vertical.

N.B. I have been advised from several sources, over the last few years, that Spanish Band 1 VHF TV transmissions would eventually cease as UHF TV takes over, although I was still receiving these transmissions in 2007. The latest information I have is that analogue TV in Spain has finally ended in 2010.

Most European Countries are closing down their Band 1 TV transmissions, so time is running out to monitor the signals as 50 MHz propagation indicators.

Below is a table of Band 1 TV carrier frequencies, which I always used to monitor and which will showed Sporadic E propagation before it appeared on the Amateur 50 MHz band, due to the extremely strong TV RF power levels measured in kW.

TV Carrier Frequency (CW) Locator Comment
48.250 MHz IN70

Spain

Earliest indicator of Sporadic E

(This now been shut down in 2010)

49.739.68 MHz JN79

Czech Republic

Sporadic E indicator

 

49.750 MHz KO33

Russia

Sporadic E indicator

 

49.760.46 MHz KO07

Latvia

Sporadic E indicator

 

55.250 MHz JO20

Belgium

Due to the short distance away, if this is heard consider also 144MHz Es

When the F2 layer is open on 50 MHz early warnings can be made by monitoring an Australian, Queensland TV video carrier on 46.171 MHz CW (power 300kW) or an American TV video carrier on 55.250 MHz CW. These will not be heard near solar minimum. I was able to receive the Australian TV carrier back in 2001. The tables below show the Band 1 TV video carrier frequencies, which can be heard on amateur radio transceivers using CW mode and sound like a constant carrier.

West Europe:
Ch:E2 48.25 MHz
Ch:E2a 49.75 MHz
Ch:E3 55.25MHz
Ch:E4 62.25 MHz
Italy:
Ch:E2- 47.25 MHz
Ch:A 53.75 MHz
Ch:B 59.75MHz
Ch:C 82.75MHz
Ireland:
Ch:A 45.75MHz
Ch:B 53.75 MHz
France:
Ch:F2 55.75MHz
Ch:F3 60.50 MHz
Ch:F4 63.75MHz
Australia:
Ch:AU0 (300kW) 46.171MHz
Ch:AU1 57.25MHz
Ch:AU2 64.25MHz
Ch:AU3 86.25MHz
Ch:AU4 95.25MHz
New Zealand:
Ch:NZL1 45.25MHz
Ch:NZL2 55.25MHz
Ch:NZL3 62.25MHz
China:
Ch:C1 49.75MHz
Ch:C2 57.75MHz
Ch:C3 65.75MHz
Ch:C4 77.25MHz
Ch:C5 85.25MHz
0
East Europe:
Ch:R1 49.75MHz
Ch:R2 59.25MHz
Ch:R3 77.25MHz
Ch:R4 85.25MHz
Ch:R5 93.25MHz
North / South America:
Ch:A2 55.25MHz
Ch:A3 61.75MHz
Ch:A4 67.25MHz
Ch:A5 77.25MHz
Ch:A6 83.25MHz
Japan:
Ch:J1 91.25MHz
Ch:J2 97.25MHz
 
 
 

50MHz yearly propagation worked by G0ISW

Year Month

Mode

DX/Comments

1987

June Sporadic-E Europe ZC4VHF/5B4 / 9H1CG

1988

June to August Sporadic-E Europe

1989

March

Aurora

Europe
May to August

Sporadic-E

Europe
November to December

F2

USA & South America & West Indies & Africa WA1OUB / K8EFS / VE1YX / HC1BI Best ODX (VP5D got away) (EL2FO Liberia got away)

1990

House Move - no activity

1991

June

Aurora

Europe
June to July Sporadic-E Europe

1992

May to September Sporadic-E Europe

1993

May to July Sporadic-E Europe

1994

February

Aurora

Scotland
May to August Sporadic-E Europe / JY7SIX & EA8/DJ3OS

1995

June to July Sporadic-E Europe

1996-1999

House Move - left with no external VHF aerials for DX

2000

May to August Sporadic E Europe

2001

March

Aurora

Europe
June to September Sporadic-E Europe
August

TEP??

Africa - Reunion Island (FR1GZ heard calling CQ on 50.120 I didn't call him straight away, because I thought it was France, by the time I realised he had gone!!!!)
October to December

F2

Israel / Lebanon/ Ghana / Cyprus / India (VU2ZAP got away!) / Canada / USA / Jordan / (Australia got away aaarghhh!)

2002

May to August Sporadic E Europe

2003

May to August Sporadic E Europe (TF8GX got away!)

2004

May to July Sporadic E Europe

2005

May to June Sporadic E Europe

2006

June to August Sporadic E Europe

2007

April to August

Sporadic E

Europe

2008

May to August

Sporadic E

Europe/ Sporadic E seems very poor this year!

2009

House Move - no activity

2010

May to July

Sporadic E

Europe (No TX aerials)

2011

May to July

Sporadic E

Europe (No TX aerials)

2012

May to June

Sporadic E

Europe (No TX aerials)

2013

May to August

Sporadic E

Europe (Halo & OA loops for 6 & 2M)
       

 

 

50MHz European Beacons

 Frequency Callsign Locator

50.000 GB3BUX IO93

50.004 I0JX/B JN61

50.010 SV9SIX KM25

50.013 CU3URA HM68

50.014 S55ZRS JN76

50.016 GB3BAA IO91

50.021 OZ7IGY JO55

50.023 SR5SIX KO02

50.025 OH1SIX KP11

50.026 9H1SIX JM75

50.028 SR6SIX JO81

50.029 SR8SIX KN19

50.030 CT0WW IN61

50.032 CT0SIX IM56

50.035 ZB2VHF IM76

50.040 SV1SIX KM17

50.043 YO2S KN05

50.042 GB3MCB IO70

50.047 4N1SIX KNO4

50.047 JW7SIX JQ78

50.050 GB3NHQ IO91

50.051 LA7SIX JP99

50.052 PA3FYM JO22

50.052 SK2CP KP07

50.055 OZ6SIX JO57

50.057 TF3SIX HP94

50.058 HB9SIX JN47

50.060 GB3RMK IO77

50.064 GB3LER IP90

50.065 GB3IOJ IO89

50.067 OH9SIX KP36

50.070 SK3SIX JP71

50.070 EA3VHF JN01

50.073 ES6SIX KO73

50.078 OD5SIX KM74

50.088 YU1SIX KN03

50.163 IS0SIX JM49

50.230 F6IKY JN35

50.499 5B4CY KM64

 

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If you cannot see the full index shown on the left edge of your screen, please go to my main page at

 http://www.qsl.net/g0isw

Copyright G0ISW. Page last modified 24th September 2013. All Rights Reserved.