Moobounce and VHF DX Info

MOONBOUNCE ?! VHF DX?! --- SHHH -- IT'S A SECRET!!! Well, not any more! Do you mean to tell me that everyone has been lying to me all these years?! Do VHF/UHF/SHF radio waves in fact bend and follow the curvature of the earth? You mean I can work Montreal from Toronto DIRECT!!!

With today's technologies, things have never been easier!!!! In fact APRS, SSB, FM and CW are all modes that can be used to work DX on any of our VHF UHF or SHF bands...

And you don't need and Advanced License to find happiness in Amateur Radio -- heck you may even be able to use it to learn/improve your CW capabilities!!



The ghostly whispers of Auroral SSB come sneaking out of the speaker.... SHHHSSSHH CQ DX this is WA4XYZ in North Carolina calling CQ DX 2 metres --- yup believe it.... you too can work long haul DX on 144 Mhz, 220 Mhz and even 432 Mhz without getting an Advanced License. You will need some basic equipment - a multimode VHF radio, about 100 watts of power and a directional yagi antenna horizontally polarized. Auroral events happen with great frequency during the early part of the solar cycle and during the latter days as well. Looking for auroral displays in the northern sky is one clue to an event. Other clues include - the blackout of HF propagation, very enhanced north south signals on 28 Mhz or 14 Mhz - watery fluttery signals on 14 and 3.5 Mhz. When the HF bands go dead , get on VHF, point your antenna north and call CQ..... some nights you just cant get any sleep because the pile up on you is endless...



Work across Canada on 50 Mhz using the auroral curtain as a means of propagation! SIX metres offers some interesting enhancement -- the degree of ionization due to auroral events can be so high that propagation takes on long haul multihop E layer chanacteristics -- signals lose their ghostly distortion and become totally clear -- VE1 stations work into VE7 land, VE6's work into VE3 land. Stations in Greenland work into VE2 and VE3... the possiblities are endless -- and we still haven't found just how far the signals really go!


This is the same mode that drives 10 metres and 11 metres! Twice a year, during the summer months and during December, the VHF bands (50 through 225 MHz) can open over distances of 1000 - 3000 Km via Sporadic E.

E Skip signals are very strong at times, can vary wildly in strength and duration and can move around - one minute the 2 metre band can be open to Florida and Cuba -- and then presto it can open to Texas or Bermuda or beyond!.


One of life's experiences in Amateur Radio is working your first DX. But why wait till you get your HF license to experience the thrill of working around the world. Our sun is going through it's 11 year cycle of activity and we are approaching the maximum of Solar Cycle 23. Canadian Amateurs are already working the globe on 6 metres, during the fall of 1999 and in the first few weeks of 2000. You can do it too!!! All you need is the interest to try it -- 10 watts and a dipole is not too little to work DX on the "Magic Band". Just remember, SSB and CW are very efficient modes of modulation, as we have know for decades at HF-- at VHF it helps even more. (see you don't need CW...)

Listen to BBC TV - Channel 1 (42 MHz) via the F layer, as heard in Toronto by VE3DSS during Cycle 21, on a "dipole"!bbc1.ra



For those with even more guts (or as Warren Miller oft puts it -- those who don't know any better) you can work DX at VHF almost any time you want by bouncing your signal off the moon!Now the challenge here is to do it with adequate antenna gain -- that means 2 long yagis at a minimum and anywhere from 250 to 1000 watts of power. (I've done it with a single yagi, as have others, but you really need to up your Effective Radiated Power to make a long term presence.)


Back on earth, you can take advantage of the summer months and fall to catch tropo conditions and ducting along frontal systems as they move across the country. During those sweltering hot days when the smog levels are high, it isn't just smog that can be trapped near the ground but radio waves too.


The earth is being bombarded with space debris all the time. When this stuff burns up in the atmosphere, it leaves a bright trail that you can see, and that trail is also a column of ionized gas that will support radio propagation at 50 Mhz, 144 Mhz, 220 Mhz and even 432 Mhz. By hanging out on the calling frequencies during periods of Meteor Shower activity, you can work dozens of stations over distances of 1800 km with ease.


TE is accessible from Canada -- and no you don't need to pack up your gear and move to Florida! You just have to time things right -- TE events occur often during the peak of the solar cycle -- Sporadic E can help get VE/VA/VY signals far enough south that they can then couple into the TE - and viola Aregntina on 50 Mhz with S9 thumping loud signals both ways!


This is real exotic stuff - Field Aligned Irregularites -- Signals are weak and you need to be able to elevate your antenna to work it.


Try tracking and airplance and using it to bounce a signal -- just like RADAR

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Last Updated February 15, 2000 by Dana Shtun P. Eng, Director