Latest 50MHz DX spots


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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 2,400km 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 4800km 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. this is likely to be rarer triple hop Sporadic-E. It cannot be F2 layer reflections as we were 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 2,400km 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 50.280 MHz using MSK144 mode. You will also need a directional aerial for best results, however you can work MS as I have done with a vertical colinear!. N.B. 50 MHz is considered poorer than 144 MHz for tropo scatter communications.




Distance Less than 100km 100-500km 500-800km 800-2400km 2400-4800km 4800-7200km Over 7200km
Propagation type Line of Sight (LOS)

Tropo Scatter (TRS)


Tropo Ducting (TRD)

TRD + Sporadic-Es  
Aurora (AU)      

Sporadic-Es (ES)*Exceptionally high MUF only*

Sporadic-Es (ES)x1 hop Sporadic-Es (ES) x2 hops Sporadic-Es (ES) x3 hops  
Meteor Scatter (MS) Trans Equatorial Propagation (TEP) TEP + Sporadic-Es
Aircraft Scatter (AS)

<------VHF     UHF------>



F2 Layer reflection (F2)
Required conditions or assists with ID True Line of Sight is up to 50km, but can be extended by height i.e. elevation ASL or by diffraction (LOS) Stable High Air Pressure, as often seen associated with fog (TRD) Raspy distorted tone & audio distortion (AU) Usually May to August with peak in June, small opening in December possible near Equinox (ES) Sea path required for longest rare distances (TRD) Distances of around 5000km on 144MHz reported June/July 2019 Often misidentified as ES alone on DXcluster, which is impossible. Main distance component is TEP and both stations need to be on opposite sides of Magnetic Equator
Typically around 4 minutes duration (AS) Mostly short duration pings of seconds or shorter, but can be minutes (MS) Stations need to be either side of Magnetic Equator (TEP) Favours Autumn to Spring months during Solar Cycle Peaks, approx every 11 years







Old Region 1 Band plan had 50.200-50.300 MHz for Meteor Scatter (still largely in use as of 2017)




50.230 MHz* JT6M (30s periods)


Most European MS activity was seen here in 2016, but in 2017 has declined dramatically in favour of MSK144 mode on 50.280 MHz.
50.280 MHz* (+/- 15 kHz) MSK144 (15s periods) 99% European activity this mode and frequency, seen here since 2018, with 15s periods and extremely popular. Software in use is either WSJT-X by K1JT or MSHV by LZ2HV

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





50.360 MHz MSK144 Designated frequency as of 2018 for this newer mode, but 99% of activity remains on 50.280 MHz
70.174 MHz MSK144 99% European activity this mode seen here since 2018


144.360 MHz MSK144 Designated frequency as of 2018 for this newer mode




It is also best practice when calling CQ to indicate another frequency you are listening on, for example CQ 270 when calling on 50.280 MHz, meaning you are listening for replies on 50.270 MHz and as soon as you hear one you QSY your transmissions there also.











50.230 MHz* JT6M Combination Meteor Scatter or Aircraft Scatter (ACS)or Sporadic-E, very active in 2016, much less so in 2021
50.250 MHz* PSK31  SPORADIC-E / F2 Transatlantic / Tropo was active 2017
50.276 MHz* JT65A  SPORADIC-E / F2 Transatlantic was active 2017
50.278 MHz* JT9-1***  SPORADIC-E / F2 Transatlantic (was 50.293 until 19th July 2013) (Poor mode at 50 MHz due to Doppler shift making signal decoding poor)
50.293 MHz* (+ >1500Hz) WSPR  US / EUROPE*
50.305 MHz Q65 30S Mode A  New 2021 WSJT-X 2.4.0 Q65 European frequency for Scatter, note USA frequency is 50.275 MHz
50.313 MHz FT8 99% European activity with this new fast mode seen since 2017, seems very well suited to Sporadic Es propagation
50.323 MHz FT8 Intercontinental calling, Europe transmits 1st and USA 2nd period
50.330 MHz JT6M 5% European activity this mode seen here 2013
50.401 MHz (+/- 500Hz) WSPR New Region 1 Band plan
70.154 MHz FT8 Used extensively in Europe since 2018 during Sporadic-E summer season


*The new Region 1 (European) band plan, that came into effect on 1st January 2012, was 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 remained much US data activity below 50.300 MHz so that is possibly why stations had remained on the old frequencies to work each other.

Since around 2020 and with FT8 data mode a specific frequency for Intercontinental working Europe to USA has been established on 50.323 MHz

*** From my own observations JT9 mode does not work at all well on 50 MHz, compared with JT65A which does work well, this appears to be due to JT9 signal drift/Doppler and leads to signals not being easily decoded, if at all, despite being strong on your display.



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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.

In 2011 there remained a few Band 1 TV transmitters in Europe that could 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 show that there might be a link between the two, however extensive observations have shown multiple instances of zero thunderstorms, so it is assessed that thunderstorms may enhance Sporadic-E, but are not essential for it to occur. Or else it is entirely coincidental that thunder storms are mostly occurring in the Summer months, the same time as for Sporadic-E.


In my experience by far the best way to monitor band conditions on 50 MHz was to monitor Band 1 VHF TV video carrier frequencies. These television transmitters often used many kW's of Effective Radiated Power (ERP) and signals could 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 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 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


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


Sporadic E indicator


49.760.46 MHz KO07


Sporadic E indicator


55.250 MHz JO20


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
Ch:E2- 47.25 MHz
Ch:A 53.75 MHz
Ch:B 59.75MHz
Ch:C 82.75MHz
Ch:A 45.75MHz
Ch:B 53.75 MHz
Ch:F2 55.75MHz
Ch:F3 60.50 MHz
Ch:F4 63.75MHz
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
Ch:C1 49.75MHz
Ch:C2 57.75MHz
Ch:C3 65.75MHz
Ch:C4 77.25MHz
Ch:C5 85.25MHz
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
Ch:J1 91.25MHz
Ch:J2 97.25MHz



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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