F2, TEP & Es-Linked Propagation South from FM18

    Virtually all of the ham radio literature dealing with TEP propagation on 50MHz indicates that unassisted TEP "never" occurs above "x" degrees geomagnetic latitude, with x invariably falling somewhere in between Northern South America & Northern Florida. Are they correct? I polled experienced East Coast 6 meter operators, virtually all of whom have well over 100 countries worked on the band, to get their views. Based on the responses I received opinion is mixed. Some believe all TEP into their region is linked, while others were unsure.

   I have participated in a number of TEP openings where no linking propagation was apparent, and thus, though reasonable minds can differ on the subject, in my view the literature is inaccurate. Check out my TEP article for a complete explanation as to why I think so, as well as what other respected East Coast operators have to say on the subject. In the interim, examine the logs below for more (or less as the case may be) evidence of my "it's not always linked" argument about TEP in the mid-Atlantic region. A final note: It is true non-equatorial-crossing propagation (such as from Maryland to the Galapagos) is not "TEP," but around the equinoxes these shorter "single-hop" F2 paths are sometimes followed by, or concurrent to, openings to stations across the geomagnetic equator. The latter are usually described as a product of "multi-hop F2" - Is that really correct? The data below is provided with appropriate notations to assist you in making up your own mind about these issues. Non-transequatorial openings are therefore included herein to allow you to see that, thus far, with the notable exception of one or 2 backscatter QSOs, I have never noted a simultaneous trans-equatorial opening ("double-hop F2") wherein single hop F2 paths were present.   Data last updated August 28, 2005. Please note that data before August 2002 often does not contain entries where propagation existed but no QSOs were made (e.g. openings to HC8GR/b) & often other relevant notations I began recording later.

February 2002

2/02/02     JA6WFM/HR3     1418z     EK65     Typicla morning F2
2/04/02     ZP6CW, PP1CZ (heard)     0159-0209z     GG14, GG99     NO Es noted
2/23/02     PT9FH, PY9RTO     1536-1553z     GH10, GH14     NO Es noted
2/24/02     PZ5RA, PT2GE (Heard)     1438z, 1519z     GJ25, GH64     NO Es noted Incomplete data. PZ gone before PT opening
2/26/02     PT2GE     1451z     GH64     NO Es noted

March 2002

3/01/02     TI9M     1657z     EJ65     Late for typical F2 Opening
3/02/02     EH8BPX (skew)     1518z     IL38     EH8 on skewpath QTF Lesser Antilles
3/03/02     PY8MD     1446z     GI58     Typical Morning F2
3/04/02     PT7NK     1525z     HI06     Typical Morning F2
3/06/02     PP8BCA     1435z     FI96     Typical Morning F2
3/13/02     ZF1DC     1707z     EK99     Late F2 Skew-path opening, QTF 160 degrees
3/15/02     PT2GE, JA6WFM/HR3, PP2SIX/b     1654-1737z     GH64, EK65     NO Es noted, HR3 wrkd backscatter QTF 150 deg
3/20/02     9H1AW (heard)     2343z     JM75     NO Es noted, heard backscatter/ionoscatter 205 deg!

April 2002

4/20/02     CX4AAJ, LU5VV     1412, 1700z     GF15, FE48     NO Es noted AM opening- "2 hop F2"? No midpath signals

August 2002

8/25/02     6 LUs, 5 CX & 2 PY     1950-2228z     GF02, GF05, GF15, FF81, GF13, GF25, GF12, GF49, GG52& GF16     Es noted

September 2002

9/07/02     HC8GR     1905z     EI59     NO Es noted

October 2002

10/05/02     HC8GR     1914z     EI59     NO Es noted
10/06/02     17 PY, 16 LU, 3 CX, 1 CE, VP2V     2040-0029z     GG53,54,66,78,87 GF02,05,06,15,25 FF46,50,81 FK78    Es noted
10/08/02     PT7NK     1340z     HI06     Typical Morning F2
10/09/02     PP8KWA     1658z     FI96     Late for a "typical" opening, NO Es noted
10/10/02     HC8GR/b     ~1500-1600z     EI59     Typical Morning F2
10/24/02     1 HP, 4 TI, 2 PY & EH7KW (skew)    1455-1640z    FJ09, EJ79, HI06, GI84     Typical Morning F2
10/24/02     CX5BW     2217z     GF25    
10/25/02     2 HC8, FY5KE & EH8BPX (skew)    1452-1720z     EI59, GF35   Sans EH8 (last QSO), Typical Morning F2
10/28/02     HP1RCP/b     1445z     EJ79     Typical Morning F2
10/29/02     TI5/K1EP; YV1DIG     1413-1424z     EJ79, FK60     Typical Morning F2
10/29/02     ZD7MY     1643-1712z     IH74     No Es noted; TEP or TEP+F2 or Es+TEP
10/31/02     PY0FF     1401z     HI36     Typical Morning F2
10/31/02     LU1YBB     1852z     FF50     NO Es noted

November 2002

11/03/02     2 FY, 1 HK, 1 PZ; VP2M, W7 & XE (latter 3 skewed)    1406-1715z    GJ35    Strong Morning F2
11/04/02     7Q/b, 8R1, J3 & 9Y (all heard)    ~1330-1500z     KH75,GJ25,FK90,92    Morning F2 (F2+TEP to AF)
11/05/02     1 HK, 1 J3, 1 8R1, 2 HP     1338-1428z    FJ24,09 FK93, GJ06     Typical Morning F2 and backscatter
11/11/02     2 FY     1351-1415z     GJ35     Typical Morning F2
11/21/02     1 HC8, 1 HP,2 TI; W4,7 & VP5 (backscatter)    1454-1616z     EI59, EJ88, EK70     Strong Morning F2
11/21/02     VP2V, 1 HP,2 TI, 1 HC8; KH6(heard bckstr)    1736-1903z     EJ79,88 EI59     No Es, intense strong bckstr to PAC
11/22/02     1 VP5, 3 PY, 1 LU    0100-0123z     FL41, GG66,87, FF76    Possible Es link, unsure of mode to VP5
11/24/02     1 FY, 1 HK, 1 HC8, 1 TI     1410-1506z     EI59, EJ79, GJ35, FJ26     Typical Morning F2

March 2003

3/16/03     HC3AP     2341z     FI06     NO Es noted
3/17/03     FY5LS     1845z     GJ35     NO Es noted
3/18/03     1 FY, 3 LU     1824-1848z     GJ35, GF05     NO Es noted
3/27/03     HC8/LU8ADX     2024z     EI59     NO Es noted, widespread path from HC8 to W4,5,6,7,8,0
3/30/03     CE3SAD     1709z     FF46     NO Es noted, widespread path from CE to W1,2,3,4,5,6
3/31/03     LU7YS, HC8/b     1821-1910z     FE49     NO Es noted, CE Music & 49MHz SA comms

April 2003

4/10/03     LW1DZ (heard)     2020-2032z     GF05     NO Es noted at time, Es later in evening
4/12/03     CE, FY, HK, PY, 9 LU     2008-2242z     FF46, GF02,05 GG52, FJ24, GJ35    Sounded like Es, 48-49MHz CE Music

4/14/03     2 KP4, 2 YV, PJ2, LU     2135-2336z     FK52,60,68 FF57     Sounded like Es, No CE Music

4/28/03     9Z4BM     2150z     FK90     Es
4/30/03     ZF1DC     2031z     EK99     Es

May 2003

5/06/03     LU9EHF/b, ZF, KP4(heard)     2205-2210z     GF05     Es, 47-49 MHz CE Music & comms for 45 minutes up to S9+40
5/11/03     CE, TG(2), HR, LU     2209-2328z     EK44,65 GF05 FF46    Es, CE Music up to 49MHz
5/15-17     Not QRV at relevant times but probably open here on TEP + Es May 17th based on logger reports
5/23-25     Not QRV at relevant times but probably open here one or more days based on logger reports
5/26/03     LU/b     2115-2140z     GF05     Es; 49.2 CE Music for over 1 hour; LU/b in intermittently

October 2003

10/22/03     HC8GR/b     1900-1915z     EI59     No Es noted
10/30/03     HC8GR/b     0515-0545z     EI59     Geomagnetic storm-triggered event, not Es.

November 2003

11/14/03     LU3EO (heard), LU1DMA/b     2351-0018z     GF11     Es noted to FLA & C6A
11/16/03     HC3AP     1825z-1840z     FI06     no Es noted- F2
11/19/03     PY1RO, ZP6CW; PY8(heard)     2311-0145z     GG87, GG14, GI58     C6A/b- Es noted
11/20/03     PY8EA; PJ2,HC8,9Y etc (heard)     2100-2200z     GI58, FK90, FI06     Geomagnetic storm-induced event
11/21/03     PP5TO/p, LU9/b, YV/b & 9Y/b     ~1530-1750z     GG52     multiple CE Musics S9; C6/b Es noted
11/23/03     HK4SAN & PY8AZT heard     0015z-0130z     GJ26, GI58     Es noted.

December 2003

12/26/03     PY2XB     2317z-0020z     GG66     Es noted to FLA & C6A

January 2004

01/24-25/04     PY1DGV, PY1YB, PY2TVI, LU8DIO & LU1FA     2333z-0027z     GG66,87,GF05 & FF97     Es noted to FLA

July 2004

07/28/04     LU1DMA, LU8DO, LU1DMA/b;     2118-2132z     GF05     Summer! Es noted earlier in day to FLA & Carribean

October 2004

10/11/04     1 ZP, 1 CE4, 1 LU, LU/b, FY/b;     0146- after 0350z     FF45,51, GG14     Es noted to W4,C6A/b,FY/b
10/17/04     LU7WW, LU3EO; 2 PY & 2 LU heard     2347z-0037z (Oct 18)     FE77, GF11     Possible Es link, unsure.
10/22/04     7 LU, 1 CX, 2 VP5; PY heard     2019-2236z     GF05,15,FF81    Es to VP5/Florida. LU8DCH/b 300mW
10/23/04     LU7YS & LU8YD     2140-2242z     FF51 & FE49     Possible Es link, unsure. Es later in evening

November 2004

11/28/04     1 ZP, 2 CX; LU/b, 2 LU heard     0003-0020z     GF15,05,GG14     NO Es noted   However, sounded like Es

March 2005

03/08/05     PY3DU     2306z     GF49     NO Es noted     On my CQ, evening Greyline, with TEP-like QSB. No other stations heard.
03/09/05     ZP,LU,CE     ~2310z- 0200z(Mar. 10)    GG14,FF46,GF05,FF51     Es noted     Extrapolated, QRT QRL 2310
03/16/05     CE4BJS, LU7YZ     2130-2200z     FF51, FF45     Es to CO8LY,     CE Music from ~1930, 49.2 up to S9+

April 2005

04/08/05     LU8YD,XQ3SIX     2000z-0135z     FF46,51     Es noted    Musics S9+, FM5JC (my cq), TI8CBT 2xEs

May 2005

05/17/05     5 LU,3 CX,PY,ZP     2054-2124z     GF05,15,GG14,51     Es noted    Musics S9+, KP4,YV,PZ,HK etc 2xEs
05/18/05     3 CX, 2 LU     2004-2100z     GF05,15     Es noted
   CE Musics S9+, Es to KG4

July 2005

07/09/05     LU6DRV     2058z     GF05     Es noted     SUMMER. Es to FL at time, 2 x Es to J6,FM etc. a bit later

August 2005

08/26/05     CE Music     2215-2300z     FF46     Es noted     49.2 S9+60 15 khz wide, Multiple 47-49MHz musics, 2xEs Carrib.
08/27/05     LU6DRV (heard)     2255z     GF05     Es noted
   2xEs to Carribean, wider TEP path to W4,5,0,8,9

November 2005

11/07/05     9 PY, 2 LU     2239-2327z     GF05, GG48,55,68,69,87     Es noted     No Music heard

October 2006

10/23/06     10 PY, LW3EX     2316-0020z     GF05, GG44,66,68,87     Es noted     2xEs to HK,9Y,FY. Tag-teamed PYs with NP4A, a first

Some further explanations:

    "Dave, why did you write "No Es Noted" after some of the non-transequatorial openings & "Typical Morning F2" after others?"

Answer: Because while I believe they are all the result of propagation via the F2 layer of the ionosphere, based on the time of day it is also likely that different mechanisms are responsible for producing the ionization. "Typical morning F2" denotes the common F2 openings from W3 to Northern South America during the fall & winter solar peak years, which usually begin about 1300-1400z and sometimes last until 1700z. These openings usually begin to the Southeast (e.g. PY0FF/b) and follow the sun West, the last wisps of a dying HC8GR/b signaling their demise. The path geometry during these openings is often indicative of more Northerly ionization -signals often go over my head- and the geography involved often makes me wish for a greater colonization of Amazonia by Brazilian 6 meter ops. Propagation prognosticators agree. These are "pure" F2 openings.
    Openings occurring after 1600-1700z, which often happen closer to the equinoxes, are different in a number of respects. Path distances are always greater than the earlier openings, and the openings themselves are usually widespread, at least on the Northern end of the path. They are much less dependant on high solar flux numbers. In addition, while trans-equatorial QSOs are not always made during them, they are very often accompanied by propagation indicators (such as CE Music) indicative of a viable (or close-to-viable) TEP path, with a high level of ionization near the "tilt" region of the equatorial bulge. Interestingly, though they are closer, cluster reports indicate stations located within the TEP zone also have propagation. These openings sometimes generate dispute: Are they E-linked F2 openings on the Northern end of the path, or strictly "pure" F2? Suffice it to say that, bar a demonstrated Es link (or strong backscatter) stations within the Northern portions of the TEP zone are never heard here during these openings. I can often sit back & listen to the DX work W stations all over the Country and only hear the DX side of the QSOs. Thus, absent the specter of a humongous, unmoving, gargantuan Es cloud providing a linkup to the entire United States, I am confident they are strictly a product of F2-linked TEP or "pure" (unlinked) TEP, but for the skeptical "No Es Noted" is provided.

    "Why did you include African propagation in this list?"

Answer: Because propagation to the lower reaches of Africa crossing over the geomagnetic equator likely utilizes the same mechanisms as typical TEP to South America, and trust me, it is most definitely NOT "multi-hop" F2. TEP over this path entails a traditional East-West F2 opening over the Atlantic on the North side of the geomagnetic equator that in turn links up with African TEP. Note that the time of year these openings occur is right for TEP, and that on the DX end of the path it is also the correct time of day (local time). Moreover, a lack of mid-path signals (indicative of TEP propagation) provides further evidence. Though it is impossible to document this over water paths to islands such as ZD7, it is very possible to do so over large land masses such as Africa. Indeed, never once have I experienced a simultaneous opening to, say, Malawi, and other areas in Africa along the same path (such as Gabon). Moreover, consider signal strength & quality. Classic TEP flutter often accompanies these openings, and at other times the openings are unbelievably strong. Arguments claiming these openings are "multi-hop" F2 conveniently ignore serious path loss & multipath scatter that must occur at each ground reflection point, and offer no explanation for the sometimes amazing strength of low power African beacons. A TEP propagation model accounts for this easily- the signals only reach earth on the ends of the path.

    "Who cares about this Dave, and who really cares what you think about it anyway?"

Answer: Good question. My Domestic Relations professor in law school (a Circuit Court Judge) asked this rhetorically to me once, too, though that was over another matter. Essentially, nobody really cares but me and you, or obviously you wouldn't bother reading this. Simply put, I find that conventional descriptions of 50MHz propagation often fail to match up with what I have experienced on the band from my location, and thus they need to be rethought. Additionally, when I started out on the band I really had little understanding of how it all works, so I hope you find the analysis useful. If my experience doesn't match yours, or in light of my data you still disagree outright, great- the point is you thought about it.

© David H. Craig 2003