Season review

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theme
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Season review

Post by theme » 30 Aug 2018 10:47

Now that it looks like the season has come to an end, how would you rate this year's ES? Better or worse compared to last years'? I'm asking since I'd like to hear other people's opinions as well.

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John Faulkner, Skegness
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Re: Season review

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 30 Aug 2018 11:01

I haven't really participated this season, due to various unexpected commitments, lack of enthusiasm, etc. But I kept a close eye on conditions and chatted to various DXers over the summer period. I won't speak on their behalf, but we seem to have had similar experiences.

There were a ridiculously large number of brief, minor (very) and repetitive openings from the UK to Spain and Algeria. Other than that, as far as I can see, the season was quite a wash-out on occasion. There were one or two decent openings to the Balkans here, but I missed any Scandinavian openings. I understand there were one or two, literally.

I know 6m was awash with JT8 at times, but that hardly gives a fair comparison to band 2 Es. And even there, openings did become sparse at times.

My personal feeling is that this has been the least productive band 2 Es season I have known, and by quite some margin, mainly because of the smaller number of openings, most of which were very poor.

Italy delivered the goods at times, but even that was relatively rare.

One or two gems appeared, notably Greece and Turkey, but one or two good days don't make a good season.

3/10.

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Re: Season review

Post by Tim Bucknall » 30 Aug 2018 11:42

this season in one word: wierd!

in detail:
This has been a fascinatingly twisted season and if we include tropo the season becomes quite memorable.
for large parts of the summer we had the combination of southerly jetstream and heatwave which meant we could enjoy some stonking tropo without e skip blotting it out, something that frustrated dxpeditions in previous summers.
when e skip did happen it was very atypical. OIRT barely stirred from its slumber for me this year, just 2 feeble openings to Kyiv.
my only reception of the normally regular Grodno/Hrodna on 66.2 was a meteor ping.
for 5 consecutive days in June we had exceptional Moroccan openings, i was on holiday in Llanelli and one MRC station on 87.6 was daily, predictable, unfading and provided a local quality signal that could be enjoyed on demand while driving around.

Eastern Europe was nearly completely absent save for a couple of times when R3 and R4 opened giving unfamiliar offsets. for many days on end the uk was stuck on the extreme edge of a path to greece/turkey/middle east which i only really learned how to take advantage of quite late in the season. when i did i got Greece, Turkey, Israel and in one case presumed Iran (the absolute closest part of Iran mind you)

Paul Logan did the transatlantic thang again this season, overall it was quality over quantity this year, exotics could be just about caught by the skin of the teeth here in the north for dxers willing to strain their ears and listen to hours of static.

the perseids were pathetic, inferior to random meteors. the lack of norway was very obvious on meteor scatter.

5/10

i have a reasonable amount of files to review when i feel like it, they may show the season in a different light
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Re: Season review

Post by daveB » 30 Aug 2018 23:31

I blame the stalled jet stream - it would be interesting to see what Jim Bacon has to say on the subject as in video by Martin Lynch & Sons last year he was discussing the correlation with Es.

For me 2018 was characterised by many days with openings to the south in an arc from Tunisia to Portugal (150 - 220 deg from my QTH). Italy and the Balkans and going round further to the east were less frequent. i.e I got a good opening to POL, SVK, HNG, ROU and similar on 4th June and further openings on the 9th,15th, and 26th. Openings to the east in July were on 6th/7th, 21st.

Greece came through a few times - the opening on the 23rd August being the best, but there were far fewer days than in 2017 - which seemed to be an exceptional year.

Just one Russian station and one from Lithuania were logged on Band 2, nothing from Sweden or Finland

The OIRT Band was open on 10/05/2018 - my first Es of the season, on the 24th June, on the 6th, 12th, and 28th of July, and on 27th August - which is probably the last of the main ES season. Only a couple of those openings were of a reasonable duration.

Band I TV was also poor - only one day where the signals were strong enough to trigger pictures on my main TV.

Regarding the intensity of signals - unlike previous years when the band turned to soup on a number of occasions and for extended periods - the intensity was generally lower. In a way this was helpful as it was easier to get RDS decoding on recordings. I have to say that without recordings when there were openings I would have had a very sparse log. Scanning 24/7 to the East and South was also of great help in flagging up openings- but there are far fewer days with loggings than in 2016 or 2017.

For me documenting the extent of an opening is more important than numbers of stations - but a few multi-hop exotics this year would have been nice.

The new path predictor page on FMList has been very helpful in flagging up where reception is likely to come from. But one of it's limitations is that if no one is actually actively logging at the time it hasn't got any data to work with - so there will be no path predicted. Even a few real-time loggings will contribute to it's usefulness from if a DXers who don't use it as a primary logging tool. Also someone has to post the first reception report - so don't wait to start listening until a path prediction is made for your QTH. A couple of times I've posted a report before anyone else had logged activity.

So with the season effectively over it's now time to turn my attention to completing the shielded magnetic loop for MW/HF for the winter season.
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Re: Season review

Post by tvdxrools » 31 Aug 2018 09:17

two words ,,, UTTER CRAP ,,,, David

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Re: Season review

Post by Tim Bucknall » 31 Aug 2018 10:18

"For me documenting the extent of an opening is more important than numbers of stations"
absolutely.

anyone else still got recordings to analyse?
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Re: Season review

Post by tvdxrools » 31 Aug 2018 10:30

every opening i had was to spain nothing to e se and only one transatlantic opening on TV which never got to vid level so as i said utter crap up here in Scotland , David

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Re: Season review

Post by John Faulkner, Skegness » 31 Aug 2018 11:17

I have around 180 recordings from last season. Plus more than 60 from this season.

I used vertical polarisation for most of these files, in the hope of receiving something different. There can be a lot of repetition in Es reception.

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Re: Season review

Post by satnipper » 31 Aug 2018 13:18

Been an excellent season for the amateurs. Personally only been able to operate the last 1/3 of the season on Occitania but still managed state-side on 6m ssb. Bigger stations have worked worldwide most months - India, Bahrain, Kuwait on 6m. Greenland on 4m from UK. FT8 has been a game changer of course.

Stuart

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Re: Season review

Post by tvdxrools » 31 Aug 2018 14:21

ft8 = demise in cw ssb , ft8 pc to pc contact no humans needed , personally i like to use my mic or bash the key

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Re: Season review

Post by Chris Howles » 31 Aug 2018 14:27

From a personal point of view this has been the worst sporadic e season in which I've been active in...1984-90, 94-98, 2010-12 and 2014 to present... only saved from being a complete disaster by me bagging the Azores on FM back in June. TV has been particularly disappointing probably due to the majority of openings being to the south, I was hoping for some decent Russian/Ukrainian signals this year bearing in mind we're at the 11th hour with analogue switch offs just around the corner. FM wise as others have said its been mainly Spain/Portugal and North Africa, very little from central Europe, even less from Scandinavia and no sign of Iceland here since 2016. Glad the amateurs have had a better time of it but I can't get excited about digital modes at all, glad DXmaps added the ability to turn them off as they were giving me false hope! For me DXing is all about analogue signals rising in and out of the noise.

As Tim points out tropo pretty much saved June with several excellent openings to Holland, North Germany and Denmark.
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Re: Season review

Post by satnipper » 31 Aug 2018 15:51

Any digital mode is computer to computer so FT8 is no different there......Have you tried decoding rtty or JT65 in your head? Thought not :-)

A human is required to engineer the station set-up of course - rig, antenna, feeder, atu, interface, pc, software etc etc. What is quite interesting about FT8 is that whilst it is a weak signal mode it is not weak power. Many use full legal power wherever they are to make world wide contacts. Of course it is also suitable to the little pistol station with a few watts and low wire antenna.

It has divided amateurs though - rather like marmite. Odd to see a FL opposed though as the digital modes are levellers in many ways. Normally it's the boys with estates, towers, linears and top of the range rigs bemoaning newcomers working dxcc in a weekend. Many have made the comparison between AM and SSB when the latter arrived in the 60s.

Horses for courses.....I'd rather use FT8 than listen to white noise...

Stuart

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Re: Season review

Post by tvdxrools » 31 Aug 2018 16:41

each to their own and personally i think its like watching paint dry and for me you cant beat the buzz from working a zl or vk on ssb or cw , aye its divided amateurs and the way things are going up here GM MM3 will become a rare dx as loads i know just dont do 6m anymore because lack of openings and ft8 taking over and really not many of us now now

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Re: Season review

Post by satnipper » 31 Aug 2018 17:49

Well I don't get it. Complain about the lack of contacts and spurn the mode which will enable contacts....

Plenty of M0 and GM stations in bonny Scotland as I worked several this year from the Cabardes badlands. Guess MM3s can use the down time to advance in the qualifications.

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Re: Season review

Post by tvdxrools » 01 Sep 2018 07:49

no interest in advancing here quite happy working pacific on 40m 11/10m which i do quite easily with what i have at the moment ( new 2 phased verticals helps on 40m will update pics on qrz soon )

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Re: Season review

Post by Nick Gilly » 01 Sep 2018 14:10

In a word: mediocre. Not a patch on 2017, which had that amazing 3 week spell in June. Most openings were in a southerly direction towards Spain and North Africa, with little activity to the east or NE. One of the Algerian openings did produce a less common tx site, Ouargla, as well as a couple of not-heard-before unlisted sites, which might have been further inland also.

There still were a few interesting logs, e.g.

101.9 TRT Radyo Haber Kirklareli-Demirköy
87.5 Damla FM Istanbul
87.7 IBB Trafik Radyosu Istanbul
87.7 En Lefko Ymittos
87.7 RNE Radio Clásica Puerto del Rosario (Fuerteventura, Canary Islands)
87.7 RDP Antena 3 Pico da Barossa (São Miguel, Azores)
90.2 R80 Rádio Pico da Barossa (São Miguel, Azores)

Plus a handful of Libyans.

On the whole though, the intensity and frequency of openings were below average in my experience. Better luck next time!
Good DX.

Nick, Whitchurch, Hampshire.

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Re: Season review

Post by Tim Bucknall » 01 Sep 2018 17:02

John Faulkner, Skegness wrote:
31 Aug 2018 11:17
I have around 180 recordings from last season. Plus more than 60 from this season.

I used vertical polarisation for most of these files, in the hope of receiving something different. There can be a lot of repetition in Es reception.
good idea, i'll try that next year
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Re: Season review

Post by sleeper77 » 01 Sep 2018 20:04

Poor - lack of exciting & new signals. Best opening was from Greece which I could receive RDS. Austria was alright as well. But even regulars like Italy, Iberia & north Africa were average compared to other seasons.

Frustrating - if I am away from home, I tend to have my SDR on for remote access during the months of June & July. I got fed up of wasting electricity because of lack of activity so did not bother leaving it on for most of those two months even if it cost me a couple of openings. Also got tired of listening to the BOB at home & hearing nothing most of the time.

Even the likes of the 11/10/6m & OIRT have been poor as well. Only saving grace on the amateur bands was FT8 which was quite interesting to monitor. Only one OIRT opening I have received, usually I get several per season.

Thankfully we had some excellent tropo to make up for the lack of Es.

4/10 - started promising but dipped badly. 1st time hearing FT8 via Es was the highlight of the season.

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Re: Season review

Post by PFM907 » 02 Sep 2018 09:44

Nice topic, especially because sporadic-E season has been come to an end over here like 6-8 weeks ago. :lol:

Here in Nth. Germany, summer ´18 was the worst season ever for E-skip on CCIR-FM / VHF-II in the past 20 years (2013 + 2017 were best) when it comes to my log. On Western FM, there has been activity for a few days (I think 12 or 13 days in total, might have been 20 with a few pings missed out) only, I haven't noticed any sporadic-e for more than a month now (last was 23/07/18) and there was a time in-between with two weeks without any. I do not remember one year, where there has been this weak with almost none in August and that little in June and July. On the other hand, there have been notable days in Sep. / Oct. / Dec. during the past decade and I guess there will be zero this fall. Also looking for some quality in audio and variety, 2018 has reached the last place on my ranking, as it offered always more and more of the same stations, the same transmitters and, moreover, the same 5 countries (ES, FR, PT, IT, DZ). There was like no personal first as well as I do not remember any new country or any special log from 2018, with little FI or Balkans on my mind but I totally missed out Greece this summer.

Regarding OIRT-UKF (Eastern FM) and VHF-I TV, there have been about five (!) remarkable days with more than a fistful of loggings. No need to talk about that as this was rather poor, too. The only countries caught so far have been RU, UA, BY - not even Romania or Pridnestrowie came through in 2018 which is really astonishing in a negative aspect. Highest opening was R3 I guess this year, while I have had the Ukrainian public state television on R5 several times back in 2017 and R2 was a daily guest back than.

On the whole, 2018 was surprisingly and awfully bad during ES season.

Concerning tropo on FM, there was at least one decent day with distances up to 700 kilometres picking up France, Flanders and strong NL signals here. This was 17/05/2018 and my experience has shown that this occurance happens once at a time every year around mid-May. Another one worth mentioning was the next morning with a strong duct towards Eifel / Luxembourg (no Saarland, unfortunately) and RPR 1 / Big FM from Scharteberg transmitter with 500 km. as a personal first. There has been another great night with lots of dutch, as well as 03 and 04/07 with a large ducting to Vendsyssel / Skagen / Sth Norway.

Best logs in 2018:
88.6 Radio NORDJYSKE Vendsyssel Hjørring/Vendsyssel 419 km 0.5 kW
104.7 ANR Hjørring Hjørring/Vendsyssel 419 km 0.5 kW RDS: ANR

How am I gonna be supposed to ever beat that regarding output power and distance?

Of course, the time of the "konsessionsöverganget" in Sweden on 01/08/2018 was a big deal over here and a small but nice high pressure above the Öresundregionen let me follow the changes over here. I am very thankful for that. Remember, this opening had been one week before or one week after. There would have been no use in it at all. This was my highlight in 2018's FM DX so far as I had signals that would not have been better within my Malmö hotel room probably. Having heard this live in 250 kilometres away, abroad on the other side of the Baltic Sea, was an unique memory which I am able to share with the audience living in Sweden itself. To me, this is worth more than any 1000 km+ Log and I really have fallen in love with the low power transmitters passing the water easily with a few (hundred) watts. 91,7 Rockklassiker is such an example or 106,5 Guldkanalen.

On the contrary, medium wave was at its best at the beginning of the year! Talking about AM DX, the months Jan. and Feb were quite exciting. I have never experienced such excellent and amazing conditions with distances between 5000 and 10000 kilometres for 7 weeks. I had many personal firsts like 558 KBS 2Radio, 711 KBS 1Radio, 1134 kHz KBS 3Radio, 1098 RTI Taiwan, 1143 Fisheries Taiwan, 819 China or 819 kHz North Korea. KBS Global Korean Network on 972 kHZ and Far East Broadcasting HLAZ on 1566 were in like locals at certain times. 1530 Sao Tome could be followed in best quality ever at many evenings. Also long wave was pretty good with nice signals from Iceland and Ireland, which I really enjoy tuning in. I have observed KCBS and VOA1 coming in fairly the past week, so I expect a lot of good logs from Africa and Asia coming up on AM in Nov. and Dec.

Also DAB on the former VHF-III TV band was extraordinary the past 6 months and brought much surprise with audio on far-away channels. I have heard many personal firsts like 11B NDR SH / 10A NDR NDS / 12A NDR NDS / 8B NDR MV / 10C NDR MV / 11D Radio fuer NRW twice / 8B MDR THUERINGEN but also different small cast ensembles from Denmark. I won't forget 03+04/07/2018 with MUX3-NJYN DK, Riks NOR, NRK Reg2 BuTeVe and NRK Reg3 SørRog, all of them with audio. Those are between 500 and 700 kilometres away and extremely rare, among some personal firsts.

That's just my 2 cents. Please keep in mind, that this observation is pure personal and might not fit to your own point of view. However, I am not DXer but radio listener, meaning I am interested in many different stations from different countries in different regions of the world on different continents. What makes FM DX and AM DX worthwile is, in my own opinion, the possibility of LISTENING to far-away programmes for a certain time (at least 20 minutes, likely 1+ hour). At the same time, the constantly high quality of your logs is highly appreciated. However, I cannot be satisfactory with my own results this summer, but the winter months at the beginning of 2018 have been an equal replacement for the lack of sporadic-E activity.

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