After 50 plus years of amateurs launching 50
MHz rf from the propagationally challenged Pacific North West area we
finally succeeded in an over the pole contact with Europe! This historic
day came June 10, 2001
during the ARRL June VHF contest on this side and just after the UKSMG contest
had concluded on
the other side; a fact which arguably helped make this happen.
Digging into the logs submitted to me it seems the 2 stations to
ultimately thank are DF9CY
and K7RAT. K7RAT (op
Tree), hearing the VE6EMU/B and W6 stations had his antenna's split in
both directions calling 'CQ CONTEST'. DL9CY, (op Christoph), heard Tree
and with great shock and surprise returned his CQ. They unfortunately
did not complete. Tree now alerted to the opening switched to the north
facing yagi only and continues his 'CQ's'. Christoph later hears KB7WW
and VE7XF but his 10w was obviously not enough. Tree goes on to work
some 13 European stations in 5 countries and a few 'insurance dupes'
over the next half hour. Meanwhile other stations on both sides are
alerted by the activity and / or by seeing the posts on the clusters.
The North American stations involved were in CN89, 88, 87, 85. Via the
reports I received I concluded:
stations disregarded the posts at first as jokes; a decision that
may have cost them dearly!
footprint and selectivity on both ends was relatively small
those 'in the propagation zone' higher power output and / or high
gain antennas stations did better.
pounding hearts, disbelief and shock lasted for days.
a VE7 perspective we have to thank VE7XF,
(op Ralph). Ralph was beaming south at the time cruising contest contacts
when he heard K7RAT reply to a 'DL'. Listening for a few more minutes he
soon realized he wasn't hearing Tree repeating a DL grid field but was
working Europe. "RAT's WORKING EUROPE" was what we heard Ralph
screaming over our 2m fm chat frequency. With great disbelief VE7SL,
VE7SKA and myself quickly rotated north. A few minutes later ...BINGO.
VE7DXG who was mtn topping later heard the melee and joined in the
action. VE7SL, op Steve, has the privilege of first VE7 to Europe. VE7XF
finished his WAC on 6m's from CN89 for another VE7 first. Both ops are
30+ year veterans of the band from the West coast. Below the logs in
VE7SL (CN88): ON4ANT,
ON4GG, PA3DOL. Heard: F2YT, PA0HIP, ON4AOI
VE7XF (CN89): ON4ANT,
ON4GG, PA0HIP, F2YT, PA7FM, G0LCS
VE7DXG (CN88): ON4GG.
VE7SKA (CN88): heard ON4ANT, ON4GG, F2YT
VE7AGG (CN89): ON4ANT,
About 30 minutes later with hearts still pounding it was all over. It
took us 50+ years of trying to successfully send 50 MHz over the
pole to Europe. It took 50+ years to catch up to our eastern friends
that have constantly tortured us with their posts of European countries.
I'm sure it will take forever to answer the big question -- what was
the propagation mode?!?!
On a personal note this opening came just 1 week after I had worked my
last state for my WAS award and made a 13,300+ km contact with VK6JQ;
not bad for a 'non F season'. Needless to say I take back every bad
thing I've ever said about my addiction to what we call 6 meters!