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All About Sporadic-E Propagation

Discussion in 'Amateur Radio News' started by N5HZR, Jul 15, 2019.

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  1. N5HZR

    N5HZR Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sporadic-E propagation allows us hams to send and receive signals over great distances, through the ionosphere during brief and crazy circumstances. Doug Speheger KC5JUS has been watching this happen for years, and he has tracked many sporadic-E paths over this time. Doug gave a presentation at a recent South Canadian Amateur Radio Society (SCARS) meeting and this video will help you understand this phenomenon a bit better. Doug talks about 2 meter, 6 meter, and broadcast band paths.

    We hope you enjoy it as much as we did...

    SCARS is based out of Norman, OK, and is online at

    Attached Files:

    VK3GOR, M1WML, KA0HCP and 2 others like this.
  2. KD2GIY

    KD2GIY Ham Member QRZ Page

    Sporadic-E propagation is a switch in ARRL headquarters in CT, that they turn on only during contesting.
    W4KYW, W4MKC, AB9TX and 15 others like this.
  3. PP8DA

    PP8DA Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Very interesting presentation, unfortunately in my area 6 m appears not to work. I live 3 deg S, 60 deg W. Never heard anything near the equator.
    M1WML likes this.
  4. KQ6XA

    KQ6XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    Great to see a good video on Sporadic E (Es).

    Celebrate the season of Sporadic E!

    It is a special kind of propagation that happens randomly during night or day.

    There is not much Sporadic E scientific study, and some aspects of it are still not well understood.

    Current studies have pointed to a fascinating source of Sporadic E: meteors!
    • It seems to form, at least partially, due to high altitude (thermosphere) meteorite ablations.
    • As tiny meteorites burn up in the upper atmosphere of earth, the tiny particles disperse into the earth's thermosphere.
    • The meteorite particles tend to collect in "reflective clouds" made of iron ions (and other elements) under certain conditions and temperature differentials.
    • The clouds of Sporadic E tend to accumulate in between layers of wind shear up around 70 miles high (112km) in the E layer.
    • The Sporadic E clouds are most common at mid-latitude, and are not usually found in equatorial or polar regions of the earth.

    Sporadic E provides strong signals, even with low power.

    Es is somewhat independent of the normal 11 year/ 22 year Solar Cycles that affect F layer propagation.

    It is great for upper HF and lowband VHF contacts, to distances of about 200 to 1500 miles.
    The best bands to work Es are in the range of 14 MHz to 70 MHz.

    You will find 15 metres or 10 metres are particularly good.

    If you tune to 27385 kHz LSB (CB 38 LSB) and listen for active CB operators, you will find that they are usually the first to catch a Sporadic E opening. If you hear a lot of activity on that frequency, it is likely that a big Es opening is happening.

    Factoid: It is now legal to talk long distance (skip) on CB . :)

    The most recent studies have relied on LEO satellites that received 1 GHz GPS signals and recorded variations (phase changes from reflection or distortion) caused by E layer ionization.

    But, Es has much stronger effects in the high HF and low VHF range (20 MHz to 100 MHz).

    Sporadic E has traditionally peaked in North America in June/July/August.
    During June of 2019 the Sporadic E happened almost every day for a month.

    The Sporadic E seems to be happening earlier in the year recently, perhaps due to climate changes or other factors.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2019
    K7GYB, K8XG, KX1MAD and 6 others like this.
  5. NL7W

    NL7W Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Nice presentation. :)
    M1WML likes this.
  6. W1UT

    W1UT Ham Member QRZ Page

    This is an interesting presentation. I too have followed E-skip for many years including from both sides of North America. I used to live in Vermont and Maryland and we had E-skip propagation regularly each summer and sometimes at other times of the year as well. I now live in Utah and have been here for 6 years now. I have HF, 6m and VHF/UHF capability. I live at about 6000 feet elevation in a mountain valley but the mountains are still miles away. It is exceedingly rare to hear any E-skip in this part of the country. I check DXmaps regularly and see all of the activity usually right over the top of me. Do I hear anything? Very very rarely and even then the signals are weak. So ... I ask, why? What is so different about this location? One would think with the higher elevation I would hear even better, but this has not been the case.
    M1WML likes this.
  7. M0YRX

    M0YRX Ham Member QRZ Page

    N6SPP, M1WML and KQ6XA like this.
  8. KQ6XA

    KQ6XA Ham Member QRZ Page

    For Sporadic E to work well, the ionized "cloud" needs to be about 400 to 700 miles away from you, and mid-way to the station you want to communicate with.

    I worked Utah in June during the Field Day Sporadic E opening.
    So there is, indeed, sometimes an Es path to Utah!

    Some Sporadic E researchers appear to have found evidence of high altitude mountain wave turbulence affecting Sporadic E.
    KF4ZKU and M1WML like this.
  9. NI4Y

    NI4Y XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I worked several PY while I was in P4 and the 6m Beam was fixed to the east coast of NA. Off the back I worked a few short hops on 6 and 10m. It is very much an activity issue in SA I Tune to 50.313 and leave it on while you work you will be surprised to hear a blip every now and again on FT8.
    KF4ZKU and M1WML like this.
  10. K8ZT

    K8ZT XML Subscriber QRZ Page

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