Another VHF and microwave band tropospheric opening occurred to VK4 late 2015, Stephen ZL1TPH reports his portable activation to Cape Reinga;

On Saturday the 21 November 2015 I activated RF65JM in the far north of New Zealand. This necessitated loading up 144, 432, 1296 MHz and 2.4 GHz radio gear on the Thursday prior, then driving north to Kaitaia on the Friday and the last leg to Cape Reinga early Saturday morning.

Once setup on site the VHF bands were open to VK4. Predicting an opening three or so days ahead is relatively easy with experience and use of propagation charts - but in saying that it always risky when dealing with the weather and tropospheric ducting is formed by weather patterns.

As the morning progressed in the log VK4FSCC, VK4BOO, VK4ADM, VK4NWH, VK2WDD, VK4VDX, VK4OX, VK4REX, VK4CZ and VK4FLR on the 2 metre band. Frank VK4FLR is around 450 km north of Brisbane and was the most northern station worked at 2469 km. Up at Cape Reinga it is closer to Brisbane than realised at around 2050 km whereas down in Auckland it is circa 2200 km.

On 70 cm in the log were VK4VDX, VK4OX, VK4REX and VK4CZ, Scott VK4CZ had only 10 watts at the time and was easy copy, the others were S9. The 70 cm band for many years has been a good indicator of the intensity of a propagation duct along with entry level to the duct. In other words if you can’t work them on 70 cm you won’t work them on the higher bands above.

In the log on 23 cm or 1296 MHz were VK4AFL, VK4REX and VK4CZ all circa 2050 km. Signal strengths varied with these three stations in order from S1 to S5 depending upon their elevation and site and all three were running high performance 23 cm stations. VK4CZ was the strongest so we decided to test the path on 2.4 GHz.

With initial tests on 2403 MHz or 2.4 GHz nothing was heard. Up at Cape Reinga I was plagued with high winds and dish movement which did not help. Once dish alignment was secure we heard Scott VK4CZ with his CW indent and SSB with ease at around S2 with surprisingly little QSB as commonly evident. Sadly no two-way contact eventuated due to equipment failure at my end.

However this records the third VK to ZL Tasman crossing on 2.4 GHz, it was set prior by Adrian VK4OX and John VK4JMC back in January 2011. It also establishes that the higher bands are open more than is realised.


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