How to define an open band?

5jan2013I’m gradually changing my definition of what constitutes an “open” band, at least when it comes to the higher bands.

Normally, if someone told me 10 meters was open, I’d expect to hear European signals in the morning and JA/VK in the evening. Afternoons would consist of South American and Caribbean sigs.

For the past two days, there’s been none of that, but…

Band openings on both 10 and 12 meters have occurred via atypical paths to very specific regions.

Yesterday morning a spot on the DX cluster mentioned that A45XR was coming in on 10m via long path at 10:30am my local time. That time of day would normally indicate a short path opening but sure enough, A45XR was S1 with the antenna pointed at him and S6 when pointed directly away.

Just a few minutes later A65BP was spotted on 12 meters, again with the spotter mentioning LP. I worked him, made a quick audio recording and then swung the antenna around to him as he became inaudible.

All this and nothing else – no Europeans, no South Americans…just the middle east – but only if I was aiming away from them.

I can see the value of WSPR stations on 10 and 12 meters and should have looked to see what they were reporting. WSPR’s always-on stations have the ability to point out band openings we may not think to check or even believe possible given the conditions we become used to.

The day ended with a more typical opening on 15 meters with XW4XR coming in quite well from Laos.

So were the high bands open yesterday with these – and only these – stations heard?

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  2 comments for “How to define an open band?

  1. January 6, 2013 at 10:33 am

    Faros, the software that monitors reception of the IBP beacons on 10 – 20m, can distinguish between short and long path using some clever timing method. WSPR can’t do that.

    Julian, G4ILO

    • January 6, 2013 at 10:52 am

      I’ll take a look at that, Julian – tnx.

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