Customized propagation charts

c82dx_prMore and more DXpeditions lately are providing some form of propagation prediction software that can be customized to a user’s QTH and station (antenna) configuration.

The latest DXpedition to do so is C82DX via their website here.

Although I’ve noticed similar programs on other websites, I haven’t really paid much attention to them.

Instead, I’m more likely to do a search of my own logbook for the Zone in question to see what times and bands I’ve worked stations there – but this may be a better way to get an idea of ‘bands and times’ regarding areas of the world that aren’t particularly active.

I just worked C82DX on 40m about half an hour prior to my sunset. Their prediction program said I should hear them just above “Nil” at S3…and that was about right.

A similar program, VOACAP, gave me a 0% chance of working Mozambique at that time on 40 meters.

Moral of the story – propagation predictions should be regarded as one would a weather forecast. Their value is not in predicting how conditions will be, but rather how they are likely to be. . .

  2 comments for “Customized propagation charts

  1. October 16, 2013 at 2:11 am

    Hi John,

    I agree with you observation. I frequently use VOACAP and I have come to the conclusion that the predictions for the lower bands 10 MHz and below are very conservative and not really reliable. The higher bands 14 MHz and above seem to be OK and does give a fair idea of what to expect.

    73, Pierre ZS6A

  2. October 16, 2013 at 2:45 am

    Hi Pierre,

    For me, the value in any of these programs is in giving me an idea of when I might be able to work a path I’m not familiar with. I know when each of the HF bands will provide communications with EU, JA and the other popular areas of the world. But I rarely hear S2, 4S and VU – most of the contacts I’ve had with those entities have all been on 20m so I have no idea when to listen to them on other bands.

    VOACAP and others will at least give a starting point on where/when to be at the rig for these and other less common (for me) areas.

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