I had pretty much contented myself with having worked FT5ZM on 40m and didn’t really believe that an 80m contact would be possible.
Mike AD5A recently worked them on 80m from his QTH a couple hundred miles west of me but the evening pile-ups have increasingly turned me off and the motivation just wasn’t there to listen and hope they’d be on the air on any given evening that I might feel like making an attempt.
But I’m a morning person and, with FT very near W5′s antipode, there are two possible openings on the low bands.
This morning, FT5ZM was a true 579 into W5-land and they were quite easy to work. At the time I worked them, they were at their loudest and it was 30 minutes before their sunset and 20 minutes after my sunrise, so we were both in daylight.
I listened for a while after working them and heard only W5′s calling and spotting FT5ZM. I think ON4UN refers to this as “spotlight propagation”. I was glad to briefly be in their spotlight!
The FT5ZM DXpedition has been a lesson in propagation for me – skewed paths, antipodal propagation, multiple low band openings, etc. I found that the best way to know where to point the Yagi was to just turn it and listen – that their strongest signal might not only be long- or short-path but somewhere in between.
The various propagation prediction websites had me wondering if I’d be able to work them at all. Their typical results said I’d have 30 minutes of propagation per day on only one band – and that that band would be “iffy” at best. Fortunately, reality differed from predicted results.