As promised last month I’ll explain a bit about grid squares and their usefulness.
Using USB to communicate is all well and good, however try to answer an Arabic speaker in response to a request for your QTH if you live in the Anglesey village of Llanphwlg…. or whatever that is! Phonetics only make this worse, but using 'IO73vf' is a lot easier.
The world-wide system can locate any station within a mile or so using the 6 digits. In August I worked three Icelandic stations in quick succession each with a different square. This indicated a likely F2 reflection out to 1,200 miles at 330° making the F2 reflection somewhere over Stornoway. Now with over 300 squares worked on 60M FT8 some patterns are appearing. I can even predict a path to the Southern Andes area at 11 PM local time!
Mid-evening of the 5th held a big surprise. I saw a ZL4 station decoding on 5Meg’, thinking it was a pirate I checked the details on QRZ and sent the guy an e-mail. To my surprise he confirmed it was him but no confirmed contact. Better luck next time, however, it proves that long distance propagation is available on this band from time to time. Toward the end of the month I managed to 'bag' the Uganda DXpedition and a VR2 station in Hong Kong. His QTH is the 39th floor of a block sited on what was a swamp when I was there. Some development!
Sometimes. I venture up to 30 Metres to see if there is any DX. I have managed to work quite a number of US stations and one evening I worked half a dozen in quick succession, it was a day later I was checking the State and County of these when I discovered I had worked Brookings County in South Dakota, whoopie my last State, I’ve worked all 50 after 20 years of trying!
Another nice thing that arrived on the doormat this month, a card confirming two contacts with the UN HQ in New York. I remember our late, lunch-time net, friend Bob, VE3UUH was hoping to make this one as his all time last one needed for a 'Full House'. I’m still trying to get to the magic 300 DXCCs out of the current 340 total. I also received a card confirming a Mexican island, this gives me zone 6, Mexico, and Island NA-135. Another good one that!
Next month I’ll describe how to get confirmations, if you need them.