Florida Hams Make Contact 100 Miles Apart via 10-Meter Repeater… in Switzerland.
When 10 meters is open, amazing things can happen. Lu Romero, W4LT, knows that well. He said, “When 10 is open, I often venture up into the top of the band to see if there is any FM activity. I’ve always liked to use 10 FM, especially when conditions are marginal to observe the Faraday phase distortion on signals. Before FT8, 10 FM was always a good way to discover where the band was propagating to in addition to the beacons. If you hear FM (especially repeaters) operating, then the propagation is really good!”
At around 1500z on October 23, 2023, the band was open. Romero stated that he went to the top of the band and “found multiple signals in both simplex and via repeaters.” “Usually, I receive a repeater in New York City, KQ2H, one of the strongest signals I can get down here in Florida when 10 is open, but today there was another strong signal [of] 10 kHz above it,” he said.
Using a FLEX-6400 at 75 W and the C32XR beam at 108 feet that he maintains for the Tampa Amateur Radio Club, he heard an ID through the splatter from the KQ2H repeater. “It was HB9HD in Switzerland! I set up for split and reduced power to 75 W on the Flex and gave the repeater a kerchunk.” Romero was able to contact a Swiss ham, Rene, HB3XVR, on the repeater’s 70-centimeter link.
Then, on October 31, again around 1500z, Romero tried the repeater once more. “I found the repeater full quieting, even stronger than it was on October 23, and with no QRM from KQ2H, so it was clean and easy to copy!
For the heck of it, I called CQ several times on the repeater. I received no callers, but finally, I received a signal that was fading up and down. I called again and that signal stopped fading for a while, and I was able to work David, WA3LXD, over the HB9HD repeater. After a little while, his signal settled down, and David asked me what my QTH was, and I told him I was in Tampa. He laughed and said we worked each other ‘the hard way,’ because he was in Ocala, about 100 miles to my north,” said Romero.
As Solar Cycle 25 continues to rise toward its peak, amateurs can expect to encounter more exciting propagation, especially on the 10- and 6-meter bands. In this case, the signals traveled roughly 9,800 miles round trip. Your mileage may vary.