3Y0Z: Don’t Worry About Slakhallet – Get Your High Angles On
Bouvet from Orinda is 132 degrees on the Short Path:
and 312 on the Long Path:
Both paths to ZS and V51 are very good from Orinda.
I have a friend who translated the Japanese text on the 3Y0Z web site and became alarmed that the highest point – Mt. Olav and the Slakhallet glacier would shunt the West Coast – and much of North America from being able to work 3Y0Z. He read that JA’s will have a much better path and chance.
Then I realized two things – which allayed any fears that I might have had based on my friends “worry”:
- If the morning Long Path is open to Bouvet, then the West Coast will do very, very well. Its a bit of a stretch but I sure hope that the team try’s the LP for the West Coast – our morning, their evening
- When a band opens and closes I know for a fact that high angle DX happens. I know this because I am surrounded by hills and there is no way that in any direction that I am working DX at very low angles:
I’m two away from Top of Honor Roll. As you can see – this path to Bouvet has major hills in the way. Its a similar path to many other entities that I have worked, so, low angle DX has NEVER been possible for me in this direction. Yet – I have worked very far DX often
And the long path to Bouvet. I have worked FT5ZM and VK0EK in this direction on 160M – so you know durn tootin’ it was not low angle work. It could ONLY have been higher angle DXing
So – it would be very silly for me to worry about a Glacier and mountain on Bouvet. The ONLY way I will work them is the same way I have worked hundreds of rare and distance DX – at higher angles. This also shows why putting up a really tall tower at my QTH would have been a total waste of time and money. It also shows why a low 40M yagi (DXU-32) worked so well – its because I only could have worked higher angles with it.
Finally, it very clearly describes something I have always wondered about:
When other DXers in the SF Bay Area – who live near the flats of the SF Bay hear DX I cannot hear and post spots – I get very frustrated. They say “S9” or whatever and I did not hear that DX. FT5GA is one example. But you have to understand propagation and by band, time of year and where we are in the cycle. For example, FT5GA activated at the bottom of the cycle and was on 20M most of the time. Had they been on say 40M during our sunrise or sunset, I might have worked them. I doubt 20M would have ever been a possibility at Chez KY6R. In fact, only those who had great low angle take offs seemed to work them – and on 20M.
I have worked other stations that far away – and what I found was I might have had 10 minutes opening when others could hear that DX for an hour or more. Why? It was when the band was opening or closing – and the take off angle transitions from Low to High or Vice Versa.
So – sometimes you have to just sit there and pray it happens. When it does its the most exciting thing. I very clearly remember VU7 and ZS8 happening this way. On the SP at night – ZS8M “marched across the US. First the East Coast were spotting them, then the Midwest, Rockies, and I knew I would get my 10 – 20 minutes to work Pierre, and I sure did.
Those are the truly magic moments for me in DX-ing.