MONSTER DUCT REPORTS FROM 15th to 21st of February 2004

Absolutely astonishing would be words chosen to describe the ducts of the past few days, I think these would be classed as the best duct openings since I have been operating from my QTH near The Rock Hill.
Absolutely massive signals coming in from a very large area of southern Australia, peaking on the mornings of the 18th & 19th here. The morning of the 19th was absolute chao's and I wish I could have stayed on the radio all morning.
Things began on the night of the 15th after a new high cell moved in and a low trough was passing.
Some weird stuff was happening on beacon I monitor, Renmark TV, it was fluctuating all over the place and coming up to a strong level when it would normaly be quiet.
I was noteing abnormally strong signals into central southern and south western VK3.
Finding this quite interesting I called VK3VSW, Chris on the phone and asked if he could get on air. We made an easy simplex contact on 2m 146.500 FM, where Chris was S9+20dB (404km). When then tried 70cm and again an easy copy about an S9.
I also worked VK3HZ, 3FMD and VK5NY after that. Signals were not great to VK5NY, but 3HZ and 3FMD where quite strong.
On Monday morning the 16th, there was a duct present and was extending to South Australia as well as Victoria. Repeaters were OK and I also worked simplex with-
Brian VK5UBC on both 2 & 70 - signals weak
Rob VK5MM on 2m only - sig weak.
Later that evening Brian VK5UBC was able to work the 146.725 repeater in Albany WA. (1900km). Brian reports signals S9.
In the morning on Tuesday the 17th there was a low pressure trough close to my QTH, this caused much gusty wind which was very strong. I did weakly hear VK5 repeaters - Lobethal, Murray Bridge, Barossa Valley and Crafers. They were gone as soon as they came in basically. I did hear a VK7 station unknowingly getting into the Crafers Adelaide repeater on 147.000, so conditions were still out there, just not at my QTH.
Later, in the evening on Tuesday, things were really starting to look good and some weird stuff started happening.
VK3VTX was noted portable on Mt Arapalies near Horsham Vic. Gavin was heard here on simplex.
Charles VK3JNY near Otways was copied here simplex.
Craig VK3XOR in Melb was copied here simplex
Steven VK3TAS in Melb was copied here simplex
We all congregated on Shepparton repeater, we moved to the Otway Ranges repeater 147.275 when Rob VK5MM came up and said he could get into it.
So, on Otways at about 10pm, we had 2KRR, 3VTX, 3JNY, 3XOR, 5MM (Mt Barker SA).
We eventually got a call in from Graham VK5KGP at Victor Harbour SA who was using an indoor antenna!
Then VK5UBC at Gawler called in.
Then VK5ACY on Kangaroo Island! just to stir the pot up even more.
Before Brian VK5UBC called into Otways with us, he had worked the Albany repeater again on 146.725 speaking with VK6DM Frank.
These two, 5UBC and 6DM then made a FM simplex contact of 1900 km on 146.500.
Frank VK6DM was asked to try make it to the Otways repeater where we all were, but nothing was heard. (Bummer)
Around 1am on Wednesday morning the 18th, signals started coming through from the Adelaide area again.
A number of stations were worked simplex FM (note most stations running low power and omni verticals) -
Brenton VK5JBJ at Meningie was a 5/6 on 2m @ 702 km, 3.43 am. Brenton was also worked on 70cm also 5/6 signal.
Rob VK5MM at Mt Barker was 5/7 on 2m.
Brian VK3UBC at Mildura was 5/5 2m.
From around 5.30am to 10am EDST I was copying the Esperance 2m CW beacon on 144.568 MHz VK6REP @ 2305 km. Pity the Esperance repeater is not operational. No VK6 stations were noted on 144.100 either. This is the first time I have ever heard the Esperance beacon.
Later VK5AKK was worked on 144.1 SSB from P494ix on 2m and 70cm 432.150 SSB with cross polarised yagis, vertical my end to Horizontal at Phils end.
I just happened to call VK5UBC on SSB at around 11.30am and what do you know but Gilligan on the island comes up, VK5ACY, Bill was S9+20dB on 144.1, big signal.
Dion VK7YBI made it to the Barossa Valley 2m repeater at around 11.45 am and made a new repeater distance record for himself @ 947 km.
Amazingly conditions lated till about 12.15 pm here!! before it suddenly was lost and all was quiet again.
Things begain to pick up yet again on Wednesday evening.
A few stations some how gathered on Shepparton again, 3VTX, 3TJS, 5MM, 2KRR, 3ZYC, 3RW. Signals were becoming monstorous, Shepparton was full scale, 3ZYC was noisy, but mentioned to check out the rain radar, rain was noted where there were no clouds.
VK3VTX VK3TJS good on simplex, full scale.
We QSY'd again to Otway Ranges, which is 486 km from me, it ended up being a full scale signal. A number of stations turned up, VK5MM, 5ACY, 7YBI, 3VTX, 3TJS, 2KRR.
Worked VK5ACY 144.1 SSB but at this time signals were not good, barely copyable up to 5/3.
Not long after this, 12am, this began making a move and many VK5 and VK3 repeaters were now in, Gambier, Adelaide, Geelong and Mildura beacons were in.
I awoke at 6.25am on Thursday 19th. Holy hannah! a Monster Duct! This would have to be the best duct opening I have worked since I have been near The Rock Hill.
I wont go into how many repeaters were coming in, but lets just say, most repeaters in VK3 and VK5 on 2m and 70cm were full scale signals or very close to it.
Adelaide 2m beacon was S9+40dB!!, Mt Gambier and Geelong very strong of side of antenna, Mildura very strong (didnt really check).
List of simplex FM contacts worked here before I went to work -
VK5MM - Mt Barker - 747 km - 2m - S9, 70cm - S4 - Omni Vert
VK3TJ - Mildura - 466 km - 2m - S9+30 - Omni vert
VK5JSR - Near Barossa Valley - 770 km - 2m - S9+40
VK3MTV - Mildura - 466 km - 2m - Full scale - 70cm - S9+30 - Omni
VK5UBC - Gawler - 764 km - 2m - S9+40dB - 70cm - S6 - yagis
VK5ZLT - Keith - 614 km - 2m - S9
VK3UBC - Mildura - 466 km - 2m - full scale - 70cm - S9+50
VK5XE - Claire - 791 km - 2m - S9 - 70cm - S6 - yagi on 70 (now my most distant 70cm)
VK3DJG - Ballarat - 386 km - 2m S4
VK3BXA - Boona - not far - 2m S9
There was transmissions left right and center and where to turn to next was was a problem.  I concentrated on finding simplex stations and working the most distant repeaters I could, which ended up being Port Lincoln on both 2m and 70cm, 1019km and
1026 km respectively. I saw the 70cm up to a low S5 and 2m up to about S9+20.
There were contacts I heard that I could not believe I was hearing mainly via repeaters.
Stations getting to the Wagga repeater is a miracle in itself. I noted VK3MTV, VK5UBC and VK3LY into Wagga 2m.
VK3MTV in Mildura and VK5UBC in Gawler made to one of the highest repeaters in Australia neing Canberra's Mt Ginini 146.950. I heard them both talking with VK1OD (where was VK1ZQR when we needed him most??)
I also hear stations in Wagga and Young getting to Barossa Valley (an absolute miracle).
No doubt there was a lot of other stuff that happened that I never listened to.
Could be on again tonight.
Leigh VK2KRR
I've done the following very quickly, hope you can make some sense of it.
73;s Brian
The past weeks 2m & 70cm activity could only be described as fantastic. Below is a quick summary of activity of key contacts from my QTH ( Gawler 40km north Adelaide) for the week beginning Monday 16/2/04.
Date        Callsign        Band      Mode    Location       Time            Method
16/2/04    VK2KRR        2m        FM        Wagga       early AM        Simplex
               VK2KRR       2m        SSB      Wagga        early AM        Simplex
               VK2KRR       70cm    FM        Wagga       early AM        Simplex
                VK3LY          2m        SSB      Nhill            early AM        Simplex
                VK3KEG      2m        SSB      Kyabram       AM            Simplex
                VK6WG       2m        SSB      Albany           AM            Simplex
                VK6YAU       2m        SSB      Albany           PM            Simplex
                VK6KJS       2m        FM       Albany           PM        via Albany Rept
                VK6YAU/m   2m        FM        Albany            PM       via Albany Rept
                VK6WG        2m        SSB       Albany        Late PM        Simplex
SUMMARY Could hear Albany & Esperance beacons morning & evening and Albany Rept in evening. Many Victorian rept's workable and VK7's working into 5RAD in morning.
17/2/04    VK3FIQ        2m         SSB        Stawell        early AM      Simplex
               VK3UBC       2m        FM        Mildura        early AM        Simplex
                VK6DM        2m        FM        Albany        late PM        via Albany Rept
                VK6DM        2m        FM        Albany        late PM          Simplex
                VK7YBI        2m        FM        Nth Tas      late PM        via Mt Arapiles Rept 3RWN
SUMMARY In morning ducting was strong to the east with contacts via Berri & Mildura repeaters. In the evening Albany & Esperance 2m beacons and the esperance 70cm beacon were audible. Albany rept also workable in the late evening.Late evening the many repeaters from southern Victoria were workable with contacts being made via Otways 3ROW and Mt Arapiles 3RWN.
18/2/04    VK2KRR        2m        SSB    Wagga        early AM        Simplex
               VK7JG          2m        FM        Launceston    early AM    via Mt Read Rept 7RWC
               VK7KBA       2m        FM        Launceston    early AM    via Mt Read Rept 7RWC
                VK7BBW     2m        SSB     Burnie area    early AM       Simplex
                VK3KEG      2m       SSB    Kyabram        early AM        Simplex
                VK3FIQ        2m        SSB    Stawell        early AM        Simplex
                VK3LY        2m        SSB      Nhill            early AM        Simplex
                VK3GOM    2m        SSB    Bendigo        early AM        Simplex
                VK3PA        2m        SSB    Dunolly        early AM        Simplex
                VK7HGO    2m        FM        Hobart        AM             via Mt Read Rept 7RWC
SUMMARY In the morning Repeaters from all over Victoria and southern NSW very strong with the 7RWC repeater audible for a couple of hours and highlighted by a good SSB contact(5 x 5) with 7BBW. In the evening the Pt Lincoln 70cm repeater was very strong and several VK5's worked via rept. An interesting contact via the Pt Lincoln 70cm rept was made with ZL2BAG/maritime mobile on a fishing trawler 200 miles west of Pt Lincoln on a handheld .
SUMMARY In the morning Band again open with very strong 70cm from 2KRR. Also discovered that there are other stations in the Wagga area and managed to work VK2KAW via the Wagga rept and then direct on SSB. Conditions good to the east with contacts via the Mildura rept and worked VK1OD via Canberra rept 1RGI. Many VK3's and couple VK2's getting inot the Barossa rept 5RBV. Several SSB contacts made into Melbourne and Gippsland. (worked VK6 & VK7 on 6m in afternoon)
SUMMARY Quiet day, thank heavens, although band did open up into VIc late in the evening and did make contacts via 3RWA.
SUMMARY What a morning. 2KRR s9 on 70cm. VK1RGI rept up to s9, worked several VK1's. Worked several VK3's on SSB from as far as Melb. VK7LCW was getting into many repts and he did hear me on reverse, unfortunately we didn't make the simplex contact.
Overall probably the best week I have experience on 2m. Filled some 4 pages of my logbook with contacts being made via many repeaters throughout Victoria.Furtherest repeaters worked were Albany, Canberra, Wagga, Mt Macedon and Mt Read(Tasmania). Not bad when you can make simplex contacts to VK2,3,6 &7 from VK5 in one week on 2m.

Brian VK5UBC