Radio Skip Story

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Radio Skip Story

Postby lakeshoredave » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:33 pm

I don't come around that much anymore on these message boards, but whats the best radio skip or the coolest location you ever got a radio skip at? Mine was in the drive through at a Taco Bell in Haines City, FL in 2008. I was hearing things from Tampa Bay, Okeechobee, and even on the FEC. Feel free to react to me on this topic.
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby keeper1616 » Thu Jan 08, 2009 9:46 pm

I routinely hear CN from the Toronto area at my house (~100mi).

Non-railroad related, I have a CW conversation with someone in WI from MA (~1000 mi) one night a few years ago. That was on 1.25 m. :-D
~~~Cyrus~~~
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby slchub » Mon Jan 12, 2009 1:57 pm

Get out here in western Utah and eastern Nevada and you can have your self a good time hearing trains on a cold night 100+ miles away. Miles of open, unimpeded space and a few mountain ranges help with that.
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby Ken W2KB » Mon Jan 12, 2009 9:50 pm

slchub wrote:Get out here in western Utah and eastern Nevada and you can have your self a good time hearing trains on a cold night 100+ miles away. Miles of open, unimpeded space and a few mountain ranges help with that.


That's not skip, though, just good low noise conditions. Under tropospheric inversion conditions, VHF signals like RR's can skip (reflect or be ducted) over several hundred miles. Very interesting phenomenon.
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby slchub » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:40 am

Very true indeed.

You know Ken, you would wonder why the radios in the locomotives would not pick up "skip" if you will with a "tuned" antenna and a commercial radio? I guess if they are squelched down enough that would be one consideration.
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby Ken W2KB » Tue Jan 13, 2009 9:33 am

slchub wrote:Very true indeed.

You know Ken, you would wonder why the radios in the locomotives would not pick up "skip" if you will with a "tuned" antenna and a commercial radio? I guess if they are squelched down enough that would be one consideration.


Skip only occurs under specific meteorological conditions, here in the middle Atlantic maybe 10 or 20 days a year, and even with the squelch adjusted as tight as it goes, a strong skip signal would be heard. So I'm sure it happens.
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby Gerry6309 » Tue Jan 13, 2009 3:23 pm

Generally when conditions are ripe for VHF "skip" the shortwave operators (broadcasters and hams) are having a bad day or night. Radio propagation is never a perfect science, there are just too many variables. UHF signals can also end up where they are not wanted due to "Troposcatter". Meanwhile WBZ here in Boston broadcasts to 43 states and several Canadian provinces at night vs 5 during the day. Depending on the frequency, atmospheric conditions, ground conductivity, sunspots, competing signals and noise levels can all affect propagation.
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby Conrail4evr » Thu Jan 15, 2009 5:10 pm

In terms of just flat-out good propagation, I've been able to pick up detectors 50 miles Northwest of Toronto, and trains and dispatchers at least 100+ miles in the same direction. To the East, I've heard trains calling signals as far as Utica, and to the West, I've heard trains calling all the way to the PA/OH border on CSX (the best I've done with detectors in that direction is Ripley, right by the NY/PA state line, and I've managed to pick up a dispatcher West of Deshler, OH). I've also had a few nights where dispatchers in Detroit come in nice and clear, as well as the old B&O main. All this on my base radio here, which is the Rochester, NY feed on railroadradio.net (Icom 2200H and a Traintenna mounted at 30' out in the middle of farmland).

Now, if you're talking actual skip, I couldn't tell you. I listen to my radio when I'm home, but being a college student, working, railfanning, etc., I really don't monitor it that much (plus I can't get any programs to actually work that will record all the transmissions due to some hardware issues on the server). The best I've done in my car (tuned 5/8 wave and another Icom 2200H) was picking up the NS detector in Portage, PA on the West Slope from CP-382 as though it was being transmitted from right next to me (actually, I picked it up both the first and the second time...I believe a train was in there too, but the whole thing only lasted maybe 20 seconds or so).
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby truman » Sun Feb 01, 2009 9:24 am

lakeshoredave wrote:I don't come around that much anymore on these message boards, but whats the best radio skip or the coolest location you ever got a radio skip at? Mine was in the drive through at a Taco Bell in Haines City, FL in 2008. I was hearing things from Tampa Bay, Okeechobee, and even on the FEC. Feel free to react to me on this topic.


As flat as Florida is, I don't know if this would be vhf skip, just good propagation. You didn't say where on the FEC the station was, but Tampa bay to Haines City really isn't that far. Granted, Okeechobe is a lot further but consider, how much power is the station putting out? How tall is the antenna? All important things to factor in. I routinely get into a machine over 80 miles away with 15 watts on a mobile rig with a 5/8 wave antenna, and this across the hills of New England.
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby EdM » Sun Feb 01, 2009 2:20 pm

[quote="Gerry6309"]Generally when conditions are ripe for VHF "skip" the shortwave operators (broadcasters and hams) are having a bad day or night...
sorry, for hams, the reverse is true... "where have all the sunspots gone?" and the best I have done is two way on 144.200 mHz from long island to northern Michigan..,and souther Mo..
ed
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby emd_SD_60 » Wed Mar 11, 2009 9:14 pm

A few months back I actually picked up a train over the radio, up near Mattoon. About 200 miles north of where I live. Mind you, this was with my old Radio Shack 20-176 antenna, mounted 25 feet off the ground.
Check out my train pix!
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby EdM » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:59 am

emd_SD_60 wrote:A few months back I actually picked up a train over the radio, up near Mattoon. About 200 miles north of where I live. Mind you, this was with my old Radio Shack 20-176 antenna, mounted 25 feet off the ground.

Yep, sure! No problem, but PLEASE do NOT credit the antenna. This is exactly where this story belongs, as a SKIP story... You could have used a wet noodle fer an antenna that day (propagation was great).. I keep saying and no one seems to hear, most available manufactured antenna are so similar that MEASURING to determing which is better is almost impossible, and I used to do it (measure antennas) fer a (meager) living.. Ed
de k2lck..spinner of antennas,tall tales and some outright lies...
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby K3CXG » Fri May 29, 2009 1:17 pm

Check out a really cool website called http://www.vhfdx.net. Once there, click on the button "Real-time Sporadic-E maps". Then click on North America, and there are choices for different ham bands from 28 Mhz up. Each is a map that shows current Es conditions, based on two-way contacts. The closest ham band to the RR freqs is 144 Mhz (2 meters). If there's any 2M propagation in your area, you can check the RR freqs to see if the skip is "in". I use it all the time to look for Es on 10 and 6 meters. Pretty cool!

73,
Mike K3CXG
"How can ya have any pudding when you won't eat your meat?"
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby CPSK » Sat Jun 27, 2009 10:38 pm

I live in Teaneck, NJ at MP 09 on what is now the CSX River Line. Way back when it had just changed from Penn Central to Conrail, I heard both ends (head and hind end, remember the caboose?) of a train near CPSK in Ravena NY. That's 100+ miles.
There was a stationary front along the east coast, producing very heavy fog, which is usually the indication of a temperature inversion.

Another time, again very foggy, I was on my way to work, talking on my 2m radio from my car (25 watts), and a station in Washington DC called into the repeater. He was DFQ on the repeater on 146.700Mhz in Oakland, NJ so I checked the input freq, and was able to hear him well enough that I asked him to switch over to 146.520 simplex, and we were able to have QSO for at least 10-15 minutes before conditions started to change and he faded out.

I always loved those foggy mornings/nights. First thing I do is check the radio. I am usually not disappointed.

I have also had contacts on 2m from Teaneck NJ to Blue Knob Mtn PA, which is out in the western part of the state. That's about 200 miles.

Now that I once again have a good antenna for 2m, I will be listening to trains, and trying to make contact with other hams.

Hey, thanks for the link. I'll be sure to post my contacts when they happen to help keep the maps updated.

FW
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Re: Radio Skip Story

Postby EdM » Tue Jul 07, 2009 11:35 am

http://www.mountainlake.k12.mn.us/ham/a ... cgi?map=na This is the link I and most northeast, and probably country wide two meter operators use to evaluate band conditions on two meters. What APRS is , is a separate topic . Enuff to say that on 6Jul09 the APRS showed significant "red" paths in the souther ohio area, and I was able to work two St Louis stations from long island before condidtions changed. (died)..(n4LI & w0Fi) both in grid EM55.. Ed
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