An analysis of 50MHz contacts between 
VK and Europe in 1998 to 1992.
Eric Jameson, VK5LPIssue 62, August 1999

Eric, VK5LP has compiled, with the help of Steve, VK3OT a database of contacts between VK and Europe during the peak years of solar cycle 22. With the rising solar activity giving us (we hope) real F2 this autumn, a summary of the survey findings is given here as a guide what we might expect. The maximum of cycle 22 occurred in 1989, but there was a pronounced ‘double hump’ which kept the DX going for several years after that. In fact, you will see that the best year for VK-EU was actually 1992, although the F2 disappeared very quickly from the middle of that year on. Graphs are by G4IFX.

Figure 1: EU contacts per day, 1988 to 1992
Figure 1: EU contacts per day, 1988 to 1992

Total contacts: 3285

Days 50MHz was open between VK and EU: 162 (9%)

Countries worked in Europe from VK: 33 - plus 7 countries around the perimeter of Europe: CN2/CN8, EA8, 4X1, 5B4, 9K2, UL7, ZC4 - to complete the picture, it seems desirable to include these in the list.

Earlist time a contact was made:  05:51 15/10/89 VK8ZLX PG66 to OH2HK KP20 05:51 12/10/91 VK4HT QH23 to 9H1AW JM75

Latest time a contact was made: 

From mainland Australia: 14:29 08/02/92 VK6HK OF78 to G3OIL IO91

From Australian island: 14:30 01/04/91 VK9YJ NH87 to 4X1IF IM72

From New Zealand: 21:32 21/04/92 ZL4AAA RF65 to ZB0T IM76


Figure 1 shows the number of VK-EU contacts per day 1989 – 1992. The peak periods from October – December and February – March can clearly be seen.

Figure 2 shows the distribution of contacts by time of day. There is a very obvious peak at about 10.00z. The very small peaks to the right are contacts from ZL to CN and ZB in November 1991 and April 1992 respectively; presumably these were by the long path.

Figure 1: EU contacts per day, 1988 to 1992
Figire 2: VK to EU contacts by time of day, 1989 to 1992

Annual summaries:

Days open = 33
Contacts made = 550
Best day - 13/10/89 = 102 contacts

Days open
= 20
Contacts made = 171
Best day - 21/10/90 = 43 contacts

Days open
= 71
Contacts made = 1610
Best day - 14/10/91 = 162 contacts

Days open
= 39
Contacts made = 954
Best day - 08/02/92 = 530 contacts

Number of contacts with each country for 1989 to 1992:

4X1 6   

 F 137   

 IS0 11   

 SM 206

5B4 4   

 G 757   

 LA 54   

 SV 132

9H 97   

 GD 16   

 LX 23   

 T7 1

9K 3   

 GI 28   

 LY 1   

 UL 2

CN 18   

 GJ 119   

 OE 29   

 YO 7

CT 12   

 GM 35   

 OH 228   

 YU 87

CU 3   

 GU 8   

 OK 13   

 ZA 3

D 251   

 GW 54   

 ON 104   

 ZB 8

EI 7   

 HB 4   

 OZ 233   

 ZC 10

ES 6   

 I 204   

 PA 364   



The first draft of 1000 entries was prepared by Steve, VK3OT and the final draft of 3285 entries prepared by Eric, VK5LP. The listings are by no means complete due to the absence of logs from several amateurs with a considerable number of contacts. For reasons best known to themselves, some did not wish to be included, others agreed to send their logs but were unable to do so due to their loss, some did not respond to requests and at least three could not be contacted despite up to half a dozen attempts.

However, the listed 3285 contacts is very representative of contacts between VK and UK/EU between 1989 and 1992. There are entries from all states of Australia, plus VK9YJ and several ZLs, some of the latter contacts being up to 19674 km to Gibraltar, not far off being half-way around the world.

As far as I am aware no ZLs worked to the UK but I stand to be corrected on this point (I believe there have been no ZL-UK contacts – Ed). In respect of Australia, one must live as far east as Melbourne or in Tasmania before contacts to the UK reach 17000 km.

If one analyses the contacts closely, it is interesting to note that in some cases contacts were made on the same date and the same time or very close to it, by the same stations, but twelve months apart!

Also, similar contacts were made on the same date for three out of the four years listed.

It is acknowledged that the list must contain errors. We are dealing with the frailty of human nature and the various degrees of expertise exhibited by the listed operators, on both sides of the equator. A considerable number of UK/EU grid squares are missing; they were either not exchanged at the time or were not written down. I tried to fill as many of the spaces I could but was not very successful, as the operators whom I contacted also did not have the information or the ready means to acquire it. Also, on close examination of callsigns, it is apparent that in the fast exchange of contacts, sometimes three per minute, operators were probably incorrectly entering callsigns.

I (VK5LP) appear to have been the "Cinderella" for the UK/EU openings. I could hear people all around me, most by backscatter, working the various openings, but not once did a signal appear here. Strange and very frustrating, and it wasn’t for the sake of suitable equipment or the required diligence. But that’s life. Maybe next time?

For me, it has also been a costly exercise in terms of local, STD and international telephone calls, faxes and e-mails, but it has been completed in the interests of amateur radio and to provide something of historic value for those who follow.

Full information on the 3285 contacts is contained in seven text files sorted to provide contacts by date and time, time, UK/EU callsigns, UK/EU grids, VK callsigns, VK grids, statistics. The information is only available on a virus-free 3.5 inch 1.44 Mb disk at a non-profit cost of $US4 for overseas orders (return by airmail), or seven 45c stamps for orders within Australia. The information may be freely used provided due acknowledgement as to source is included. Any feedback is welcome.

Order to Eric Jamieson VK5LP, PO Box 169, Meningie, South Australia, 5264. 
Orders may be made by e-mail, but will be dispatched after receipt of cash.

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