Top Band Shows Signs of New Life

The new greyline feature in VOACAP Online is superb – its shows the multiple twilights which are very important when DX-ing on Top Band. In fact, I used to have to look at DX Atlas and then go to a web site called “Sunrise – Sunset” to get some of this information, but it was a real pain and wasn’t as instantly useful as VOACAP Online is now. For example, we will lose about 30 minutes of daylight in July – which is a main reason why Top Banders like getting past Summer Solstice (heh heh):

Sunrise-Sunset is very simple and doesn’t break it down like VOACAP Online does.

Conditions sounded better this morning – and I heard LU5OM and AA1K very workable on top band. It seems like its been a while.

There was lightning, and some crashes were pretty big, but only once maybe every 10 minutes.

I was surprised I could hear AA1K so well – but I was using the K3’s Diversity receive function and I had the Wellbrook ALA1530LNP Loop on one receiver, and I switched between the DXE DV-40-P and the Mod Bob for the second antenna. Both would have been workable, and as you can see from the map above, being in the right part of the grey line is critical on top band. In fact, as I write this, we are getting a nice enhancement with LU5OM, and here is what the map looks like now:

You can see that we were right in the middle of Nautical Twilight. I will start watching this map when I listen to stations on Top Band and see what the correlation between which “phases of twilight” we are in when the enhancement happens. I expect that this will be different depending on time of year and where each station is on the map.

The real point of a propagation forecast is not to take them as 100% truth, but to help us better understand propagation just by thinking a bit about what is happening and how that might affect us. VOACAP Online isn’t predicting on Top Band – but is educating, which is far more important because this is how you develop DX-ing “tricks” that help you get in the log.

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