Wednesday, May 9, 2012

First E-Skip of the 2012 Season

Over the weekend of May 5-6, I noted my first E-skip of the 2012 season. After a Valentine's Day tropo opening into southwest Missouri and a March opening into Illinois and Iowa, I thought I was due for some E-skip.

May 5 was, of course, Cinco de Mayo. While it provides people on this side of the border an excuse to drink plenty of Cuervo Gold or Corona beer (beer is called "cerveza" in Spanish), it has more of a historical meaning in Mexico, because it celebrates a Mexican military victory over France in 1862.

The E-skip began at 4:00 p.m. local time (2100 UTC), when I pulled in wrestling with Spanish commentary on VHF Channel 2 in analog. The network ID was Azteca 7 (Azteca Siete); checking Fred Cantu's Mexican station list, this is XHTAU in Tampico, Tamaulipas. I also noted another station on VHF Channel 4 in analog, carrying military ceremonies to mark the Mexican victory over France 150 years ago, and to honor those who gave their lives defending Mexico from the French. This was around 4:30 p.m. local time (2130 UTC). The opening reached into the lower part of the FM broadcast band. At 4:05 p.m. local time (2105 UTC), XHMU Tampico, Tamaulipas was heard on 90.1 MHz with a "La Poderosa 90.1" ID, local spots and Ranchera music in Spanish. It's nice to hear someone other than Reynosa or Chihuahua on 90.1 MHz.

On May 6, the E-skip turned to the six meter (50-54 MHz) Amateur Radio band. Over the past several days, I've made it a habit to monitor 50.125 MHz to hear DX as it comes through. On May 5, I heard WD4AB from the Miami, FL area, which I had worked previously. On May 6, I worked my first E-skip of the summer, when I worked N7AMA from the Phoenix, AZ area. When working Amateur Radio stations on the VHF and UHF bands, an operator has to announce the grid square he or she is transmitting from. In this case, my grid square is EM48. Miami is in grid EL95, while Phoenix is in DM33. This map is from an Amateur Radio-related Web site.

So far, besides the U.S., Canada and Mexico, I've also worked the Bahamas, the Turks and Caicos Islands, Anguilla, Cuba, Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic on six meters, and have all but Cuba confirmed.

The same evening, I officially logged WMSH 90.3 Sparta, IL (55 miles via ground wave) for my 1,150th FM station. I expect to pull in my 1,200th FM station from my present location in 2012. I have a long way to go for my FM totals to catch up with my AM total of 1,312. My analog TV totals still stands at 556, along with 143 digital TV stations and 101 NOAA Weather Radio stations.

No comments:

Post a Comment