Jet stream weather charts for Es research - discussion

Discussion in 'Radio Propagation Questions' started by Jim Bacon g3yla, May 1, 2015.

  1. Good afternoon Es folk.

    I plan to upload a daily chart showing the upper air weather pattern over Europe, which will enable researchers to follow the locations of the potential weather 'triggers' like jet streams, upper ridges and thunderstorms. These will appear when I get the chance after 7am, maybe later, but they will be valid for the current day in six-hourly time steps for 0600, 1200, 1800 and 2359 to cover the typical Es operating period.

    Please use this thread for Q&A and discussion and leave the chart thread called 'Jet stream weather charts for Es research - chart drawer', to be uploaded next, to contain just the daily maps and the help document.

    As I type this, there is a nice early season opening in middle Europe which appears to co-locate with a strong jet stream over central Europe. Note how these features are expected to move during the sequence and perhaps give some hint as to how the Es patch might migrate.

    Good Es DXing
    73 de Jim
  2. I have uploaded the 2nd chart for 2nd May 2015, this time using the full image so that it can be viewed straightaway, compared to the thumbnail for the 1st May. I am guessing that the full image is preferred because it can be read more easily, but feel free to comment.

    It shows another strong jet stream over central Europe (green/yellow shading) with large rising contour heights (purple lines) meaning rapid changes as the ridging develops, but potentially good indicators for Es weather triggers, which can generate gravity waves. Note also that this particular part of the pattern migrates southeastwards during the day, so may eventually place the 'hot spot' out of range from the UK.

    Good luck with any Es, 73 de Jim g3yla
    gm3sek likes this.
  3. gm3sek

    gm3sek New Member

    Many thanks for posting these charts, Jim!

    If possible, would you be able to add a few words to tell us what each day might have in store - like you did yesterday, for example?

    UKSMG might also be interested in linking to these from their new DX Desktop page.

    73 from Ian GM3SEK
  4. Hi Ian,

    Thanks for for that, I will be getting a routine in place over the next few days, which could see a bit more time for commentary. Busy at work this morning from 4am, so this is very much a fit in where I can jobbie. I will also produce a better explanation for the images to help with interpretation. They are manually uploaded at the moment, but having discussion with Forum IT about automating it to give me more time for analysis.

    73 de Jim
    gm3sek likes this.
  5. Chris Deacon G4IFX

    Chris Deacon G4IFX New Member

    Hi Ian,

    Thanks for the idea, we've just added a link from the UKSMG DX Desktop page, in the 'Other Resources' widget on the right hand side.

    gm3sek likes this.
  6. Mark Turner

    Mark Turner New Member

    Thanks for the updates Jim - takes me back to the teletext days...

    There have been one or two decent Es openings so far, with some degree of correlation. Today (19th May) is a washout so far, tending to agree with your observation that the K-index is possibly too high. We'll wait for the season to get going properly to see how things go!

    My eyesight must be getting worse because I'm struggling with the (small) size/resolution of the charts, but I suppose there's a limit on how large they can be?

    73, Mark EI3KD
  7. Hi Mark,

    Still not much activity on 6m, hope it will turn around again soon. Thanks for the feedback and the comment on the chart size. I think because I had posted them I always opened up a bigger version, but have now found a way to get the full images up there and trust it has been kinder to the eyes.

    73 de Jim
  8. G3YMC

    G3YMC Member

    Thanks Jim for putting these charts up on a daily basis. I am new to 6m this year so learning there, but have been an avid dxer on 10m for many years.
    There definitely seems to be more to sporadic E than just these upper atmosphere charts. You keep suggesting there will be a good chance for openings based on what you see on the charts but most days there is nothing of the sort and the bands stay dead. This weekend I did the HF CQWPX contest and apart from a few weakish openings to EA8, the Balkans and Spain there was effectively no sporadic E on 10m in any form (didn't have time to see what 6 was doing). I can also never understand at time when 6m is wide open that there is nothing whatsoever on 10m. SpE has loads of mysteries under its hood...

    73 Dave G3YMC
  9. Hi Dave,

    Many thanks for the feedback on the Es. I know it can be very frustrating when listening from a single shack perspective and the Es is missing you. If you check out the maps on using this link it will show you how close or far away things can be without G3YMC getting in on the action. On many marginal days the paths seem to have a very small footprint at either end. The two charts below from Gabriel Sampol's fantastic website show the Es yesterday on day 2 of HF CQWPX early in the morning.

    In general, different behaviour of 10m and 6m is probably due to the shortening skip distance. If the Es is above 10m, then the skip distance on 10m is too short for you to use the same patch which might be active on 6m. There are many other factors in the Es mystery still not fully explained, but we're closing in on some of the lower atmosphere (weather) ingredients. I've also put a schematic below which shows what I currently feel to be the main contributors, so it is certainly not just the 300mb charts. Whilst they may define the more likely areas, many other factors need to be right too. I think the upper level winds in the stratosphere are very important, as are the semi diurnal tidal winds in the mesosphere, both items that are hard to evaluate from ground level.

    Looking at the Europe-wide perspective, on many days; the areas mentioned on the 300mb charts have provided some Es in roughly the right zones, but it will often be a small focussed area which benefits, so only a portion of the UK may get Es in the logbook. Its a bit like saying there's fish in this bit of the river, but you may still not be able to catch one... on the other hand, you are probably not wasting time fishing in the wrong bit of the least I hope thats how it works! This is experimental and designed to flush out the locations which deliver so that these tips may be more reliable.

    Many thanks for the comments Dave and hope the Es season gets better for you,

    73 de Jim
    Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 10.21.50.png Screen Shot 2015-05-31 at 10.22.07.png Screen Shot 2015-05-07 at 01.46.10.png
  10. migry

    migry New Member

    Monday 01-JUL-15 (JO02AI)

    I have a new QTH and I have only recently set up an antenna for 6m (3 element from Moonraker about 4m AGL).
    I left it on yesterday afternoon (Sunday 31-May-15) and listened to the local noise. Occasionally I checked the bandscope and there were a few peaks which suggested some kind of strong signal (but no idea how far away or when).
    Anyway around 20.00Z I heard a weak Spanish station in QSO with another Spanish station. I tried to break in, and they did hear me as I heard them mention my callsign. I started calling CQ and not long afterwards had two QSOs with stations in Faro, Portugal, the exact same locator (IM67 - I forget the last 2 letters). Coincidence? This happens a lot on 6!
    I then had 6 or 7 more QSOs over the next hour with other stations in Portugal in adjacent locators, and one Spanish station too.
    This is my best start to 6 for many years, now that I have some outside space.
    I have QRM to the north, but much less to the south, which is lucky as this is where the DX is!

    The opening lasted less than an hour and would be centred on IN83. Does this tie up with anything?

    --Gary (M1GRY)
  11. Hi Gary,

    Yes, thats a good call, you were one of the few lucky ones yesterday. In the blog earlier in the day, I mentioned the possibility of some activity to the south late-on as part of a jet stream interacted with the Pyrenees. If you go back to look at the chart panel for 18z and 00z you'll see the green shading just brushing across northern Spain.

    Its all about monitoring the bands and being alert for what might be very brief openings.

    Good luck with the rest of the season and thanks for the feedback.

    73 de Jim
  12. migry

    migry New Member

    Hi Jim,

    I took part in the UKSMG operating as G5FS/P from Brown Clee Hill in Shropshire (IO82QL).
    We started late on Saturday (1700Z) and the band was dead. On Saturday it seemed that everyone was struggling and we had no E activity at all. No GM, GI or EI either :-(.
    Sunday morning continued in the same way, but late morning we had a handful of contacts to Spain, heard a CT, worked an IK and finally a S57, but the E's were certainly weak and sporadic.
    Interestingly we heard several ON stations, and from our height wondered if that might have been tropo. Cloud base was higher, but we could see a haze at around our level.


    --Gary (M1GRY)
  13. Hi Gary,

    Good to hear that you got into some Es action, although as you say it was rather fleeting. I was operating on the HF CW NFD so not aware of the full haul from our 6m station, but sounds like they got something similar.

    I have looked briefly at the radio-sonde ascents for yesterday at 00z halfway through the contest and there was indeed evidence of a strong inversion over southern Britain and the near Continent. I've attached the ascent from Beauvechain in Belgium and shows within the blue box a typical temperature inversion and very strong hydrolapse (decrease of dew point shown by the dotted line, whereas the air temperature is the solid line.) and the thick red bar in the right hand margin shows where the programme puts the refractive index change above -157 modified refractive index units per Km in the vertical, deemed the threshold for ducting, it was at about 5000ft.

    73 de Jim

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  14. Friday 28th August 2015

    Hello Es folk,

    Its been a very long season of writing my Es blogs each day and, over the winter months, I hope review the data, especially the regular daily analysis of upper air charts, with a view to identifying which features may prove the most useful indicators in future seasons.

    If you have any feedback, positive or negative; I should be most grateful for it, so that the whole Es community can benefit from your own findings. For example, did you use it to change your searching patterns or maybe explain how it might have been triggered after the Es had been worked. Given that this task has to fit in with work and family time; is there anything about the time of availability which could be improved? Would an early chart upload, then a later blog when time permits be preferred, or maybe no blog at all?

    The regular Es blogs will cease at the end of August, but hopefully return next May, if there is an interest. In the meantime, I shall continue to upload the upper air charts on a daily basis so that you can continue to form your own working methodologies. I would not expect much action from now on, but Es is not a nil result outside the main season, so it may still prove useful in an 'after the event' kind of way. If you do find some out of season activity, let me know the details please, so that the knowledge base can continue to grow.

    I do hope it has been of some value and helped to open up some new aspect of the hobby for some of you, or added to the general background of accumulated amateur experience of working Es. In any event it has been an enjoyable task for me and I have certainly learned from it.

    Thank you for your company during the 2015 Es season...

    73 de Jim
  15. G3YRZ

    G3YRZ Member

    Hi Jim

    This must be the first contact of any kind from me since Topband AM many many years ago!

    I've slowly drifted HF over the years, mostly on 20m these days, but acquiring a TS520 a couple of years ago gave me a 6m capacity. I didn't expect to hear much, but my indoor 20m folded dipole loaded as a 7/2 multiple odd halfwave on six and the first opening gave me some EU contacts. Only a good opening will get me heard, I have found, operating on the edge.

    Using expert advice I have operated selectively and clocked up most EU countries. Best DX on Six is presently eastern Ukraine, Gibraltar, Morocco, Canaries. In other words, the usual area covered when there are openings to East Anglia, very pleasing on a 20m dipole! In fact, soon after my first foray on Six an opening coincided with the CQ VHF Contest and having sent in an entry I was pleasantly surprised to score first place in England in the single operator Six Meters category.

    When I have a minute to analyse, my plan is to check for any coincidence between the jet stream maps and my QSO's.

    I wanted to give some public appreciation for your work on Es. Thanks so much for your dedication in posting the Es forecasts and maps.


    John G3YRZ
  16. Hi John,

    Its great to hear from you and yes it is a good few years since the top band AM days! Pleased that you are getting some action on 6m Es, its a great band for propagation work.

    As a subjective take on the season as its unfolded; there are very few paths which have not had some jet stream implications. The interesting bit will be why some parts of a jet stream seem to produce the goods, while others do not.

    I think it will become clearer over a few seasons based purely on a look at the major openings and I would expect the regions of primary interest will 'pop off the page'.

    Anyway, great to know you're on the case and I'd be very interested in any findings of course.

    Best 73 de Jim
  17. G3MPN

    G3MPN New Member


    Thanks for your interesting blog over the last few months, I'm not sure

    if I "worked" anymore stations since using your guide than I have done

    in previous years.

    However I think your text explanation, coupled with being able to view

    the likely areas of "QSO assistance" ( pressure changes..storms..etc)

    was very helpful/informative, in as much as trying to make connections

    between these areas and the countries I was hearing.

    Could this be helped more by, depicting graphically on the charts, the

    likely areas of the reflecting medium,it seems that while these
    possibly/probably exist we don't understand the mechanism needed for

    our signals to reach them, or is this another subject.?

  18. Ooops, pressed the wrong button... here is the reply, Doh!

    Many thanks for the feedback David and good to hear that you used the blog during the Es season. I agree that the text does rather hide the essential tips and details of the likely path directions on occasions.

    I plan to review the set of blogs and the resulting Es over the winter season and try to fine-tune the critical part of the jet stream pattern, which provides the gravity wave triggers. It may be possible to simplify the output such that there is a colour coded map with the most likely areas shaded and this would be stand-alone, so not confused by the other jet stream info etc.

    The longer term aim is that by resolving the most likely jet stream segments, a forecast map set can be produced for the next few days, since upper air patterns, and especially jet streams, are fairly well identified in general terms by most mathematical models these days.

    Thanks again for the feedback, much appreciated.

    73 de Jim
  19. migry

    migry New Member

    Hi, it's a bit quiet here Jim :-(.

    I just looked at DXMaps EU-50 (on my phone) and 6m seems to be rocking this morning (Wed 8-Jun-2016).

    I was part of the G5FS/P team up on Brown Clee Hill last weekend for the UKSMG and the 6m gods did not smile on us.
    On Saturday I did briefly hear a couple of SV9 stations (which is pretty rare even from this location), but couldn't work them. One of them was working I/EA/PA which I assume was single hop, and giving 59+20dB reports, so I guess a little RF was left for the second hop.

    Off-topic in the 2m UKAC last night I worked JO44XX (as did other stations) at 715km, my longest ever DX on 2m. I rarely operate on 2m apart from the UKAC. I am no expert but conditions seemed pretty good. Would the JO44XX station likely be worked by sporadic-E or direct path?

    --Gary (M1GRY)

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