In my last post, I said that the Hepburn tropo site was pointing towards good VHF/UHF conditions from the south-west of the UK towards Spain by last weekend. When I got on to 432MHz SSB, late yesterday morning, I heard one or two people talking about good conditions to the south. I had a quick chat with Mike, G8CUL operating at the Harwell club as G3PIA and he mentioned that there had been a Spanish contest earlier on and that some contacts had been made. Unfortunately by the time I got on, if conditions were still there, there was no activity.
I enjoyed making a few contacts in the 432MHz AFS contest over reasonable distances; G4ZTR and G1OGY/P both in Essex, G4ODA in Lincolnshire and G0HFX/P in Devon being some of the more distant ones. Good to work Pete, 2E0SQL trying out his new system too. Before heading over the Cotswolds to see Mum, I had a couple of quick 70MHz QSOs; G8FAK near Milton Keynes and G3NPI at Buckingham.
I'd pretty much given up/forgotten about the tropo when we came back in the evening until I saw a post from Ken, G0PPM on Facebook saying that he was hearing a French station on 145MHz FM. Thought it was worth a listen, so I popped upstairs to see if I could hear anything.
The Swiss beacon, HB9HB was coming through nicely, but CQ calls in that direction on both 144 and 432MHz didn't result in any QSOs. However, just as I was about to give up, I heard a weakish call on 144.300 - I could tell it was a French station and the signals came up a little as I turned my beam to the south and I was able to get the callsign as F1MOZ. That triggered something in the memory banks - and a quick Google confirmed that he was located in IN93. Signals weren't great on my little 5element, but I was delighted (and faintly surprised) when he came back and gave me a report!
Driving to work this morning, I was still hearing some tropo and there was a French repeater coming through on 145.650. I listened for a while and it turned out to be F5ZNN, located to the east of Paris.