VK0EK – March 6 – April 20, 2016


In 1997, when the highly successful Cordell Expeditions – VK0IR DX-pedition activated heard Island, we were at the bottom of the solar cycle. You might ask “How in the world did they make 80K + Q’s?”, and the answer is “Because most of the world did not have to get to Heard via a polar path”.

The good news? The SSN for March, 2016 is predicted to be 44, so it should be much better than when VK0IR went there. The big bonus is that it will also be the Vernal Equinox – which Dean, N6BV says is the best time of the year to go to Heard Island for world wide propagation. Here are the charts that Dean has generated for us in PDF files:

Heard Mar 2016 VK0Hd

Heard Apr 2016

We have a great propagation tool – available to all and gratiously supported by our very good friend, Stu, K6TU. Please check out his propagation service at:


And then check out the propagation “widgets” for VK0EK:

Atlas Cove – which will provide best propagation to EU, US East Coast, US Central, AF, ME, Asia and JA, and:


Spit Point – which will provide best propagation to US West, US Central, VK/ZL and OC:



Just to give an example, from KY6R’s location near San Francisco – to Spit Point on Heard Island, here is a list of propagation charts for the time that VK0EK will be active. First the overall chart – Spit Point to KY6R in Orinda:


Here is what the VOACAP Online chart looks like for KY6R (from Spit):


Here is one of their new charts (for Orinda, CA):



The VOACAP Online prediction shows possible propagation paths from 40 – 12M, while the K6TU prediction is a bit more “conservative” showing 40 – 15M. Of course – your area will show much different propagation, for example, Europe shows:



And now JA:


As it turns out – the predictions for all areas of the world look great for ATNO’s – especially given that we will be past the peak of the sunspot cycle. We hope you will agree that it is a worthwhile investment to donate Before the ship sets sail – since most of the expenses are incurred Before the ship leaves Cape Town.

You can get an hour by hour and band by band prediction for your area on the K6TU web site. Now, lets take a look at the HFTA Analysis that our very good friend and team mate, Dean Straw, N6BV has created for us:


The diamond on the lower left is the Atlas Camp – and you can see the terrain of “Big Ben” on the right – its a profile or side view. Here is what HFTA says about trying to beam to the SF Bay Area through Big Ben:


This graph shows that Big Ben cuts off anything below 11 degrees off in the direction of KY6R’s QTH in Orinda! This means the best and strongest low angle path signals are completely cut off – leaving the higher weaker angles available – but when you think of a howling gigantic pileup – all but the strongest big guns would get through – the “little pistols” would be very lucky to get in the log.

Now, lets look at Spit Bay:



The antennas that will be beaming the West Coast and Central US specifically – from Spit will be positioned on top of the hill where you see the verticals used at a past scientific expedition to that part of the island:

Spit Bay 2003 2004 expedition camp Woehler (1)

As you can see – not only is there nothing in the way from Spit Bay to KY6R in the SF Bay Area, but the most favorable kind of terrain exists at this site. A drop off going right to salt water! Here is HFTA:


Almost all of the lowest angles to the SF Bay Area up to Saskatchewan are now fully covered with much stronger signals.

From personal experience, I can contact South Africa on both 40M and 20M every West Coast morning on the long path. The path is the same path to Heard Island (which is short path to Heard), and also short path to Australia – and both of these are also as strong as a local station. For this reason, I do not really believe the propagation predictions. FT5ZM and FT5XO, and even FT5WJ – were all much easier than any prediction tools had predicted. But we will combine real on the air testing with modeling tools just for fun anyway.

We will be using these kinds of advanced propagational analysis and data to ensure the absolute highest ATNO counts and rates to the entire world. We will do everything we can to get the highest Unique and ATNO count possible.

One of the things we will ensure is proper antenna selection and placement. All antennas will be strategically chosen and set up to ensure maximum beaming power in YOUR direction, and where we will be able to more selectively give every part of the world as much an equal chance as propagationally possible.

Take some time to look at our sponsors. We will have the radios, antennas and other gear to maximize propagation and directivity and give you the best possible VK0EK / Heard Island DX-pedition experience possible!

Huge thanks go to Dean, N6BV and Stu, K6TU for the tools they have built and the analysis they have produced for our DX-pedition.


15 thoughts on “Propagation

  1. Ken says:

    The propagation tool says that it is set to January 2016.
    Can you have it updated to March?

    1. ky6r says:

      OK – will do – thanks for letting us know!



  2. CARL says:


    1. ky6r says:

      Yes. Thanks very much for your support and we look forward to getting you in the VK0EK log.

  3. Any plans for beaming ZS please ? Best time and best band ?

    1. ky6r says:

      Luckily, ZS is right along the path to EU with no blocking mountains in between. ZS will have many hours on all bands (that are open sue to solar conditions) – from 160 – 10M.

      On 20M at 1200z, ZS will experience a time period where EU does not have propagation but ZS does – so the pileups might be nice at that time for ZS, and on several bands.

      ZS is one of the areas that will in fact have the best propagation to VK0EK. We wish you the best of luck!

      1. Andre Potgieter ZS2ZA says:

        Thank you Elliot, we as ZS’s are certainly excited about the reality of making contact with the wonderful VK0EK Team! Andre, ZS2ZA

      2. ky6r says:

        You are welcome.



  4. Carlos says:

    Please make a comment about SA propagation, namely LU. Thank you

  5. Charly says:

    This prop is correct about half the time into HS from anywhere.

  6. Parth Sane says:

    I absolutely cannot copy VK0EK in VU land. I have already pointed my antenna towards them! I’m using a fan dipole for 20/12m.

  7. Tom OH6VDA says:

    I can hear them on 20m longpath, very weak. I hope they will turn that 20m beam on Europe!

  8. Tom K1TL says:

    Do you have data/breakdown on the % of QSO’s by continent ?
    mni tks, tom/K1TL…

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