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Lightning Scatter on 50 MHz


The South African Radio League (SARL) say Lightning Scatter is another VHF propagation mode, but that two-way contacts have never been tried in South Africa.

Many years ago, a FM broadcasting station in Durban on the 88 to 108 MHz FM band was heard in East London by ZS2FM during a lightning storm. Every time a lightning flash occurred, from a distant thunderstorm in the direction of Durban, the FM signal would pop out of the noise at full limiting and last for about ten seconds before it faded out.

Recently radio bursts from lightning on 144,300 MHz SSB, emanating from ZS6CBQ at Krugersdorp, were picked up by ZS4A in Bethlehem, even though they were of very short duration, the voice of ZS6CBQ was recognizable. This suggests that brief two-way contacts on 50 MHz should be possible on SSB, FM or Digital during a thunderstorm.

The late afternoon thunderstorms, normally experienced in the summer months around Johannesburg, could be a wonderful testing ground for a lightning project. Of course, only distant stations surrounding Johannesburg area would be able to participate, as all antennas will be grounded in the area where the storm is raging.

If you are in Pretoria then beam at the storm in Johannesburg area and give a brief call during a lightning flash, while only listening during the next flash. If you can't see the lightning flash then call when you hear the static burst on receive. In theory, it should be possible to make contacts as far south as Bloemfontein.

Who will be the first to a make a contact via Lighting Scatter on 50 MHz?




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Westlakes Amateur Radio Club Inc. York Street, Teralba NSW