David Macnaughton and his Fascinating World of Amateur Radio



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SSB/CW 50 MHz with David VK2BA

QSL card from TX0DXCard from CE0Y/W7XU




1 - New Zealand, ZL3QK, 06JAN1978
2 - Norfolk Is, VK9NI, 08JAN78
3 - Australia, VK2HZ, 19DEC78
4 - Japan, JH4SSP, 19DEC78
5 - Papua New Guinea, P29BH, 07JAN79
6 - New Hebrides, YJ8ZV, 07JAN79
7 - Guam, KG6DX, 12MAR79
8 - Alaska, WA4TNV/KL7, 13MAR79  See  note 1
9 - USA, W6XJ, 17MAR79
10 - Korea, HL9TG, 02APR79
11 - Hawaii, KH6IAA, 05MAR80
12 - Mexico, XE1GE, 09APR80
13 - Marshall Is, KX6QC, 13APR80
14 - Nauru, C21NI, 13SEP80
15 - Lord Howe Is, VK2YHA, 06OCT80
16 - Willis Is, VK9ZG, 24OCT80
17 - Caymen Is, ZF2DN, 02APR81
18 - Johnston Atoll, KH3AB, 11APR81
19 - Tahiti, FO8DR, 12APR81
20 - American Samoa, AH8A, 20APR81
21 - Brunei, VS5DX, 25APR81
22 - Solomon Is, H44PT, 04FEB82
23 - Fiji, 3D2JT, 03APR82
24 - Tonga, A35JT, 11APR82
25 - Macquarie Is, VK0AP, 18DEC82
26 - Niue Is, ZK2RS, 29DEC82
27 - Chatham Is, ZL4OY/C, 19JUN83
28 - Kermadec Is, ZM8OY, 10DEC85
29 - Western Samoa, 5W!GA, 05DEC86
30 - New Caledonia, TO8KI, 11DEC87
31 - Tuvalu, T20AR, 15DEC87
32 - Mellish Reef, VK9ZM, 13JAN89
33 - Okinawa, JR6HI, 15MAR89
34 - Turks & Caicos Is, VP5D, 25MAR89
35 - Guantanimo Bay, KG4SM, 25MAR89
36 - Aruba Is, P43AS, 26MAR89
37 - North Cook Is, ZK1WL, 28MAR89
38 - Tarawa, T30DJ, 28MAR89
39 - Guatemala, TG9AWS, 28MAR89
40 - Costa Rica, TI2NA, 29MAR89
41 - El Salvador, YS1ECB, 30MAR89
42 - Monserrat, VP2MO, 01APR89
43 - Venezuala, DL3ZM/YV5, 01APR89
44 - Neth. Antilles, PJ9JT, 02APR89
45 - Puerto Rico, KP4EIT, 02APR89
46 - Dominican Republic, HI8WPC, 02APR89
47 - American Virgin Is, KP2A, 02APR89
48 - Indonesia, YC0UVO, 03APR89
49 - Revilla Gigedo, XF4L, 14APR89
50 - South Cook Is, ZK1CG, 16APR89
51 - Cuba, CO2KK, 16APR89
52 - Belize, V31PC, 20APR89
53 - Haiti, HH7PV, 19SEP89
54 - Auckland Is, ZL9TPY, 21JAN90
55 - Jamaica, 6Y5FS, 24MAR90
56 - Christmas Is, T32IO, 28MAR90
57 - Kure Is, KH6JEB/KH7, 31MAR90
58 - Wallis Is, FW/W6JKV, 17APR90
59 - Jarvis Is, AH3C/KH5J, 17APR90
60 - East Caroline Is, V63AO, 02APR91
61 - Philippines, KG6UH/DU1, 06APR91
62 - Zaire, 9Q5EE, 06APR91 - Long Path
63 - Martinique, FM5WD, 07APR91
64 - Saipan, AH6JJ/AH0, 27APR91
65 - Azores, CU3/N6AMG, 27NOV91 - Antipoidal
66 - Denmark, OZ4VV, 08FEB92
67 -  Italy, I4CIL, 16FEB92
68 - Slovenia, YU3ZV, 16FEB92
69 - Belau, KC6/W0RRY, 04MAR92
70 - Rotuma Is, 3D2AG, 01APR92
71 - Banaba Is, T33RD, 27MAR99
72 - Canton Is, T31K, 28SEP99
73 - Midway Is, KH4/W4ZYV, 26OCT99
74 - Panama, HP2CWB, 07NOV99
75 - Poland, SP6ASD, 08NOV99
76 - Ukraine, US5CCO, 08NOV99
77 - Chesterfield Is, TX0DX, 25MAR00
78 - East Timor, 4W6/VK2QF, 31MAR00
79 - Hong Kong, VR2LC, 05APR00
80 - Canary Is, EH8BPX, 05APR00 - Long Path
81 - Nicaragua, YN1SW, 08APR00
82 - The Grenadines - West Indies, J87AB,08APR00
83 - Pitcairn Is, VP6BR, 08APR00
84 - Marquesas Is, FO0TOH, 09APR00
85 - Tadzikistan, EY8CQ, 11NOV00
86 - E.Malasia, 9M6BAA, 29MAR01
87 - Easter Is, CE0Y/W7XU, 09APR01

Note 1: In response to some incorrect information reported regarding contacts with Alaska, I have claimed WA4TNV/KL7 (Shemya Is) as my first contact with that country. Shemya Island, although classed as Alaska, is well removed from the mainland. I have also worked mainland Alaska on a number of occasions, the last openings in which I took part being on 8th and 9th March 1992 when I worked AL7FH, NL7OW, KL7HBK and AL7C. There was also a short opening on 27th March 2001 when KL7FZ was heard at my QTH.

Note 2: All countries from #1 to #70 were worked from Sydney NSW (QF56). Countries from #71 onwards were worked from Megan NSW (QF69)


Ham Radio operators frequently comment on "the figures of the day". This is particularly so for Six Metre operators who are forever trying to use these figures to gain some insight into the expected propagation. These figures refer to the Solar Flux Index (SFI), the A Index and the K Index. These figures are broadcast on WWV at eighteen minutes after the hour. They are also available from many sources over the Internet. Since there is often confusion about what they are and what they mean, I will include a very brief summary. However, I do not find the figures very useful other than in a broad sense. There is no substitute for being active on the band. That is the best way to find the openings.


This is  a measure of the sun's radiation at 2800MHz (10.7 cm wavelength) taken daily at 1700Z in Ottawa. The flux figure correlates well with the ionisation of the ionesphere F region and the Maximum Usable Frequency (MUF) for radio communication. A Solar Flux of 66 represents a quiet sun during the lowest years of a Sunspot Cycle. This figure may reach 300 or more during the peak. DX is usually enhanced during periods of high SFI and one should be more observant during these times. I have seen the 50MHz band open from Australia to USA with a SFI of only 120, and I have often experienced dead conditions when the SFI has been over 250. Personally, I place very little reliance on the SFI. If the dates, and position on the Solar Cycle are correct, I look for DX irrespective of the SFI.


This is a twenty four hour figure for the activity of the Earth's geomagnetic field, on a scale of 0 to 400 or so. A quiet magnetic field (A index of 10 or less) is characteristic of the best HF propagation conditions due to the low absorbtion of wave energy. It has been observed that a magnetic storm producing an A index of 30 or more may produce a 50MHz opening a day or so after the event. This effect is more pronounced during the equinox periods (a month or so either side of the equinox). Since the A Index is a twenty four hour figure, it therefore refers to the previous universal time day.


This is similar to the A Index except that it is as near to a current figure that can be given. However it is presented on a quasi-logarithmic scale running from 0 (very quiet) to 9 (extremely disturbed).

For a given magnetic obsevatory, measurements of magnetic activity are made every three hours. The value is directly related to the total deviation in gammas from the quiet day curve of the most disturbed component  in the field. The gamma ranges correspondingto the K values vary between observatories because of the difference in magnetic latitude but at all stations the scale is established such that the lower range limit for K = 9 is 100 times the upper limit for K = 0.

Since the K values are computed for three hour intervals, the A Index is then computed to have one value to describe the magnetic activity for the entire day. Since the K values are quasi-logarithmic, an equivalent   amplitude (Ak) has been established to enable a standard conversion back to an almost linear scale. The Ak factors, ranging from 0 to 400 are then averaged to find the single A value for the twenty four hour period (see Table 1). High A Indices of about 30 or more (K = 4) indicates a probability of DX within within a day or so. This is a good time to stay home!

The information in Table 1 has been included because these indices are frequently referred to to by amateurs, especially on 50MHz.


K 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9
Ak 0 3 7 15 27 48 80 140 2424008 400

Table 1a - Standardized conversion from K to AK

K Index values for given 3 hour period Ak equivalent
4 27
5 48
3 15
3 15
3 15
3 15
2 7
4 27
  Total = 169

Table 1b - Method for calculating a single A value for a given 24 hour period.

First convert the K values for each three hour period to its Ak equivalent and then total these eight numbers. In this example, the total is 169. Averaged over eight intervals this gives an A Index of 21.

If we measured at Fredericksburg it would be known as the Fredericksburg A Index (Af). There is also an A Index called called the Planetary A Index (Ap). which is computed by averaging A values from stations around the world in order to gain an A Index that reflects the state of the field on a global scale rather than just one station. Normally, there is not much variation between the various A Indices.