Prognosis, monitoring and analysis of propagation conditions are a basis for kilometres and points in DX competition. As a new tool to monitor propagation in the 2m band, D4C has started receiving vessel AIS data.
AIS is a maritime NMEA standard, through which ships continuously transmit signals at approximately 12.5 Watts using a ground plane antenna. The evaluation of the AIS position data - which can, for example, be visualized by DXMaps under "AIS" - show when and how periods of enhanced propagation occur, in real time. Therefore, log data of successful radio connections are not used, but rather received signals on the 2 AIS channels at 162 MHz (+- 25KHz).
To receive AIS signals at D4C’s location (also D4Z and D41CV) on the Cape Verde Islands (Ilha de São Vicente), the team concluded an antenna partnership with the company Vesseltracker.com GmbH, through which they received their AIS receiver equipment free of charge.
The observation of the AIS signals led the team to set the IARU R1 Troposcatter record several times during the summer of 2018. On 05 August 2018, D4Z (Operated by EA8FF Mark De Munck) worked EI3KD Mark Turner in IO51VW, with a total distance of 4163 km in CW operation.
Some weeks later, on 25 September 2018, the record was repeated by the connection D4Z - G3SMT IO82KV in CW, with a distance of 4436km.
Vesseltracker.com GmbH - http://www.vesseltracker.com/en/community