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Skewed polar path condx - VE6WZ

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    Skewed polar path condx - VE6WZ

    Last night DL8LAS and SP3HLM were logged on 160m but the ONLY copy was via a skewed path over South America, a 90 deg skew path from direct. This was not a “subtle path skew”, but very dramatic with absolutely zero copy on the direct NE or even east path. Not even a trace on the waterfall when RX direct.

    I started CQ around 04:15z and V31MA called, but I really struggled to get his prefix because I was RX via the usual EU path and assumed he was an EU caller. Later Andy DL8LAS called, and I was switching RX when I heard him on the SE RX. No signal at all direct path to the NE. At around 4:45 I was able to eventually piece together SP3HLM's call. I continued to RX via South America, but was unable to pull out any other callers. I did hear ON7PQ call, but could not confirm.
    The copy was extremely difficult because there was such very severe AU distortion with the signals getting ripped up and garbled via the skewed path. I knew there were other callers but it was impossible to piece together the calls because the characters were broken up due to the path distortion.

    With the K index at almost 3 and the solar wind at 500 km/s last night, it was amazing that any signals were making it.

    Severe polar path skewing is not unusual, but this year the band has been more stable with the direct path usually dominating. This is the first time this season I have noticed it.

    This morning HL5IVL was also skewed to the south from direct path, and Kevin VK6LW was very weak.

    Lets hope the geo-mag settles down this week. Last year my last EU was logged on April 19th, so there is still some DX life left in the band!

    73, de Steve VE6WZ
    73 Al 4L5A