Amateur Radio Propagation Studies
Science, research, engineering, operating
Meteorological realtime data
There is a huge amount of meteorological data available in the internet. In the following, selected sources are presented relevant to radio amateurs and their interests in tropospheric long distance communication.
The University of Cologne, Germany provides two sources which are both very useful in the business of tropospheric dxing, i.e. actual weather maps and also actual sounding data.
The weather map of Europe displays, in particular, air pressure, air and sea temperature which is an important information to understand actual radio propagation conditions with respect to the large scale weather pattern. The sounding data, on the other hands, provides information on the vertical structure of the troposphere supported by various types of diagrams the user may download by a simple mouseclick. German readers will in particular love the PDF document explaining the background of sounding data in detail.
A valuable source for vertical profiles of dew point, air temperature, wind speed, wind direction and many more parameters is also provided by the University of Wyoming, Department of Atmospheric Science.
Having seleted the continent of interest, you may choose various types of plots and even an ASCII table is available for download. I recommend you start with "PDF: to 700 mb" (see the red arrow on the left) which will generate a PDF file displaying the vertical profile of dew point and air temperture - a perfect tool to identify tropospheric ducting. Before you can retrieve the data, select a site (airport) to request a sounding at that location.
Click the image on the left to access the upperair sounding data...
Lightning strikes create columns of ionized air that may scatter radiowaves quite efficiently. VHF radio amateurs call this phenomenon lightning scatter and run specific dx tests by targeting thunderstorm cells with their antennas. Many radio amateurs also consider thunderstorms effects on 144 MHz sporadic E propagation, this assumption is however not yet verified. Each lightning strike causes a short radio pulse (sferic) which are systematically traced by many organizations, see the links below.
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