HAM Radio 101

What is a Skew Path?

A propagation phenomenon where the ionosphere does not support direct-line propagation (along a great circle heading) between two stations, but contacts can be made by aiming closer to the equator (due east or west) so that the path is skewed, so that the first hops travelling in a more southerly direction (for northern hemisphere stations).  For a North American station, for example, a skew path opening to Japan might make signals peak due west or even south of west. Skew path openings can take place at frequencies below the MUF, or maximum usable frequency, between two points on the globe, which is often the case under poor propagation conditions. Turning your antenna to explore skew path propagation is a very useful technique that can make a previously inaudible signal suddenly appear and make a QSO possible.


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