By the numbers this session was not poor but it may have been below average for this time of year. QRN was much lower as the storm system causing so many problems for the East coast moved out to sea. The noise floor continues to be elevated. Domestic reports were “OK” but it was obvious that either propagation was down or many stations were experiencing elevated noise, likely from precipitation static as the next Winter storm begins to impact the eastern half of the country. A number of stations are already in dry dock due to icing on antennas. We continue to wait for the next geomagnetic event.
Geomagnetic conditions are currently at elevated-quiet levels. The Bz is currently pointing to the North, offering some protection from solar wind, but the variability through the session may result in an overall net loss. Solar wind velocities are elevated, with periods raging from moderate to high and peaking above 515 km/s. Curiously both DST indicators presented here are trending positive but variable. I am not going to try to hazard a guess about what is going on here.
Trans-Atlantic openings were very random through this session, presenting limited openings but openings nevertheless. WD2XSH/17 received a number of reports from LA2XPA/2 and N1BUG provided a single report for DH5RAE. I can only imagine that we are observing duct mode here, resulting in these limited and random decodes. Of course its also plausible that these limitations were the result of frequency co-location of stations as well as lucky timing. Regardless of the mechanism involved, this sessions trans-Atlantic reports are interesting. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported high noise during the evening but by morning it was evident that QRN levels were improving. Doug decoded nine WSPR stations and was decode by 37 unique stations which happens to be the same number from the previous session. Doug also noted this website for monitoring weather conditions and more specifically where static may be an issue.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, provided reports for eight WSPR stations and was reported by 27 unique stations. Rick’s unique reports details can be viewed here.
Mike, WA3TTS, reported improvements in S/N for WH2XCR and provided these comments and statistics:
“…Finally some improved conditions on the T/P path, although it also could be that Merv grew tired of three other stations being repeatedly too close to his prior .475750~ frequency as he has moved to the very bottom of the WSPR2 band.
Good tactic on Merv’s part, as his current operating frequency is likely to reduce strong signal dynamic range blocking effects for other distant receive stations by at least a factor of 2 with XCR at the lower band edge. The improvement in weak signal detection for WH2XCR is apparent in the number of -29 and higher SNRs received at WA3TTS overnight. At the prior .475750~ frequency, I usually needed WH2XCR to average SNRs in the mid 20’s to have 10 or more overnight captures.
I could be a few Hz off of Merv’s actual frequency in my WSPR2 captures, as my FT847 IF does not have a TCXO…”
Both John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, and Phil, VE3CIQ, reported that they were off air due to ice conditions creating mechanical and resonance / matching problems for their antennas.
Ken, SWL-EN61, located in Indiana hoped that the falling temps would result in decreased QRN after a long period of high, persistent noise.
Trans-Pacific report details for this session (excluding KL7 and KH6) are aggregated here.
Roger, VK4YB, reports “Similar pattern to last night, with QRN increasing. TP was slightly weaker and the path to JA was barely there. There was more domestic activity with five VK6s active.” Roger received reports from JA3TVF, WI2XBQ, and W7IUV. He provided reports for WG2XXM and WH2XXP.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, received reports from 62 unique stations including VK4YB.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 62 unique stations including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, and ZL2BCG.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, received reports from 47 unique stations and provided reports for ten WSPR stations while listening with the eastern receive antenna. Using the western receive antenna and designated as W7IUV, Larry provided reports for ten stations.
Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, provided reports for VK4YB, and added, “W to E path improved with spots from WA3TTS & SWL/K9. No spots from VK, BC signals from JA still depressed.”
I thought that the band sounded “OK”. Receive numbers were improved over the previous session by nearly double and many of mytransmission reports were near normal but activity may have been down a bit. I really do think that something was slightly different overnight and it may involve another mechanism besides the geomagnetic conditions that I track each day. I did not operate CW this morning due to scheduling problems. Noise was reasonable enough to begin listening again, however. My WSPR transmission report details for the session can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details can be viewed here.
Yesterday I made an inquiry about a workable date in February for the 2nd-annual Midwinter 630-meter operating activity night. February is complicated due to the number of contests so there are no true good options meaning that we have to settle, hopefully having the least impact overall. The decision was made to have this event on the evening of Saturday, February 4th into Sunday February 5th (February 5th UTC) which happens to coincide with an RTTY contest. Steve, VE7SL, indicates that a big problem for him and other VE station’s cross band activity is RTTY operating on their selected QSX frequencies on 40 and 80-meters but that it may be possible to operate further away from where the bulk of RTTY activity is located for each band. The other weekends in February had their own problems so we will make this work just fine. Expect more details shortly but there will be VE stations operating crossband making CW QSO’s, beacons will be active and a few of us, myself included, will set up shop on a frequency and call CQ looking for other Part-5 experimental stations with which to make QSO’s.
Joseph Price, WA9CGZ, filed applications for a Part-5 grant for CW, FSK, and MSK 465 kHz – 478 kHz.
RA0LMV, W6ZAR and W7KKE were observed as new receiving stations during this session. Welcome aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for WD2XSH/15, WD2XSH/17, WG2XIQ, WG2XPJ, WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, and WH2XZO. Report details for these stations can be viewed here. Eden operated ZF1EJ/1 using his new transmit antenna for receive and provided reports for WD2XSH/15, WD2XSH/17, WG2XIQ, WG2XPJ, WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, and WH2XZO. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was heard by a number of stations in western North America during this session. His reception report numbers were down although significant auroral activity has been reported in the region by a number of sources.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, recently moved his transmit frequency, which got him in the clear and that may have helped for a number of stations, including WA3TTS, who experience for what can most easily be described as de-sense of their receiver front end from all of the big signals in North America. Merv was hearing WH2XZO in South Carolina and also received reports from both of ZF1EJ’s stations. I am excited to see how the reciprocal path to KH6 works from ZF1EJ once Eden comes on line shortly and begins transmitting. Merv received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI, and JH3XCU in Japan. Merv received VK3HP and was received by VK2XGJ and shared two-way reports with VK4YB and WE2XPQ. DX report details for Merv’s station can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “WH2XXP-SWL/K9 DEC. 15, 2016, ECHO MODE WSJT-X 2449km”:
“Ken SWL/K9 continued his cavalcade of 630m Echo mode receptions putting the 50w strong WSPR beacon from Ward WH2XXP in his sights at about 1500 miles distance SW-NE. In this way, Ken is probing paths of different distances and headings as he obtains nighttime 630m signal strength samples at three second intervals. This path from Arizona to Indiana is long enough to make us consider whether 1-Ehop propagation is cut off by the curvature of the earth or not.
Today’s first illustration shows the first 6 hours of Ken’s receptions on the near-solstice night of Dec. 15. Similar to other headings and paths, the signal strength peaks have considerable wavy content varying 5-10dB at a rate between about 0.5-1.0 milliHertz.
In the first and second illustrations, the timescale is magnified, and 7500 data points are segmented in one hour intervals. (Ken collected more points that night, and these are representative.) Rather dramatic QSB curves of all kinds greet us. Some are simply wiggles at high-strength. Others are like convex bowls that peak during the WSPR transmission. Still others substantially rise or dramatically fall in strength in less than the two minutes. Still others that I call “sharps” angle steeply down to a point and then angle steeply up. Thanks to the TX power level that Ward is radiating from his antenna, many of the signal strength curves are well-resolved at 15-30dB above the noise level. Moreover, Ken has his local noise well under control, and only 6 dB bandnoise spread appears far below the signal strength curves.
Once again, his short rooftop whip coupled with toroids fed the Elad SDR. Ken told me these reception operating tips:
‘…Overnight Echo mode on WH2XXP: I’m learning what it takes to get decent results.
(1) IMHO, this is more of a “strong signal” mode. When sigs dip into the -20’s, you don’t have much audio change between sig/no sig to work with.
(2) The more you have to tighten bandwidth (which on the crowded 630m wspr band you have to on many stations) the less available audio you have to work with to keep the minimum acceptable audio input level for WSJT-X.
For instance: Because WH2XXP, WH2XZO, and WD2XSH/17 are relatively close together, I had to really narrow the bandpass last night. That created said audio difficulty when xxp would dip in signal as the overnight progressed.’
Readers can bring up earlier posts about Echo mode reception on 630m, dated 11/21-23,25, 28, 12/13-14/16, and 1/3/17 in this blog. TU & GL!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).