The band was really open overnight with only moderate noise reported by some stations in areas where Winter weather had increased precipitation noise. I felt like domestic openings during the evening were very good although it was reported later in the session by WI2XBQ that his openings were primarily West to East while East to West openings were almost non-existent at his station in Northern California. There were no reports of problems during this session as a result of Atlantic storms and no reports in the southwestern US as storms move inland and into the Desert Southwest.
Geomagnetic conditions experienced a “bump” to unsettled levels during the late afternoon and early evening in North America and continued at elevated-quiet levels for much of the night. Fortunately the Bz has largely been pointing to the North in spite of solar wind velocities that continue near 700 km/s. DST values were generally stable through the session although continue to dominate at negative levels.
Trans-Atlantic openings were prominent and more varied, with a return of reports for stations in the southern US. WH2XZO received reports from DJ0ABR; WG2XXM received reports from DH5RAE and DJ0ABR; WG2XIQ received reports from DJ0ABR; WD2XSH/17 received reports from G3XKR; N1BUG provided reports for DH5RAE and EA5DOM; WG2XKA was the big winner, with reports from DH5RAE, DJ0ABR, G0LUJ, G3XKR, PA0RDT, and OR7T. More and more it seems that geography may play a major role in which stations might provide reports for other stations. I’ll explain what I mean by that statement in more detail in the future. I continue to gather my thoughts. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, provided additional comments and perspective for his strong trans-Atlantic session:
“Following several days of crazy weather with rain, high winds, and temperature swings from -5 to +50F, XKA managed a full normal night of operation in subzero conditions. Noise was nominal and most of the usual stations were operational. I was heard by six unique European ops – DH5RAE, DJ0ABR, PA0RDT, G3XKR, G0LUJ and OR7T for the first time this season. All said, XKA logged 53 unique exchanges.”
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, indicates that his weather is changing again with rain and a warm up on the horizon. He also reports that it was a varied session near Seattle, providing decodes for six WSPR station and receiving reports from 29 unique stations. Three stations were new for Rick, including WG2XKA in Vermont. Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, submitted these details for this session as well as a recent NDB listening exercise:
“Despite continued QRN, we decoded 10, and 42, most in over a week, decoded XZO. One of those hearing us was DJ0ABR, first time since last winter. Neither VE7s or WH2XCR made it in the log. I was transmitting for the first time with an SWR over 1.5:1 because my loading coil had iced up.For the first time since moving here in 2007, I’ve been DXing LW and MW NDBs which gives some perspective about 630M. Most of the NDBs run low power, 20 watts to 100 watts, to an antenna that may be only slightly more efficient than our typical 630M station. Their ERPs may be similar to WH2XZO’s 65 watts TPO, but they are on CW.With several NDB stations on most frequencies, it’s interesting how different stations fade in and out in what seems to be random fashion. You can see the NDB beacons on your WSPR waterfall by tuning 1500 Hz below the NDB frequency and using USB. Usually the several stations are enough Hz apart that you see as many as a half dozen stations, several or maybe all of them too weak to actually identify by ear.Some of the NDBs have better antennas than our typical 630M ones, and a few run higher power, up to 2000 watts, and can be heard throughout North America like DIW on 198 and CHB on 216, both in NC. Two thousand watt DDP on 391 kHz is in Puerto Rico and also can be heard widely. At the high end of the NDB frequencies, 25 watt YWA in Ontario on 516 kHz, and 50 watt HMY on 512 kHz in OK are the only NDBs on their frequencies, making ID easier when they rise above the noise. If you can’t hear them, you probably can see them on your waterfall. “
“9 unique spots with a noticeable increase to the negative in regards to the SNR. The “wall,” running through mid-Dakotas straight south through Nebraska and into mid-Texas, still seems to be in place blocking any signal from the western United States. Listened for CW signals for over an hour with nothing heard…”
Roger, VK4YB, reports that the band was late to open but QRN was low and the path to JA was very good. Roger received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI, JA1PKG, JA1PKG/R, JA3TVF, JE1JDL, JR1IZM and W7IUV. He provided reports for WG2XXM and WH2XGP.
Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from JA1NQI.
John, VK2XGJ, reports that his Internet was down so no reports were submitted from his station.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, received reports from 65 unique stations including VK4YB and ZL2BCG.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, received reports from fifty unique stations including VK4YB and provided reports to twelve WSPR stations. As W7IUV and using the western receive antenna, Larry provided reports for eight unique stations, including VK4YB.
In spite of running WSPR through the day, I reported that I would be QRV by 0200z with CW and JT9 but as it turns out I was on the air about an hour earlier than anticipated so a few listeners reported that they never heard anything. My apologies. I have a bit of an erratic schedule at the moment that is about to get a bit more chaotic starting tomorrow so I have to apologize for those that might be looking for me at times that I have historically adhered to pretty closely yet I am absent. Morning CW may be hit or miss – I just don’t know yet. If that happens I will make a more concerted effort to be QRV on CW in the evenings. Stay tuned!
So back to the evening session: I started CW around 0100z and called for a bit to no avail. Eden, ZF1EJ, indicated that my CQ’s were RST 559 while Jay, KA9CFD, reported that I was “easy copy” in Illinois. I continue to evaluate the KX3 for receive via the HD1420 converter and after turning on the audio peak filter, I really like how signals behave in this receiver. I would like a few more CW QSO’s with this unit but so far I am happy as it frees up the FT-1000 for use on HF concurrently with my medium wave activity. I listened for WA2XRM but did not hear him and as there were no reports filed by Paul I can pretty safely assume that he was not on the air last night.
Around 0115z, Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, was reported to be CQing in JT9 by Jay, KA9CFD. I quickly transitioned back to the digital mode configuration with the FT-920 and Al’s signal was booming. We made a quick, textbook QSO whose details are seen below:
I called CQ on JT9 for a bit longer but had no takers so I transitioned back to WSPR with the intention of doing more CW and JT9 later in the evening.. as they say, best laid plans. I got into a good book and it was all over. Eden, ZF1EJ, had been listening for my JT9 signals and provided this screen capture from his station prior to QRT:
By the way, Al indicates that he will likely run more JT9 tonight so keep an eye on the ON4KST chat in the early evening for details on his start time. Al has an interesting dilemma that prevents him from concurrently running the Internet while he is on the air so he indicates that he will announce his activity about 15-minutes before he begins calling CQ.
I returned to WSPR by the time I was supposed to be starting CW and JT9 for the night and it ran all night. Thanks to DJ0ABR for the rare trans-Atlantic report for the Dallas area. I also noticed a significant number of duplicate decodes of my signal from a number of North American stations. This seems to be more of a problem when its extremely cold as we have had here in North Texas over the previous few sessions. Last night was no exception. As nothing has changed internally in the station that I am aware of, I do not believe that it is a ground loop problem. Instead I believe that ground conditions are changing after several days of below freezing temperatures. Antenna base current has been through the roof over the past few sessions. I am sure there are a number of active re-radiators in my area as this has been observed in previous sessions and this problem will likely only to disappear as quickly as it arrived. My WSPR transmission report details can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details can be viewed here.
It was another big night for stations activity on 630-meters with 110 MF WSPR stations observed at 0320Z on the WSPRnet activity page. There were a number of new or returning stations during this session, including AD5T, W1XP, N3BLS, AB3XQ, W3UNO, N3ZP, Darryl – SWLEM62up, and NQ5O who may have been listening to the old frequency as his software was reporting 503.9 kHz. Details on this problem and how to resolve them can be viewed here.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, reports that by this time next week he hopes to be transmitting! This is exciting news and has been a long time coming! During this session, storms were in close proximity to his station but he managed to provide reports for VE3CIQ, VE3EFF, WD2XSH/15, WD2XSH/17, WG2XIQ, WG2XKA, WG2XXM, WH2XGP, WH2XZO, and WI2XBV. Report details for these stations can be viewed here. As ZF1EJ/1 and utilizing the new transmit antenna, Eden provided reports for WD2XSH/15, WD2XSH/17, WG2XIQ, WG2XKA, WG2XXM, WH2XGP, WH2XZO, and WI2XBV. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reported an auroral arc at 20 degree elevation to the North. Often times such a sight might be the kiss of death for activity at Laurence’s latitudes but this time it may have contributed to good openings, pushing his RF to the South. Laurence received reports from JA1NQI and shared two-way reports with VK4YB. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, reported that he popped a FET in his amp due to a procedural issue on start up so he was QRT during this session. He is expected to make the repair today and be back tonight. He noted that conditions to Europe were exceptionally good on 160-meters. Was this activity in any way related to the good openings observed from the mainland on the trans-Atlantic path?
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).