Good domestic propagation that began early and relatively low noise characterized this session. A Winter storm system is currently bisecting the eastern half of the the US and probably increasing noise in the affected areas although there have been no formal reports. WG2XXM was QRT overnight and I suspect it was due to ice. WG2XKA reported that he was QRT and his transmit antenna was lowered for the third consecutive night due to ice, snow and high winds in Vermont. There was a bit of a reprieve here in Texas overnight as the anticipated rain and storms are officially late but a potential rain-out is on the table for the weekend. I will just have to wait and see what actually materializes.
Daytime propagation was more interesting than observed in quite some time as WA3TTS reported a C-class flare that was accompanied by a slow decay X-ray event near midday. Daytime openings from my station were observed shortly after I began transmitting at 1944z and became more prominent on the approach to sunset. Geomagnetic conditions almost simultaneously to the flaring event calmed to very quiet levels. The Bz continues to point to the North although there have been a few periods of elevated protons during this session. Solar wind velocities continue at low levels, averaging 365 km/s. DST values experienced a very nice upturn which will hopefully continue and usher in the return of high latitude and polar openings as observed last month under similar conditions.
A brief trans-African opening was observed as FR5ZX provided a single decode to G3KEV. This report detail can be viewed here. ZR6AIC was also present but registered no reports.
Trans-Atlantic reports were also present but very localized once again and curiously high latitude in nature as WD2XSH/17 received reports from both LA2XPA and LA3EQ early in the session. These openings typically occur much closer to sunrise in Europe when they do occur which has been rare. Dave also received reports from G0MJI. Report details for these opening can be viewed here.
John, VE7BDQ, reports that he transmitted WSPR from 0500z-1000z yielding 37 unique reports of his signal with 23 reports over 2000km. John reported “Only 7 unique on RX though.” He also operated JT9 prior to operating WSPR, receiving reports at WG2XSV in Vancouver, Washington.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported very good openings to Canada last night while listening to NDBs. He transitioned to WSPR around 0430z and experienced a power outage around 0830z, resulting in only four hours of WSPR reports. Doug provided reports to eight WSPR stations, including ZF1EJ and he was decoded by 42 unique stations including two VE7’s and WH2XND maritime mobile in the Caribbean.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported very cold weather in Vancouver this morning with 11 degrees F but very good band conditions. He provided the following comments and statistics:
“Eden heard me, but I did not hear him. Glad he is getting a lot of good reports on his TXing. It was exciting to read about it on the chat page.
Was heard by these. Good all around coverage in all directions”:
“Heard these 7 (many times each)”:
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports cold weather in Seattle so hopefully the antenna base current is up. He decoded eight WSPR stations and was decoded by 39 unique stations. Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.
Ernie, KC4SIT, reported a good night on 630-meters and was successful at decoding ZF1EJ, which was a first for both stations:
Ken, N8CGY, reported that he decoded seven WSPR stations with WH2XGP at -23dB S/N, which was his session best, at a distance of 1648 km.
Paul, N1BUG, reported good transcontinental openings during the session and numerous reports of ZF1EJ on his maiden voyage.
Mark, WA9ETW / WI2XHJ, reports, “11 unique decodes last night. Vy glad to see ZF1EJ and PNW. Still think RX performance was sub-par. Will be checking it out today”
Mike, WA3TTS, provided the following extensive statistics and comments:
“…A number of captures for XCR overnight, but all at mid -20s SNR range and higher.”
“For a while I switched to the SE EWE antenna direction to pick up ZF1EJ after Garry SIW mentioned he was OTA via the lowfer list”
For the second consecutive session no trans-Pacific openings were reported between the North American mainland and Oceania. Numerous lightning-bearing storms peppered Australia during this session.
Steve, VE7SL, provided a list of Canadian stations and their transmit/receive frequencies for cross band QSO’s in the upcoming 2nd annual Midwinter 630-meter operating activity night on Saturday night, February 4 (Sunday, February 5 UTC). These stations and their details can be viewed here.
I was not expecting to transmit all night as storms and rain were anticipated but that weather event appears to be about 12-hours behind schedule. My early WSPR startup at 1944z yielded initial, consistent reports from KA9CFD and the distribution of stations increased through the afternoon. Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, reported in the 0400z hour that he was hearing me while maritime mobile in the Caribbean while leaving Caymen. As with many sessions, reports and reporting stations were consistent although my receive numbers were down a bit as they have been over the last week. I am hearing a carrier in the WSPR passband which may actually be the noise floor anomaly which suggests very strong band conditions. I did not operate CW or JT9 during the evening as I had not really planned on being QRV at all due to the weather conditions that have yet to materialize. My WSPR transmission report details can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details can be viewed here.
It was a very busy session in spite of activity being less varied than the previous session. Many stations showed up out of curiosity of the activity at ZF1EJ when word of his first transmission was reported on a number of email reflectors. Activity was high very early in the evening and consistent through the evening with 103 MF WSPR stations observed at 2322z and 109 MF WSPR stations observed by 0200z on the WSPRnet activity page.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
The big news from this session was that Eden, ZF1EJ, completed his antenna work with the help of Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, and Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, who stopped by while on a cruise and sparked up for the first time during this session. Eden sent the following details:
“Happy to be transmitting tonight. Thanks to Ron and Ward. Could not have done it without them. Great guys.
This is how the antenna is setup:- It is a tophat vertical, the tophat is 65’ 6” long and about 80’ above ground, the vertical is 74’ 6”, There are 4 radials 10’ above ground, each 128’ 6” long. The antenna is made of #10, stranded insulated wire. The tophat is strung between two towers and is side on about 45 deg. The tuner was built by Ron and Ward a few month ago and shipped down to me. Just found the time to set it up recently. The SWR is 1.1-1 and I am using a Monitor Sensors Transverter built by Roger, VK4YB. Output to antenna 22 watts.”
Pictures should be forthcoming and will be included once available. Eden indicated that Ron will have to describe the tuning network but I suspect it is consistent with the design Ron uses in Arizona utilizing a fixed coil and motorized vacuum capacitor. He is also reported to be using four elevated radials, each 130-foot long.
Eden did very well all evening but what stood out to me was his report distribution, which was basically due North for the bulk of the early reports. As the session progressed, reports expanded into the Pacific Northwest and western US. It will take a number of sessions to determine whether this behavior was a one-off propagation anomaly or some directivity feature of his antenna system yet to be understood . Eden received reports from 38 unique stations and was reported by twelve WSPR stations. He also shared two-way reports with WH2XCR in KH6, which answered a lot of questions for many of us with regard to path reciprocity. Report details for Eden’s two-way decodes with WH2XCR can be viewed here. A selection of Eden’s unique report details can be viewed here.
Finally, Ron reported that he was listening from the ship and providing off-air reports for Eden which may be a first (???)
Roger, ZF1RC, was QRV during this session, providing reception reports in support of Eden’s activity:
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, operated three separate receivers on 630-meters during this session with mixed results. I do not have details at this time as to what each configuration represents but will add later if that information becomes available. Laurence was heard by JA1NQI and shared two-way reports with WH2XCR. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, was also shut out from reports in Oceania but managed reports from JA1NQI and JH3XCU as well as two-way reports with ZF1EJ (details reported earlier). Coverage was solid into the Northeast at WG2XJM and WA3TTS and the Southeast at WI2XBV. Report details for Merv’s JA reports can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “BCB QSB: KOA DENVER 850 KHz 1510km TO SWL/K9 1/10/17”:
“630m WSPR QSB deterministically executes remarkable graph curves on a 3 second sampling time scale as if from phasing between multiple 630m paths of a given one station’s RF signal. I suspect a mixture of single hop and double hop propagation is mostly responsible for the visible mixture of lower and higher frequency undulations at rates of a few millihertz in 630m QSB, see this blog, Jan. 4, 2017.
Under such 3 second sampling, however, 160m top-band QSB plots break up randomly and their 160m SNRs spread 5-10dB. (W1IR-swl/k9 Jan.5, blogged Jan. 10.) Ken and I have found no receiving system defect to explain that 160m randomness.
Because the form of QSB plots and curves may somehow be related to the texture of the MF/LF reflecting ionosphere, I have wanted to find the lowest MF frequency borderland where carrier-only signal strength QSB data transitions from such 160m randomness to the 630m deterministic behavior. This led us to search for BCB station opportunities from which to sample QSB.
Ken SWL/K9 chose KOA in Denver because it did not audibly include other broadcast band (BCB) carriers at least at the beginning of the receiving run he made. The choice required judgment because multiple BCB stations often occupy the same channel at night in North America. QSB data samples were collected at 3 second intervals using WSJT-X Echo mode from evening into the next morning, Jan. 10, 2017. Ken used a rooftop whip and set the RX bandwidth at 10 Hz to acquire the AM carrier and reject AM sidebands and noise.
Today’s illustration at top shows an hour of 350m KOA executing deterministic QSB curves well above the noise level. At bottom, still another interesting 1-hour segment of KOA QSB dynamics meets our eyes. In total, I graphed Ken’s first 10,000 points from KOA 0338-1149z. Like 630m, this 350m signal has very approximately 6mHz & 12 mHz QSB content (0.006 and 0.012 Hertz), like 630m. While multiple stations may have occupied the band pass with similar enough strengths to affect the data, the curves are deterministic and nothing like the 160m data on hand.
At middle of illustration, for good measure I time differenced the data, graphed it, and observed that it lacks the total randomness of a normal statistical distribution. In other words, KOA QSB executes NO random walk like CLB 216KHz on LF. KOA QSB looks deterministic, very much like 630m echo mode data. KOA lacks the 5-10dB of randomness that the SWL/K9 reception equipment found on 160m W1IR.
Apparently the wavelength borderland between deterministic 630m QSB and the randomness seen on 160m lies below KOA wavelength 353 meters and above 850 KHz frequency. Echo mode in my opinion can probably probe the ionosphere deterministically between roughly 400-1000 KHz, 300-700m. We will see how well this supposition holds up going forward.
The data I’ve blogged so far does not, I believe, tell us whether 630m ionospheric signal returns are coming back and phasing together from an entire lengthy sky extent of the station-station path like a diffraction grating collects, or instead amount to a few ray reflections coming back from no more than just a few distinct places in the ionosphere along the path. Perhaps another blog post can go into that topic. TU & GL!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).