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Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR; QRT Thursday night but back Friday morning by 1100z

Geomagnetic storm conditions set-in but trans-Atlantic openings continue at high levels along the East coast of North America; Record band activity achieved overnight; WI2XBV JT9 QSO with WG2XIQ; 2nd Annual Midwinter 630-meter Activity Night is this Saturday night!; WA2XRM announces plans for operating in this weekend’s special event

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The summary from February 1, 2016 can be viewed here.

Tremendous trans-Atlantic openings started the evening session in the eastern US and deteriorated as the evening progressed as geomagnetic storm conditions began to take hold.  Band conditions were quiet, at least here in Texas, although there were a few lightning-rich storms off the coast of the mid-Atlantic region.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions deteriorated off of recent highs during this session, reaching two reporting periods at storms levels before relaxing.  The Bz is pointing to the South this morning while the solar wind velocities are averaging 625 km/s, which is down from the levels observed through much of the day and evening where the average was in excess of 700 km/s for many reporting periods.  DST values have decreased significantly, indicating disturbed conditions.  Solarham indicates that unsettled to storm levels can be expected for the next 24-hours.




Trans-Atlantic openings were numerous during the early evening, deteriorating as the evening progressed with the following list illustrating the stations that successfully made it across:



G3KEV –> WD2XSH/17


PA0A –> WD2XSH/17, N1BUG



WG2XPJ –> F59706, G3XKR, G8HUH, PA0O



Report details for these stations can be viewed here.

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded fourteen WSPR stations and was decoded by 71 unique stations.  Ken indicates that North American band conditions were good but no path to Europe developed.

Paul, N1BUG, reported that he decoded fifteen WSPR stations including PA0A, G8HUH, EA5DOM and F1AFJ, all using his 80-meter dipole.

Mark, WA9ETW / Wi2XNJ, made this interesting observation during the evening: “Sigs down some from last night, and not one phantom decode (so far). Spotted 19 unique bogus calls last night. 12 legit uniques this evening.”

Luis, EA5DOM, found success with WSPR and Opera during this session, posting the following comments on the RSGB-LF reflector:

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported keying problems with the Elad DUO which resulted in only receive reports from his station overnight.  He indicates that band  conditions were not as good as previous night on the path to British Columbia, but  he decoded fourteen WSPR stations including EA5DOM and WH2XCR.

Ken, SWL/K9, located in Indiana, reported “Strange overnight session. Path from midwest to PNW completely shut down… no decodes, yet had 13 xcr spots.”

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, seems to corroborate the observations of SWL/K9.  I also noticed that the T-index early this morning indicated severely depressed conditions in that area.  Neil provided these comments:

“This session was very poor compared to yesterday, John. You and Merv/XCR were my DX this session. KD0S in S. Dakota was my best to the east. I am still amazed at yesterdays fantastic results for everyone.


We have wind, rain, ice and snow on the way over the next 3 days….. hope antennas stay up for us in the PNW.”

The trans-Pacific path to Oceania was less prominent overnight due to a number of storms around the region, limiting reception reports although a few reports in North America and Asia suggest that propagation was not necessarily poor.  Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.

Roger, VK4YB, confirmed my assessment with these comments in the ON4KST chat:

“Not much VK activity tonight. High QRN keeping people off the band. Up till now only Ward has been decoded. Propagation not too bad with a few more N American RXers.”

You can’t forget that its the middle of the Summer in the southern hemisphere so hearing anyone if remarkable.  Roger received reports from W1CK, VE7BDQ, and VE6XH.

Phil. VK3ELV, received reports from JH3XCU in the previous session.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP,  received reports from 76 unique stations, including VK4YB and JA1NQI.

WH2XXP session WSPR activity


Mike, WA3TTS, reported that “Sky noise was high on the NE and NW EWE antennas with the K index at 5, so I ended up on the SW EWE antenna overnight…which I do not use very often as it has higher local background noise….results were a bit better than I expected….”  He provided the following detailed statistics:

Jim, WB5WPA / WH2XQC, reported that he would be tuning up the antenna during the day today and performing some testing.

Paul, W0RW / WA2XRM, reported that he would be on the air this weekend for the special event:

“WA2XRM will be on CW at  2100 EST,  4 Feb. 2017 until 0200 EST, 5 Feb. 2017.  That is 0400z – 0700z, ( 5 Feb. Zulu Day) on  479.9 kHz.  Sending CW at 15 WPM.  Cross band Q’s are not allowed but you can send me an email at  w0rw1@msn.com  New WA2XRM SWL QSL will be sent.  Paul   wa2xrm”

The 2nd Annual Midwinter 630-meter Activity Night is this coming Saturday night.  Check out VE7SL’s blog for details.

The band was slow to open in full daylight compared to recent sessions at my station but did present a few daytime reports.  Receiving was enhanced during the pre-sunset period and WG2XKA was reported here a few times in full sun.  Evening propagation was very good on domestic paths from Texas so I decided to call CQ on JT9 for a few minutes, netting an easy, CW-level QSO from Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, located in Florida:



A few more calls  netted no additional QSO’s so I transitioned back to WSPR for the night.  My total reception reports were down  again, but still quite plentiful.  It was a good night in spite of the changing geomagnetic conditions.  Two-way reports were shared at WH2XCR and ZF1EJ.  My WSPR transition report details can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details can be viewed here.

WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity


It was another night of record activity which started before sunset here in Texas.  At 2320z, I observed 130 MF WSPR stations, followed by 141 MF WSPR stations at 0016z and by 0527z, Roger, VK4YB, reported that “…activity has exceeded 150 stations sooner than I expected. It hit 150 at 05:21 and VK4YB was not in that list…Only 30m with 174 and 40m with 225 were higher.”  So what’s next?  200 WSPR stations?  You have to keep in mind that these numbers only reflect WSPR activity and as Roger indicates, the numbers are not complete.  There is also CW, JT9, and OPERA activity.   As has been stated in the past, 630-meters truly has become a mainstream band.

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


European 24-hour WSPR activity


Central / Asiatic Russian 24-hour WSPR activity


Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Australian and New Zealander 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for thirteen WSPR stations and received reports from 45 unique stations including two-way reports with WH2XCR.  Eden and Toby, VE7CNF, were also on “JT9 watch” but it does not seem that a QSO attempt occurred during this session:

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, shared two-way reports with WH2XCR and provided reports for VK4YB.  The “diode effect” seems to have been active as it was easier for signals to move away from the electron density at the poles as geomagnetic conditions deteriorated.  This means that Laurence was heard better than he was hearing (aside from the report of VK4YB!).  Laurence’s report details for VK and KH6 can be viewed here.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, received reports from JH3XCU and shared two-way reports with WE2XPQ and ZF1EJ.  VK4YB was decoded in Hawaii but QRN levels in Australia were high, prohibiting two-way decodes during this session.  Merv had great coverage in North America, with two-way reports at WI2XBV and good reception of WG2XKA in Vermont.  A number of stations reported that they were hearing Merv but not intermediate stations.  That sounds like some kind of duct to me.  Merv’s JA, VK, ZF1 and KL7 report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity



“Today’s first illustration shows 13 hours of WG2XIQ peak WSPR signal on its mid-latitude 1080km NW path to Colorado on a storm-free night Jan. 29. The signal peaks of the upper graph were steady with only some very slow QSB over nighttime hours.  Post-sunset and around sunrise were rather dynamic regimes by comparison.

The bottom graph shows a selected interesting hour of raw XIQ WSPR signal strength at 1 second resolution, and the middle graph evens out some of the randomness to more clearly show instances of phasing QSB on 630m interspersed with other more nearly steady signal strength patterns.

The phasing QSB could entirely extinguish the XIQ signal as often as once a minute–twice per 110 second WSPR slot.  Powerful QSB undulations occurred at about an 18 milliHertz  rate.  Fast wiggles in signal strength up to about 50 mHz were also visible.  On some other WSPR slots during the night, sometimes the signal strength was essentially constant for the entire 110 seconds.

The QSB curves resolved  signal strength dynamics at least as detailed as anything  I have  blogged previously* and with three times the number of points per  WSPR 110 sec slot  compared to receptions I’ve seen so far that used Echo mode WSJT-X.

From a 630 m CW operator’s point of view, I think the main question  is whether QSB  is fast enough to obliterate a dit or separate a dah into two dits by punching a hole in it, like one sees on 20 meter HF for instance. That’s the main reason for caring about 630m QSB at a short timescale of a second or less.  It looks like the answer is “yes, indeed, sometimes.”  If even more rapid QSB exists at a rate many times a second, I don’t think we care from an operator viewpoint.

From a measurement point of view, Mike has successfully demonstrated a fast SNR measurement technique. The SNR curves and wiggles are qualitatively similar to Echo mode wsjt-x but 3x higher resolution at 110 SNR points per WSPR slot.

Mike connected his homebrew radio noise data logger to his K3 audio output, disabled AGC and set the bandwidth to 100 Hz. Low impedance RX audio drives the logger circuit, which has a half-wave diode and 1-second RC filter as shown in the second illustration. A 50K ohm potentiometer R is not shown but was added across 220 uF filter capacitor C to variably adjust the main time constant down to 1 second or less. The rectified, filtered audio then goes through much smaller valued RC RF bypass circuit between protective clamp diodes to the analog input of an Arduino microprocessor running this arduino sketch.

From an amateur science point of view, the possibly even fractional-second resolution attainable when its time constant is reduced may provide QSB data that might give greater insight into the  physical “texture” of the 630m reflecting ionosphere.  Right now, I think that less than 1-second resolution mainly impresses random variation on the signal strength information.  Possibly the random variation is due to small-scale texture in the ionosphere, but I do not know for sure whether or how one might confidently interpret such texture from data of this type.  Nevertheless, Mike successfully got the readings and we can decide how to geophysically interpret them later.

The leading and trailing edges of any static spikes looked clean and sharp at 1 second resolution. Earlier, Mike had eliminated RC decay tails by reducing the time constant of the circuit in preparation for the January 29 reception.   Thanks to Mike WD2XSH/12 for his remarkably successful receiving/logging efforts and to John WG2XIQ for providing the 630m signal!

*For a list of blog links about 630m QSB using Echo mode, go to http://njdtechnologies.net/011717

Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).