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OFF AIR - but back tonight after dark for more CW

Very good propagation in North America but high QRN masked some signals; XE2EJ returns for a strong session, including reports for WH2XCR; WSPR15 activity at WD2XSH/15

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for February 16, 2016 can be viewed here.

The band was very much open during the evening and while I commented to others in the ON4KST chat that the band was slow to open in the late afternoon compared to previous sessions, I think the problem all along was that the noise level was elevated in the East and impacted pretty much all of the eastern portions of North America.  That high noise level eventually made it’s way to Texas by dark and it was noisy!  The storms in question had pushed off to sea so it is atypical for QRN to be as strong as it was here.  Perhaps the real issue was that the band was long, making it easier for QRN to propagate.  It was a quieter night in Oceania, at least early on but VK4YB reports that propagation was down compared to the previous session.

12-hour North American lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions were quiet but elevated compared to the previous very quiet session.  Was this the reason for some of the improved trans-Atlantic conditions?  The Bz is currently pointing to the South although solar wind velocities remain at calm levels, averaging 307 km/s and down from the previous session.  DST values presented a nice increase to positive levels for both indicators shown below, although both retreated overnight. It possible that we are currently experiencing the onset enhancement ahead of the coronal hole that was forecast for the coming sessions.

 

 

 

Trans-Atlantic openings were good but geographically ‘spread out’.  This session was one where some stations made it across while others did not and the reasoning doesn’t seem to make obvious sense.  Noise definitely limited the reception of European stations in North America.  Report details for this session can be viewed here.

ZF1EJ –> F1AFJ

WH2XXP –> LA2XPA/2

WG2XIQ –> G8HUH, G3XKR, LA2XPA/2

WG2XPJ –> F1AFJ, G3XKR, G8HUH, LA2XPA/2, PA0O

WD2XSH/17 –> DL4RAJ, F1AFJ, F59706, F6GEX, G0LRD, G0MJI, G3XKR, G4KPX, G8HUH, LA2XPA/2, LA3EQ/MW2, ON7ZO, PA0O, PA0RDT

Jim, W5EST, is performing experiments using WSPR15 with WD2XSH/15, also located in the Little Rock area.  Jim requests that stations use WSPRx and ARGO to listen for Don’s signal, particularly during the day and provide screen captures, where applicable.  Reception reports from my station yesterday presented consistent -27 dB S/N average signals through the day.  This path is likely all ground wave and its possible that I could decode Don as consistently using WSPR2 on a quiet day.  Data from previous sessions where I was active during the day supports this idea.  Assistance from stations that are further away and likely on daytime skywave paths are requested.  Some of Jim’s analysis from the first day of work as well as some instruction on how  receive stations can concurrently listen for Don’s signal as they decode WSPR2 transmissions can be found at the end of this report.

WD2XSH/15 daytime WSPR15 signal at WG2XIQ

 

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported that his activity overnight was limited due to wind and QRN.  He decoded eleven WSPR stations and was decoded by 44 unique stations, including XE2EJ.  Doug indicates that his numbers were down due to his limited transmitting time as a result of high wind.

Paul, N1BUG, reported that he decoded eleven WSPR stations in spite of an extremely noisy night in Maine.  He indicated that none of the reports were noteworthy.

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported high winds and even higher noise during the session but conditions had improved some by morning.  Al provided reports to four WSPR stations and was decoded by 29 unique stations.

Larry, W0OGH, located in Arizona, reported that  he decoded eleven WSPR stations (328 decodes) between 0206Z and 1402Z. He provided the following statistics:

0206Z    WH2XXP    +6    DM33    121 spots
0210Z    WG2XIQ    +3    EM12    66 spots
0234Z    ZF1EJ    -29    EK99    15 spots
0310Z    WH2XZO    -23   EM85    20 spots
0446Z    VE7CNF    -11   CN89    9 spots
0520Z    VE7BDQ    -11   CN89    23 spots
0544Z    WG2XSV    -20   CN85    25 spots
0602Z    WG2XPJ    -26   FN34    2 spots
0616Z    WH2XCR    -25   BL11    42 spots, last @ 1344Z
1020Z    WI2XBV    -24   EL99    3 spots, last @ 1114Z
1108Z    WE2XPQ    -28   BP51    2 spots, last @ 1204Z

Clearly the band was active, as Larry only decoded WH2XXP at +6 dB S/N.

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that the “Path to XCR was better than path to NW transcon overnight, despite the increased noise levels….”

“Interesting as XIQ path to XCR is usually much better than for wa3tts as far as total spots counts, but not last night….”

28 spots:

Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.

Roger, VK4YB, reported that the “Session started with low noise for a change and some early DX was spotted. Propagation was down a little on last night. I switched to the JA beam from 11:56 to 13:12 but there [was] only one DX report in that period (from JA3TVF). From 13:14 the NE beam resumed North American reports.  Directivity of beams was very good, so take-off angles were low. Path to JA was poor.”  Roger provided reports for WH2XXP and received reports from CF7MM, JA3TVF, VE6XH, VE7BDQ, VE7CA, VE7CNF, and WH2XGP.  As JR1IZM had not received Roger before bedtime, no JT9 QSO attempts were made.

Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from 7L1RLL4 and JH1INM.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from seventy unique stations including  JA1NQI, VK4YB, and ZL2BCG.

John, VE7BDQ, reported that he was transmitting three times each hour as he has in previous session. After five hours he received reports from 33 unique stations.  His best DX (over 2000 km) follows:  WE2XPQ, W0OGH, WD0AKX, W0JW, WA9VNJ, WG2XIQ, K7ZT, XE2EJ, WI2XFI, WA3TTS, KB4OER, WH2XCR, and ZF1EJ.  John provided reports for ten unique stations, including VK4YB and ZF1EJ, and indicated that most of those ten station were over 2000km away.

 I thought propagation was very strong but the noise made my activity as an operator a challenge.  I had intended to operate CW at 0130z but after listening a bit I realize that there was likely not going to be an opportunity to complete a QSO under those noise conditions.  For that matter there were likely not going to be many that would take the time to listen and those that did might not hear me.  WSPR reports were late to start, as previously reported, but it seems clear that noise was the limiting factor.  My receive totals were down overnight and can be viewed here.  My WSPR transmission numbers were typical although trans-Atlantic openings were very good, with reports from G3XKR, G8HUH, and LA2XPA/2 in the East and WE2XPQ in the West.  Those report details can be viewed here.  I also shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.  Aside from the noise, it was a good night here.

WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Activity was very good during the evening and began early, with 116 MF WSPR stations at 2315z, 127 MF WSPR stations at 0000z, and 131 MF WSPR stations at 0300z, all reported on the WSPRnet activity page which historically provides  low counts.  Activity was very consistent through the evening, which is remarkable compared to just one year ago when eighty stations were considered a lot.  Thanks for your participation.

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 six WSPR stations and was reported by forty unique stations including F1AFJ and two-way reports with WH2XCR.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Fernando, XE2EJ, located in La Paz on the Baja peninsula, returned during this session and had a strong night, providing reports for seven WSPR stations, including WH2XCR.

XE2EJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had no JA openings during this session but did well into North America, including providing early reports for WG2XSV.  He also decoded VK4YB and hear my signal here in Texas.  Noise prevented me from reciprocating.  Laurence’s report details for VK and KH6 can be viewed here.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, took advantage of a very robust East / West path with numerous reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI, JA3TVF, E1JDL, and JR1IZM.  Coverage to Oceania was also very good, with Merv providing reception reports for VK3ELV, VK3HP, VK5FQ and sharing two-way reports with VK4YB.  Merv also shared two-way reports with ZF1EJ and WE2XPQ and received reports from XE2EJ (first time!), VK2XGJ, and ZL2BCG.  WA3TTS had a nice night of reports for Merv in spite of high noise in the East.  He also decoded a number of stations in the East, including WI2XBV, WH2XZO, and WG2XPJ.  Merv’s DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Jim, W5EST, presents, “WSPR15 DAYTIME TRANSMISSIONS FROM DON W5OR WD2XSH/15”:

“Today’s illustration shows Slow QRSS30 daytime imaging of WSPR15 by ARGO at 491 km by John WG2XIQ. You can see the characteristic XSH/15 one-Hz jump-decay frequency signature inside each 15 minute slot.  John’s WSPR15 decoder worked perfectly and delivered a strong sequence like -27, -26, -26, -28, -27, -27, -26 during the midday Feb. 15.  The +/-1 dB variation is probably as much due to statistical properties of the decoder as it is to 630m daytime prop variation.

Don, W5OR WD2XSH/15, is transmitting on the hour and half-hour day and night until at least until Sunday Feb. 20.  WSPR15 takes 15 minutes to complete instead of 2 minutes.  Don automatically signs “WD2XSH/15” CW at the end of each WSPR15 transmission.

WSPR15 has a waterfall that holds almost 2 hours of transmissions.  Also use ARGO Slow QRSS30 or Slow QRSS60 mode to concurrently image Don’s transmissions at 1609 Hz.  ARGO display of Slow QRSS60 holds 2 hours 45 minutes of imagery so you can be away from the receiver in the meantime.

Ground wave probably accounts for the steady daytime -26 dB WSPR15 receptions John XIQ got Feb. 15, and similar daytime WSPR2 SNRs from XSH/15 on the database Feb. 14. Around sunset SS and sunrise SR, transitions of XSH/15 SNR at 491km to XIQ happened between higher nighttime SNRs and steady daytime SNRs–more evidence of daytime ground wave.

WSPR15 can be demanding because it may heat your transmitter’s power amplifier PA more than WSPR2.  WSPR15 calls for favorable frequency stability in both TX and RX equipment of stations at each end of the propagation path—preferably less than total TX+RX stability of 5 Hz over 10 hours and less than 1 Hz over each 15 minute WSPR15 transmission interval.   Slow QRSS60 from XSH/15 to W5EST at 16km so far indicates rock-solid freq stability 475.809 decreasing 0.5 Hz to 475.8085 over 20 hours.  Don’s converted NDB transmitter handles continuous duty well.

WSPR15 has a slow information rate, so it’s best used when WSPR2 would deliver fewer decodes per day or per night than WSPR15 would.  Laurence WE2XPQ has commented favorably on nighttime WSPR15 for long paths from his QTH, see Feb. 17, 2016 blog at

http://njdtechnologies.net/hanging-on-for-dear-life-as-geomagnetic-storm-conditions-increase-attenuation-at-high-latitudes-with-a-few-surprises-lower-latitudes-enjoy-a-great-session-first-qrss3-qso-between-f4dtl-and-ea5dom/  (scroll ¼ down)

Here’s how to concurrently receive WSPR15 in addition to WSPR2 already at your place. WSPR15 is available on the wsprx decoder but may not be on wsjtx. If you don’t have WSPR15 or you think your installed WSPR15 is erratic, then download the latest version 08r3058.exe from  http://wsprnet.org/drupal/node/3993 .  Keep RX dial on 474.200 since that works for both WSPR2 and WSPR15. Set TxPct to zero in WSPR15 unless you transmit it. Click “Start RX” at lower right if the decoder isn’t already started. The WSPR15 curtain display will show the 1600-1625 Hz WSPR15 audio band on its own waterfall, and I like the rainbow palette.  You can already see the 1400-1600 WSPR2 band on WSPR2 software’s own waterfall.

WSPR15 may be useful in the 630m daytime, but so far we have only begun to learn about it.  Please send us any interesting screenshots at any daytime distance or any remarkably far nighttime distance!  We’ll monitor the WSPR database for your reception achievements in the meantime.  TU & GL!”

NOTES ON ARGO MODES FOR IMAGING WSPR15
Slow mode QRSS60 packs the 15 minute, 0.7 Hz wide WSPR15 image pixels so they are packed squarer and smaller (or tighter) and therefore brighter than either normal/fast QRSS60 or fast QRSS120 can. Because QRSS60 has more Hz/inch on the display than QRSS120, QRSS60 can scope a wider 5 Hz freq range when you don’t know the TX freq for sure, as well as compress the vertical spread of the pixels twice as much as QRSS120. Slow QRSS60 gives about 2 1/2  hours of time coverage, twice as much as Slow QRSS30.
Slow QRSS30 may give equal pixel density to Slow QRSS60 because the frequency scale would compress pixels vertically and spread them horizontally.  If the horizontal spread is not too noisy, Slow QRSS30 can give better visibility of QSB details.  The 10 Hz vertical scale on QRSS30 can provide even more assurance that you can capture a WSPR15 signal from a poorly known TX frequency or one that’s drifting because of drift in your RX.

 


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