The details for February 19, 2016 can be viewed here.
Much like the previous session I believe that this session was largely on auto-pilot for many stations due to the concurrent running of the ARRL DX CW contest. While I only had time on Saturday to briefly listen to the QRN level here, the noise floor was relatively low, certainly lower than recently observed, but numerous lightning crashes could be heard during the late evening, presumably from storms off of the Atlantic coast or southwestern Mexico. Propagation looked pretty good around North America although it seems obvious that current elevated geomagnetic conditions, including high solar wind velocities and compromised magnetic field, are having some kind of an impact. It could be a lot worse. Storm QRN was a player again in Oceania but was improving this morning, allowing a couple of stations to be heard in Australia.
Geomagnetic conditions were at elevated-quiet levels through the session. The Bz continues to be variable but is currently just slightly South of the centerline and this unstable behavior has been common through the session. Solar wind velocities continue above 500 km/s and currently average near 540 km/s. DST values continue to meander around at negative levels showing little stability and may mean poor conditions for higher latitudes in the days to come.
Trans-Atlantic WSPR reports were down again after a really strong previous session for stations in New England. Report details can be viewed here.
EA5DOM –> WD2XSH/17
WD2XSH/17 –> DL4RAJ, EA5ZL, EA7HPM, F1AFJ, F59706, G0LUJ, G3XKR, LA2XPA/2, LA3EQ, OR7T, PA0O, PA0RDT
Paul, N1BUG, reported that he decoded ten WSPR stations, one of which was WH2XGP on the transcontinental path whose best report was at -19 dB S/N. Paul has been using his 80-meter dipole for 630-meter reception but has made some changes that will allow him to use his best receive antenna concurrently with 2200-meters. He added in a later comment: “Relatively low QRN here last night. Started out very good but levels increased somewhat late in the night.”
Joe, K9MRI, was receiving briefly during the evening and reported at 0230z that he had decoded twelve WSPR stations. Joe is using a 160-meter Carolina Windom with one end supported at 100-foot. It seem to hear very well.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reported a good session with greatly improved conditions over the previous nights. He provided reports for ten WSPR stations and was reported by thirty unique stations, including ZF1EJ. Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, indicated that transcontinental openings continue to improve as he provided reports to ten WSPR stations and was decoded by fifty unique stations.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded nine WSPR stations and was decoded by 67 unique stations including WE2XPQ, whose best report was -20 dB S/N at a distance of 4636km, WH2XCR, best at +1 dB S/N at a distance of 6007km, and ZF1EJ, best at +11 dB S/N at a distance of 2367km.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported a plethora of stations and was even decoded by a number of transcontinental stations, including a new stations in the Midwest:
Neil added that he has experienced absolutely no QRN and only a moderate noise floor increase from neighborhood electronics.
Mike, WA3TTS, reported “Some improvement overnight, best search by distance results, XCR, XSV, CF7MM, XJQ all heard…”
Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.
Roger, VK4YB, reported that QRN was very heavy early in the evening but abated as the evening wore on, allowing him to decode WH2XXP and WH2XCR. The JA path continues to be closed from his station which is interesting because his location and antenna capabilities suggest that he should make the JA path with relative ease, particularly given that openings have existed in recent sessions, including this one, for VK3ELV. It another amazing feature of these bands and suggests that the playing field is relatively level for longer-haul paths. As of 1436z, Roger’s best outbound DX was VE6XH at 12592 km. Roger also received reports from W7IUV.
Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from JH3XCU.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 72 unique stations including JR1IZM and VK4YB.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for fourteen WSPR stations and received reports from 48 unique stations. As W7IUV, he provided reports for fifteen stations, including VK4YB.
I started WSPR at 2154z while on a quick stop at home. There were no early, full-sun reports of my signal but they did begin as darkness fell in the North Texas area. I did not return home until late but did note a number of very good reports during the evening, including JT9 and CW-level decodes from and for a number of stations. I expect to be QRT for the coming few sessions due to local weather but that can change with the forecast. My WSPR transmission report details can be found here and my WSPR reception report details can be found here.
Joe, DF2JP, reported his intent to fly a kite antenna in the coming sessions but indicates in a follow up email that it will not happen today due to poor weather conditions in his operating area. Joe provided the following details and pictures of the setup:
“I plan for the next days a Kite antenna test in MF / WSPR. Start date only dependent on the appropriate winds. The antenna is a quarter-wave radiator (approx. 450 ft high) with 3 radials. TX Power <5Watts. Location: http://www.df2jp.dxx.eu/Langwelle.html
Unfortunately, we have had no west winds for weeks, but according to the preview this could change tomorrow evening (sunday). The antenna is calculated wit 3dB Gain and an elevation of 19°. So I hope the conditions remains as good as the last days, or better nights ;o)”
There were 124 MF WSPR stations observed on the WSPRnet activity page at 0420z. KR8T was reported by WG2XSV to be a new receive stations. Welcome aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, continues in a receive-only capacity this weekend due to the running of the ARRL DX CW contest this weekend. Eden provided reports to twelve WSPR stations including WH2XCR on a path that has been absent for a few nights.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced good coverage in an around the Pacific Northwest, British Columbia and Albert with reports also for WG2XXM in Oklahoma. Last also provided reports for VK4YB and shared two-way reports with WH2XCR. He indicates that he was transmitting every six minutes. Report details for VK and KH6 can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for VK3ELV, VK3HP and shared two-way reports with VK4YB and WE2XPQ. He received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI, JA1PKG, JH3XCU, and JR1IZM. Coverage of North America was very good once again, providing reports for stations on the East coast, including WD2XSH/17, WH2XZO (two-way), WG2XPJ and receiving reports from WA3TTS. Report details for JA and VK decodes can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “630M N.AMERICA-GERMANY WSPR2 DECODES: BIG CHALLENGE TO EXPLAIN”:
“Doug K4LY WH2XZO asked for ideas to explain the unusual transatlantic (TA) decodes Feb. 14. http://njdtechnologies.net/021417/ (scroll 10%). Brief, localized decodes 0606-0614z happened between DH5RAE, DJ0ABR, DL4RAJ of E. Bavaria and a wide geographic footprint from ZF1EJ to New England’s WG2XKA. XZO alone delivered decodes in the teens to the three German stations. Decode at WD2XSH/17 in MA “should” have occurred but didn’t!
The Germans probably benefited from sunrise enhancement since the various decodes all came within minutes of sunrise 0615-0618z at all their stations. On Feb. 14, the SR heading in E Bavaria was 111 degrees, very nearly precisely in line with the 298 degree heading DH5RAE’s RF signal departed on transmit to reach the RX at station WH2XZO. (111+180=291 degrees). ZF1 and W1 were angularly farther off the in-line relationship that the SR enhancement quite likely favored.
Sunrise enhancement can’t be the whole explanation. Sunrise could have later benefitted F1AFJ, PA0RDT and G3XKR as well, who did have their RXs active at the time. So why didn’t F1AFJ and G3XKR also benefit from the SR enhancement? I think one needs to bring in an explanation that gets to the heart of the matter, such as iono-disturbance 1300-2500km WNW of the Germans.
See today’s illustration suggesting a zone west of Ireland in which such disturbance patch might have extended. That disturbance would not have affected hop reflections vital to the N.Am.-German paths and would block the hop reflections shown as gray locations critical to complete the N.Am.-UK/France paths according to such an account. I think that 3-hop connected XKA with Bavaria, and 4-hop paths went to/from SC and from ZF1. The lack of XSH/17 decodes could be explained by the patch or by diverse receptions that I’ve noted in New England before. http://njdtechnologies.net/a-slow-start-yields-good-session-in-north-america-midwinter-630-meter-activity-weekend-almost-here-we2xpq-ve7bdq-on-wspr15-wh2xcr-vk2xgj-ja1nqi-2-ve1hf-trans-atlantic-reports-high-level/
Now, one could instead imagine that Feb. 14 TA was all just a mysterious pattern of good and bad reflections all over the Atlantic that by chance just happened to give the decodes that occurred. But that approach seems to call for lots of coinciding happenstances over the several hours of TA common darkness. So I looked for the simplest geometric explanation of all the facts even if I don’t understand the geophysics of what would cause such a patch of iono-disturbance.
More specifically, consider the possibility of some regional patchy disturbance of the E-layer between about 1300km-2500km NW of the German stations. The first hop reflections out from Germany would be 900-1100km on the various paths I believe, and the second hop reflections would be around 2700-3300km. A patch of disturbance in between would blank UK, France and Netherlands but let the Germans receive and transmit out to eastern N. America. East of Germany there is too little activity and more distance, so if prop were good we wouldn’t have WSPR spots.
There was an instance about a year and a half ago* when John XIQ’s 630m signal from N. Texas was blanked for about 45 minutes at three stations WA3TTS/2, WB8ILI and SWL/K9 in the far upper Midwest, and then receptions of the XIQ signal returned. If a patch of relatively unreflective ionosphere is possible, that patch would have been of comparable size to what I’d propose might be responsible for the German decodes and blanking others.
I’ve appreciated Doug’s challenge to sketch out an explanation of Feb. 14 TA. What do others of us think?
HamCom 2016 W5EST slide 24:
Accompanying presentation audio (40:30 – 42:07):
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).