Radio: it's not just a hobby, it's a way of life

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR for storms, probably for much of the week if the forecast holds

Big night for trans-Atlantic reports from Central US and points East; DF2JP QRP kite antenna experiment is a great success; Trans-Pacific path diminishes as the session progresses

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for February 21, 2016 can be viewed here.

The band was alive with many big openings on trans-Atlantic paths, some less common than others.  Several stations probably awoke to a nice surprise when reviewing their overnight data.  The noise level was very quiet here in Texas and the storms that had been here during the previous night appear to be mostly rain now as they moved East.  Very few lightning crashes were observed during my CW activity at 0115z and band conditions were quiet late into the evening.

12-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions where quiet to elevated-quiet through the session with a Bz that continues to point to the North.  Solar wind velocities are down from the previous session, averaging 420 km/s.  DST variability appears to be calming and values are reaching positive levels.  This session looks similar to the previous session yet big openings appear to be more prominent.  Was storm noise and missing stations the limiting factor from the previous session or was it something else?  Maybe the extended periods of northerly Bz and decreasing solar wind are allowing some recovery.  DST values are better than they were and that indicator seems to go a long way when looking at high latitude openings.




Trans-Atlantic openings were big news during this session with reports extending beyond New England for the first time in several days.  Report details can be viewed here.









Joe, DF2JP, reports that he had enough wind to fly his kite antenna during the afternoon and early evening with very good success.  He started at 90 mW TPO, increasing power slightly to 1-watt ERP by 1900z and reported that his match was about 20 Hz low but it did not seem to matter much.  By 2245z Joe indicated that heavy rain brought the kite down and that was the end of the experiment on this night but it was very successful and he hopes to do it again soon.  His unique report details  from 83 stations can be viewed here.

DF2JP – kite antenna at 90 mW TPO


DF2JP – kite antenna – at 1-watt ERP


Paul, N1BUG, reported that he decoded thirteen WSPR stations including EA5DOM and G8HUH in addition to five decodes of WH2XCR.  Paul indicates that this session represents his best reports of WH2XCR.  Previously while using his “better” antenna Paul would occasionally receive a single decode.

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported that his QRN was lower allowing him to hear nine WSPR stations.  39 unique stations provided Al reports and of those, 31 stations were not part-5 stations.  Al suggests that it is time for the FCC to act!

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reports that he decoded eleven WSPR stations including EA5DOM and WH2XCR.

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported that he was decoded by 45 unique stations and he decoded eleven WSPR stations.  John started WSPR2 late after running WSPR-15 during the day.  John reports that “condx seemed a bit flat compared to last week.”  He received trans-Atlantic reports from G3XKR, G8HUH, LA2XPA/2, and PA0O.

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded ten WSPR stations and was decoded by 67 unique stations including EA5ZL, G8HUH, F1AFJ, and G3XKR.

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reported that conditions seemed to improve as his signal had nice coverage across the US.  Rick received reports from 25 unique stations and he decoded seven WSPR stations.  Rick’s unique report details for the session can be viewed here.

Dave, G3WCB, reported that his trans-Atlantic reports were rare at his stations although he reported WD2XSH/17 using a 60cm square tuned loop with a  Juma RX-1 and tuned preamp.

Roelof, PA0RDT, reported that he decoded WD2XSH/17 22 times during this session and 32 times in the previous session using an AFedri SDR and mini-whip.

Rik, OR7T / ON7YD, reported that he had four reports of WD2XSH/17 and acknowledged the massive amount of activity during this session and recent sessions.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported that his 2-watt ERP signal made it to the eastern US again, including first time reports from K8PZ.

WG2XSV session WSPR activity (courtesy W0YSE/7)


Mike, WA3TTS, reported, “Fairly solid opening to XCR overnight, but no luck on the trans Atlantic path. I was running a split IF for 630M WSPR2 and WSPR15 for awhile, then switched the second receiver to the 2200M band after 0500 UTC.  Also switched between the NE and NW EWE antennas several times up to around 0500, then switched to NW antenna for overnight.  I still have higher noise levels to the NE limiting reception here.”  Mike added that WH2XGP was at single-digit S/N levels.


Larry, W0OGH, reported that  he decoded thirteen WSPR stations for a total of  482 decodes between 0402Z thru 1512Z.  He provided these statistics:

0402Z    WG2XXM    +4    EM15    119 decodes
0404Z    WH2XGP    -2    DN07    81 decodes
0406Z    WH2XXP    +11    DM33    110 Decodes
0406Z    WI2XJQ    -15    EM12    54 decodes
0422Z    WH2XZO    -25    EM85    25 decodes
0452Z    WH2XCR    -29    BL11    23 decodes, last @ 1240Z
0456Z    WG2XKA    -25    FN33    6 decodes, last @ 0838Z
0516Z    WI2XJQ    -20    CN87    31 decodes
0616Z    WI2XRM    -24    EL98    3 decodes, last @ 0944Z
0634Z    WD2XSH/17    -21    FN42    5 decodes, last @ 1032Z
0634Z    ZF1EJ    -21    EK99    4 decodes, last @ 1134Z
0644Z    WG2XSV    -17    CN85    19 decodes
1020Z    WI2XBV    -13    EL99    2 decodes, last @ 1050Z

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

Roger, VK4YB, reported that “Most of the DX was early when noise was low. At 10:30 my 630m and 160m signals at VE6XH were similar strength. At 12:40 the 160m was unchanged but the 630m sig was not decoded.  Propagation slipped away on 630m, even VK sigs were down. Space weather showed everything normal.”  Roger also received reports from W7IUV and he provided reports to WH2XGP and WH2XXP.

Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from JH3XCU, and JR1IZM.

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for twelve WSPR stations and was reported by 54 unique stations including VK4YB and ZL2AFP.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for nine WSPR stations, including VK4YB.

WH2XGP session WSPR activity (Courtesy NI7J)


Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 68 unique stations including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, and ZL2AFP.

WH2XXP session WSPR activity (Courtesy NI7J)


Rudy, N6LF / WD2XSH/17, reported that he has assembled a detailed compendium of MF and LF antenna information for the amateur interested in getting on the air.  Its a theory, math and data intensive treatment of the material but if you need to calculate values, everything you need to do it can be found here.

This session was very good, not just because of the trans-Atlantic openings that I had to G3XKR and G8HUH but because receiving was very good again and QRN was down to levels where the band was usable again.  I called CQ on 474.5 kHz CW at 0115z for a bit and note that only a couple of very distant lightning crashes could be heard.  Based on WSPR reports just prior to the CW session, CW coverage should have been very good across the eastern half of the US.  Unfortunately no other stations came to play.  I plan on being back tonight.  Please give me a call if you hear me.  Band conditions seem to be very good for two-way CW QSO’s at the moment.  My WSPR transmission report details can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details can be viewed here.

WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Regional and continental WSPR activity follows:

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 seven WSPR stations and was reported by 42 unique stations, including WH2XCR, LA2XPA/2 and G8HUH.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a leaner session than he has seen recently in spite of quiet band conditions.  The question was asked whether the HAARP artificial aurora experiments during the daytime portion of the session might be impacting propagation but it is not believed to be a factor.  Laurence shared two-way reports with WH2XCR and those details can be viewed with Merv’s detail data.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, has Internet again and seemingly good propagation with reports of his signals at JH3XCU, VK4YB (two-way!), VK2XGJ, and WE2XPQ (two-way).  The path to Australia deteriorated on the approach to sunrise, which is opposite from most days when the path improves.  Merv provided reports for ZF1EJ, VK4YB, VK3ELV, and WE2XPQ.  Coverage around North America was very good, with two-way reports for WG2XKA.  Merv received reports from W2XOR, WB3AVN, WA3TTS and WH2XZO.  ZF, JA, VK, and KL7 report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


Jim, W5EST, presents, “630M DAYTIME WSPR15 REACHES 1200 km AND MORE”:

“Many thanks to John WG2XKA and Don WD2XSH/15 for transmitting 15 minutes-long WSPR15 at TxPct 50% for the last several days.  Our appreciation all around to the various receiving operators as listed likewise!

TABLE 1 shows their WSPR15 630m daytime decodes. Over a five day run period, one-watt XKA reached Ken SWL/K9 1171km, Doug WH2XZO 1235km peaking -26 dB SNR, Andy KU4XR/W15 peaked -19 dB (!) 1290km, and farthest decoding station KA9CFD at 1503km at -37 dB SNR.

XKA SNRs were mostly in the stronger -30s of dB SNR. The SWL/K9 decoder reached so deep it achieved a -38 dB WSPR15 decode of XKA about 2 pm in the afternoon local time, as well as other stronger decodes.

Lower radiated power XSH/15 reached Andy’s KU4XR/W15 at 778 km twice on Feb. 18 and John WG2XIQ at 491km many times starting Feb. 15 in deep -20s.  Andy’s decodes of Don’s XSH/15 were -32 and -34 dB SNR.  (I think Don’s actual EIRP is roughly about ¼ watt. KU4XR’s sideways heading to XSH/15’s large TX loop may lie partway down a pattern null.)

TABLE 2 shows comparative WSPR2 daytime decodes on Feb. 19, just for a one-day instance.  The WSPR2 decodes registered in the deep -20s close to the WSPR2 decoder threshold.  At 1080 km, Larry WH2XGP was consistently lobbing local midday RF signal for the successful decoding at N6SKM.   Post-sunrise decodes of WG2XIQ in Texas and WD2XSH/17 at distances 1100-1500 km were steadily pumping along at KR8T’s RX in Michigan, and with KU4XR in E TN decoding WD2XSH/17 from MA.

What inferences can we draw from all this activity?

First, I’d suggest that raw radiated power rules the 630m daytime, and stations with the best receiving antennas do too.

Second, daytime WSPR2 throws 2-minute slot after slot of information at a high enough rate that it convincingly competes with WSPR15 at both ground wave and sky wave distance.  WSPR15 reaches deep into the -30s dB SNR but must face 15 whole minutes of whatever QSB 630 daytime sky wave may choose to throw its way.

By contrast, if the less-sensitive  but shorter-slot WSPR2 can just perform occasionally, or take advantage of random wave peaks of 630m daytime sky wave (fade-ups) about which we know little, then WSPR2 can deliver comparable information at least as quickly as WSPR15. (Daytime sky wave signal strengths are usually too buried in noise for Echo mode WSJT-X to probe 630m daytime QSB.) Even if I’m downbeat assessing WSPR15 for 630m daytime, everyone’s hard work in this WSPR15 test is contributing additional data that can inform operating mode choices. Feel free to tell us a more upbeat view of 630m WSPR15 for this blog.

Third, there’s the question of a daytime QSO mode that reaches into the deepest -20s and even the stronger -30s dB SNR.  Beaconing is fine, and shouldn’t we investigate daytime QSO deep-SNR potential of 630m too?

One-watt JT9 may not be enough to cut into the noise soup at 1500km in 630m daytime. Higher power might support occasional JT9 across daytime medium-long distances, and regular ham power 630m at shorter ground wave distances out to 500 km or so can probably support JT9 too.  Perhaps some 630m operator can educate us how to use Opera 4 or Opera 8 to get a rough compromise between moderate transmission duration for a reasonably-paced QSO and depth of SNR penetration into the noise for regional and continental 630m daytime QSOs. Let it be your turn to contribute to this blog!”

WSPR15 decodes by SWL/K9 (IN) and VE6JY were nighttime decodes, omitted from this 630m daytime blog post. Available on request. One  XKA-swl/k9 -23dB SS decode straddled the terminator as darkness 2/20/17 spread further along the path during the 2230-2245 WSPR15 transmission.  VT SS 2229z. Midpath SS 2303z.  SWL/K9 SS 2329z. Numerous 491km WD2XSH/15-wg2xiq WSPR15 daytime decodes are omitted. See separate blog post http://njdtechnologies.net/021617/ .  They are believed to be ground wave.

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