The details for February 26, 2016 can be viewed here.
For the bulk of North America this seems to have been a quiet session. There were storms in the Northeast which contributed to elevated noise for a few stations and even kept some stations off the air. As last night was the second night of the CQWW 160-meter phone contest, I cannot imagine what it must have been like, particularly with so many active, large stations in the region of most active weather. 630-meters sounded great here in Texas. I could detect very distant lightning crashes at or below the noise floor but they were weak enough that even weak calling stations during my brief CW session would likely have been heard.
Geomagnetic conditions continue to moderate and have generally returned to quiet levels. The Bz is pointing to the North, very close to the center line and solar wind velocities have returned to low levels, averaging 395 km/s. DST values have also generally returned to normal, in some cases showing a positive push. High variability observed in previous sessions is less evident in this session.
Steve, G3XKR, reported a three-way CW QSO between LA1TN, DJ6CB, and IK2DED on the RSGB-LF reflector:
“3-way 630m CW QSO on 472.4kHz approx 2130z to 2149z between LA1TN DJ6CB and IK2DED. Good sigs in IO70ux: LA1TN RST 549, DJ6CB RST 549 IK2DED RST 329 to 539 deep QSB”
Paul, W0RW / WA2XRM, reported that he received screen captures from Mark, KU7Z, located in Utah and Andy, KU4XR, in Tennessee (shown below) during his evening QRSS3 operating session. I listened for Paul’s signal aurally around 0315z and could hear on-off-keying where his signal should be located that was roughly QRSS3 in structure. The signal was armchair copy in a 2.8 kHz bandwidth in spite of nearby carriers.
Trans-Atlantic WSPR openings from North America to Europe were good with WH2XZO and my station receiving reports from DL4RAJ’s receivers and WD2XSH/17 running the gamut again, receiving reports from seven European DXCC entities. The path to North America was marred by noise so no European stations were reported here. Report details can be viewed here.
WH2XZO –> DL4RAJ, DL4RAJ/2
WG2XIQ –> DL4RAJ, DL4RAJ/2
WD2XSH/17 –> DF2JP, DH5RAE, DJ0ABR, DL4RAJ, DL4RAJ/2, EA8/LA3JJ, F1AFJ, F59706, F6GEX, G0LUJ, G3WCB, G3XKR, G4CPD/1, G8HUH, G8LCO, LA2XPA/2, LA3EQ, OR7T, PA0O, PA0RDT, PA7EY
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported improved conditions and made observations about his extended period unique statistics in these comments:
“Last night was better than the previous two when both QRN and conditions were limiting. The 15 unique decodes and 49 who decoded XZO included both DL4RAJs, using his beverage as I recall, and VE7.
So how was the last two weeks? I don’t think I’d ever looked at uniques for a two week period. Mine were 28 and 119, numbers higher than I expected, and maybe indicating how much conditions change from night to night with some stations operating 630M only occasionally. “
Paul, N1BUG, reported that his QRN was down significantly from previous sessions but he believes that he lost a few WSPR decodes to noise in spite of the improvements. He decoded eleven WSPR stations “including WH2XGP and a new one for me, WD2XSH/20 both on the transcon path. ” Its good to hear that Rudy is QRV again!
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reported interesting band behavior that was different from the previous session. During the previous session, Rick received reports concentrated in the Midwest, which was overwhelmed with a lightning-rich storm system that was moving East. The fact that any stations could hear through the lightning noise is impressive on its own. During this session, Rick reported an absence of reports from stations in the Midwest with a concentration of reports this night in the East coast in the vicinity of the storm system that was moving out to sea. In the past, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, has reported propagation enhancement on 160-meters along frontal boundaries and there seems to be some data to suggest that this behavior is also observed at his station on 630-meters. With all that in mind, are we observing a similar weather enhancement from these storms with respect to Rick’s signal or is something else happening? Rick also notes, and correctly so, that the DST was improved for this session which often results in longer haul openings. There is a lot going on here although not enough information to make much more than guesses but it is still interesting and needs more observation. Rick indicates that there were WH2XZO reports but nothing for ZF1EJ. He decoded ten WSPR stations and was decoded by thirty unique stations. His unique report detail can be viewed here.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, performed a nice experiment during this session which shows, to a degree, the superior performance of a short, toploaded vertical over a radial system when compared to a low, horizontal wire / dipole. This should give hope to anyone who thinks that their short vertical cannot possibly provide results on 630-meters:
“I decided to do a session with very low power to see who I could reach….Here is who heard my 100mW ERP this session:
I Got 7 spots from XCR, best at -24, 2 spots from you/XIQ at -29, 2 from XAR (-27), 2 from NI7J (-17) and many from each of the others in the list. It was fun to try something different….
….and I heard these 9 stations:
My other radio/antenna on 160m did not do as well by comparison. It was running 10w TPO to a low HORIZONTAL OCFD at 17ft AGL and achieved a best distance of only 1649 km. LONG LIVE THE TOP LOADED VERTICAL. “
Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.
Roger, VK4YB, reported at 0857z a “Huge area of very noisy storms over Queensland and NSW. The receiver will get little use tonight. I will Tx. There’s a lot of ZL activity tonight, although ZL3DMH has been incorrectly reported on 630m when he was on 20m.” By 1300z, Roger reported that there was “No DX heard as expected. 20 stations reported VK4YB. Best DX Don, VE6JY. 630/160m tests with VE6XH continue. Neck and neck tonight. 160m, 8 spots, best -20, 630m, 17 spots, best -19.” So this seems to suggest, based on Roger’s receive numbers in North America, that the trans-Pacific path was open, even to higher latitudes, but he was noise limited. Such is life in the Summer. We will get out taste in North America soon enough. Roger received reports from CF7MM, VE6JY, VE6XH, and VE7BDQ.
John, VE7BDQ, reported that he was listening for over twelve hours with ten reports, including WH2XZO and WH2XCR at distances over 3000 km. John reported that he would be transmitting until nearly 1600z. He provided late reports for VK4YB at 1022z at a level of -27 dB S/N.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for seven WSPR stations and was reported by 56 unique stations including JA1NQI and ZL2AFP. As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for seven WSPR stations.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 68 unique stations including ZL2AFP.
Yesterday it was reported that Joe, DF2JP, would be transmitting overnight with the quarter-wave kite antenna. There was a mishap after dark and Joe’s transmitting session ended early, however. He hopes to be back under better weather conditions but reports that tonight and the coming nights won’t offer the necessary wind conditions. So instead Joe is spending time evaluating the Super-KAZ antenna. Joe is evaluating the antenna on 137 kHz and 472 kHz and offered these comments thus far for his 472 kHz evaluation:
“In the next days no kite start is possible, we get storm again. Since I have not sent, I was able to compare my Wellbook ALA-100 loop with the new Super KAZ. The Super-KAZ is a very quiet antenna, like a beverage, the Wellbrook loop is a bit nervous, but that can also be the preferred direction. Problem is the terminator, I have changed it 1 OHM steps to achieve the best F / B ratio. Now the F / B ratio is 24 dB at 1056 OHM. Yesterday night the [Super-KAZ] beat the loop, these two decodes were not on the loop but on the [Super-KAZ]:”
2017-02-26 04:24 WD2XSH/17 0.475646 -29 0 FN42pb 5 DF2JP JO31hh 5709 51 2017-02-26 04:04 WD2XSH/17 0.475647 -27 0 FN42pb 5 DF2JP JO31hh 5709 51
So far Joe seems to be content with the performance and I expect much more evaluation in the future.
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, reported recently that he is listening with a modified K9AY loop that utilizes three-turns per loop with a high degree of success. Ron explains:
“This K9AY is slightly modified with each loop being 40 ft. total on bottom with a top height at 30 ft. I added 10 ft. in length on bottom total and 5 ft. to top height verses the standard K9AY with each 3 turn loop at a total length of 336 ft.
Testing with an NDB at 202 KHz and no preamp this is the results using an Icom 7700:
SW- 6.5 S units
NW- 3 S units
NE- 0 quite
SE- 4.5 S units
The switching of direction and what I recorded from the S-meter is what really surprised me. I had to do this several times still staring in disbelief!”
What I am very curious about is how this approach compares to the traditional K9AY loop and the modified W1VD version of the K9AY loop. I am a big believer in big aperture receive antennas so there is a lot of room for work in this area and Ron’s data shows that there is F/B achievable at LF with the K9AY system with reasonable signal levels.
The band was plenty quiet during the evening but like a few stations reported, openings seemed slow to manifest. I can’t quite put my finger on what was happening as noise was generally low and there was plenty of activity. Perhaps its the slow transition to Spring band conditions. The band should begin to open later as we continue to experience more daylight. It will be ruined once we transition to daylight savings time (a complete WASTE of time, in my opinion!). At 0500z I called CQ for a bit on 474.5 kHz CW but completed no additional QSO’s and did not even have any phantom dits coming from the ether. Most of the guys I would work were either in bed or in the CQWW 160-meter phone contest so I didn’t have high expectations. WSPR reports were typical with many CW-level reports and even more JT9-level reports through the evening and overnight. It was nice to receive reports from both of DL4RAJ’s stations. My receive numbers were down a bit but a number of stations were off air for weather and the contest this weekend so I don’t believe that the decrease was related to propagation as much as a first glance at the data suggests. Storms are possible for me tonight so I may be QRT. I hope not. My WSPR transmission report details can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details can be viewed here.
Band activity was high, with 130 MF WSPR stations observed on the WSPRnet activity page at 0500z.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, continues to operate in a “receive only” capacity this weekend as his stations is participating in the CQWW 160-meter phone contest. Eden provided reports for seven WSPR stations in the US.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had a good night of reports into JA, with decodes from JA1NQI and JA3TVF. He also provided reports for VK4YB and shared two-way reports with WH2XCR. Laurence’s JA, VK and KH6 report details can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, was able to get a signal into Oceania during the session, in spite of high QRN in Australia. He provided reports to VK3ELV, shared two-way reports with VK4YB and received reports from VK2XGJ and ZL2AFP. Coverage to JA was also very good with reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI, JH3XCU, and JR1IZM. Coverage around North America was good with reports along the East coast for WH2XZO, WI2XRM and WD2XSH/17 and reception reports in the East from WA3TTS and K8PZ. Coverage around the central and western portions of North America was nominal. Merv’s DX report details can be viewed here.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).