It was good to be back on the air after the previous session “cried wolf”. I’m not complaining about the bad weather missing my QTH but I do hate to miss good openings. Fortunately this session was very good as well, maybe even better than the previous night might have been.
Powerful storms to the East and into the Midwest increased the noise floor here in Texas last night. In fact many stations at a variety of locations around North America indicated that their noise level increased as the session progress. Fortunately propagation was very good and while European reports in North America were down a bit from the previous session, the reciprocal path was outstanding. On the West coast the paths to Japan offered exciting reports as well while the paths to Oceania continue to show some life.
Geomagnetic conditions were quiet but slightly elevated, presumably ahead of the next geoeffective coronal hole that has been reported to be in position around March 1. The Bz has been pointing slightly to the South through much of the session and solar wind velocities have increased slightly, averaging 390 km/s. DST values have flattened out at negative levels, just below the center line.
While I am thinking about it, Roger, VK4YB, is without Internet at the moment and repairs may take some time (last outage took two weeks to repair!). Roger indicates that if big openings occur on WSPR, he will transition to JT9, operating at 474.2 kHz + 1380 Hz, of thereabouts. He won’t have the chance to coordinate in the ON4KST chat so this will be truly old-school radio operating. Be sure to watch Roger’s activity and listen for his JT9 signal if propagation is hot.
Trans-Atlantic WSPR reports were very plentiful and the spotlight seems to have gotten brighter in some areas while moving to illuminate others after a few sessions without openings. Report details can be viewed here.
DH5RAE –> WD2XSH/17
WI2XRM –> EA8/LA3JJ
WH2XZO –> EA8/LA3JJ
G8HUH –> N2NOM, N1BUG, WD2XSH/17
WG2XXM –> EA8/LA3JJ, F1AFJ, F59706, G3XKR
WG2XIQ –> EA8/LA3JJ, F59706, G3XKR, G8HUH
WG2XKA –> EA8/LA3JJ, F1AFJ, F4DTL/2, F59706, G3XKR, G4CPD/1, G4KPX, G8HUH, OR7T, PA0O
WG2XPJ –> DH5RAE, DJ0ABR, DK7FC/P, DL4RAJ, DL4RAJ/2, F1AFJ, F4DTL/2, F59706, G0LUJ, G3WCB, G3XKR, G4CPD/1, G4KPX, G8HUH, G8LCO, ON7ZO, OR7T, PA0O, PA0RDT, PE1RKT
WD2XSH/17 –> DF2JP, DF4UE, DH5RAE, DJ0ABR, DK7FC, DK7FC/P, DL/PA0EHG, DL0HT, DL1GCD, DL4RAJ, DL4RAJ/2, EA8/LA3JJ, F1AFJ, F4DTL/2, F4KJI, F59706, F6GEX, G0LUJ, G3WCB, G3XKR, G4CPD/1, G4ETG, G4KPX, G8HUH, G8LCO, GM4DIJ, LA2XPA/2, LA3EQ, M0XDK, ON5TA, ON7ZO, OR7T, PA0O, PA0RDT, PA3EGH, PA7EY, PE1RKT, PI4THT, SP5XSB
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, returned to air with good result after recent poor weather in Vermont. John explains:
“A strong session overall after being QRT for a week due to travel and wildly unsettled weather. XKA was heard by 61 and heard 17 on WSPR-2. Ten unique TA spots were logged from EA8/LA3JJ, F1AFJ, F4DTL/2, F59706, G3XKR, G4CPD/1, G4KPX, G8HUH, OR7T and PA0O. TNX!”
Paul, N1BUG, characterized this session by “increasing QRN and poorer propagation” in Maine. He decoded eighteen WSPR stations including G8HUH, WH2XGP, WI2XJQ, and VE7BDQ. Paul submitted his application for a Part-5 grant yesterday for 472 and 137 kHz and a variety of modes. I expect his application to progress through the system fairly quickly.
Clemens, DL4RAJ, reported on the RSGB-LF reflector that:
“the declining sunspots seem to cause increasingly excellent band conditions on MW. Besides other european stations with plenty of decodes of WD2XSH/17 last night I’ve spotted this station 58 times while I remember that one year ago I got a handful spots per night of him at best. 36 spots laid in a SNR range between -11dB and -20dB,which means an audible signal at 25Hz BW. WG2XPJ was spotted 7 times by me.”
Patrick, F59706, sent this nice note this morning detailing his successes for the session:
“What a great night (feb28) ! i heard five unique part5 stations; WD2XSH/17, WG2XPJ , WG2XKA, WG2XXM and you WG2XIQ. That is my best score in a very low noise session. I’m now all night on 630m AND 160m (my first band of interest) with help of the sdr S2 from ELAD. Side by side with my ts590s, S2 SNRs are the sames after testing on 630 and 160m. No change about antennas; Wellbrook ALA100LN and ALA100. All infos/events about my station: http://wsprnet.org/drupal/user
Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported increased QRN with no trans-Atlantic or South American reports for his station during the session. He was decoded by thirty unique stations but indicated that he only decoded nine, adding that “only the strong survived the noise.”
Jan, LA3EQ, reported via email that “WD2SXH/17 was decoded 54 times last night here in Norway. Two of the best was -2dB!
My antenna is a miniwhip.”
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded ten WSPR stations and was decoded by seventy unique stations including EA8/LA3JJ, F59706, F1AFJ, G3XKR, and WH2XCR.
Mark, WA9ETW / WI2XHJ, reported that during the evening he decoded fourteen unique stations in spite of QRN. He QRT’ed before bedtime due to anticipated thunderstorms overnight.
Ken, SWL/K9, located in Indiana, indicated that due to the threat of thunderstorms overnight he used the indoor 7-inch loop stick and was successful in providing four decodes for VE7BDQ.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, illustrates the idea that the spotlight seems to move around from session to session and offers these statistics, data (viewable here) and anecdotes:
“The good conditions continued, but signals were down, especially to the west with no WH2XCR decodes despite two way VE7s. Go figure! The XZO numbers were 15 and 54 including EA8/LA3JJ.
When I operated 160M from Colorado, there were one or two big guns in EA8-land, and it was easy to work, easier than Europe. I wondered last year why the several 630M EA8s never decoded NA. It could be their location on the islands which are volcanic with high mountains rising from shoreline in many places. Below are last night’s results from EA8/LA3JJ. Even living in the south now, I am surprised to see how much further SC and FL are from the Canary Islands than is New England. Of course, OK and TX are further still.
Looking at the maps, it appears that EA8/LA3JJ is on the north end of the island of Fuerteventura and probably near enough to the coast to have a view of the Atlantic towards NA and EU.
It’s interesting that WD2XSH/17 with an all water path was decoded so often and was so strong, stronger than any of the closer Europeans and much stronger than other NA stations. I think it’s not just the XSH water path, but also that his path is more N/S than stations further south, for instance, in Florida. EA8/LA3JJ is located on about the same latitude as Orlando, FL.
Note- EA5DOM wasn’t transmitting and has in the past been decoded by EA8/LA3JJ at single digit SNRs as strong as -2.
Is there a takeaway from the above? Yes, I think. North/south paths are generally better than east west paths and probably one explanation for the outstanding west coast NA DX and, of course, being on the ocean is worth many dB over inland stations.”
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, received reports from 35 unique stations and provided reports to ten WSPR stations. Rick provided a few session comments below and his unique report details can be viewed here.
“The spotlight shifted to the north a bit giving way to the upper east coast and Maine, with XKA coming through nicely. However the lower east coast was not there. The coverage of the mid-west was also noted as quite active. “
Larry, W0OGH, located in Arizona reports that he provided reports to fourteen unique stations (588 unique decodes) between 0314Z to 1454Z. Larry’s unique stations statistics follow:
0314Z WG2XXM +6 EM15, 130 decodes
0314Z WG2XIQ -5 EM12, 69 decodes
0318Z WH2XXP +11 DM33, 113 decodes
0328Z WH2XGP -7 DN07, 86 decodes
0338Z WD2XSH/15 -21 EM34, 46 decodes
0340Z WD2XSH/17 -24 FN42, 21 decodes, last @ 0934Z
0344Z WH2XZO -26 EM85, 21 decodes
0410Z WI2XJQ -18 CN87, 41 decodes
0410Z WG2XKA -24 FN33, 5 decodes, last @ 0544Z
0520Z VE7BDQ -17 CN89, 8 decodes, last @ 0940Z
0556Z WG2XSV -19 CN85, 21 decodes
0634Z WH2XCR -28 BL11, 25 decodes, last @ 1120Z
0750Z WG2XPJ -24 FN34, 1 decode
1028Z WI2XBV -18 EL99, 1 decode. Doesn’t show up in WSPR details but was complete here.
Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KH6 and KL7, can be viewed here.
As previously reported, Roger, VK4YB, has Internet problems, which is complicating his reporting. I suspect that any reports from his console will be sent in the morning once he is at the office. Any late reports will be appended accordingly. Roger’s reception reports were leaner than normal but noise is increasing in North America on the approach to Spring and it seems that paths have shifted a bit such that reports of North American stations in Japan are becoming more common. Roger received reports from JA1NQI, W7IUV and VE6XH. UPDATE: Roger supplied the following information about this session:
“QRN terrible. Only 2 spots all night. One of VK3HP and the other 1436 -24 -1.8 0.475616 0 WH2XCR BL11 30 7627 from the console. 630m/160m tests with VE6XH continue. 160m 10 spots, best -8, 630m 1 spot -29. The fault on my internet ADSL is at the exchange, not my modem. Repair is out of my hands unfortunately.”
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, received reports from 65 unique stations including JH1INM, and he provided reports for sixteen WSPR stations. As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for ten WSPR stations including VK4YB. Larry and I also completed a JT9 QSO, described below.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 77 unique stations including JA1NQI, JH1INM, JR1IZM, and ZL2AFP.
Ron, WA4JNX, reports that he has a Heros Technology VLF converter on consignment sale at Ham Radio Outlet. Details and specification for the converter can be viewed on the Heros website and Ron’s offering at Ham Radio Outlet can be viewed here. Ron’s unit uses a 4 MHz IF and is apparently bulletproof and “milspec” in design.
This session started out very quiet with early reports into the upper Midwest at stations like K8PZ but noise began to creep up as darkness approached Texas. The storms that threatened my region during the previous session progressed eastward in what has become a common path for these weekly storm systems. I was intent on actively operating something during the evening but with the rising noise, CW was going to be more complicated. I was looking for a relaxing “ragchew” but S9 noise with S6 signals is just not relaxing so I opted for a little JT9. Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, responded to my CQ around 1220 Hz and we completed a textbook QSO that was near the traditional detection limit for JT9, around -26 dB S/N. Note that this QSO was at Larry’s sunset and signals improved as darkness arrived but noise also increased. Sadly the screen capture of the QSP has been corrupted and won’t open but I was fortunate to have Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, and Jay, KA9CFD, to witness our first JT9 QSO since October 29, 2016. It’s been a bit of a dry spell.
I returned to WSPR after a few more calls and the band seemed to settle, in spite of noise with reports from EA8/LA3JJ, F59706, G3XKR, and G8HUH. It’s been a while since such a wide variety of stations in Europe has reported my signal in a single session. Perhaps this is a preview of what the coming years will bring us on MF and LF. My reception reports were down a bit, likely due to noise and those report details can be viewed here. My transmission reports were above average and extrapolating the totals above the 1000 count limit on WSPRnet for the entire transmitting period suggests that nearly 2500 decodes were reported for the session. Those report details can be viewed here. Perhaps tonight will be a bit quieter and a little CW will be in order.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for thirteen WSPR stations including WH2XCR and was reported by nineteen unique stations. I suspect that the only reason that Eden was not reported in KH6 was due to “industrial strength QRN” (WH2XCR’s description) in the region overnight.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, operated two receivers during the session and took advantage of very good propagation to Japan in addition to reasonable coverage of the Pacific and the western region of North America. Laurence received reports from JA1NQI, JH1INM, JH3XCU and those report details can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, reports strong storms on and near Molokai which will persist for several days. Merv plans on being QRV unless the power fails. Merv decoded several stations through the noise but the highlight for Merv was his reception reports from JA1NQI, JH3XCU, JR1IZM, VK2XGJ, and ZF1EJ. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).