Then details for April 5, 2016 can be viewed here.
This session was extremely noisy here in Texas as another cold front pushed across Oklahoma, dipping into northeast Texas. It was also a very active weather night in the South and even southern New England experienced coastal storms that resulted in moderate noise levels for some in the region.
Geomagnetic conditions looks much better on paper as the Kp has returned to quiet-elevated levels with a Bz that is marginally pointing to the South. The DST has made a rapid recovery, approaching and even exceeding the center line into positive territory.
Propagation was very odd and like a few nights ago, some stations in the West struggled to push a signal to the East. Regional openings dominated but it is difficult to know how much of this was due to high noise levels in the East and Southeast. WH2XXP reported at 0412z that he only had 34 WSPR decodes by this time and his best DX was ZF1EJ.
Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, reported that WI2XSX was going to be QRV on 474.5 kHz around 0130z but Eric indicated that signals were very weak at best as Summer noise is building.
There were no trans-Atlantic openings reported for the session.
Paul, N1BUG / WI2XTC, reported low QRN in Maine. He was fortunate to decoded WH2XGP on the high latitude transcontinental path, which seems like a rare opening for the session, and indicates that he heard WG2XJM on CW.
Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, reported that most of the propagation in his area was on North and South paths except for WE2XPQ and WH2XCR, both of which were on salt water paths. He was decoded by 22 unique stations but no reports East of the Rockies.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reported, “Not sure what to think. K8PZ report came through but that’s all. Otherwise this session was all North and south with Alaska and Hawaii to the West.” Rick provided reports for nine WSPR stations and was decoded by 25 unique stations. Report details can be viewed here.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported that openings were limited to the region West of a line from Alberta, Canada and Arizona. Neil also operated and tested a number of digital modes with Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, and offered these details:
“Larry/XGP and I had fun with FLdigi in various modes before and after sunset in PNW last evening. Tried MFSK8, BPSK31, MFSK4. We found MFSK8 to be best but QSB played a part in all of that, so no conclusive results yet. More time on MFSK4 needs to be done to see if it is better than MFSK8. “
Dave, N4DB, had a late start on 630-meters, transitioning at 0715z and reporting ZF1EJ was at -26 dB S/N. He also noted that WH2XXP was down significantly, at -28 dB S/N.
Mike, WA3TTS, reported, “John: Another tough night, looks like I was best continental dx for VE7BDQ although XJM also decoded him once and just a 70km path difference. Best XGP decode not quite in audible range here overnight.”
Mike added, “I have one end of my NE/SW EWE antenna down as the local power company is removing a tree at the back corner of my property today. So I’m uncertain how that is effecting the performance of the NW/SE EWE antenna….“
Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.
Roger, VK4YB, reported that “Propagation is a little down on yesterday, but still very good with Phil, VK3ELV, getting into Canada, Hawaii and Japan, while Steph, VK5FQ, had her signals decoded in Hawaii. At least 14 VK/ZL stations were active. VE6XH stats: 160m 4 spots, best -9, 630m 16 spots, best -18.” Roger received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI/1, JR1IZM, JA3TVF, JE1JDL, JH3XCU, TNUKJPM, VE6XH, W7IUV, WH2XGP. He provided reports for VE7BDQ, WH2XGP, WE2XPQ, WH2XCR and WH2XXP.
Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from JA1NQI/1, JH3XCU, TNUKJPM, and VE6XH.
John, VE7BDQ, provided reports for nine WSPR stations and was reported by 28 unique stations including VK4YB.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for twelve WSPR stations including VK4YB and he was decoded by 44 unique stations including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, ZL2AFP, and JA1NQI/1. As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for eleven WSPR stations including VK4YB.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 63 unique stations including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, ZL2AFP, 7L1RLL4, JA3TVF, JH3XCU, JR1IZM, JE1JDL, JA1PKG, and JA1NQI/1.
I had a late start during this session which I stopped abruptly due to very high winds that appeared with a cold front moving through the area. WSPR reports were poor and are not noted further here for the session. I called CQ on 474.5 kHz CW briefly this morning and noise was improved but remained elevated. Mornings have definitely been better for operating than evenings.
I had the good fortune last evening to speak about 630-meters (and 2200-meter to a lesser extent) with Tom, W5KUB, on his webcast. Here is the archive on Youtube:
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for six WSPR stations. He was reported by thirteen unique stations including WH2XCR.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a similar night of receiving from Mexico, seemingly removed from a lot of the high noise and weird propagation to the North.
Back in Alaska at WE2XPQ, Laurence reported a late start at 1200z. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB and WH2XCR. Report details can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, experienced similar conditions with respect to the eastern regions as others in the West reported, decoding only WD2XSH/15 and ZF1EJ East of the Rockies. Reports from Asia were numerous and include JA1NQI/1, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, JH3XCU, and JR1IZM. Activity in Oceania was also very good with reports for Merv by VK2EIK, VK2XGJ, ZL2AFP, and EJTSWL in Tasmania. Merv shared two-way reports with VK3ELV and VK4YB and provided reports for VK5FQ. He also shared two-way reports with WE2XPQ, some of which were at or following local sunrise in KH6. DX report details can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “PART 2: DO SUNRISE/SUNSET ENHANCEMENTS WITH MIRRORS”:
“By sunrise or sunset enhancement I mean that MF conditions permit two or more distinctly separate sky wave RF signal paths. Recall from Part 1, April 4, that ionospheric reflection requires the angle of incidence equal the angle of reflection in one single plane including both the TX and RX coordinates and a line perpendicular to a reflecting contour surface in the ionosphere.
USA hams will operate under significant EIRP limits on 630m and 2200m when government approval of these bands for USA hams may finally come our way. SR/SS enhancements are now and will be nature’s gift to long path and/or weak signal ham operators in band-allocated countries.
The 630m E-region quite likely confronts your TX/RX antennas with a complicatedly reflective surface, especially at sunrise and sunset. In principle, it acts like a ballroom reflecting disco ball that has many mirror facets and only some of them reflect rays to any one viewing destination.
OK, how does an enhancement process work when the path is not aligned with the sun at the horizon? To take a stab at that question, let’s recognize its three dimensional propagation geometry.* Frankly, it’s mind-numbing!
The terminator always moves straight west due to Earth’s rotation. However, the terminator angles in different directions with the seasons. It’s perpendicular to the sun’s respective headings at the horizon at sunrise SR or sunset SS. Depending on the season in your N. or S. hemisphere, the direction of slant of E-region’s upward tilting reflective contour surface near the SR terminator varies from SW-upward to West-upward to NW-upward in hemispheric mid/high latitudes.
Multiplying the 3D complication relative to a tilted E-region, the path heading at TX and/or RX depends on the station locations. That’s a lot of geometry to keep track of, even on flat-earth short paths! Reflections that satisfy the requirements of coplanar and equal ray angles are challenging but geometrically predictable–even if the real ionosphere is less predictable!
Today’s illustration shows a red laser pointer beaming to a flat underside of a two-sided tiltable flat mirror up on a platform. The mirror is very slightly tilted down toward the laser pointer. The mirror is closer to the laser pointer than a more distant “receiver” (green eye-drop bottle). The beam illuminates the receiver with a glowing red dot.
Tilting the mirror on its path-directed axis (roll axis**) quite critically affected the landing point of the beam sideways, laterally. Since a 630m antenna sends rays in all directions, this roll axis tilting exercise helps visualize lateral skew.
Tilting the mirror from the horizontal around its path-perpendicular axis (pitch axis**) also quite critically affected the landing point of the beam distantly along the TX-RX path line. That’s like what yesterday’s blog discussed and graphed–vertical skew aligned with the path.
However, turning the mirror on the platform as if around a vertical axis (yaw axis**) imparted a subtle combination of vertical and lateral skew. This suggests that SR and SS enhancements are robust despite various seasonal sun headings at the horizon–consistent with our 630m experience I’d say.
See if you have some 630m sunrise or sunset enhancement decode experiences that match, or interestingly depart, from what the ray geometry would tell us!”
* I’m describing a pure geometric optics outlook on this topic. Suppose an ionospheric formation is sufficiently pointy or ridgy–having some dimension that’s less than one wavelength. It may act like a passive phased array and diffract 630m rather than merely refract/reflect it, and give different results than a mirror does. If you have experience where you needed to explain a MF/LF sky wave by ionospheric diffraction instead of the usual ray geometry approach, please let us know.
**Yaw, pitch, roll diagram: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aircraft_principal_axes
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).