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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR but returning after dark on Saturday night

Average session for April as quiet geomagnetic conditions return and terrestrial noise builds; Why I don’t report OPERA data; Difficult two-way path between ZF1EJ and WH2XCR returns; W5EST presents ‘Billiards in the sky: candidate 630m pre-sunrise reflection concepts’

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

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

It was a quiet evening here in Texas that turned into a low roar as the night progressed, culminating in very high noise this morning.  A storm system is dropping to the South that will impact my area and the southern US, in general, this afternoon and tonight.  The Eastern Canada, the Midwest and parts of New England were impacted during the evening.  Propagation was average at best overnight and the word “flat” has been used by several stations which seems accurate.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions have seemingly calmed a bit to quiet levels currently although the Bz continues to experience periods of strong variability.  Solar wind velocities continue above 500 km/s but are improved from the previous session and averaging near 515 km/s.  DST values have recovered and are rapidly approaching the center line once again.  Solarham referred to this most recent activity as a “surprise event” so it seems its not related to the geoeffective coronal hole.  I am probably as confused as you are on this one.





Let me make a couple of comments about OPERA.  I received a note from a European station asking why I didn’t include OPERA data in my daily reports as there has been a push for activity over the past week.  The answer is not simple.  Under some interpretations of FCC Part-97 amateur radio rules for the US, OPERA is considered a cipher due to the fact that the developer continues to not release the encoding scheme of the on-off-keying into the public domain.  Some references suggest that the information which has been put forth is extremely vague making it impossible for a third party regulatory entity, like the FCC, to deconstruct an OPERA signal without the use of the proprietary software for monitoring and compliance purposes.  A quick Internet check suggests that this situation has not changed but there are opinions on both sides.  I’m not going to debate whether any of this is right or wrong.  OPERA seems to attract a lot of controversy on a number of different levels and I’m not interested in getting caught up in the drama.

This blog’s goal has always been to cover band activity on 630-meters, but I have to be careful what I say and how I say it because sometimes operators assume that if something is reported here, it must be OK and this has already been an issue on a few occasions with new operators.  I actually don’t know the legal disposition of the mode under Part-2 and 5 rules, which dictates the current experimental regulations on 630-meter activity in the US.  That said, OPERA may be permissible under Part-2 and 5 rules.  What I want to avoid is the transitional problems created by using a mode under Part-2 and 5 rules that may not be permissible under Part-97 rules.  Inevitably stations will claim that they “didn’t get the memo” once we begin operating under Part-97 amateur radio rules.  We walk a very fine line about what is permitted at these frequencies.  There is no reason to put our ability to access these frequencies in jeopardy, particularly when the FCC is still trying to figure out the process right now.  So that’s my position.  I mean no disrespect to the OPERA user but for now that is how it will be as far as my reporting on this blog is concerned.

There were no trans-Atlantic WSPR or CW reports during this session.

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported moderate to high QRN as he continues to operate only during the mornings.  He indicates that he decoded five WSPR stations with one at a distance in excess of 3000km.  Al was decoded by fourteen WSPR stations including WH2XCR as well as  “only 1 other over 2000km.”

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, provided reports for seven WSPR stations and he received reports for eighteen unique stations. Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.

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

Roger, VK4YB, reported that “Propagation is flat, and thunder storms along the western edge of the pacific from Vanuatu to Japan are hindering reception.”  Roger received reports from VE7BDQ, W7IUV, and WH2XCR.  He provided reports for WH2XXP and WH2XCR.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 48 unique stations including VK4YB, ZL2AFP, and VK2XGJ.

WH2XXP session WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported that “operator error” resulted in his station not transmitting overnight.  He provided reports for six WSPR stations.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for seven WSPR stations including VK4YB.  The “heard by” stations presented below were registered prior to the operator error.

WH2XGP session WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


I operated WSPR continuously through this session and the previous session, including daylight hours.  Ground wave activity was typical with coverage at CW-levels over 200-miles away.  Skywave activity was down significantly during the day but that’s no surprise and only a few reports were noted of WH2XXP in the early afternoon.  Evening activity was reasonable and noise was low but QRN increased to very significant levels by morning ahead of the next storm system that may prove to be quite severe.  My transmission report details can be viewed here.  My reception report details can be viewed here.  I’m also excited to report that I have ordered a Monitor Sensors 630-meter transverter which should arrive sometime this coming week.

WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


European 24-hour WSPR activity


Asiatic Russian 24-hour WSPR activity


Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Oceania 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for seven WSPR stations and was reported by sixteen WSPR stations.  It is great to see the two-way path to WH2XCR on KH6 return after several days of either no reports or only one-way reports.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reported a dismal night in Alaska as he experienced a limited session where more receiving stations were located in Canada than in the US.  Curiously, Laurence only decoded the US stations.  He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR and WI2XJQ.  DX report details will be included with WH2XCR’s details.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, continues to experienced a JA path that is completely cut off but VK openings improved as he received reports from VK2XGJ and he shared two-way reports with VK4YB.  Merv also shared two-way reports with WE2XPQ and ZF1EJ.  Eastern US reports were limited to the Southeast as Merv provided reports for WI2XBV.  Coverage of the central and western US portions of North America was typical.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity



“Today, less talk, more pics!  Add more reflections to explain stuff.

Presumably, the tilted part of the ionosphere just is what it is even for the eastward end of much longer paths that 630 m operators care about.  That’s the real payoff – using a very short path study to learn about the pre-sunrise ionosphere and then applying to much longer paths.

Pic 1: On a single hop path in the night, won’t the E-region surface variations make the weaker double hop mode’s path vary in length at a different rate than for 1-hop? I say Yes.

Pic 2: Yellow ovals reveal weak intensity microfrequency departures up and down from the main BCB carrier at 600 KHz 500m wavelength March 27. I think they’re deep nighttime double hop of Pic 1.  On 630m, WSJT-X “echo mode” revealed wiggling signatures. (Endnote 1*) that also support the double hop idea.

Pic 3:  Later, but well prior to sunrise, as the tilted part of the ionosphere approaches, I suggest the double hop mode turns to a somewhat longer E-hop combined with a shorter E-hop that makes a bank shot (Endnote 2**) off the tilted ionosphere. Call it “1.5b-Ehop” mode, not quite 2-hop so “1.5” and “b” for bank shot.

Pic 4: The yellow oval outlines a weak intensity microfrequency departure increasing up prior to a strong but decreasingly up departure flanking main BCB carrier at 600 KHz 500m wavelength March 29. I think a Pic 3 bank shot is one of two candidates to explain it.

Pic 5: The second candidate provides a kick shot concept (Endnote 3***) to explain Pic 4. A pre-sunrise skew path has two sky reflections, one of them off the tilt.  Call it “1.5k-Ehop” mode, not quite 2-hop so “1.5” and “k” for kick shot.

Pic 6: Terminator approaches and passes westward over the eastward station. A skewed hop produces sunrise-straddling microfrequency departure. See http://njdtechnologies.net/041217/ . We discussed how the tilt can straddle sunrise: http://njdtechnologies.net/041817/

I considered other ray geometries for the various time intervals above, but they wouldn’t produce the right signal behaviors shown in the 3/27 & 3/29 screenshots.  I still should do spreadsheet analyses on Pic 3 and Pic 5 to better evaluate these candidate ray geometry explanations.”

*Endnote 1:   http://njdtechnologies.net/112216/  ; http://njdtechnologies.net/112516/ .
**Endnote 2:   Bank Shot off iono-tilt:
***Endnote 3:   Altitude Kick Shot: Both horizontal E-region and Tilt are in play:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4dv9ekF3FY (minute 5:15)







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