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

Geomagnetic spike to unsettled levels during the early evening; Stormy conditions in Pacific Northwest and coastal Southeast; W5EST presents ‘PART 2: 630M SNRs DURING THE AUGUST 21, 2017, SOLAR ECLIPSE’

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

 The details for May 5, 2016 can be viewed here.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Neither 630-meters nor 2200-meters are open to amateurs in the US yet.  Please continue to be patient and let the FCC finish their processes.

As reported yesterday, John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, of MF Solutions will soon hold a drawing and giveaway for one of his 630-meter transmit downconverters.  Details and rules for submitting your name for consideration can be viewed here.

For the first time in quite a while the noise level in the central US was manageable while the Northwest and Southeast experienced active storms that increased regional noise significantly and kept a number of operators off air.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions reached unsettled levels after several days of quiet to very quiet levels.  The Bz is pointing to the North while solar wind velocities remain just barely in the low category as the average has crept up to near 396 km/s this morning.  DST values continue at nominal, positive levels.  There are currently no details regarding the event that led to the spike to unsettled levels.




Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded eight WSPR stations and he was decoded by 44 unique stations including WE2XPQ.

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reported storms in the Pacific Northwest which hampered activity.  He provide reports for seven WSPR stations and he was reported by fifteen unique stations.  Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.

Dave, N4DB, reported that in spite of rain and high QRN he decoded twelve WSPR stations.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported, “No TXing for wg2xsv this session due to thunder storms all around and nearby. The vertical was grounded, but I did put the Eprobe on the W0YSE radio and decoded these 6 WSPR stations:”

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he “…ran 630m wspr2 last night on my SW EWE antenna with a split IF for 2 receivers.  11 stations heard on 630m wspr2, best SNR and listed by distance:”

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

Hideo, JH3XCU, posted links to two tables showing VK -> total JA DX  and VK -> JA peak S/N for the session.

Roger, VK4YB, indicated at just after 1000z that he was experiencing moderate QRN.  Labeling the session a “code 2”, he noted that reports from North America may be hindered by storms in the western portions of the continent that commonly provide reports for Roger.  Shortly after 1300z, he reported that “No receive for most of the evening owing to operator error. Propagation was down but not by as much as the paucity of spots would suggest.”  He received reports from JA3TVF, VE6XH, W7IUV, WD2XSH/20, WE2XPQ and WH2XCR.  He provided reports for WH2XXP.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 43 unique stations including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, VK5ABN and ZL2AFP.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for eight WSPR stations and he was reported by 37 unique stations including ZL2AFP.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for nine WSPR stations including VK4YB.  Larry indicates that his area is experiencing severe thunderstorms, making listening a challenge.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


My session began with WSPR reports that were earlier than those observed in recent sessions on longer paths to the Midwest and Northeast.  Perhaps this was the result of an enhancement from the unsettled levels reported near sunset at my station.  CW-levels were noted from several stations while JT9-levels, not surprisingly, dominated the bulk of the overnight period.  My WSPR transmission numbers were down a bit again although I did QRT early.  Those report details can be viewed here.  My receive numbers were up which always seems to happen when my transmission numbers are down.  Those report details can be viewed here.   I called CQ on CW at 474.5 kHz starting at 0900z and spent some time listening to evaluate potential interference from a new QRM source.  QRN levels were low enough for a CW QSO but no additional QSO’s were completed this morning.

WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


European 24-hour WSPR activity


Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Oceania 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for four WSPR stations and he received reports from sixteen unique stations including WH2XCR.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, providing reports to VK4YB once again and shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.  Coverage of North America was mostly limited to the Northwest but Laurence also provided reports for WG2XXM.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, experienced another strong night in Oceania where the seasonal progression means longer, generally quieter nights down under.  He received reports from VK2XGJ, VK5ABN, VK7TW, and ZL2AFP.  He provided reports for VK3HP, VK5FQ, ZF1EJ,  and he shared two-way reports with VK4YB and WE2XPQ.  Merv’s DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


Jim, W5EST, presents, “PART 2:  630M SNRs DURING THE AUGUST 21, 2017, SOLAR ECLIPSE”:

“The moon is going to “take a bite out of the sun” wherever you are in N. America, so your 630m TX or RX station does matter!   For just one instance, see how off-track stations like XIQ and XXM may have an eclipse boost at IL-IN-MI-OH-PA region peaking when totality crosses Missouri 1:05-1:20 p.m.

https://www.greatamericaneclipse.com/missouri/ (scroll 1/3, click to run animation)
The principal actors in the RF signal drama that day will be 630m stations in Hawaii, Alaska, Canada, USA, and possibly stations in Cayman Islands, Canary Islands, and Spain/Portugal.  Their supporting cast will be unexpected geographic places where the RF signal ray between TX and RX traverses the otherwise absorptive D-region.  If your 630m TX signal path on ascent or descent to an RX station goes through the D-region where the eclipse significantly darkens it, you probably have a shot at this propagation completing WSPR decodes or even pinging JT9.
I presume the E-region will be about equally reflective whether or not it’s in totality.  With just a few notable exceptions, like XCR-AK/PNW and West Coast to East Coast, I expect most eclipse-active RF signal paths to be 1-Ehop.  D-region de-absorption —that’s the big effect that either gets you to/from the E-region or not.
March, 2015’s eclipse pass NW of England and Scotland yielded 30-40 minutes of eclipse-affected SNRs in the SNR sequence.  For background see TABLE based on the 2015 solar eclipse. From the couple of 2015 eclipse-peak SNRs on hand, quite few, I next guesstimate eclipse-enhanced 630m sky wave peak SNRs.
Day-night SNR difference is 30 dB or more. On ordinary days, half  of those 30 dB–that’s 15 dB path loss due to D-region absorption–happens on your 630m signal ray ascent and the other half–15 dB–happens on descent.  When partial or total solar eclipse arrives, the dB path loss will fall and your SNR will rise.  Since daytime SNR may be too low to decode, I’ll discuss the eclipse relative to nighttime peak SNR.
On August 21, 2017, compared to ordinary 630m daytime, we think the eclipse SNRs will light up the 630m band as they jump the decode threshold into visibility or go way up from weak decodable daytime levels.  In best case, eclipse SNRs will be only somewhat lower than peak 630m nighttime SNR levels. At this point, I predict the following guesstimates—truly subject to what we discover Aug. 21.
Signals traversing D-region during totality itself will peak 6-15 dB below nighttime levels when the path connects to stations  in a geographic region having less than 90% eclipse. For example if nighttime peak SNR on a path were say -2 dB, then look for eclipse signal SNR at -8dB to -17dB SNR.
1-hop traversing 90% region on both ascent & descent will be down 6-15 dB from nighttime SNR.  Use https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/downloadables (download to see 90% region)
1-hop traversing 100% region and a 90% region will be down 0-6 dB from nighttime SNR.
1-hop traversing 90% region and less than 90% region will be down 15-20 dB from nighttime SNR.
1-hop traversing less than 90% regions on ascent and descent will be down 20 dB or more from nighttime SNR.
I doubt that a hop will encounter 100% eclipse totality on both ascent and descent simultaneously unless  the path distance is only 200-300km.  In that case, the usual ground wave will be significant and may either phase interfere with the sky wave or mask it.
What will the 630m mystery band actually do during the August 21 solar eclipse?  Will the 630m ionosphere and sun and moon above tell us–by your efforts?  TU & GL!”

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