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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR; QRT Thursday night but back Friday morning by 1100z

Tough conditions as strong geomagnetic storm disrupts propagation in spite of a curiously quiet band

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

It was a very quiet night at my station in Texas.  If I had not already checked other receivers and antennas I might have assumed something was wrong since there were numerous lightning-rich storms across the US and I wasn’t hearing them.  As I suggested in the ON4KST chat/logger, perhaps not hearing the noise that should have been audible was a commentary on how propagation was going to be through the session.

In reality domestic propagation was not that poor from my perspective.  Some higher latitude signal reports were down and received stations continue to be few and far between but there were still numerous CW and near-CW levels reported during the session.  Even a few of the higher latitude guys like new transmitting station Jeff, VE3EFF, noted reasonable conditions at low power as reported in the following details from Phil, VE3CIQ:

VE3EFF 050816a

VE3EFF 050816b

VE3EFF session WSPR activity


As so often happens I guess it just depends on where you are located and when you are QRV at any given time.  That keeps things interesting.

Geomagnetic storms peaked at G3 levels with Kp-indices of 7 and solar wind exceeding 600 km/s.  The Bz is pointing strongly to the South and DST reports suggest very poor conditions.  I suspect the electron reservoirs will be full after this event for some time to come.

planetary-k-index 050816


Kyoto DST 050816


Australia 050816


John, VE7BDQ, reported at 0619z that Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, was detected at +5 dB S/N at this station with strong Arctic flutter.  This may be the first time I have ever heard anyone report flutter on 630-meters signals.  If this should happen again, it would be great if someone could make a recording.

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported a quiet session until 0400z when his noise level increased.  Ken reports that he decoded three WSPR stations and was decoded by 27 unique stations.  He also indicated that he does not feel like his receive capabilities are up to par after his recent lightning strike but also suggests that it may just be band conditions.  I concur on the latter as my observations just 200-miles away suggest profoundly disturbed conditions and not indicative of a real receiver problem.  Time will clarify this situation, however.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reports that he decoded WH2XCR once while being decoded by Merv twice during the session.  It seems that the path to and from Hawaii has been poor, even for Neil.  In my case, I have had no reports to or from Merv in this session once again.  Jim, W5EST, suggests that it may just be a spotlight event for the stations being reported under these conditions and spotlights are evidently few and far between at the moment.  Neil submitted the follow comments and statistics for his session:

WG2XSV 050816

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

NA 050816

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


EU 050816

European 24-hour WSPR activity


JA 050816

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


VK 050816

Australian 24-hour WSPR activity


There were no WSPR reports from the trans-Atlantic or trans-African paths.  UA0SNV was present from Asiatic Russia but no reports have been submitted from his station for this session.

Eden, ZF1EJ, reported WG2XXM and WG2XIQ during this session.

ZF1EJ 050816

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, notes that in spite of G2/G3 storm levels, noise levels at VLF are normal as the blood-red auroral oval churns.  Laurence transmitted during the session, sharing two-way reports with WH2XCR.

WE2XPQ 050816

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


WH2XCr WE2XPQ 050816

WH2XCR, as reported by WE2XPQ


WE2XPQ WH2XCR 050816

WE2XPQ, as reported by WH2XCR


Merv, K9FD/KH6  / WH2XCR, reports that he has been QRV over the past few sessions where paths that have historically  been strong are now seriously degraded.  Merv notes that an impending terrestrial weather system may help improve his path to Japan but with the current geomagnetic conditions that does not seem likely.  John, VK2XGJ, reports very poor conditions in Australia as terrestrial and geomagnetic storms have seriously degraded any real chance of WSPR decodes during this session.  VK4YB was reported by Merv during but it was only a one-way report, which has been quite rare since Roger became active.

WH2XCR 050816

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


VK4YB WH2XCR 050816

VK4YB, as reported by WH2XCR


Jim, W5EST, is taking today off and will return with his commentaries and discussions tomorrow.

HAMCOM 2016 MF presentation (and applicable LF content) schedule information has been posted here.

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