The details for May 8, 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. Registration ends May 12 and the drawing will be May 13!
QRN was on the increase again as a storm system that complicated operating in the West just days ago progresses East into the central US, intensifying along the way. The evening QRN levels, at least from my vantage point in Texas, were not unmanageable but the band was significantly ‘louder’ by morning. Propagation was more of the same with what appears to be a relatively average night.
Geomagnetic conditions were quiet and very similar to the previous session. The Bz is pointing to the North this morning and solar wind velocities are in the low category but up from the previous session, averaging 375 km/s. Proton numbers were also slightly elevated this morning, with 13 p/cc observed for a few consecutive sessions. DST values were slightly down after several sessions that were solidly anchored in positive territory.
Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported that his power continues at one-quarter normal output due to a feed point problem. He provided reports for five WSPR stations and he was reported by nineteen unique stations.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reported that he decoded seven WSPR stations and he was decoded by fifteen unique stations. Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.
Dave, N4DB, reported a quiet night with relatively good propagation in Virginia. He decoded nine WSPR stations.
Phil, VE3CIQ, provided reports for six WSPR stations and he received reports from 21 unique stations.
Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.
Roger, VK4YB, indicated that “The spotlight has moved a little North into Texas, but not as far as Oklahoma. There were a few scattered reports from the PNW. The band is very unpredictable at the moment.” He received reports from JA3TVF, JH3XCU, JR1IZM, VE6XH, VE7SL, WG2XIQ, and WH2XCR. He provided reports for WH2XXP and WH2XCR.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, provided reports for eight WSPR stations and he received reports from fifty unique stations including ZL2AFP, WH2XCR, and ZF1EJ in addition to nine Canadian stations.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from fifty unique stations including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, and ZL2AFP.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for six WSPR stations and he received reports from 37 unique stations including ZL2AFP. As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for eight WSPR stations.
The evening started out relatively quiet here in North Texas allowing early evening JT9. This exercise was intended to simply shakedown the changes at the stations and I had no expectation of making a QSO due to the time of evening and brevity of my activity. I returned to WSPR by 0230z and reports were typical, many at JT9 levels and over distances that were normal for this time of year with the level of solar illumination we are experiencing during the day. Operating at lower transmit duty cycle (17% overnight), it is difficult for me to categorize whether my transmit numbers are normal without formally normalizing to my 25% – 29% typical duty cycle, but I suspect all is well. Those report details can be viewed here. My receive numbers also continue to look good but were perhaps down a bit from the previous session, likely due to higher noise levels this morning. I had a nice surprise this morning as I decoded VK4YB just prior to shutting down with reports at -24 dB S/N. Its tough to know whether this report on a path that has been alluded me for at least a month, is the result of the new receive configuration or just good long-haul propagation. Those report details can be viewed here.
Referencing yesterday’s comments about a “band plan” under Part-97, I have reiterated to the ARRL the fact that many respondents don’t want a formal band plan on 630-meters. In fact, if planning could be limited to the graphic alone which detailed A1A CW, digimodes and “wider” modes, that may satisfy many by providing safe havens for weak signal modes, keeping them away from wider modes. Most respondents so far would prefer no wide band modes on the band but as I point out, the R&O provides legal allowances for them so some provision has to be made regardless of how impractical. Many operators want to avoid micromanaging emissions and I think that is smart. It’s a work in progress. Please keep your constructive comments coming.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, continues in a receive-only capacity and provided reports for eight WSPR stations including WH2XCR.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, shared two-way reports with WH2XCR with other reports localized to the Northwest and British Columbia. This session was very different from the previous few sessions.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for VK3HP and shared two-way reports with WE2XPQ and VK4YB. Merv received reports from VK2XGJ, ZL2AFP, and ZF1EJ. DX report details can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “PART 3: WHAT ABOUT THE D/E REGIONS IN AUGUST 21 SOLAR ECLIPSE?”:
“To take best advantage of the solar eclipse Monday, August 21, 630m WSPR2 TX stations should transmit a relatively high TxPct, such as 50%. That way, the swiftly changing features and opportunities presented by this historic solar eclipse can be probed and reported by more numerous 630m WSPR2 RX stations. This will be even more important in the Pacific Northwest because the eclipse will be speeding ESE 50% faster there than in the Midwest. Understandably, some TX stations may decide to use lower percentages so their receivers can monitor more intervals.
For background on the August 21 solar eclipse, see these blog posts:
Solar eclipse maps often simply show the track of totality, because that’s what matters to visual observers on the ground. For radio operators there’s a lot more to know. Today’s illustration recognizes concentric ovals of solar eclipse magnitude in the ionosphere at a given instant. Their shape is probably somewhat dependent on the roughly half hour time constant of the D-region and the probably faster time constant of the E-region.
In the small oval of totality, the D-region absorption is noticeably diminished. The solar eclipse causes concentrically decreasing absorption in the D-region with approach to the totality oval, as indicated by inwardly darker colors. The time-consuming transition from full daylight to maximum partial or total eclipse distributes itself into an amount of dB absorption decrease depending on geographic position near or away from the total eclipse track.
Higher up, E-region ionization is also diminished, causing a thinning of the E-region even though it is still able to reflect MF/LF radio waves. Concentrically decreasing ionization toward the totality oval occurs at that higher altitude. We saw in an earlier blog post that the E-region “balloons” down or thickens at sunrise. http://njdtechnologies.net/041217/
As totality approaches, the E- region balloon rapidly “deflates” and thins at an increasing rate as much as 1-2 km/min at the onset of totality, I guesstimate. This produces an upward impression in the E-region like an upside down saucer, as shown in the lower half of today’s illustration. Depending on the geographic position of hop reflection at altitude, as well as the signal path heading relative to the heading of oncoming totality, your 630m RF signal reflection encounters more or less combined vertical and lateral tilt of the saucer’s underside.
What paths will be most favored to give strong eclipse SNRs? Presumably reduced D-absorption (near central dark area) will reduce path loss on any path that can complete near or through the region of the E-region’s eclipse saucer. I think there are two main scenarios for eclipse-enhanced paths many hundreds of kilometers long:
–1) Paths having a quarter-path place crossing the D-region at altitude in or not far from the oval of totality (TX1-RX1). 2015’s PA0A-g3xkr/gm3yxm achievement was probably of this type.
–2) Paths having their mid-path place in the E-region’s eclipse saucer (TX1 & TX2 to RX2, TX1 to RX3). There, quarter-path places of D-region intersection will be displaced approximately equal distances from the E-region’s eclipse saucer.
Both these scenarios can enhance paths regardless of path heading, I’d say. I also hope we can learn something about the properties of the D-region on ordinary days from eclipse SNRs generated by each of these two scenarios.
By contrast, when the oval of totality passes directly overhead, the illustration suggests a third scenario wherein a TX or RX station like RX4 may be temporarily isolated from sky wave hops (except near-vertical, NVIS). We may see if any temporary interruption of this type shows up on August 21. TU & GL!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).