The details for May 18, 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. Click here to view the proposed “considerate operators” frequency usage guide for 630-meters under Part-97 rules that was developed with the input of active band users.
Lightning-induced noise decreased some overnight after a rather prolific evening of storms in the upper Midwest. Lightning crashes were not a major player here in North Texas during the evening which may say something about the state of early propagation but it was noisy in Ontario, as reported by VE3CIQ, who noted a very slow start for reports. Openings were a bit more optimistic further South and West into my area but the band continues to show symptoms of seasonal atrophy often observed in mid-to-late May. WI2XBQ reported that many of his reports were into the lower -20 dB S/N range with a few single digit reports which was a significant improvement over the previous few sessions.
Long haul paths between Oceania and North America were less impressive early in the session compared to other recent sessions but the path between Japan and Oceania continues to improve as long as noise remains low in Asia.
Geomagnetic conditions reached unsettled levels during this session but the Kp remains at quiet to elevated-quiet levels as higher latitude measurements suggest that storm levels are very real at those locations. The Bz is currently pointing to the North and solar wind velocities had generally returned to low levels below 400 km/s but have since exceeded 400 km/s again for several consecutive reporting periods. DST values have “tanked” during this session although the decrease may be short-lived. There have been no updates as to the state of the geoeffective coronal hole but from my perspective, this was a seemingly weaker event that had a major impact on 630-meters, providing further evidence that there are other elements at work in propagation on this band.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported a tough session for the Pacific Northwest and provided these comments and statistics:
Ernie, KC4SIT / WI2XQU, provided the following comments and statistics for his session activity:
“WI2XQU was spotted by 22 unique stations during the last session and spotted 8 unique stations during the same session. This was my best night in regards to being spotted; between May 11 and May 17 I have been spotted between 19 times (session before last) and 22 times (last session). Propagation was up last night; during session 5-15 WG2XIQ was at -25, last night (session 5-17) XIQ was -13; session 5-15 ZF1EJ was -27 and session 5-17 EJ was -15; session 5-15 WI2XRM was -27 and session 5-17 XRM was -10. The band was much quieter here in western North Carolina last though there were still storms indicated in the Chicago area. I also started decoding spots 30+ minutes earlier than the night before.”
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for six WSPR stations and he received reports from thirty unique stations. As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for four WSPR stations.
Dave, N4DB, reported that he decoded eight WSPR stations and noted that band conditions have been very different from Winter as his report distances have decreased significantly. His best DX for the session was ZF1EJ.
Al, WD4AHB, reported, “A bit better reception overnight with 5 unique spots fairly consistent over the monitoring period from around 0030 to 1030 UTC.” He provided the following statistics:
Mike, WA3TTS, reported, “Finally a few breaks in the Midwest QRN last night. Still S7 to S9 peak static crashes but at least there were gaps in the QRN with more like S2 ~ S4 background noise by around 0400. I used my SW EWE antenna after 0400 UTC and started receiving WH2XGP by 0438 UTC. Larry’s minimum SNRs were -22, which leads me to believe those weaker XGP signals were not getting over the background QRN… Here’s Larry’s best and least SNRs for overnight….”
“So there were a few occassional quiet periods in all the Midwest T storm activity overnight. The AFSK signal around .635 was very noticeable on the waterfall by 0600 UTC. I also decoded WH2XND 77 times overnight on 2200m band with SNRs between -21 and -31 with a hybrid splitter on the IF output from my LF/MF converter.”
Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.
Roger, VK4YB, reported, “he storms have not arrived yet, but they’re coming. Domestic reports are down, perhaps because of QRN. Propagation also seems down. Best DX is WH2XCR and only just made it 2-way with Merv. Path to Japan still survives. With our winter fast approaching conditions should be good in the Southern Hemisphere. Alas, outside of VK/ZL, there are no operators down here to report. We may have good signals across vast stretches of the Pacific and Indian Oceans, perhaps reaching the coasts of South America and Africa, but we just don’t know.” Roger received reports from JA1NQI, JA3TVF, JE1JDL and previously reported two-way reports with WH2XCR.
The evening was quiet in North Texas allowing me to operate a bit of CW and look for the elusive late-season QSO. Just as I began calling CQ on 474.5 kHz, a phantom, unidentified signal made itself known very briefly with a few “dits”. This wasn’t the typical “phantom ditter” and seemed to be different from other observed signals that may or may not be testing and making their presence known like a poltergeist in a haunted house. I continued the transmitting and listening cycle until 0215Z when I transitioned to WSPR. No additional “dits” were observed during my CW session and no additional QSO’s were completed. As it was dark by the time that I transitioned to WSPR, reports began almost immediately. Openings were short but improved as the session progressed and noise levels decreased as storms to the North calmed down for the night. Reports were ok for this session, normalized to my 17% transmit duty cycle, and there were a number of CW-level reports and many more JT9 level reports. The band was always serviceable to somewhere. Two-way reports were shared again with WH2XCR after several sessions of noise-induced one-way reports. My transmission report details can be viewed here and my reception report details can be viewed here. Strong storms are expected later today and may be the case for the next seven to ten days so activity will be on a day-by-day basis until these systems clear.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for three WSPR stations and he was reported by sixteen unique stations including WH2XCR. Openings were largely located to the North again.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, shared two-way reports with WH2XCR and experienced decent success with moving his to the western regions of North America. Only three signals were successfully reports in Alaska, however.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for a few stations in Oceania including VK1DSH, VK5FQ, and he shared two-way reports with VK4YB. He also received reports from ZL2AFP. Merv shared two-way reports with WE2XPQ and provided reports for ZF1EJ. Much of the North American mainland was impacted by noise but the West coast continues to experience good openings to KH6. DX report details can be viewed here.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD <at> gmail dot (com)!