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Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR for storms, probably for much of the week if the forecast holds

A better session overall with numerous transcontinental openings reported; Openings between North America and Oceania continue to be closed but VK -> JA, KH6 continues; VK4YB presents ‘The Mackerel Sky’

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for May 25, 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.

Much like a year ago, this session’s band performance varied depending on who you ask.  It was a much quieter night in North Texas with a relatively smooth noise floor but I suspect the noise in the Midwest, Southeast and event parts of the West, which were both near intermittent storms, made listening difficult at times.  Propagation appears to be better but some comments suggest that while stations were heard, S/N continues to under perform.  Numerous transcontinental reports suggest to me that the band was in pretty good shape.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions ranged from quiet to very quiet.  The Bz continues to point slightly to the South and solar wind velocities have returned to low levels, averaging 375 km/s.  DST values are approaching or have exceeded the centerline.



Phil, VE3CIQ, provided reports for two WSPR stations and he received reports from fourteen unique stations.  He adds that at his station, “the band retreated a bit. With storms popping up and shutting people down it has been harder to get a baseline.”

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, provided reports for three WSPR stations and he was reported by 28 unique stations including WH2XCR, ZF1EJ and five Canadian stations.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV,  reports that propagation may have been a bit better as noise was at normal Summer levels.  He provided the following statistics:

“WG2XSV heard these 4: VE7BDQ, WE2XPQ, WG2XXM, WH2XGP
Heard by these 10: KO6KL, N6RY, N6SKM, NO1D, VE6XH, VE7BDQ, WE2XPQ, WH2XAR, WH2XCR, WH2XGP”

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, provided reports for five WSPR stations and he was reported by fifteen unique stations.  John indicates that he was operating at 100-watts TPO and experienced high QRN in Vermont but notes that high latitude transcontinental openings to the Pacific Northwest continue.

Ernie, KC4SIT / WI2XQU, reported that he decoded six WSPR stations and hopes to be QRV tonight after a few days of poor weather conditions.  He provided the following statistics and details:

KC4SIT session WSPR activity (courtesy KC4SIT)



Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported that he decoded seven WSPR stations and he received reports from 25 unique stations including two-way reports shared with WE2XPQ and WG2XKA.  Larry indicates that the northern path seems better than recently observed and in spite of noisy conditions the existence of transcontinental openings suggests that the band is better than it has been.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


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

Hideo, JH3XCU, provided this link detailing VK -> total JA DX and VK -> JA peak S/N for the session.

Roger, VK4YB, reported, “QRN was low throughout the evening but no long haul DX. Big signals from VK3HP and VK5FQ. The paths to Hawaii and Japan were strong but that’s as good as it got.  I tested the pre-sunset path to Hawaii. My first transmission yielded a decode from WH2XCR at 10 minutes before my sunset. I need to come on earlier.”  Roger received reports from JA1NQI/2, JA3TVF, JR1IZM, and he shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.

I was very much encouraged by this session as the noise floor was quite stable and low enough to audibly hear active stations early in the evening session.  Due to reduced seasonal band activity I opted to run WSPR only again and will probably continue this schedule until such time that the band shows widespread stability that might support CW QSO’s again.  My WSPR numbers were improved over the previous session including my transmit numbers which doubled from the previous session as I continue at 17% transmit duty cycle.  Those transmission report details can be viewed here.  My receive numbers were similar to the previous session but more widespread.  Those reception report details can be viewed here.

WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns:

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 two WSPR stations as he operates in a receive-only capacity through the weekend.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, provided reports for four WSPR stations and he received reports from the same four stations in what turned out to be a rare balanced night.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for VK3HP and VK5FQ.  He shared two-way reports with WE2XPQ and VK4YB and he received reports from VK2XGJ and VK7TW.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


Roger, VK4YB, presents this ‘food for thought’, entitled, “The Mackerel Sky”:

“In a recent article, Jim, W5EST, raised the question of the nature of the surface of the E layer, saying it was unlikely to be flat and smooth.

Take a leap from the hidden, electro-magnetic, ionized world of the E layer to the world of wind, pressure and moisture in the visible sky. Natural forces produce cloud patterns as shown in the photo below. In this example, alto cumulus clouds form in lines with distinct corridors between them. Note also that a second set of corridors is running at near right angles to the first. This is called a Mackerel or Herringbone sky.

Could natural forces produce similar patterns in the ionosphere? Could propagation be enhanced along the lines of the corridors? If so, it could explain some of the propagation phenomena we observe. Such as the reception of a signal along a narrow beam heading, with stations on either side hearing nothing. Parallel paths often exist. This pattern can drift and sometimes the “spotlight” is said to flick back to the starting position. Is the spotlight flicking back or is a new spotlight forming along the next corridor? At the same time, another propagation path, usually at 70 to 90 degrees to the first can exist. On another night, the pattern may rotate. Typically paths exist across an ocean from NE to SW and from NW to SE, where the N to S and E to W paths are weak or absent. Do patterns form only above water or is it the case that strong water reflections merely enhance the effect?

Do you have any observations that support the existence of a Mackerel E sky?”

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