At risk of sounding like a broken record for the 21st day in a row, the results of this session were similar to yesterday. That doesn’t mean that the session was devoid of interesting activity. Spring and early Summer conditions are here in North America so one has to accept the small successes. Tough weather continues in several areas of North America.
Geomagnetic conditions were quieter than they have been recently with a North-pointing Bz. Solar wind velocities averaged 360 km/s.
Phil, VE3CIQ, generally experienced localized openings in the North East in addition to WSPR decodes of WH2XGP on the high latitude transcontinental path. Phil offers these comments:
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, continues to plug along through the monotonous tail-end of the season and offers these statistics:
Warren, K2ORS / WH2XIL, operated a CW beacon on 470 kHz using the on-ground dipole that he has tested earlier in the season. Jay, W1VD, made a recording which can be heard here. Warren reports that he operated at 80-watt TPO through the session and continues to run the system at decreased power of 36-watt TPO through the day today. Warren reported heating in the matching circuit at the feed point last Winter and has subsequently rewound the transformer on an FT-240-77 with an 8 turn primary and 12 turn secondary.
Joe, VO1NA, was reported by Roelof, PA0RDT, in the previous session in spite of the Italian beacon very close to Joe’s CW frequency of 477.7 kHz. After processing to remove some of the noise, Roelof posted the following screen capture showing both signals during the session:
Frank, K3DZ / WH2XHA, posted a very interesting link on the 600-meter research group email reflector showing information about signals heard across the radio spectrum, in some cases providing visual signatures as well as audio samples. The site can be seen here.
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, had a recent conversation with Hans Summers regarding upcoming plans for the U3 beacon platform. Ron notes that these units are nice for beaconing because they are inexpensive to replace if the antenna is hit by lightning. Hans indicates that in the future there may be an easier method to program the U3 instead of using the momentary switches, which can be maddening to navigate. Stay tuned for more information or check Hans’ website for details and updates.
Two new WSPR receive stations were observed during this session: ZS1JEN and PY2TI. PY2TI was operating on the “old” WSPR frequency of 503.9 kHz. An email was sent to confirm the new operating frequency of 474.2 kHz USB but that email bounced. If anyone knows how to get in contact with this operator, please find out their operating conditions and determine their actual operating frequency.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-African path during this session. UA0SNV was present but no reports have been filed at the time of this report development.
Eden, ZF1EJ, may or may not have been QRV on 630-meters during this session. There was a single report for a station in VE3 that is not known to be active on 630-meters. Until otherwise confirmed it is presumed that this station was actually on another band. No additional reports were filed from the Caribbean.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was transmitting again through this session, receiving decodes from VE7BDQ, WH2XCR and WH2XGP Laurence decoded signals from WG2XSV, WH2XCR, and WH2XGP:
Consistency continues in the Pacific as Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, shares two-way reports with VK4YB and VK3ELV in addition to reception reports from VK2XGJ, VK2DDI, WE2XPQ, VE7BDQ, and WH2XGP.
Jim, W5EST, continues his weak signal discussion with this offering entitled, “QRSS: DIGGING DEEPER”:
“Yesterday’s June 1 blog described ARGO setup for QRSS and offered links for learning this mode. You can see 630m QRSS screenshots and discussion in the KB5NJD blog many days this season. (Blog-search keyword “wa2xrm” and then search “qrss” for rest of season). TABLE 1 gives some QRSS stations, paths and highlights.
Since QRSS is detected visually using display software, the pixels need to stand out contrastingly on the screen against the noise background. Such contrast is best when the slant of the QRSS line on the screen slopes up or down as little as possible, and no more than about 45 degrees.
The TX station operator should provide frequency stability so that short-timescale drift on key-down stays within TABLE 2 drift rates. Likewise the RX station operator needs excellent stability since it’s the sum of the TX and RX drift that ARGO “sees.” Such short-time stability is vital to realize the high image contrast you need to probe deep daytime SNR, stormy nighttime SNR, and long path storm-free nighttime SNR all year around.
The TX+RX short term drift constraints imposed by TABLE 2 go inverse-square of the QRSS mode number, first, because the pixels need to be compacted both vertically and horizontally. Secondly, at a given drift rate, every increase of mode number increases the slope because ARGO shortens the time axis and stretches the vertical frequency axis. If the mode number doubles, the slope quadruples. That quadruples ARGO’s demand for TX frequency stability—and RX frequency stability for that matter.
Long-timescale drift over session hours should stay within one-half of an ARGO screen’s frequency visibility range for reception convenience. Unless the receiving operator attends the receiver to reset the frequency or uses a technique I recommend below, the higher QRSS modes may drift up/down off the ARGO screen during an extended session unless stability is adequate.
What can you do as a QRSS TX op? Network with other QRSS ops and elmer those less experienced who ask your advice. How do you make an inexpensive homebrew crystal oven, where do you get affordable equipment, and other tips. Use 600mrg and ON4KST reflectors to link up and schedule with other MF/LF ops.
What can you do as a QRSS RX op? RX stability is vital, so start with a well-chosen RX. Also, as you know, ARGO is mainly an audio display, not a digimode decoder. That means you can observe the same QRSS transmission under more than one ARGO QRSS “mode” selection. Since you can’t control the frequency stability of the remote QRSS transmit station, I leverage ARGO’s multiple-instance capability. What’s that?
Depending on the QRSS#, I open ARGO five times to nine times by repeat-clicking the ARGO icon on the PC desktop after getting each ARGO display already. This strategy has you set each ARGO instance to the same expected QRSS mode but each to a different overlapping frequency range. As a whole, the 5-9 ARGO screens cover not only an expected TX frequency but also frequencies above and below it into which the TX might drift.
Multiple ARGO screens also help find the TX when either the TX op or RX op can’t locally measure absolute frequency to nearest 1 Hertz or less. That way, even at higher QRSS#, ARGO provides a robust RX display capability. Additionally, I open one or two instances of ARGO at one or two lower QRSS numbers for further display flexibility.
QRSS rewards patience and experience. QRSS encourages transmissions that use a few symbols to signify a lot of information. You can see examples of such symbolism in the various blog posts. Frequency is an important station indicator even when you can’t make out the call letters. Tell us your QRSS experiences! More tomorrow.
TABLE 1: SCREENSHOTS OF 630M QRSS 2015-16 SEASON (nowhere near exhaustive)
BlogDate TX QRSS# TIME* PATH* RX REMARKS
11/30 WA2XRM 3 02z CO-MT/AR WH2XNV/W5EST
12/01 WA2XRM 30 06z CO-IN SWL/K9
12/02 WG2XIQ 10 14z TX-IN/TN SWL/K9, KU4XR ~sunrise
12/02 WG2XIQ 30 20z-22z TX-TN/AR KU4XR, W5EST ~ sundown
12/06 WA2XRM 30 01z CO-AR W5EST
12/12 WA2XRM 120 02z-05z CO-IL K3SIW
12/12 WA2XRM 120 08z-12z CO-AR W5EST
1/3/16 G0MRF/p 3 QSO. UK-GR SV8CS, SV3DVO
1/3/16 VO1NA 3 02z NL-UK G0MRF/p
1/9/16 VE3OT 6 22z ON-PA WA3TTS
1/9/16 WH2XHA 3 22z PA-PA WA3TTS
1/10/16 VE3OT 6 ON-BC/TX VE7SL, WG2XIQ
1/13/16 WG2XIQ 30 23z TX-PA WG2XJM XIQ ran 100mw
1/15/16 VO1NA 10 02z NL-FR/NE F1AFJ, PA0RDT
1/29/16 VO1NA 3 nite to 06z NL-NE PA0RDT
2/11/16 WG2XIQ 10 04z TX-OR WG2XSV
2/17/16 F4DTL 3 21z FR-SP/GR EA5DOM, SV8CS
3/8/16 9H1BT 3 QSO. UK-Malta G3YXM also see 2/26/16 blog
*Times and Paths do not represent maximum capabilities of each QRSS#.
TABLE 2: DISPLAY SLANT ANGLE MAX.=45°: DRIFT VS. QRSS#
QRSS# MAX. 10/60min DRIFT** HALF-SCREEN FREQ RANGE
60 500/3000 mHz 2500 mHz
120 125/ 750 mHz 1200 mHz
600 5/ 30 mHz 240 mHz
1200 1/ 7 mHz 120 mHz
** Formula: Max Drift = (750mHz/hr) (120/M)2 where M is QRSS mode #.”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com)!