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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode


Wildly varying and even ‘Bizarre conditions’ reported over night after a brief daytime geomagnetic disturbance; The North American noise profile continues to look the same; Trans-Pacific openings cut off between Oceania and North America and Oceania and Asia; Late reports for WH2XCR at VK4YB

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for June 2, 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.

The lightning map looks similar to the last few nights so you can imagine that noise conditions were similar.  A number of stations, however, reported improved noise conditions at their locations and based on a few reports, suggest that propagation was poor and ground wave paths dominated.  That’s all speculation and a number of us were off air over night due to storms and storm threat so there were fewer signals to test this behavior.  The Midwest was free of storms after taking a beating for several days.  I can only dream about such things…

12-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions are currently quiet but reached elevated levels during the day as magnetometers detected a brief disturbance.  Protons were also elevated to extreme levels through the daylight hours, most notably near 1900z, but those have since returned to normal levels.  The Bz is pointing to the North after persistent periods of pointing to the South during the disturbance.  Solar wind velocities are averaging near 370 km/s.  Both DST measurements presented below are at positive levels and the disturbance can be seen as a peak followed by a sharp decrease in the Kyoto measurement.




Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reports low noise and no signals which may be accurate for the propagation that has been reported or he may have a problem with his receive loop due to recent heavy rains.

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported high noise in Vermont, receiving reports from seventeen unique stations and providing reports for six WSPR stations.

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported “The six stations decoded and 21 who decoded XZO is better than most days in May when QRN was the limiting factor.  I used the Well brook loop for receive beaming E-W as a branch fell and crashed my NW favoring delta receive antenna.”

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported:

“Not hearing out very far this session again. My reception on 630m was only via ground wave. Heard only these 3 (actually only at 2 locations since Larry is in the list with 2 receivers…)

I was RX only, using the Eprobe (mini-whip).”

Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, reported around 0430z that while it was early, he had received a single weak report from W7IUV at -25 dB S/N.  Joe indicates that by that time single digit reports were normally common suggesting disturbed conditions were present during this session.

Roger, VE7VV, reported that “Last night had by far the best ever 630m WSPR decodes of my 1W output by VE6XH who is 879km to NE – continuous decodes for a 3 1/2 hour period, with a peak of -17. I hope he sets up TX so we can have a QSO!”

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported “Bizarre condx for sure, hear more on west RX than east. although I seem to be heard OK on east coast”.  He provided decodes for three WSPR stations and he received decodes from 22 unique stations.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for five WSPR stations.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 29 unique stations.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Mike, WA3TTS, reported, “MF propagation continued to improve with 10 unique stations decoded overnight. XGP at audible levels but no other PNW stations decoded… I started with the NE EWE antenna at SS, then switched to SW after 0220 and then to NW after 0430 through SR. Dual band 630/2200m with hybrid splitter on IF to two receivers.  QRN levels noticeably lower and an early WD2XSH/15 decode at 0228.”

Mike added:

“Also 49 WH2XND decodes overnight between -23 and -33 SNR. First XND decode at 0428 which I think is about an hour after Ron’s SS.  On 630m WH23XGP first decode was at 0516 although Larry’s QTH would be closer to day/night terminator which would extend evening-dusk solar condition just a bit… It seems like it takes a full hour here to get dark after SS and there is noticeable lightening of morning sky an hour before SR….sky wave rx being affected here accordingly.  The racing stripe was weakly visible last night as well at times as well.”

There were no trans-Pacific reports (excluding KH6, which is detailed later in this report) during this session.

Roger, VK4YB, indicates that he experienced “low noise but short propagation. Only one non VK call made it into the log and that was the ever faithful, WH2XCR.”  Roger added that Justin, VK7TW, who is an active 630-meter station on Tasmania, has been elected President of the Wireless Institute of Australia.  Congratulations to Justin.  If we could only be so lucky here in the US…

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

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 three WSPR stations and he received reports from nine unique stations.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, indicates that 630-meters was “OK” but a “PNW / West side story”.  He provided reports for four WSPR stations including WH2XCR and he was reported by WH2XCR.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for VK3HP and VK5FQ and he shared two-way reports with WE2XPQ and VK4YB (including multiple reports from Roger near sunrise).  He received reports from VK2XGJ.  Merv’s DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity



“Depending on your focus of attention, what happens that Monday August 21 can seem  like your antenna working like a beam–better and with more directivity–or the transmitter getting an amplifier for free.  If you think in terms of propagation, that day bodes well for an eclipse enhancement on RF signal paths.  If you think like a geophysicist, it can tell how to understand the D-region better.   See TABLE.

We’re radio people.  So let’s drill into the antenna interpretation.   Today’s first illustration evolves a set of simulated SNR curves for WG2XXM in Oklahoma hypothetically sending 630m WSPR to W6YQ in South Dakota,  to SWL/K9 Indiana & other RX stations in WI, IL, IN, MI, OH Great Lakes region, and to  WH2XZO South Carolina & other RX stations in TN, KY, VA, NC.

Remarkably, you can see XXM’s 630m top-loaded vertical TX antenna peaking up the received signal at the various RX stations’ headings clockwise geographically–as if XXM were slowly rotating a beam antenna!

In antenna terms, what are the characteristics of this beam-for-a-day magic eclipse antenna?  Only 630m ops can tell us when we run our stations in that August 21 daytime.  The simulation suggests 6-9 dB of pattern gain, as if XXM went from 5w to 20w or more radiated power!   All that without changing radiated power for purposes of legal power limits, if any!

Now let’s estimate effective beamwidth at 3dB down. We don’t know the D-region time constant, which increases the beamwidth the longer the time constant.  I could graph  a whole effective antenna pattern at any moment during the eclipse if I did enough simulations.  Assuming 30 minute time constant, XXM’s magic antenna has roughly a 120° azimuthal beamwidth. That means the eclipse acts as if the XXM vertical antenna concentrates its power in about 1/3 of a full 360° circle.  If the time constant were 15 minutes instead, the beamwidth would be considerably narrower.

Unlike an HF beam antenna, the “eclipse antenna” will be less directional and less able to reject storm noise within about 500 km short path distances. But it will be more eclipse-directional and more able to reject sky wave noise on longer paths than that.

Also unlike an HF beam, XXM’s eclipse antenna azimuthal beamwidth will vary as it rotates through various headings.  Indeed, your fixed antenna may seem temporarily “seized with enchantment” as the eclipse turns it into a directional antenna with a mind of its own and effectively rotates its directionality to follow somewhat behind the total eclipse.

More specifically, the eclipse antenna’s effective azimuthal beamwidth* will morph with path heading. It will show narrower beamwidth for paths more nearly parallel to the eclipse track like XXM-w6yq and XXM-xzo. For paths like XXM-swl/k9 more nearly perpendicular to the eclipse track, beamwidth will be 120° or so–wide like a unidirectional loop such as a K9AY loop.

An RX vertical can reject sky noise arriving from high elevation angles.  So RX stations that are fortunate enough to have low neighborhood QRN may find that a simple vertical RX antenna works as well during the eclipse as a unidirectional RX loop, I suggest. The eclipse pattern will temporarily sculpture the omni vertical azimuth pattern to a more directional azimuthal beamwidth.  And the RX vertical itself can resist high angle sky noise and regional storm sky wave static.

In the second illustration, simulation suggests such azimuthal directional character will be accentuated the shorter the D-region time constant (using 15 minutes instead of the 30 behind the first illustration).  This second illustration shows taller, narrower-duration radio SNR peaks that are less delayed station-by-station behind the visual eclipse—if D-region time constant is 15 minutes.

We don’t know for sure what the real time constant is, but I hope to estimate it from the delay of maximum path SNR time behind the simulator’s calculated time of maximum partial eclipse on each given path 630m operators test. Meanwhile, as backup, I’ll try Echo mode WSJT-X reception of WLW 700 KHz BCB station to obtain SNRs at 3 second resolution during the eclipse. TU & GL!

This blog post completes a recent set of eclipse background posts** from here. After Field Day in the summer, tell us about any preparations at your station for the eclipse!”

 *Azimuthal Beamwidth = angle between -3dB points.  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beamwidth
Beamwidth of various antennas: Vertical monopole 45°x360° (elev° x azimuth °) p. 3-3.3:
Directivity definition: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Directivity
**Solar Eclipse background posts:
http://njdtechnologies.net/050417/  ;  http://njdtechnologies.net/050517/http://njdtechnologies.net/050817/  ;  http://njdtechnologies.net/050917/  ;    http://njdtechnologies.net/051017/  ;    http://njdtechnologies.net/052217/  ;
http://njdtechnologies.net/052317/  ;    http://njdtechnologies.net/052417/  ;
http://njdtechnologies.net/052617/  ;    http://njdtechnologies.net/053017/  ;
http://njdtechnologies.net/060217/  .



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