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Field day brought many opportunities to expose amateurs to medium and long wave activity; Unsettled geomagnetic conditions returned this morning, but a VK -> JA report was observed

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for June 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.

I think we can call ourselves fortunate when talking about the biggest noise makers for the session that moved further South of a bulk of the prospective receiving stations.  It wasn’t a quiet night, however. After all it IS late June but the noise was easy enough to handle and hearing stations could have been more challenging.  I think having the right tools for the job paid off during this session and a few stations at field day sites were able to take advantage.

11-hour North American lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions reached unsettled levels this morning with a Bz that has been pointing to the South for much of the night.  Proton levels during the day peaked at a very high 198 p/cc at one point in the afternoon while numerous excursions to low levels were observed intermittently through the afternoon and evening.  Solar wind velocities are elevated to moderate levels and averaging near 440 km/s.  DST values have taken a bit of a dip.

 

 

 

Today’s report will be a combination of usual report details with a focus on field day activity from the perspective of the MF and LF operator and their pursuit to engage amateurs to display what it is that we do below the AM broadcast band.  There remains a lot of mystery about this chunk of spectrum, particularly in the amateur general population – a stigma of fringe activity is very prominent.  I think that getting into the community with outreach activities like this one in a non-formal setting can go a long way to improving the perception of hams that may have a completely different picture of what ham radio is in general.  The process can be as simple as introducing yourself to someone and striking up a conversation or as complex as a full presentation.  Both scenarios occurred this year.   More and more often the question is asked why we do this.  My answer is simple – its for the love and magic of radio.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, may have received the earliest reports while running JT65 this weekend on 474.2 kHz + 1000 Hz.  Toby, VE7CNF, indicated on Friday night that Neil was in the -4 to -9 dB S/N range between 0605-0613 UTC, with a message that read “WG2XSV GL FD”.  Others were also listening at considerably further distances but no other decodes have been reported at this time.

On Saturday Neil undertook the rather ambitious task of presenting at a local field day site in 100 degree heat in Vancouver, WA.  He spoke for about 30-minutes to a group of about fifteen who showed a lot of interest.  Only one of those individuals knew the code so there is definitely a case to be made for using digital modes for at least part of the time in events like this or at least promoting the use of decoding software, where applicable.  Neil added that he “…talked a lot about WSPR and our accomplishments with it over the past several years. Most of them did NOT know about WSPR, but the guy who invited me to speak filled them in on what HE had decoded using only his 40 meter dipole.”  Neil very astutely noted that regardless of the outcome of his efforts, “…at least I planted a few seeds and bent some ears our direction.”  Sometimes that all it takes!

This morning, Neil added:

“I was up around 2:30 AM (0930z) and heard Ward’s CW message at Q5. Listened for you and others but no luck. Ron, XND was heard earlier, before I hit the sack, but not  btn 2 and 3 AM here.

Got a report from Rod/ve7vv that he decoded my JT65. Toby had decoded me Friday night, so that is at least 2 that I know of.”

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, made contact with the Green Mountain Wireless Association located in Rutland, VT and was successful in not only getting them to listen and report his signal but he also connected with a few guys that had a mutual friend and will be visiting him today after field day ends to see his station and figure out what is necessary for to get a station on the air.  John indicates that the guy is excited by the potential opportunity.

In the early evening Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported that he was transmitting JT65 on 474.2 kHz + 1200 Hz with a field day message that read “FDTEST WH2XZO”.  Doug was a late addition to the activity after his field day operating plans were scuttled due to bad weather in his region.  Doug received reports from N8OOU, who was a participant last year as a part-15 station.  He indicates that he was using a Kenwood TS-480 and a trapped multi-band vertical and he decoded Doug at sunset, those reports follow:

0145 -15  1.3 1199 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0147 -16  1.3 1198 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0149 -21  1.3 1198 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0151 -15  1.3 1198 #  FDTEST WH2XZO

Not bad for an unmatched HF vertical!  Doug also received aural reports from Mike, WA3TTS, located in Pittsburgh.  Joe, WA9CGZ, reported that he decoded WH2XZO’s JT65 at 0407z.

N8OOU added in a later post on LOWFER that Doug was joined by WI2XSV.  He provided the following statistics and comments:

“I continued to decode WH2XZO then at 04:11 UTC WI2XSV joined my list;

0407 -20  1.3 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0409 -22  1.5 1616 #  FDTEST
0411 -21  1.3 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0411 -24  1.5 1616 #  FDTEST WI2XSV
0413 -19  1.5 1616 #  FDTEST WI2XSV
0413 -22  1.3 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0415 -15  1.3 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0415 -20  1.5 1216 #  FDTEST WI2XSV
0417 -18  1.3 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0419 -17  1.3 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0419 -23  1.5 1216 #  FDTEST WI2XSV
0420 -21  1.5 1216 #  FDTEST WI2XSV

My last decode of WI2XSV was at 04:50.  My best reception of WH2XZO was at 08:07, which faded out at 09:47 UTC.

0803 -10  1.6 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0805  -8  1.6 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0807  -7  1.5 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO
0809 -10  1.5 1196 #  FDTEST WH2XZO”

 

JB, VE3EAR, reported JT65 decodes as well:

“Nothing heard/seen from Neil, but I was rewarded with this:

0537  -1 -0.1 1197 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0717  -1  0.1 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0719  -1  0.2 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0721  -1  0.2 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0725  -1  0.1 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0741  -1  0.2 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0743  -1  0.2 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0745  -1  0.3 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0807  -1  0.1 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0809  -1  0.2 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0825  -1  0.2 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO
0827  -1  0.2 1198 # FDTEST WH2XZO”

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, has been away on assignment, operating his CW beacon remotely for the past few nights but he returned to Alaska yesterday to a location about 200 miles from home.  He visited the South Peninsula Radio Group where he literally waltzed into a canvas tent equipped with radio gear and an HF doublet on Homer Spit beach, introduced himself and mentioned the miracle of MF and LF.  Like I said earlier, sometimes that is all it takes!

Rod, VE7VV, reported that he completed multiple field day QSO’s on 630-meters with Toby VE7CNF.  Rod indicates that he was “1E BC with battery power. Toby was 1D BC. We did CW, PSK31 and DominoEX4. Fun!”  That’s cool!  I bet there is some surprise when the ARRL sees Rod’s log.  That’s a good thing in my opinion.  Rod added the following comments this evening:

“I had left the JT65 decoder running overnight and I think it decoded all of Neil, WG2XSV’s, FD transmissions from 0539 when I started it to 1243. The s/n varied from a min of -25 to a max of -5 (at 0725 and 0933).  Wsprnet gives the distance between us as 316km.

I made several qso’s with Toby, VE7CNF, last nite, CW, PSK31 and DominoEx4, using 10W total power output on my end. He is 63 km away. PSK31 worked very well, 100% print and it was much faster than the Domino. Perhaps we (Neil and I) can try a test sometime comparing PSK31 and DomEx4 on a more challenging path.”

 

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, had been operating WSPR for much of the day but disappeared in the late evening, presumably due to the threat of bad weather before morning.  Ken was visible on my remote receiver waterfall for each of his transmissions through the day and into the evening.  Ken indicated that he heard my CW in the early afternoon.

I had a rather unique experience this year.  Because of some operational changes at my station, automation of my message was a bit different from normal so rather than traveling to groups as I have done in the past, I used VHF FM to present to a few groups on local and regional repeaters.  It went rather well considering that I was not on site and there was the added feature that I was able to reach a number of operators that would have not otherwise been targeted had I been located at a specific site.  This precipitated a wide range of questions so I will have to keep this technique in mind in the future.  It worked better than I expected.  By late evening I was concentrating on keeping the signal on the air and on frequency at my allotted :20 and :40 minute past each hour.  This schedule was intended to juxtapose the activity of Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, who was operating at :00, :15, :30,  and :45 with a message that was roughly three minutes long.  Using the multi-turn loop, Ward was quite loud here and well out of the noise.  A transcript follows:

“VVV FD MSG 2017 FROM WH2XXP TONOPAH AZ TO ALL RADIO AMATEURS

FIELD DAY IS FINALLY HERE PLEASE BE CAREFUL IN ALL YOUR FD ACTIVITIES

THANKS FOR COPYING THIS 50 WATT ERP MEDIUM WAVE SIGNAL FROM DM33

73 AND GOOD LUCK IN THE CONTEST DE WH2XXP”

Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, was operating on 137.525 kHz CW with a message.  Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, indicated that he could see Ron’s signal in the water fall but he indicates that he had no copy.  Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, indicated the he could”…barely hear a CW in there, but I caught a DEFINITE “73” a min ago…”  The wall of noise was overwhelming here in my neighborhood and I never heard Ron between my transmissions.  He was operating on the same fifteen minute schedule that Ward was operating.

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported moderate noise in his listening hour this morning.  He heard my field day message at RST 539 in addition to “XZO’s FD message on JT65 at a robust -10”.  He also reported three WSPR stations.

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, received reports from twenty unique stations and as W7IUV, Larry provided reports for two WSPR stations.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

Mike, WA3TTS, reported “…4 stations decoded overnight on wspr2 630m band, but propagation seemed improved to PNW and to South as well, all on NW EWE antenna.”  He provided the following statistics:

Mike added that he

“…made the trek to NO3M/WG2XJM’s QTH for field day with my non-ham fiend Mark Hepburn from the Pittsburgh Antique Radio Society.  Mark brought along his recently restored National 240D which covers 500 kHz to 30 MHz in several bands…it is visible in the picture below in the upper left corner along with Eric’s MOPA + pushpull pair of 203s for amplifier and tuner combination…

Side view of Eric’s 1930’s field day transmitter setup
Mark also brought along a restored Hallicrafter’s SP-44 1940s era panadaptor which he tapped into the 455 kHz IF of the NC240D, Eric is tuning around on 40m band
I hope everyone had a good FD experience.”

Trans-Pacific WSPR 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 “Moderate QRN and only WH2XCR and one spot from TNUKJPM provided any DX. There were at least 13 VK stations active and Edgar, EJTSWL has now progressed to VK6 land. I am hoping he will turn North into virgin 630m territory.”

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, returned to air after winds subsided enough on the island to crank the tower and transmit antenna back to height.  He provided reports for two WSPR stations and he received reports from nine unique stations including WH2XCR.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, provided reports for two WSPR stations between his CW transmissions in the field day outreach event.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, reported that in the previous session he was not transmitting due to a blown FET when the antenna switch was in the wrong position.  He seems to have corrected the problem in time for this session.  He provided reports for ZF1EJ and VK3HP and he shared two-way reports with VK4YB that continued until sunrise.  He received reports from WE2XPQ, VK2XGJ and ZL2BCG.  He also briefly received reports this morning for the first time from KH6RD.  Merv’s DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

 


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