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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR for storms - just one more night - should be QRV Saturday night!

Similar session to previous with decent domestic openings in spite of noise and somewhat ‘flat’ long haul propagation; E51WL reporting stations from North Cook Islands; W5EST presents ”VK4YB Operating Schedule with 630m Fixed Directive TX Antennas”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for July 8, 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.  UPDATED: 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.

More wide spread storms mean more noise in North America.  Fortunately activity was decent and openings appear similar to the previous session.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions were quiet.  The Bz has generally followed the centerline but is pointing slightly to the South this morning.  Solar wind velocities are averaging near 350 km/s and DST values are also remaining close to the center line and showing minimal variability.




Phil, VE3CIQ, reported that he heard no stations overnight but was heard by four unique stations as he dodged thunderstorms all night in Ontario.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, indicates that he provided reports for three WSPR stations including WH2XXP, WH2XGP, and WD2XSH/20.  He received reports from twelve unique stations including WH2XCR in KH6 and WE2XPQ in KL7.  Neil indicates that he was operating at 10% duty cycle with approximately 1.3 watts ERP.

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported three WSPR stations this morning after being off air for several weeks due to storms.

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he was looking for WH2XGP and WD2XSH/20 on the transcontinental path but noise and the path was problematic.  Mike provided reports for five WSPR stations overnight, “mostly XXP & XQU, single CIQ decode when ant was NE.”

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

Hideo, JH3XCU, submitted these tables showing peak S/N and number of reports for DX -> JA for the session.

E51WL, located on North Cook Islands, provided reports for six WSPR stations.

E51WL 24-hour WSPR activity


Roger, VK4YB, reported “Low QRN at start, rising to moderate. Improved short and medium range propagation. Long range was marginal. My NE beam has high SWR. I will investigate in daylight.  The 479 kHz SSB group have changed the callback frequency to 3610 kHz. There were 6 stations joining the callback.”  He received reports from E51WL, 7L1RLL4, JH3XCU, and JA1NQI.  He provided reports for WH2XXP and he shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, reported marginal propagation to VK but he received reports from 28 unique stations including E51WL, VK4YB, and VK2XGJ.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for five WSPR stations and he received reports from sixteen unique stations including E51WL.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for seven WSPR stations.  Larry indicates that he was operating low duty cycle all night.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


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, was reported by five unique stations including WH2XCR.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, returned to air after rebuilding his ATU.  He provided reports for four WSPR stations and he received reports from three unique stations.  He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for VK5FQ and ZF1EJ and he shared two-way reports with VK4YB and WE2XPQ.  He received reports from VK3XHM, VK2XGJ and E51WL in North Cook Islands.  Reporting was especially active through sunrise.  Merv’s DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity



Today’s illustration shows 8 days of Roger’s VK4YB nighttime SNRs as received 844 km to SSW at John’s station VK2XGJ. I noticed a middle-of-night median SNRstairstep down 10-15 dB and asked Roger for more information about how he switches his antennas.  It turned out that TX power reduction is mostly responsible.

Here’s Roger’s e-mail bolded by me. We most appreciate the opportunity to blog it.

‘Hi Jim, I am copying this email to John, VK2XGJ and John, KB5NJD.

This is my usual operating procedure on the average night.

1) I start the session listening on the NE beam at sunset. Hoping to get an early spot on WH2XCR, or WH2XXP. I only transmit occasionally, so as not to miss a spot on WG2XXM or some other exotic DX.

2) By mid evening I am transmitting about 33% using all antennas. If I notice a VK6 has not got a spot on me, I will switch to the West antenna until he does. When Edgar EJTSWL shows up, I will run all antennas consecutively.

3) At 10:30z I will switch to the South beam for the SSB roundtable. If I use any other antenna, I can barely hear them. On the South beam they are strong enough for a rag chew, QRN permitting.

4) 11:15z is prime time for North America. I will be transmitting at 50% on the North East beam. Not much luck with this recently.

5) After that I play it by ear. If I should get an early spot from a JA whilst transmitting on the North East beam, I will switch to the NNE (JA) beam to take advantage. This has not happened for quite a while.

6) At 12:30z I switch to the NNE beam, but I still receive on the NE beam so I don’t miss a sunrise enhanced signal from NA.

7) By 13:00z there is no chance of hearing NA, so I increase transmit percentage to 66%. There are no JAs transmitting as far as I know.

8) At our midnight, 14:00z, I am usually making my report to John, KB5NJD. If there is a good opening going to JA, I will stay on for another hour.

      9) Finally at bedtime, I make the following changes:

  1. a) Set Tx and Rx antennas to the North East beam to capture WH2XCR sunrise.
  2.   b) Reduce transmit percentage to 22%
  3.  c) Turn off the 450 watt linear amplifier. Power is reduced to 50 watts TPO. This is because the prototype linear amplifier has no protection circuits and I don’t want a melt-down when it is unattended.  The drop off in S/N with John will be owing to the power change. With all my antenna tests, I have discovered that on the path to VK2XGJ, the antennas show very little directivity. I put this down to the path being relatively high angle. Stations much closer show no directivity at all, but the signal is dependent on polarization. The verticals being stronger.

                                                                                   73 all Roger, VK4YB’

Jim W5EST Notes: Interesting example of operating judgments involving TX power, WSPR TX percentage, and direction choices among fixed directive antennas  at a 630m DX station.  Even though other stations in their different relative geographic locations and with their different antenna types will make their own appropriate decisions, the different considerations at VK4YB make informative reading.

Turning now to day-night SNRs in eastern VK-land, the e-mail helps me interpret the stream of SNRs over 8 nights from the WSPR database.  About 45 dB takes you from daytime SNR to nighttime SNR levels along this E. Australia path.  That’s somewhat more than the WH2XXP-n6skm path released.  One particular day, June 30, the transition from pre-SS to night involved full VK4YB power on the NE beam, so it appears to comprehend the full dynamic range of the day-to-night D-region transition.

Around sunrise SR, by contrast, one needs to keep in mind that the pre-SR to daytime SNR dive into the noise lacks that full 45 dB dynamic range. That’s because of the approximately 10-15 dB decrease in SNR caused by the TX power reduction in the night.  Additionally, analysis of SNRs relative to an SNR level halfway down the SR downramp would recognize that the halfway-down point is computed from the pre-SR level and not the earlier nighttime peak SNRs.

TU & GL to all!”

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