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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

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

New WSJTx mode ‘FT8’ breaks some of the Summer monotony in North America; WSPR reports from E51WL continue; Tonight is Night of Nights XVIII at KPH; W5EST presents ”Part 7: Astronomical 630m SS/SR, 6-Month Seasonality, N/S Hemispheres”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for July 12, 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.

Noise conditions for this session were about the same as the last, as storms encircle the core of the US.  It was pretty noisy from an operational standpoint in North Texas but I don’t think it was any worse than normal for July.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions were generally quiet for this session as the Bz continues to point persistently to the South.  Solar wind velocities are averaging near 490 km/s with a few excursions above 500 km/s this morning.  DST values have been relatively stable but remains at slightly negative levels.




Just a reminder that tonight is “Night of Nights XVIII” at KPH in the Bay area of California.  They will be operating on a number of frequencies including 500/426 kHz.  If you make screen captures or good mp3 recordings, particularly on MF, be sure to send them so I can include them tomorrow.  Details at radiomarine.org.

Maybe the highlight of the session was the band activity centered around the new mode Joe Taylor mode called “FT8”.  A number of stations have installed WSJTx and tried the new mode on HF while some, including myself, have also been playing with the mode on 630-meters.  In fact, at 2000z WG2XXM and I completed a two-way FT8 QSO.  It’s quite fast and because of the transition speed, it takes a little practice to ensure that the next transmission cycle has been selected as the previous transmission decodes and the next response transmission begins.  This has always been a problem with JT9 but it’s more tenuous with FT8.  I look forward to “quiet enough” band conditions to test this mode on longer-haul paths.



Also reporting some play time with the new mode was John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, who submitted these comments and a screen capture that he received from VE3CIQ:

“Following a frustrating period, I was able to install the latest trial version of WSJT-X.  There appeared to be a conflict with existing WSPR software, causing hard crashes within five seconds of launching the new app.  Finally, automated CQ beacon messages were exchanged with Phil VE3CIQ, once both of our signal strengths exceeded the published -20 dB threshold.  Following the tests, WSPR-2 mode on the same package ran with no issues overnight.  WG2XKA heard 7 and was heard by 14.”

WG2XKA FT8 beacon at VE3CIQ (courtesy VE3CIQ via WG2XKA)


Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, reported two WG2XXM FT8 transmissions at 0704z.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2SXV, reported that he was active on several modes:

“My WSPR  was heard by 15 stations. Once again all were western S/P, including at least 12 spots from Merv/XCR (best of -16).

I was able to decode 8 wspr stations including XCR. It was nice to see several spots of WD2XSH/26 (north of me by about 327 km), whom I have not seen in awhile.

I ran a FT8 beacon off and on last night. No reports that I am aware of at this time. I left WSJT-X 1.8 receiving in FT8 all night with no decodes. My SOP is to run both WSPR4 and WSJT-X programs daily with the latter RXing in either JT9 or (now) FT8 modes. Other modes by request….”

Trans-Pacific report details, excluding E51, KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded five WSPR stations and he was decoded by 34 unique stations including ZL1RS, E51WL, WH2XCR, ZF1EJ, and five Canadian stations.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 32 unique stations including VK4YB and ZL1RS.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP provided reports for ten WSPR stations and he received reports from 22 unique stations including ZL1RS.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for ten WSPR stations.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Rudy, N6LF / WD2XSH/20, provided reports for ten WSPR stations and he received reports from 24 unique stations including ZL1RS.


After completing a midday FT8 QSO with WG2XXM, I decided to spend some time listening for other FT8 signals during the evening, periodically throwing out a few CQ’s.  This is such a weird time of year because at 10pm local time I can still see sun glow on the western horizon and a check of the terminator map in DX Atlas indicates that the Pacific Northwest still has more than an hour of sun.   I didn’t have high expectations that quality openings were going to occur by my bedtime.  This morning I fired off a few CQ’s with FT8 and  sent a few WSPR transmissions.  The band seemed so-so as noise remains pretty high.  I will do more testing tonight if noise conditions allow.

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


South American 24-hour WSPR activity


European 24-hour WSPR activity


Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Australian 24-hour WSPR activity


Warwick, E51WL, provided reports for seven WSPR stations.  Report details can be viewed here.

E51WL 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for  four WSPR stations and he received reports from four unique stations.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a better night in recent memory, providing reports for four WSPR stations and receiving reports from nine unique stations including two-way reports shared with WH2XCR.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for VK3HP and he shared two-way reports with WE2XPQ and VK4YB.  He received reports from E51WL, VK2XGJ, and ZL1RS, the latter of which was still reporting after sunrise.  Merv also reported me during my brief WSPR transmissions this morning.  His DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


Jim, W5EST, presents “Part 7: Astronomical 630m SS/SR, 6-Month Seasonality, N/S Hemispheres”:

“Yesterday’s blog used azimuth charts to show how 630m SNR effects depend on SR and SS azimuths through the year and around the world.  Today, those azimuth charts get supplemented with an illustration of our planet on opposite sides of the sun at solstices and from opposite directions to show sunrise SR and sunset SS in each of N. and S. Hemisphere.  The sun appears higher in the sky at a summer noon and considerably lower at a winter noon.

Sunrises in June and December are shown at left.  Sunsets for December and June are shown at the right.  The WH2XXP-n6skm 630m radio path is shown in red.  The VK4YB-vk2xgj path is highlighted in purple.

Symmetry between sunrise and sunset six months apart is a direct consequence of the spinning Earth being on opposite sides of the sun on dates six months apart. Because the Earth spins like a top, the Earth’s axis maintains its orientation throughout the year relative to the fixed stars, even as Earth revolves around the sun.

In this astronomical perspective, the terminator is a great circle bounding the half of the earth that is illuminated by the sun as the earth moves around the sun in its nearly-circular, somewhat elliptical orbit. The orbit of our planet is seen edge-on as a dashed line in the drawing, which depicts the terminator as a solid black line up and down bisecting the blue Earth.

Diagonally down in the drawing from June sunrise, see June sunset at lower right, as if viewing Earth’s orbit edge-on out of the page instead of into the page.  The red and purple 630 m radio paths maintain their orientations relative to both Earth’s axis and each nearby dashed latitude circle. Nevertheless, the orientation of those radio paths relative to the terminator is considerably altered as between SR and SS.  You can also see the symmetry that provides equal durations of N. Hemisphere day (in black) and S. Hemisphere night (dashed black).

It’s somewhat beyond my artistic capability to show the relative positions of the terminator and Earth’s axis as the earth moves to other positions in its orbit generally. These positions are the ones that are responsible for the symmetry of SR and SS as between dates half a year apart generally, halfway around Earth’s orbit.

Regarding the other positions in Earth’s orbit, moreover, the axis of the sun’s own rotation makes an angle with respect to a north-south vertical plane in a solar telescopic view of the sun at solar noon (meridian) .  Because of our observer orientation, the axis of the sun’s own rotation tilts clockwise and back counterclockwise from solstice to equinox to solstice, plus and minus 23.5° from equinox to equinox, or about 47° range of variation.  Add that Earth-based angle variation to possible orientations of coronal mass ejection CME magnetic field depending on the CME itself relative to the plane of Earth’s orbit, and you get an influence on propagation that’s jointly due to Earth and CME.

This varying angular orientation of Earth relative to the sun may be important because the different orientation of the earth relative to the magnetic field of earth-directed CMEs (coronal mass ejections) is thought to variously affect radio propagation on some bands.  This paragraph must remain speculative, since our knowledge of space weather processes and effects on 630m is so limited. In any event, I hope that you find that thinking about 630m from an astronomical perspective helps “illuminate” some 630m mysteries. TU & GL!”

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