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Great improvements for trans-Pacific paths but domestic openings may continue to be masked by storm noise; G0MRF reports portable 630-meter activity from a hill in Sussex on Friday night; W5EST presents ”630m D-Region Sunrise: Comparing Some Daily SNRs”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for July 27, 2016 can be viewed here.

IMPORTANT REMINDER: Neither 630-meters nor 2200-meters are open to amateurs in the US yet.  That includes stations using fake or pirated call signs.  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.

It was noisy here in North Texas during the evening as storms ranged from Mexico into the Midwest and portions of the West and Southeast.  This pattern continues as one system after another drifts over the same areas.  Its supposed to rain most of next week here which usually doesn’t happen in August.  Noise will continue to be hit or miss.  It’s Summer in North America.

11-hour North American lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions were quiet after a daytime reporting period of unsettled conditions that pushed the A-index higher for the session.  The Kp is currently 1.  The Bz is pointing to the North and solar wind velocities have decreased to moderate levels, averaging near 460 km/s this morning.  DST values remain near where they were in the previous session.  Perhaps a late push contributed to improved trans-Pacific openings while domestic openings continue to struggle a bit.

 

 

 

David, G0MRF, is looking for 630-meter activity for Friday evening as he will be operating portably for an IOTA contest this weekend.  He posted the following comments on the RSGB-LF reflector:

“Saturday midday is the start of the 24hr Islands on the air contest and my local club is setting up on a hill in deepest Sussex. (JO00EW).  By Friday evening, we will have a 60ft vertical with elevated radials for 80m. Seems a shame to let it go to waste!

I intend to take some loading coils and run it on 630m for the night.  Not an ideal antenna for MF, but typical for a serious HF station.  I will check into ON4KST Chat and try some CW around 20.30 UTC,   then WSPR later on.

Although this may be some mid-summer madness, there are some interesting enhancements just before sunrise. – A couple of days ago while attending to one of our greyhounds, I noticed EA4GHB on WSPRnet at -6dB  or about 559 in old money out of the receiver. – That’s around 1200km and about 8 – 10dB better than Alberto is normally in the UK at night.  – OK, I don’t expect to find anyone awake at 03.30, but propagation is there on occasions. 73 David G0MRF”

 

Joe, VO1NA, reported that a failing power supply breaker resulted in intermittent operation over recent previous sessions but has since been repaired.  Roelof, PA0RDT, provided a nice report of Joe’s QRSS10 on 477.7 kHz.  High noise in Europe appears to have abated some.  Joe indicates that he was operating with 35-watts to his monopole antenna.  In the coming sessions he indicates he will try 10-watts at 10 word per minute CW.

VO1NA QRSS10 at PA0RDT (courtesy PA0RDT)

 

David, N1DAY / WI2XUF, reported “For a change we had a quiet night north and east of Western North Carolina, and it quickly showed in reports from stations in the Great Lakes and Mid-Atlantic States.  By midnight I had 23 spots and 25 by this morning – a new performance record for my station with an estimated 8-10w ERP out.”

Phil, VE3CIQ, reported good band conditions.  He provided reports for WG2XXM, WH2XGP, WH2XXC, WH2XXP, WI2XFI, WI2XUF, X36CRV, and ZF1EJ.  He was reported by K8PZ, KK1D, N3FL, N4DB, WA9WTK, WH2XXC, WI2XFI, WI2XHK, and WI2XUF while transmitting with 35 watts.  His reports ranged from 500 to 1200 km from his Ontario QTH.

Dave, N4DB, provided reports for eight WSPR stations with WH2XXP as his best DX at a distance of 3109 km.  Dave indicated low QRN.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported that he was receive-only using his E-probe.  He provided reports for WH2XCR, WG2XXM, WH2XXP, and WH2XGP many times each and added that this session was much like the previous for him.

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

Hideo, JH3XCU, submitted this link detailing DX -> JA spot totals and peak S/N, as reported on the Japanese language 472 kHz website.

Roger, VK4YB, received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI/2, VE6XH, VE7BDQ, W7IUV, KR6LA, WE2XPQ and WH2XCR.  He provided reports for WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP and WH2XXP.  He also provided these comments on the session as every day is showing new improvements:

“QRN has moderated as storms move North of ZL. There was a very early spot at -25dB from JA1NQI/2 just 12 minutes after sunset in Tokyo. That is the first time that has happened and I was not using the JA beam. I have targetted JA at their sunset before, using the JA beam but no luck until now. Also Laurence, WE2EPQ, was receiving earlier than usual. The band continued to improve, reaching almost equinoxal strength. It is difficult to believe this is still July and I do not have the benefit of the North East beam. Instead, I am using the “Bottom Hat” to transmit and I am receiving on a gerry-rigged antenna that comprises the remains of the NE beam and some extra wire, which is only about 10ft off the ground and 800ft long. Even so, it was able to pull in WG2XXM, WH2XGP, WH2XXP and WH2XCR. I am hoping to get the NE beam back up this weekend, but, there is a lot of work and it may not get finished until later in the week.”

John, VK2XGJ, reported that his sunset was 0711z and was followed by these WSPR decodes:

VK2XGJ WSPR console shortly after sunset (courtesy VK2XGJ)

 

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, provided reports for two WSPR stations through S9 QRN and he received reports from 32 unique stations including VK4YB, E51WL, WE2XPQ, WH2XCR, ZF1EJ, and five Canadian stations.  Ken also called CQ with FT8 during the evening in response to activity by ZF1EJ, who provided the following screen capture of Ken’s calls:

WG2XXM’s FT8 signal, as received at ZF1EJ (courtesy ZF1EJ)

 

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 48 unique stations including ZL2AFP, VK4YB, VK4XJB, VK2EIK, VK2XGJ, and VK2KRR.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for three WSPR stations and he received reports from 33 unique stations including ZF1EJ, E51WL, VK4YB, ZL2AFP and VK2XGJ.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for seven WSPR stations including VK4YB.  Larry added that propagation appears to be improving everywhere except North America.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

I did a brief check-out of the digital mode portion of the MF station after all of the recent changes with sound adapters while implementing CW Skimmer.  The system is nominal.  I listened for ZF1EJ’s FT8 last night, only catching WG2XXM on an otherwise noisy night.

More progress has been achieved in my work with CW Skimmer and Reverse Beacon Network and thanks to VE7VV and WA3ETD for help in wading through some of the information from the Internet.  As I continue my tests on HF, I decided the test 96 kHz capability.  The loaded drivers would not allow me to select 96 kHz bandwidth, however, so I decided to run the auto update for the Sound Blaster software which provided me with better drivers allowing me to select WME in Skimmer which is apparently a better choice.  This action actually solved a problem while illuminating another.  It seems that when running the KX3 in a Softrock-IF configuration, the bandwidth is limited to 24 kHz by design.  Switching to Softrock, which means that I lose CAT capability seems to have resolved the problem.  I don’t do automated band switching so this loss doesn’t matter to me and this is particularly true once I transition the system permanently to 630-meters (with reduce the bandwidth as well).  I continue to have the pattern matching issue with experimental call signs but I have found that one can modify the pattern file and just accept the error message from the aggregator software.  The modified file does not seem to stop the process from working.  Slowly but surely I am figuring this out.  While this reminds me why I’m not an SDR person, I can see tremendous benefit from a system so its made the effort worthwhile.

 

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity

 

European 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Chinese 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Oceania 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for four WSPR stations and he received reports from eight unique stations.  He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.  Its my belief that the enhancements to and from the Pacific occurred later in the session.

Eden also operated FT8 at 0300z but due to high noise he received no reports.  He did provide FT8 reports for WG2XXM, detailed earlier in this report.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Warwick, E51WL, provided reports for seven WSPR stations by 1500z.  Report details, excluding WH2XCR whose reports are detailed later in this report, can be viewed here.

E51WL 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, provided reports for five WSPR stations including VK4YB and he received reports from eight unique stations.  He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, experienced a massive session like many others, providing reports for VK3HP and VK5FQ.  He shared two-way reports with ZF1EJ, VK4YB, and WE2XPQ.  He received reports from E51WL, EJTSWL, VK2EIK, VK2KRR, VK2XGJ, VK4XJB, and ZL2AFP.  Merv’s DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Jim, W5EST, presents, “630m D-Region Sunrise:  Comparing Some Daily SNRs“:

“For coverage of sunrise SR, today’s illustration compares 3 hours of 630m SNRs of Arizona’s WH2XND (red) and WH2XXP (blue). These SNR sequences evolved on three successive storm-free days last Nov. 5, 6, 7 at N6SKM in California at XND 986 km and XXP 925 km respectively.

Vertical dashed lines show the sunrise times in Arizona and California separated by about 46 minutes.  Sunrise SR heading 109° + 180° is nearly aligned–within 10° to 15° –with XND 299° heading and XXP 303°.   Such heading alignment widely separated the SR times for useful sampling at the 6 minute intervals of WSPR2 mode that was used by these stations.

You can some similarity, but not perfect identity, of XND’s sequence to XXP on any given day.  Ditto for each station’s sequence to that station’s sequence on the other two days.  XND and XXP are sufficiently separated in Arizona that they are probing the D and E layers at distinct locations many wavelengths apart at altitude.

About 6 dB of  “noisy” variability shows up in the sequences.  630m QSB can vary significantly during the 2-minute WSPR2 time slot, so the timing of each slot relative to the QSB introduces SNR variability. The WSPR2 decoder has inherent SNR variability of its own, too.  So you could reasonably say there’s nothing to interpret due to masking of true sunrise dynamics by such SNR variability.  Also, it’s treacherous to pick out some days to write up for this blog while omitting so many other days and so many other 630m paths.  I’m tentatively interpreting these sequences notwithstanding those pitfalls.

I do so, first, because these stations and paths on those storm-free nights are some of the most similar ones available on the 630m band.  Second, the night-to-day downramp is plain enough. Third, you can see a peak of SNR around CA SR (California sunrise) featuring SNR points increasingly leading up to to the peak and down from it—unlike mere noisy variability from point to successive point.  Fourth, XXP’s sequence executes that peak somewhat in advance of XND’s peak there all three days.

Why would an approximately 10dB “bump” or peak in SNR occur as late as the westward station SR?  It’s not a pre-SR enhancement and I doubt if the westward SR “bump” arises from similar causes as a pre-SR enhancement.  Doesn’t this pose a 630m mystery?  Tell us your most dramatic  630m post-SR “bump” experiences and any explanations you can reason!  TU & GL.”


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