This session was very strong with low noise levels and high activity, particularly in the western portions of North America. Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, reported mid-winter conditions with a noise level of -105 dBm and just a few distant lightning crashes. In Australia, Roger, VK4YB, indicated an improved noise level at -84 dBm although storms near Brisbane were beginning to rally and threaten reception. Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, sent a note about high activity in his late evening, already showing six WSPR stations reported:
After 1300z, Neil reported a completely different set of six received stations:
Geomagnetic activity is currently quiet but appears to be on the way back up as proton levels have been elevated this morning and DST values are increasing, typically following by a rapid decrease at the on set of storm conditions. The Bz is also pointing to the North this morning and solar wind velocities remain low, averaging 375 km/s, elevated over the previous session.
Mike, WA3TTS, reported elevated noise levels for this time of year during the evening. Mike was using two IF receivers on 472 during this session with the EWE pointing to the Northwest. I would suspect the storms off of the Atlantic coast and western Great lakes region contributed to much of Mike’s noise:
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, had a successful first session of transmitting WSPR, with western reports including decodes at WE2XPQ in Alaska:
Rick had the following comments:
“As you know this was my first night on TX, I think it went well, although there was issues getting there. I was on my back up amplifier at about 3 watts output. Parts have been ordered to fix the higher power one. I heard 2 – RX conditions were pretty bad here, and was heard by 6.”
Max, IK0VVE, reports that he was QRV on QRSS10 on 476.170 kHz at approximately 60-watts TPO. Reports pending.
Phil, VE3CIQ, reports that “The storm map was pretty full last night. One decode of WG2XGP at dawn. Longer nights would sure help.” Its good to see the transcontinental openings this early and hopefully those guys can dry out shortly:
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reports that he decoded nine WSPR stations and was decoded by fifteen unique stations, most of which were on the West coast.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he decoded three WSPR station and was decoded by 23 unique stations including five decodes from WE2XPQ.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, provided the following statistics and comments:
Steve, VE7SL, reports that he decoded nine WSPR stations and was decoded by eight unique stations, including 28 decode by WE2XPQ and 50% of which were at CW levels. Steve reports that Laurence is hearing him better than he is hearing Laurence which may be the result of the high activity currently found in the Pacific Northwest / British Columbia region, where the high RF density has a negative impact in receiver dynamic range and noise floor in general.
Drax, KB3X / WI2XJW, reports that he is on the air now. Details about his operational plans are forthcoming.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-Atlantic, trans-African, or trans-Equatorial paths.
In the Caribbean, Eden, ZF1EJ, reported WG2XXM:
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had another strong night from Alaska with numerous reports from the western region of North America, Hawaii and Oklahoma. He was using a 400-foot circumference loop during this session that really does not favor the “lower-48” but it seemed to work fine. Laurence continues A/B testing with the Marconi as time allows:
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, experienced a relatively strong session although passing storms increased his noise level. Merv indicates that conditions were still pretty good for this time of year.
Jim, W5EST, presents “VIEWPOINT: E LAYER BALLOON CONTRIBUTES TO 630M SS/SR BUMP”:
“In today’s first illustration, the westward-moving terminator puts a boundary between the ballooned late-daytime E-region or early morning E-region and the thinner, higher-altitude nighttime E-region. At the boundary, a contour surface of electron concentration corresponds to 475KHz plasma frequency and slants up to the east at sunset SS (not shown). Conversely, as illustrated, the contour slants upward and westward at sunrise SR. In both cases, the direction of slant favors 630m RF signals launching into or arriving from the nighttime side of the terminator.
This first illustration shows how a slanting contour for 475KHz reflection can add signal strength in the propagation regimes near SS and SR. It acts like a supplemental, imperfectly-formed mirror to transmit and receive high angle RF at the higher angles of the antenna pattern and couple them into low angle transmissions into the night or to pull in low angle transmissions from the night-side direction.
Twice a day, nature in effect constructs a sky-borne 630m dish antenna or mirror-like strip that you could never afford any other way. Of the two times, SS and SR, it is SR that I believe offers the more interesting opportunities for enhanced propagation. D-layer absorption after SS only slowly fades into full transparency after an hour or more. By contrast, the D-layer after SR does desirably delay somewhat, even though it more rapidly rises to full ionization after SR than the rate at which it loses ionization after SS. Meanwhile, after SR the E-layer is ballooning downward and providing the signal-enhancing slanted contour as shown.
This slanted “mirror” of ionization is approximately parallel to the terminator and tilted to more or less favor and enhance 630m propagation from directions perpendicular to the terminator into the darkness. As the seasons evolve, the terminator orientation at SS/SR changes its heading. As a result, some SS or SR enhancements may benefit a given path somewhat more during particular seasons.
For instance, for E/W paths one would expect equinoxes plus/minus one month to be most favorable for SS/SR enhancements to varying degrees worldwide. For long paths between hemispheres in any orientation, ask for particulars. For other than E/W paths within a given hemisphere, the predictions separate themselves geographically and seasonally, subject always to weather noise regionally.
— Sunrise SR may especially enhance NE/SW paths in N. Hemisphere in spring and late summer, and NE/SW in S. Hemisphere same months, fall and winter there.
–Sunrise SR may especially enhance NW/SE paths in N. Hemisphere fall and winter, and NW/SE in S. Hemisphere same months, spring and late summer there.
— Sunset SS may enhance NE/SW paths in N. Hemisphere fall and winter, and NE/SW in S. Hemisphere same months, spring and late summer there.
–Sunset SS may enhance NW/SE paths in N. Hemisphere spring and late summer, and NW/SE in S. Hemisphere same months, fall and winter there.
Both the D- and E-regions stand in disequilibrium around SS/SR. The second illustration shows a post-SR bump on a short path well after SR. The SNR varies widely in this regime. Patches of greater and less electron concentration exist until equilibrium is restored by the sun’s daily arc across the sky continually shaping these ballooning regions. (E-region ballooning and Chapman theory were discussed August 1, this blog.) It means 630m will do whatever it likes at SS/SR to enhance, or impede, any path regardless of path heading and regardless of season of the year!
To take advantage of SS/SR enhancements on receive, both an RX vertical and RX loop can supplement each other to provide higher angle reception that can admit significant SS/SR enhanced RF signal from variously polarized incoming signals.
On transmit, for stations subject to an EIRP limit, the isotropic radiator would be an ideal 630m antenna, believe it or not. Any 630m antenna that radiates more nearly equally in all directions—all azimuths and all elevations—would consume more transmitter power, yes, but would also throw power into azimuths and elevation angles that sometimes are the favorable ones for 630m propagation.
The usual TX arrangement of vertical & radials, even if intended to favor lower elevation angles, still has considerable higher angle pattern up to 45° or so. I think the jury’s still out on whether much more antenna elevation pattern than that is needed to take advantage of SS/SR enhancements. If so, a fully-equipped 630m station would sport some high-angle transmit antenna to supplement the usual lower-angle TX arrangement of vertical/radials.
What’s your viewpoint? Let us know. TU & GL!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com)!