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

Relatively average session with high noise and a few solid trans-Pacific openings; W5EST presents: ”Solar Eclipse Bulls-Eye ‘Saucer’ and RF Path Ellipsoid”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for August 15, 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.

Noise conditions were more of the same.  Parts of the Southeast, Southwest and West continue to be inundated with storms.  The bright spot for me was that I was not rudely awakened by lightning this morning.  The session seemed to be slightly quieter here than the previous session but not by much.  We will get through August eventually.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions are quiet. The Bz is pointing to the North and solar wind velocities are averaging near 390 km/s. DST values have reached and surpassed the centerline, moving into positive territory.





Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reports that his antenna system has taken a beating this summer and of the six original umbrella wires at the top of his antenna, only two remain.   He also indicates that about eight of his radials have been cut as a result of mowing.  But there is some hope:  Doug indicated that he was QRV during this session with a 68-foot Marconi-T resonated with a large base coil and 50-Watts TPO.  He also noted an upcoming talk that he would be giving at the upcoming Shelby hamfest.  Doug explains:

“I will be giving a talk at 2 PM Saturday, Sept 2 at the Shelby hamfest on 630/2200M and plan to experiment with some simple 630M antennas the next two weeks, the kind of antenna most people would be able to erect when 630/2200M become ham bands. I hope some of you will come to the talk and bring show and tell items plus talk about your low frequency experiences. “

Doug hopes to get his original antenna repaired in September.  Doug decoded three WSPR stations through high noise levels and was decoded by twenty unique stations.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported a night where his outbound signal reports were down a bit compared to the previous session.  He submitted these statistics and comments:

“I was heard by 13, with a slightly different mix of listeners. As usual, XCR/HI and XPQ/AK were my DX (loving that salt water path 😊 ).  I heard these : WE2XPQ (19x, best -16), and your WG2XIQ (5x, -26), WH2XCR (31x, -16), WH2XGP (79x, +10), WH2XXP (75x, +8), WI2XJQ (50x, -8).  Looking forward to the eclipse. I’ll run WSPR at about 33% TX probably and also capture some lower freq signals with argo on a second radio (like WWVB).”


David, N1DAY / WI2XUF, reported that “Last night started out well producing most of my spots before 10PM.  Unlike previous nights where activity picked up as the evening progressed, last night it dropped off.  By morning, I experienced a total of 21 daily spots – 6 on RX, 15 on TX.  EM85 continues to experience unsettled weather conditions with a fair amount of rain.”

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, provided reports for five WSPR stations  through moderate to high noise conditions during his morning listening session.

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he decoded seven WSPR stations overnight, including his session best, WH2XGP, at -19 dB S/N at 0848z in addition to WH2XXP, ZF1EJ, WG2XIQ, WD2XSH/15, WH2XZO, WI2XUF, and WH2XXC.

Dave, N4DB, reported that he decoded six WSPR stations, which was down from the previous session.

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

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

Roger, VK4YB, reported that ” 630m is falling into a typical pattern, favouring the PNW with reports from WH2XGP peaking at -17dB S/N. WH2XXP peaked at -10dB here.”  He received reports from VE6XH, VE6JY, W7IUV and WH2XGP. He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.

John, VK2XGJ, reported that “the Yanks are coming” in the evening as there are numerous reports for WH2XXP and WH2XCR relatively early:

VK2XGJ reports numerous North American decodes (courtesy VK2XGJ)


Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 42 unique stations including ZL2BCG, VK7TW, VK5ABN, VK4YB, VK2XGJ, VK2EIK, VK3ALZ, and VK5AKK.

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for nine WSPR stations and he received reports from 25 unique stations including VK2XGJ and ZL2BCG.  He shared two-way reports with VK4YB.   As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for eight WSPR stations including VK4YB.

The band seemed slightly less noisy during this session.  I started WSPR before sunset and suffered the consequences of having to wait for reports to begin until after dark.  Shorter openings appear to have been favored early but the band opened up nicely after a few hours of darkness.  I hope to begin my daily CW sessions around mid-September and hope to have a working solutions for my CW-Skimmer and reverse beacon network portal.  I worked on the system a bit this weekend, this time with a different machine but found that I am going to have to install a different version of Windows and apply the updates.  It’s all a work in progress.  My WSPR transmission report details can be viewed here and my reception report details can be viewed here.

WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Bill, WD5HOH, of Houston, Texas has been writing me letters for years, submitting hand written reception reports of my signal and others.  Its been about two years since I received the last letter from Bill but I was fortunate to received one yesterday.  Bill has relocated to the third floor of a retirement community in EL29et.  He reports  that his receiver is a home brew direct conversion receiver using three tuned circuits including the antenna and feeding the sound card of his Windows XP PC.  He has two 3-foot by 5-foot rectangular loops that are tunable and oriented orthogonally to the Northwest / Southeast and Southwest / Northeast.  He indicates that his antenna is more or less hidden behind furniture.  Does anyone else receive snail-mail reports from Bill?  His WSPR PC is not connected to the Internet.    Bill indicates that he  decoded me on July 15, 2017 at -25 dB S/N and on August 4, 2017 at -17 dB S/N.  With all of the storms in this area, I am sure his noise has been high and of course my activity has been sparse but its great to receive reports like this from Bill.  Its almost like getting a QSL card in the mailbox from a rare DX station.  Thanks Bill!

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


European 24-hour WSPR activity


Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Australian 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for two WSPR stations. He received reports from nine unique stations including WH2XCR.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, provided reports for four WSPR stations and he received reports from eleven unique stations. He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR, WG2XSV, WI2XBQ, and WI2XJQ.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for ten WSPR stations including VK3HP, VK5FQ, and ZF1EJ. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB and WE2XPQ. Merv received reports from nineteen unique stations including JA1NQI/2, VK2EIK, VK2XGJ, VK3ALZ, VK5ABN, VK7TW, ZL2BCG and ZL4EI.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity



“Recall from yesterday’s blog that, for 630m radio purposes, eclipse effects may occupy the entire time of partial eclipse both in your area and the places near and far across the eclipse track that your signal can reach.  At the following web site, click on geographic locations for partial and total eclipse times stated in UTC: https://eclipse2017.nasa.gov/sites/default/files/interactive_map/index.html

For next Monday’s solar eclipse, Canadian and continental US stations can especially focus on the interval 1630z-1915z, August 21, encompassing shorter-duration peak RF times.  50% WSPR2 TxPct (transmit percentage) is recommended so RX stations can acquire TX station SNRs representing the rapidly evolving dynamics high above us.

Articles for the general public focus on the visual eclipse and the astonishing solar corona that totality reveals.  Here, let’s focus on the 630m ionosphere under solar eclipse conditions.  I picture the E-region as a big upside down saucer-shaped oval dimple that remains radio-reflective beneath the darkened Sun.

The D-region will probably have a similar dimple shape at lower altitude, and with less 630m absorption that you would expect during ordinary daytime.  The orientation and the exact  oval shape of the oval D- and E-saucers will depend on the Sun’s elevation angle and azimuth when the solar eclipse track crosses each RF signal path.  For drawing purposes, the oval saucer shape is drawn with concentric circles like a bulls-eye, see: http://njdtechnologies.net/050817/  .

You might be wondering what path will last longer for 630m purposes: a path along the eclipse track or a path crossing the eclipse track perpendicular to it?   Next Monday can give us answers. Meanwhile, I think a bulls-eye picture helps us guess what’s likely, see: http://njdtechnologies.net/051017/  .

You can use the bulls-eye picture to guesstimate how the D-region will favor some paths over others too.  http://njdtechnologies.net/050917/   630m RF signal rays can cross through the D layer in its least-absorbing  eclipsed places.   Consider paths you care about and see what you think.

A football-shaped prolate spheroid (ellipsoid of revolution) defines a telling geometry for 630m. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spheroid  That prolate spheroid shape defines all points of reflection in the ionosphere where all RF signal paths from TX to RX have one particular electrical length. The major axis of the spheroid includes the TX and RX as its focus points and its surface comprehends many possibilities for vertical and lateral skew. See today’s illustration below.

Like layers of an onion, spheroids of various sizes define all points where RF signal paths of all the particular electrical lengths might have their points of reflection to connect TX to RX.  If a solar eclipse produces an oval-shaped upside-down saucer of reflective surface in the E-region as I expect it will, that reflective saucer surface will complete RF signal paths between TX and RX where the saucer surface is tangent to each of possibly several reflection points somewhere on any one of the onion-layer spheroids.

If solar eclipse totality were centered on the RF mid-path point, multiple RF signal rays might connect TX and RX, see:  https://www.researchgate.net/figure/275887083_fig4_Fig-7-Schematic-of-focusing-by-elliptical-mirror-M1 .  What will 630m “see”?  If indeed multiple RF paths from TX to RX can be completed by a solar eclipse-altered E- region, the paths will very likely have different lengths and the multiple RF signal returns will phase-combine at RX.  Next Monday could offer quite a drama.

TU & GL on solar eclipse day, next Monday!”

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