Where do I begin? Today’s task of summarizing what happened overnight is daunting as numerous JT9 and CW QSO’s were observed and even more stations were in the fray, reporting what they were hearing above and beyond typical WSPR activity. It felt a lot like Fall or Winter. Its amazing just how quickly things improved. It was almost overnight.
Geomagnetic conditions were somewhat elevated with a reporting period peaking at unsettled levels. The Bz has been mostly variable but not extreme as observed during the previous session. Solar wind velocities averaged near 370 km/s and DST values appear to be suggest very healthy band conditions:
Early reports suggested that the evening noise in North America was going to be very favorablel. My noise floor was S5-6 near 0400z when I completed a CW QSO with Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, for our first of the pre-season, with reasonably good signals in spite of QSB. The noise floor was relatively consistent during this time frame but the number static crashes increased after 0400z when I completed another JT9 QSO with Eric. Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, and I completed the QSO that we had “left on the table” the previous night with relative ease. By 0445z the noise was approaching similar levels to the previous evening. At that time I never definitively identified the lightning source but now it appears to be the system in South Texas and Mexico.
Eric completed a JT9 QSO with Ken, W8RUT / WI2XFI, after Ken had called me and I could not hear him. This morning Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, completed a QSO with XFI as well. Ken Morris is doing great things at 500 mW ERP. This morning, Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, woke up early to look for JT9. He heard me but while I could see a few blips in the waterfall no signals were decoded. Neil observed another signal that was active during the same time frame but has not yet found anyone to claim it. It was believed to be Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, but Ken indicates that he was not active during that time.
Ken, SWL-EN61, in Indiana provided the following transcript of the evening JT9 activity which can be seen here.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded five WSPR stations and was decoded by 33 unique stations. In addition to the previously mentioned JT9 QSO with Ken, W8RUT / WI2XFI, XXM indicates that he decoded XFI’s 500 mW ERP WSPR’s eleven times over night.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, had a banner night, sharing two-way reports with VK4YB, and decodes from VK2DDI, VK2XGJ, and EJTSWL who is now back in Tasmania. Roger, VK4YB, notes that it was a noisy night and it was a surprise to see Larry make it through. Larry also reports that he decoded nine WSPR stations and was listening to the West overnight resulting in few reports from the East. He was decoded by 33 unique stations including the stations in Oceania mentioned previously.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reports a strong WSPR session but it is interesting that he was not reported here in the south central US as in the previous session. My only explanation is the increasing noise level overnight as storms ramped up in southern Texas. This would explain why I was not hearing Neil on JT9 this morning:
John, VE7BDQ, reports that he “Had 17 unique spotters by 0813z (3 from laurence of Alaska)… only received 7 uniques.”
Steve, VE7SL, reports that he decoded eight and was decoded by fifteen. Steve adds, “Just 35 spots of Merv with best at -7.”
Ken, W8RUT / WI2XFI, had a spectacular session and provided the following comments and statistics:
“I had a good session and only started at 0400z. I heard your JT 9 well, but you did not hear my 500 mW. WI2XJM called me on JT 9 for my second JT 9 on 630. JT 9 is a lot of fun! I had a total of 653 spots, both TX and RX, (RX= 127 TX = 526) with 20 unique spots, list below.”
Mike, WA3TTS, reports transcontinental decodes during the session and lower noise:
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, providing the following statistics for the session as well as a couple of pictures of his transmit vertical and receive loop. Rick does an astonishingly good job from a suburban lot and has a very clean setup. Well done!
Phil, VE3CIQ, sounds like he was having fun during this session:
“Wow! great activity last night. This is using the compact folded inverted L with 75 watts tpo. Almost made my 2,000 kms goal, thanks to VE4XC, (1,666 kms).”
Phil also provided some picture of his system and discusses some of his objectives:
“The antenna rework had three objectives:
#1 replace the first tree support with a fixed post to reduce the sway and wild vswr excursions during wind. Also needed a way to manage the extra 200′ of antenna wire, which are now folded back between post #2 and #3. The post has replaced the original support, which was the pine tree to the left.
#2 objective is related, wanted to get more in the clear, to reduce coupling into the pine trees, and improve antenna current
#3 to increase antenna length and reduce the loading coil. I’ve pulled 60% of the coil out. Had to replace the shunt coils with much smaller one. The tuning is a bit broader now, 9khz for 1.5:1
Recent band conditions have certainly improved, but I can see I’m getting out of the gate quicker and getting more spots.
John XKA’s station has always been stronger than mine, but I can see that received levels are more balanced between us.
I do not however, seem to get the range he does. Still room for improvement.
Next on the agenda, I’m on the lookout for a small motor I can use for remote adjustments of the vario
Might just buy a cheap battery powered drill.”
Phil added in a followup email:
“Found an old battery weed wacker in the shed, pulled it all apart and extracted the motor.
Twine and pulley, and a rope brake around the main shaft. DC drive.
Could use a pulse generator next”
There were three new or newer active receive stations that were not previously recognized from last night: KK6VQC, W6LEO, and N0BQV. N0BQV hears very well and it doesn’t hurt that he is in Missouri, surrounded by many of us that are transmitting. Welcome aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-Atlantic, trans-African, or trans-Equatorial paths. UA0SNV and 8P9EH were present but no reports have been filed at this time.
Eden, ZF1EJ, continues his experiment with two receivers and two antennas, decoding WG2XXM and WG2XIQ on both systems:
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, decoded VK4YB during this session on both systems that were using WSJT-X but not WSPR-X which is interesting but not surprising. He reports that “TalktomeGoose probe down from 10 to 4.5m agl KL7L WSPRX, KL7L/1 WSJTX – rx only tonight – tx ants to ground. Aceshigh 10m agl optimized WE2XPQ WSPRX, WE2XPQ/1 WSJTX – some uploads not till dawn due to wsprx.”
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, lives in a natural laboratory for a number of disciplines including radio wave propagation and as a result is afforded the opportunity to make observations that may be too subtle for many of us on the mainland. Regarding the recent and relatively sudden upturn in propagation that led to a return to JA reports after a long hiatus yesterday, Merv provided the following comments:
“…have been watching the weather maps and we are still in hurricane season which suppose to mean winds and storm still come from the east, but I saw the other day a shift in the upper winds and the direction somewhat changing to winter patterns which means fronts from the JA or west north west direction. which should mean propagation shifts also. I sure hope so, at first would think it may be sporadic, but with low sun numbers, season should come early and last later, the first of the migrating birds, golden plovers showed up in my yard 2 weeks back, whales are on the way or possibly here, so its time, early this year, but nature says its time.”
These are fascinating observations and connections and I tend to believe there is something to it.
Merv had another strong session into Oceania, with reports from VK4YB, VK2DDI, VK2XGJ, VK3ELV, and EJTSWL, who has returned to Tasmania. It was also a good night into North America:
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).