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Decent session with good trans-Pacific and domestic openings but maybe not quite a good as previous night as unsettled conditions return; VE7CNF once again shows pioneering spirit with ”mobile ops” on 630-meters; W5EST presents: ”Model Solar Eclipse QSB to Understand Ordinary 630m QSB”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for August 30, 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 a noisy evening here in North Texas but part of that may have been the result of some local neighborhood noise coupled with storms in the Great Lakes / Ontario region which were quite active judging by directional antenna reports to the Northeast.  Remarkably, the coastal storms were not a major player here in the evening.  This morning was relatively quiet, certainly quieter than the evening although a number of lightning crashes were observed which may have, in fact, been from coastal storms.  Evening storm activity was also observed from the Desert Southwest into British Columbia and Alberta, Canada.  Storms that were creating problems in the mid-Atlantic region yesterday are beginning to dissipate as they move further out to sea.

11-hour North American lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions are currently quiet but unsettled levels were observed during the afternoon ahead of a coronal hole that Solarham indicates will be geoeffective late in this session.  Expect the possibility of G1 storm conditions within the next 24-hours.  The Bz is pointing to the North this morning and solar wind velocities are averaging near 360 km/s. DST values are favoring positive levels but have experienced a lot of variability since the previous session.  Expect these values to be rocked as solar wind velocities increase with elevated geomagnetic activity.

 

 

 

Toby, VE7CNF, went on another portable adventure, the likes of which  I’ve not heard about since some of the portable exploits undertaken by Finbar, EI0CF, and Rog, GW3UEP, some years back.  I’ll let Toby and his pictures tell the story – its pretty awesome:

“…the antenna is about 24 ft high and the fishing-rod-and-wire top load is pulled forward about 8 ft. The matching circuit is a loading coil, variometer, and autotransformer. My Tx power was 20W TPO and estimated EIRP 75 mW. The rig was my home brew transverter with an IC-7410.

VE7CNF/7 Operation was from the Iona Beach area near Vancouver, grid CN89jf. The location is right beside salt water. There are no nearby power lines so rx noise was S0. Operation was in daylight, around 4 pm local time. Signals were excellent and all CW was easy copy. On 475.0 kHz CW I managed to work Roger VE7VV (CN88il, him 529, me 579) and Jack VA7JX (CN79kv, him 569, me 579). I heard Steve VE7SL (CN88iu) at 599 briefly, then he had a problem and we didn’t complete a QSO. He gave me 599 later by email.

After CW I ran WSPR for a while, 23:42 to 00:08 UTC (4:42 to 5:08 pm local). WSPRnet lists my spots as my home QTH CN89ng, but I did have CN89jf entered in WSJT-X. I got spots from WI2XJQ -17, VE7BDQ +14, VE7AB +6, VE7VV +1, W7IUV -26, WH2XGP -30 dB. I also decoded WSPR from VE7VV +7 and VA7JX +9 dB.  This was great fun. I’ll have to try more locations, and see if I can improve the equipment for easier setup.”

The drive-through at McDonald’s is going to be a bit of a problem! (courtesy VE7CNF)

 

Good use of the bike rack – I wonder if the rubber gasket on the hatch has burn marks where the “hot” lead enters the cab??? (courtesy VE7CNF)

 

Loading and test equipment (courtesy VE7CNF)

 

VE7CNF after a job well done.  Transverter on the dash (courtesy VE7CNF)

 

Mark, VA7MM, makes the important point that “…new ideas and approach to 630m have been introduced to the radio community. It demonstrates the possibilities for communication in the absence of a large power amplifiers.”

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported another FET failure with his PA after more than fifteen hours of operation as the mysterious cause of this problem continues.  Neil provided reports  for eight WSPR stations including VE7BDQ, VE7VV, WD2XSH/26, WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP and WI2XBQ.  Until his PA failure at  0618z he received reports from seventeen unique stations including WH2XCR in Hawaii.

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported that he experienced moderate noise in South Carolina during this session.  He decoded ten WSPR stations and he received reports from 31 unique stations and notes that this session was  “slightly down from previous night.”

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, provided reports for  nine WSPR stations after a few days of storms and storm threat.

Dave, N4DB, reported that he decoded nine WSPR stations.

Mike, WA3TTS, submitted this detailed session report:

“Ten legitimate stations decoded overnight on 630m band. Best DX WH2XGP at -12 @ 0826. Dual band receive with IF splitter for 630/2200m band.  NE EWE antenna at SS, then SW around 0200, then NW around 0400 to SR.  From the minimum SNRs it looks like I was somewhat QRN limited overnight, but not adversely so.

Signal to Noise Ratio (SNR) in dB, Time in UTC.

WH2XGP        28 decodes, best -12 @ 0826, min -24 @ 0748.
WH2XXP        89 decodes, best +2 @ 1018, min  -24 @ 0206.
ZF1EJ              17 decodes, best  -19 @ 0826, min  -25 @ 1020.
WG2XIQ           3 decodes, best -20 @ 0238, min  -28  @ 0230.
WG2XXM     136 decodes, best  +10 @ 0722, min  -30 @ 1036.
WD2XSH/15  28 decodes,, best  -13 @ 0800, min  -24 @ 1024.
WI2XSV         76  decodes, best  -1 @ 1010, min  -24 @ 1036.
WH2XZO        92  decodes, best  +1 @ 0428, min  -23 @ 1030.
WI2XUF       143  decodes, best  -5 @ 0500, min  -5 @ 0026.
WH2XXC       88 decodes, best  +7 @ 0006, min  -27 @ 0028.

Also 127 WH2XND decodes, best -14 @ 1052, min -31 @ 0836 on 2200m band. First decode 0244, last decode 1148 for XND. WH2XXP nearby XND on 630m first decode 0200, last decode 1054.  XXP was on the air on 630m after 1054 so that was sunrise (SR) loss of signal (LOS) point for me on 630m vs XND on 2200m. LOS almost an hour later at 1148.

If there are a total of 30 two minute sequences an hour and XND transmitted at 50%, then that would be 15 sequences an hour to decode.  I decoded XND over a time interval of 9 hours and 4 minutes.  So total possible decodes should be 9 x 15 +1 or 136 possible decode intervals.  127/136 = 93.4 % success rate…it is common to have a first XND decode after his SS, then a fade interval of a few to several sequences (or more) before decodes resume.  This receive session is one of the higher success rates I can recall offhand for XND overnight reception.  Yet, no T/P or T/A propagation to report for 630m overnight.”

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, accomplish a major success leading up to this session.  He explains:

“The JA beam is back. I finished it just on sunset. QRN was quite low but very mediocre propagation. I started on the “Bottom Hat”. There was a fleeting moment of what things might have been, with a +2 dB report from WH2XCR and -17 from VE6XH. After that, back to high twenties from the few that had any decodes at all. I had a couple of JA reports on the Bottom Hat earlier but then at 11:52 I tried the new JA beam and got a swag of JA reports immediately. That antenna is working well, so I’m going to bed happy.”

Roger received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI-2, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, JH3XCU, VE6XH, VE7BDQ and W7IUV. He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded eight WSPR stations and he received reports from fifty unique stations including ZL2BCG, WH2XCR, ZF1EJ, and five Canadian stations.

Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, provided reports for seven WSPR stations and he received reports from 25 unique stations including ZL2AFP and VK2XGJ.  Joe added that VK2XGJ’s report was at 13:50z, eight minutes after his sunrise in northern California.  He also noted that “all spots were less than 2500km.  Average DX was 802km.”

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 59 unique stations including ZL2AFP, ZL2BCG, VK4YB, VK2XGJ, VK2EIK, VK3ALZ, VK3WRE and VK5AKK.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for ten WSPR stations and he received reports from 39 unique stations including ZL2AFP and VK4YB.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for twelve WSPR stations including VK4YB.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

Yesterday I reported that I had a receive antenna port problem on the FT-1000.  Later in the day I confirmed that a relay would need to be replaced but in the short term (and possibly long term!) I built an outboard relay box to handle output from the receive antenna bus.  So far, so good.  After a few CW QSO’s on 160, I transitioned to 474.5 kHz CW and called CQ for a bit, testing the switching.  Everything looks good although I did not add any QSO’s.  I suspect my CW daily skeds will resume shortly, however.   I then transitioned to WSPR for a few cycles starting at 0230z and provided reports for three stations and received reports from eighteen unique stations in only three cycles of transmissions before QRTing for the night.  The band was in good shape for so early in the evening as Fall propagation settles in.  I operated CW again this morning, CQing from 1035z to 1108z on 474.5 kHz.  No additional QSO’s were registered but QRN was down significantly in spite of a few lightning crashes that were observed.  I will probably continue this pattern for a while, spreading out my operating and establishing a pattern of activity for the Fall and Winter.

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity

 

European 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Asiatic Russian 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Oceania 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for five WSPR stations. He received reports from nineteen unique stations.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had no reports from this session due to power outage in Anchorage.  Laurence indicates that other systems have recycled but the the MF and LF WSPR PC’s are in limbo.  He reports that he will ask his house sitter to restart them manually today.  There may also be an antenna problem caused by wildlife but that is an issue that remains to be addressed.

The chaos continues as Laurence is currently en-route to England and experiencing noise problems at his hotel while laying over in Iceland.  He indicates that “the macro street level RF noise from 15kHz to 1MHz is truly awful.”  Needless to say he says he won’t be trying to listen again from Iceland.  Next stop, Jolly-old England and hopefully quieter noise conditions.

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for eight WSPR stations. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB. Merv received reports from 26 unique stations including JA1NQI-2, JA3TVF, VK2EIK, VK2XGJ, VK5AKK, VK7TW, ZL2BCG and ZL2AFP.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Jim, W5EST, presents “MODEL SOLAR ECLIPSE QSB TO UNDERSTAND ORDINARY 630M QSB”:

“Today’s illustration starts out with actual phasing QSB observed at 460m in the 8/21 solar eclipse:  http://njdtechnologies.net/082517/ .  Next, it pictures slightly different-angled signal rays penetrating the slowly moving, eclipse-tilted E-region and getting reflected at slightly different penetration depths (upper left inset).

The relatively uniform, strong actual phasing QSB suggests a relatively stable, non-turbulent E-region during the solar eclipse for modeling. The difference in path lengths of very slightly different signal ray paths established a phase difference between the signal returns.  As the eclipse passed over the transmitter in Nashville TN and went about 12 minutes beyond there to the southeast, that phase difference continued to change. That caused cycles of constructive and destructive phase interference, or phasing QSB.

I positioned the model results to align the times to which the model graph and actual graph correspond. On the right side of the vertical dashed helper line, you can see moderate similarity of finger-shaped model peaks to the actual finger-shaped signal peaks.  Varying heights of the actual signal peaks I attribute to varying relative reflection strengths.  The elongated last model peak curve matches the fourth actual peak curve less well. Probably that’s because the model assumed flat Earth and also did not fully account for the 3D reflection geometry at the varying height of the upside down saucer-shape of the eclipse-affected E-region.

Prior to about three minutes before totality, left of the dashed vertical line, the model (Endnote*) predicts signal variations that were not observed. That’s possibly due to the geometry of the eclipse-affected ionosphere not connecting TX to RX that far northwest.

What about ordinary 630 m nighttime or daytime?  I think these observations and modeling from the solar eclipse strongly suggest that the QSB 630m stations face is at least partially contributed by such slightly different signal ray paths.  Unlike the moving tilt during a solar eclipse, ordinary nighttime or daytime 630m signal ray phase differences arise from spatial variations in the surface shape of the E-region electron concentration contour surfaces at each altitude where 630m reflection occurs.  As I see it, our 630m QSB results from spatial variations in a reflecting contour surface at one altitude horizontally and in ionization density among altitudes vertically.  As ionization density varies, signal rays penetrating to different depths upward occasionally approach 180 degree phase difference and cancel into a QSB trough.        TU & GL!”

ENDNOTE:  TX and RX lie at great circle distance D=610 km on assumed flat Earth. The NW-SE eclipse track is oriented at an angle B = 135°. TX is on the eclipse track.  Let g.c. distance from TX to reflection be (el-2A)  l2A =  Vt, where velocity V=38.8 km/min along the track and time t is referenced to t=0, 1828:20z, when totality occurred at the TX site.  From the eclipse, where reflection is assumed to occur, the g.c. distance to RX is given by Law of Cosines:  l1A =  sqrt[D2 + (Vt)2 – 2DVt cosB ]
However, the actual path segments of the RF signal connect upward to whatever E-region height hE geometrically admits a signal reflection point.  Use the Pythagorean theorem to write the lengths of those RF signal path segments, designated 1B and 2B:
l1B =  sqrt[D2 +hE2 + (Vt)2 – 2DVt cosB ]
                 l2B =  sqrt[hE2 + (Vt)2 ].
Next imagine a second RF path, as illustrated, with each of these path segments extended proportionately. The incremental extension of l2B is designated Δl2B, a free parameter. The proportionate extension of segment 1 is:
Δl1B = Δl2B (l1B / l2B )
The sum of the segment extensions represents a path length difference:
         Δl1B + Δl2B  =  Δl2B  (1+(l1B/l2B ))
Form the phase interference in electric field strengths between the first and second RF paths based on their path difference, to vary per-unit in the range 0 to 1.0:
         E(t) =  0.5{ 1+k cos[(2π/λ) Δl2B  (1+(l1B/l2B ))] }
Enter the various equations as functions of time t into a spreadsheet, available on request. Parameter k is nominally 1.0 and may go down to 0.8, say, when relative reflections are less than fully equal. The RF signal power density QSB represented in dB is  P(dB) = 10 log10[E2(t)].
Results: To match up the model results as closely as possible with the actual signal curves, I did a trial-and-error search on the free parameters for penetration Δl2B  and E-region height hE.  Graphical matches at various heights occurred with penetration depths roughly 1% of E-region height, e.g.   Δl2B = 0.88 km at hE = 86 km.  Since Δl2B penetrates at an angle to the reflecting contours, and the cosine of that angle is roughly 0.9, the actual difference in penetrations into the E-region is probably about ¾ km to 1 km when this and other possible reflection heights are considered. Physically, I’d expect the rays form a narrow fan that the model is dividing into two halves at such ¾ km – 1 km distance apart in the E-region.

 

 


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