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OFF AIR for storms, probably for much of the week if the forecast holds

Another great night with high activity and excellent domestic and trans-Pacific openings including two-way WSPR reports between VK4YB and WG2XXM; First CME has arrived but has not had the expected impact – the bigger event arrives on Friday; W5EST presents: ”Scientists Report 3/20/2015 VLF/LF Eclipsed Ionosphere. Let’s Compare 2017 2200m/630m Eclipse”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for September 7, 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.

The core of North America was generally storm-free overnight while  the Atlantic coast, Caribbean, Mexico, parts of the upper Midwest and the western US experienced a few evening storms.  By morning it was quiet for many areas and storms had largely dissipated.  Storms in JA have been reported, bringing an end to most of the reports on those paths.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions have only reached unsettled levels so far in spite of the passage of a shock wave from the first CME last night at 2348z.  Protons have been increasing overnight.  The next CME is due sometime on Friday but it may be more of a glancing blow.  The Bz is pointing to the North this morning and solar wind has been averaging near 520 km/s but has experienced significant decreases for brief periods overnight.  DST values peaked at the onset of the CME passage and then dropped significantly in a textbook manner.  So far we have experienced very good domestic and trans-Pacific openings.  We await the next event to occur.






Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, has not been transmitting recently as he has been preoccupied with other things but he has left a receiver running through the period and has determined that over the past week he decoded WH2XXC for what is likely the first time.  That is a long transcontinental haul!  He indicates that he was listening with the E-probe.  This goes to show that East / West paths can be very good sometimes, particularly when geomagnetic conditions are disturbed.

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, indicates that early band conditions were very good although he QRT’ed early due to rain.  He provided reports for nine WSPR stations including many for ZF1EJ and he received reports from eighteen unique stations.

Joe, WA9CGZ / WI2XSV, reported a station record as he received reports from 32 unique stations.

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, indicates that this session presented the “Best results of new season: 12 unique decodes despite moderate noise and 40 who decoded XZO including CF7MM for 1st time this season.”

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, indicates that all of his reports remain West of the Mississippi River.  He provided reports for nine WSPR stations and he received reports from 24 unique stations.  His unique report details can be viewed here.

David, N1DAY / WI2XUF, reported a productive night from the mountains of  western North Carolina.  He reported that he:

“…had a total of 41 contacts in spite of losing 4 hours of transmission time due to a computer glitch.  9 received stations and 32 stations that heard me.   Early on in the evening, I noticed WSJT-X was not uploading my spots.  Initially I thought this was a wsprnet.org overload situation, but discovered that if my Microsoft Edge browser is up, pointed to the wspr website and timed out,   this will prevent spots from being uploaded.  I tested this several times, and shutting the browser down resulted in a resumption of spot uploads.  Something for others to consider if their receive activity is not uploading to the website.

At the moment, we are closely watching the hurricane’s progress here and delaying additional antenna work until after the anticipated high winds pass.  For today, however, we are blessed with calm conditions and a beautiful Carolina blue sky.”

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, indicates that the band was full of strong signals and moderate noise.  He provided reports for ten WSPR stations.

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he decoded eleven WSPR stations overnight, including WH2XXP, ZF1EJ, WG2XIQ, WG2XXM, WD2XSH/15, WG2XKA, WI2XSV, WH2XZO, WI2XUF, VE3CIQ, and WH2XXC.   Mike’s best DX was WH2XXP at -4 dB S/N at 0536z and “ZJ1EJ 61 decodes best -14 0644.  No PNW stns heard.”

Dave, N4DB, indicates that his first report came at 0616z after he discovered a setup error with his system.   He provided reports for ten WSPR stations.

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

Roger, VK4YB, reports “A good session with lower QRN. No JA but heavy storms over Japan. Highlight was 2-way decodes with Ken, WG2XXM over 13,442 km, my personal record.” He received reports from CF7MM, K6SRO, N6GN, VE6XH, VE7CNF, VE7SL, W6SFH, W7IUV, WH2XGP and WI2XBQ.  He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR and WG2XXM.

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded fourteen WSPR stations and he received reports from 59 unique stations including 26 decodes from ZL2AFP, best -19 dB S/N, 70 reports from WH2XCR, best +2 dB S/N,  and  nine Canadian stations.  He shared two-way DX reports with VK4YB, WH2XCR, ZF1EJ and VE3CIQ.

Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, provided reports for ten WSPR stations and he received reports from 29 unique stations including ZL2AFP and VK2XGJ.  He shared two-way reports with VK4YB.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 62 unique stations including  ZL2AFP, VK4YB and VK2XGJ.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for fourteen WSPR stations including VK4YB and he received reports from 37 unique stations including ZL2AFP.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for ten WSPR stations including VK4YB.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


I started transmitting WSPR at 0050z, just after local sunset, and was pleasantly surprised to see the number of reports so early and under disturbed geomagnetic conditions.  My start was about one hour after the impact of the first CME so it seems fitting that based on the reports and compared to a normal night, an enhancement was in-progress.  The East / West path generally dominated the early evening.  It was relatively quiet here but a few lightning strikes were observed when I QRT’ed at 0222z.  This morning I started WSPR again at 1010z and immediately received more than thirty reports on the first transmission.  Propagation around North America was very good and I was fortunate to share two-way reports with WH2XCR and ZF1EJ.  At 1130Z I opted to call CQ for a bit on 474.5 kHz CW.  The noise floor was low and signals would be very obvious.  I continued calling until 1151z when I QRT’ed for the day a bit before local sunrise.  My WSPR transmission report details can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details can be viewed here.

WG2XIQ 3-hour WSPR activity


Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


South American 24-hour WSPR activity


European 24-hour WSPR activity


Asiatic Russian 24-hour WSPR activity


Chinese 24-hour WSPR activity


Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Oceania 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for seven WSPR stations.   He received reports from 31 unique stations and he  shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, continues to be shut out from reporting.  It is presumed that this is due to his latitude and current geomagnetic conditions but he speculates that there could be a system problem, although it is highly unlikely.

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for fourteen WSPR stations. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB, ZL1EE and ZF1EJ. Merv received reports from thirty unique stations including VK2XGJ, VK3ALZ, VK7TW and ZL2AFP.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity



“In today’s excerpts from another scientific paper, I focus on reports of 26.7 KHz to 81.2 KHz radio receptions under the 2015 solar eclipse by a scientific team at German Aerospace Center (DLR).  Among their other equipment, the team used a Perseus SDR to cover 20KHz to 500KHz.  Let’s hope useful MF data is made available from the upper frequency end of their receptions.

For 2017 comparison I’ve illustrated WH2XND (AZ) 137.5 KHz eclipse enhancements received at W7IUV (WA), and at W6SFH and WW6D both north of San Francisco.  Although XND-w7iuv peak timing was not far from the time eclipse crossed the RF path, The XND-w6sfh/ww6dpath peaked earlier than time I’d have expected. (See dashed eclipse ovals positioned at decode times and colored to correspond with particular station pairs.) To maximize the signal, I’d have expected the totality oval to reach a point on the eclipse path at the base of a perpendicular from AZ-CA great circle (g.c.) midpath to the eclipse path.

I think this 2200m timing mystery can be explained. The eclipse bullseye diagram would be shaped like a long oval that especially shadowed the path from NW to SE. As I see it, the 2200m paths maintained daytime D-region reflection by 1-Dhop mode, and directionally they probably had some lateral skew due to a convex saucer-shaped D-region contour surface. I believe those paths didn’t depart too far laterally (dashed green) from respective great circles (brown dashed lines) from XND to the three receiving stations. The 6dB eclipse rise on the 2200m AZ-CA path remains more mysterious to me because it’s so distant from the eclipse track.

On 630m, where E-region reflection is expected, VE7BDQ-wd2xsh/20 achieved a decode 20 minutes early, way before the eclipse crossed their g.c. path. That’s forcing me to consider dramatic lateral skew (red arrows) to explain that 630m decode.  Wow!

With that said as 2017 context, let’s return our attention to the scientists telling about 2015 eclipse VLF/LF. Please note beforehand that much of the rest of their scientific report concerns TEC (total electron content) on paths upward through the entire ionosphere, or properties in higher regions above most 630m/2200m RF signal propagation. For instance, in FIG. 5 they show plasma transport of the low ionization area of topside ionosphere to southeast.  Hams can thus find material of HF interest there.

Now for VLF/LF and the paper.  Try analogizing their GYN/FTA63/FUG – nz (NZ is Germany RX) to XND-w6sfh/ww6d reversed.   Try analogizing their NRK/GXH – nz to XND-w7iuv reversed.   See what you think!

GERMANY PAPER  (Hoque et al.** 2016, https://www.swsc-journal.org/articles/swsc/full_html/2016/01/swsc160021/swsc160021.html  click at right for PDF or HTML article) [Where paper refers to “VLF,” read VLF and LF as well. In Table 1, I substituted country location instead of latitude/longitude.  I’m quoting the excerpted material, while making a few square-bracketed insertions.]

Abstract: …[VLF] signal strength measurements…found immediate amplitude changes due to ionization loss at the lower ionosphere during the eclipse time.

  1. Introduction …Because of their broad wavelengths, the VLF signals are reflected from the bottom of the ionosphere at the D layer around 70–80 km altitude. Due to the eclipse-induced reduction of photoionization, the D layer slowly disappears and the bottomside of the ionosphere moves upward, causing significant changes in signal strength and phase of VLF measurements. It is expected that the bottomside ionosphere moves upward causing an enlargement of the VLF ray path or time delay that has been reported in the literature (e.g., Cheng et al. 1992; Clilverd et al. 2001; Pal et al. 2012).

2.2  Vertical sounding data The VS measurements were used to analyze the solar eclipse effect on the plasma frequencies foF2, foF1, and foE…Global Ionospheric Radio Observatory (GIRO) sites operated by the University of Massachusetts Lowell (UML)…[We] collected the data from the Lowell Digital Ionogram DataBase (Reinisch & Galkin 2011; DIDBase, http://giro.uml.edu/ ). GIRO sites are equipped with digisonde instruments for probing the bottomside ionosphere from 80 km up to the peak of ionospheric plasma density.

The solar eclipse over Ebro [Spain] started at 8:13 UT and ended at 10:05 UT, with the maximum obscuration occurring at 9:12 UT. The solar eclipse over Dourbes [Belgium] started at 8:32 UT and ended at 10:32 UT, with the maximum obscuration occurring at 9:34 UT.

2.3. VLF data … DLR has installed a network of VLF receivers called Global Ionospheric Flare Detection System (GIFDS) for detecting solar flare occurrence by continuously monitoring VLF signals of the dayside ionosphere (Wenzel et al. 2016). GIFDS uses a Perseus SDR (Software Defined Radio) receiver…to receive several frequency channels (Navy stations) between 20 and 500 kHz….data recorded at the receiving site DLR Neustrelitz (NZ). [In Table 1] the NZ station received VLF signals from 6 Navy stations namely NRK, GXH, GYN, FTA63, FUG, and TBB…

Since the exact reflection point at the bottomside ionosphere is not known, as an approximation, we computed mid-reflection points on the great circle for each propagation path. …[S]tation TBB is located farthest compared to other stations from the eclipse path and the maximum obscuration found as 51.2% at the mid-reflection point…[S]olar eclipse over the NZ station started approximately at 8:38 UT and ended at 10:38 UT, with the maximum obscuration of about 73.1% occurring at the 9:39 UT.

3.2. Vertical sounding data…Besides a strong depletion of the F2 layer in the course of the solar eclipse, Figure 9 also shows a clear F1 layer depletion. Due to the fast recombination processes at E and F1 layer heights, a similar variation of E and F1 layer electron densities is expected. Figure 9a…shortly after the start of the eclipse…foE started to decrease gradually. The foE values dropped from about 2.8 MHz at 08:30 UTC to 2.5 MHz within 15 min and remained unchanged for about 1.5 h until about 10:45 UTC, when they again started to increase…

3.3. VLF propagation  Since VLF signals are reflected back at the lower ionosphere more specifically at the D layer, we expect faster response in signal strength changes during the eclipse event. Figure 12 shows diurnal variations of VLF signal strength received in the NZ station from 6 Navy stations between frequencies 20 and 100 kHz on the eclipse day. Different propagation paths suffer different levels of obscuration and the duration of obscuration for each transmitter-receiver path is marked in gray shadow. The signals received from different Navy stations show a clear and immediate variation of the signal strength fluctuation during the eclipse period… We found maximum fluctuations for stations NRK, GXH, GYN, FTA63, FUG, and TBB as 6.66, 7.97, 6.55, 1.61, 3.98, and 1.16 dB, respectively (see Table 1). However, since the transmission frequency and power are different for each Navy station, a straightforward comparison among the amplitudes of the signal strength fluctuation during solar eclipse is not justified… we found immediate response to the maximum obscuration in case of signals received from the NRK, GXH, GYN, and TBB stations, whereas we observed about 5–15 min delayed depletion in TEC over these stations… The TBB station is located farthest from the eclipse path and is least affected by the obscuration….recovery of plasma density in the D layer is much faster and almost instantaneous with the increasing solar illumination, whereas TEC depletion still persists for hours.

** Ionospheric response over Europe during the solar eclipse of March 20, 2015.J. Space Weather Space Clim., 6, A36 (pub. online 17 October 2016).  https://www.swsc-journal.org/articles/swsc/full_html/2016/01/swsc160021/swsc160021.html  (click at right for PDF or HTML article). Coauthors: Mohammed Mainul Hoque, Daniela Wenzel, Norbert Jakowski, Tatjana Gerzen, Jens Berdermann, Volker Wilken, Martin Kriegel, Hiroatsu Sato, Claudia Borries and David Minkwitz. German Aerospace Center (DLR), Institute of Communications and Navigation, Kalkhorstweg 53, 17235 Neustrelitz, Germany.

(click to enlarge)


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