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Kp goes through the roof but many stations experienced a very good night of long haul openings including VK4YB -> WG2XSV; WE2XPQ somehow managed to report WH2XCR through high absorption in Alaska; W5EST presents: ”Scientists on Eclipse Geometry: 3/20/2015 Solar Eclipsed Ionosphere”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for September 8, 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 eastern two-thirds of North America was largely storm-free through this session.  Parts of the upper Midwest experienced a few storms that continued into New York state this morning, however.  The western third of the continent experienced a few evening storms with strong storms ranging from the Desert Southwest into Mexico this morning.  The Caribbean is quite active ahead of hurricane Irma which will impact the Southeast this weekend into next week.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions reached very rare G4 storm levels as the Kp reached 8 according to Solarham.  The CME that was anticipated for later today has been reported to have arrived ahead of schedule.   The Bz is pointing strongly to the South this morning but there is evidence that there has been quite a bit of variability over night.  Solar wind velocities peaked over 830 km/s and are averaging near 800 km/s this morning.  DST values are remarkably negative but the Kyoto measurement displays the nice characteristic increase before decreasing.  Whats interesting is the plateau proceeding the decrease.  I’ve not seen that before.





Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported that “Condition down from yesterday”.  He provided reports for nine WSPR stations and he received reports from 31 unique stations “…in northwestern SC on another unusually cool September night.”

David, N1DAY / WI2XUF, reported an average night compared to the last few weeks.  He added that:

“Last night I heard 9 unique stations and 27 stations reported my signal on WSPR.  One of our local fellow HAMs – W4IOE spotted for an extended time last night, and he spotted 8 stations on a G5RV…”

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, indicates that “This last session was ho-hum here — with the solar flare came a big aurora and 75 meter station were either non-existent or very watery and almost not understandable.   Conditions on 630m just didn’t seem up to par either.  Another thing that was very noticeable here was that the 23cm beacon 70 miles to my south was weak, watery and had deep fades for extended periods. So, it was an interesting evening to say the least.”  He provided reports for seven WSPR stations and he received reports from eighteen unique stations.  Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, indicates that he experienced relatively low noise this morning, providing reports for  eight WSPR stations.

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he decoded ten WSPR stations overnight, including his session best DX, WH2XXC, at -8 dB S/N  at 1042z.   Mike added that at 0502z, WH2XXC was at +20 db S/N.

Dave, N4DB, reported that he decoded ten WSPR stations on a relatively quiet night.

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, indicated that this was “Another good session although QRN was quite high. Heard by 36, equals my best. High latitude stations were missing. No Alaska or Alberta stations in the list.”  Roger received reports from CF7MM, JA1NQI-2, JA3TVF, K6SRO, KJ6MKI, N6GN, VE7SL, W6SFH, W7IUV, WW6D, WG2XIQ, WG2XSV and WH2XGP. He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR and WI2XBQ.

John, VK2XGJ, reported that “the last thing I expected seeing that the K index is 18 and the A index is 8.  Local Sunset was at 0740 z.”  He provided early reports for WH2XXP.

VK2XGJ WSPR console (courtesy VK2XGJ)


Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported a record night with respect to reports for VK4YB.  He provided these comments and statistics:

“… Have not had this many in one session before. This was captured using the top loaded vertical which is detuned during RX and also aided by my ANC-4 noise canceler which gives me a 6 to 8 dB RX advantage.”

Neil also indicated that he provided reports for eight WSPR stations including CF7MM, VK4YB, WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, WI2XBQ and WI2XJQ.  He received reports from sixteen unique stations while operating at approximately 200 mW ERP, including CF7MM, K6SRO, KJ6MKI, KK6EEW, N6GN, VE6JY, VE6XH, VE7SL, W6SFH, W7IUV, WG2XIQ, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WI2XBQ, WI2XJQ, and WW6D.

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded nine WSPR stations and he received reports from 52 unique stations including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, ZL2AFP, WH2XCR, ZF1EJ and seven Canadian stations.

Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, provided reports for eight WSPR stations and he received reports from 23 unique stations including ZL2AFP (17 reports beginning at 0610z near sunset in ZL2), VK2XGJ, and VK3WRE (First time report).  He shared two-way reports with VK4YB including twelve reports from Roger and six reports of Roger’s signal.  Joe indicates that his totals were down a bit due to missing stations to the East that resulted from high Kp values.  Apparently a Kp of 4-5 provides enough energy to  allow his signal to propagate well to the East.  His best DX to the East was W0AIR at a distance of 1611 km.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 61 unique stations including ZL2AFP, ZL1EE, VK4YB, VK2XGJ, VK2EIK, VK3ALZ, VK3WRE, VK4SC, VK5AKK and VK6LX.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for ten WSPR stations including VK4YB and he received reports from 27 unique stations including ZL2AFP.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for nine WSPR stations including VK4YB.

WH2XGP session WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)


With very active geomagnetic conditions that ramped-up during the early evening and quality pre-sunset WSPR reports, I decided to remain on  WSPR through the session.  Propagation was very good as I experienced two-way reports shared with WH2XXC before sunset here in Texas.  The situation seemed to stagnate later in the evening with fewer reports than earlier suggesting to me that any enhancement being observed earlier was diminishing.  I QRT’ed at 0244z and returned with WSPR this morning at 0958z.  The band was strong once again with two-way reports shared with WH2XCR and reports of VK4YB about 4 minutes before sunrise.  I operated at 25% transmit duty cycle this morning at near 1W ERP.  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 summary


European 24-hour WSPR summary


Japanese 24-hour WSPR summary


Oceania 24-hour WSPR summary


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for ten WSPR stations. He received reports from 21 unique stations and shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, finally gathered enough signal from under the cover of aurora to provided six reports for WH2XCR.  That is a very difficult accomplishment given that strength of this geomagnetic storm.  Report details can be viewed here.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for fourteen WSPR stations including VK3HP and VK5FQ. He shared two-way reports with ZF1EJ, VK4YB and ZL1EE. Merv received reports from thirty unique stations including JA1NQI-2, VK2EIK, VK2XGJ, VK3ALZ, VK3WRE, VK4SC, VK5AKK, VK7TW, ZL4EI and ZL2AFP.  DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity (NOTE:  Two reports from JA1NQI-2 are not shown on this map)



“Just one month ago came a second publication from the 2015 solar eclipse radio observation team in Belgium.  After discussing their instruments and methods of measurement, models, background conditions, and observational results, the scientists devoted significant space to “eclipse geometry and the influence it has on the ionospheric behavior during the eclipse.” (Stankov et al., 2017,*** p.2, col. 1)  https://www.swsc-journal.org/articles/swsc/abs/2017/01/swsc160032/swsc160032.html  (click at right for PDF or HTML article).

“Eclipse geometry” refers both to the three-dimensional 3D shape of the conical darker part (umbra) of the eclipse shadow and of the lighter part (penumbra) and to the evolving 3D shape of the eclipsed ionosphere at all its positions, altitudes and times, as in Fig. 15 of the paper. https://www.swsc-journal.org/articles/swsc/full_html/2017/01/swsc160032/F15.html .  (I’ve said “saucer-dome” in other blog posts to refer to an uplifting of reflective electron concentration surface contours in the eclipsed ionosphere.) Their discussion employs eclipse geometry to go beyond surface geography eclipse maps and explain relative position and timing of 2015 eclipse dynamics in ionospheric regions.  In an upcoming blog post, I will propose that eclipse geometry can additionally help us understand the presence, absence and timing of mysterious 630m WSPR decodes during the 2017 solar eclipse. Do stay tuned!

Even when the E-region height was unchanged by the eclipse (Fig. 13A), its true height rose during the 2015 eclipse (Fig. 14C). https://www.swsc-journal.org/articles/swsc/full_html/2017/01/swsc160032/F14.html (click to enlarge. Fig. 14C is lower left, with 2.8 MHz the lowest frequency bottom curve.)

In the E-region, “height” may refer to the height of maximum electron concentration, which usually is different from the height at which RF reflection occurs at a given frequency. Such actual reflection height is called “true height.” “Obscuration” means the fractional area of the sun that is covered by the eclipse at a given time. “Solar zenith angle” is the angle from local zenith down to the elevation of the sun at the time. “Electron density profiling” (p.15) finds a vertical distribution of the ionospheric plasma density. “hmF2” is the height of peak electron concentration in the F2 region. “Isolines” are graphical lines that join points representing equal values of a selected quantity.  “Plasmasphere” is above the ionosphere. More rigorous definitions can be found elsewhere. Parts of the paper on temporary ionospheric disturbances (TIDs) are not excerpted here, but are well worth your reading, as at p. 15 col.2 – p.16 col. 1 and p. 21.

2nd BELGIUM PAPER  (Stankov et al., 2017) Please read all of Section 6 on pp. 16-19. I’m quoting the following excerpted material.

6.  Eclipse geometry effects on the ionospheric response.

… at different locations, the umbra crosses the Earth’s atmosphere at different altitudes (Fig. 15A). At location #1, the umbra is entirely in the lowest part (i.e. in the troposphere/stratosphere), leaving the ionosphere only partially under the penumbra while the plasmasphere is sunlit and not directly affected by the eclipse. At location #2, the umbra and the penumbra envelope the entire ionosphere with the umbra completely covering the altitude region of the peak plasma density (around hmF2). At location #3, the umbra is entirely in the plasmasphere, i.e. above the upper ion transition level (UTL). Only the topside ionosphere is partially covered by the penumbra, while the region around hmF2 and the lower ionosphere are entirely exposed to the sunlight. Although the schematic is not to scale, the situation is similar to the one at the locations of the Faroes (#1), Brussels (#2) and Belgrade (#3). Now, after taking into account the fact that most of the electron content comes from the region around hmF2, it becomes clear why the TEC relative deviation above Brussels (Fig. 12F) is largest and the relative deviation above Belgrade (Fig. 12I) is smallest.

 …with the progress of the eclipse, the umbra crosses the Earth’s atmosphere (at a given location) at different zenith angles (cf. Figs. 1C and 15B). Since the zenith angle varies with altitude, in the analysis here we refer only to the zenith angle at (the centre of) the intersection. For this eclipse, the zenith angles are larger above the Faroe Islands and smaller above Belgrade. The size of the intersection, denoted by the vertical dashed line, increases at smaller zenith angles (Fig. 15B). Considering the importance of the intersection’s position in vertical direction, the size of this intersection will have a significant impact on TEC only at altitudes where it matters, i.e. in the ionosphere, at hmF2 in particular.

The eclipse geometry can also help in explaining (at least partially) why the TEC above the Faroes started decreasing just before the start of the eclipse (at ground level) and recovered much faster than at locations farther away from the totality path (Figs. 10–12). Along the totality path, the solar zenith angle was too large (i.e. small size of the intersection) and the altitude of the intersection was too low to have a substantial impact on TEC until the immediate arrival of the total eclipse. The recovery started shortly after the time of the maximum eclipse, and is much faster, again because of the larger zenith angle. Due to the smaller zenith angle above Belgrade, the size of the intersection was larger and contained the area around hmF2 for a longer period…

It is very important to understand that the eclipse geometry changes with altitude. To demonstrate this, we have calculated three key eclipse characteristics – the zenith angle at the maximum eclipse, the obscuration level at the maximum eclipse and the time of the maximum eclipse – at the mean ionospheric height of hm = 300 km. The results are presented in Figure 16 where the values at the hm height (denoted with solid curves) are compared with the values at the sea level (denoted with dashed curves). The observed changes in geometry, going from sea level to ionospheric height, are highlighted by using (red) arrows…

The time of the maximum eclipse (Fig. 16C) also changes with altitude and in a more complicated fashion. As with the zenith angle and the obscuration, the differences in the times at sea level and at higher altitudes increase in NW direction. In the initial phase of the eclipse, due to the Sun’s elevation and azimuth, the maximum eclipse in the South-West appears on the ground before the maximum in the ionosphere (see the 08:48 UT and 09:00 UT isolines). At around 09:12 UT, the maximum eclipse occurs at the same time at different altitudes along the corresponding isoline. Afterwards, the maximum eclipse in the ionosphere lags the maximum on the ground, and this lag is increasing progressively in the later phases of the eclipse. This means that, around the time of the greatest eclipse at 09:45 UT, the shadow ‘‘travels’’ a much shorter distance for the same time period in the ionosphere than on the ground. In other words, the eclipse is ‘‘slower’’ in the ionosphere, which means that the ionosphere is exposed to the eclipse for a longer period than the ground.

***Multi-instrument observations of the solar eclipse on 20 March 2015 and its effects on the ionosphere over Belgium and Europe.  J. Space Weather Space Clim., 7, A19 (pub. online 08 August 2017)
 https://www.swsc-journal.org/articles/swsc/abs/2017/01/swsc160032/swsc160032.html (click at right for PDF or HTML article). Coauthors: Stanimir M. Stankov 1,4*, Nicolas Bergeot1,2, David Berghmans1,2, David Bolsée1,3, Carine Bruyninx1,2, Jean-Marie Chevalier1,2, Frédéric Clette1,2, Hugo De Backer1,4, Johan De Keyser1,3, Elke D’Huys1,2, Marie Dominique1,2, Joseph F. Lemaire1,3, Jasmina Magdalenić1,2, Christophe Marqué1,2, Nuno Pereira1,3, Viviane Pierrard1,3, Danislav Sapundjiev1,4, Daniel B. Seaton1,2, Koen Stegen1,2, Ronald Van der Linden1,2, Tobias G.W. Verhulst1,4 and Matthew J. West1,2
1 Solar-Terrestrial Centre of Excellence (STCE), Brussels, Belgium
2 Royal Observatory of Belgium (ROB), Brussels, Belgium
3 Royal Belgian Institute for Space Aeronomy (BISA), Brussels, Belgium
4 Royal Meteorological Institute (RMI), Brussels, Belgium

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