This was a good session that began to produce results early. WD2XSH/15 was audible here before sunset and reports for WH2XZO came shortly thereafter. QRN was manageable here in Texas but seemed higher this morning than it was last night. No JT9 originated from here this morning as I had other tasks distracting me but the morning CW sked was right occurred without a problem.
Geomagnetic conditions were quiet but elevated through the session and the Bz ranged from slightly South-pointing to unity and solar wind velocities were averaging 300 km/s. DST values took a minor dip which may be contributing to good early band conditions on the longer haul paths. It will be interesting to see if propagation deteriorates over the next 24 hours:
Trans-Atlantic openings were just one of the highlights during the evening in North America. Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, reported at 0300z that he already had three decodes of DK7FC, one hour earlier than the previous session. John, W1TAG / WE2XGR/3, similarly reported DK7FC but also decoded DH5RAE and was decoded by DL4RAJ. The selectivity of reports with the number of QRV stations is interesting and baffling:
Stefan, DK7FC, reported good DX reports in Russia and Iceland in addition to the trans-Atlantic reports:
On the other side of the continent, trans-Pacific openings allowed a number of reports to be made on both sides of the Pacific. This has never been more true than during this session as VE7SL and VK4YB completed a historic two-way QSO between North America and Australia using JT9, signaling the most distant two-way QSO (11802 km) ever registered on 630-meters under amateur service rules (as reported by 472khz.org). This is a particularly difficult path in spite of being mostly over salt water because of a hill near Steve’s QTH in the direction of VK4YB. Steve reports in a recent blog post, “My location on the ‘wrong’ side of Mayne Island requires me to fire directly into a very nearby 600′ hilltop, directly in Roger’s path. “
Roger, VK4YB, issued a “code-7” early this morning, indicating that Steve should wake up and head to the ham shack, which he did. The QSO was excruciating to watch because band conditions were poor compared to last week so many exchanges over what seemed like an hour were required for all of the elements to be decoded on each end. They finally got it done. Congrats to Roger and Steve on this historic occasion. This is a very BIG deal. Steve recounts the details from his perspective in this blog post. Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, provided this transcript of the sessions JT9 transmissions from his perspective, specifically showing VE7SL’s transmissions near the end. Screen captures and comments from the operators are posted below:
It was a real struggle but finally got there. I thought we were going to miss out because all the big signals had taken a dive. Obviously the path to VE7 was still hanging in there. The screen capture is attached as the original bit map.
“well it wasn’t pretty as in ‘pretty-quick’ but it’s done. Tomorrow should be much easier as the band has improved each morning so far, little by little. Signals were way down compared to last week but I was running barefoot only then.Today the full 5W eirp helped a lot. I’d say it was a ‘code 6.5’ morning but Roger tricked me and got me out of bed with a ‘code 7’ alert 🙂 Steve”
On WSPR, Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, reports “Heard by 40, with 5 VK, and the return of Alaska. while it almost seems ‘normal’ lately, got a spot from VK4YB abt 10 min after SR”:
John, VK2XGJ, reported early decodes of WH2XXP, just an hour after sunset in New South Wales:
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported that he “Heard 12 last night, including VK4YB and VE3CIQ who was new for me, used omni RX antenna. Was heard by 32 including 2 VK, usual east side guys and the return of 2-way prop to ALASKA! Was running reduced power and low duty cycle last night, still did pretty decent so condx must have been OK.”
Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, provided a really interesting link to several BBC research documents which can be viewed and downloaded here. He reports that he was using 50-watts TPO and was decoded by VK4YB. This works out to 22770 kilometers per Watt. Joe notes that at 1022z he could had reduced power by 3-dB more and still “made it across”:
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, had a strong night, reporting WE2XGR/3 for the first time from his Pacific Northwest QTH. He provided details below and included a screen capture of his join.me screen sharing session from his morning’s historic QSO. It was a great tool to watch the drama unfold after sunrise here in Texas:
Phil, VK3ELV, registered a single report at JH3XCU:
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, had some rain and wind in his area but that didn’t stop him from providing reports. He submitted these details and reception map:
“Due to rain showers (but no lightning) that caused the TX vertical to sag, XKA was RX only for the session. Ten stations were spotted. – the usual suspects! Hopefully the unsettled WX will depart today.”
Phil, VE3CIQ, reported good conditions and an open transcontinental path with five reports from VE7SL and first time reports at WH2XGP.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, provided the following reception reports from the session:
Mike, WA3TTS, provided the following reports and comments on the session:
K0TPP was the only new or newer receive stations for the session. Welcome aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-African path during this session.
Eden, ZF1EJ, decoded WSPR stations in the southern US during this session:
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, has returned and was QRV during this session with what sure seems like a very good session. I would not be wild Alaska without some chaos during this session, however. Laurence reports, “morning light – looks like Moose ran thru “talktomeGoose” probe coax and snapped it at 20ft mark. Tx Marconi down – overstressed #8 tffn on pulley on high winds – overnight tx was on loop. “Aceshigh” probe not responding so that means a sunken kayak in the lake = busy weekend”:
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had reception reports into Ontario during this session in addition to the usual stations on the West coast and a strong showing in Australia. Jim, W5EST, reports storms in the Northwest Territory as well as storms in the Tasman sea that dissipated between 11z and 12z.
Jim, W5EST, present, “SOFTWARE PHASING FOR NOISE CANCELLATION & DIVERSITY”:
“The last three blog days have described systems for stereo diversity on CW, 630m JT9 two-antenna dual receivers, and antenna combiner technique to combat 630m fading. Phase/Amplitude combining of antennas additionally can leverage 630m receptions of CW, QRSS WSPR, JT9 and digimodes generally. Remember, both signal and noise are at play so SNR from each RX used is what matters, not just signal strength alone.
Even for the not-small 630m wavelength, stations on modest-sized real estate can put up two antennas separated enough for reception phasing* purposes. Antennas of diverse type and/or sizes can be intelligently phase combined for remarkable 630m SNR enhancement.
Phase/amplitude control of noise cancellation can be performed analog by a homebrew or commercial hardware phaser or noise canceller ahead of your receiver. But today, let’s briefly view operations using a software-based diversity mode that virtualizes the phaser in software.
Software instantiates two or more SDRs RX1 and RX2 in a PC. Outboard SDR hardware or SDR PC card has fast ADCs (two or more analog-to-digital converters) to respectively sample a vast band of RF from each of diversity antennas A1, A2, etc. By phase control and phase locking the ADCs, antennas A1 and A2 can be adjustably amplitude-combined to make one IQ (in-phase/quadrature) data stream that is processed ultimately for on-screen display of a desired signal.
This first video by G7CNF gives background and demo of diversity mode in PowerSDR™ OpenHPSDR mRX running on Apache Labs ANAN 100D. The demo starts out on 1831 KHz to achieve 19 dB of local noise cancellation. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qdQm17udCSo
At video instant 2:50, an aqua-blue circular phaser window begins its show.
That aqua phaser window looks like a movie-style radar screen. A mouseable dot on the “radar” adjustably represents relative antenna A1/A2 amplitude by the dot’s radial distance out from center and their relative phase angle by angular position of the dot around the circle. Local QRN sources are cancelled on 160m and at higher HF, 16 MHz & 24 MHz, in this demo.
At video minute 8:00 a noise blanker is activated and then the phaser next after. The resulting deep noise null does reduce the signal level too, so compare SNRs for actual additional improvement in SNR with such feature combinations. Be skeptical. An effective antenna system and phaser must and will prove itself.
Some signals may be undergoing QSB at nearly the same QSB rate as your manual rate of adjustment of the phaser, so be careful not to confuse underlying signal variation as if to misadjust the phaser. Also, you may see some nearby signal strengths decreasing as you optimize SNR of a desired signal. Those stations may be situated at other headings; nothing’s wrong with the phaser.
The second video shows dramatic phasing and noise cancellation that reveals a shortwave broadcaster 11.934 MHz with PowerSDR™ OpenHPSDR mRX on ANAN-100–see: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ka1yjiPf-co
A third video, this one by W9OY, features 160m CW enhancement by beam steering of resonant verticals located 3/8 λ apart. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SD0V2D5S1dU An RX employs FlexRadio Systems® FLEX 5000™ transceiver with PowerSDR™ software. A green circular phaser window variously adjusts under manual control to null or peak a VE station on 1817 KHz. Noise blanker NB can also be applied.
That’s great if you can ultimately hear the signal. But what if it’s a 630m JT9 or WSPR2 station that’s inaudible and likely won’t do better than, say -26 dB SNR, even at optimum settings? If you can’t hear it, how can you phase it?
In a first approach to phase an inaudible signal, use a receiver with a waterfall and optimize the visual “SNR” of the faint signal on the waterfall. If the signal is invisible too, try a second approach: optimize SNR for a closer 630m station that’s situated at about the same compass heading. Another, third, approach: Simply phaser-minimize the band noise and then work by trial and error from that phaser setting to optimize signal. For JT9, do trial and error on the phaser until a decode finally happens. If the 630m band opens even briefly, take advantage of the opportunity to optimize SNR of the weak station. And, of course, log the phaser settings for that station for use another time. If propagation skews the RF signal so it arrives at significantly different directions at different times of the night, the phaser settings may need to be adjusted, of course.
Do you know of a phaser executing automatic or dynamic SNR maximization? In such a system, the user would set the frequency and let software auto-adjust the phaser to maximize the SNR. If the station is inaudible as above, or if QSB is changing the best adjustment point, then the software would automatically do the hunting and homing. On HF one would need to click on the phase/amplitude “radar” to get the automatic software to home in on one of two stations at different headings but occupying the same frequency. On 630m, that hasn’t become an issue yet–we haven’t reached that level of 630m occupancy and congestion.
Anyhow, if you know of such an automatic RX phaser system, please let us know. TU & GL!
* SELECTED BLOG POSTS ON NOISE, SNR, PHASING AND CANCELLATION
http://njdtechnologies.net/052316/ Signal dBm, noise, SNR intro.
http://njdtechnologies.net/052416/ Correlated and uncorrelated noises.
http://njdtechnologies.net/052516/ Antenna beamwidth figure of merit F
http://njdtechnologies.net/052616/ Phasing 630m big/little verticals duo, 45’ apart.
http://njdtechnologies.net/052716/ Phasing/cancellation diagrams for big/little duo.
http://njdtechnologies.net/052816/ Analog noise canceller and antenna system.”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).