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Current Operating Frequency and Mode

CQ 474.5 kHz CW and alternately tuning 472 kHz - 475 kHz for signals.

Geomagnetic storm conditions persist and great trans-Pacific openings continue, although not as far East as the previous session but no less prolific; W5EST presents: ”Build Your Own Composite WSPR Maps”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for September 18, 2016 can be viewed here.

The UTC amateur registration database is hereEven if you don’t think you will use these bands, REGISTER!  Doing so prevents UTC from future PLC coordination in these bands near your QTH.  While amateur interference to PLC systems is a myth and PLC systems are migrating away from RF, there is no reason to give them a reason to do something weird in the future.UPDATE:  There were reports this morning that the registration site was slow to access and some received a database error.  It sounds like the system is being inundated with registration requests.  I would love to see the registration totals for the first week of registration!

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 map tells the story.  It was noisy in my neighborhood during the evening and overnight.  This morning I thought it was very quiet for a few moments until I realized that I was on the wrong receive antenna.  When I began listening “omni” it was obvious how rough listening conditions were going to be.  The Midwest experienced a few evening storms in addition to a few flare-ups this morning in Great Lakes region into Ontario.  Parts of British Columbia experienced spotty storms and Mexico / Caribbean experienced seasonal evening storms that continued this morning.  These storms are a reminder that Summer continues for a few more days.

11-hour North American lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions reached G1 storm levels overnight with a Kp index of 5.  The Bz has been pointing to the South for much of the night but has since turned around to the North.  The Bz actually quite variable as the morning has progressed.  Solar wind velocities are averaging near 650 km/s and A-index is in excess of 17.  DST values have retreated from previous session highs as we continue to experience active geomagnetic conditions.  Reports suggest that this was a pretty good session so maybe its all worth it for those of us at mid and lower latitudes.  At least the high latitude guys can enjoy the Aurora.

 

 

 

 

Luis, EA5DOM, indicates that Peter, DJ9PC / EA8BFK, who recently provided a number of trans-Atlantic reports for 630-meter stations, has repaired damage to his antenna system and is back on the air.  He posted the following comments to Luis, which were reposted on the RSGB-LF reflector:

“There are now 2 Redpitaya parallel that cover the bands from LF to 6m.  They will be on nearly 24 h except when I use antenna for a QSO but this is not very often.  I hope to hear LF also one night.”

 

Roelof, PA0RDT, reported of VO1NA’s CW signal that, “Propagation changed for the worst.  Your signal is clearly visible, but no aural copy, I’m afraid!”

VO1NA CW on 477.7 kHz at PA0RDT (courtesy PA0RDT)

 

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, provided reports for eight WSPR stations and he received reports from nine unique stations.  Rick indicates that it was a dismal night at his station near Seattle with rain which may not have been the cause of the poor session.  His unique report details can be viewed here.

Ernie, KC4SIT / WI2XQU, provided reports for four WSPR stations.

KC4SIT session WSPR activity (courtesy KC4SIT)

 

 

Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, indicates only moderate noise this morning, providing reports for four WSPR stations and my CW signal at RST 569.  Al indicates that he will be QRT for the week.

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he decoded seven WSPR stations overnight, indicating that this session was “worse than prior evening”.  Mike’s session best DX was WH2XXP at -8 dB S/N and ZF1EJ at -23 dB S/N.

Dave, N4DB, reported that he decoded eight WSPR stations on what was a very good night which included 52 WSPR decodes for ZF1EJ, best at -14 dB S/N.  He also reported that he heard my CW CQ’s this morning.

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, reported “Another good night with low QRN, but did not reach the dizzy heights of yesterday.”  He received reports from CF7MM, JA3TVF, KJ6MKI, N6SKM, TNUKJPM, VE6JY, VE6XH, VE7BDG, VE7CNF, W6SFH, W7IUV, WD2XSH/26, WE2XPQ, WG2XSV,  and WW6D. He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR, WI2XBQ and WH2XGP.  Roger also indicated that he was QRV JT9 at 1322z on 475.450 kHz center frequency transmitting on even minutes.  Look for Roger making these late JT9 transmissions in the coming days and weeks and particularly once the band hopes to hams in the US in October.  Two-way QSO’s may be “a dime a dozen” this Winter on trans-Pacific paths for the deserving.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported another great night for trans-Pacific openings at this station, including an all-time high for VK reports:

“Great reception of VK4YB this session. I heard Roger 6 times with a best of -25. That is my best ever reception of his WSPR. And I heard 8 others, including WH2XCR in HI.

I was running almost 500 mW this session (up from ~200+mW) and was heard by 22 western stations from BC/AB to CA/AZ.”

Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, provided reports for nine WSPR stations and he received reports from 26 unique stations including VK2XGJ.  Joe shared two-way reports with VK4YB.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 67 unique stations including ZL2BCG, ZL2AFP, EJTSWL, VK4YB, VK2XGJ, VK2EIK, VK3ALZ, VK3NFI and VK5AKK.

WH2XXP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for thirteen WSPR stations and he received reports from forty unique stations including ZL2BCG, VK7TW, VK2EIK, VK2XGJ.  He shared two-way reports with VK4YB.  As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for ten WSPR stations including VK4YB.

WH2XGP 24-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

Referencing a query to John, VK2XGJ, yesterday about his transmit antenna system that he recently put on the air with his WSPRlite device, he indicated that his is using a “150-foot long wire” that works on almost all bands.

It was a very noisy night so my activity was relatively brief compared to previous sessions.  I began with CW at 0008Z, which ran through 0042z, putting me just past sunset and hopefully offered some listening pleasure for a few hams waiting to get on the band that watch my signal transition through the sunset period.  I transitioned to WSPR for about an hour at 0044z and openings were “OK” but it was obvious that it was early so domestic openings favored the East where darkness was plentiful.  This morning I began a CW CQ session starting at 1000z and was reported by Dave, N4DB, who indicates that I was audible in Virginia.  I was listening around for WH2XZO, who opted to run CW overnight due to some configuration work that was necessary for him to return to WSPR that was incomplete from the night before.  I did not hear him last night because I QRT’ed too early and this morning he seemed to have QRT’ed too early as N4DB reported that he was no longer seeing his signal in the waterfall while I was listening for him.  Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported my signal this morning at RST 569 through moderate QRN in Florida.

On my agenda for the next few weeks will be to assess the CW skimmer / RBN situation and either get my node running consistently or spend my time trying to convince others to setup and run a node.  If I could find someone (or a few ‘someones’)  who would dedicate PC and SDR space full time, I might consider buying CW skimmer licenses for them to use.  We will see.  Next I am going to ensure that my station is ready to work cross band for opening night.  I suspect there will be plenty of stations that will be ready for opening night and opening week but there will be others that are curious and will listen but might not otherwise be ready to make calls on 630-meters.  I hope to listen for stations on 40/80/160 in addition to 630-meters if I can work that out.  I may seek the wisdom of several of the Canadian stations who have done crossbanding for a few years and see what they recommend when it comes to HF listening frequencies.  Others should consider listening on HF as well on opening night to maximize participation.  I also need to get serious about deciding how these reports will evolve as activity on the band increases, probably  significantly, over the next year.  Any changes will probably be phased in but I’ve avoided addressing this matter in earnest.

I have been invited back to Tom Medlin’s Internet TV show at W5KUB.com in a few weeks to talk about this stuff.  While he has submitted a list of topics he would like to discuss over our 45-minute to hour discussion, if there is anything that you think is valuable that I should try to “work in” to the discussion, please let me know.  More details of the air date  as we get closer.  It will be on a Tuesday night and the program is simulcast on a shortwave station for those that don’t need video.

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity

 

European 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 25 unique stations.  He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR.  NOTE:  I missed two late reports of VK4YB at ZF1EJ in the previous session and those details have been appended to Eden’s report from yesterday.

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, provided reports for five WSPR stations including VK4YB and WH2XCR.  He reported visual aurora in Alaska as the K-index reached 6.  His DX report details can be viewed here.

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for twelve WSPR stations including VK5FQ. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB and ZF1EJ.  Merv received reports from 39 unique stations including EJTSWL, JH3XCU, VK2EIK, VK2XGJ, VK3ALZ, VK3NFI, VK3WRE, VK5AKK, VK6LX, VK7TW, ZL2BCG, ZL4EI and ZL2AFP.   DX report details can be viewed here.

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity (not shown: JH3XCU – three reports)

 

Jim, W5EST, presents, “BUILD YOUR OWN COMPOSITE WSPR MAPS”:

“One of our readers asked for a simple tutorial how to build composite WSPR maps using the Paint program.  It’s a bit like driving a car:  Saying in words what you do seems a lot harder than “just doing it!”  Here goes!

First, at http://wsprnet.org/ click the “Maps” tab.  Enter the call sign and other choices and click “Update” to get the map you want, such as WI2XBV for last 24 hours in today’s illustration.

Terms of Use: click on the map at lower right, to see how to use the content properly and with proper attribution.    https://www.google.com/intl/ALL/permissions/geoguidelines/attr-guide.html

I’ve put “Google Maps data © 2017” in the lower right in today’s illustration.  FYI, you can see where they get their data about various countries:   https://www.google.com/help/legalnotices_maps.html  (USA, scroll 80%).

To take a screenshot, at far upper left on keyboard press “Prt Scr” button firmly.  Open the Paint program and click “Paste” on upper toolbar using left side button.  Not quite so far left, press “Select” button’s bottom arrow to open its pulldown menu, and click “Rectangular selection.”  Mouse-outline the rectangular selection. Right click in the rectangular area to get another menu and click on “Crop.” That gives you the part of the map you want.  Return to the upper toolbar, left side, and left-click the “Resize” button, and in the window indicate the magnification such as “150” in place of the default “100.”

Then create and copy source attribution from your word processor. It’s good ham courtesy and shows you’re doing the careful, appropriate thing. Click Paint’s  “Paste” button to paste the source attribution onto the cropped map image if the attribution isn’t already there.

Save your pic by clicking “File” at upper left of Paint toolbar, then choose “Save As” to get a small window.  There, browse and name your file and “Save as type:  PNG (*.png)” and press the Save” button at lower right of window.  As you compose the pic from multiple sources, re-Save as you go.

Now, suppose I want to show geomagnetic field GMF conditions Kp (lower right) the auroral oval Au (upper right) and the E-region critical frequency foE (upper left).  Go to respective websites*, click and copy, and respect their terms of use and attributions.

When I couldn’t find attribution instructions, I showed the web site(s) URL(s).  I also indicated that I composed the pic and when. Any such text items I block-copied from a word processor, then clicked Paint’s upper left “Paste”  button, and moused the attribution block’s text into place at bottom left.

In this illustration, you can see I’ve just included whatever came to my mind, sort of a “what I know is…” approach.  However, consider two principles: 1) Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) and 2) Mount Only Relevant Events (MORE).  The illustration could have been simpler, for instance.

As to relevance, why include planetary GMF Kp if a regional GMF visual is available? Why include foF2 if E-region prop predominates on 630m? (Unavailability of LF/MF foE for 630m nighttime? Correlation of foE with foF2?)  Moreover, at the mid-latitudes of WI2XBV’s paths, is the auroral oval inset really necessary?  You make judgment calls–just have good reasons for your inset selections and omissions. One good reason is simply you don’t know if something is relevant and you’re composing the pic to help you find out.

Auroral oval information is relevant if a high-latitude portion of a possible or completed 630m path approaches the auroral oval. You can include a geographic lightning map (lower left) to indicate areas of storm noise that might explain why some probable paths did not complete, or did complete in spite of the noise.

The WSPR map shows the 630m paths as great circle (g.c.) arcs either because they indeed are g.c. or because we don’t know otherwise.  When there’s reason to doubt great circle geometry, I’d indicate that skew may be involved by a path legend “Skewed?”  Two examples: A) High-latitude propagation to/from mid-latitudes where g.c. traverses the auroral oval.  B) Solar eclipse when all the propagation bets are off.

The WSPR map only shows “uniques,” meaning the individual paths that completed.  Entering the peak SNR and number of decodes next to each path would yield more insight, albeit more work too.  Put the power level next to the TX station.  So, my illustration leaves a lot out and perhaps puts irrelevant stuff in.

To manually call attention to items of particular interest in the composite pic, go to the toolbar Tools area at top left center. Pick the Paint “Tool” you want and then use it on the pic you are making.  I circled WI2XBV in pencil.  In addition, to brush in color, click the desired color at toolbar’s color palette (top center). Then I circled WH2XGP with a navy blue, medium-width brush. Afterwards, I clicked palette color to green and manually painted-in a pointer arrow to a 630m active time of night 9/14/17 on the Kp graph. Did I call attention to the right items? Too busy and inartistic?  Sure, and with practice I’ll improve.  You can too!

After saving the pic and closing Paint, I decided I wanted to interchange positions of two items. Panic and do the whole composite all over again?  No!  Simply reopen Paint and click toolbar File tab and “Open” to access the already-made pic.  Then copy only each incorrectly placed item from its web site and paste it into Paint, moving and sizing the item and superimposing it onto its desired place.  Resave the resulting pic and it’s done.

TU & GL with 630m and Paint!”

Click to enlarge

 


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