The details for September 26, 2016 can be viewed here.
The UTC amateur registration database is here. Even 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.
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. This is intended as a guide for new users showing up on the band. (updated: graphic only)
The storm system cutting North America in half continues to make noise but most of the activity this morning was localized to the area of west and southwest Texas into portions of eastern New Mexico. This system ranges from Oklahoma into Ontario. South Florida was also very active this morning into the Caribbean and Mexico. This morning noise conditions were not too bad in spite of the storms in West Texas due to lightning crashes being relatively wide spaced.
Geomagnetic conditions were quiet although a G2 storm watch is in effect over the next 48-hour for a geoeffective coronal hole according to Solarham. The Bz is very stable this morning, at unity, and solar wind velocities are averaging near 318 km/s. DST values are at the center line or have moved into positive territory depending on the indicator that you follow.
Steve, VE7SL, and Roger, VK4YB, made another attempt at a CW QSO on 474 kHz this morning. Both were transmitting on timed cycles, listening between each cycle for the other but they seemed to have problems with timing of keying. Roger reports some very heavy QRN at times but there were long periods of quiet. He added that the pole transformer in his area generating a lot of noise has still not been replaced. Steve was hearing Roger on most cycles and best at 1310z at RST 559. Roger indicates that he was hoping for Steve to pop out of the noise at some point during the two-hour CW session but it never happened. Steve indicated that the”…path is non reciprocal. I hear best earlier but Tx best later. Maybe we should try at 09:00z…” These guys will get it. Last night was a very good night and there are more ahead.
Roelof, PA0RDT, reported that Joe, VO1NA, was heard by ear on 477.7 kHz CW in spite of heavy static:
Trans-Atlantic report details can be viewed here.
Dave, AA1A / WD2XSH/17, provided trans-Atlantic WSPR reports for G8HUH and IW4DXW during this session. Dave provided reports for nine WSPR stations including these two European stations and ZF1EJ.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported that band conditions were much better for him in South Carolina during this session in spite of what he perceived as slightly lower activity. Doug indicated that he received reports from 36 unique stations including WH2XCR, VA7JX, VE7SL, and WD2XSH/20. He noted that the report from Rudy, WD2XSH/20, was the first of the season. He provided reports for eight WSPR stations and also indicated that he has been playing with FT8 on 80m and hopes that 630m can have lots of activity on CW, JT9 and maybe even FT8.
David, N1DAY / WI2XUF, reported that “In spite of fairly active QRN last night, my signal was spotted by 32 unique stations and I spotted 8 unique stations. Two days ago, I finally got a serious downward kink out of my capacitance hat wires and that seems to have made a bit of a performance difference. For the first time last night, I was spotted by VE6JY, VE6XH, and WH2XGP – all greater than 3,000 KM distant.”
Roger, VE7VV, reported that it was a “wonderful night” because of reports from four stations that had not previously reported him, including two new states with reports from W0AIR in Colorado and W6YQ in South Dakota. Roger added that “…the really amazing thing for me was to see Larry WH2XGP’s list of receptions, many VK/ZL, AK, HI and all over the US including the east coast from ME to, I think, FL. He could have made WAS in one night if there were people listening in all states! Also, a new 630m RBN monitor appeared last night, N6TV in San Jose CA. I see WG2XIQ’s CW was heard in AB again last night. This bodes very well for Oct 16.” It’s especially exciting to hear Roger’s report of a new CW Skimmer station.
Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, provided reports for seven WSPR stations this morning through low to moderate QRN. He also reported my CW CQ’s on 474.5 kHz at RST 559.
John, W1TAG / WE2XGR, reported that at 0936z, WH2XCR was reported at his QTH in Maine. John also noted that “the longer nights are beginning to pay off.” He submitted these additional comments via email:
“An illustration that it pays to actually listen:
My “big” loop antenna is down to allow some tree work, so I have been using the 500′ wire on ground out in the woods. There’s a preamp at the end of the wire, with Cat 5 cable back to the shack for signal and power. Have checked it out frequently during the daytime, and found it a bit noisier than I remember, but otherwise OK.
So, last night I went to look for VO1NA on 477.7 kHz around 0100Z. Started hearing all sorts of trash from AM broadcast intermod, even though there are no local AM stations here at the Maine QTH. Grabbed the flashlight and put a 9:1 coupling transformer in place of the preamp. All is now well. Something must have gotten munched in the woods preamp over the summer, as it was designed with IP2 and IP3 performance in mind.
Copied VO1NA’s CW around 569 after that. There was one WH2XCR spot at 0936Z this morning, so that season has now started.
I may not be able to put the big loop back up in time to catch the Amateur opening festivities in mid-October. We’ll be back in MA in November, and a whole pile of antenna challenges await me there. Oh, well…”
Steve, K8PZ, reported, “A decently quiet night gave me a few spots of WH2XCR for the first time this season. VE7BDQ, VE7VV, and WG2XSV were copied too. The excitement is starting to build. Guess I should finish that variometer I started building last spring…”
Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he decoded twelve WSPR stations overnight, including seven reports for WH2XCR, best at -19 dB S/N at 0942z, three report for VE7BDQ, best at -23 dB S/N at 0920z, two reports for WG2XSV, best at -29 dB S/N at 0604z and 0708z, 57 reports for WH2XGP, best at -6 dB S/N at 1100z. Mike submitted the following content which contains expanded statistics, details and comments on the session:
“…Good PNW and T/P condx. Started on e-probe single band 630m then split band to SW about 0130 to 0400 630/2200m on SW EWE, then back to single band with high level converter on 630m with Telefunken FZ-01 473 kHz mech filter to NW EWE antenna and for 2200m used Heath VLF converter with e-probe and 300 kHz LPF (9th order Butterworth) from 0600 to SR. Tough call to stay on the NW EWE antenna as I knew the extra directivity might fish VK4FB out of the noise, but I stayed on NW antenna as it works well for XCR and I knew XPQ was also active…looks like it was best DX to the East for WG2XSV and VE7BDQ so it was a good call to stay pointed at the PNW…
I was up watching the waterfall from about 0600 to 0730 and noticed a carrier line that fades in and out right on top of WD2XSH/15, so that interference is likely not local and explains why there are times when XSH/15 is not decoded here despite other Midwest stations having good SNRs…also explains why I never get SNRs above the mid 20s, I should see an occasional -30 to -33 now and then on XSH/15 and that does not happen.
WH2XND 97 spots from 0136 to 1136, 97 of 135 possible spots for 72% rate, SW EWE antenna early, e-probe omni late…The taller EWEs and separate MF and LF converters seem to be worth the effort…”
Trans-Pacific report details, excluding KL7 and KH6, can be viewed here.
Roger, VK4YB, received reports from CF7MM, KJ6MKI, KU4XR, N6GN, N6SKM, VA7JX, VE6JY, VE6XH, VE7BDQ, VE7SL, W6SFH, W6XY, WA6OURWIKI, W7IUV, WD2XSH/20, WE2XPQ, WG2XSV and WI2XJQ. He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR and WH2XGP.
John, VE7BDQ, provided reports for eight WSPR stations including VK4YB and he received reports from thirty unique stations including ZL2AFP.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ reported pretty good band conditions. He provided reports for ten WSPR stations including VK4YB, who was decoded by Rick thirteen times.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, provided reports for eight WSPR stations including CF7MM, VE7BDQ, VE7VV, VK4YB, WE2XPQ, WH2XCR, WH2XGP and WH2XXP and he had a great daytime session with a tremendous amount of receive activity. Neil submitted these comments and detailed statistics for the session:
“This session was my best since last winter. I was heard farther east than I have been for months as evidenced by decodes from WA3TTS, KU4XR, and K8PZ. I am also surprised to see that 29 unique stations decoded me this time, which is also more times than I have been decoded in one session since early spring.
Out of the 29 spotters, these are the most distant ones:
Roger/VK4YB came in here a RECORD 11 TIMES on WSPR with a best of -22 SNR. (I’ve never seen more than 3 decodes of him in one session ever before.) The ol’ E-probe is workin’ good as my main RX antenna. Glad I gave up on the vertical for RXing.
I also heard VE7SL’s CW on 474.0 as Steve was trying to QSO with VK7YB. SL was coming in at Q5 S5 at best and faded down to S2 at times. At one point I thought I heard tiny bits of CW at the beginning of YB’s sequence, but not sure. The mind does tricks when trying to copy very weak CW at times.
No reception of JT9’s this session, but I am looking forward to some QSO’s in that mode in the near future ;-)”
Neil also reported a lot of daytime listeners and submitted these statistics from 1114 PDT during the day:
He also reported this blast at 3:24 pm PDT:
Andy, KU4XR, experienced another good night with reports of VK4YB in Tennessee. He submitted these comments on the 600-meter research group email reflector:
“A productive night in the early season here. And last night produced receptions from VK4YB, and WH2XCR which hasn’t happened until now for me. Plus, I’m excited to report receptions from Neil – WG2XSV which typically don’t happen this early in the season. Here’s a short breakdown of data:
WH2XCR – 10 spots – Best SNr -19 – 4439 miles
VK4YB – 5 spots – best SNr -23 – 9077 miles
WG2XSV – 3 spots – Best SNr -24 – 2131 miles
Receptions from 11 stations total, and the nightly transmitters continue to roll in here nicely. My cherry on the cake will be a night of ” TA “, and ” TP ” receptions together.”
Andy also noted that he experienced reports with WH2XCR and VK4YB at or near the same time, which isn’t necessarily rare but often we see a decrease in one and an increase in the other:
“XCR @ 09:42 and VK4YB @ 09:44
XCR @ 10:44 and VK4YB @ 10:46
XCR @ 11:12 and VK4YB @ 11:12 ( same time slot )”
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 59 unique stations including ZL2AFP, VK4YB, VK2XGJ and VK5ABN.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for fourteen WSPR stations and he received reports from 55 unique stations including EJTSWL, VK2XGJ, VK5ABN, VK7TW, ZL1EE and ZL1AFP. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB. As W7IUV, Larry provided reports for nine WSPR stations including VK4YB.
Larry has also been working hard to make improvements to his transmit antenna system in order to enhance survivability for another Winter. He submitted the following story with a few images of the end result:
“Over the last two months I have been working on the TX antenna for 475 kHz. The previous antenna was a 44 foot vertical with the loading coil at the top and a few haphazard hat wires. While this antenna was quite effective, it had reliability issues. Environmental conditions here in central WA proved to be too much for the top load coil over time. Also, the guy ropes were more or less temporary and were made from baling twine. Twine is very cheap and very strong but it does not last very long in the sun. To make a long story short, the vertical was ready to fall over and would certainly not last through another winter.
The best antenna in the world is not much good if it is always broken. Therefore reliability is my number one design criteria. A close second is overall efficiency and last is expenditure of resources (time, effort, money).
Since it was clear that a top/center loading coil was not going to be possible, I spent many hours with EZNEC exploring other possibilities. One configuration that kept bubbling to the top was the Conical Monopole. So I built one. 50 foot tall with 8 down wires, 9.5 feet diameter at the top.
Great looking antenna, a real classic! Unfortunately the feedpoint impedance was not anywhere near what EZNEC predicted. The result was a system Q that was so high, that I could not walk around the yard without the SWR protection circuit tripping off the amp!
After a lot of soul searching, I scrapped the conical monopole out and used the 50 foot pole for a more conventional T-top Marconi.
Going from a high coil to a base coil with the same antenna footprint lost about 3 dB in efficiency. It took me a couple weeks to recover some of that performance. I had to install new supports for the ends of the top hat wires to get them higher up in the air and also lengthen them. During this effort I accidentally proved that extending the hat wires beyond the end of the radial field caused the ground loss to increase faster than the Radiation resistance resulting in a LOSS of efficiency. Oh well…”
Here are Larry’s final results (click to enlarge):
My session did not start until this morning just after 1000z. I was exhausted last night and storms were in the area so I opted to wait and evaluate the situation when I woke up. Storm noise and subsequent lightning crashes were wide spaced so copy of signals was easy. I was reported by VE6WZ’s CW Skimmer periodically through the session while I was calling CQ at 30 second intervals, listening between calls. Steve indicated last night that he was going to setup his SDR-IQ and southeast beverage to listen for me. It seems to have paid off:
I also received a visual report at 1038z from N4DB and at 1130z, Steve, VE7SL, reported my CW in British Columbia at RST 569. He quickly transitioned to 474 kHz and made some calls and was easy copy here in narrow bandwidth. This is a two-way simplex QSO waiting to happen. I made this recording of Steve’s calls:
I also received a report from Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, who indicated that I was RST 559 in Florida. Finally, I received this report from JP, N0DZQ, in Minnesota:
“Heard you calling CQ this morning down on 630m with your experimental license (WG2XIQ) at 1121UTC. Just thought you would like a propagation report. A solid 559 in MN.”
This was a very good session for CW on 630-meters.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for three WSPR stations. He received reports from 31 unique stations. including WH2XCR.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reported that this session resulted in the “Strongest path to KH6 from KL7 for some time with s/n 0 a few times.” He also noted that the rain has finally stopped in his area. He provided reports for six WSPR stations including VK4YB and he received reports from nineteen unique stations. He shared two-way reports with VE7BDQ, WH2XCR, WG2XSV and WH2XGP. DX report details can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, provided reports for fourteen legitimate WSPR stations including VK3HP, VK5FQ and ZF1EJ. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB, ZL1EE and WE2XPQ. Merv received reports from 38 unique stations including JA1NIQ, JA1PKG, JH3XCU, VK2EIK, VK2XGJ, VK5ABN, VK7TW and ZL2AFP. DX report details can be viewed here.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com)!