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Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR for storms - just one more night - should be QRV Saturday night!

More long haul JT9 QSO’s, this time NU6O and K9FD (/KH6) work VK4YB, in spite of poor propagation and band conditions as unsettled geomagnetic conditions return; Strong storms in the Gulf of Mexico and Texas making listening tough for many; ZF1EJ -> EA8BFK; Alternating trans-Pacific openings for Asia, Oceania, Hawaii and Alaska; W5EST presents ”Does 630m Ever Exceed E-Region Maximum Usable Frequency?”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for October 20, 2016 can be viewed here.

The UTC amateur registration database is here.

HERE are a few mode specific comments addressing where modes are located now and probably where they are best placed in the future

Curious about who is on the air making two-way QSO’s? Roger, VE7VV, is maintaining this list. If you complete QSO’s, be sure to let us know so he can add you to the active operator list.


Many operators reported listening problems during this session, particularly as the evening progressed, from lightning crashes or static on the band.  Rain and a few storms were present in the Pacific Northwest into British Columbia but probably the most prolific lightning-rich storms on the continent were located along the Gulf coast of Texas and into New Mexico.  The East was largely unlistenable this morning but even the West  presented moderate noise from a few storms in West Texas.  Propagation must be pretty good as noise from these storms seem to be reported around the continent.

11-hour North American lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions reached unsettled levels overnight with more to possibly come according to Solarham.  The Bz is variable, currently pointing to the South with a general tendency to remain near the centerline.  Solar wind velocities are averaging near 440 km/s and DST values are also variable and generally at negative levels.




Reverse beacon network reports follow but are incomplete today with several European reports dropped from the system overnight for some reason:


PSKReporter presented the following distribution of digital activity on the band over the previous 24-hours:

Courtesy PSKReporter


Jim, W5EST, submitted this JT9 capture list from his receive in Little Rock, Arkansas this morning:

Courtesy W5EST


Laurence, KL7L. submitted this transcript of received JT9 signals at his station in Alaska.

Bill, AA2UK, reported a carrier and CW (presumably a beacon?) from WA3ETD located in Vermont around 0404z at RST 579.  Bill provided no details about the frequency.

Larry, W0OGH, reported on the 600-meter research group email reflector that he was “…seeing what looks like a CW signal at about 472033 but can’t get enough to make out the call, if that is indeed what it is…Band is quiet tonight with lulls in the noise around S3 and peaks to S7.  Listened on 3.5 mc but the band was pretty dead.  Night before last the noise was running to S9 and beyond.  Quite a change.”  Larry proposed a number of possible sources of the signal and Rudy, N6LF, posted the following comments on the 600-meter research group about who it may have been:

“Larry there’s a good chance that was my signal or Dick’s, AH6EZ.  I was in QSO with AH6EZ/W7 on that frequency at about that time.  Shortly before me he worked VE6BDQ which is another possibility”

The following stations provided reports of their two-way QSO’s as well as any additional activity that might have occurred during this session:

There were two highlights during this session:

A two-way JT-9 QSO was completed between Roger,VK4YB, and Joe, NU6O.  Roger indicated that Joe’s best report during the QSO was at -18 dB S/N.  Joe reported Roger at one point in the QSO at -25 dB S/N.  Congrats guys!

JT9 QSO between VK4YB and NU6O (courtesy NU6O)


NU6O JT9 QSO with VK4YB (courtesy VK4YB)


Merv, K9FD, completed a two-way JT9 QSO with Roger, VK4YB.  Merv indicated that Roger was at -11 dB S/N while Roger reported him at -24 dB S/N around 0850z.  Merv was also hearing Roger’s CW at RST 449 but the path was not reciprocal at the time that they were listening.  The CW QSO will be forthcoming.

K9FD JT9 QSO with VK4YB (courtesy VK4YB)


For the session overall, Roger, VK4YB, indicated  “Low noise, but propagation well below its best. Worked K9FD and NU6O on JT9. On WSPR heard 10, heard by 34.”  Roger received WSPR reports from JA1NQI/2, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, JH1INM, JE1JDL, KR6LA, N6SKM, TNUKJPM, VE6JY, VE6XH, VE7AB, VE7BDQ, VE7CNF, W6SFH, W7WKR and WA6OURKIWI.  Roger shared two-way reports with KL7L, K9FD, NU6O, and W7IUV.

Ken, K5DNL, reported two-way JT9 QSO’s with K9SLQ, NU6O, W9XA and WA9CGZ.  Ken operated WSPR overnight, providing reports for fourteen WSPR stations and receiving reports from 75 unique stations including seven Canadian stations.  Ken shared two-way DX reports with K9FD  (/KH6) and ZF1EJ.

Rick, W7RNB, reported a JT9 QSO with CF7MM (sent -10 ,  rcvd -27).  Rick also added that he was up early, “…looking for all of you DX guys, and nary a one showed on JT9. The ions have fallen asleep here. At about 12:30z the wind came up and the damaged antenna impedance became pretty erratic so shutdown until I can get it fixed. So, I will be off the air until the rains abate for a few hours.”  Rick operated WSPR overnight, providing reports for nine WSPR stations and receiving reports from 28 unique stations.  Rick’s unique report detail can be viewed here.

Neil, W0YSE, reported that he completed JT9 QSO’s with W7IUV (sent -27, rcvd -13) and NU6O (sent -19, rcvd -09).  Neil indicates that he may be experiencing a receive problem that he will have to investigate once the rain stops.  Referencing his WSPR activity, Neil reported that he continues to receive report from eleven WSPR stations including KR6LA, VA7JX, VE6XH, VE7AB, VE7BDQ, W6SFH, W7IUV, W7IUV/W, W7RNB, W7WKR and WA6OURKIWI thirty minutes after his local sunrise. His best distance was VE6XH at 1102 km.

Larry, W7IUV, completed QSO’s with six stations using JT9.  He submitted these detailed comments and statistics:

Last night had the worst conditions I’ve seen in a long time. “local” signals had dramatic QSB with high levels much higher and low levels much lower than normal. There was no path at all to the east. K5DNL normally pounds in here during the evening hours and there was no trace at all of his signal.

I made 6 JT9 QSO’s, no one new:


Around 0430z, I finally gave up, set the rig on WSPR at reduced power (~ 1 W ?) and went to bed. condx must have gotten better sometime during the night as there were a couple VK’s and a number of east side guys reporting my signal.

I quit WSPR when I got up at 1200z, but there was little to do on CW/JT9 with condx still poor. K5DNL was in there but weak.

I will run WSPR at reduced power during the day as I have been in order to provide a way for the newbies to work on their stations.”

The evening session was not great at KB5NJD as far and band conditions were concerned with high QRN and below average propagation, particularly for eastern paths.  I was fortunate to receive an SWL report from Keith, K0KE, located near Denver, Colorado after he heard my side of a CW sked with KF5RY  between 0100z and 0140z.   Keith was listening with his 80-meter four square and reported my signal at RST 589.  He has acquired a transmitter that is being re-purposed for 630-meters and hopes to get an antenna installed before snow settles in for the Winter.  Thanks Keith!

The morning session presented high noise to the East and South but moderate noise conditions with a few lightning crashes peppered-in to the West.  I completed a brief CW QSO with NO3M but Eric indicated that static was very high in Pennsylvania.  We exchanged RST 459 reports and then passed on 73.  Steve, KK7UV, of Missoula, Montana, whom I worked a few days ago, reported my CW at RST 339 during my QSO with Eric, whose signal was reported by Steve at the noise floor.  Don, W0DJK, located in Minnesota,  also reported my signal but indicated that it was very weak this morning.  I tuned the band briefly during the remainder of the session and called CQ a few times but no additional QSO’s were completed in spite of hearing a few weak signals below the noise floor.  Reverse beacon reports were lackluster today.

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.

Trans-Atlantic report details can be viewed here.

Eden, ZF1EJ received two WSPR reports from EA8BFK.

Al, K2BLA, reported that he had to QRT early from the session “…due to “jumping SWR…Made few JT9 CQs last nite; no answer WSPR: HB 49 inc K9FD hrd 13…”

Ernie, KC4SIT, reported that he was receive-only during this session, using “…a dipole 4 feet off the ground I provided decodes to 9 stations three of which were over 1000 km.”

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he decoded fourteen WSPR stations overnight, including eleven decodes of W7IUV, best at -21 dB S/N at  0716z and seventeen decodes of  ZF1EJ, best at -21 dB S/N at 0708z.


Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


European 24-hour WSPR activity


Asiatic Russian 24-hour WSPR activity


Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Oceania 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, was observed calling CQ on JT9 this morning.  Overnight he provided reports for four WSPR stations and he received reports from 36 unique stations including W7IUV, VE6JY, EA8BFK and K9FD.

ZF1EJ session WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L, indicates that his time in VE6 has come to an end and he is headed home now.  He hopes to be active on QSO modes this weekend.  The station in Alaska provided reports for six WSPR stations and he received reports from eighteen unique stations including ZL1EE. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB, K9FD, NU6O, W7IUV and W7RNB.  Select DX report details can be viewed here.

KL7L 24-hour WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD, had a great night, completed a JT9 QSO with VK4YB and attempting a CW QSO.  Merv provided reports for sixteen WSPR stations including ZL2AFP, VK5FQ and ZF1EJ. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB, ZL1EE and KL7L. Merv received reports from 38 unique stations including JA1NIQ/2, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, JE1JDL, TNUKJPM, VK2XGJ, VK3ALZ, VK3GJZ, and VK7TW.  Select DX report details can be viewed here.

K9FD session WSPR activity


Jim, W5EST, presents, “Does 630m Ever Exceed E-Region Maximum Usable Frequency?“:

“By 630m “E-region maximum usable frequency” or MUFE, I mean the highest frequency at which the direction your 630m signal ray takes to a given destination station would reflect from the E-region instead of traversing it. (In case of traversing, the signal might still reach the destination via some other prop mode like F-region reflection.)  During either 630m days or nights, I think the answer is “No, your 630m RF on most paths doesn’t ordinarily reach MUFE , and the E-region rules the propagation process.” But before sticking to that conclusion, let’s drill into some scenarios.

Firstly—630m daytime.  The E-region critical frequency generally (far) exceeds 1 MHz in midday. So, even if you do NVIS near-vertical prop, your straight-up 630m rays get reflected by the E-region in daytime.  See E-region critical frequency  foE contours worldwide on a space weather web site:  http://www.spacew.com/www/foe.html  I’ll return to this daytime topic and discuss the special case of solar eclipse later below.

630m nighttime: That space weather site’s critical frequency foE map goes below 1 MHz at night but doesn’t show just how far down in frequency foE really goes below about 600 KHz.

Can your 630m signal penetrate the E-region at night then?  I’d answer probably not, at least not for most launch angles η (eta), even though the attack angle α at altitude is greater and MUFE decreases with attack angle https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionosphere  (Scroll 2/3 for MUFE = fcrit/sin(α).)  See today’s geometry illustration and Endnote 1*.  Nighttime 630m NVIS (straight up) might penetrate the E-region, but NVIS would be wasted energy for most ham stations’ 630m work. Anyhow, a 630m TX vertical antenna has a zenith null in its elevation pattern.

In your ordinary regional and longer-distance operations, 630m RF probably gets E-region reflection even on nights when 160m may penetrate the E-region and reflect from the F-region instead. (Endnote 2**)  So, 160m and 630m nighttime prop modes can differ as between the same two stations, see web comments about 160m:  http://www.qsl.net/g0isw/g0iswHF.html (scroll 1/4) http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=5&ved=0ahUKEwjdiZOc9PfWAhUX1WMKHXn6A30QFgg_MAQ&url=http%3A%2F%2Fsolar.spacew.com%2Fcq%2Fcqmar98.pdf&usg=AOvVaw1v0I0_h-pMoo5pPUYDyxXw (Fig. 4, scroll 40%)

If the equatorial anomaly contours presented to 630m trans-Pacific (TP) nighttime RF signals are significantly tilted, then 630m might reach the F-region, see this blog May 14 and citations:  http://njdtechnologies.net/051416/  I think this topic presents an open question. Blog your knowledge and references on the topic!

2200m is 3.5x lower in frequency than 630m. 2200m frequencies get reflected by E-region due to the frequencies being lower than MUFE.

630m sunrise (SR) and sunset (SS): The SR and SS prop regimes may involve tilted reflective electron concentration surface contours in the ionosphere and provide 630m signal enhancement opportunities. (Endnote 3***) Such tilting reduces E-region MUF at points of reflection on a tilted surface contour.   However, at SR and SS, twilight solar ionizing radiation is sufficient to raise the E-region critical frequency foE somewhere between nighttime level and higher daytime levels–enough for E-region to rule the 630m RF reflection process, I conclude.

Solar eclipse near totality: If reflective surface contours in the ionosphere become steeply tilted, then 630m paths over several hundred kilometers can open up. Then, your 630m RF rays can become nearly perpendicular to the tilted E-region electron concentration contours.


In the darkness of a solar eclipse, MUFE would decrease down closer to nighttime critical frequency foE without compensation by ordinarily low attack angle.  Another spectacular N. America solar eclipse comes April 8, 2024—only about 6½ years out. Unlike ordinary 630m nighttime operations, during which MUFE is probably a multiple of nighttime foE, 630m might indeed penetrate the steep solar eclipse-affected contours of the E-region.  If there’s penetration of the E-region during a solar eclipse, tell us your information on that question!  TU & GL on MF/LF!

*ENDNOTE 1: Note that the attack angle α (alpha) at which the RF signal reaches the ionosphere is considerably larger than low-angle DX launch angles.  For a launch elevation angle η° (eta, ay’-ta), the attack angle α°= η°+57.3°D/2NRE.
For propagation by one or more hops N with half-hop distance D/2N, say 1100km or 1800km, and RE=6371 km Earth radius, you get numbers like this:
        α° ~ η°+9° or A° ~ η°+16° for long half-Ehops or half-Fhops respectively.
       The E-region controls your RF reflection if your TX frequency is under the E-region MUF:
       MUFE = fcrit / sin(α)  =  foE / sin(α), or roughly:
       MUFE ~  foE x 57.3°/(η°+9°).
On 630m, in view of typical continental and DX low launch angles, I’d expect foE to be 1/3 to 1/5 of MUFE. Conversely, the tenuous nighttime E-region will probably indeed control 630m reflection of long-distance single-hop and multihop whenever foE is at least 160 KHz and on some paths when foE is between 95 KHz and 160 KHz.
 Combine two formulas in the wiki to get electron density Ne = (1/9 MUFE sin α)2. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ionosphere  (scroll 2/3).   Proportionally, there’s a square law direct relationship:
        Ne(foE)/Ne(MUFE) =(foE/MUFE)2.
In words, if  foE is 1/3 to 1/5 of  MUFE on ordinary 630m paths, then the electron concentration needed to sustain E-region reflection on 630m lower angle paths is only 1/9 to 1/25 of minimum electron concentration needed to sustain 630m NVIS. Galactic and other cosmic radiation is probably sufficient to deliver the necessary levels of nighttime e-concentration in the E-region for it to rule ordinary 630m paths.
Higher frequencies than the E-region MUF are controlled as usual by HF MUF:
       MUF =  foF2 / sin(α).
**ENDNOTE 2:  Suppose you don’t know the launch angle η or attack angle α. Suppose you do know the path distance and probable number of hops N and can guesstimate h height of reflecting ionospheric region.
Then consider the geometry illustration. Based on it, calculate a vertical vs. horizontal dimension ratio r ~0.1 by formula (1) with conventional single-hop or multihop in mind:
r = [h+RE(1-cos(D/2NRE))] / RE sin(D/2NRE)                                                             (1)
If you’re working with other prop that doesn’t involve half-hops, or with tilted ionosphere, use ratio formula (1A) with distance d to the reflecting iono-surface from TX or from last surface reflection:
r = (h+RE(1-cos(d/RE))) / RE sin(d/RE)                                                                      (1A)
For the special case of spherical shell ionosphere, write sine of attack angle A on a horizontal ionosphere at place of reflection:
sin(α) = sin[tan-1(r)] = r/sqrt(r2+1)                                                                               (2)
Use a guesstimate like h ~ 110km for nighttime 630m E-region altitude in (1) and (3):
MUFE = foE /sin(α) = fcrit sqrt(1 + 1/r2)   [horizontal iono-surface]                             (3)             
***ENDNOTE 3:  Now tackle the tougher question of tilted ionosphere. A tilt angle T away the horizontal, and tilted up/away from the TX ray, may happen in SR and SS enhancement or during a solar eclipse. What happens to MUFE ?
In a first tilt case, the iono-surface orientation is as if tilted around a horizontal axis perpendicular to the TX ray. That way, tilt angle T just contributes by addition to the angle of attack α:
       α = T + tan-1(r)                                                                                                      (4)
Increased tilt T will reduce the MUFE according to this formula:
       MUFE = foE / sin[T + tan-1(r)]                                                                            (5)
In a more general tilt case, imagine that horizontal tilt axis is turned in a horizontal plane so as to be turned away by an angle θ (theta) from being perpendicular to the TX ray. Use a value of tilt angle T representing the tilt angle away from the horizontal plane.  I’d expect the 3D analysis is complicated, but would only diminish the tilt’s effect on MUFE and raise MUFE somewhat.  I’d suggest using the formula (5) to estimate a likely lowest frequency for MUFE.  At 630m and 160m, the question is usually whether MUFE is less than operating frequency, so that formula (5) should be sufficient.”


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