It was good to be QRV again after the previous session was cut very short due to storms. Noise levels here in Texas were much better than the previous night but the South and East continue to be impacted by QRN. Domestic propagation was pretty good overnight, at least here in Texas, with numerous CW-level reports across North America. It was good to have WG2XJM QRV again after he presumably repaired the PTT with his transverter. He was successful on the trans-Atlantic path to be detailed later in this report but his return to air was timely.
Geomagnetic conditions continue at quiet levels with a Bz that has been pointing to the North and solar wind velocities in the low range, averaging 360 km/s. DST values are nominal. Solarham is forecasting G1 storm levels to begin late on October 22 as the result of a coronal hole stream that is becoming geoeffective:
On the trans-Atlantic path from North America, Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, received a report from G3XKR at a very respectable -22 dB S/N. I suspect he was using a low transmit percentage which might explain why there was only a single report at such a good level. Co-channel interference may also be to blame:
Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from 7L1RLL, JH1INM, and JH3XCU late in the previous session:
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he was decoded by 51 unique stations and received 100 decodes from WH2XCR, best at +2 dB S/N.
Neil, W0SYE/7 / WG2XSV, reports:
“GM John, I Got 22 listeners this session with an early decode from my former neighbor in Ogden UT, Mark, KU7Z. He got my 1w ERP about 1/2 hour before my sunset.
Another note: Someone was TXing what had to be a wspr signal last evening around +1060 hz (dial 474.2 khz, of course). The timing and duration looked exactly like wspr, I used my other RX system to try and decode it, but no luck on that…..it was a strong trace so it was probably fairly “local” in the PNW….??”
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reports that conditions were down overall in Washington state. He was decoded by 40 unique stations including VK4YB and ZF1EJ but he did not decode Roger on either receiver, which is unusual. He reports that he decoded thirteen on the eastern BOG (WH2XGP) and ten on the western antenna (W7IUV). Larry ends with “Path to XCR good, 160 path to H44 good, but very poor to VK on either band.”:
Roger, VK4YB, reported to Steve, VE7SL, at 1034z that the band was only a “Code-1” due to approaching storms causing very high QRN. He indicated that this would be the case tomorrow as well. Steve indicated that propagation seemed poor in the Pacific Northwest / British Columbia region. Roger was able to generate a few reports in spite of the high noise at both ends of the path. Comments and statistics detailed below:
“Rx 3*wh2xgp (-25) 7*wh2xxp (-23) 5*wh2xcr (-19)
Tx 1*ve7sl (-32) 7*we2xpq (-22) 24*wh2xcr (-12) Weak propagation, High QRN. Early to bed!”
In spite of poor conditions on the path to VK resulting in reports from only two stations there, Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, put on a clinic on getting a signal to JA, with reports from 7L1RLL, JE1JDL (two receivers), JH1INM, and JH3XCU. He received WSPR reports from 56 unique stations. Ward added that there was a sunrise enhancement observed this morning on the path to VK:
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, has successfully configured his second rig, an SDR, to operate on 160-meters simultaneously with the TS590 on 630-meters as he compares the bands in real time using WSPR. He enlisted some help of active top banders to provide reports on 160-meters and has gathered data to be analyzed in the coming days. Doug reports that on 630-meters during this session he decoded seven WSPR stations and was decoded by 28 unique stations which was up from the previous session. He adds that this session yielded a season high two decodes of WH2XCR and eleven reports of Doug’s signal at WH2XZO.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports generally depressed conditions in the greater Seattle area with decodes for ten WPR stations including two bogus reports and decodes of his signal by twenty unique stations:
Daytime openings are beginning to return as Autumn propagation patterns increase with the tilt of the Earth away from the Sun in the northern hemisphere. Two sessions ago Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported decodes of WH2XXP in the afternoon and reported similar decodes yesterday in addition to decodes for several stations at least 20-minutes prior to his sunset. Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, observed similar pre-sunset reports overnight as well. I observed WH2XXP here yesterday afternoon almost 2-hours before sunset. I suspect that there will be stations decoded all day long North America within the next month.
Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, has begun laying radials again and it sounds like he may be on the air again shortly. He sent this update:
“After a brutal travel and work schedule in the last few months; literally in hotel beds as often as my own, I came home from my last trip exhausted and happy to be home for a whole 6 weeks but had to prepare for a hurricane instead. I had minimal damage to house, barn and trees but major damage to my 1296 EME dish. The damage was bad enough that I sold the whole 1296 station to a friend and it is now gone. But that effort has delayed my 630m return. I am refurbishing my 65 ft 160/80 meter base-insulated tower vertical with a much larger to hat and basic cleaning to be my permanent 630m antenna. (Last year I used a “temporary” vertical which survived the hurricane with no incident. Maybe it wasn’t so “temporary”.) Mowing season is now completely over and the “seasonal” radials are being put down. Barring any more storms or other incidents I should be transmitting in 3 weeks. There is still a lot to do!”
Domestic propagation was very nice with CW-level reports all night long from a number of stations, particularly due North which is always quite robust. Jay, KA9CFD, in Illinois reported that my morning CW calls were S9 at 1144z, about 35 minutes before his sunrise while listening on an L400B at 10-foot. WH2XCR reported that my WSPR signal was being decoded at 0326z, 30-minutes before sunset on Molokai. Merv’s signals were in the high-teens to low 20’s dB S/N during this same time frame but I was noise limited by storms to the South and East as well as receive impacts from strong nearby signals. My WSPR transmission report can be found here and my WSPR reception report can be found here. It was a good night on 630-meters.
It was another active night with 94 MF WSPR stations observed on the WSPRnet activity page at 0200z. As previously reported, a number of active top band stations provided reports in support of K4LY’s recent study comparing and contrasting 160 and 630-meters. One of these new reporting stations, Dave, N4DB, experienced a nice night of decodes using a 160-meter OCF dipole that is 70-foot high at the feed point and a total length of 270-foot. Thanks for the support and welcome aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from Africa or South America during this session.
Eden, ZF1EJ, reported stations in the South as well as stations as far North as WG2XJM and WH2XGP:
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reports that he continues to transmit with the temporary loop as the Marconi-T restoration continues. He believes that ionospheric recovery is still in progress but will the next event occur before recovery finishes?
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, continues to experience strong propagation into the eastern portions of North America with another decode from VE3IQB. Merv also decoded JA1PKG and shared two-way reports with VK4YB in addition to numerous other reception reports. It seems the mid-latitudes fared best during this session:
Jim, presents, “PART 3: 630M WSPR 10/13/2016: VK4YB-8*ve7bdq -23dB & NOT ANY ve7sl. WHY?”:
“Today’s blog continues e-mails edited into dialog form that supplement VK4YB TABLE 1 and WH2XCR TABLE 2 from this blog Oct. 19. We are trying to explain why VK4YB got many 630m decodes at VE7BDQ but not VE7SL on Oct. 13. WH2XCR was decoded about equally by both VE7SL and VE7BDQ 10/13.
Jim W5EST: Further re: how do we interpret Oct. 13? Suppose instead the 600′ hill at a half mile from VE7SL indeed affected the VK4YB 630m waves. Would a hill profile effect be sufficient to introduce a significant notch or null in your antenna elevation pattern? That might explain your non-reception as due to a persistent and unusual iono-tilt angle Oct. 13. That’s where modeling would need to be used, it seems. The idea would be that VE7BDQ’s reception would continue whatever the tilt because his antenna presumably has no elevation pattern notch without a hill nearby VE7BDQ.
Further to that hill effect idea, perhaps iono-tilt adjusted up the arriving VK4YB signal angle and caused signal to be lost in an elevation pattern notch due to that hill’s effect on the VE7SL antenna. If VK4YB descends from the sky at 3° most nights and diffracts to 12° to reach your antenna, then perhaps iono-tilt caused, say, 5° on Oct 13 that diffracted to 15° or more and left your antenna in a radio shadow. From your antenna’s elevation pattern viewpoint, that’s a reception pattern notch.
Steve VE7SL: I arrived at the iono-tilt theory as it is common on 160m close to local sunrise. It is something that has been observed for several decades now and is often noticed when guys will switch from their normal large efficient verticals (or, fill-in-the-blank for any low angle radiator) over to their low-hanging cloud-warming dipoles only to notice huge jumps in signal levels. Of late, Roger’s signal has been better towards sunrise but on some nights I have seen him over several hours, albeit for short durations. I use the tx vertical for RX when operating on 630m since I have no noise level to speak of other than atmospherics.
Jim W5EST: Regarding pre/sunrise enhancements, I share the view that iono-tilt is responsible for them. I picture the change in 630m tilt angle on Oct. 13 as similar to, but considerably smaller than, the vertical vs. dipole 160m sunrise example. Otherwise your tx vertical would most likely have picked up a higher angle signal arrival, which would have easily risen above the hills in your area, and given you decodes of VK4YB.
Steve VE7SL: My premise is that there was no high angle on Oct 13…all very low and thus missed by the vertical. One other point that needs consideration is that on this Oct. 13 morning only, Roger made it all the way back to the eastern provinces (VE3) as well as eastern USA, something never done before….further evidence of extremely low angled arrival that morning perhaps? I just can’t see a low angled signal arriving here without some tilt involved….or a change in the normal F layer height…at least the denser reflecting portion, maybe caused by geomagnetic activity.
Jim W5EST: RRR: Tilt. Regarding middle-latitude F-region contributions on 630m, I see different ideas on that but haven’t felt certain enough to make up my mind. On 160m, the F-region probably plays a role frequently, and on HF the F-region is of course predominantly important. At least the last hop into VE7SL originating from VK on those higher bands likely does propagate by F-layer reflection with enough elevation angle to clear the 600’ hill. By contrast, the last VK-BC 630m hop into your area propagates more probably by E-layer reflection at a lower angle. On different nights, exceptions could occur however.
Jim W5EST: Here’s one more possibility to throw in a grab bag of explanations to accept or reject: Maybe lateral 630m iono-skew somewhat changed the heading of VK4YB’s signal arriving at your QTH. Then, if you have phasing of different arriving 630m waves from hills on Mayne Island or nearby, it could have shadowed you while producing no diminishment of VE7BDQ reception.
Steve VE7SL: Yes…skewed paths are definitely common during geomagnetic disturbances, so maybe there is something here as well. Some bright fellow needs to invent some radio-glasses to see the propagation!
Jim W5EST: VK4YB’s path to you goes 8λ=~5km SW/NE across Mayne Island to your QTH on the northeast side of the island. A few high hills on Mayne Island and neighbor islands exceed one wavelength diameter and might laterally diffract MF (λ=0.63km) and get it out of phase by λ/2 = 0.315km. http://en-ph.topographic-map.com/places/Mayne-Island-8921696/ (Zoom out to see neighbor islands.)
The change in azimuth degrees in VK4YB heading needed to significantly change phase of a signal may be x ~ 28° sqrt(1/L) where L is distance in wavelengths of a diffractor from you. Mt. Tuam on Salt Spring Island to SW is almost 1λ tall and lies about 36λ from you. The angular degrees would be about 5° azimuth. That 5° seems like a lot of lateral iono-skew to ask for, though.
Jim W5EST: Regarding radio glasses, I wonder if you and Laurence are two bright fellows who have radio glasses right now at Mayne Island and in the Anchorage area geography! Best wishes for success on CW with Roger VK4YB….& 73.”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).