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TI7/W5EXJ shows up on WSPR – several reports exchanged; Storms in Oceania result in anemic trans-Pacific conditions; European MF QSO party wrap-up; Very high band activity and many new receive stations

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

I would call this session “pretty good” but I heard a number of stations at higher latitudes suggest that the band was poor so one may best describe the session as “its depends on where you are at” – I’ve said that many times in the past and its true.  The band was generally quiet but QRN was slightly more elevated than the previous session.  Storms off of the Atlantic coast as well as Utah, Nevada, Idaho and Wyoming may account for the observed QRN during the evening.  Storms off of the eastern coast of Australia had an impact on listening to trans-Pacific signals.  Storms in Mexico and parts of central America likely contributed to hearing problems of one particular station down there overnight.

lightning-103116

10-hour North American lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions are improving as nearly 24-hours of a relatively quiet geomagnetic have been reported.  The Bz is ranging from pointing slightly to the South to unity and solar wind velocities now average 500 km/s, however, during much of the overnight period, mid to upper 400’s were reported and in the last few periods velocities have moved above 500 km/s, impacting the average.  Its unclear whether this is an isolated incident or signals more storm activity to come although Solarham reports that the coming days should be even quieter.  DST values are generally trending to less disturbed values, plateauing at more stable values:

planetary-k-index-103116

 

kyoto-dst-103116

 

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The big story overnight was the appearance of TI7/W5EXJ on WSPR with a group of guys from my area that traveled to Costa Rica for the CQ World Wide SSB contest this past weekend.  Details are very sketchy as to their exact operating conditions but an email from John, W5EXJ, yesterday indicated that they were using a 1309-foot long end fed wire configured like the antenna at VK4YB and they were using a Monitor Sensors transverter at about 60-watts TPO.  They disappeared a number of times during the evening only to reappear later so its possible that they were having some problems with the matching and trying to get that worked out.  They decoded WSPR signals from WH2XZO, WH2XXP, WH2XND, WG2XXM, and me, WG2XIQ, and they were decoded by ZF1EJ and me, WG2XIQ.  Once additional details become available I will be sure to include them in future reports.  Congratulations to all that made it.  This was a big effort for a group of guys that have never worked 472 before so they deserve kudos.  Their reports can be viewed here.

ti7w5exj-103116

TI7/W5EXJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Domenico, IZ7SLZ, submitted a final report for the weekend’s MF QSO Party on JT9:

“Nice event last two days on MF !  I was able to receive 12 stations in JN80nu. Here some highlights of my screen with the call received and some nice qtc:

1742 -16  1.3 1096 @  G3XIZ DK7FC -17
1743 -27  0.1 1207 @  IW4DXW DG0RG JO62
1744 -20  0.8 1207 @  DG0RG IW4DXW -24
1747 -25  0.3 1251 @  CQ G3KEV IO94
1801 -19 -0.5 1230 @  CQ DF6NM JN59
1841 -13 -0.6 1230 @  WE HAVE A CAT
1933  -9  1.2 1094 @  FB RICCARDO
1934 -18  0.7 1094 @  VY STRONG FB
1938 -14 -0.2 1131 @  CQ SV3DVO KM08
2008 -20 -0.5 1075 @  DK7FC DL6TY JO44
2027 -27  0.0 1388 @  G3KEV YO2IS KN05
2045 -27  0.1 1094 @  DK7FC G6AVK JO01
2046 -10 -0.5 1230 @  R TU MARKUS73
2114 -17  1.6 1350 @  UJ TRYAGN DXW
2115 -22  0.0 1353 @  IW4DXW ON5TA JO20
2126 -15 -0.5 1230 @  TU COLIN 73
2131 -24 -2.4 1093 @  DK7FC DL6II R+01
2132 -14  0.9 1094 @  RRRRRR VINNY
2133 -23 -2.6 1093 @  74 QRO
2134 -16  0.9 1094 @  TU FOR PARTY
2137 -25  0.8 1326 @  CQ DD2UJ JO61
2158 -21 -0.4 1230 @  TU VINNY 73
2202 -12  1.5 1094 @  GN ALL 7FC SK

Also from me a big thanks to Vinny for the invitation and arrivederci on the next CW,QRSS party in november.

73 Domenico, iz7slz”

 

Eric, ON5TA, submitted the following report for his Saturday and Sunday evening QSO party activity on the RSGB-LF reflector:

On Saturday evening, I QSOed the following stations: DD2UJ, DF6NM, DG0RG, DK7FC, DL6II, DL6TY, G3KEV, G3XIZ, G6AVK, and LA3EQ.

And on Sunday evening: DK6XY and IW4DXW

Total: 12 stations
F6CNI and DK6NI were copied with good signals, but disappeared before I could call them.  Tried hard with IZ7SLZ but we lost each other in the QSB before completing.  I will be travelling end November and early December, so no QRSS and CW Parties 🙁  Thanks for all the QSOs and to Vinny for organizing this very enjoyable party !  73 to all Eric ON5TA”

During the evening on Sunday, Mal, G3KEV, and Spiros, SV8CS, were still CQing in JT9.

Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from JF1LKS_3 and JH3XCU during the previous session and those report details can be viewed here.

Roger, VK4YB, reported very similar statistics to the previous session.  Storms off of the eastern coast of Australia in addition to sagging propagation as we expect that we are late in the trans-Pacific season contributed to limited long haul reports.  Roger’s statistics are shown below and his detail report of data not found elsewhere in this summary can be found here.

“Rx 23*wh2xnd (-20) 2*wh2xgp (-28) 20*wh2xxp (-18) 10*wh2xcr (-20)

Tx 3*we2xpq (-27) 28*wh2xcr (-7) 3*jh1inm (-22) 6*ja3tvf (-23) 49*zl2bcg (-3)”

Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, received decodes from 48 unique stations in 12-hours, including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, and ZL2BCG.  His trans-Pacific report details can be viewed here.

wh2xnd-103116

WH2XND 12-hour WSPR activity

 

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received decodes from 48 unique stations in 12-hours, including VK4YB, VK2XGJ, and ZL2BCG.  His trans-Pacific report details can be viewed here.

wh2xxp-103116

WH2XXP 12-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, received decodes from 32 unique stations in 12-hours, including VK4YB and ZL2BCG.  His trans-Pacific report details can be viewed here.

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WH2XGP 12-hour WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

John, VE7BDQ, received a single report from ZL2BCG:

ve7bdq-zl2bcg-103116

VE7BDQ, as reported by ZL2BCG

 

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he was decoded by 49 unique stations including eighteen decodes of TI7/W5EXJ, whose best report for Ken was -8 dB S/N.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reports that the session was not much different than the previous except for four decodes of WE2XPQ.  Neil’s statistics follow:

“Hearing: VA7MM, VE7AUE, VE7BDQ, WE2XPQ, WG2XIQ, WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XND, WH2XXP, WI2XBQ, WI2XJQ
Heard by: AL7RF, N6RY, NO1D, VA7BBG, VA7MM, VE6JY, VE7BDQ, VE7CA, VE7KPB, W0AY, WA6OURKIWI, WG2XIQ, WH2XAR, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WI2XBQ, WI2XJQ, WW6D”

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, decoded ten WSPR stations and was decoded by eleven unique stations.  Unique reports for each dataset can be viewed here.

Dave, N4DB, reported that he decoded ten unique stations with no West coast in what was generally an unremarkable night.

Ken, SWL-EN61, in Indiana, reports “Conditions are still poor up this way to the West for me. Had only two XGP decodes overnight, but WA3TTS seemed to fare quite well with that station.”

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported some QRN from storms located in Virginia overnight.  Doug adds that these storms “compromised the exciting night of continued high latitude disturbance – no VE7 decodes – but some good SNRs.”   He decoded twelve WSPR stations, including TI7/W5EXJ, and was decoded by 32 unique stations.

Last night’s CW session was typical although I was almost late as an afternoon nap got out of hand, leaving me scrambling just prior to sunset to get on the air.  The band was quiet and no additional reports or QSO’s were recorded.  I transitioned to WSPR around 0120z, just in time for the action from Costa Rica.  Signals were very well, with a number of large reports of my signal and reports of others at my stations, particularly on distances out to the first hop.  Overnight big signals continued with WG2XJM reporting me at +8 dB S/N at one point.  Would have made a great CW QSO as the band seemed stable and big reports from Eric were consistent for some time to follow.  This morning’s CW yielded another sked at 1030z  but no additional QSO’s or reports, at least none reported at this time.  I continued to CQ until 1200z when I QRTed.  My WSPR transmission reports can be viewed here and my WSPR reception reports can be viewed here.

wg2xiq-kh6-zf1-it7-103116

WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Consistently high numbers of WSPR stations were reported through the evening with 104 MF WSPR stations observed at 2350z and culminating with 118 MF WSPR stations observed on the WSPRnet activity page at 0350z.  That is an amazing number of stations and for there to be so many for so long really makes me wonder just how busy the band might be when Winter arrives.  Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, activated a number of KiwiSDR systems remotely on the Internet for use as WSPR decoders so those stations contributed to the elevated numbers. He provided these comments as well as a list of stations activated during the evening session:

“Using KiwiSDR software and listening to the radio spectrum from different places around the world has been a new and exciting experience for me. KiwiSDR allows the listener to activate the participating station on WSPR, and the learning curve for me was difficult because I wanted to make it work like the WSJT WSPR programs which is unnecessary.  It works just fine with its own 300 Hz bandwidth which requires a 474.95 not a 474.20 RX frequency.

Many stations have set their software to time out after 30 minutes or some other short time, so activating a station for a night of WSPR may not be possible.  In other cases internet glitches disconnect the station after short periods of time.
Last night I activated the following stations who decoded one or more 630M WSPR stations- KB8SPI, EN82; KD4HSO, KC MO; KB1KW, FN43; KC4YPD, CM97, and N4TVC, Alexandria VA. I also activated other stations who had too much line noise, or whose clocks were off, and could not decode signals.”

ZS6KN was present from South Africa for what is believed to be the first time and was not a part of Doug’s experiment.  Welcome aboard!

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

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North American 24-hour WSPR activity

 

sa-103116

South American 24-hour WSPR activity

 

eu-103116

European 24-hour WSPR activity

 

af-103116

African 24-hour WSPR activity

 

ar-103116

Central / Asiatic Russian 24-hour WSPR activity

 

ja-103116

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity

 

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Australian / New Zealand 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Eden, ZF1EJ, reported TI7/W5EXJ and WH2XCR during this session in addition to a number of stations across North America.  Eden’s DX reports can be viewed here.

zf1ej-103116

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was transmitting again but reports this morning that a moose may have damaged his transmit antenna.  He shared two-way reports with WH2XCR prior to the incident and also received VK4YB.  Laurence’s Pacific report details can be found here.

we2xpq-103116

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, successfully decoded VK3ELV, VK3HP, and VK4YB during this session and received reports from JF1LKS_3, JH3XCU, VK2DDI, VK2XGJ, VK4YB, and ZL2BCG.  Merv is hearing well, once again decoding WH2XZO and receiving decodes from ZF1EJ and WG2XJM.  The path to KH6 is healthy and I expect we begin to see significant increases in signal from KH6 as we progress to Winter.  Merv’s VK and JA reports can be viewed here.

wh2xcr-103116

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, presents a discussion entitled, “Head scratcher!  Comparing a small flag antenna to a large flag antenna.  Does gain affect SNR?”

“Flag antennas are an anomalous experience for me.  I’ve used dishes on microwave frequencies where increasing the size of the dish changed the antenna pattern- narrowed the beam width- resulting in better SNR.  I’ve used beverage antennas on 160M where increasing the length of the antenna changed the pattern-again narrowed the beam width- and resulted in a better SNR. 
 
 The flag antenna, no matter how big you make it, assuming the same scale, has the same pattern based on modeling.  Only the gain changes.  So in theory there should be no change in SNR?  However, in the article below, Dr.  John Bryant did some experiments and claimed empirical evidence for the smaller antenna being gain limited and the larger antenna  providing a better SNR. 
 
 I have  built and used small flag antennas several times and always been disappointed with the results.  Not so with the larger flag or similar KAZ antennas I’ve built.  That anecdotal experience is not science and, to use a phrase that was common in the days when Harold H. Beverage developed the beverage antenna in 1921, ” not worth a tinker’s damn.”  OK. I know that, but like everyone else, I am influenced by my own experience.
 
In the original article referenced, Testing Two “KAZ” Squashed Delta Antennas SEE  http://www.dxing.info/equipment/kaz_bryant.dx
Bryant quotes K6SE (who did so much to popularize the flag antennas) “antenna guru K6SE cautioned that gain is not really an issue in a receiving antenna since actually hearing the signal was dependent upon the signal-to-noise ratio rather than the absolute gain of the antenna.”  
 
Nevertheless, Bryant goes own to present evidence that the larger KAZ antenna, 116′ by 28′, in some of his tests does out perform the smaller 40′ by 10′ antenna and that “gain does seem to matter.”  Bryant writes, “Since the basic signal-to-noise ratio of an antenna is related to its sensitivity pattern and since the pattern (but not the gain) of the KAZ and the Super KAZ should be identical, the 40′ KAZ must be “gain limited” under the specific conditions tested. In other words, what I was hearing on the 40′ KAZ was not band noise, but rather the noise floor of my receiver! I added about 10 dB of amplification to the KAZ signal and attenuated the Super KAZ a like amount; this pretty well equalized the apparent gain of the two antennas. As expected, the KAZ signals remained much noisier than the same previously marginal signals when received with the Super KAZ.”
 
Another similarly experienced MW DXer, Steve McDonald, VE7SL, has written as part of this discussion, “I think that there is no doubt that the larger KAZ is superior to a smaller one, even when amplified by virtue of sheer capture area.” and in an email added “This eventually begs the question, ‘why build a Super KAZ when a normal (small) KAZ will provide the same SNR?’ !  I know that from monitoring the MW BCB guys reports (again anecdotal for the most part) that they report improved results when going to the larger KAZ.”
 
Eric, NO3M, another very experienced antenna man, doubts the Bryant results above and writes, “I think he is observing nothing more than SNR degradation due to his pre-amp’s NF. Other than possibly eliminating the need for a pre-amp, and the potentially associated increase in system noise, there should be no discernible performance differences in the KAZ vs. super-KAZ.”  In a later email, Eric added, “Besides the preamp NF, another factor they may have been dealing with causing SNR observation differences is common-mode ingress…..As the antenna gain decreases, common-mode suppression demands increase.  If similar methods of choking were used on the KAZ vs. Super KAZ, it may not have been sufficient for the smaller KAZ (lower gain) antenna. After some thought, I suspect common-mode had more to do with the apparent observational differences than amplifier NF,  assuming the patterns are the same.  With similar radiation patterns, there should be no difference in SNR for a particular signal between the two versions.  Which raises another question, was there another factor involved that altered the pattern in one or the other?”
 
Tom, W8JI, another prolific antenna theoretician and experimenter, agrees.  His web page describes flag antennas in this way-  “Terminated loops are really just short verticals, with a phasing system inherent in the longer horizontal component of antenna wires.”  SEE http://www.w8ji.com/k9ay_flag_pennant_ewe.htm
W8JI does say to keep”S2 as large as possible, but smaller than 1/4λ,” (see his web page), but he doesn’t say why.  Is it merely to require less amplification?
 
In a second web page, W8JI says, “One common rumor or myth is that higher antenna gain results in improved reception. Gain is an unreliable way to predict receiving ability on frequencies below upper UHF!” and he gived the example of close spaced beverages which provide more gain, but almost no additional  RDF (directivity) or resulting S/R.  SEE  http://www.w8ji.com/receiving.htm
 
Toward the end of his article, Bryant asks, “What is the smallest KAZ that will not be “gain-limited” even at the bottom of the broadcast band? Is there any theoretical work available on this???”
 
The above is more than just a theoretical problem.  Most of us have small yards where only small antennas will fit.  In my case, I have three towers, skywires all over the 0.8 acre lot and radials all over the ground.  If a small flag or KAZ (perhaps requiring amplification) provides the exact same SNR as a much bigger flag or KAZ, I can get that smaller antenna over 50′ further away from towers and sky wires. That would, probably, improve the pattern because there would be less interaction between all those towers and wires.  
 
What are your thoughts and experiences regarding the relationship of antenna gain and SNR on 630M?

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