This “Halloween” session brought a lot of surprises and varied activity from across the globe. The band didn’t seem to offer much sunset unlike other recent sessions and once sunset had arrived the band remained stingy at some locations. Propagation quickly improved, however, as the evening wore on but in spite of a generally clear lightning map there were numerous lightning crashes observed by several stations. The closest lighting-baring weather was located in Central America and Mexico and the crashes tended to cycle as if propagation was varying and unstable once again. This morning similar band behavior was observed but based on reports, it was a very good night overall.
Geomagnetic conditions were quiet while the Bz remains pointing to the South, more so than this time yesterday. Solar wind velocities are moderate today, averaging 455 km/s. DST has stabilized significantly and returned to near nominal levels:
This Halloween brought out a number of creative stations that painted digital mode waterfalls with elaborate pictures that were dressed to impress. Stefan, DK7FC, noted a number of of transmissions on his grabber from IW4DXW:
Half asleep when I entered the ham shack this morning, I observed what looked like someone painting a skeleton on my screen centered around 475 kHz but sadly I closed the program before getting a screen shot. I wanted to let the picture repaint but I was on a schedule and didn’t have time to wait for it and I didn’t think about checking my grabber at the time. The station sending the transmission was strong, however.
Other Halloween excitement included a first-time JT9 QSO between Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, and Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, both stations operating at 1-watt ERP. Neil provided the following transcript from the ON4KST chat and Merv sent me the follow comments and screen capture:
“Maybe you can see on the blue screen the QSB on Neil, he would go from -25 to zero, no trace nada. and then come back up in maybe 4 cycles or so, took a little to catch the QSB peaks, but we made it. Ve7 was in there as you see -9 also, what a shame we cant snag those guys.”
TI7/W5EXJ made another appearance on WSPR2 and it seems that they may have gotten the antenna working well with near “laser beam” accuracy up the Mississippi River as they received decodes from KU4XR, WI2XFO, and ZF1EJ. They also decoded WG2XXM and me, WG2XIQ. Its interesting to see the differences in stations received compared to the previous session and QRO powerhouses like WH2XXP and and WH2XND were not making it in. I’m sure the long, end-fed antenna is very directive and Ken and I were probably on the edge of what was going to be heard. I am surprised that WH2XZO in South Carolina was not heard but he may have been too far to the East. It also seems like there may have been storms in the region overnight and during the evening. Report details can be viewed here.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he was decoded by 55 unique stations, including TI7/W5EXJ.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reported continued average conditions in his area of the Pacific Northwest. He decoded nine WSPR stations and was decoded by 21 unique stations. Those unique report details can be viewed here.
Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, had the following comments about the band this morning, pre-sunrise in northern California: “Single digits on N-S paths, xcr & xpq, no TP…4QR +30, this usually indicates TP path is open to VK…Tstorms on the VK coast, may be qrn issue down there.”
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, sent these statistics for his WSPR session overnight:
Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1PKG, JF1LKS_3, and JH3XCU late in the previous session and those reports can be viewed here.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported very good propagation at his sunset with all usual suspects that were QRV being reported at this station. Larry’s only reported trans-Pacific opening came from ZL2BCG and those reports can be viewed here.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, was decoded by VK4YB, VK2XGJ, and ZL2BCG during this session as storms in eastern Australia complicate reception and impact mainland reports. The report details for those decodes can be viewed here.
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, was decoded by VK4YB and ZL2BCG under similar conditions as experienced by Ward. The report detail for those decodes can be viewed here.
Steve, VE7SL, reports that an announcement has been published on the Radio Amateurs of Canada website for the upcoming Berlin treaty special event on November 12. The ARRL should be posting a similar announcement shortly.
The evening CW session began with a quiet band prior to sunset although periodic lightning crashes could be heard at or below the noise floor. As reported earlier, these crashes would come and go as if propagation was unstable and that likely was the case in the early evening. Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, called me on CW at 0018z but it was much too early and his signal was only an RST 339, while he was reporting me at RST 449. I’m sure that if both of us had stayed up late we could have had respectable evening numbers. The morning, and specifically a few hours before sunrise, is almost always the sweet spot for domestic openings here. Doug called me during my morning CW session just after 1100z and asked how I was able to get up early every day to do this. I responded that it takes a lot of practice HI. Doug was just above the noise floor in the clear at RST 529 and we had several comfortable exchanges before the distant lightning crashes moved in. This was only temporary, however, and Doug was back to armchair copy as we signed. Thanks for getting into the shack early Doug. Nothing like early morning CW to get the blood pumping. The WSPR session was also productive and as with previous nights, numerous periods of easy CW level reports were observed this morning. WG2XJM was reporting me at +7 dB S/N around 0950z and would have been an easy QSO on phone at those levels. My WSPR transmission reports can be found here and my WSPR reception reports can be found here.
118 MF WSPR stations were observed on the WSPRnet activity page at 0100z. That’s early and while I did not check later in the night, I expect the number went higher.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Its great to see all of the continents except Antarctica represented with activity on 630-meters. Note that ZS6KN was reported as QRV on WSPR2 at 30% operating at 20 dBm. Who will be the first to hear him? It is probably a good idea to give the area that he is operating in a wide berth so that he might have a chance to be heard.
Eden, ZF1EJ, experienced another big night, reporting stations into New England as well as the southern US and TI7/W5EXJ. Eden was also operating as ZF1EJ/1 but no reports were observed during the previous 24-hours.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reported on the RSGB-LF reflector that he “…will be running MF wspr2 /jt9 on request rx/tx for poss pre Eu dawn openings – the window is short, id say more fleeting, mostly Dec and January where max mutual darkness exists.” During this session he reports that he was “receive only”. He was successful in decoding VI4SEA, the Australian maritime special event that runs from November 1 – 9 as well as WH2XCR and others in the western portions of North America. Laurence’s reports for WH2XCR and VI4SEA can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, continues to see good penetration into the eastern US with reports of WH2XZO and reports by WG2XJM. This morning was interesting to see the path to VK disappear and the path to JA open, as if Merv had switched antenna directions. This behavior may have been the result of continued storms in coastal western Australia but we are getting late in this season as recently reported. It’s anyones guess what will happen in the coming weeks and months. It’s a different situation, a different year and different operators running a lot more horse power and hardware so stay tuned to what may be an interesting trans-Pacific path in the North American Winter. Merv received the VI4SEA special event at CW levels this morning – their antenna system is remarkable! Merv’s JA and VK report details can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “PART 5: 475 KHz, 75 KHz, 137.5 KHz AZ-wa WSPR TIME-DIFFERENCED SNRs”:
“Last week, Parts 1 and 2 compared 630m with 160m as to time-differenced SNRs. Today, let’s investigate 630m compared to LF on 2200m 137.5 KHz and 4000m 75 KHz.
Today’s first illustration shows time-differenced SNRs on 475 KHz Oct. 23-25 (GMF storm 10/25 morning) and prior 75 KHz on GMF-quiet dates Oct. 8-12. Path was 1629km path NNW from Ron’s WH2XND to Larry W7IUV’s receiving equipment. The second illustration (green data) depicts 2200m receptions on the same path between the same two stations last February 11-17. Weather was not storming in WA most of those days, but possibly it rained Oct. 10.
The contrast with 630m is striking when set astride the two LF bands 75 KHz and 137.5 KHz. In magnitude, these time-differenced SNRs for the 75KHz and 137.5 KHz LF bands mostly approach the small amount of rounding granularity the WSPR decoder uses. 630m variability is much more pronounced than that.
On 137.5 KHz (green), spikes in the time-differenced SNRs mostly occurred around sunrise and sunset. For 2200m I analyzed reception days in mid-February because I had saved that data and because February has similarly long days and nights compared to October’s days and nights.
Rainy conditions typified most of that Feb. 11-17 week in Washington state, according to my weather log. Feb. 17 featured a GMF storm compared to GMF-quieter conditions on the earlier February days per the blog. The variability in the green data for the AZ-WA 2200m path is not strikingly affected on visual inspection of Feb. 17, though. http://njdtechnologies.net/hanging-on-for-dear-life-as-geomagnetic-storm-conditions-increase-attenuation-at-high-latitudes-with-a-few-surprises-lower-latitudes-enjoy-a-great-session-first-qrss3-qso-between-f4dtl-and-ea5dom/
Red-colored time intervals bracket daytime propagation, which is relatively common on LF compared to 630m. As you look at the graphs, please be careful to recognize widely differing amounts of data gathered per day. On particular dates, time-legended slash marks “/” indicate signal-off/on times due to TX off/on or RX off/on or both. Off-time intervals are omitted. We are fortunate these operators were able to operate their equipment to generate and gather as much data as they did.
In summary, 630m WSPR SNR variability at 475.6 KHz stands out considerably compared to any of 75, 137.5, and 1840 KHz. Nighttime random walk SNR behavior shows up clearly on all of these frequencies. However, solar forcing is an important deterministic driver of SNR at other times of the 24 hour cycle. This method is showing GMF storm activity indistinctly if at all. WH2XXP-ve7sl 630m path did show unusual variability 10/28. http://njdtechnologies.net/102916/ TU & GL!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).