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Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR but hope to be back by 1115z Saturday morning if I don't oversleep

Tough band conditions for North America as storms leave band sounding like Summer; Unsettled geomagnetic conditions return but almost feels like storm levels without the onset enhancement; Good evening and morning on CW for KK7UV; VK4YB and NO3M coordinate JT9 listening in hopes of a favorable opening; W5EST presents: ”Dive Deeper into 630m Voice Modes: Part 2”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for November 3, 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.

Spot stations calling CQ on any mode here on DXSummit and help them find a Q


A frontal system ranging from New England through the Midwest of North America “hardened-up” during this session increasing noise levels to near Summer levels.   The Pacific Northwest reported lightning activity including KK7UV who noted that evening noise levels were at S9 + 10 dB.  Storms in Oceania were slightly diminished compared to recent sessions but VK4YB indicates that the band remains noisy as a line of storms has developed in northern Australia.  A few storms were present in Spain and Portugal and over the Adriatic sea but Europe was largely lightning-free.

11-hour worldwide lightning summary


Geomagnetic conditions reached unsettled levels with the actual  on air sentiment feeling much worse than that.  The Bz is pointing solidly to the South this morning and solar wind velocities are increasing, averaging near 400 km/s early this morning.  DST values that were so impressive during yesterday’s session have retreated significantly this morning.




Propagation was not necessarily poor, in fact stations in the Northwest and British Columbia indicated good evening propagation in spite of very high noise levels.  Propagation was just very different and the previously reported storms in the Midwest impacted band activity and a willingness to listen to noise.  We don’t often observe two or more very strong back-to-back sessions because often we depend on the onset of geomagnetically active conditions to enhance band openings, even if for only brief periods.  Typically the day after a big opening is poor because of increased absorption.

Reverse beacon activity for the session follows:


PSKreporter details for the session follow:

courtesy PSKReporter


Eric, NO3M, indicated that he could hear CW from Kees, PE5T, on 473 kHz during the evening but it just wasn’t quite enough to make a QSO.

The following stations provided reports of their two-way QSO’s as well as any additional activity that might have occurred during this session (this is not necessarily a complete list – only what was reported!):

Steve, VE7SL, completed evening CW QSO’s with KK7UV and W7IUV.

Steve, KK7UV, completed an evening CW QSO with VE7CA and a morning CW QSO with KB5NJD through QSB.

Larry, W7IUV, completed a JT9 QSO with Kermit, W9XA early in the evening.  Larry indicated that W9XA was around -25 dB S/N.  WA9ETW indicated that Larry was -22 dB S/N and Larry noted that W9XA was his thirtieth “initial” contact.  Larry provided WSPR reports overnight for VK4YB as W7IUV/W and received reports from VK4YB, which was the first lower-48 station to be heard by Roger since October 22.

John, VE7BDQ, completed a late night JT9 QSO with KL7L at 0600z.  John indicated that Laurence was at -19 dB S/N while John’s “…2 watts -23 at KL7L”

Toby, VE7CNF, reported a JT9 QSO with W0YSE last night “…and a new one for me, KL7L, at 0610z. That was early for Laurence here, and he was peaking -23 to -27 with deep QSB.”

Neil, W0YSE, completed a JT9 QSO with VE7CNF during the evening and made a few CQ’s on JT9 this morning but had no takers.   Neil was reported by VE7AB’s reverse beacon network node shortly after those calls, however, so the band was open.  On WSPR overnight Neil indicated that he”…was heard by 41 this session and 42 last session ( previously unreported)…New stations decoding my WSPR are KJ6MKI , K6SJC, VE4TV, and recently new since Oct 31 is W9XT.”

Courtesy W0YSE


The evening session was tough at KB5NJD.  While propagation was probably relatively  OK, weather in the Midwest and points Northeast kept some stations off air or on WSPR only.  I don’t blame them.  It was no picnic to listen to either.  I heard KK7UV working VE7SL and W7IUV on CW in the evening through noise but not at serviceable levels.  I should note that the West was generally quieter than the West but that direction had its own issues.  This morning I worked KK7UV again at 1018z on 474.5 kHz CW.  Steve received RST 449 but he was probably a lot better than that but QSB was fast and active.  I received RST 439 from Steve.  My reverse beacon network reports were limited to VE6 today and the openings, while brief, were pretty good.  The Alberta area seemed storm-free this morning so that helps.  Steve, KT5H, reported nearly constant noise in Arkansas this morning but indicated that I was RST 569 at 0925z.

Trans-Pacific WSPR 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.

Roger, VK4YB, indicated that he “Got as far as the Alberta twins. Condx down a little and QRN up a lot, especially the last hour [1157z]…A glance at the Blitzortung map boded ill. A line of active storms off NSW and another across central USA were going to make life tough.  I missed a JT9 QSO with Steph, VK5FQ, as I fell asleep in the operating chair, only to wake and discover his call unanswered. Sorry Steph.  There was some joy on WSPR with Merv decoded and 18 DX stations receiving, best Ken, K5DNL.”  Roger and Eric, NO3M, coordinated their listening this morning in hopes that the path would open between the two so a JT9 QSO might be attempted but today was not the day.   Roger received reports from CF7MM, JA3TVF, K5DNL, KJ6MKI, KL7L, KR6LA, KR7O, N6GN, N6SKM, VA7JX, VE6JY, VE6XH, VE7BDQ, VE7CNF, W6SFH, W7IUV and W7IUV/W. He shared two-way reports with K9FD.  Roger also reported W7IUV, which was the first decode of lower 48 station since October 22.

Jim, ZL2BCG, received reports from KL7L, KR7O, VE6XH and W7IUV/W.  He shared two-way reports with K9FD.

Robert, KR7O, reported on the ON4KST chat that “ZL2BCG decoded once -23 and VK4YB once, both 1050z-1100z period. KL7L 57 decodes, best -7. ZF1EJ two decodes only.  Only west coast and K5DNL last night. A couple of east coast this morning.”  Robert added later this morning that he continued to report K9FD an hour after local sunrise.

Ken, K5DNL, reported that he continues to test his new amplifier at 42-watts TPO and is finding good results.  He recently added a relay to the amp to allow him to return to receiving.  During this session Ken operated only WSPR, reporting fourteen stations including  VK4YB.  He received reports overnight from 85 unique stations including KL7L, K9FD and ZF1EJ.  Ken indicated that it was a noisy night.

Trans-Atlantic WSPR report details can be viewed here.  The trans-Atlantic WSPR summary follows:

PA0A -> AA1A



AA1A -> DL4RAJ, EI8JK, F59706, G0LUJ, G0LUJ/1, LA2XPA, PA0O

Spiros, SV8CS, posted his WSPR reports that were greater than 2500 km from his station:

Courtesy SV8CS


Al, K2BLA, reported “Lots of static crashes this AM. No one on JT9…”  On WSPR, Al received reports from 55 unique stations, ten of which were over 3000 km from his station.  He reported fourteen stations and shared two-way WSPR  reports with K9FD.

Doug, K4LY, reported “Really weird night. Started out quiet to northeast with 7 very early decodes of F5WK and then quickly became noisy with poorest conditions in a week.”

Mike, WA3TTS, reported that he decoded sixteen WSPR stations overnight.  Mike added that his receive antenna configuration included “…NE EWE from after SS until 0950, then NW EWE until after SR. (I fell asleep and missed my usual 0400~0600 antenna switch time )”

Mike’s best DX for the session follows:
F8WK 8 spots, best -19 @ 2312,  min -25 @ 2306, 2354, & 0330
W0YSE 3 spots best -24 @ 0938, min -27 @ 1036
W7IUV  7 spots, best -7 @ 0914, min  -22 @  0722 & 0900
ZF1EJ   7 spots, best -20 @ 0936,  min -23 @ 0416

Courtesy WA3TTS


There were 61 MF WSPR stations QRV at 0000z according to the WSPRNet activity page as reported by K5DNL. Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

North American 24-hour WSPR summary


European 24-hour WSPR summary


Asiatic Russian 24-hour WSPR summary


Japanese 24-hour WSPR summary


Oceania 24-hour WSPR summary


Eden, ZF1EJ, reported no QSO’s during this session and indicated that he would be operating in a receive-only capacity until Sunday.  During this session he provided WSPR reports for eight stations and he received reports from fifty unique stations including K9FD.

ZF1EJ session WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L, submitted these detailed session comments:

“Ice fog thru night increased by losses and Rtot went up a notch according to the scope…Early in the last evening, on JT9 we were fortunate to complete with K9FD @ 0449z ,thats real early here, VE7BDQ and VE7CNF, all at good signals.  I had the audio up on the receivers but no CW heard, though a number of WSPR signals were ID readable.

I arose a little after 4am to check 475kHz conditions and had prints of W0YSE, VE7BDQ and latterly VK4YB still calling JT9 CQ at 1239z – I called but he was on this way out and faded quite quickly – I put out a long number of CQs but the screen was clear so reverted to 475/137 wspr2 txs on.

Gratefully Larry W7IUV had decodes of my 137kHz 1W signal. Its tough with the topography and ground/geomag here but rewarding to get anything out.

Back on 475kHz – A flurry of decodes from JA made for a pleasant 12 hours, but I worry about this Bz and strength of ElSol wind and wonder if its going to blow in poor conditions for a few days. I can still see DCF39 on 138.8305 at 17z so all is not awful yet…”

On WSPR, Laurence received reports from 27 unique stations including JA3TVF, JA1PKG/2 and JA1NQI. He shared two-way reports with K9FD, KR6LA, N1VF, N6GN, W0YSE and W7IUV.  Select DX report details can be viewed here.

KL7L session WSPR activity


Merv, K9FD, indicated that evening band conditions were not too bad and noted a desire to schedule some time for a QSO with VK4YB.  He completed a JT9 QSO with KL7L, as Laurence reported.  For much of the session, Merv operated WSPR, reporting twelve stations including ZF1EJ. He shared two-way reports with VK4YB, ZL2BCG and KL7L.   Merv received reports from 39 unique stations including JA1NQI, JA1NQI/2, JA1PKG/2, JE1JDL and JH3XCU.  Select DX report details can be viewed here.

K9FD session WSPR activity



“This week’s blog posts are discussing voice modes (Endnote 1*) for 630m. Today, I’ll broach questions like:  How much more distance can a voice mode reach if it has narrower bandwidth than SSB?  What’s the “best” 630m voice mode?

Only your 630m voice operations can answer these questions!  In the meantime, let’s see what distance performance one might seek, or what breakthroughs beyond expected performance 630m voice operators might achieve in the future.

Compare maximum distances that two stations TX 1 and TX 3 can respectively reach with different modes along the same great circle to a receiving station 2. From Endnote 2**, formula (4) compares maximum distance performance D32max/D12max of TX modes from stations 1 and 3 sending to station 2.  It includes occupied bandwidth BW of the TX modes, antenna gains G dB, and sky reflection losses L dB at different maximum distances D:

D32max/D12max = sqrt(BW1/BW3) 10^0.05[(GTX32 – GTX12) – (L32– L12) + (GRX32 – GRX12) ]             (4)

Suppose TX 1 sends regular SSB with bandwidth BW1 to RX2, while a more remote TX 3 sends slowed down SSB with bandwidth BW3 to RX2.  Bandwidth ratio BW1/ BW3 enters as a representation of the occupied bandwidths that with narrowest filtering can reject noise. Because of the square root, SSB slowed down 4x (for 6 dB advantage) increases its maximum distance reach up to 2x, for instance.

Slowing down SSB introduces considerable time delay between transmission of speech and playback at the receiving end. A slow-voice mode QSO experience would be rather different from regular SSB experience. For a one-way test, though, time delay would be less important.  Also, by adding a vocoder to compress the audio into voice-coded data for transmission, such delay could be reduced or eliminated while keeping the bandwidth much narrower than regular SSB.  630m vocoding is a big subject not covered here.

As to farthest reachable voice distance, now let’s go into the rest of formula (4).  Loss difference (L32 – L12)dB in formula (4) mainly accounts for 2-hop sky & ground reflection losses versus the 1-hop losses. Sky reflection loss changes somewhat with distance, but probably not a lot, due to a changing sky reflection angle at the E-region as path distance approaches longest 1-hop distance (zero-degree launch to horizon).

Further in formula (4), elevation pattern of a TX vertical declines at lower launch angles. So, the gain difference (GTX32 – GTX12)dB in Formula (4) gets more negative as the longest 1-hop distance is approached on the low-angle path 32 from TX 3 to RX2.  That means the maximum distance ratio that slow-voice TX 3 is less than what sqrt(BW1/ BW3) alone would predict.

Meanwhile, 2-hop prop over one-hop distances is also present, but weaker by comparison because 2-hop faces one more sky reflection loss and one more ground reflection loss. The 2-hop prop benefits from a medium elevation angle of launch because a 630m TX vertical more  strongly radiates at medium angles like 10°-30°. As the longest 1-hop distance is approached, this 2-hop prop maintains its strength versus distance and becomes more fully prominent compared to 1-hop strength that’s declining with distance according to the TX 3 antenna’s elevation pattern.  With increasing path distance, 1-hop prop gives way entirely to 2-hop prop at 1-hop maximum distance.

Now, what about operating reality?  On 630m can some 5w EIRP voice mode indeed approach and even reach beyond maximum 1-hop distance? Can you answer this question by demonstration, or already did years ago?

Overland, stations in USA Pacific Northwest W7 would approach or exceed maximum 1-hop distance around Indiana W9 and farther points east and southeast.  From VE7 Vancouver BC, most of W5 Texas and Oklahoma would be that far.  Similar distances from Arizona W7 go to points east of a line from roughly Detroit W8 to South Carolina W4. From Arizona at longer 2-hop distances, Hawaii KH6 lies 4560 km away.

San Francisco Bay area W6 is at nearest distance to Hawaii about 3800 km from the USA west coast. From there, 2-hop 630m voice might reach over low loss salt water, only tests can tell. Oppositely, near-max 1-hop or 2-hop from/to Bay area means points east of a line from Houston TX W5 to northern Illinois W9.

KL7 at Anchorage AK lies about 2800 km from northern California W6. Subject to high latitude prop, stations from W7 southern WA to Oregon to SF Bay area W6 dot interesting distances for 1-hop and 2-hop 630m voice paths linking them to KL7.

What’s the “best” voice mode? For now, as long as 630m voice usage is low, SSB is probably best from the standpoints of convenience, available equipment and low latency (time delay). However, some high-Q 630m/2200m TX antennas may have a narrow enough bandwidth to affect SSB intelligibility. Let us know if you have observed such a problem and what you do about it.

Fall-winter conditions have already favored regular 630m SSB activity in Australia June-August. Right now, N. America and Europe offer favorable conditions for 630m SSB.

Until 630m voice activity becomes more congested, operators on the 630m band will probably defer experiments with other voice modes such as slowed-down voice and vocoded voice. If such voice modes prove their worth, general amateur use may settle on some “best” 630m voice mode.

TU & GL on 630m voice!”

* ENDNOTE 1: Speech could be added to enable operation in non-“voice mode” ways too. At the TX station, a voice dictation program could create the keystrokes that would send alphanumeric characters via a digimode to an RX station.  Conversely, pressing one button or another on a touch screen could supply a control code to activate a speech generator that would deliver corresponding phrases or sentences to the TX to transmit by a voice mode. Or the TX could transmit the control codes directly. At the RX station end of the path, a text-to-speech or control code-to-speech converter could deliver audible speech from the text that a digimode delivers to the PC screen.   However, today’s discussion of voice modes does not focus on such technologies.
** ENDNOTE 2: To tackle this voice distance question, write a formula for SNR difference:
SNR32min –SNR12min = (EIRP3-EIRP1) + (GTX32 – GTX12) +10log10(D12max / D32max)2
                                                                        +(GRX32 – GRX12)  – (L32 – L12) – (N32 – N12)    (1)
Solve for squared-distance ratio:
(D32max /D12max)2 = 10^0.1 [(EIRP3-EIRP1) + (SNR12min –SNR32min)+(GTX32 – GTX12)
                                                                        +(GRX32 – GRX12)– (L32 – L12) – (N32 – N12) ]    (2)
Differences of SNRs, and Gains G, losses L, and noises N are in dB.
In the special case of modes that are simply slowed down or speeded up relative to one another, I assume the minimum intelligible SNRs are equal. If so, the SNR difference cancels out at the maximum distances; it’s zero. Also, since the purpose here is to compare voice modes and not stations, assume EIRPs are equal, say full USA ham EIRPmax = 37 dBm, and their EIRP difference is zero.
Take the square root of both sides:
D32max / D12max = 10^0.05 [ (GTX32 – GTX12) +(GRX32 – GRX12)– (L32 – L12) – (N32 – N12) ]      (3)                
Such full speed or slowed-down modes have different bandwidths. In general, minimum intelligible SNR depends both on mode and bandwidth, compare table including SSB at http://www.pa3fwm.nl/technotes/tn09b.html (scroll halfway).
Bandwidth matters because less bandwidth admits less band noise.  Band noise in picowatts/Hz is generally proportional to bandwidth, for bandwidths less than a few KHz. https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/~www_pa/Scots_Guide/iandm/part3/page2.html (scroll 2/3).  Local noise conditions are the same regardless of distance and are omitted.  So, write:
10^0.1 [-(N32 – N12 )(dB)] = N12 / N32 = BW1/ BW3 (Ratio of noises, each in picowatts/Hz)
Now rearrange formula (3) to get formula (4) comparatively involving TX mode bandwidth, antenna gains and sky reflection losses:
D32max/D12max = sqrt(BW1/BW3) 10^0.05[(GTX32 – GTX12) – (L32– L12) + (GRX32 – GRX12) ]  (4)
Bandwidth ratio BW1/ BW3 thus represents noise bandwidths that with narrowest appropriate filtering enter the RX system to receive a signal in the respective mode from TX 1 or TX 3. With adjustments for respective path dependent losses and antenna responses, formula (4) then lead to maximum distance reach of slowed down 630m voice.

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