I was QRT again for local storms so my assessments of the band are from looking at the data and comments of others that were actually on the air during the session. Plenty of receive stations were on the air but the eastern US was lean in terms of transmitting stations due to weather and other obligations. Local storms were minimal overnight but the threat and the on-again, off-again showers make setting the variometer and matching circuit of the antenna a challenge. Hopefully this weather system will be done by Wednesday.
QRN may have been an even bigger problem in Oceania, as even the QRO stations are having trouble penetrating the wall of noise during this session. Roger, VK4YB, reports that noise levels are peaking at 60 dB over S9 and moderating to 30 dB over S9 at times:
Geomagnetic conditions suggest that the band should be open. In fact the geomagnetic field was quiet and the Bz was variable, showing periods of pointing to the South slightly overnight although it points to the North again this morning. Solar wind velocities are very low, averaging 285 km/s. DST values are nominal. I suppose the only real thing we have to worry about is whether there is enough spark to stimulate band openings. In other words, are geomagnetic conditions “too” quiet? The effects of a CME that was launched this past weekend may begin to impact us any time now. NOAA has issued a minor storm watch.
Early transcontinental opens were reported in Washington state as WH2XGP reported WG2XKA in Vermont at 0143z. Similarly, at 0130z, Mike, WA3TTS, near Pittsburgh, decoded WSPR from WH2XGP at -25 dB S/N. By 0200z, WH2XGP and WG2XKA were sharing two-way reports.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reports that he plans to be QRV this weekend for the special event. He says he will be running a CW beacon on 472.0 kHz and also listening for JT9 and he added these additional comments for this session:
“A fairly quiet, noisy session at WG2XKA. The eastern Canadian Block was well represented, as always, and a both-way with WH2XGP was the only action in the PNW. Thanks to the nightly hard core!”
VE7CA was reported to be calling CQ on 475.5 kHz at 0034z by Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP. I suspect this was a station “shake down” and warm up for the special event this weekend.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports that he decoded nine WSPR stations and was decoded by 26 unique stations. Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.
Brian, VA7BBG, reports that he has a new PA QRV capable of 7-watts TPO. He indicates that there are some adjustments remaining in addition to a few parts changes. Tests during the evening provided a lot of information about what his next steps will be in getting the system stable and airworthy for the long term. He hopes to be QRV this weekend for the special event.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WH2XGP, reports a lean night to the East. He offered these comments and statistics:
“Not much penetration of my signal east of Utah but a lot of listeners out west.
AK and HI both seeing me.
(Nice to see WW7Y, Steve hear me from near my old QTH in UT.)
Heard only these 7:
No luck on seeing XPQ’s OP32 on 2200m. Nice try Laurence…keep it up…“
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, had a great night of domestic propagation but indicates poor conditions on the trans-Pacific path:
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, didn’t fair much better on the trans-Pacific path, only receiving reports from ZL2BCG, much of this likely due to noise conditions in Oceania. Ward’s domestic activity was solid, however.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, operated two receivers and decoders during this session. He decoded eleven WSPR stations and was decoded by 45 unique stations in 24-hours. WH2XGP was assigned to the eastern BOG while W7IUV was assigned to the western receive antenna. He was received by ZL2BCG as WH2XGP and he decoded VI4SEA as W7IUV:
In spite of storms complication reception at VI4SEA, WSPR reception reports of the special event station were recorded by JA3TVF, JH1INM, N6SKM, VA7BBG, VE7BDQ, VE7CA, VE7CNF, and VE7SL. These reception report details can be viewed here.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, reported stations on the fringes of the US during this session as central US and southeastern stations are QRT:
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reports a “so-so” night although lots of activity at VLF with whistlers and other natural features, presumably ahead of the coming geomagnetic changes. While many of the reports of his signal were limited to the Pacific Northwest region, he was hearing well, decoding VI4SEA and once again sharing two-way reports with WH2XCR. All of the active paths were salt water dominated. Laurence also operated Opera for a time during the evening but I don’t see that any reports were indicated. The report details for WH2XCR and VI4SEA can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, was limited in North American reports to the western areas. Reports were also observed from JE1JDL, but QRN from storms in Australia limited Merv to reception reports for VI4SEA rather than two-way reports. VK2XGJ supplied a late report for Merv but John reported earlier that the noise conditions were not favorable for radio this evening. ZL2BCG, a little further away from the noise sources, provided reports for Merv as well. The JA, VK and ZL report details can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “QSY, T/R, QSK: THREE SPECTRES HAUNTING 630M”:
“Please send us your solutions to make 630m QSY, T/R, and QSK as convenient as possible. For the next few days, let’s blog your contributions as well as various web resources and my reflections on these subjects.
At the risk of perhaps overdramatizing– QSY, T/R, and QSK are indeed three subjects that may make you think of uncomfortable or even frustrating experiences, depending on your 630m station setup.
As we know, WSPR calls for 110 seconds of full transmit power and JT9 runs the TX 50 seconds at a time. CW is perhaps somewhat less intensive, but can still be demanding on the transmitter, and one generally QSYs to do CW and JT9 away from the WSPR band.
Antenna system/ground resistance may consume 20 times as much 630m TX power output compared to a few watts of actual 630m EIRP, given the usual electrically short 630m transmit vertical. So, any departure from perfect 1:1 SWR can be thermally hard on your TX power amplifier PA. Even 1 KHz of QSY on 630m can significantly move SWR away from a perfect match.* To restore the match upon QSY calls for adjustments that can be inconvenient in the middle of the night when you want to concentrate on a potential CW contact.
T/R of course refers to the changeover from transmit to receive. With an HF transceiver connected to a single HF antenna, T/R can be nearly effortless. Depending on your 630m station setup, on the other hand, T/R may involve switching at one or more stages in the transmit chain, antenna direction switching, detuning/undetuning an RX antenna, and perhaps switching a preamplifier and switching in the receive chain too. Configuring WSPR or other mode control software beforehand may also be involved. From a hardware point of view, T/R may involve a bunch of miscellaneous switching, cabling and relay infrastructure at your station.
Full break-in, or QSK, means you can hear another station, or at least the band noise, between your CW dahs and dits. QSK is T/R on steroids: QSK ratchets up all the demands on station design mentioned above.
QSY, T/R, QSK: Tell us what you do to keep those three spectres from haunting your 630m station!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).