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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

Very poor evening propagation as G1 (now G2) storm begins, exceeding forecast; Morning propagation moderately better for some but session QSO count remains low; New 630-meter reverse beacon nodes, W3OA and N9XG, active during this session; W5EST presents: ”Codec-2 for 630m Digital Voice?”

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

The details for November 8, 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

 

Evening storms were peppered across parts of the southern US but I never heard a single lightning crash on the air which may have had to do with extremely poor evening propagation.  A large cluster of storms ranged from the mid-Atlantic region into the Atlantic Ocean towards Bermuda, however, it seemed quiet this morning in North Texas.  Strong storms continue in southern Europe and have returned to Japan, seemingly covering the entire country.  Oceania continues to experience very high noise as storms blanket Australia, Indonesia and southeast Asia.

11-hour worldwide lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions reached G2 storm levels as the Kp remained at 6 for several reporting periods.   The Bz is pointing strongly to the South this morning and solar wind velocities are averaging near 650 km/s.  DST values have reached extremely negative levels and the band generally seems very disturbed.  KL7L reported a string of green aurora about thirty degrees above the horizon overnight.

 

 

 

Propagation was very poor in spite of a few very isolated long-haul openings observed early in the evening.  The data may suggest otherwise due to observations made on a longer time scale but the band was not really suitable for much more than incidental two-way QSO’s during the evening at the very best.  Propagation seemed to have improved a bit overnight and by morning, however, and Robert, KR7O, noted that the improvement began after 0330z.

Reverse beacon network reports for the session follow (note new 472 kHz nodes, W3OA and N9XG):

 

PSKReporter details for the session follow:

Courtesy PSKReporter

 

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!):

Al, K2BLA, exchanged “good morning” with ZF1EJ using JT9.  On WSPR, Al reported eighteen stations, six of which were greater than 3000 km away.  He received reports from 45 unique stations, seven of which were greater than 3000 km away.  Al also noted a lot of new call signs in spite of G2 storm.

Phil, VE3CIQ, completed a JT9 QSO with Joe, K9MRI, during the evening, inferred from comments posted in the ON4KST chat.

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 “no JT9 owing high QRN. WSPR 1/32, best Eric NO3M, NO3M/3…” Roger added that he was leaving the antenna towards JA overnight “just in case”.  That seemed to have paid off a bit as he received WSPR reports from CF7MM, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, KJ6MKI, KL7L, KR6LA, KR7O, N1VF, N6SKM, NO3M, NO3M/3, NU6O, VA7JX, VE6JX, VE6JY, VE6XH, VE7BDQ, VE7CNF, W6SFH, W7IUV, W7IUV/W and W7RNB.   He shared two-way reports with K9FD.

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

W4BCX -> EA8BFK

AA1A -> G0LUJ, G0LUJ/1, G8HUH, PA0RDT

John, WA3ETD, indicated that he heard no JT9 during the evening.  He operated WSPR overnight, reporting thirteen stations and receiving reports from 47 unique stations “…at 1W level. Best N5CEY at 2943 km. No W or PNW.”  John is doing some some ground wave testing today with VE3CIQ using WSPR2.

Dave, AA1A, received a few trans-Atlantic reports, detailed above, but indicated this morning that most of his WSPR reports were within 500 miles of his station while operating at 1-watt EIRP.

Ken, K5DNL, called CQ with JT9 a few times but found no takers.  On WSPR overnight, Ken reported seventeen stations and he received reports from 81 unique stations including seven Canadian stations.  Ken shared two-way WSPR reports with K9FD and ZF1EJ.

Larry, W7IUV, was reported on JT9 by NU6O this morning running test transmissions for a bit.  He indicated poor propagation during the evening.  He provided WSPR reports for VK4YB on the main station (W7IUV) and the western receiver and antenna designated as W7IUV/W.

Rick, W7RNB, called CQ on JT9 during the evening but had no takers.  He transitioned for the night to WSPR, reporting VK4YB.  Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.

Joe, NU6O, reported that his JT9 CQ’s also went unanswered but he received reports (presumably via email or PSKReporter) that he was being received by VE7SL and VE7CNF.  Joe indicates that his path to the East was good last night from northern California but that the trans-Pacific path was down.  He reported eight WSPR stations overnight and received reports from 43 unique stations, including a late report from JA1PKG.

Keith, K0KE, spent some time listening to WSPR during the evening, submitting his best DX reports including call sign and dB S/N:

“K5DNL  -10
ZF1EJ   -20
WD8DAS -28
N6GN  -15
KC4SIT -18
AA1A -26
W4BCX -27
W1IR -24
W8RUT -13”

Robert, KR7O, reported Poor propagation and activity until about 0330Z.  K5DNL and a couple of west coast WSPR stations were in after SR, but at reduced signal strengths.  At 0320 W4BCX popped in followed shortly by ZF1EJ.  Propagation/activity started picking up after that.  A few eastern stations were in overnight.

ZF1EJ 4 spots, -27 best

K9FD 81 spots, -5 best

VK4YB 5 spots, -24 best

Doug, K4LY, reported “Higher latitude absorption and numbers down from previous night- 19 unique decodes.

Mike, WA3TTS, reported 21 WSPR stations using the northeast antenna early, switching to the northwest antenna late.  Mike notes a spider web pattern in the waterfall, which arrives at sunset, is impacting weak signals.  I’ve observed this pattern myself before.  Mike indicates that the interference cleared up  by 0800z, resulting in WSPR reports of K9FD, which were the first in days. Mike’s session best DX follows:

K9FD 15 spots, best -21 @ 0846, 0850, 1014, min -30 @ 0828

NU6O 1 spot -25 @ 0838

N6GN 25 spots, best -17 @ 0902, min -24 @ 0934

W7RNB 1 spot -25 @ 0624

W7IUV 6 spots, best -10 @ 0836, min -23 @ 0936

ZF1EJ 16 spots, best -17 @ 0542, min -22 @ 0938

Glenn, N6GN, reported that he was increased his power level by about 17 dB, resulting in quite a few additional spots as propagation has been better and noise has been low.  Last night he reported a higher noise level but managed two-way WSPR reports with seven stations.  He received reports from 49 unique WSPR stations.  Glenn also reported improved stability with his U3S exciter with the addition of the GPS module.

As previously stated, the evening was very poor at KB5NJD.  NO3M was not heard by me while he was calling CQ, although he received a few reverse beacon reports.  K4EJQ was also very lightly heard but at uncharacteristically weak levels during the evening.  I did not try to call Bunky.  I checked the band during the evening a few times but after a few calls I QRT’ed.  Due to anticipated rain and a few embedded thunderstorms overnight, I didn’t plan on being on the air by 10z like normal but by 1040z I was calling CQ and receiving a few reverse beacon network reports.  Band conditions were a bit better this morning and the noise level remained very low so I think the band would have supported QSO’s but none were completed to test the theory.

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, attempted a JT9 QSO with VE3CIQ during the evening but QSB was very slow making exchanges next to impossible during the allotted operating time.  Eden  successfully exchanged “good morning” using JT9 with K2BLA, however.  Overnight with WSPR, Eden reported eleven stations and he received reports from 52 unique stations.  He shared two-way reports with K9FD.

ZF1EJ session WSPR activity

 

Laurence, KL7L, indicated that he was in a receive-only capacity during the evening and overnight portion of the session due to aurora.  He added that the band was“poor overnight but VK easier than PNW such is the power of Salt Water.”  Using WSPR he reported five stations including VK4YB and K9FD.  Select DX report details can be viewed here.

KL7L session WSPR activity

 

Merv, K9FD (/KH6), indicated during the evening that he was seeing no JT9 stations but a few WSPR stations were present.  He reported seventeen WSPR stations, sharing two-way WSPR reports with VK4YB, JA1PKG and ZF1EJ.   Merv received WSPR reports from fifty unique stations including JA1NQI, JH3XCU and KL7L.  Select DX report details can be viewed here.

K9FD session WSPR activity

 

Jim, W5EST, presents, “Codec-2 for 630m Digital Voice?“:

“In the 11/6 blog I asked whether some other 630m voice mode might compete with SSB at 5w EIRP.  Could such a mode use a freely downloadable open source vocoder sending digital voice DV into a 300 Hz RX bandwidth as fast as you can speak?

Hams aren’t there yet, but progress on their updatable DV software has been made. The FreeDV / Codec-2 project offers 1300 Hz bandwidth at half of SSB b.w. and has +3 dB SNR decode threshold. https://freedv.org/ (Scroll halfway and click on FreeDV Quick Start Guide. JH notes are bracketed below.)

The Guide describes three selectable DV modes:

700x mode works better in marginal conditions at the expense of audio quality. CODEC2 is running at a very low bit rate (650 bit/s) for voice encoding giving it 3dB coding gain. 

700B uses no FEC [forward error correction] and 7 x 2 identical carriers for frequency diversity across 1.5Khz to combat deep multipath fading.

1600 mode (the default) has 300 bits of FEC in CODEC2 allowing up to a 10% BER [bit error rate] before failing. This is currently the “de-facto” mode in use. It is not as robust, but has a narrower BW [bandwidth] and better voice quality.” 

The FreeDV 1.2.2 download itself has three modes called 700C, 800XA, and 1600. Use with an SDR.  Download FreeDV to your computer from https://freedv.org/ by scrolling 45% and clicking on free downloadable “FreeDV Installer” for Windows 32 bit or 64 bit or for MAC.  TX/RX calls for two PC sound cards, while RX alone just takes one sound card. This software is by David Witten KD0EAG and David Rowe VK5DGR, open sourced under GPL 2.1.  (A “blue box” SM1000 box can be purchased instead of using a computer; cables & 12v p.s. not included.)

After downloading, run FreeDV and its operational window opens.  At the lower center right Control part of the window, push the “Start” button. Ignore controls for Split, Analog, Voice Keyer and PTT at first.  View the waterfall or spectrum on FreeDV.  Tune the SDR RX to HF. Where there’s HF activity, recognize FreeDV by its 1.3 KHz b.w. signal symmetrically flanking a central 1500Hz pilot tone.  On 20m, DV activity might occur around 14236 KHz in N. America; on 40m try 7150-7190 KHz.  The Guide continues:

Control: Start/Stop FreeDV must be in “Start” mode to begin receiving. With no FreeDV signal present, the waterfall will display band noise indicating audio is being routed to FreeDV’s input… “

“Analog This function switches off digital encoding and decoding so that you can communicate with a station on frequency running standard SSB (i.e. not DV).”

On YouTube, view this 20m HF video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2R4YcwvBJyA . It shows 14236 KHz: W2AIV (OH) – N4LQ (NC), first 2 min. K4VAE(FL)-N4LQ(NC)-WW3A (2:30-3:17). The DV has good voice quality interrupted by QSB. N4LQ rig: Flex 6500 to Elecraft  KPA500, 300w.  K4VAE: Flex 6700, 75w.

AA6E (CT) – K5MVP (MS) provide a second DV example, see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wloK_JoqUdQ . At 14150 KHz USB DV, AA6E ran FreeDV to Flex 6500 barefoot.  K5MVP: 1.25 KHz SM1000 Bluebox to KWM2 & 40L1. At minute 4:50, K5MVP switched to KWM-2 USB SSB wider b.w., much noisier.

David Rowe VK5DGR tells us about Codec 2 in a “HamRadioNow” interview by Gary Pierce KN4AQ  3/3/2015.  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SmyVEwjhG_k  .  Start with minute 9:42-12:15: If you’re set up for PSK31 or fldigi, you have the equipment to use FreeDV download. Just add a USB headset.  Radio runs a SSB modem.  20:20-22:30 RX settings, TX: reduce TX power. 16 QSPSK signals.  31:13-32:15 plays a 40m VK5ZM-VK5AKH QSO. http://www.rowetel.com/blog/?p=3846 .  Coherent PSK modem for negative SNRs: 49:00-50:50 voice/1300 bps/450 bps (900 Hz b.w.) Codec 2 demo.   http://www.rowetel.com/blog/?p=3700   52:47-53:24 max bits given the b.w. & SNR are set by physics. Needs better performance in fading channels.  Technical Codec 2 info: http://www.rowetel.com/?page_id=452

Here’s my own understanding of Codec 2 from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Codec_2 :

Noncoherent PSK mode sends 50 baud 1600 bps on 16 QPSK FDM 2-bit subcarriers for 16×2=32-bits per “row” x 50 times a second. Each frame has 2 rows for 64-bits per frame sent at 25 frames/sec. Each frame includes 52-bits vocoder data & 12 bits Golay FEC. A 1300 bps vocoder provides the 52 vocoder bits at 25 Hz rate.  BPSK sync is a 1500 Hz carrier in mid-spectrum.  J2E phone payload, J2D data payload.

Alternatively, a 700 bit/s mode runs 75 Baud Coherent QPSK & 7 subcarriers. A diversity channel fights fading by adding a duplicate 7 more sub-carriers. At RX for decode, you set the incoming vocoded audio to a 1500 Hz center frequency.  J2E phone payload, J2D data payload.  Each set of 7 QPSK 2-bit subcarriers together send a 7×2=14-bit “row” at 75 rows/sec. A “frame” comprises six such 14-bit rows: two pilot reference-phase rows (2×14 bits), two voice data payload rows (2×14 bits), and two rows for a second voice frame (2×14 bits). 84 bits/frame in all include 56 speech bits+28 reference-phase pilot bits for coherency. Data rate is 1050 bps = 75 Baud x 14-bits per row. Speech effective data rate is 4/6 x 1050bps = 700 bit/s, i.e., (75 Baud / 6 = 12.5 Baud) x 56-bits.

On your PC with USB microphone at TX station shack, a sound card samples your microphone speech audio at conventional 8 KHz rate.  Processing generates a frequency spectrum of that speech audio represented by 600 In-phase/Quadrature (I/Q) complex-number spectrum samples for coding into a frame. The vocoder compresses every 600 speech spectrum samples into 56 speech bits for each 84-bit frame for DV transmission by your SSB transmitter.

If you’d like to think over emission designators and USA FCC rules, see 11/1/17 blog http://njdtechnologies.net/110117/  .  Then do the rules exercise for the DV modes discussed here.

That’s all for today.  TU & GL on 630m!”


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