This time yesterday there was speculation about the propagation for the weekend and how terrestrial weather and space weather were going to fit together for a successful Berlin treaty special event / Canadian cross-band weekend. It looks like we have the quiet terrestrial weather conditions in check in North America for the most part. The trick is going to be the geomagnetic conditions. There were numerous reports of transcontinental openings during this session so that is encouraging.
Because there appears to be a couple of small geomagnetic events involved and none of them appear, at this time, to be major storm events, I am encouraged that we might get a bit of lift that helps propagation. Its always a dicey proposition, however, since the band conditions at higher latitudes may be easily negatively impacted while conditions at my lower latitude may not see any impact and with stations spread out across North America it could yield mixed results. We can’t control any of this, of course, so participating stations will get on the air and do what they do best – be operators.
Lower latitudes seemed to have not noticed the changes in the geomagnetic field overnight as much as higher latitude stations. There were a few trans-Atlantic reports and the East / West past between the Caribbean and Pacific was open in additional to transcontinental openings previously mentioned.
Geomagnetic conditions have transitioned quite a bit in the last 24-hours, from quiet, to elevated, to unsettled, to elevated-quiet, to storm, and finally back to quiet. I suspect we will see a lot of cycling through this event. The Bz has been quite variable, ranging from very negative through much of the session to very positive this morning and in the last reporting period has begun to transition to slightly negative again. If we can keep the Bz either pointing to the North (positive) or slightly negative, we will likely be ok for the weekend. The intermittent cycling of storm conditions may, in fact, help us compared to recent extended periods of storm conditions which really seemed to wipe out the band due to increased absorption at higher latitudes. Solar wind velocities have been elevated and is currently averaging 475 km/s. Protons have returned to low levels again. DST never really showed the characteristic increase before dropping off significantly that is observed during big events so I am encouraged by this as well. It goes without saying that what occurs in the next 12-24 hours will have a great bearing on the weekend’s band conditions.
The big news for the coming weekend is the Berlin Treaty / Canadian cross band weekend on 630-meter. This activity night, occurring on Saturday night in North America, is multi-faceted with a number of interests operating on the band simultaneously. The highlight for Part-97 amateurs in the US will be the opportunity to work Canadian stations cross band on 40, 80, and 160-meters. Several Part-5 experimental stations will be QRV in the US, operating beacons, making two-way QSO’s and passing traffic. Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported that he would be active on 475.3 kHz CW as well as watching for JT9 activity. Details about the event can be viewed here and it is probably a good idea to check out VE7SL’s blog for updates on operating schedules of various Canadian stations.
WD2XSH/17 has often reported Europeans easily due to his location but recently Dave has begun transmitting and last night he registered the sole trans-Atlantic reports at G0LUJ/1. Those report details can be viewed here.
Dave, N4DB, located in Virginia, reported that he decoded ten WSPR stations overnight, with “no surprises”.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports that he decoded nine WSPR stations and was decoded by 29 unique stations including SWL/K9, in Indiana. Rick indicates that it was a decent night and he hopes that things are changing for the better again. His unique report details can be viewed here.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he was decoded by 45 unique stations, 105 of which were from WH2XCR at a best of +1 dB S/N. Ken also received 84 decodes from VA7BBG, best at -8 dB S/N, at a distance of 3223km.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, was one of the stations who experienced transcontinental openings. He filed this report:
Mike, WA3TTS, reported interesting band conditions as he was on the receiving end of transcontinental decodes. He provided the following statistics and comments:
Roger, VK4YB, reported this morning that “Propagation is low angle from VK tonight. How do I know? Because the beams are very directive. When the beams lose their directivity, it means high angle…Last night was different. I got spots from Japan and NA on the same beam…It is a new analysis tool which I have only just realised.” Roger also reported that Summer QRN is already fully active and impacting close stations as much as distance ones. In the previous session I speculated about the state of Roger’s receivers due to the marked changed in reports over the previous few sessions. Roger indicates that his receivers might as well have been off under the circumstances. This is Roger’s first time be to be operating on 630-meters at this time of year as he only started on 630-meters in March. It seems as if he has been on 630-meters for years. Roger added that the Monitor Sensors transverter was featured on the front cover of Amateur Radio magazine, the Journal of the Wireless Institute of Australia, which included a review of the unit. I cannot share the review or the picture because it is under copyright but I feel certain that WIA could make the review available on request or better yet, consider spending your membership dollars with the WIA to show your appreciation for their commitment to 630-meters!
Finally, Roger provided a report for the recent VI4SEA operation:
“Here’s the report of the VI4SEA MF and LF operations. Whoever said that the MF/LF station would not need to worry about real time logging because the 2 or 3 contacts could be done later….. was a little optimistic! Only one 2-way QSO resulted but that was a good one. VI4SEA worked VK5CV on 2-way JT9 on 630m at 1610 km. The 2200m station was received by VK2DDI at 875 km and VK1DSH at 934 km. VK1DSH was also received at VI4SEA. This was a very good result for a first time outing on this band. Many reports of the 630m CW and JT9 transmissions were received, but even more successful were the 630m WSPR (whisper) transmissions. In all, 44 stations reported VI4SEA on 630m, 7 in Canada, 7 in USA, 1 in Alaska, 1 in Hawaii, 4 in Japan, 1 in New Zealand, and 23 in VK. The best was VE6JY at 12682 km. Many of those operators, intrigued by the callsign, would have visited the VI4SEA page and read the story of 9 November 1914.”
Roger’s report details for this session can be viewed here.
John, VK2XGJ, corroborates what Roger has said about QRN. John reports that the early evening was rather quiet but S8-9 was normal after dark. Summer is coming in the southern hemisphere.
ZL2BCG provided exactly one report each for WH2XXP and WH2XGP. Those reports can be viewed here.
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, reported that he received decodes from 44 unique stations during this session:
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, reported that he received decodes from 47 unique stations during this session, including ZL2BCG. Ward’s report detail for this decode can be seen above in ZL2BCG’s report detail aggregation:
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported that he received decodes from 42 unique stations during this session, including ZL2BCG. Larry’s report detail for this decode can be viewed above in ZL2BCG’s report detail aggregation. Larry also operated as W7IUV, decoding VK4YB. That report detail can be viewed above in VK4YB’s report detail aggregation.
The evening and morning CW sessions were normal although I should note that while the noise floor was quiet, waves of noise could be heard “blowing in” while listening between calls. I don’t believe that this noise was man made, instead I think it was related to the current geomagnetic conditions. I have observed this before in previous storms. WSPR reports were generally good with numerous CW-level reports and one curious set of reports from AE2EA, who is reported to be in New Jersey. Most of his reports overnight of my signal were at or above +9 dB S/N with a high of +16 dB S/N observed. I suspect that he had narrowed his bandwidth to generate elevated signal reports but its also possible that he is traveling in the local area and using an SDR in a hotel. Hopefully details will become available but I suspect this was a matter of narrow bandwidth producing elevated signal reports. Thats not a bad thing as +16 dB S/N is way way more than enough for CW and would be easy loud, phone copy. My WSPR transmission reports can be viewed here and my WSPR reception reports can be viewed here.
At local sunset, ninety MF WSPR stations were observed on the WSPRnet activity page once again. W4AS was present from South Florida and I don’t recall seeing that station in the past but its nice to see a station near K4LCD / WF2XXQ.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, operated two receivers and two antennas during this session. ZF1EJ produced typical reports using the log periodic array while ZF1EJ/1 was using the Pixie loop, which produced a report for WH2XCR in Hawaii. It was just yesterday that I wondered when we would see this path produce again – ask and it shall be given! That report can be viewed here.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a relatively balanced session with respect to his decodes and who he decoded. The number of two-way reports shared with WH2XCR was extensive and Merv continued to decode Laurence until very close to sunrise, much later than what has recently been observed. Those two-way report details with WH2XCR can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had a strong night to the North American mainland, with reports as far East as SWL/K9 in Indiana and ZF1EJ/1 in the Caribbean. The report of WI2XBQ is an error with the website’s reporting system as Joe is actually located in northern California. He is investigating the problem. The path from Australia yielded 33 reports for VK4YB but as Roger reported, Summer noise in the southern hemisphere has arrived early so hearing, even for stations that are nearby, is nearly impossible. Merv’s reception report detail for VK4YB can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “630M WSPR T/R AT WG2XKA”:
“John WA3ETD WG2XKA in Vermont has put up a 630m TX vertical and several 630m RX choices. The base RF setup is a Yaesu FT-857ND transceiver,* homebrew RX converter with 5.0 MHz IF,** and a MF Solutions TX converter throttled down to 1.0W out. That 1.0W drives a 2X frequency doubler to the PA directly driving the vertical** with no switching.
The WSPR RTS signal,*** in advance of the tone, actuates a DPDT relay on an RTS board. One set of contacts actuates a large RX/TX relay that switches the Yaesu single RF port between the RX converter and the TX chain in advance of the tone.
The other DPDT contacts remove +12V from the RX preamp on the transition to TX.
Finally, the tone from WSPR drives an external soundcard box with built-in PTT (push-to-talk) to the transceiver, which is now configured into the TX chain. No chance of a hot switch using the RTS or DTR*** signalling from the WSPR laptop, which prevents any “hot” switching overlap undesirably feeding TX RF to the RX. This lashup has worked well here with no burnouts, etc.
Since this is WSPR T/R, QSK full break-in is not the goal. Two relays fire in series (RTS relay and then main TR). Probably 25 ms elapses before the main T/R settles and insures the station is completely in TX mode before applying RF.
To our readers: We consider it a privilege to blog your 630m T/R, QSY, 630/2200m band switching, and QSK info. Sends us your info and/or photos!”
*See manual at: http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=web&cd=1&ved=0ahUKEwiN-LWMgJrQAhVFZCYKHXL8CSEQFggbMAA&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.yaesu.com%2FdownloadFile.cfm%3FFileID%3D6105%26FileCatID%3D158%26FileName%3DFT-857D_OM_ENG_EH007M102_V2.pdf%26FileContentType%3Dapplication%2Fpdf&usg=AFQjCNGA-ob45fcql7MY5wGGkcUphYa9Pw&bvm=bv.138169073,d.eWE
**For converter to 5.0MHz IF: https://wg2xka.wordpress.com/197-2/ (scroll down one-quarter for PA scroll 2/3). See TX converter, scroll 2/3: https://wg2xka.wordpress.com/ See 630m vertical : https://wg2xka.wordpress.com/current-630m-vertical-info/
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).