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Fantastic domestic conditions with some trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific openings as geomagnetic conditions flirt with chaos; Special event TONIGHT!; Hans Summers announces code mod for the U3S

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

What a fantastic session, particularly for domestic propagation.  Activity was high, QRN was low, and signals were strong.  I only hope that we see similar conditions tonight during the Berlin treaty / Canadian 630-meter cross band special event starting around sunset in your local area.

This session saw trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific openings in addition to numerous very solid transcontinental openings.  John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont was even heard by Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR in Hawaii and Mike, WA3TTS, reported WH2XGP at -5 dB S/N.  The band was really open!

Of course low noise always helps and there were very few QRN-producing weather events around North America during this session.  As I call CQ on CW this morning, the noise floor is silky-smooth and no hint of lightning crashes anywhere:

lightning-111216

11-hour North American lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions hang in the balance just as they did in the previous session.  I mentioned yesterday that I expected to see a cycling Kp during this geomagnetic event and that appears to be what is happening.  Quiet conditions dominated much of the session after a peak to storm levels during the previous session with a peak to unsettled levels during this overnight session.  Quiet conditions have been since observed but I would not be surprised if we didn’t see another peak to storm levels some time today, hopefully keeping the “flywheel” of good propagation moving without interjecting too much absorption.  The Bz is currently pointing to the North, which is a huge saving grace as solar wind velocities are currently nearing 690 km/s.  Lets hope that the magnetic field holds so that we might enjoy some continued enhancements.  DST values look pretty good, all things considered, and it will all come down to just how well the magnetic field protects us from the solar wind:

planetary-k-index-111216

 

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australia-111216

 

Hans Summers announced exciting news yesterday that he has completed code changes for the U3S to allow variable dead time prior to signal to allow for receive relays to change state.  This will be a game changer for a lot of U3-series users.  Hans explains:

“I have produced firmware v3.11 of the Ultimate3S kit http://qrp-labs.com/ultimate3/u3s which allows the “Key” output to be configured for controlling a T/R relay or keying an external PA, with a configurable delay from 1..999 milliseconds ahead/behind the start/end of the RF envelope.

You can read about it starting on page 17 of the operating manual for v3.11 which you can get here: http://qrp-labs.com/ultimate3/u3firmware.html . Some example ‘scope screenshots are shown there, showing the RF envelope and the Keying/PTT/RxTx signal with various delays (relatively long delays e.g. 200ms, for easy viewing). The delay is configurable from 0..999 milliseconds.

73 Hans G0UPL
http://qrp-labs.com

Trans-Atlantic openings were similar to two sessions ago where John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, and Dave, AA1A / WD2XSH/17, were both reported in Europe.  John was once again reported by G3XKR and that report detail can be viewed here and Dave was decoded by Tom, G8HUH, and Roloef, PA0RDT and those report details can be viewed here.

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, submitted these comments for the session from his perspective:

“A very good session to report, in spite of tough local weather and noise issues.  The neighbors have already activated various holiday season outdoor LED projectors, and very high gusts of 50 mph caused several SWR trips.  Most of the country was well represented with both-way spots from the PNW.  G3XKR spotted WG2XKA early.  WH2XCR also reported.  I was running a modest 150W TPO due to wind induced SWR issues… all good.  Good ground conditions and sap drained trees have really helped.”

wg2xka-111216

WG2XKA session WSPR activity

 

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, experienced a strong night and offered these comments and statistics:

wg2xsv-111216

“Here are the 11 I decoded:  VA7MM, VE7CDJ (new one), VE7CNF, WE2XPQ, WG2XIQ, WG2XXM, WH2WXX(bogus), WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XND, WH2XXP, WI2XJQ”

Neil also reported that he received Toby, VE7CNF, using Hellschreiber and specifically using software that Toby developed himself.  Toby indicates that the small characters in the screen captures below are multi-tone and thus require a linear amplifier.  As a result he was only operating at 0.2-watts EIRP peak.  The larger characters are single-tone FSK with a non-linear amplifier at about 2.5-watts EIRP.  Toby indicates that he needs to optimize those a bit more.  Congrats Toby – this is great!

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Mike, WA3TTS, reported a strong night on the transcontinental path including a big night with reports of KH6:

A dozen XCR decodes overnight, best at -20, better than average SNRs so the path condx  must have been up.

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Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports a pretty good night based on WSPR spot numbers.  He adds that it was good to see more stations in the Midwest and East.  Rick found that his receive system has some water ingress and he is working to rectify that after the recent monsoon rains.  He decoded eight WSPR stations plus one bogus call sign and was decoded by 36 unique stations.  Rick’s unique report detail can be viewed here.

Phil, VE3CIQ, reported that he had a busy night, with decodes from 27 unique stations.

Jay, KA9CFD, was in pursuit of WE2XPQ in Alaska overnight but instead ended up with WH2XCR in Hawaii.

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports good activity and he receive reported from 55 unique stations including 79 WSPR decodes from WH2XCR,  best +3 dB S/N at a distance of 6007km.

Roger, VK4YB, received reports from VE7BDQ, VE7SL, and JA3TVF.  Those report details can be viewed here.

Larry, W7IUV / WG2XGP, indicates that he had no trans-Pacific reports and conditions were nothing like they have been over the last few weeks.  Larry operated two receivers during this session and as WH2XGP, using the eastern BOG, he reports that he decoded thirteen WSPR stations.  He was also decoded by 51 unique stations.  The second receiver was designated as W7IUV and used the western RX antenna, also decoding thirteen WSPR station, but the opening to the West only extended to WH2XCR and was mostly high angle according to Larry.

wh2xgp-111216

WH2XGP session WSPR activity (courtesy NI7J)

 

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 57 unique stations including ZL2BCG, whose report detail can be viewed here.

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WH2XXP session WSPR activity (Courtesy NI7J)

 

Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, reports that he was decoded by 57 unique stations including ZL2BCG, whose report detail can be viewed here.

wh2xnd-111216

WH2XND session WSPR activity

 

Both evening and morning CW sessions were nominal.  Dave, N4DB, in Virginia reported that I was RST 529 after local sunset here in Texas.  As previously reported, the noise floor was very quiet and it was a text book night for propagation with WSPR reports indicating numerous CW levels and receiving at my QTH was very good.  My WSPR transmission reports can be found here and my WSPR reception reports can be found here.

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WG2XIQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

At 0200z, 107 MF WSPR stations were observed on the WSPRnet activity page.  The map was very full and reports were plentiful.  It was nice to see RA0CEN joining UA0SNV during this session.

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

na-111216

North American 24-hour WSPR activity

 

eu-111216

European 24-hour WSPR activity

 

af-111216

African 24-hour WSPR activity

 

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Central / Asiatic Russian 24-hour WSPR activity

 

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Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity

 

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Australian 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Eden, ZF1EJ, operated two receivers, two antennas, and two decoders once again and experienced different results from the previous session.  Assuming that the antenna configuration is the same, I would expect for ZF1EJ to be the log periodic array and the results seem consist with that given the changing geomagnetic conditions.  ZF1EJ/1 is what is most interesting.  If this station is using the Pixie loop and it is pointed between Northwest and West, the reports of WG2XKA seems out of place.  Perhaps Eden can shed some light on whether the configuration differed during this session compared to previous.  Either way, its fascinating propagation!

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ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

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ZF1EJ/1 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, continues to hang in there with numerous reports in Canada and the western portions of the US.  Laurence continues to share two-way reports with WH2XCR and those report details can be viewed here.

we2xpq-111216

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had a nice session with, providing WG2XKA three reports during the session as well as being decoded by WA3TTS down to -20 dB S/N.  JH3XCU  and VK2XGJ also reported Merv after several days of high noise and VK4YB was decoded in KH6.  It seems like a respectable night.  The JA and VK reports can be viewed here.

wh2xcr-111216

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

 


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