This session was a significant improvement for many stations, particularly in the West where the trans-Pacific path from North America faltered over the previous sessions. Trans-Atlantic openings were observed once again, exhibiting some of the curiosities from the previous sessions. QRN was low here in Texas but the lightning map was not completely clear and that resulted in a few lightning crashes during the evening and morning CW sessions that did not cause real problems. I’ve not yet heard any reports of problems of QRN in the East from the storms off the mid-Atlantic coast. The Pacific Northwest region is once again plagued with rain and with that, precipitation static.
The geomagnetic field has indeed remained relatively quiet through this session and continues to show decreases from elevated levels. The Bz is pointing slightly to the South and solar wind velocities remain in the moderately high category, averaging 525 km/s. DST values suggests a slight decreasing trend although the overall levels have generally shown improvement over observations made this weekend.
The ARRL released this very nice article summarizing the special event weekend and used source material from this site’s report from November 13. A lot of guys received mentions for their efforts. Thanks to Rick, WW1ME, and the ARRL for their continued support of 630-meter endeavors.
Trans-Atlantic openings were observed again and those openings continue to be one-way for the respective stations. WD2XSH/17 reported DH5RAE, G8HUH, and PA0A. Those report details can be viewed here. WE2XGR/3 reported G8HUH and PA0A and those reports can be viewed here. WG2XKA was decoded by G0LUJ/1 and G8HUH and those reports can be viewed here. John (XKA) reports that he was planning to use the E-probe for receive during this session in hopes of catching a European station but it seems that European signals were confined to coastal regions to the Southeast of Vermont.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, had these additional comments about the session and his trans-Atlantic reports:
“Last session was almost a repeat of Sunday – very good conditions and action from most of the US. All areas were represented. WH2XCR, G8HUH and G0LUJ/1 spotted this station at least five times during the period. I ran both the 12′ loop and e-probe alternately in an attempt to hear EU to no avail as incoming TA has been scarce here, but it appears that northern Vermont is not quite in the zone yet.”
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he was decoded by 56 unique stations including 83 decodes from WH2XCR at a distance of 6007 km, best at +4 dB S/N.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported a very strong night in the eastern US with the following details and comments:
“GM John. It was a VERY GOOD night as far as those who heard me. There were 29 unique stations that heard me, and even several times by each of the eastern states (circled in the screen capture). However, I heard only 6 unique stations here, of which your XIQ and Ken/XXM were the only ones “east” (or SE rather). Reception was pretty much N/S for me this session.”
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, just returned from a traveling and submitted this report:
“Missed all the excitement this past weekend. Just returned from over a week in Rome, Italy. Left the TS-590s and Wellbrook loop on while away favoring E/W and decoded 14 unique stations, no VE7 and nothing unusual. Back to transmitting tonight I hope.”
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports another good session, decoding seven WSPR stations and being decoded by 35 unique stations. Those report details can be viewed here.
Mike, WA3TTS, reports “…No T/As last night and continued QRN and higher base line noise level to my NE direction.” Mike supplied the following additional comments and statistics:
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 61 unique stations including VK4YB, VK2DDI, VK2XGJ, and ZL2BCG. Those reports can be viewed here.
Roger, VK4YB, received reports from JA3TVF, VA7JX, VE6JY, VE7BDQ, and ZL2BCG in addition to a number of stations around Australia. Roger’s DX report details can be viewed here.
Both evening and morning CW sessions were normal. QRN was low aside from the odd lightning crash from storms several hundred miles to my East. My morning sked has changed to evenings as the guy I QSO has changed his work schedule. Those QSOs will likely occur later in the evening so as the season progresses I may transition my evening CW activity to later in the evening to accommodate that QSO. WSPR suggests that the band was very very good. In fact the WSPR data query, which only registers the previous 1000 reports, indicates that my “first” reports were near 0700z. That means that the previous six hours of operating data are “lost” since I did not save them before bedtime. It also means that this was likely a 2000 decode night for my station. I was listening on the transmit antenna overnight because I forgot to switch to the directional antennas at bedtime so while reception was good, hearing was down a bit overnight for me compared to previous nights. My WSPR transmission data can be viewed here and my WSPR receive data can be viewed here.
Activity was great with 105 MF WSPR stations reported on the WSPRnet activity page at 0230z. W6REK and W7RNA were new stations during this session. Welcome aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, had a repeat night of reports for WH2XCR on both of his receiver / antenna configurations in addition to receiving others around North America. The combined reports of Merv’s decodes can be viewed here.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reports that he was “receive-only” during this session. He successfully decoded VK4YB and WH2XCR and those report details can be viewed here. Laurence had a particularly large number of reports for WH2XCR. It would be good if we could get the two of them together for a CW QSO sometime soon so we can say we have done it. The path is definitely there.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, experienced the return of reports from Oceania and repeated yesterday’s “eastern best” for his station with decodes at both of ZF1EJ’s receivers and WA3TTS. He provided reception reports for WG2XKA. His VK and ZL detail reports can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents a very timely discussion entitled, “PART 1. THE FUTURE: HOW TO FIT HUNDREDS OF HAMS INTO 630M?”:
“Someday 630m will become a reality for amateurs in USA. It’s possible that hundreds of technically savvy USA amateurs will want to not only receive but also transmit on 630m. How will all these people fit into only 7 KHz? Today, let’s talk about some of the basic principles of 630m technology and operations insofar as they pertain to this topic.
First of all, 7 KHz – 472 to 479KHz – is not as impossibly narrow a bandwidth as a newcomer’s HF-conditioned mental reflexes would suppose. If we think one unit of bandwidth 10 Hz that easily encompasses the bandwidth of one WSPR station, then 630m spaciously spans 700 units of bandwidth if used entirely for WSPR beaconing.
JT9 fits in 3 ten-Hz units of bandwidth. Do the arithmetic for your other favorite digimodes too. Most 630m CW transmissions occupy about 5-10 units of bandwidth when using good practice forming the keying waveshape.* SSTV employs perhaps 20-30 units of bandwidth.
Consider also lower EIRP stations, less than 27 dBm EIRP (500mw) for instance. For those stations, 630m most nights has a spatially limited range even during common darkness. That range comprehends perhaps one-half the area of the USA. On opposite coasts, 630m stations can ordinarily use the same frequencies for communication with other stations within their region without interfering inter-regionally. Such spatial multiplication of 630m band capacity to hold lower-EIRP stations can apply a factor of two or more. For stations running less than about 17 dBm EIRP (50 mw), the spatial multiplication of 630m capacity may be as much as 5-10.
Time-sharing the bandwidth for QSOs likewise multiplies the station capacity of 630m. Simplex CW is the norm for CW on 630m, whereby two stations use the same frequency alternately to do a CW QSO. Consequently, even though CW occupies several units of bandwidth, that bandwidth span applies to pairs of stations for band capacity purposes.
Daytime considerably shortens the range of even full-power 630m transmissions to a ground wave range of about 500km, except during unusual daytime 630m propagation events. Lower-48 USA has 8 million km2 area. So the spatial multiplication of daytime 630m bandwidth is roughly a factor of 8, i.e., 8M/(2×500)2.
When considering the subject of 630m band usage, one takes into account technological constraints and operating customs. Varying one’s operating frequency on HF can be as simple as adjusting the transceiver dial. 630m ops change their frequency only for a very good reason such as going from WSPR to JT9 or CW and back again. Changing one’s frequency even half a KHz could require re-matching at some stations, say, in the middle of the night when you would prefer to avoid the inconvenience. Moreover, 630m WSPR practice often favors one relatively predictable frequency per station. When WSPR stations each use a predictable frequency, other stations can tentatively identify by the frequency of their trace on a waterfall display a station that is initially too weak to decode.
CW and QRSS can often be seen but not heard–an interesting special case. Either a real-time waterfall or a time-compressed QRSS display may readily show the signal down to -30dB SNR or more, but the audibility does not begin until roughly -13dB or stronger. Accordingly, these modes generally need to occupy 630m frequencies where they will not be confused with WSPR.
Design decisions built into the WSJT-X software default to 475.700+/-100 Hz for WSPR2, and 200 Hz or so lower for JT9. WSPR15 has 25 Hz just above the WSPR2 band. These defaults have shaped operating customs on 630m. WD2XSH band planning has interacted with 630m operating practice as well.
Whatever the technological facts and customs may be, I regard them as the ingredients out of which we will “bake” 630m band planning either by unplanned evolution or by some deliberate band plan process. Tomorrow, let’s talk about the band plan thinking and customary practice we have on hand already and where the technological facts might lead us if and when more densely packed 630m band usage becomes imminent. Educate us with your experience and best wisdom too. TU & GL!
* For CW bandwidth info and discussions, see:
http://www.eham.net/articles/16649 (scroll 5%). “
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).