Fantastic band conditions meant big openings for a number of stations around North America. QRN in the continental US was very low in spite of Atlantic and Caribbean storms. Big openings were not localized to a single area and were observed starting early in the session, spreading West with nightfall.
Geomagnetic conditions were very quiet once again with a North pointing Bz and solar wind velocities in the low range, averaging near 390 km/s. DST values are nominal. Recently when band conditions were this quiet we have not observed much, presumably due to a lack of “spark” to get propagation moving but that was not the case during this session so clearly other variables are at work.
Albert, PA0A, made the long trek across Europe into deep Russia, receiving a WSPR report from UA0SNV which can be viewed here.
Trans-Atlantic openings were remarkable, dipping into the southern US. G8HUH decoded WSPR signals from WH2XZO, WG2XXM, and WG2XIQ. WG2XXM was also decoded by G3XKR. G8HUH was decoded by WA3TTS and WD2XSH/17. An aggregation of all trans-Atlantic report details for the session can be viewed here.
KP2XX was QRV overnight with good results as WH2XZO, WH2XXP, WG2XXM, and WG2XIQ received reports. Previous attempts at KP2XX were less successful so this was a good night in spite of a wall of storms between the US Virgin Islands and the mainland US. I erroneously reported originally that Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, had activated the site remotely, but Doug indicates that this was not the case. It was, in fact, KP2XX himself. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports “best night ever”, with WSPR decodes from 65 unique stations including G8HUH, G3XKR, and KP2XX. He received 68 decodes from KP2XX, best at -18 dB S/N.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reports that he received decodes from 47 unique stations including G8HUH and KP2XX. He decoded seven WSPR stations including two-way reports at WH2XCR and two-way reports at WG2XSV which Doug indicates is “…the first or second time ever.”
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ reported nine WSPR stations and was decoded by 35 unique station during the session. His unique report detail can be viewed here.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reports a strong night of transcontinental openings in addition to performing a demonstration. He provided the following statistics and comments:
“GM John. It was a good night for a lot of us, judging from what I read on the ON4KST chat site. I had a LOT of EASTERN stations decode me, more than I have had in a long time. Eric/NO3M even snagged me this time.
Last night I was sending various digital signals to a new listener, AF7OK, Christine, who is “an AEC (Alternate Emergency Coordinator) and an OES (Official Emergency Station) for Douglas County ARES.” She runs the “FIVE DOT THREE” net on 60 meters from Tiller Oregon. It was exciting for her to see how well some of the digital modes work on this band at our distance (190 miles). Christine was also hearing some of the CW ID’s of the WSPR beacons. It was a fun time for both of us.”
Roger, VK4YB, reports very noise level as he listened on the north-northwest beam. He decoded WH2XXP and shared two-way reports with WH2XGP. Those report details can be viewed here.
Mike, WA3TTS, reports a strong night of transcontinental reports with a few indicators of the coming night early in the evening:
“I did hear a few LW AM BC stations just after local sunset last night on 183 and 252 kHz as well as on 162 kHz a few hours later, but their copy levels were like Q3. I started out on the NE EWE antenna, but switched to the NW direction around 0300 due to high noise level (S7) to the NE direction. 73 Mike wa3tts”
There is not much that I can add about the quality of my session here in Texas – it was very good. Morning CW was typical however there was a significant amount of static near SR similar to precipitation station but there are no local weather conditions to explain that observation. I changed my plan for evening CW to start later but that was a bad idea because I fell asleep and didn’t wake up until 35 minutes after I was supposed to be on the air. Oops. I am going to re-evaluate the start time again, perhaps moving back to the sunset start, which will get better for the western stations as we progress towards the Winter solstice. Tonight, however, I will only run WSPR. The web server migration for this site will begin immediately after this report is published today and to remove a point of stress I am going to skip tonight’s CW session but plan on being QRV in the morning as normal. My WSPR transmission reports for this session can be viewed here and my WSPR reception reports for this session can be viewed here.
I did not take a census for the session but all indications suggest that it was a very busy night, perhaps record numbers. Welcome to Paul, N1BUG, who has recently joined us as a receiving station on 630-meters. He is asking all the right questions for a station that is considering becoming QRV so potentially look for his big signal from Maine in the future.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Vasily, UA0SNV, has activated a second receiver as UA0SNV/1. At this time there are no additional details for this station. One can hazard a guess and suggest that UA0SNV is using a western-facing receive antenna and UA0SNV/1 is using an eastern-facing receive antenna. That’s pure speculation at this time, however.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a strong night with reports from JA3TVF and VK4YB in addition to two-way reports at WH2XCR (final report of Laurence’s signal in KH6 is missing from the report detail but it was -23 dB S/N). North American reports were confined to the West coast and desert southwest. Laurence’s DX report details can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had another strong session with his best North American decode distance at WH2XZO in South Carolina. He was received at WH2XZO, NO3M and WA3TTS for the eastern most decodes in North America. The eastern coast of Australia provided reports from VK2EIK, VK2XGJ and two-way reports with VK4YB. JH3XCU reported Merv later in the session. VK and JA report details can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, returns to his series that was started on Tuesday, presenting, “PART 2. THE FUTURE: HOW TO FIT HUNDREDS OF HAMS INTO 630M?”:
“In yesterday’s blog, I observed that 630m spans 700 ten-Hertz units if one thinks of WSPR bandwidth roughly that way. JT9 fits in 3 ten-Hz units and CW occupies 5-10 such units. Low EIRP spatially multiplies 630m band capacity by a factor of 2 or more. Daytime spatially multiplies 630m bandwidth by about 8 times–think about station allocations and daytime operation of AM BCB stations. CW is simplex, so it time-shares pairs of stations in QSOs.
In the realm of 630m customs and technology, design decisions built into the WSPR and WSJT-X software have interacted with 630m operating practice. 630m ops using some station designs need to re-match the antenna on QSY from WSPR to JT9 or CW. WSPR stations tend to stay on a frequency they’ve established. CW can be seen but may not get heard because of disparate visibility and audibility thresholds. So 630m ops generally move away from the WSPR band to do CW or QRSS after WSPR reaches audibility SNR levels.
What do these observations mean for the future of 630m band planning, whether deliberate or de facto? Today, let’s first look at what’s already been thought out!
In IARU Region 1, see this 2014 recommendation: http://www.472khz.org/pages/on-the-air/band-plan.php You can see some detailed background thinking from Australia hams by clicking on the endnote links here, below.*
475.3-475.6 Weak signal “QSO” digimodes (JT9-1, WSQ)
476.1-476.3 QRSS/DFCW (Europe)
477.6-477.8 QRSS/DFCW (North America)
IARU Region 2** and Region 3*** documents do not attempt frequency details within the 630m band, insofar as I’ve been able to find them.
WD2XSH band planning is posted at http://www.500kc.com/ . Look under “Band Plan and Station Frequency Assignments for the ‘Low Band’ of 465 – 478 KHz.” Scroll 20% to link to “WD2XSH Band Plan for 461 – 478 kHz” by Fritz Raab W1FR, Rev. B, Oct. 14, 2012. I’ve excerpted the section covering 475-478 KHz for particular focus:
‘ 476 – 478 WD2XSH CW/data beacons (40 x 50-Hz spacing)
475.6 – 475.8 WSPR
475.3 – 475.35 QRSS 50 x 2-Hz spacing
475 Calling ’
Also, see the WD2XSH 2010 495-515KHz band plan at http://www.500kc.com/rules.htm . This includes two 200Hz wide DX windows spaced about a KHz apart. While this band plan was created with WD2XSH project stations in mind, its implicit concepts are nevertheless worth considering.
I’ll say more in another blog post. Point us to other pertinent documents that I might have missed. And share your experiences and views on 630m wise usage with this blog too!”
* See Wireless Institute of Australia update: http://www.wia.org.au/members/bandplans/data/
See also an earlier report by Wireless Institute of Australia leading up to the Region I plan:
** In the recently adopted 10/14/16 IARU Region 2 bandplan for 472-479 KHz, CW and digital modes are entered. http://www.iaru-r2.org/new-band-plan-for-region-2/ A note on careful band usage by automatically controlled data stations is included.
*** In Region 3, the 472-479 band plan recognizes narrow bandwidth modes including CW, RTTY, Packet and modes with similar bandwidth not exceeding 2 kHz. http://iaru-r3.org/documents/ (Scroll & download “R3-004 Region 3 – Band Plan.” )
Just a reminder that the web server migration for this site will begin immediately after this report is published today. It is my hope that the process will go smoothly but while the site will be visible throughout the migration, I won’t be able to make updates (without extraordinary effort!) until the migration is complete. Hopefully it will be a few hours and by tomorrow morning the system will be 100% and a seamless transition. Just know that we are working on it and the site performance will be significantly better for a long time to come once complete.
If you find that you are not seeing updates by Saturday, you may need to clear your DNS cache. Windows users can do this by accessing a command line and typing “ipconfig /flushdns” followed by <Enter> and then restart your web browser. This will force your system to access new DNS information which will point you to the new server.
Thank you for your patience.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).