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G8HUH -> N1BUG, WD2XSH/17; Good trans-Pacific coverage although big storms in central US and Australia impact otherwise good propagation; MF QRSS QSO Party night two redux; High latitude JA path opens again

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

Trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific, and domestic paths shared reasonably good propagation but it seems in many cases that the fun was spoiled by high noise from regional thunderstorms.  In North America, storms in my area complicated listening but early indications suggested that propagation was pretty good.  Persistent storms continue to impact much of western Australia, complicating a path to and from North America that was already fragile.  Several stations, myself included, opted to QRT at bed time rather than face an overnight rude awakening.

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12-hour North American lightning summary

 

Geomagnetic conditions continue to quieten down.  The Bz continues to point slightly to the South and solar wind velocities are averaging 445 km/s, down significantly from the previous session.  DST values have generally recovered but its too early to determine just how “charged up” polar electron reservoirs are.  It could be a while before the band returns to normal at high latitudes.  Judging by the JA reports at WE2XPQ I would say this may not be a real problem.

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Trans-Atlantic openings returned with N1BUG and WD2XSH/17 decoding G8HUH. Those report details can be viewed here.

The second night of the the European MF QSO Party in QRSS occurred overnight.  Many stations reported that it was a tough event due to the attention and time required to complete a QSO.  Even so, many stations were successful and offered comments on the RSGB-LF reflector.

Referencing a QSO previously reported from night one, Tom, DK1IS, provided details of his QSO with IZ7SLZ:

“Hello Domenico, tu for fb DFCW QSO 20161127 1742 UTC. Ur sigs hr in JN59WK OOO and audible too. RX hr Perseus with actve whip. Gl in the party es cuagn! 73, Tom, DK1IS www.qrz.com/db/dk1is”

Tom also reported:

“Hello guests of the QRSS party,  as already posted there have been not so much activities up to now but yesterday and today I worked G3KEV, G3XIZ, SO5AS, DK7FC, IK7SLZ and DL6II in DFCW from my side. New diversity reception proved successful. All stations could have been worked in real CW too – perhaps next weekend? I´ll try to participate but not sure yet.Thanks for the contacts…”

Responding to Tom’s reports, Dave, G3WCB, added:

“Your DFCW3 signals were “M” copy here tonight. Also received were:- G3XIZ QRSS “O+” and DL6II QRSS3 “O” copy. I also received another DFCW station “M” copy, but was unable to resolve the callsign. My RX is a “Juma-RX1″ with a tuned preamp, and the RX antenna is a 60cm square tuned loop 1 metre above ground. 73, Dave G3WCB IO80EI Devon, S W England.”

And Dave posted these captures:

g3wcb-captures-112816

Referencing these captures, Tom provided these final comments:

“…interesting to see the own signal with a bit more of “snow” than at home! On such conditions I think it would be better to increase the dot length from 3 to 4 seconds keeping the key gaps (I like them!) at 2 seconds. 4 Hz shift seems ok at MF and DFCW 3 to 5, isn´t it?”

Joe, VO1NA, posted the following comments about his activity:

“Thank-you to those who monitored my sigs and to f6cni df2jp and df6nm who reported them.  No signals were copied here using argo QRSS3. I’ve started cleaning up the messy shack startingwith the hardware and managed to get the bpsk working again using a7400 as an XOR gate and confirmed by Markus’ high res 2200m spectrogram.”

This coming weekend will be the CW installment of the QSO party series and QSO’s should be easier to be found.  QRSS can be challenging to operator time as it can take 30 minutes or more to complete a single QSO.  Aside from my frequency stability problems I have thus far found no one to take me up on a QRSS QSO here in the US.

Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, received an early Christmas gift as his new Monitor Sensors 630-meter transverter arrived on Friday and took its maiden voyage during this session.  Doug reports that at his current power supply levels he is making about 63-watts but will be working to increase his PA voltage to the 16-volts max to squeeze out a few more watts.  He reports that he is currently about 2 dB down from recently reported ERP.  Here are some of his early, pre-sunset reports from this session:

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WH2XZO daytime reports

 

Doug also supplied these comments:

“First noisy conditions here in over a week.  Decoded 7 and was decoded by 37 unique stations at my reduced power of about 1 W ERP.  Maiden voyage of my new Monitor Sensors 630M transverter which has about 66 watts output for 4.4 watts drive at 1804 kHz using a 14.4 V PS.  I have been running about 100 watts out using my TS-590s 0 dBM 630M drive to the NDJT 100 watt amp, so I was down about 2 dB, but was still decoded by WH2XCR and VA7JX.

As I continue to reduce a lifetime of ham radio accumulation with my pre-estate sales, I substituting small for large, as much as I love my old boat anchors!
Both the NDJT amp and the Monitor Sensor transverters are small and work very well. Some day my shack may not be stacked high with old radios and my work bench clear enough to use it!
My first impression of the Monitor Sensor transverter is very positive, but I hate to give up that 2 dB!  With a (future) 16V DC PS, I won’t have to.  The other limitation is that there is no receive antenna input on the transverter, but using split on the transceiver, I was able to use my RX antennas.  The positives are many, especially the protective circuitry for high SWR, over driving, etc.  For the cockpit error prone senior citizen, that’s a big positive. Also, I don’t have to worry about changing weather conditions and SWRs.”

 

Paul, N1BUG, reports that the daytime conditions experienced yesterday morning with WH2XZO were not present today.  Only a weak report recorded 42-minutes after sunrise in Maine was observed.  The previous report of Doug’s signal during this session was 1138z.  Paul did observe a report from WH2XXP at a distance of 2448 miles, 32-minutes past local sunrise.

It seems that the pre-sunset enhancements were generally OK, as WA9ETW in Wisconsin reported WH2XZO at 2214z in full daylight.

Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reports improvement as the evening and overnight progressed:

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WG2XSV session WSPR activity

 

Mike, WA3TTS, reports,

“I started off the first few hours after sunset listening to the NE. I did receive one decode from VE1HF at -24  but no T/As.  Also a few decodes of WI2XBV. QRN was high to the NE  With the EWE antenna pointed NW:”

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“I ran a split IF out of the LF/MF converter also listening on 2200m overnight.  I had some light traces from VO1NA on 137777 but not a solid QRSS copy with the QRN NE.  WH2XND decodes were down from previous sessions at 111 decodes and none were audible levels (-14 minimum) as in the prior evening when is CW ID was heard often in the  evening. 73 Mike wa3tts”

 

Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports that he also experienced a late push to the East.  I have a theory that it may have been partly perception since stations in the central US were missing due to stormy weather but it may have been a very real propagation feature. Rick provided reports for eight WSPR stations and was decoded by 27 unique stations.  His unique report detail can be viewed here.

Trans-Pacific reports for this session are aggregated here.

Roger, VK4YB, reported at 1002z that heavy storms were in progress in Queensland and forecast for the next six nights, creating a serious challenge for any station seeking to be heard in VK.  There is some brighter news, however, as at 1407z he updated that he was receiving the same reports from the Pacific Northwest on the Northeast and North-Northwest beams, which Roger says indicates that the path is high angle take-off or skewed, going more Northerly before turning East.  He received WE2XPQ, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, and WH2XXP and was reported by JA1NQI-2, VA7BBG, VA7JX, VE7CNF,  VK7TW, W7IUV, WE2XPQ, WH2XCR, and ZL2IK.

Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 66 unique stations including JA1NQI-2, JA3TVF, JE1JDL, JH3XCU, and VK4YB.

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, received reports from 53 unique stations including VK4YB.  His second receiver, designated as W7IUV, provided reports from VK4YB.

At 0127z, Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported that 113 MF WSPR stations were present, as reported on the WSPRnet activity page.  New observed receive stations for the session include but are not limited to W7CRK and N6LQB.  Welcome aboard!

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

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North American 24-hour WSPR activity

 

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European 24-hour WSPR activity

 

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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 and New Zealand 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports from VE7CNF, WD2XSH/15, WG2XIQ, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, WH2XZO, and WI2XBV.  Report details for those stations can be viewed here.

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ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity (NOTE: WG2XXM was not present during this session and is only visible due to post-sunrise activity in the previous session.)

 

Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a rebound with more JA’s, including reports from JA1NQI-2, JE1JDL, and JH3XCU and two-way reports with VK4YB and WH2XCR.  Judging by Laurence’s performance this session I would guess that if central US stations had been QRV they might have been heard.  Laurence’s DX report details can be viewed here.

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WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, continues to hear well, with reports of VE3CIQ in Ontario and WH2XZO in South Carolina.  He is also being reported on the difficult path between the Caribbean and KH6.  The path to JA continues to show good stability with reports from 7L1RLL4, JE1JDL, and JH3XCU and two-way reports with VK4YB who is experiencing thunderstorm noise during this session.  Merv’s DX report details can be viewed here.

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WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

 

Jim, W5EST, presents, “FULL NIGHT OF WG2XIQ-w5est SAMPLES/3sec.: ECHO MODE IN WSJT-X”:

“15,000 data points cover all-night storm-free 12.5 hour WG2XIQ WSPR dynamics on Nov. 25.  Eighty-three (83) WSPR transmissions are embedded in ten 1500-point graph segments, 75 minutes each, across three slides. Coverage started about 12 minutes after eastward W5EST RX local sundown and about 10 minutes prior to XIQ TX station local sundown 485 km southwest. The 75-minute segments end with the last XIQ WSPR transmission at 1102z, or 5:02 a.m. local.  Eastward RX local sunrise at 1254z occurred here about two hours later.

I ran WSJT-X Echo mode the night of Nov. 24 as well.  The results were similar enough in character to Nov. 25 that only an interestingly different segment from Nov. 24 is included at the bottom of today’s third slide.

Significant cyclic QSB content Nov. 24-25 has the ~3 minute period (6-7 mHz, milliHertz) as observed on Nov. 17  http://njdtechnologies.net/112316/   .  The amplitude and modulation percentage of the QSB varied considerably during the nights of Nov. 24-25, if interpreted this way.

A sinusoid-based QSB concept as if from very slow amplitude modulation has been noted and modeled, see http://njdtechnologies.net/112516/ .  Mostly, the curves of 3-second signal strength from the nights of Nov. 24-25 are reasonably consistent with it. Some of the signal strength behaviors form such jagged nearly straight lines that a sinusoidal shape may fit them less well, though. See the 6th and 7th transmissions in the Nov. 24 deep nighttime segment at bottom of today’s third illustration. These and other curves execute similar narrow down-up patterns like those of the model, see for instance:

https://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=plot+0.5*(1%2B0.7*sin(x))+%2B1*0.25(1%2B0.7*sin(x%2B2.5*pi%2F6))(1%2B0.70*sin(x-6*pi%2F6)+

I considered whether the 6-7 mHz QSB interpretation might have been due to possible visual cues arising from two influences: First, the 25% WSPR transmit percentage TxPct applied to XIQ’s transmitter.  But many of the plots of QSB are so clearly defined that they beg for interpretation as 2-minute pieces constituting two-thirds of a 6 mHz sine wave or two-thirds of a combination of 6 and 12 mHz sine waves.  Explanation of smaller wiggles on the sine waves elegantly points to a 12 mHz contribution by double hop propagation adding to single hop signal, which is not unlikely on the short 485 km path XIQ-w5est.

Second, I considered whether perhaps data conversion itself from dB to per-unit field strength introduced convex peak and concave trough curvature. However, several of the plots show arches or lines that extend all the way down to the noise level. That means the mathematics itself is itself not imposing a concave shape there.

What about random walk* to explain the QSB waveshapes? Steady declines followed by steadily rising signal strengths, and vice versa, are inconsistent with a random walk at this 3-second time scale. Time differencing a random walk would produce zero-average noise instead. Few of the individual 110-second sequences of XIQ signal strength act like a random walk at 3-second resolution.

The 6 mHz and 12mHz sine wave modeling approach is useful because it encourages predictive methods and geophysical interpretations.  This promotes an ongoing analytical process rather than ending with a conclusion of randomness.

Suppose ionospheric compression waves–traveling at the speed of sound—cause waviness in electron concentration contours of the reflecting ionosphere on the path between XIQ in north Texas and W5EST in central Arkansas. That would explain how QSB can vary so rapidly on a timescale of seconds.  Whether they’re traveling waves or standing waves—that’s unclear.  But since a standing wave requires at least two traveling waves to constitute it, I’d lean toward a simpler, single, traveling wave picture.

Audible sound of many different waveforms can propagate through air. So also a deeply subsonic compression wave in the ionosphere could impress any of a variety of different waveforms of QSB on 630m RF.  Perhaps that’s why some essentially flat-topped signal strength plots on Nov. 24-25 can be situated so close in time to steeply jagged plots. How else could QSB modulation index suddenly change from a large value to nearly zero, when pictured by this amplitude modulating QSB analogy? Anyhow, remarkably, frequency content of the waveshapes of most of the QSB data seems to be concentrated around 6 and 12 mHz (.006 & .012 Hz).

Fully continuous 630m QSB graphs will elude us unless 630 m signal strength data is someday obtained at 100% WSPR TxPct, and that probably won’t happen anytime soon.  Nevertheless, full QSB waveforms do in principle connect the pieces of QSB data that Echo mode provides.  Signal strength results displayed in Echo mode for other paths and more nights from stations using any TxPct can extend our experience with the 630m ionosphere.  Consider an Echo mode test run at your RX!”

* Random walks in WSPR SNR(dB): See Oct. 27-28 blog posts:
http://njdtechnologies.net/102716/      ;   http://njdtechnologies.net/102816/
** The Excel command converting Echo mode (S+N)dB to the plotted points was:
 =SQRT( POWER(10,0.1*(C1-54)) -1)

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