It was a noisier night in North America as gulf coast and southeastern storms finally showed their teeth, making listening more of a challenge for some. Previous sessions resulted no real impact from these storms at my station for some reason. Other areas around North America, including stations in the Midwest and Washington State, reported precipitation static from Winter weather. In spite of the QRN, propagation was good, resulting in openings on the Polar, trans-Atlantic, and trans-Pacific paths.
Geomagnetic conditions are quiet but more active that the previous session ahead of a coronal hole that is destined to be geoeffective in the coming sessions and potentially triggering G1 storm conditions. The Bz has tended slightly to the South through the session, approaching unity this morning and protons have been elevated during a number of reporting periods. Solar wind velocities are only slightly higher than the previous session, averaging 352 km/s. DST values continue at nominal levels.
Arctic polar openings appeared for a third night in a row as Rolf, LA2XPA, reported yesterday in the ON4KST chat that he would likely listen further West during this session, suggesting that WH2XCR might have a chance to make it across the vast Arctic region. As geomagnetic conditions were less quiet than the previous session, the very long haul opening failed to develop to KH6 but WE2XPQ, WH2XGP and WH2XXP were fortunate enough to be heard on Rolf’s remote island in Norway. WH2XXP also had a single report from TF3HZ which is probably high enough latitude to qualify as a polar opening. Those report details can be viewed here.
Steve, VE7SL, one of the stations receiving reports from Rolf on Monday, posted this blog entry pointing out that John, VE7BDQ, who was also reported at Rolf’s remote retreat, did so using a simple backyard antenna. If you don’t think you can operate 630-meters from a small lot and find big success, think again!
Trans-Atlantic openings are more robust than the previous session, with WG2XXM receiving early reports from F1AFJ, F1AFJ/TEST, and G3XKR. G8HUH was received at WD2XSH/17 and WG2XKA made it across the Atlantic to G0LUJ and G0MJI. Report details for these trans-Atlantic decodes can be viewed here.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, expounded on his activity as well as his trans-Atlantic reports:
“Full pre-winter conditions have settled in here in Vermont with freezing ground and snow forcing frequent retuning. The past two sessions have been almost mirror images with very good activity. WH2XCR has been present both ways here for the past two nights, as have G0MJI and G0LUJ. The PNW is also now well represented on a nightly basis – finally being heard by Neil WG2XSV is always a good seasonal indicator…I have been holding my TX power down to about 150W TPO (somewhat less than 1W EIRP) in an attempt to minimize the map corruption, but it seems that the map problems are being caused by other issues with the increase in activity.”
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he received decodes from 67 unique stations including the previously reported decodes from F1AFJ and G3XKR.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, enjoyed transcontinental openings this morning and he provided the following comments and statistics:
“Eden, ZF1EJ, spotted me only once this morning but at a -20 at 3:46 AM PST. Also several eastern states seem to spot me only between 2 and 4 AM. 33 unique spotters with WI2XFI being a new one for me I think:
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports that he decoded WSPR signals from eleven unique stations (one station was a phantom) and he was decoded by 36 unique stations. Rick must have had great base current today as he indicates that it was 26F this morning. Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports to twelve WSPR stations and received reports from 52 unique stations during this session including the previously reported decodes from LA2XPA.
Trans-Pacific report details for mainland North American stations (excluding KL7) during this session are aggregated here.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 64 unique stations during this session including the previously reported decodes from LA2XPA and TF3HZ as well as JA1NQI-2 and JH3XCU.
Mike, WA3TTS, experienced another great night of transcontinental openings and provided the following extensive details and statistics:
“John: Another good night to the NW and KH6 although the NE path had high QRN levels. VE1HF was active and I was unable to capture his WSPR2 signal.
Surprising total of 50 WH2XCR decodes, most ever here in EN90xn for a single evening receive session, best at -16, min at -29
Also 85 WH2XGP decodes overnight, best at +3, min at -29.
I ran a split IF out of the LF/MF receive converter also listening on 2200m wspr2. Some 129 decodes for WH2XND overnight with best at -7, although I missed a few hours of capture time due to a Windows Update and restart on the computer monitoring 2200m band. 73 Mike wa3tts”
The evening session was noisy here and QRN was difficult to null with the receive antennas. I suspect the bigger issue locally was precipitation static which was the result of the fine mist that was produced for much of the afternoon and evening. As I had just completed the rebuild of the 630-meter PC after a hard drive failure in the previous session, I was anxious to make sure that WSJTx settings were correct so I started there. Evening WSPR was typical. Signal reports were down, probably due to QRN and my ERP being down a bit with everything soaked from the storms during the day. The quality of reports began to increase as the session progressed including many CW and JT9 level reports. Thanks to Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, for the reports as well as WH2XCR and ZF1EJ. It was a good night although noisier than I like for this time of year. This morning’s CW session resulted in reports from Eden, ZF1EJ, at RST 539 at 1109z and Paul, N1BUG, in Maine at RST 519 at 1114z. Eden added that I had been a solid RST 539 for over an hour and at 1207z was down to RST 519 almost one-half hour after sunrise on Cayman. My WSPR transmission reports can be found here and my WSPR reception reports can be found here.
Activity on 630-meters was once again very high worldwide, with 114 MF WSPR stations observed on the WSPRnet activity page alone at 0137z. WX2H was observed receiving during this session for what may be the first time. Welcome aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Note that Michel, FR5ZX, and Ken, ZS6KN, are transmitting regularly. If you have directional antennas, please be sure to listen for them.
Eden, ZF1EJ, provided WSPR reports for VE3CIQ, VE3EFF, VE7BDQ, VE7SL, WD2XSH/15, WG2XIQ, WG2XKA, WG2XSV, WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, and WH2XXP. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced another night of polar openings to LA2XPA. Laurence indicates that the last time he had made it across the pole to Europe from Alaska was higher in frequency near 500 kHz in the early 2000’s. The path to JA was active, with decodes from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI-2, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, JE1JDL, and JH3XCU. Laurence’s DX report details for this session can be viewed here.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, reports that this session was down a bit from the previous two but the path to Asia and Australia was open in addition to much of the North American mainland where many two-way reports were registered. Merv had hopes of making it across the pole to LA2XPA but last night polar paths were more impacted by destabilized geomagnetic conditions. Merv indicated that at the moment he shared about four hours of common darkness with LA2XPA. Merv’s DX report details for this session can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “GLOBAL NIGHTTIME DURATIONS VERSUS LATITUDE: YOUR 630M WORLD”:
“Yesterday, we reviewed the regional way 630m DX times become spread throughout the 24 hour UTC clock as represented by a SNR bullseye diagram.
Today’s type of illustration (I call it a “birdseye” chart) presents color-coded curves representing nighttime durations* worldwide throughout the year at each of nine latitudes – 0°, 20°, 33°, 40°, 50°, 60°, 70°, 80° – in each of N. Hemisphere (solid) and S. Hemisphere (dashed). Longitude does not affect lengths of night.
Months of the year go horizontally and 0-24 hours of night go vertically. In the months of December and January, the N. Hemisphere features particularly long nights while S. Hemisphere nights are at their shortest.
630m nighttime duration is seasonal, as we know, and reaches the peak of the season for communication between N. Hemisphere regions in the weeks around the December winter solstice. The season peaks for communication between S. Hemisphere regions around the June winter solstice. These seasonal good times for 630m occupy the upper half of the birdseye chart.
For your convenience, correspondingly colored amateur prefixes suggest countries and parts of the world situated at the various chart latitudes. N. Hemisphere 630m stations are generally distributed at more extreme latitudes than S Hemisphere 630m stations.
Speaking of extreme latitudes, the gray-colored curves on the chart show lengths of nights at the Arctic and Antarctic circles and in the polar regions. There, night length can top out at 24 hours and bottom out with no night at all. At high latitudes below and above these circles, the day’s borderline 630m propagation regimes lengthen and need extra consideration: pre-SR, intermediate SR, post-SR and likewise for sunset SS.
As of 2016, we are gradually learning by experience the best times of year for 630m communication between hemispheres. One might suppose that the hemisphere of whichever station has the more extreme latitude will establish the dominant 630m season for purposes of communication along a path to a station in the opposite hemisphere. That seems to be the case for 630m EU-FR5 and VK3/VK4-JA paths the last season and this so far.
However, 630m WSPR successes on the N. Am.-VK path clustered around equinoxes in the 2015-16 630m season. The 2016-17 season so far seems to be significantly more fertile for WSPR decodes, with perhaps an even broader throughput peak either side of Sept. equinox. Possibly opposite hemispheres’ 630m propagation prospects reach a happy compromise around equinoxes.
Longitudes of stations don’t affect night length, but longitudes do significantly affect the time windows of opportunity for communication along the diverse 630m paths. Yesterday’s SNR bullseye diagram showed us that, and I’ll plan to pursue that subject further in another blog post. TU & GL!”
*Plug the following formula into Excel for various +/-latitudes. “33” is a latitude example.
Night duration (hr) = 24/π cos-1[-tan L tan 23.5° cos(2π d/365.25)],
where +/- sign of a value of latitude L signifies N/S latitude and angles are in or converted to radians. Derivation on request. The corrections that space scientists would use are unnecessary since moderate accuracy is sufficient for 630m purposes. The formula imperfectly assumes a spherical Earth with flat terrain and with its axis tilted at 23.5° w.r.t. the plane of a perfectly circular Earth orbit around the Sun. The assumed Earth goes around a distant point-size Sun and receives parallel rays of sunlight. For an equivalent graphical illustration, one very different looking, see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunrise_equation .
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).