Its extremely cold in many areas of North America at the moment and often accompanying dropping temperatures is increasing base currents and less QRN. We got part of that overnight. QRN levels were generally low here but a little higher than I would have expected, probably due to a few storms in the Gulf of Mexico and the local power grid under load due to the temperatures. I suspect other areas are experiencing a combination of the same as well as precipitation static. The band was good overnight and very different from what has been observed in recent days. I guess that keeps things interesting…
As anticipated, geomagnetic activity has increased as a coronal hole approaches a geoeffective position with respect to the Earth. The initial volley has resulted in two consecutive reporting periods of unsettled conditions but as of this time has failed to produce storm levels. Typically these events are late and these early unsettled conditions may provide enough energy for openings to develop without attenuation that might otherwise halt propagation entirely. The Bz pointed to the South through much of the evening but has since turned around, pointing to the North this morning. Protons have returned to low levels after a number of reporting periods where concentration moved into the high category. Solar wind velocities have been elevated and variable, ranging from high levels above 500 km/s to moderate levels above 400 km/s. There appears to be a lot of instability in the solar wind velocities so an average is not appropriate today. DST values have taken a hit and are also variable, even erratic. I would expect that we will probably observe more unsettled levels and even push into storm levels over the next 24 hours. Its anyones guess whether this will help or hinder short term propagation.
With the return of MF activity at EA5DOM, so do the trans-African reports, as FR5ZX provided a number of decodes of Luis’ signal during this session. It seems that last season we observed limited variety of stations decoded by Michel until late December and early January so I am hopeful of a repeat this year. It seems like 11-15 stations in Europe were successfully decoded by Michel on Reunion. Perhaps we can extend that to North American stations this season. Trans-African report details can be viewed here.
EA5DOM also extended himself across the Atlantic, providing Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV his first opportunity to report a trans-Atlantic signal on 630-meters. Luis also received reports from WD2XSH/17, WE2XGR, and N1BUG. N1BUG also decoded G8HUH. Report details for these decodes can be viewed here.
Paul, W0RW / WA2XRM, reported that he would be QRV with QRSS3 on 479.903 kHz overnight. Paul reports that he would be using less than 1-watt ERP and a 30-foot tall vertical with a top hat. He indicates that the ground is wet due to snow and rain in Colorado and he is testing a new keying relay during this session. Paul indicates that he will be QRV again tonight and offered these reports and comments from this session:
“Last night I got reports from:
Garry, K3SIW, in IL, never have seen a stronger signal, very clean.
Steve, AA7U, in AZ copy by ear.
Neil, W0YSE, good signals in WA. Yes, Neil noticed that i was running QRSS10 until 0800z when i switched to QRSS3. Tonight i will make sure it is really running QRSS3. I had forgotten to cancel my last QRSS10 run and opened another window on my computer and it hid the QRSS10 program that was running in the background.
We have 2 inches of snow in CO. The temperature last night was 10F and the sap in the attenuating trees has drained out or is frozen. SWR is very low.”
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, provided these screen captures of WA2XRM:
Neil also provided these WSPR statistics and comments:
“GM John. My wspr beacon ran all night at 10% because I was looking also for Paul/XRM on QRSS up at 479.903 kHz. The wspr blanks out reception on the other radio when I transmit. Those who heard my wspr are these 31 stations (by distance):
…and I heard these 9: .VA7MM, VE7CNF, WG2XIQ, WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, WI2XBQ, WI2XJQ”
Ken, N8CGY, was listening for the first time during this session using an 80-meter Inverted-L and an FTDX-3000. He indicates that he decoded eight WSPR stations, with signals ranging between -12 dB S/N and -31 dB S/N.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he was decoded by 68 unique stations including twelve decodes from WE2XPQ and 65 decodes from WH2XCR, best at +5 dB S/N.
Rick, W7RNB / WI2XJQ, reports that it continues cold with snow expected tonight. He decoded nine WSPR stations and was decoded by 37 unique stations. Rick’s unique report details can be viewed here.
Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, reports, “An average night here, maybe enhanced to the East. Just had a 6.8 earthquake a few min. ago off shore.”
Ken, SWL-EN61, located in Indiana, reports that while propagation and band conditions were not as good overnight, the high participation made up for it, allowing him to decode an astonishing seventeen unique stations which he reports was one shy of his record high of eighteen. He adds that he also decoded WD2XSH/38 for the first time. I think many of us heard this station for the first time during this session.
Trans-Pacific report details for North American mainland stations (excluding KL7) are aggregated here.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 69 unique stations including 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI-2, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, JE1JDL, JH1INM, JH3XCU, and ZL2BCG.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, provided reports for fifteen WSPR stations in the previous 24-hours and received reports from 54 unique stations including ZL2BCG and ZF1EJ. Larry’s second receiver, configured as W7IUV, decoded twelve WSPR stations, including ZL2BCG. He adds that while no Europeans were observed at his stations, propagation favored signals from the East. He also noted good signals from WH2XCR and WE2XPQ.
I started my session again with daytime activity, receiving consistent reports from K5XL and K5ESS, both via ground wave after extended periods of skywave into the North-central and Midwestern US. My first skywave report came once again from Ken, SWL-EN61, located in Indiana, at 2216z. I spent some time shortly after this report calling CQ on CW, about 45-minutes before sunset in hopes of taking advantage of interesting propagation as the band transitioned to nighttime conditions. I was also going to be busy during the normal evening CW session time slot so I had to be active earlier than normal. The band was quiet and the antenna match was active as temperatures began to drop ahead of a cold front. I transitioned back to WSPR by 2330z and immediately receive a number of reports in the -20 dB S/N vicinity. Overnight reports were pretty good, perhaps not as good as the previous nights, which were under less influence of the rapidly changing geomagnetic field. Numerous CW level reports were registered although the higher latitude path to KL7 was not present during this session as it had been in previous sessions. Morning CW activity resulted in a report from Steve, KK7UV / WI2XNV, indicating that my signal was copyable at the noise floor at 1114z. Eden, ZF1EJ, followed that report with RST 529 at 1123z. My WSPR transmission reports can be viewed here and my WSPR reception reports can be viewed here.
Activity during this session was huge. WG2XXM reported at 2357z that 110 MF stations were active, which is very early in the evening for so many stations. At 0243z, 121 MF WSPR stations were observed and at 0518z 122 MF WSPR stations were observed on the WSPRnet activity page. This is a remarkable amount of activity, perhaps more than we have ever seen before and amazing consistency over several hours. New receiving stations for this session include KC8WJD, WA9WTK, and the previously reported N8CGY. Welcome aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Eden, ZF1EJ, continues to hear well, decoding VE3CIQ, VE7CNF, WD2XSH/15, WG2XIQ, WG2XKA, WG2XXM, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, and WI2XBV. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reports that he was “receive-only” for this session after a high SWR alert that was probably the result of antenna damage due to high winds.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had another strong night, decoding ZL2BCG and receiving reports from VK2XGJ, 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI-2, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, JE1JDL, JH3XCU, ZF1EJ and WE2XPQ. He shared two-way reports again with WG2XKA in Vermont. Merv QRT’ed early this morning to chase a station on 160-meters. His DX report details for this session can be viewed here.
Jim, W5EST, presents, “BIRDSEYE CHARTING TIME OPPORTUNITY WINDOWS”:
“Yesterday’s blog offered an opportunity time window Rule of Thumb:
0 ≤ W + NEhops ≤ (TL + Ts)/2 – NTZ ≤ Ts.
The Birdseye chart is used to average longer and shorter night lengths TL & Ts at 630m stations respectively. NTZ is roughly the number of time zones between the stations. Plainly there’s a mutual trade-off between the time window W, the number of hops, and the number of time zones difference.
Today’s birdseye chart example flows the procedure in reverse compared to the KH6/KL7-LA2 example of yesterday. Today, imagine that a W5 USA mid-South station wants to compare the chart with their intuition about a 630m path to Alaska, KL7.
Procedure step “A” specifies a desired minimum opportunity time window W = 6 hours. Step “B” lays down a right arrow to the fall season. From there, step “C” arrows up three hours corresponding to 3 E-hops that the path will probably consume. Additionally, step “D” extends up a further 3.2 hours due to longitude difference between the path ends. You can estimate path distances from: https://www.daftlogic.com/projects-google-maps-distance-calculator.htm Click and leave your mouse on a geographic location temporarily to automatically obtain its latitude and longitude.
Meanwhile, point P1 is put halfway between the values of solstice nighttime duration at KL7 60°N and W5 33°N latitude. The Birdseye chart infrastructure of halfway lines L1 and L2 gets drawn and represents (TL + Ts)/2 from point P1 to the equinox crossovers P2 and P3. Lines L1 and L2 lie not far from a true curve that could be drawn halfway between the blue line for W5 nighttime at 33°N latitude and the green line for KL7 nighttime at 60°N latitude.
Now step “E” extends a horizontal line across the top end of the NTZ arrow established in step “D”. The horizontal line intersects lines L1 and L2 at points P4 and P5.
Step “F” extends vertically from point P4 and points at mid-to-late October. Similar step “G” likewise extends vertically from point P5 and indicates late February. The results of the procedure now ready to interpret.
The procedure suggests that during the period from middle or late October to late February some 630m WSPR decodes of W5 at KL7 should be possible sometime during a six-hour opportunity time window. In the last two weeks, WG2XIQ-we2xpq decodes have spanned 6 hours: 0416-1028z. Mostly, WG2XXM-we2xpq spans 7.5 hours 0404-1132z – with two remarkably outperforming decodes at 0136z and 1256z in the last two weeks! The December time window to KL7 may widen to about nine hours around December 20 winter solstice because of the 3 headroom hours of point P1 above the horizontal line of step “E”.
A bit of further consideration of the chart suggests that a W4-KL7 path involving one more time zone and one more E-hop might be open for as much as a 6-hour opportunity time window from early or mid-December to early January. That’s because the arrows of steps “C” and “D” and the horizontal line of step “E” would be extended upward 2 more hours and greatly narrow the seasonal moments indicated by points P4 and P5 converging toward point P1.
For paths between W/VE and VK, you can work the procedure backwards or forwards too. In that case you set up lines L1 and L2 halfway between a solid curve for the N. Hemisphere latitude and a dashed curve of latitude in S. Hemisphere.
Print the birdseye chart and lay out your own 630m path analyses. I’m especially interested in any considerable departures from 630m reality. That way, we can learn how to improve the procedure. TU & GL!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).