This session started out feeling like late summer with many stations reporting few or no reports even at QRO power levels early in the evening. Of course many of these stations are located at higher latitudes where absorption continues due to current unsettled and recent G1 storm conditions. Propagation was more optimistic further South but S/N numbers definitely took a hit. In general, this session was one to simply ride out in hopes of the start of the next one which would hopefully be better overall. I hate to waste these long winter nights but propagation is the great equalizer and you won’t win, no matter how much power one uses.
QRN was low here and continues as very low levels this morning in spite of storms located in Oklahoma. It would appear that the bulk of impacted S/N reports are the result of current geomagnetic activity and not QRN here in North America.
Geomagnetic conditions continue at unsettled levels. The Bz is currently pointing to the North but has been variable through much of the session. Solar wind velocities have exceeded 700 km/s but currently average near 685 km/s. DST values continue in negative territory but may be trending closer to unity. Additional G1 storm activity is possible but not likely as the Earth is moving out of the solar wind stream that contributed to these conditions.
Phil, VE3CIQ, reported that signals were down 15-20 db during the evening, but experienced improvements overnight. Phil was using forty watts TPO in order to test the limits of propagation at low power levels compared to other recent tests. Phil reported sticky snow through this session and added, “I will venture that enough darkness tempers the solar storm effect.”
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, continues to test the differences between the Wellbrook loop and the K6SE delta and offered these comments:
“Continued high latitude attenuation. The numbers last night were 11 and 43. The Wellbrook loop here has been my go-to RX antenna for almost a year. Several wire flag type antennas have equalled it, but never been much better. Not sure why, because a directional antenna should be significantly better than a non-directional antenna. I didn’t get the wire antenna dimensions perfect because of the available trees, but that shouldn’t matter. I also couldn’t aim exactly where I wanted, but with the wide beamwidth, that shouldn’t matter. But something did matter, and those antennas were hardly better than the loop.When G0LUJ reported how happy he was with the Wellbrook loop amplifier for his big loop, I decided to order Wellbrook’s flag/delta amplifier. Three days ago I took down a Double Half Delta and put up a small K6SE modelled delta loop. Because it was small, 28′ base, I could aim it exactly NE With both the amplified loop and the amplified Delta favoring NE (the loop is bidirectional), the Delta outperformed the loop again last night by about 7 db. That’s more than I’d expect. The delta has both a narrower azimuth and elevation field, but 7 dB? With most of my wire antenna experiments, early A/B testing showed them to work better than later. Maybe it’s a kind of confirmation bias. This morning at 4 AM I switched to the west favoring super Kaz and it was terrible, so better see if it’s still up!”
“GM John. I got my power back up from <1w ERP to >2w EIRP again. Put some extra filtering on the 6v PS that is in series with the 24v PS. I was decoded by XES for the first time since last March, and XJM also heard me this session.
…and WG2XSV was Hearing: VA7MM, WE2XPQ, WG2XIQ, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, WI2XBQ, WI2XJQI got only one decode of Ron/XND this morning on 2200m at -30 around 7:30 AM. Nothing from Laurence in AK this time on either band.”
Paul, W0RW / WA2XRM, reported that he would be QRV on 479.9 kHz CW during the evening, operating a beacon,. Paul’s CW activity has been on-going and I expect it to continue through Christmas. No reports for this session have yet been submitted.
Luis, EA5DOM, reported on the RSGB-LF reflector that he would be running a Christmas message in CW, which would be updated to include call signs of reporting stations. He was operating on 474.4 kHz from 2000z – 0000z but has QSY’ed to 474.6 kHz due to local QRM. He indicates that one of the goals is to “…provide a signal for hams which just by chance discover the band even with suboptimal Rx”. Luis provided the following comments after the first session:
“For a first night there is a nice list of reporting stations. Specially newcomers, which have been sourprised by the signal and then start asking “how”. So, getting interested in the low bands. Have been monitoring my signal over Europe using different Perseus SDRs. Thank you Roelof ! 😉
The most outstanding is Mauritz, SM2BYC in Kukkolaforsen. North Sweden in the border with Finland and about 3400Km from here After 23z the CW signal was loud and clear when QSB was rising. He is using a 2m long vertical whip 5m from the ground 70m buried line appart from the house and Mini Circuits PGA-103+
Observing SDRs have noticed that there is some QRM at 474.400 in the north sea and Scandinavia. So have QSY to 474.600 Not yet at reach of the modulated upper band of BIA but a bit closer Second turn tonight 73 de Luis EA5DOM”
Trans-Pacific report details for this session (excluding KL7 and KH6) are aggregated here.
Roger, VK4YB, reports that he has been testing WSJTx version 1.7 and 1.6 using two computer accepting the same audio feed. He provided the following comments:
“I get the same decodes 98% of the time with 1.7.0 giving 1dB better s/n for the other 2%. Until…14:24 when 1.6.0 decoded WH2XXP -22 DM33 50 and 1.7.0 decoded the same audio as K42GTD -22 CI07 50. How did 1.7.0 get it so wrong? The computer running 1.7.0 has no other programs running.”
I don’t have any information to offer Roger on this one but I’ve certainly seen this behavior before. Roger received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI-2, JA1PKG, JA3TVF, JE1JDL, JH1INM, JH3XCU, N6RY, TNUKJPM, VE7AB, W7IUV, and WI2XBQ. He provided reports for WH2XXP and WH2XGP during this session.
Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, received reports from 63 unique stations including VK4YB and ZL2BCG.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, received reports from 45 unique stations including VK4YB and ZL2BCG and decoded eleven WSPR stations on the eastern receive antenna. As W7IUV and using the western receive antenna, Larry decoded ten WSPR stations including VK4YB and ZL2BCG.
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, reported that a friend recently installed a new air conditioner that was causing significant noise on-air. The friend recently followed a QST article that recommended twisting the power leads and using choke, solving the noise problem. Ron performed the same modification, using snap-on type-W cores inside of an eight-circuit outdoor type utility box and now cannot observe any difference between the AC compressor running or not. Leads to the AC compressor are simply re-routed via a conduit to the box, returning through the conduit and located adjacent to the compressor. If you are having problems, research this mod as it may improve noise conditions at your station.
This was a “set it and forget it” session for me. I thought it best under the current geomagnetic conditions but I had actually planned on evening CW near sunset until I found that one of my power supplies was not handling the load from one of the CW PA’s very well. I have since pulled the power supply and either have a regulation problem, filter problem or current limit problem (or a combination!) and will work on resolving that over the next few days and weeks. This was the original power supply from 2012 and has seen a tremendous amount of abuse from time-varying CW loads and high duty cycle digital modes just about everyday! As I have been wanting another power supply to back up the other three currently on the air, I ordered another BK Precision 1671A this morning and will drive down to Mouser to pick it up later today. All three power supplies are used during the course of an operating session depending on the mode in use and once I get the broken unit repaired it will be a true standby backup.
WSPR reports started slow but by morning improved significantly. It’s nice to see Al, W5LUA / WH2XES, listening, who was reporting me at +14 dB S/N. Reports were a mixed bag, with stations located very close together presenting very different S/N reports. This, of course, is all an anomaly of the current geomagnetic conditions I feel certain. My WSPR transmission report details can be viewed here and my WSPR reception report details for this session can be viewed here.
I hope to be QRV with CW tonight (mid-evening) using the new power supply (weather permitting!)
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
It was nice to see UA9AAG listening overnight, although his software was reporting the old frequency of 503.9 kHz. Its unclear whether his receiver was on the correct frequency, however.
Eden, ZF1EJ, provided reports for VE3CIQ, WD2XSH/15, WD2XSH/17, WG2XIQ, WG2XKA, WG2XPJ, WH2XCR, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, WH2XZO, WI2XBQ, WI2XBV, and WI2XFI. Report details for these stations can be viewed here. Eden also operated ZF1EJ/1, using the new transmit antenna to listen and provided reports for WD2XSH/15, WD2XSH/17, WG2XIQ, WG2XKA, WG2XPJ, WH2XGP, WH2XXP, WH2XZO, and WI2XBV. Report details for these stations can be viewed here.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had a reasonable night of getting a signal out of Alaska last night in spite of high absorption but North-moving signals were completely blocked.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, experienced a very strong night – I say that a lot, but this one really was something and again may say something about locations approaching the equator. Merv received reports from 7L1RLL4, JA1NQI-2, JA3TVF, JH3XCU, JR1IZM, VK2XGJ, VK4YB, and ZL2BCG. Merv provided reports to VK4YB, ZL2BCG, WE2XPQ and VK3HP. Merv decoded WG2XKA in Vermont and received reports up and down the East coast as well as ZF1EJ in the Cayman Islands. Merv’s DX report details for this session can be viewed here.
In observance of Christmas eve and Christmas day, daily summaries for the next two days may be published later in the day to accommodate family activities.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD gmail dot (com).