What a night! While the band was a little noisier than expected, presumably due to storms in the Gulf of Mexico, conditions seemed strong. At 0300z, WSPR activity indicated 86 stations on 630-meters with significant amounts of trans-Atlantic and trans-African activity underway. The Kp index had registered persistently higher through much of the day and the Space Weather Prediction Center issued a G3 storm warning as a coronal hole rotated into view, increasing the solar wind stream. Conditions remained at quiet levels through the session, at least in the lower-48, while Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ reported K > 5 with visible aurora against a backdrop of the moon.
Mike, WA3TTS, posted the following information about conditions at his station in Pennsylvania on the Lowfer email reflector:
“No T/As here in EN90 when the coastal stations had favorable propagation to EU last night. It was rather noisy here with the frontal passage and all the power line insulators drying out made for plenty of short-spike impulse noise. It quieted down later in the evening and I did have a few intervals of enhanced propagation to the NW, seeing XGP at -9 and -11 as lowest SNRs and a pleasant surprise to see Neil’s XSV signal be captured at -30. The wspr server was not liking my wspr-x uploads after about 11PM so I switched to the basic WSPR program for the overnight rx session—which gives up a little bit of decoding sensitivity…
Both of these decodes would have been audible…
2015-11-01 09:50 WH2XGP 0.475687 -9 0 DN07dg 10 WA3TTS/2 EN90xn 3227 89
2015-11-01 06:14 WH2XGP 0.475687 -11 0 DN07dg 10 WA3TTS/2 EN90xn 3227 89
Any time I can decode Neil’s XSV signal I know the propagation path is better than normal
2015-11-01 06:38 WG2XSV 0.475759 -30 0 CN85rq 1 WA3TTS/2 EN90xn 3454 84
The rest of the overnite was routine, perhaps a dozen or XGP decodes, maybe more….
Having kept an eye on the solar X-ray flare graph last night, my casual guess is that we had a few C-flares of suitable duration to give the ionosphere an LF/MF lift at times…..but no extended time periods of enhancement.”
630-meter operators had a nice treat from a creative trickster during the North American evening. At 2320z I received an email from Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO. The first line said, “What does 800 mean?”. He had included this screen shot:
I started looking it over and recalled that many stations in Europe had been sending Halloween greetings via the HELLSCHREIBER mode but there was nothing to identify the station in this transmission. Almost simultaneously, Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, in the ON4KST chat/logger asked who was running HELL in the WSPR passband. Pretty quickly he indicates that its not “800” being painted on the screen but “BOO”. Somehow I had not connected “BOO” with Halloween. I am slow like that sometimes. A little detective work with the 8-circle array indicated that the signal was peaking due east of Eric’s western Pennsylvania QTH.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA in Vermont indicated that the signal was blazing loud and either north east or south west of him. With Eric’s heading we can clearly surmise that the signal was south or south west of Vermont. John sent the following screen shot:
Also sending a screen shot later was Ken, SWL/EN61, in Indiana, who had to indicate in his email that “I swear I’m not ‘shopping’ this stuff!”. That’s funny! His screen shot is below:
This activity mysteriously subsided as quickly as it started. Bravo to whomever brought us the fun.
Regional WSPR activity from around the world follows:
While transmitting stations in Japan and Australia are limited in number at the moment, at the time of this writing there were stations between the two countries being heard. Details on those reports tomorrow.
Probably the biggest news of the session were the six European stations being heard by Michel on Reunion Island. This is an amazingly difficult path, it would seem, due to the amount of land mass between the two points. S/N reports were approaching CW levels for several stations so it seems that we will see a QSO attempt in the near future.
The trans-Atlantic path was also very active with VE1HF hearing more Europeans than stations in North America through the session. WG2XKA, WG2XJM, and WE2XGR/3 made it across the pond from North America.
Conditions continue to be good to the Caribbean from the North American mainland. As we progress to longer periods of darkness it is my hope that Roger and Eden will listen towards Europe with their loops. I suspect they should be able to hear some of the larger stations there.
As previously stated, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reported K>5 with aurora in Alaska. He also indicated that the temperature was finally cooling off a bit and feed point impedance was coming down. Based on his reports, the earthworms didn’t stay too warm last night.
In the Pacific, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, continues to do very well with 9 unique stations reporting his signal and 256 total spots for the session. Very well done, Merv. Keep up the great work!
This morning at 1300z I began calling CQ on 474.5 kHz CW looking for calls prior to my morning QSO with Steve, KF5RYI / WG2XIQ/1. Steve, KK7UV / WH2XNV, near Missoula, Montana reported in the ON4KST chat/logger that he could hear my CQ but that the noise level was very high. The morning CW QSO went on as normal and should resume a normal routine again starting on Monday morning.
Finally, I want to introduce Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, of Tonopah, Arizona. Ward has been active for about two months now and has done some very good work with his station, creating a very strong signal across North America.
This is what Ward had to say when asked about his station and operations:
“Thanks go to N6LF, as it was one of his papers that made me go with my antenna system. I have a 55′ vertical #10 wire suspended from a fiber glass cross arm on my HF tower. There are 16 52′ sloping top hat wires
terminated in a “skirt” wire around the edge of the “umbrella”. The antenna is naturally resonant at ~865 khz(!). My variometer is ~80 uh because of the large top hat. Tuning is very stable day/night, in fact, I can go
days without re-tuning. I think it’s because of the large capacitance in the top loading. Another benefit seems to be that in light to moderate winds, the match doesn’t change very much at all as the antenna moves
around. The skirt is about 30 feet above ground level. Radial system is 50 or 60 130′ wires on the ground. They are left from a 160 inverted L that was on the tower before.
WSPR driver is an Ultimate 3s. Amp is GW3UEP style, most nights running 60 – 65 watts to the coax. On the bench right now is a W1VD KW amp that I’ll run at 300 – 400 watts. I think I’ll have a bigger signal with
that amp, and be a lot closer to my 20W ERP limit.”
Ward has had some really nice sessions since coming on board. One such session was illustrated below where he was reported by 37 receiving stations:
Very well done, Ward, and many of us look forward to a QSO with you very soon.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!