Conditions were variable through the overnight session in North America, ranging from very good to very poor. It really depended on where the reporting station was located. There were some complicating factors through the session that make accurate analysis challenging, specifically WH2XXP was QRT for on-going antenna work and WH2XGP was QRT due to antenna icing. Both stations provide regular, big signals that are useful in determining what the band is like in their area to other points in North America and even around the world when conditions warrant.
The geomagnetic field was unsettled once again with a variable Bz through the session. As this report is developed, the Bz is pointing north. Solar wind through the session averaged near 450 km/s but is currently averaging 415 km/s.
During the late evening, Mike, NR5O / WH2XAR, commented that the band was strange. He was only hearing my station in Texas and a review of the S/N reports suggested that perhaps something was amiss with propagation. Its difficult to assess with the large, regional, anchor stations being QRT plus a number of station operating on an abbreviated schedule due to testing of the alternate WSPR data rendering system which was in progress during this same time frame. I think, however, Mike was legitimately observing impacted propagation.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, had this very good breakdown for the session:
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported good domestic conditions for the session plus a single trans-Atlantic WSPR report from DH5RAE, which occurred 30 minutes prior to the trans-Atlantic reports from the previous session. Noise conditions were moderate on a very cold night. John also notes that his receive spots were redirected to the alternate system overnight for testing. The map below is interesting in that the bulk of reports cease to the west of the central tier of states, which seems to be consistent with other reports.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reports that he had reports from only 10 unique spotters during this session, which is down from previous sessions and adds further support that something was impacting propagation in the western half of North America. Neil provided a small sample of reports from the session:
Here in Texas, massive two-way signals were observed with WG2XJM and WH2XZO, easily phone-quality reports at +10 dB S/N and beyond. Many other stations in the Midwest reported similarly huge signals. These are the nights for making QSO’s.
Mike, WA3TTS, sent the following comments about his overnight experience on the path to VE7 and KH6:
So as one can surmise, WSPR activity was very high during the evening and the WSPRnet server was working quite well which indicates that someone did some work on the system. Fortunately the recent outages have not irreparably damaged the WSPR community and 69 active MF WSPR stations were observed in the late evening in North America. Note that five Part-5 stations in the US were also active but had re-directed their WSPR data to the alternative site for beta testing. Data forwarding has not yet been activated so those stations do not show up on the activity page. No new stations were observed through the session, although N9RU returned after some time away.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-African path.
Trans-Atlantic reports follow:
EA8BVP on the Canary Islands reported EA5DOM during this session:
Eden, ZF1EJ, is a good barometer for North American propagation due to his location and his report suggests a degraded session:
In Alaska Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a very poor session. Even so, he received 57 reports from WH2XCR on KH6. KL7L was designed for receive-only.
In the Pacific, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, experienced a much more optimistic session with reports from JA1NQI-2, JA1PKG/5, KL7L, and as far east as WH2XRR in Maryland. The path to the otherwise degraded Pacific Northwest was also open. Merv’s reports for this session were degraded from previous sessions but the paths were still open.
In Australia, Phil, VK3ELV, received reports from JA1NQI-1 and TNUKJPM (note that some of these spots were from the previous session and not previously reported):
Additional statistics, comments, information, and reports:
Steve, W6SJP/BY, reports that he has found a source for parts to build an E-probe. He will be travelling to HL shortly so hopefully he will experience good noise conditions and transmitting stations will experience good propagation.
Jim, W5EST, provided the following session profile for Dave, WB0VAK:
Dave WB0VAK and Kay WB0VAJ receive 630m in rural southern Minnesota on a TS590. Signal scoop is an off-center-fed OCF Buckmaster 8-band dipole at 55 feet, spreading its wings 260 feet east-west to ends at 6 feet. Their antenna farm sports a 180-foot tower for VHF-UHF repeaters. You can see from the reception profile that the low-noise rural location and good antenna delivered both pre-sunset and post-sunrise decodes from John WG2XKA and John WG2XIQ, and even pre-sunset arrivals from Larry WH2XGP.
Merv’s one-watt WH2XCR on Molokai provides dozens of decodes to Dave and Kay from almost 4000 miles away. The station reception profile spans VE7 to New England and fans out far southward in the US.
Northern path: At WB0VAK, the WH2XGP peak SNRs notably were down about 9dB compared to WG2XIQ SNR. (Median peak-SNR difference over 8 days: 10dB plus 3dB for XGP’s 2x TX power minus 4dB for squared distance ratio adjustment). The calculation suggests that the W/E XGP-wb0vak northern path was ~9 dB worse than the N/S path from XIQ. That’s consistent with XGP-ve4xc ~8dB worse than XXM as we blogged a couple of weeks ago. (It’s also possible antenna patterns favored XIQ and XXM.)
Here’s the whole reception profile:
Jim also notes a significant variability (14.5 dB) in WH2XGP’s signal on January 24. Its possible and likely that Larry was operating at reduced power due to antenna icing, which has been a significant problem this season.
A significant amount of system testing occurred during the evening session in North America for the alternative WSPR reporting system. Good progress was realized and a issue list is being developed in order to ensure that all problems are resolved and features added.
WSPRnet was working well last night and this morning. Data gathering that took 4-hours yesterday only took 10-minutes today. Thank you to whomever fixed the system. It really is important to what we do. It also buys us some time as the programmer of the alternate system works through existing issues. Its believed that without significant intervention, WSPRnet will experience problems again in 2-4 weeks so having a “plan B” is going to be nice as we strive to preserve the WSPR and 630-meter community.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!