Last night’s session saw a bit of a slow start here in Texas but was generally pretty good if you could overlook the variability in signal levels from one transmission to the next. The geomagnetic field reached storms levels during the overnight as the Kp index reached 5. Solar wind sustained levels near 550 km/s. The Bz component was variable and is currently northerly as I develop this report.
Variability seemed high after the good conditions reported in some parts of the northern tier of states in the previous session. John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, indicates high variability from his station in Vermont while being reported by Rudy, N6LF / WD2XSH/20, in Oregon for the first time. John notes that numerous “bogus” call signs were generated which is often a sign of very strong signal levels. Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, indicates that the path to the Pacific Northwest was severely degraded compared to previous sessions, with a 52:1 spot ratio for WH2XXP in Arizona compared to WH2XGP in Washington state. Doug notes that these reports were made with the HI-Z 160-meter vertical array which is not optimal at 630-meters. Similar tests with his receive loop were about 3-db better, where the radio WH2XXP:WH2XGP yielded 49:5. Doug also reports that the path to the west was generally poorer than normal except for the path to KH6 where Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, was both sending and receiving at near record levels to WH2XZO in South Carolina. Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reports average conditions in Washington state, which is interesting due to his high latitude and the disturbed conditions. Larry also reports that he had to shut down early due to ice on the antenna.
Significant JT9 activity continues in the Europe. For those wondering about the frequency to use for JT9, 474.2 kHz is the dial frequency used, just as with WSPR. The carrier frequencies are typically 1000-1350 Hz above the dial, residing just outside of the WSPR passband. I have seen reports of many stations moving to different frequencies within the band and that is just not necessary and can result in dilution of the traffic since only a finite piece of spectrum can be watched by most at any given time. I hope this activity continues as we lead up to Friday night’s MF QSO Party.
Mitch, VE3OT, was active once again as “MP” with QRSS6 on 475 kHz through the session. He was observed here in Texas very early once again but by 0400z had mostly disappeared, presumably due to disturbed magnetic conditions. Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, noted around 0400z that the signal was no longer visible in Vancouver, Washington.
Daytime activity through the session was marginal at best. Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, sent a report of WG2XIQ that failed to upload. While there were sporadic reports through the daylight, the activity did not represent levels sufficient for a skywave QSO. Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, was also present through the daylight hours but no statistics were recorded for his operation.
WSPR station activity was in the mid-80’s during the North American evening as reported on the WSPRnet activity page. Overnight map pollution returned due to a station in the San Francisco bay area that executed a poor band change. VE2NNX was also reported by some as being new but I think he has reported before in the past and made a return last night. Julie, AC0WN / WH2XZM, made a return to receiving WSPR during this session as well. Welcome Aboard!
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
Trans-Atlantic activity has increased some with reports by WD2XSH/17 of DH5RAE, DL3ARM, and G8HUH.
EA8/LA3JJ reported G8HUH during this session:
Michel, FR5ZX, provided several reports for Spiros, SV8CS, on the trans-African path through this session A few reports were at or near JT9 levels.
The Caribbean seemed to be less impacted through this session by geomagnetic activity, with strong reports for the US and KH6.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was once again in receive-only mode, hearing the Pacific and Pacific Northwest.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had a strong session with over 750 spots. As noted earlier by Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, the path to KH6 was curiously strong in spite of other paths that were degraded. Merv was reported by JA1NQI-1, JH1INM, and VK2XGJ in addition to KL7L and stations on the mainland of North America.
Other anecdotes, comments, statistics or information from this session:
One of our newest receiving stations, Frank, K2NCC, sent this nice You tube video of his TitanSDR with WSJTx. In the final two minutes, you can see the giant signal of Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, and hear his CW ID. Thanks for sharing Frank!
The Press Release for the 630-meter Midwinter Activity Weekend has been submitted to the ARRL and is shown below. Please put these dates on your calendar and plan on participating!
MIDWINTER 630-METER ACTIVITY WEEKEND
Join American and Canadian amateurs and experimental stations in the First Annual Midwinter 630m Activity Weekend, February 6, 2016, starting at 0000z and running through 2359z, February 7, 2016. This event is being undertaken because of the new and quickly growing interest in present 630m activities, both in the USA and Canada. Much of the U.S. interest is in response to the strong likelihood of US amateurs receiving access to the band in the near future, while Canadian hams are eager to learn more about the present level of amateur activities on their newest ham band.
These two activity nights will give interested amateurs in both countries, an opportunity to see, first-hand, what is happening and indeed, through the cross-band activity with Canadian amateurs, to take part in activity in the MF spectrum. Our hope is to see this activity become an annual operating event, to be held very winter on the 630m band.
For those of you that may be building for future 630m operation, this event will provide an opportunity to test your ‘receive’ capabilities on MF.
Operation will be from 472kHz – 479kHz in various modes. The two-way crossband work will be undertaken by the following Canadian stations, all on CW. Canadians will operate following the schedule shown below and will listen for callers on the specific ‘QSX’ frequencies indicated:
Station: VO1NA (Joe) GN37 Torbay, Newfoundland
Time: 2130Z – 0130Z both Friday night (Feb 5 – 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 6 – 7Z) plus QRSS3 / 12 WPM Beacon from 0130 – 1000Z
TX Frequency: 477.7 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3562 kHz
Station: VE7SL (Steve) CN88 Mayne Island, B.C.
Time: 0200Z – 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 473.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3566 / 7066 kHz
Station: VE7BDQ (John) CN89 Delta, B.C.
Time: 0330Z – 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 474.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3555 kHz
Station: VA7MM (Mark) CN89 Coquitlam, B.C.
Time: 0500Z – 0700Z Friday night (Feb 6Z)
0400Z – 0800Z Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 475.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 1801 kHz / 3574 kHz / 7062 kHz
Station: VE7CNF (Toby) CN89 Burnaby, B.C.
Time: 0300Z – 0700Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 476.5 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 1836 kHz / 3558 kHz / 7031 kHz
Station: VE3OT (Mitch) EN92 London, ON.
Time: 0000Z – 0400Z both Friday night (Feb 6Z) / Saturday night (Feb 7Z)
TX Frequency: 477.0 kHz
RX (QSX) Frequency: 3563 kHz / 7058 kHz
In addition, there will be a large number of U.S. ‘experimental’ stations in operation throughout the band, in two-way QSO mode with each other, using CW, PSK-31, JT-9 and QRSS modes. Some stations will also be in WSPR and QRSS CW beacon modes.
The success of this event largely depends upon the participation of as many amateurs as possible. We hope that you can find a few hours to participate in this unique midwinter event.
Reception reports can be submitted via email to their respective operators or via 500kc.com.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!