…A lot more, in fact. In the past I have talked about the sessions that were so big that I was sure to leave something important out while reporting. This is one of those reports. What’s curious is that there were no trans-Atlantic reports through this session. North American conditions were very strong with many stations achieving positive, persistent S/N levels through the session and some stations seeing all-time highs in those reports. So while “getting across the pond” is still proving a challenge under the current conditions, the band was in very good shape and high activity helped. Jim W5EST, postulated that storms in the south eastern US may have prevented some trans-Atlantic openings to be apparent in the Northeastern US. Jim’s analysis also points out that the high latitude transcontinental path was more impacted compared to previous sessions while the pure north / south path was much better than previous sessions, referencing the paths between WG2XKA in Vermont and WH2XGP in Washington state and WG2XKA and WG2XIQ in Texas. This behavior would certainly be consistent with the high latitude degradation associated with auroral activity, which was present on the event onset. The Space Weather Prediction Center indicates that the initial impact occurred at 0002z. Solar wind exceeded 500 km/s and the K-index spiked to 6. G3 storm levels were forecast but its unclear at this time whether those levels were actually achieved.
I continue to hold on to the idea of ionospheric turbulence creating conditions that might sometimes be favorable for RF propagation. Of course other times and paths, like the high latitude transcontinental path, are degraded by the same activity.
Neil, W0YSE / WG2XSV, operated a JT9 beacon at 1W ERP through the evening, with numerous reports including spots from Toby, VE7CNF, reporting a best S/N of -9 db at 0400z. Toby also reported Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, who was also running JT9 at .5W ERP. Joe’s best report was -12 db S/N through the same period. Joe also completed his first QSO with Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, on JT9. Neil was able to provide a capture of the QSO in addition to reports of other JT9 stations that were QRV through the period:
WSPR activity was very high through the session. 99 MF WSPR stations were reported on the WSPRnet activity page just after 0230z. There were several new or newer stations through the session, including KG5KOG, KF3BH, and KC9LWK participating. I am pleased to report that everyone behaved themselves with band selection and band changes. I could not find widespread outbreak of map pollution in North America through this session. Thank you. Daytime activity was quite good and while I had intended on showcasing some of the other stations that were also active during the day, time got away from me and it was already too dark in the east to get meaningful screen captures that had not been impacted by the effects of impending darkness.
Regional and continental breakdowns follow:
The trans-African path continues to produce spots of Luis, EA5DOM, by Michel, FR5ZX, on Reunion Island.
Luis also posted a message on the RSGB “blacksheep” reflector with additional details about improvements and plans at FR5ZX as we enter 2016:
Strong conditions were present in the Caribbean as well, with solid reports from Roger, ZF1RC, and Eden, ZF1EJ. Roger had reports as far away as WH2XGP and WG2XKA. Eden had reports for Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reported power problems in his region. Fortunately the temperature was only 42F and he had generator power. The power surge left the FET in Laurence’s 630-meter PA dead so he listened through the session. These were all fortunate circumstances before the power outage meant lower noise levels from neighbors through the session that ultimately meant regular reports for WG2XXM and WG2XIQ. I’m sorry for the power outage but thanks for the reports!
Through seemingly heroic efforts, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, is QRV once again. Merv had to build and configure a new machine but it looks like his efforts really paid off, with spots previous reported into the Caribbean, as well as two-way reports into Japan and Australia.
John, VK2XGJ, also sent an early console capture showing the waterfall and hints of Merv’s signal, which is included below:
Mike, WA3TTS/2, sent a screen capture of his efforts to receive Merv’s signal overnight. Mike has a very fine receive installation and works very hard for accomplishments such as these. Mike also included a note, shown below, of some of the level of detail he uses to ensure his system is operating at peak performance. Well done, Mike!
Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, reported two-way conditions through the session with WH2XCR. An examination of the data suggests that on a few occasions, persistent JT9 levels were encountered. Keep an eye on Eric and Merv. You may witness history with a VERY long two-way JT9 QSO in the very near future.
In Australia, Phil, VK2ELV, has a very strong session with the previous reports with WH2XCR, in addition to reports at JA1NQI-1:
Other anecdotes, comments, and statistics follow (Note: If I am going to accidentally exclude content, it probably belongs in this section so please let me know if any information was neglected):
Toby, VE7CNF, reports that he heard 8 stations and was reported by 32 unique stations, including two new stations for VE7CNF: KE7A and W3PM.
Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, reports that his best DX for the evening was Andy, KU4XR, at 3521 km while running .5-watts ERP.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reports very strong conditions through the session that not only yielded a first time QSO for WI2XBQ, but also decodes of 11 stations and being decoded by 50.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he was reported by 51. Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, corrected that total to 55 during his morning analysis of the overnight statistics.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported 22 unique reporting stations through the session, including KL7 and KH6. Neil also had a report of his JT9 signal from Rudy, N6LF / WD2XSH/20, at -4 db S/N that was not previously reported.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported very strong conditions in Vermont, with 16 decodes on a single cycle following one two-minute transmit period. John also reports heavy rain in his area with waterlogged trees, yet he still managed over 1000 spots through the 18-hour transmitting period.
Steve, VE7SL, has been doing some work with John, VE7BDQ, to determine just how much better WSJTx is compared to other flavors of WSPR decoder currently on the air. Through the previous few sessions, Steve has had very strong decodes of my signal in Texas, a feat uncommon due to the number of big signals that may be resulting in receiver de-sense. At the moment its unclear whether the decoder is “that much better” than previous or if the strong propagation is skewing the data.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported that Steve, VE7SL, decoded 13 stations through the session, with many others decoding 11 or 12. WH2XCR had 11, which included VK and JA. Doug also reports, “56 unique stations decoded XIQ, with XXM (55), and XGP (53). In the east XJM and XZO were decoded by 44.” and also posits the question, “How does NA compare with EU? Unique decodes for EA5DOM was 59, and 56 for G8HUH. DL-SWL decoded 24 unique stations.”
Finally, Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, sent a report for Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, who is having remarkable success in the desert with just 40-watts TPO:
So who knew you could have so much activity and no trans-Atlantic reports?
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!