It was a very quiet night for terrestrial weather in North America and while it seemed that the band took a while to really come into its own, domestic openings became more numerous as the evening progressed, some with very strong signals. Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, noted after his sunset that the band did not seem very good but stated this morning that the band turn out to be pretty good, hearing eight stations and being decoded by 39, including VE3CIQ and W8RUT which were new decode stations for Larry. The trans-continental path appeared to be very good as Larry also noted that Brian, W1IR / WG2XPJ, was decoded for the first time. Mike, WA3TTS, near Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania posted the following really amazing 5 mW decode of VE7CNF:
Confirmation of this report is ongoing.
Mike also mentioned the path to Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, and the lack of decodes. I noticed a lack of decodes from Merv as well and Larry mentioned that Merv’s numbers were down but it may have been the result of his operation in the CQ 160-meter CW contest that resulted in limited operation on 630-meters during this session. Curiously, WB0VAK, in Minnesota reported Merv’s signal so this suggests to me that the higher latitude path may have been better equipped through the session to support propagation.
The geomagnetic field was generally quiet through the session but increased activity was observed near the end of the session as the Bz began to turn to the south. Solar wind was elevated from its previous velocity but remains near 280 km/s as this report is being developed.
VE3OT’s ‘MP’ QRSS beacon on 475 kHz was not visible during this session and as reported on LOWFER, his operation time was limited. Its my suspicion that Mitch is trying to save his finals for next weekend’s special event.
Over the past few sessions I have observed reception reports of WD2XSH/15 during the day. Historically this has never happened. This should be an easy path, however, as this station is only located a few hundred miles away but this signal is normally only decoded after dark. Below is a small sample of reports taken from my WSPR console during the session since WSPRNet access is not good at this time.
HAMWSPR, the alternative upload solution, yielded the following reports for this session. The redirect address for the hosts file has not been publicly released as far as I know but interested users can inquire about how to redirect data in the ON4KST chat/logger. Note that data sent to the new address is forwarded to WSPRNet when the site is up and the hope of this new system is to reduce the bottleneck that occurs when WSPRNet is down. Development of this alternative system is on going. I am not the owner of this system, only an interested user. Below are some screen captures for North America and Europe:
WSPR activity worldwide was relatively high for a low band contest weekend. 72 MF WSPR stations were observed at 0200z on the WSPRnet activity page.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-African or trans-Atlantic path during this session. EA8BVP was present from the Canary Islands but there were no reports listed in the WSPRnet database.
Halldor, TF3HZ, reported seven European stations during the session.
Eden, ZF1EJ, had a best DX report for the session of WH2XGP, in addition to reports in the southern US. WG2XKA was QRT for this session so the lack of reports from the north eastern US should not be perceived as a closed path.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was transmitting during this session once again with reports in Hawaii and along the west coast. KL7L was once again designated as receive-only.
In the Pacific Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, appeared to operate a limited schedule through this session, presumably due to the CQ 160-meter CW contest.
Additional anecdotes, comments, information or statistics:
Jim, W5EST, presents part two of his discussion on 630-meter propagation:
“VIEWPOINT: ESTIMATE PROPAGATION POTENTIAL (2nd of a multi-part series.)
Okay, so let’s get started on a method to actually estimate propagation. I’ll do a play on words by combining phrases “propagation ability” with “potential difference” of voltages in an electric circuit.
Propagation potential difference (“prop potential” for short) here means the relative ability measured in dB of two TX stations to deliver SNR to a given same RX station after adjusting for TX powers, path distances, and possible multihop. Prop potential doesn’t compare stations. Instead it compares paths between different pairs of stations.
This weird concept of prop potential resembles a voltage difference between different points on a circuit schematic but doing a difference on different paths between stations. Moreover, a path not only has geographic placement but also the prop potential can depend on the path direction.
A formula for prop potential should only use info that WSPR client software generates at RX stations. Finding prop potential is a little bit like surveying–you lay out numbers on paths using some baseline as a reference. Here the baseline path is the path between two preselected stations who operate their equipment most nights.
Prop potential of some path between stations anywhere else on the globe provides a dB number relative to the baseline path. Measuring prop potential for a signal path relative to the baseline is like measuring voltage relative to ground in a circuit. Prop potential difference between any other two paths is the difference of their prop potentials.
For 630m I propose a formula using the symbol VP for prop potential based on SNRs S, and TX powers P in dBm and distances d in kilometers. They depend on which TX stations x and i send to RX station j on day k.
Already in the January 17 blog, the VE4XC reception profile compared the northern path XGP-ve4xc with the south-north path XXM-ve4xc. The prop potential for that northern path came out -8dB. On Jan. 25, WB0VAK’s profile for XGP-wb0vak and XIQ-wb0vak showed prop potential -9dB.
VP =(Sxjk – Sijk) – (Pxk – Pik) + 10 log10[(dxj / dij)2 + [└dxj /2800┘ – └dij /2800┘] ahop*
NEXT: Part 3 will discuss more how to use this prop potential formula. Another day, Part 4 will compare this method with the ratio method on numbers of WSPR decodes used by Doug WH2XZO, K4LY.”
Wolf, DF2PY, sent some pictures of his breadboarded 630-meter transmitter and said that I could share them here. I really like seeing cobbled together systems using clip leads and point-to-point construction because it gets back to the roots of radio. This system apparently works very well as Wolf has successfully made a number of contacts. Well done!
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!