Radio: it's not just a hobby, it's a way of life

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

QRT but I'll be back tonight, WX permitting

SCHEDULED ACTIVITY: CQ 474.5 kHz CW by 1000z through sunrise most days, WX permitting

Band conditions attempt recovery after recent storms as aurora persists in the north, WH2XCR path to JA1NQI-2 opens again, No trans-Atlantic, trans-Africa to report

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

Overnight conditions here in Texas were pretty good with reports only slightly deteriorated from the normal levels.  There were fewer reports from WH2XCR on KH6 at CW levels and higher latitude stations seemed to have the most reduction in reported levels.  Similar to yesterday, Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, indicates this morning that the southerly path across the US to the west was still very strong, with his station decoding Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, in Arizona 50 times, and receiving reports from 38 unique stations.  He also decoded Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, once so perhaps the quieter conditions are starting to prevail once again.

The geomagnetic field showed generally quiet conditions.  Solar wind was in excess of 550 km/s through the North American overnight period but has calmed to just under 500 km/s as this report is being developed.

planetary-k-index 121615

The Kyoto DST continues to show seriously impacted geomagnetic conditions but is trending closer to 0 nT.

Kyoto DST 121615

Kyoto DST for December 2015


The Australian DST also shows seriously degraded geomagnetic conditions through the session with the likely result  being degraded paths near the region.

Australia DST 121615

There has been a lot of discussion on the ON4KST chat/logger and in private emails about the mechanisms that have effects on propagation at these frequencies.  I tend to put a lot of weight in the state of the geomagnetic field based on my personal operating experience on 160-meters.  If the Bz is pointing south, my experience has been that, in general, RF moving in the direction of the poles is going to have a hard time while lateral paths tend to show the most success.  Whether there is any real validity to this on 630-meters is for someone else to decide.   Most recently the ideas of terrestrial weather and its impact above and beyond noise floor increases have come into play with support on both sides.  These ideas seem to be more prevalent with the VHF community but Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, has on many occasions related the variations on 160-meters that occur as frontal boundaries approach and move through the Hawaiian islands.  As with my feelings about the geomagnetic field, its anyone guess how those ideas track on 630-meters.  There has been a lot of good discussion, that is certain.

WSPR activity dominated the session once again, with 72 active MF stations reported on the WSPRnet activity page in spite of the continued degraded performance of the site.  KC1ANM was reported as a new station by Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM.  There were daytime reports either due to inactivity or poor sky wave conditions.

Regional and / or continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

NA 121615

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


EU 121615

European 24-hour WSPR activity


VK 121615

Australian 24-hour WSPR activity


JA 121615

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


Referencing this last shot of the Japanese WSPR activity, if there is a station in contact with JH6LAV located in the Fukuoka prefecture, please confirm that he is listening on the correct frequency.  He is reporting the old, 600-meter frequency of 503.9 kHz.  It may explain his lack of reports in spite of many signals that might be possible for his station to decode.

There were no trans-Atlantic or trans-African reports through this session.

EA8BVP continues to be active from Canary islands, reporting DK7FC and EA5DOM.  Its curious that other stations in Europe are not reported.  Is this the result of noise problems or something else?  S/N reports are wide ranging from the negative mid-teens through the detection limit.

EA8BVP 121615

EA8BVP 24-hour WSPR activity


Caribbean reports continue from Eden, ZF1EJ.  Note the lack of reports from the north eastern US, which may be a result of the deteriorated geomagnetic conditions or possibly local terrestrial weather.  I suspect activity in the Caribbean and US will see a significant increase once Eden and Roger, ZF1RC, are on the air making their own transmissions.

ZF1EJ 121615

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, operated two different receive configurations and subsequently two different instances of the WSPR software through this session.  The auroral activity has made a major impact to his operations, with no receptions by WE2XPQ/1 and only reception reports by WH2XCR and VE7BDQ.  It was a tough night but still better than nothing at all, which has happened recently.

WE2XPQ 121615

WE2XQP 24-hour WSPR activity


In the Pacific, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had a very strong session, with reports into NO3M / WG2XJM in western Pennsylvania and JA1NQI-2.  There has been  a bit of a “dry spell” recently on the path to Japan so its nice to see those reports again.

WH2XCR 121615

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


WH2XCR JA1NQI2 121615

WH2XCR, as reported by JA1NQI-2


Other anecdotes, reports, and statistics:

This morning’s CQ session on 474.5 kHz CW yielded my daily, perhaps now turned weekly, sked with Steve, KF5RYI / WG2XIQ/1, across town.  Bill, N3CXV / WH2XRR, reported that I was RST 559 at 1130z, just prior to the start of my sked.  I returned to WSPR at 1204z.

Paul, W0RW / WA2XRM, had the following post in the 600-meter research group reflector:

WG2XIQ WA2XRM 121615

Of course my call sign was a typo, WG2XIQ, not WA2XIQ, but there is a good point to be illustrated here.   Part 5.115(a) requires experimental stations to identify at least every 30-minutes but why wait for 30-minutes to elapse?  Digital modes, like WSPR, have facilities in place to identify after each transmit cycle, which is very helpful for passers-by that may not have any knowledge of WSPR or the associated software necessary for decoding a WSPR signal.  All they hear is a carrier which could be nothing more than a switching power supply.  Having received numerous emails from people who were “just passing through” and heard my CW ID at the end of each 2-minute cycle, it seems worth it as we continue to educate and grow this sub-discipline.  Please consider setting your WSPR ID for each transmit cycle.

Paul also emailed some instructions on setting up the Elecraft K3 for 630- and 2200-meters:

WA2XRM K3 121615

With the mention of Part-5 grants, the FCC continues to issue them, with Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, being issued his 630-meter grant just last week with a one month turn around time.  I have details on how to prepare to file a grant here and recommend that if you want to practice filing your grant before doing so on the real ELS system, there are instructions here for using the practice system.  Its usually poor form to start an application in the live system if you are not prepared to finish it within a single session.  Make sure you have everything you need, including time, to file the application.

Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc?  Send me a message on the Contact page!