I can just about turn on autopilot with this report as band conditions were very similar to the previous session. Here in Texas, the noise level remains at S0 while listening on the transmit vertical. This behavior is normally only observed here in December and by now noise levels tend to rise. Since we had noisier conditions through much of December I do hope that these quiet conditions persist. It has been an uncharacteristically stormy Fall/ early Winter for both terrestrial and solar weather.
The geomagnetic field was quiet through the session with the Bz component remaining at or near 0 nT through the session. As I write this report, the Bz is reported at -1 nT. Solar wind was moderate, remaining mostly in the mid-450 km/s range through the session. A glancing blow from a CME that is not considered earth directed may result in a geomagnetic storm in the next 48 hours according to Solarham.net.
Propagation was interesting during the evening. Signals were strong but quite variable where a path might yield positive S/N numbers one minute only to be significantly decreased, even near the detection limit on the next transmission. In some cases, server load issues may be creating a false sense of variable propagation if uploads are not occurring properly. This appears to be a bit of a problem again.
Ken, SWL/K9, in Indiana reported WG2XIQ at +9 db S/N, which is an all-time high report at Ken’s station. Similarly, the other Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, was reported at +20 db S/N by NO3M / WG2XJM in Western Pennsylvania. WG2XIQ appears to have similarly registered at +10 db or +11 db S/N on that path to Pennsylvania last night as well. The Midwest has had curiously strong reporting this season. I suspect its due to population centers and high population densities but one would also expect this to have an impact on noise in the way of increased noise levels which does not seem to necessarily be the case based on reports. Perhaps signals are “just that strong”.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported that he had to transition to receive-only at 0000z due to high winds and freezing conditions that were upsetting his antenna match. John indicates that Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP and WG2XIQ were consistently reported at his station through the session. I suspect the path would have been reciprocal had John been able to transmit. Larry reported that he was spotted 43 times but only heard seven at his station in Washington state.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, indicates that the high latitude path to WH2XGP was less favorable than the previous session. Doug reports seven spots for WH2XGP with 95 for WH2XXP. These conditions are very interesting as WH2XGP was at typical levels here in Texas with a very late spot of Larry’s signal at 1408z. I think Doug and I and relatively close in latitude but it seems a little more than 850 miles in distance is having a significant effect.
WSPR activity was high, as usual. 83 MF WSPR stations were observed at one point during the evening, as reported on the WSPRnet activity page. N9BHD in Chicago was the only new station in North America observed through this session. Welcome aboard. There are no daytime reports from this session due to scheduling issues with the data gathering.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
The trans-Atlantic path yielded reports for DK7FC by WD2XSH/17:
EA8 was well represented with two stations receiving through this session:
The trans-African path remains active with Michel, FR5ZX, reporting two European stations through the session in addition to his own reports from FR5DN as he tests his transmitter and antenna.
In the Caribbean, Roger, ZF1RC, had a strong night and reports that his setup for the session was the FTdx5000 and InLogis loop using WSPR-X as the decoder. Roger indicates that the software crashes subsided when he removed the “/2” designator from the WSPR-X instance and had no problems overnight. He also ran WSJTx in parallel but chose not to upload those data point to avoid confusion, but reports that the software is approximately 1 db better than WSPR-X in this configuration. Roger reports that he is working to improve his noise situation which seems to yield about 5db worse S/N reports compared to Eden, ZF1EJ.
Eden, ZF1EJ, also had a strong session, reporting Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR in addition to mainland North American stations.
In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, reports that conditions were extremely poor with low S/N levels and decodes. He also ran a separate receive only station under KL7L that did not yield many reports.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, has another strong session from the Pacific with reports from VK and JA. John, VK2XGJ, sent a note regarding the extremely early report at his station at 0928z. This path never ceases to amaze and I hope the opportunity exists for a high power station in southern California to come on line and test the bounds of this path from the lower latitudes on the mainland US.
Phil, VK3ELV, has a report from JA1NQI-1 late from the previous session:
Other statistics, anecdotes, comments, announcements or analysis follow:
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, indicates that he decoded 9 stations and was reported by 46 unique stations.
N6IO/M was active during the early evening portions of this session, reporting WH2XZO and WH2XXC. If you have any details on this operation, we would be interested in hearing them.
On January 8 starting at 2000z,there will be a MF digital mode QSO party in Europe. I have no details about the stop time but I presume it will continue until stations run out of stations to work or propagation stops cooperating. It seems modes will be JT9 and WSQ2. Details are coming from the RSBG-LF reflector. It might be wise for North American stations to start an instance of WSQ2 and WSJTx and monitor. This is really what many of us have been waiting for – station making two-way QSO’s. Perhaps trans-Atlantic propagation will cooperate and allow a few stations in North America to decode some of the activity.
The 1100z CQ sessions on 474.5 kHz CW have resumed at WG2XIQ as the normal routine resumes. This morning’s yielded only my morning sked with Steve, KF5RYI / WG2XIQ/1. I returned to WSPR at 1200z for the daytime session.
Jim, W5EST, had the follow comments and analysis:
“Many N.Am. paths offered peak SNRs at 2 week highs or within 2dB of them.
Tstorms in the Melbourne area reduced SNRs of 1 watt XCR into vk2xgj into deep -20s. JA was clear of storms and VK3ELV’s 5 watts tickled the decoders at TNUKJPM & JA1NQI-1 at -25dB/-31dB 1628z/1710z respectively.
It’s intriguing how the weak summer-to-winter VK-Japan spots cluster in path wee hours almost to VK local sunrise right now. By contrast, the similar-length Hawaii-to-E. VK cross-equator path is running 5-plus hours centered around midpath midnight. And the shorter, stronger Hawaii-Japan winter path over the North Pacific offers an opportune 4 hours of WSPR spots likewise centered about midpath midnight.”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!