Trans-Atlantic activity returned in a big way for this session but it only lasted for an hour. This bizarre opening gave reports to many along the east coast of the US, including first time trans-Atlantic reception reports for Rob, K3RWR / WH2XXC, and possibly Ralph, W0RPK, who I am not aware of hearing any Europeans on 630-meter WSPR since moving to the east coast. The Kp indices were persistently reported at 6 and the Bz component was reported to be pointing to the south. Solar wind generally remained below 500 km/s.
As Steve, VE7SL, pointed out this morning in the ON4KST chat/logger, a southerly pointing Bz is usually the “kiss of death”, particularly at high latitudes. From my experience on both 630-meters and 160-meters, its generally not so good down here at the lower latitudes either. Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported deteriorated conditions from his station in Washington state. Jim, W5EST, indicates that S/N reports compared to the previous session were down 4-10 db. What’s curious is that John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont had a very strong two-way path to Europe during the hour-long east -west trans-Atlantic opening, all of which was on a high latitude path. Observations of the auroral oval suggested that these paths should have been compromised if not completed deteriorated. Somehow John and others were able to take advantage of otherwise deteriorating conditions. Perhaps we are seeing a textbook case of a duct that briefly developed as the E and F layers were impacted. The time table seems right for this type of behavior.
Even more curious was the fact that that Dave, WD2XSH/17, who is often the first to report trans-Atlantic activity due to his seaside location, had only one report for DJ0ABR and two for DK7FC. This was a very rare event and seems to add support for a spotlight / duct mode event.
When this event was over, it was over. The band seemed to flatten out and reports appeared to be much poorer until 0800z when conditions stabilized and uncharacteristically high S/N reports were being observed here at WG2XIQ. It was during this time that Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, was reported at my station for the first time since Joe began operating on 630-meters. Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, indicated that higher latitude reports from his station were not as good as the previous session but the lower latitude S/N reports were excellent. The complete dataset for this trans-Atlantic episode will be detailed later in this report.
WSPR dominated this New Year’s eve session with 86 active MF WSPR stations reported on the WSPRnet activity page at 0430z. No new North American stations were observed through this session.
Daytime activity and openings were significant and while I was able to capture reports for myself and WG2XXM, it was too late by the time I began gathering data for WG2XJM and WG2XKA, both of which were already under the influence of approaching darkness. Daytime band conditions yielded a few reports approaching JT9 levels.
Regional and continental breakdowns follow:
The trans-Atlantic report details for the session follow:
The trans-African path also showed results through this session, with Michel, FR5ZX, on Reunion Island reporting DK7FC and EA5DOM:
Eden, ZF1EJ, and Roger, ZF1RC, provided reports from the Caribbean through the session. Eden had two reports for Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR. Roger is examining the difference in reports from his station compared to Eden’s station. Both are located fairly close together and using the same antennas but its possible the noise environment at Roger’s QTH is much more active than that experienced at Eden’s QTH. This is in some ways similar to the divergent reports seen by VE7SL and VE7BDQ who are located quite close to one another but see very different signals on each of their stations.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was in “receive only” mode through this session due to wind damage to the toploading wire of his 630-meter transmit antenna.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had an almost carbon-copy session from the previous.
In Australia, Phil, VK3ELV, had reports from TNUKJPM and JA1NQI-1 in addition to the two-way reports with WH2XCR.
Also notable was an email from Dave, G0MRF, about an upcoming operation:
Note that times are UTC.
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, reminds users of the ON4KST chat/logger that server space and electricity costs money so don’t forget to make a paypal donation to Alain, ON4KST, on the “Menu”. I think it was this time last year that the donation request began posting for operators as they logged into their chat session. $25 is a worthwhile contribution for as much as we use that system. Please consider this if you are able.
I had best intentions to operate ARRL straight key night during the evening on 630-meters but got caught up in the trans-Atlantic drama as well as a few pressing projects. Perhaps I will make a contact before the end of the event as darkness approaches the central US.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!