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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR but will be QRV on CW somewhere between 472.5 kHz and 475 kHz after dark

SCHEDULED ACTIVITY: CQ 474.5 kHz CW by 1030z through sunrise most days, WX permitting

Cautiously optimistic start to session resulted in a great night; WH2XGP reported by VK2XGJ; CW levels between WG2XJM in PA and WH2XCR in KH6; Low latitude trans-Atlantic; ZF1EJ reports VE1CNF, WH2XCR; ‘MP’ QRSS returns

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

Last night represented a quite remarkable turnaround in band conditions on 630-meters in spite of continued southerly Bz and solar wind.  The early evening in North America suggested that we might be in for a good session with strong, early reports from stations in the east in spite of the blizzard that was under way.  Noise levels here in Texas were as low as they have been all season, S0 to S1 on the transmit vertical, where signals would simply jump out of the noise.  Jim, W5EST, noted that my signal ramped up 12dB between 2258z – 2310z where it plateaued prior to sunset at 2327z  in Little Rock, Arkansas.  David, WB0VAK, in Minnesota reported my signal at persistent +5 dB S/N to +11 dB S/N through the evening which resulted in an email from me to determine if he had narrowed his bandwidth, decreasing noise and increasing my relative signal.  He had not so the path to the North from Texas was strong and stable.  Similar reports came from W9HLY who reported persistent positive S/N numbers, with the best that I observed at +7 dB S/N.  The North and South path appeared to be quite strong all night long.

The geomagnetic field was quiet to unsettled through this session.  Solar wind during the evening in North America was noted near 500 km/s with a south-pointing Bz.  This morning the solar wind persists after a number of spikes overnight but the Bz has stabilized.

planetary-k-index 012316

Kyoto DST 012316

Kyoto DST for January 2016


Australia DST 012316

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont noted that his conditions were average to slightly above average with a few exchanges after 0500z with Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, on the high-latitude transcontinental path.  John notes that the path to the Midwest appeared to be “dead” but this may be a combination of blizzard conditions in the Midwest, limiting on-air activity, and WSPRnet problems or it could be a very real degradation of the path to those areas.

WG2XKA 012316

WG2XKA 24-hour WSPR activity

Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, noted strong QSB on the East / West transcontinental path where Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, went from -9 dB S/N to -28 dB S/N.  This behavior is consistent with some of the reports observed of the same path to Larry by John in Vermont.  A little later, Eric indicated that the path to Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, was quite open with -11 dB S/N CW-levels reported in both directions.  Merv notes that he missed Eric’s comments about the quality of band in the ON4KST chat/logger by about 15 minutes.  An examination of this data shows that this was a very narrow window but probably could have yielded what would have been the longest CW QSO on 630-meters to date.  Next time!

WH2XCR WG2XJM 012316

WH2XCR, as reported by WG2XJM. Note the time frame around 0852z.


WG2XJM WH2XCR 012316

WG2XJM, as reported by WH2XCR. Note the time frame around 0850z.


Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported very good propagation in South Carolina, in spite of icing conditions that forced him to operate as receive-only through the session.  Doug reports that the WH2XXP / WH2XGP band quality ratio was observed for the first time this month at the optimal 2:1 ratio, with 50 decodes for WH2XXP and 23 decodes for WH2XGP at WH2XZO.  Doug also notes that VE7CNF was decoded for what he believes to be the first time, using the loop under the K4LY call sign.  The band quality ratio was observed using the transmit vertical since WH2XZO was not transmitting during this session.  Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, points out that a ratio like this can be misleading because WH2XXP runs 50% transmit cycle, while WH2XGP is running 25% or less.  Also spotlight propagation can skew the numbers drastically.  My takeaway is that when Doug sees the ratio approach 2:1, regardless of variables like transmit frequency, the opening is better.  This thinking may not always work but after seeing his numbers over the past few months while including the data in these reports, the logic seems to work “OK”.

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, indicates that the band was very strong overnight in Washington state, with reports by Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, at -8 dB S/N at 0512z, and +11 dB S/N at WI2XBV.  Larry noted this morning that his signal was decoded by John, VK2XGJ, but that reports were showing up as being on 2200-meters which suggests a band selection error by John.  The spot is shown on VK2XGJ’s WSPR console shown below on the entry for Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, who was also reported by John this morning.

It was not all WSPR through this session, as VE3OT’s ‘MP’ returned to operation on 475 kHz.  The QRSS signal was audible here in Texas and reported as very strong by John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont and Larry, W7IUV /  WH2XGP, in Washington state.  Additionally, Warren, K2ORS / WH2XIL, reported that he would be operating a CW beacon at 7 WPM on 461 kHz.  I never heard him here in Texas and I have seen no reception reports on any of the e-mail reflectors.

In spite of all of the recent WSPRnet problems, WSPR activity was strong.  No new stations were observed through the session but a number of recently returning stations were observed in addition to a number of operators that appeared to be braving the blizzard conditions in the east.  Jim, W5EST, noted that his attic receive antenna saw 10 dB of attenuation on signals from Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, due to 3-inches of snow of his roof in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

NA 012316

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


EU 012316

European 24-hour WSPR activity


JA 012316

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


VK 012316

Australian 24-hour WSPR activity

There were no trans-African reports during this session.

Trans-Atlantic activity was limited to the lower latitudes, with three reports by AA1A of EA5DOM:

EA5DOM AA1A 012316

EA5DOM, as reported by AA1A


EA8BVP reported DK7FC and EA5DOM from the Canary Islands:

EA8BVP 012316

EA8BVP 24-hour WSPR activity


DK7FC EA8BVP 012316

DK7FC, as reported by EA8BVP


EA5DOM EA8BVP 012316

EA5DOM, as reported by EA8BVP

Eden, ZF1EJ, had a briefly open path to WH2XCR and notes that due to a WSPRnet outage, two reports for VE7CNF were not documented in the WSPR database during the session.

ZF1EJ 012316

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity (Not pictured: Spots for VE7CNF)


WH2XCR ZF1EJ 012316

WH2XCR, as reported by ZF1EJ


In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had a better night for reports in spite of continued attenuation.  KL7L was once again designated for receive-only.

WE2XPQ 012316

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


KL7L 012316

KL7L 24-hour WSPR activity


WE2XPQ WH2XCR 012316

WE2XPQ, as reported by WH2XCR


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had reports from JA1NQI-1 JH3XCU, and KL7L in addition to a very strong showing on the mainland US and North America.  John, VK2XGJ, also reported Merv (and Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP) but a band setting error resulted in spots listed under 2200-meters.  His console is appended below.  The concentration of signals in the east is interesting, following very closely a North and South  boundary.  There were no reports at WG2XKA in Vermont in spite of the previous reported transcontinental opening to the Pacific Northwest.

WH2XCR 012316

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


WH2XCR JH3XCU 012316

WH2XCR, as reported by JH3XCU


WH2XCR JA1NQI1 012316

WH2XCR, as reported by JA1NQI-1


WH2XCR KL7L 012316

WH2XCR, as reported by KL7L


VK2GGJ console shots with XGP and XCR spots

VK2XGJ WSPR console with spots for WH2XCR and WH2XGP. Note that the band is in error. These reports were on 630-meters.


Mike, WA3TTS, had the following excerpted comments about his reception reports for Merv:

“Eight decodes from XCR last night. New Xonar U7 USB sound card arrived the other day to replace the prior/failed U7….
0724  -29  -0.8    0.475749    0   WH2XCR        BL11     30   4603
0740  -24  -0.9    0.475749    0   WH2XCR        BL11     30   4603
0744  -26  -0.9    0.475749    0   WH2XCR        BL11     30   4603
0812  -24  -0.9    0.475749    0   WH2XCR        BL11     30   4603
0816  -24  -0.8    0.475748    0   WH2XCR        BL11     30   4603
0844  -27  -0.8    0.475749    0   WH2XCR        BL11     30   4603
0848  -31  -0.9    0.475749    0   WH2XCR        BL11     30   4603
0934  -28  -0.8    0.475748    0   WH2XCR        BL11     30   4603
I went back to the NW EWE antenna heading versus phased NW and SW EWE antennas which give an E ~ W pattern. Lower noise on the NW EWE even though XCR is down a few dB on main antenna lobe versus a West antenna heading….”



In Australia Phil, VK3ELV, had reports from JH3XCU.

VK3ELV 012316

VK3ELV 24-hour WSPR activity


VK3ELV JH3XCU 012316

VK3ELV, as reported by JH3XCU


Other information, anecdotes, statistics or comments:

Jim, W5EST, provides us with this discussion of estimating ERP remotely:


Can you roughly estimate the EIRP of a remote 630m transmitting (TX) station x?  I say yes, but with a couple of points of hesitation: First, that the method yields only a very rough estimate. Second, it relies on WSPR SNR, and WSPR database server access level is suffering just now. That said, here’s an estimation method that I designate EIRPRX.

Use the WSPR database “Sort By: SNR” feature to compare the peak WSPR SNR of 630m TX station x with peak SNR of some leading 630m TX stations i at each of a few receiving stations j over a few days k. Confine the method to 630m 1-hop paths beyond ground wave range, between about 500km to 2500km (300-1500 miles for paths xj and ij). Use the peak nighttime SNR from the decode data obtained at each receiving station j receiving at least 30 decodes per night from each TX in a pair of TX x and TX i. That way, the ionosphere and possible multipath are most favorable to each TX station.

Calculate individual EIRP dBm estimates for station x you’re studying by adjusting the dBm EIRP of those leading stations i using great circle distances and the peak WSPR SNRs. RX station decodes in the WSPR database include dBm EIRP as sent by each TX station as well as those distances.

One hypothetical calculation: 5 watt TX station i has peak SNR -3dB at RX station j 1800km away. TX station x peak SNR that same night: -6dB at 1200km  from RX j.  This individual EIRP dBm estimate comes out 30.5dBm because

 37dBm -6dB -(-3dB) + 10 log10[(1200/1800)2] = 30.5dBm.

Next, take the median of all the widely varying EIRP dBm estimates you get for station x. The median is the middle value in a list of those individual dBm estimates in order of size.  That median result gives an overall approximate estimate of EIRPRX dBm for station x.

Remember EIRPRX is only a rough estimate.  So be alert to SNR data from more nights and to other data obtained by more accurate and official methods of calculation that the operator of station x can perform locally.

*Formula: EIRPRX(dBm) = MEDIAN{ Pik + (Sxjk – Sijk) + 10 log10[(dxj / dij)2] }


Pik is EIRP dBm of TX station i on night k.

Sxjk and Sijk are the peak WSPR SNR reported by RX station j on night k for TX station x and the peak WSPR SNR for the TX station i on which EIRPRX is being determined.

— dxj and dij are the kilometer distances on WSPR database from TX station x and TX station i sending to RX station j.  The power adjustment assumes an inverse square law of distances.

MEDIAN means the median EIRP of all distance-adjusted EIRP values computed for TX station x based on SNRs for TX stations x and i reported by all the RX stations j on nights k.

*Note: Formula EIRPRX controls for RX station differences but still is only approximate because propagation and elevation angles for antenna gain purposes will differ among paths xj and ij.”


Winston, KJ6ICA, posted a screen shot of the map rendering of data in new WSPRnet alternative system being developed.  Joe, NU6O / WI2XBQ, reports that spots are pushed to the system in real time rather than bulk uploads.  We are all anxiously awaiting the chance to take this new system for a test drive.

new mapview 012316

Test shot of the map rendering of data on the system being developed by KJ6ICA


Steve, W6SJP, in Beijing continues to work on his noise problems.  He reports that he will be listening from South Korea shortly while there on business.  Its always possible that his accommodations will yield a lower noise level and he will certainly be closer to salt water.

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