The arrival of a new CME seems to have made for some interesting instabilities on the band during the day and in the evening in North America. The Space Weather Prediction Center reported a k-index of 6 and during much of the later evening the band appeared to show signs of deteriorating conditions. John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont indicated that conditions were generally flat with only a few trans-continental reports and no trans-Atlantic from his station. Others like Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, in South Carolina reported generally good conditions with high noise levels in addition to poor trans-continental paths to the Pacific Northwest. Doug also indicated that reports from W9RAN, ZF1RC, and ZF1EJ were 1 db better than the previous session. The path to Ward, K7PO / WH2XXP, in Arizona was good, however, suggesting that it was the northern path impacted by increased absorption from the increased geomagnetic activity.
The Kyoto DST site was down as of this report but predicted 96-hour trends from the University of Colorado are presented here:
Daytime conditions were quite interesting leading up to the overnight session in North America. It was a text book example of the “spot light” moving around the continent.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, in Oklahoma indicated at 22:52z in the ON4KST chat/logger that he was hearing WD2XSH/15 in Little Rock, Arkansas for the first time during daylight hours. At 2307z Ken was running JT9 but had no QSO’s from what I am gathering. His signal was strong but being so close to the dinner hour might have impacted his return rate.
Mike, WA3TTS, in Pennsylvania reported that he was hearing WG2XIQ and WG2XXM as early as 2243z while listening on his southwest EWE antenna.
WSPR yielded a number of very strong reports in the early evening here in Texas but the noise level, which tended to periodically spike, made for some difficult periods. Positive and single-digit negative S/N reports were common place during the early evening. Early reports are also noted of Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, in Washington state who was reported at 0248z here in Texas, much earlier than is typical.
Worldwide WSPR activity is reported as follows:
Trans-Atlantic activity was low, probably due to the high latitude path absorption but two stations were reported in North America.
Ed, VP9GE, was listening for over 3-hours during the North American and European evening and overnight, making 64 reception reports. This path was slow to develop from Texas compared to the previous session but eventually opened up. Its always possible that the path was fine and Ed had local noise on or near my frequency. Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reports that Ed is using a stock Yaesu FT1000MP and an untuned 160-meter inverted-L for receive and apparently can request a temporary permit to operate on 630-meters. My hope would be that he will continue to develop his station so two-way reports can be realized in preparation for two-way QSO’s.
In the Indian Ocean, Michel, FR5ZX, continues to report stations from Europe. Jim, W5EST, indicated that the reports started 2-hours earlier than the previous session but its unclear whether Michel was QRV earlier or propagation was significantly different from the previous session.
The count of stations heard on Reunion Island remains at nine. There has been some discussions on the RSGB “Blacksheep” reflector about how the most recent CME will impact this trans-equitorial path. It is believed that this is the first time persistent data has been available during such an event.
Markus, DF6NM, provided a S/N plot of the flurry of trans-equitorial activity during the November 5/6, 2015 session.
In the Caribbean Eden, ZF1EJ, and Roger, ZF1RC, continue to report North American stations. Eden indicated last night that he and Roger have acquired MF Solutions Transmit Downconverters developed by John Molnar and will be building stations so they can join the fun.
Eden made some additional observations and reports during the CW session last night but I will talk about those after the WSPR reports are complete.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was significantly impacted by the most recent CME but was hearing Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, and Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, and also heard by Merv on KH6.
Merv’s reports to and from KH6 were down some compared to the previous session but given the current geomagnetic conditions, perhaps this is not so surprising. Merv was reported 249 times by 11 unique spotters and heard nine stations, including Phil, VK3ELV, in Victoria, Australia.
OK, now to what I would characterize as “The good stuff”. CW activity was very high in the evening. Rudy, N6LF / WD2XSH/20 in Oregon had indicated in the late afternoon that he would be setting up shop on 472 kHz CW for the evening and would be looking for QSO’s in preparation for the special event next weekend. Great – first chance for a CW QSO with Rudy this season on 630-meters. Early evening yielded very strong signals from Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, who was CQing on 474.5 kHz. Doug, WH2XZO, had a QSO with Eric and reported him at 10 db over S9 in South Carolina shortly after dark. Eric was similarly strong here in Texas but he needed to leave the shack for a bit before we could also have a QSO. Eric indicated that he had received yet another SWL report via e-mail from VA3SC in Burlington, Ontario, who indicated that he was RST 579 there. Similarly, Ken, SWL/K9 reported that Eric was easy armchair copy in Indiana.
I called CQ for a bit on 474.5 kHz around 0130z but a late dinner meant that this would be a short lived exercise. Doug indicated that my signal was not quite comfortable copy and below Q5 and his local noise level was up. We made plans to try again later in the evening.
Neil, WG2XSV, indicated that Rudy had begun CQing on 475 kHz and reports were RST 599 both directions. I was hearing Rudy’s CQ, which appeared to be building so I made a few calls to him. He was hearing my signal a bit so I kept calling. Fortunately we were headed for a peak and Rudy was a true RST 589 here at 0346z. Eric, WG2XJM, called next noting that the QSB period was on the order of 8-10 minutes and would soon be heading back up. After a few calls, their QSO was completed. It was clear that the northern trans-continental path was impacted or unstable at best and Eric indicated that Rudy’s signal never really was strong but good enough for a QSO. Larry, WH2XGP, reported that he was hearing Eric at a true 599. This is interesting given the short distance between Rudy and Larry, who are located in Oregon and Washington state, respectively.
After Eric completed his QSO I dropped down to 474.5 kHz and turned on the CQ machine for a bit, calling at 30-second intervals. Eric had dropped down as well and we made our evening QSO, comparing notes about the evening’s propagation as well as some planning for next weekend’s special CW event. We signed after 10 or 15 minutes and Eric moved down to 474 kHz to CQ for a bit. The band was remarkably stable through the QSO and signals were easy, armchair copy, contrary to what we had seen on the paths to the Pacific Northwest moments earlier. Eden, ZF1EJ, reported that he was hearing both of us during the QSO and continued to hear my CQ’s after the QSO had completed, inspite of 20-over-9 noise levels on the island.
I heard a loud station calling me after my first CQ following the completion of the QSO with Eric. It was Larry, WH2XGP, who was remarkably loud in spite of some very noisy conditions that were getting worse as the evening progressed. Larry was an easy RST 579 but we kept it short because it was obvious that the band was about to change again. By the time we had signed, Larry was into the noise. This was only the second CW QSO that Larry and I have completed on 630-meters, the first being sketchy, at best, through generally poor conditions last season.
A quick check of the weather radar indicated that the weather forecasters had missed the mark again and I was going to be QRT for the evening due to rapidly developing and approaching storms. That’s the way it always works out when conditions seem pretty good, or interesting at the very least.
Rudy and I received a nice note this morning from Dr. Fritz Raab, W1FR, the director of the ARRL’s 600-meter research group , who recently relocated to Iowa from Vermont and was testing his receive system. He had heard my QSO with Rudy as well as a few WSPR signals and was making a report. Its nice to get reports from SWL’s. If you hear our signals, please don’t hesitate to send reports via e-mail. Most of us have linked our Part-5 call signs to our ham call signs on QRZ.com.
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