A lot of guys are forced to roll up the radials for the Spring and Summer mowing season, which is understandable but unfortunate. Its the reality of being a vertical antenna user sometimes. Propagation continues all year around, however, and there is a core group that will remain transmitting and receiving even through the noisiest parts of the summer. It sure is good that most guys have not gone on sabbatical yet because last night the band really performed well. Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, reported 26 unique stations decoded his WSPR signal, many on very difficult and uncommon paths. Similarly, Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he decoded 16 unique stations and was decoded by 48 unique stations, including KK6MRI who appears to be a new station. In fact, 82 MF WSPR stations were found on the WSPRnet activity page at 0400z. So the band continues to add both transmitting and receive operators as we transition into the more challenging time of year for low band operators. Its doesn’t hurt that the geomagnetic field is providing enough spark to keep signals moving.
Two stations in Europe submitted log information and summaries for their activities in this past weekend’s MF QSO Party. Luigi, IZ7PDX, submitted this JT9 transcript for his efforts and Stefan, DK7FC, provided the following report, both posted on the RSGB-LF reflector:
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, reported that he decoded thirteen unique stations which tied his record and was decoded by 47 stations stations.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported that he decoded eleven stations and was decoded by forty unique stations. Larry also notes that the northern transcontinental path was down but good “short skip”, culminating in a weather shut down at 1330z.
Joseph, NU6O / WI2XBQ, reported that he attempted a WSQ2 QSO with Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV. Fades and other mechanisms prevented completion.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reports that he was decoded by nineteen unique stations at 1-watt ERP, including new station KK6MRI. Neil has completed his amplifier upgrade and is QRV once again at full power.
Ken, W8RUT / WI2XFI, experienced an effective session after improving his frequency stability. Ken was reported by a large number of stations and was even reported by my station here in Texas for the first time.
Phil, VE3CIQ, reports that he decoded eleven stations, with WH2XXP the most distant, and was decoded by 23 unique stations, with ZF1EJ the most distant. Phil reports that the noise level was very low.
Al, K2BLA / WI2XBV, had a nice achievement in that his two watts ERP was reported by WH2XCR in Hawaii, a path that is7567 km. Thanks to Jim, W5EST, for letting me know that I accidentally omitted this achievement earlier.
Mark, WA9ETW, reports an early start to the band, which many of us observed, with four WSPR station reported at his local sunset (0013z) and a total of six stations thirty minutes later.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-African path, however, ZS1JEN was present during the session. UA0SNV was also present but no reports were found in the WSPRnet database.
The trans-Atlantic path shifted to the south for this session, allowing WH2XZO to be reported by DL4RAJ. WD2XSH/17 also reported DK7FC during this session.
Eden, ZF1EJ,provided a full compliment of reports across North America using two receivers, including WH2XCR in Hawaii.
In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, continues receive stations, reporting stations in the Pacific Northwest, American Southwest and Hawaii.
In Hawaii, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, has recently seen a dry spell on a number of paths that have been persistent all season long. In fact he sent a note just yesterday commenting about how things should improve with an approaching weather system:
There seems to be something to this idea of terrestrial weather impacting propagation, as Merv experienced a good session with Oceanic and Asian paths including first time reports from EJTSWL in Tasmania. Additionally Merv was decoding stations well into the north eastern US including WG2XKA and others along the eastern seaboard like WG2XJM, WH2XZO, and WI2XBV.
In Australia, Phil, VK3ELV, and Roger, VK4YB, received reports from WH2XCR, with two-way reports for Roger. Phil received additional reports from Japan.
Jim, W5EST, provides this station profile for Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, entitled, “WG2XSV SHACK AND ANTENNA ARRANGEMENTS”:
“Here’s a contribution from Neil WG2XSV W0YSE formatted into this blogspace. Thanks, Neil, from us all!
Neil says: When I was in Utah, adjusting the variometer meant I had to go outside to do it. So I plugged a web cam into my PC in the shack, pointed it at the shack SWR meter, then went outdoors to the variometer and then used a TeamViewer app on my iPhone to remotely view the PC image of the SWR meter.
Now, in Vancouver WA, the antenna tuning box mounts and manually tunes right outside of my shack window while I personally see the shack SWR meter itself. That ATU box includes an RF ammeter.
The 630m blog “Can a High Loss 630 M Antenna System Ever Be a Good Thing?” on March 18 described my 630 meter situation–low Q probably. When I QSY from the WSPR band to JT9 or WSQ2 modes, there’s no re-tuning of antenna! My SWR changes very little between wet and dry conditions and short excursions (+/- several hundred Hertz) from the center frequency. Once the SWR went high with antenna coated by ice.
I control the SWR with a variable series capacitor as illustrated. For the 50 ohm coax, I no longer move the coarsely adjusted coil tap, I just tweak the capacitor. Reflected power goes to virtually zero and SWR 1.0 : 1. The 3 gang variable capacitor has 600 pF per section. An old TRF type receiver yielded that treasure.
I pre-tune the system with a MFJ-259B antenna analyzer modified to work down to 470 kHz as posted to http://njdtechnologies.net/modifying-an-mfj-259b-antenna-analyzer-to-operate-on-630-meters/ 8/26/14, 9/15/15.
Loading coil turns of #14 THHN insulated wire with taps approximately resonate the antenna to 475 kHz. A variometer adjusts that main loading coil in a range 300-400 uH. Outside my shack window, the coils and variable capacitor stay dry in a rectangular storage tub which can be reached from my operating position.
Antenna: Also attached, see the 40’ vertical antenna with three 25’ top load wires. A bottom section of 2” diameter tubing tapers in sections to a 1” diameter top section. Tubing adds capacitance compared to a wire vertical. I have only seven buried radials of various lengths between 20 and 50 feet long. All the radials run north and south, squeezed into a 15 foot strip along the west side of the house. I may try to run a few more radials about 60 feet toward the east under the house in the crawl space this summer.
Grounding: Two ground rods—4’ and 8’—go down near the base of the vertical about 5 feet apart.
My results with only 1 watt ERP show regularly on the WSPR database and daily map and testify to the measure of success achievable with a low efficiency antenna system. See ongoing projects at http://w0yse.webs.com/wg2xsvpage.htm .”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD <at> gmail dot (com)!