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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

QRT but I'll be back tonight, WX permitting

SCHEDULED ACTIVITY: CQ 474.5 kHz CW by 1000z through sunrise most days, WX permitting

Elevated geomagnetic conditions and proton density still allow for a pretty good session; EA9MH listening for the first time; DK7FC –> WE2XGR, WE2XGR/3; WE2XPQ –> VE7BDQ on WSPR15; WH2XCR –> JA2NQI-2, VK2XGJ, VK3ELV

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

This session saw less activity than previous sessions, probably because of the coincidence of the “the big game”.  Still, a lot of guys may be worn out from the very successful activity weekend.  Whatever the cause, geomagnetic activity was elevated with a south-pointing Bz and elevated proton levels.  During one reporting session 35 p/cc were observed, which is quite high.  Solar wind was elevated above 400 km/s but has since eased to below that value.

planetary-k-index 020816


Kyoto DST 020816


Australia DST 020816


John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, noted very high noise levels from plasma screen TV’s near his home and absolutely no reports to the west of my station in Texas.  I should note that John’s WSPR signal was quite persistent here overnight, more so than is typically observed.

WG2XKA 020816

WG2XKA 24-hour WSPR activity


WG2XKA WG2XIQ 020816

WG2XKA, as reported by WG2XIQ


There was, in fact, life in the Pacific Northwest in the late evening and overnight as Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported nice a transcontinental opening at JT9 levels with WG2XJM in western Pennsylvania:

WG2XSV email 020816

Mike, WA3TTS, reported an open path to KH6 from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania using WSPRx, which is known to have a somewhat stingy decoder.  Mike appears to have used the Northwest EWE antenna as he also had a number of reports from Toby, VE7CNF.  Mike has related in the past that the Northwest EWE seems to experience less noise than the Southwest EWE, which has a more direct path to KH6.

WA3TTS email 020816

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, decoded nine stations with the high-Z receive vertical.  Ken has been performing an antenna rebuild recently to add additional top loading which is why he has been in receive-only mode.

In spite of the distractions from this session, three new reporting stations were observed:  AF6WG, WA3LAB, and N7BYD, who was also a participant in the activity weekend, making at least once cross band QSO with one of the Canadian participants if my recall is correct.  Steve, W6SJP/BY was also present from Beijing during the session.

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

NA 020816

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


EU 020816

European 24-hour WSPR activity


JA 020816

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


VK 020816

Australian 24-hour WSPR activity


hamwspr NA 020816

HamWSPR North American rendering of 24-hour WSPR activity


There were no trans-African reports during this session. EA9MH was present for the first time but no reports were found for him in the WSPRnet database.

WE2XGR and WE2XGR/3 reported DK7FC on the trans-Atlantic path:

DK7FC WE2XGR3 020816

DK7FC, as reported by WE2XGR/3


DK7FC WE2XGR 020816

DK7FC, as reported by WE2XGR


Eden, ZF1EJ, reported WG2XIQ and WG2XJM during this session:

ZF1EJ 020816

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, operated WSPR-15 during the session, with reports from John, VE7BDQ.  KL7L was designated as receive only.

WE2XPQ 020816

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


WE2XPQ VE7BDQ 020816

WE2XPQ, as reported by VE7BDQ


kl7l 020816

KL7L 24-hour WSPR activity


In the Pacific, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, once again experienced two-way reports with VK3ELV.  He also received a report from VK2XGJ and a number of reports from KL7L.  The line of demarcation on the mainland that plagued WG2XKA was less obvious for Merv, where a few of reporting stations were located to the east of the Mississippi river.

WH2XCR 020816

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


WH2XCR VK2XGJ 020816

WH2XCR, as reported by VK2XGJ

In addition to John’s uploaded report above, he sent the following email to me and Merv with some additional details about his system configuration for this session:

VK2XGJ email 020816


WH2XCR JA1NQI2 020816

WH2XCR, as reported by JA1NQI-2


VK3ELV WH2XCR 020816

VK3ELV, as reported by WH2XCR


WH2XCR VK3ELV 020816

WH2XCR, as reported by VK3ELV


WH2XCR KL7L 020816

WH2XCR, as reported by KL7L


Additional anecdotes, statistics, information, and comments:

Joseph, WI2XBQ, reports that his Delrin insulator caught fire during the session last night.  He was able to put the fire out but will have to find another solution.  He reports that his location has a significant amount of salt spray which will present some challenges, even if the insulator can be enclosed.  Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, recommended the use of HDPE (polyethylene) and Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he uses a Pyrex measuring cup.  Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, has had very good success using a thick-walled beer bottle.

Jim, W5EST, provided the following discussion about bandwidth on 630-meter:


Last weekend’s 630m event encouraged and exercised QSO modes like JT9 and CW as well as WSPR beaconing.  Any form of modulation occupies some bandwidth.  The bandwidth depends on which mode you are using and the information rate.

For instance, with CW, bandwidth widens when you key your TX at faster and faster words-per-minute WPM. QRSS is just CW with very low WPM so QRSS has narrower bandwidth than regular CW.  Fine points of QRSS–like DFCW and Slant CW–can await some other blog day.

On HF, it’s easy to think of CW being just one frequency that goes on and off.  But the “on/off” means the amplitude of the transmitted signal goes high and low (full off). That’s like old time 100%-modulated AM!  The only difference: It’s not modulated with your voice.

Some types of modulation like WSPR and JT9 vary the frequency, which occupies some bandwidth as a result.  PSK31 varies phase; its bandwidth depends on how fast phase varies.

OK, great, but why does bandwidth matter anyway? One reason is: signal-to-noise ratio SNR. SNR is usually measured in a 2.5 kHz noise bandwidth.  Most people can’t hear CW that’s less than -13dB SNR. Your digital mode decoder can’t decode its digital mode if it’s below some characteristic SNR. The web site http://hfradio.org.uk/html/digital_modes.html has screenshots of some digital modes.

The TABLE shows some approximate bandwidths and SNR dB thresholds for several modes that ops use on 630m.  Comparison is the point. Narrower mode bandwidth lowers SNR threshold and makes the mode more useful with weak signals.  If the decoder does its own filtering, you can set the RX to some wider bandwidth according to the user instructions.

Digital modes and CW are popular on 630m. And not just because the 472-479KHz 630m band is only 7 kHz wide. (Note: USA Part 5 license scope will often vary from this.)

Likewise the frequencies people use for CW and digital modes often cluster either side of the often-used WSPR band 475.600-.800. Why is this? Tomorrow, for one answer, let’s talk about rematching a high-Q TX antenna if one moves a few kilohertz on 630m.”

w5est 020816a

# http://www.qsl.net/on7yd/136narro.htm#QRSS  BW(Hz) = 5/6 WPM

* http://physics.princeton.edu/pulsar/K1JT/wspr.html

^ http://www.pa3fwm.nl/technotes/tn09b.html


Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc?  Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD <at> gmail dot (com)!