Let me begin by saying that last night’s session was every bit as exciting as the previous session. There was a tremendous amount of activity world wide (I saw 72 stations listed on the WSPR activity page, which is always low in it’s count!) and Andy, KU4XR, commented in the ON4KST chat/logger that the band sounded like 20-meters during a CW contest. As one of the operators running CW last night, I tend to agree.
Once again, the geomagnetic field was very quiet and the Kp-indices were between 0 and 1 for almost the entire session. QSB was very deep and WG2XJM indicated that on the East-West path, the cycle was running 8-9 minutes.
Daytime conditions were strong, with persistent reports through the day from KU4XR in TN, W0JW in IA and SWL/EN61 in IN. Later in the afternoon, Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, was added to the mix. Unfortunately I did not have the presence of mind to take a screen shot of the map over that afternoon period.
Early evening brought very early reports from WG2XKA in VT at uncharacteristically high S/N. Additionally, on the East-West path, WG2XJM in PA commented that WG2XGP in WA was being heard an hour prior to sunset in Washington state. WH2XGP reported 11 stations decoded through the session and 36 unique reporting stations of his signal, which was reported as a record for him.
WG2XJM made a random CQ on CW and was answered by WH2XZO where Eric’s signal had just been reported on WSPR at Doug’s QTH at +11 db S/N. This was only the beginning of the big signals.
WG2XXM in OK was reported at a +20 S/N level at WG2XJM at one point during the session.
WH2XGP in WA indicated that he was switching to JT9 for a few CQ’s. He was inundated with callers and managed QSO’s with WG2XIQ, WG2XJM, and WG2XSV. If you have never operated JT9 in a multi-caller situation, it can be a stressful experience. I feel worn out after each session!
Signals were so strong that Andy, KU4XR, in TN sent the following screen shot showing his reception of my QSO:
Once the JT9 QSO’s were completed, WG2XJM called me on CW at 474.5 kHz and we chatted for a bit, mostly comparing notes about the remarkable conditions. Signals were strong RST 579 / 569 and armchair copy at break-neck speeds. While we were chatting, it was reported on ON4KST chat/logger that WG2XXM had been reported by EA2HB, so it was a mad scramble to get WSPR running again in order to attempt to take advantage of the sporadic trans-Atlantic activity.
Band activity was very high and even in early evening, the WSPR2 waterfall was full of signals.
Many other stations had trans-Atlantic success last night as well and several new European stations (for this season) were reported in North America. John Molnar, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, indicated that his notes from 2014 showed plenty of trans-Atlantic activity during this same period, almost nightly. Its unclear at this time what the geomagnetic conditions were like at that time.
Steve, KK7UV / WH2XNV, was not QRV during this session and while I called CQ this morning in the hours prior to local sunrise, I never heard him return to my calls as he did yesterday. I suspect he was QRT as he was not to be found in the ON4KST chat/logger.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, was QRV with his new amp running at 80-watts out and he has shown a 6-db increase in strength to a wide variety of receiving stations.
In the Pacific, Merv continues to hear the usual stations including WE2XPQ and VK3ELV.
It should be noted that while many of us in the lower-48 are experiencing great conditions, the plight is still tough for those situated under or very near the auroral oval. Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, indicates that the DST numbers are still struggling to improve from the events of a few weeks ago and that while there has been a marked improvement, it still has a long way to go. So we should count ourselves fortunate down here to be having the success we are having and hopefully conditions will remain stable enough in the near term so Laurence can see further improvements, particularly in the DST numbers. I am sure its a completely different situation up there compared to what we see down here and I’m not sure I would have the patience that he has had to work these bands that are so severely impacted by space weather due to his location.
A reference on one of the email reflectors suggests that in Japan the stations are required to have a special permit, even as amateurs. Its possible that this is why we are currently seeing so many listening stations and so few transmitting. From what I could gather from reading, several of those stations are in the process of building stations and applying for permits to operate on 630-meters.
As I am writing this report, daytime skywave conditions persist and will be reported tomorrow.