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

Gulf storms lead to a noisy night in North America, Two trans-Atlantic stations reported, VO1NA QRSS10

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

Last night is what we call a slow session.  Storms in the Gulf of Mexico typically yield tremendous lightning and it seems that there is no location in North America that is safe from the noise.  Here in Texas the noise situation improved overnight showing that underlying propagation was at least as good as recent previous sessions if one could hear through the noise.  This report will be relatively short.

The geomagnetic field was quiet.  The Bz component, as reported by the Space Weather Prediction Center, was pointed north with some variability through the session.  Solar wind exceeded 500 km/s for much of the session but has slowed to near 350 km/s as this report is developed.  Perhaps we will have a bit of a reprieve.

planetary-k-index 011516

Kyoto DST 011516

Kyoto DST for January 2016

Joe, VO1NA, reported on the RSGB-LF reflector that he would be running QRSS10 on 477.7 kHz.  F1AFJ and PA0RDT posted screen shots of Joe’s signal to the reflector:

VO1NA QRSS10 F1AFJ 011516

VO1NA QRSS10, as reported by F1AFJ



VO1NA QRSS10 PA0RDT 011516

VO1NA QRSS10, as reported by PA0RDT

WSPR activity was down from previous sessions with 66 MF WSPR stations reported at 0230z on the WSPRnet activity page.  New (or newer) receive stations reported for the session:  NX0P.

Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

NA 011516

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


EU 011516

European 24-hour WSPR activity


JA 011516

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


VK 011516

Australian 24-hour WSPR activity


There were no trans-African reports for this session although Michel, FR5ZX, was present for the session.

AA1A received DK7FC and PA3ABK/2 on the trans-Atlantic path:

PA3ABK2 AA1A 011516

PA3ABK/2, as reported by AA1A


DK7FC AA1A 011516

DK7FC, as reported by AA1A

In the Atlantic, Ed, VP9GE, reported WG2XKA and WH2XZO:

VP9GE 011516

VP9GE 24-hour WSPR activity


Eden, ZF1EJ, was QRV for a limited time, perhaps the result of the noise in the Gulf but he did report a few stations while QRV:

ZF1EJ 011516

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was heard by quite a few stations in the west and northwest, with more than 80 spots by Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR in the Pacific.  The variability of the path to KH6 is interesting, with many cycles at CW levels followed by near detection limit reports on the next cycle.  KL7L was designated as receive-only through the session.

WE2XPQ 011516

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


KL7L 011516

KL7L 24-hour WSPR activity


WE2XPQ WH2XCR 011516a

WE2XPQ WH2XCR 011516b

WE2XPQ, as reported by WH2XCR

In the Pacific, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had a bit of an abbreviated session as he pursued the K5P dxpedition.  Reports were better to the east of the Mississippi, with Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, spotting Merv during the session in spite of the Gulf storms.

WH2XCR 011516

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


WH2XCR JA1NQI1 011516

WH2XCR, as reported by JA1NQI-1


WH2XCR KL7L 011516

WH2XCR, as reported by KL7L

Other reports, statistics, and comments:

Jim, W5EST, provided this two-part commentary about transmit antennas on 630-meters:


Part 5 licensees know full well the challenge and satisfaction getting a transmit antenna working well on 630 meters:  right materials, good construction, hard work, testing, adjustment, and safety and attention in all weather.  For USA hams awaiting FCC approval of a Part 97 ham allocation, what’s the background?

Several 630m ops favor a transmit vertical with capacitive top hat overhead. The low angle elevation pattern omnidirectionally radiates. Their transmitter coax feeds an outdoor-enclosed tapped air-core loading coil (or variometer) connected to the vertical and to ground rods and radials.  It’s all an RLC circuit resonated for 630m.  For 5 watts EIRP, see ballpark numbers:

200 watts TX power, 70′ tall, 20 ohms, 1mH, 110pF, 3 RF amperes, Q=150, 13KV antenna voltage.

630m transmitter power gets dissipated in ground resistance + coil + antenna + top hat conductor ohmic resistance subject to RF skin effect. Very little power remains to make RF in the low-ohm radiation “resistance” or EIRP divided by antenna current I.  So: Focus on the big stuff. Ground resistance is a big bad actor, so don’t skimp on ground rods and radials. Get or make a large, low resistance loading coil. Radiation “resistance” rises (good thing) as the square of only the vertical electrical height – whether it’s an inverted-ell or vertical antenna.  Set up an under-200’ height as tall and far clear of trees as you can. Fence out people and pets: ~13KV RF voltage at antenna base standoff insulator.  Collar the lowest 8’ of antenna with an insulating tube.   Before any thunderstorm approaches, strap down the vertical to the grounding system with wide metal bar stock and disconnect the coil.  NEXT VIEWPOINT: TOP HAT.”

I will be attending a local hamfest this afternoon and tomorrow morning so the timing of tomorrow’s report is unclear but there will be a report.

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