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

Has the October 5, 2015 session been replaced by last night as the best session of the 2015 season so far?

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

…I guess it depends on who you ask.  That session had lots of trans-Atlantic reports.  This session also had a trans-Atlantic report, WG2XJM being reported by G3XKR in addition to WH2XCR in KH6 hearing JA1PKG and VK3ELV, both of which have almost become standard fare.  Those are fantastic achievements, but there was something more robust about the band – it seemed alive!  This session was characterized by very strong domestic signals where QSO’s could and were easily taking place.  Participation was huge, with almost 1000 unique transactions being reported worldwide for the 24-hour period.  Noise was extremely low, in fact, I was able to receive with my transmit vertical through the session with an S-meter reading at 1 or below.  I have often spoken about how the band can be as quiet as 10-meters.  Last night was one of those nights.

The geomagnetic field was extremely stable and quiet with a Bz component reported by the Space Weather Predictions center at 0 or 1 through the session.

planetary-k-index 112315

The Kyoto DST also showed very stable, smooth conditions through the period.

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Kyoto DST for November 2015


Daytime conditions were strong here at WG2XIQ although I failed to get a screen shot for the 6-hour daytime session due to family commitments in the afternoon.  Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, reported in the ON4KST chat/logger that I was heard at his station all afternoon, starting around local noon. Levels appear to range from the detection limit into the mid-20’s db S/N so its conceivable that a JT9 QSO might have been possible at some point during the day.  We are certainly getting to that point in the season.  John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported from Vermont that WA9CGZ was hearing his WSPR signal at 2022z on a 1235 km path.  John also indicated later in the session that the path to the west and Pacific Northwest was strong.

Neil, W0YSE/7 /WG2XSV operated his CW beacon at 1734z for about an hour, but indicated that he received no reports through that short period.  Neil did have his best night of the season on WSPR, however.  He says, “It shows what 1 watt ERP can do with only 7 short radials on a 66 by 118 ft city lot, on a cold, dry SW Washington night.”  Congrats Neil.  Yes, anyone thinking that they can’t operate on this band with low power on small-ish lot is cheating themselves and should think again.  Here is a screen shot of his WSPR success:

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WG2XSV 24-hour WSPR activity


The continental and regional WSPR breakdown follows:

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North American 24-hour WSPR activity


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European 24-hour WSPR activity


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Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


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Australian 24-hour WSPR activity


There were no Atlantic or South American reports through the session.  There were,  however, two trans-Atlantic reports submitted by G3XKR for WG2XJM:

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WG2XJM, as reported by G3XKR


The trans-African path was revealed once again with Michel, FR5ZX, reporting only SV3DVO, who has been reported on Reunion Island before.  The count remains at 11.

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FR5ZX 24-hour WSPR activity


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SV3DVO, as reported by FR5ZX


In the Caribbean, Eden, ZF1EJ, and Roger, ZF1RC, both have strong nights.  Eden reports Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, once again:

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ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


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WH2XCR, as reported by ZF1EJ


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ZF1RC 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had a very strong night if for no other reason than he heard my signal which has been absent for much of the season thus far while in previous seasons its been present almost nightly.  I suppose the electron reservoir is running on empty.  Lets hope it stays that way for a while.

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WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


In the Pacific, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had a very strong night with reports of signals from JA1PKG and VK3ELV and being heard all over North America.

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WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity


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JA1PKG, as reported by WH2XCR


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VK3ELV, as reported by WH2XCR


Several station commented about hearing Merv for the first time, including Al, K2BLA, who has been assigned WI2XBV with a pending Part-5 application.  I also received an excited email from Andy, KU4XR, who woke up to two reports from Merv, best -28 db S/N.

In addition to WSPR, JT9 and CW were active on the band through the evening in North America.  The following are anecdotal reports and statistics from those operating efforts:

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reports Steve, VE7SL, calling CQ on 474.950 kHz CW at 2344z with RST 579-589.  Steve indicates that he is only running 15-watts TPO  at the time of the reports.

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont reports WG2XXM and WG2XIQ at 0019z.  Similarly Mike, WA3TTS, reports that WH2XXP in Arizona is heard a bit early at 0029z.  These reports are relatively early and certainly signalled that the band had a lot of potential.

Steve, VE7SL, indicates that the VE7 guys have settled on 475 kHz as their calling frequency.

At 0100z, I called CQ on 474.5 kHz CW for a few minutes.  Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, indicates hearing bits of my signal in his speaker at 0105z.  A few minutes later I receive a fluttery call from Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, who I find out is listening on his HRO5 vintage receiver and sending to me on the MOPA transmitter at 75-watts.  That’s really pretty good.  Conditions were a bit unstable and his signal took a few dips as I know that mine did as well, but we completed a QSO at RST 539 / 549.  This may be the first time that we completed a 2-way with his station running vintage equipment exclusively.

Steve, VE7SL, indicates that he heard my side of the QSO with Eric just fine while listening on his transmit vertical. This is interesting given that in previous sessions Steve has heard my WSPR signal only near the detection limit and to hear a CW signal really requires close to -10 db S/N at a minimum.  I moved my transmit frequency to the top of the band at which time Steve reports my signal at -4 db S/N.  It appears that Steve is experiencing de-sense from the massive signal of Rudy, N6LF / WD2XSH/20, who is only located 20 Hz above me.  It appears that the problem is identified and we are all basically QRMing one another to a degree.  Its been seen in Europe and Australia and I suspect it will only become more prolific here as more stations join the fun.

Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, called CQ on JT9, resulting in a QSO between his station and mine at 0150z.  Larry comments that the band is a little unstable but he reports me at -19 db S/N and I report him at -20 db S/N.  The path is a bit unstable as Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, answers Larry’s call but QSB makes it difficult to complete the QSO during this period.  Larry indicates that Eric’s signal is decoded every cycle.  Its unclear whether Larry and Eric completed a JT9 QSO later during the session.

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WG2XIQ JT9 console during QSO with WH2XGP

John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reports that he is CQing with JT9  at 0310z and John and I complete a QSO at -21 db S/N / -22 db S/N shortly thereafter.  This is a rare occurrence and may mark the cleanest JT9 QSO that John and I have ever completed.  Signals appeared to be strong and stable with little QSB to the north east during this time period.  Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reports decoding the last two exchanges that I sent to John and he began CQing with JT9.  I listened for a few minutes but I reported no signal.  It seems the path to the north east was once again more stable than to the north west.

XKA XIQ JT9 112315

WG2XIQ JT9 console during QSO with WG2XKA


I was very happy to report Mike’s, NR5O / WH2XAR, WSPR at 0222z at -29 db S/N.  Its my belief that this is the first time for my station to report Mike’s signal this season.  I hope it continues!

Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports that he heard 12 stations through the session and received reports from 42 unique stations.

This morning’s CW session on 474.5 kHz yielded no further QSO’s but I did receive reports from Bill, N3CXV / WH2XXR, in the ON4KST chat/logger that he was hearing me about 10 db above the noise at RST 599+ at 1121z in Maryland.  Similarly, Al, K2BLA, reports similar strong signals in Florida.  I returned at WSPR2 for the daytime session at 1130z this morning as my daily CW sked partner is out of town for the Thanksgiving holiday week.

So this was a very busy session with lots of moving parts. Hopefully we see a lot more sessions like this one.

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