Propagation on the northern paths continues to struggle. The path to and from Alaska has been a real challenge for all stations, particularly Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ. Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, in Washington state and John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont both commented on the lack of a transcontinental high latitude east-west path and only one lower latitude trans-Atlantic report was made through the session.
The Kp-index persisted at or near 4 through the session, a departure from seemingly improving conditions in the previous session. It seems solar wind from a coronal hole is having an impact again but conditions should begin to relax over the coming days so a recovery attempt can begin.
Daytime conditions seemed only marginally better than the previous session with sporadic reports from the Midwest and east. John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported that only Mike, WA3TTS, reported his signal over the ground wave path through the day. John went on to say that conditions throughout the session were generally down, with reports sub-par compared to the previous session. As mentioned earlier, the Northern east-west path was very poor.
Medium wave activity was high, with 87 stations showing to be active in some capacity on 630-meters as of 0216z. Here are the worldwide WSPR maps for the session by region:
Trans-Atlantic reports were low with WD2XSH/17 only reporting Luis, EA5DOM, who happens to be located below 40 degrees latitude.
The Atlantic path to VP9GE seemed better than the previous session but weaker overall compared to the first session when Ed joined us this past weekend. Its possible that increased noise from terrestrial weather systems could be at fault. WG2XIQ was not reported during this session while Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, only 200-miles to the north was reported by Ed 13 times, the best report being -20 db S/N.
In the Indian Ocean, #11 to be reported by Michel, FR5ZX, on Reunion Island is Riccardo, IW4DXW.
Riccardo was joined by three other Europeans that have previously been reported on Reunion Island. Michel reports that he is currently looking for more power but his antenna is a 14-meter tall vertical made of TV twin lead, with a total length of 24-meters plus a 20-meter Moxon at the top which is acting as toploading.
As reported earlier, Laurence’s, KL7L / WE2XPQ, signal from Alaska was suffering while he enjoys Mia-Tai’s and hula girls on KH6, apparently en route to Asia. I suppose no better time like the present to get away from the glowing, angry skies. He certainly won’t need the tin-foil hat on KH6.
In the Caribbean, Eden, ZF1EJ and Roger, ZF1RC, are continuing to make solid reports. Eden had a nice surprise this morning, reporting Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR.
Merv reports that this is a very difficult path for him but what is very remarkable is that the report was made after local sunrise at Eden’s QTH on ZF1. Congrats to both of you!
Merv had another nice surprise this morning with multiple reports from JA1NQI-2.
All I can say is “RESPECT!” It’s really great to see Merv have such success and I think it will only continue from here. Next stop VK? Even if we are too late in the season for a VK report to happen in 2015, perhaps the noise levels in Spring 2016 and certainly by Fall 2016 will allow that path to be very common.
Last week Merv’s signal was reported very often here in Texas with little or no problems. I noted late last week an interesting situation that I had not observed before where he was actually quite strong on the E-probe but not reported at all on the transmit vertical. This time of year the transmit vertical is quite good for receiving, with the noise floor lingering around S2-3. By December the noise floor on a storm-free night has been seen in previous years to be S0 – 1 on the vertical, where signals seem to just jump out of what little noise there is. The E-probe has been a nice alternative in the summer but since this is the first season with one deployed at my station I am not sure what to expect in the winter. It is certainly noisier than the vertical at the moment but who can argue with success? Last night I listened on the vertical again, cutting my transmit cycle to just 20%. I only had a few decodes of Merv’s signal. This is a curious situation and one that I will continue to examine. Merv is hearing WG2XIQ very well through the night. As Merv has indicated, perhaps we are seeing an episode of one-way propagation so often seen on 160-meters. It could also be something as simple as noise on Merv’s frequency plaguing my receive. I noted a “blob” signal that periodically manifested on 475.750 kHz, very close to Merv’s carrier frequency. Similarly, Mike, WA3TTS, reported a “fat plasma (TV) line at .750” so its possible that this might be the culprit. Further examination is warranted.
Something also very notable about the previous few sessions but last night’s session in particular is that Merv was reporting WG2XIQ about 15-minutes prior to his sunset on KH6. This behavior has been A-typical over the course of Merv’s participation on 630-meters but only recently become somewhat commonplace. Conversely, Merv seems to be heard here in Texas later and later. Perhaps these episodes are related.
Other anecdotes and statistics from the session:
Steve, KK7UV / WH2XNV, in Montana reported that he was QRV with his CW beacon operating on 475.55 kHz at 23:53z. The only reports of Steve’s signal that I am aware of are from Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, who indicated that the signal was weak at 0248z but building at 0302z and Larry also notes a corrected reporting frequency of 475.439 kHz.
Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, took a break from ARRL CW Sweepstakes to call CQ on 474.5 kHz at 0045z. Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, indicates good copy and Dick, K4IQJ, in Alabama reports that Eric is RST 579. Dick is using an SDR and has expressed an interest in learning more about what happens below the AM broadcast band. This was his first time to listen on 630-meters.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reports hearing WD2XSH/12 in Colorado and WH2XCR in Hawaii for the first time and that he had several all-time best S/N reports through the session.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reports decoding 10 stations and being reported by 43 unique stations. Ken indicates that conditions were fair in Oklahoma.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV was not transmitting instead he was evaluating the differences between an E-probe and his transmit vertical on receive with two separate receivers. Perhaps Neil will post a report on his website soon.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported poor north-side propagation, which is the east-west transcontinental path but reports good S/N towards the lower side of the Midwest. Larry did not transmit for a full session as local rain tripped the SWR protection on his system. He indicates 100z as the time of the trip but I suspect that is a typo as I am sure I heard him after 0100z. I suspect he dropped a “0” and it is really 1000z.
Mike, AI8Z / WD2XSH/12 is QRV once again on WSPR as he performs system check out in preparation for this coming weekend’s special event . Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, indicates that Mike’s signal is very strong at 0244z.
I called CQ briefly at 0140z on 474.5 kHz CW to see if anyone was around. Amazingly a station began to call me that was building and almost Q5. It was a WD2XSH station but every time they sent their designator number (EVERYTIME!), a wash of presumably lightning static would cover them up. He was hearing me well. Based on what I could make out, it was either WD2XSH/12, /23 or /22. We briefly chatted even exchanging signal reports (RST 539/549) and I asked for a few repeats of the call sign, each time the relevant information being covered up. I finally signed, asking the person to send me an e-mail letting me know who they were. The signal was fine but its almost as if I were on a 2-meter repeater and someone was keying up when the other station was providing some vital bit of information. As it turns out it was Mike, WD2XSH/12, in Colorado who was doing station check out. I had a good laugh, enjoying my “Who’s on first” moment.
This morning’s CW session at 1100z did not yield any QSO’s other than my local CW sked. Eden, ZF1EJ, noted in the ON4KST chat/logger that my signal was RST 559 at 1112z while calling CQ. At 1200z I returned to WSPR for the daylight session.
New (or newer) WSPR stations observed through the session were WZ9B, WW6D, and KE7ADL.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!