We knew it wasn’t going to last. The most recent geomagnetic activity has upset what has been some of the very best propagation on 630-meters this season. While most metrics remain elevated, operators on the band will begin to look for recovery and the big question is whether the band will return to the pre-storm levels. Its probably a race between dissipation of the ring currents and the beginning of the severe weather season in North America. As we have seen, March isn’t a half-bad month for 630-meter propagation when the band is quiet.
In spite of the impacted band conditions, David, G0MRF, sent a note about his on going successful portable operation from a broadcast antenna site. You can read about David’s initial announcement of this operation in a recent report found here.
Paul, 9H1BT, provided a report with screen captures of a nice QRSS QSO with G3YXM during the evening in Europe.
Roelof, PA0RDT, posted a report of VO1NA’s CW signal. Roelof also comments on the use of WSPR for propagation studies. The phrase “propagation studies” should be either narrowed or better defined. WSPR is an excellent means of assessing the band’s worthiness to support QSO’s in real time. While I agree that there are too many variations in both transmitting and receiving stations to use the data in peer-reviewed research, WSPR is an excellent tool for evaluating band conditions.
Vinny, DL6II, announced another MF QSO Party using JT9 and WSQ2. While the details are still being worked out and subject to change, the following was posted on the RSGB reflector:
let’s give JT9 a second try! There are many stations QRV in JT9 and we hope to get some more. Everybody is invited to do some true QSO’s instead of running automated WSPR-raports on this weekend. Maybe you would like to try WSQ2 as well.
Please make sure you check the “upload spots” option in your WSJT-software.
Saturday 19th & Sunday 20th of March 2016
Beginning at 17h UTC till open end
474,2 kHz USB dial
500 to 1300 Hz in your WSJT-software
I hope to meet you soon
vy73’s de DL6II, Vincent”
Many North American operators commented that the band was pretty awful over night. That said, the band was not completely devoid of signals. Stations with the ability to attenuate noise probably experienced a reasonable domestic session. Lower latitude stations probably had a better experience than those at mid- and higher-latitudes.
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, provided the following map detailing his successes through the session:
WSPR activity remained high, with 80 MF WSPR stations observed at 0200z on the WSPRnet activity page.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdown’s follow:
There were no reports from the trans-Atlantic or trans-African path during this session. UA0SNV and ZS1JEN was present but no reports were found in the WSPRNet database.
The lower-latitudes of the Caribbean helped Eden, ZF1EJ, provide reports to many stations in North America during this session.
In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was not transmitting but KL7L was designated for receive-only and “all things considered”, provided a reasonable session of reports.
In the Pacific, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, saw the return of the path to Japan with a diminished path to Australia. Merv decoded VK3ELV and VK4YB, but had no reports from any station in VK. Perhaps there is stormy weather in those regions, limiting the signal to noise ratio. It could also be related to the geomagnetic activity, which is intense based on the Australian DST plot posted higher in this report. Note that the lack of reports beyond the western US is probably the result of intense lighting-rich storms here in Texas and the central US.
In Australia, Phil, VK3ELV, and Roger, VK4YB, both receive reports from WH2XCR and Phil continues to see an open path to JA, with reports from JH3XCU and TNUKJPM.
Jim, W5EST, provided a station profile for Ken, SWL/K9, in Indiana entitled,” SWL/K9 RX-STATION UPGRADE FOR BOTH 630M & 2200M: LESS BECOMES MORE”:
“Ken, SWL/K9, e-mailed us RX station information and gave permission for this blog-posting. TU, Ken!
‘My evergreen tree-mounted 630m antenna and SDR (Elad FDM-S2 software-defined receiver) acquire 630m WSPR spots. I had felt I needed to set up a whole alternate RX station using a roof mounted whip antenna for 2200m feeding my transceiver, a KenwoodTS-570D.
Running two RX systems, I knew I should look for a better way than wastefully tying up the Kenwood and external dc power supply. Besides that, the whip secondary antenna system on 2200m underperformed my main antenna system.
You can set up FDM-S2 software to receive 630m and 2200m frequencies at once and provide two independent audio streams. The SCREENSHOT shows the two bands highlighted as vertical color bands near the spectrum display edges 384KHz apart. This SDR frequency width easily brackets the 343KHz (479-136) needed to “see” both bands.
630m audio streams out from the SDR via virtual VBcable to WSJT-X (lower left inset), all on the same PC as the SDR. VBcable is a downloadable donationware audio software interface. WSJT-X on the PC decodes 630m spots and uploads them to WSPRnet.org via my Wi-Fi enabled Internet modem.
2200m audio, by contrast, streams out via PC hardware sound card to PC headphone output to stereo patchcord to a smaller second PC with its own WSJT-X. That second PC separately uploads its 2200m decodes via Wi-Fi.
Why didn’t I use one PC instead of two? My vintage main PC would need more PC “horsepower” to perform the dual logging by itself. Moreover, setup is less complicated than with two instances of WSJT-X on one PC and uploading from both.
Bottom line, several advantages. First, the HF transceiver and power supply are freed up. Second, my main tree-mounted antenna itself now delivers both 630m and 2200m signals excellently. Although the tree-mounted antenna is surrounded by houses, it performs. See the antenna matcher box visible near the base of the tree. No more compromise small whip on 2200m! Third, no antenna splitter compromises either band’s sensitivity because the one antenna feeds the same SDR antenna input.
The outdoor PHOTO shows the tree-mounting that delivered spots all through the high winds of a recent blizzard without a hiccup. As long as the tree stands, the antenna will perform.’”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD <at> gmail dot (com)!