Something weird is going on. The band is extremely quiet both in terms of noise and the geomagnetic field, yet S/N numbers were down during last night’s session and a wall has developed with KH6 for anyone not along the west coast of the US and Canada. There was some discussion yesterday about aurora being present at high latitudes in spite of very quiet solar and geomagnetic conditions and Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, who has been working in VE6 this week, confirms that aurora was, in fact, present. The Space Weather Prediction Center suggests that auroral conditions have been very similar over the last few sessions, some of which were actually quite good in terms of 630-meter propagation. To complicate matters even further, the trans-Atlantic path from North America, which is also a high latitude path, has been open a bit for the east coast. So the mystery continues.
The Kyoto DST has pushed into positive territory. I don’t honestly know what that really means. I’m conditioned to look for negative DST values and associating that with poor conditions while values closer to zero indicate better conditions. Perhaps moving more positive is a bad thing after some threshold. The Bz component as specified by the Space Weather Prediction Center indicated a slightly southerly-directed magnetic field through the session.
Daytime WSPR conditions were actually quite reasonable, with consistent 6-hour reports from the Midwest and Tennessee on the skywave path.
Worldwide WSPR participation was high on 630-meters with activity numbers in the mid-70’s during the mid-evening in the Central US as reported by the WSPRnet activity page. A review of S/N numbers here at WG2XIQ confirms that conditions were somewhat down from previous sessions, with rapidly moving QSB. Its as if the spotlight were on, wide ranging, and actively moving around and it was nothing for a station to lose 10-15 db in the span of a few minutes with another station gaining back the balance.
Worldwide WSPR activity follows:
There were no stations present from South America, the Atlantic ocean, or the trans-African path.
Trans-Atlantic activity was limited to the northeastern US through the session.
Perhaps the real bright spot in this session was from the Caribbean. Eden, ZF1EJ, reports that Roger, ZF1RC, has upgraded his listening antenna from a 160-meter inverted L to a Inlogis (now DXEngineering) Magnetic RX loop. The differences in Roger’s reports are very significant. Eden reminds us that because these antennas exhibit a directional pattern, it is possible that both stations might yield very different reports in spite of using the same antennas and only being a few miles apart. The next step is getting the transmit antennas worked out at both Roger and Eden’s stations so they can be QRV as well.
In Alaska it seems that Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had a dismal night, hearing only Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP. UPDATE: Laurence indicates that he was not transmitting last night or the previous session (only receive) so the reality really is that conditions may not have been as bad as they originally appeared. Laurence did note in an email that medium wave commercial stations that he should normally hear were absent last night. So clearly the band was impacted but the extent is really unclear.
The situation was not much better in the Pacific, where Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had a tough time getting past the west coast of North America. I don’t recall a time when WG2XIQ, WH2XXP or WG2XXM were not heard in KH6 or not hearing Merv when he was transmitting. UPDATE: Merv sent an email this morning saying that he had a power outage overnight and did not get up to restart his station. So perhaps things were not as bad as they seemed to have been.
The only other report that I could find in the ON4KST chat/logger was from Steve, VE7SL, who indicated that John, WA3ETD/ WG2XKA, was reported very early at -17 db S/N at 0101z. This suggests that the high-latitude transcontinental path was open for a time.
It was a very interesting night and possibly additional information will come in as the day moves forward. I will update as those items become available.
The weather forecast in North Texas suggests storms are likely for several days. My on air activity will work around those conditions. I hope to get back to actually being an operator very shortly.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!