This session turned out OK for many stations. The lower latitudes generally experienced more favorable band conditions compared to higher latitude stations in the wake of addition impacts to the geomagnetic field over night in North America. Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported that he decoded eleven stations while being decoded by 41 unique stations with Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, peaking at +12 dB S/N. Ron was also reported by JH3XCU:
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, reported better conditions but the high latitude transcontinental path continues to suffer. This is contrasted by a report from Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, who noted very good band conditions with freezing local weather.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, experienced an early shut down due to local weather conditions. I also had to QRT around 0830z due to impending storms that will likely continue until Saturday.
The graphs of the geomagnetic activity really speak for themselves; “Things” were active.
Two new stations have joined the Part-5 ranks on 630-meters: WI2XFO and WI2XFI. John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, has been in contact with Ken, W8RUT / WI2XFI, who notes that his application was granted in only three weeks. John forwarded an email containing Ken’s station details and future station plans, posted below:
Welcome aboard Ken. We look forward to your station’s “first light”. Hopefully we will get some information about WI2XFO shortly and hear this station on the air as well.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdown’s follow:
There were no trans-Atlantic or trans-African reports during this session. ZS1JEN and UA0SNV were both present during this session but no reports were found in the WSPRnet database for these stations.
In the Caribbean, Eden, ZF1EJ, operated two separate receivers and had the good fortune of catching WH2XCR on one of them.
In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, is in receive-only mode for a bit and reported stations along the west coast of North America, the American southwest and Hawaii:
In Hawaii the path to Japan returned for Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR. The path has been absent or spotty for over a week now. Merv reports that a frontal boundary has finally pushed through as high winds and cold temperatures persist. Merv was reported in the East by WG2XJM and ZF1EJ/1 and had two-way reports with VK4YB. Curiously, VK3ELV was absent from Merv’s log, but Phil was reported by two stations in Japan.
In Australia, Phil, VK3ELV, was reported by 7L1RLL_4 and JH3XCU. Some reports were from late in the previous session. Roger, VK4YB, was reported by WH2XCR.
Jim, W5EST, ponders “HOW LONG DOES THE 630M TRANS-ATLANTIC SEASON GO?”:
“Can we tell how long the 630m season will last? For transatlantic (TA) 630m WSPR, I dug into the 600mrg archive, this blog and my log.
Shorter answer: 600mrg posts suggest at least to May 24. Last year, John W1TAG/1 reported 9 spots of Stefan DK7FC and one from Jan PA3ABK/2 into John’s WSPR RX the night of May 24,2015. Larry WH2XGP delivered one spot to Maine as well.
My log shows 2015-2016 TA season began at least as early as Sept. 24, 2015 for Stefan DK7FC lobbing 2 spots to David WD2XSH/17 in Massachusetts. (Let us know if you have earlier TA in the log for August or September, 2015.)
In 2014 on May 20, John VE7BDQ was in there swinging and hitting to the outfield in New England—received at Jay WE2XGR/2 and John WG2XKA. June 20, 2014 saw John WG2XIQ, Texas, and Eric WG2XJM W.Pa. doing a CW QSO. Vermont:August 17, 2014, John WG2XKA achieved TA to John GM4SLV on Shetland. From Texas Sept. 2, 2014 John WG2XIQ hit TA to Joe DL2FP in Germany.
Experience tells us that September-May offers transatlantic (TA) opportunities on 630m. By contrast, N. America-VK offers two shorter seasons, the first one extending over many weeks August-October bracketing equinox. The second N.Am.-VK season got exercised Feb. 9-March 2 for the first time this year and may continue. VK-Japan season began as early as Nov. 1, 2015 and is continuing in March. We don’t have enough experience of 630m VK-Japan to say what’s really possible.
Try a longer answer too? How long will the 630m “season” last generally? Regarding band capabilities, the 630m season certainly depends on the path and regional storm behaviors, and to some extent on the mode. One-hop paths out to 2800km are probably open year-round for WSPR and JT9, WSQ2 and OPERA between well-equipped stations at each end on a quiet night.
It’s not too “flip” to say the 630m season lasts as long as people operate it! Operators understandably take a recess from 630m WSPR, depending on other strong priorities and opportunities. For instance, suppose a time comes late this spring when the 630m WSPR “return on effort” may have fallen considerably compared to more nearly average months. QRSS modes from QRSS20 and higher can perhaps more deeply probe the 630m band and offer attractive mode opportunities.
For recordkeeping on the strong majority of the 630m TA season, one statistical way of defining season-end, especially for long paths with low spot numbers, would record the half-monthly numbers of spots and sort the numbers from highest to lowest, keeping them associated with their half-month intervals. Then see which half-months are first-quartile, meaning they’re in the lowest one quarter of the sorted number list.
Season-end then can be arbitrarily defined for a given long path to be the latest half-month in a set of active months when that late half-month’s nonzero number of spots for the path enters the lowest quartile and historically no later half-month has had more spots.
Correspondingly, season-start for a given long path would be an early month in a set of active months when that early half-month’s nonzero number of spots for the path is still in the lowest quartile and historically no earlier half-month has had more spots. A future blogpost can try out the computation and tune it up if need be.
Don’t let a quartile definition suggest to you that there’s no point exercising a path any later than that definition’s season-end or sooner than its season-start. Amateurs and experimenters show us the way by demonstrating the surprises that 630m bestows on early birds and those who persist!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD <at> gmail dot (com)!