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

No catchy headline today – too much happened in the last 24 hours to summarize with a title

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

It was a very busy 24-hour session and one that was supposed to be marred by very active geomagnetic conditions.  Fortunately the CME was a very minor player, possibly even helping spawn some of the conditions we have seen since 1800z on Sunday.  Conditions were extremely quiet through the period, with planetary K-indices dropping below 1.

planetary-k-index 102615

Today’s report is going to go far beyond a traditional WSPR report because a lot happened on 630-meters.  I will likely unintentionally leave out some details so please let me know if corrections are needed.

WG2XIQ started transmissions at 1800z on Sunday after a weather-imposed QRT for the earlier part of the weekend.  I was happy to be QRV again and even happier that the station sustained no damage in what was the most brilliant lightning activity seen in a very long time.

Pretty early on, skywave reports were coming in from stations in the East and Midwest.  Note that the time was just after local noon here.  While these types of conditions are not uncommon this time of year, we have not observed such propagation as persistently as it was reported this early in the year.  The likelihood that the conditions have existed for some time is high, only there have been few stations QRV to observe them.

Early XIQ 102515 _ 102615 session

Early afternoon WSPR reports prior to the typical start of the reported session.

WG2XXM and WG2XJM reported similar band behavior during this time frame.  As exciting as all of this is, it did not yield QSO levels to WG2XJM during this period.  So why did we see this happen?  As Steve, KK7UV / WH2XNV, pointed out in the ON4KST chat/logger, there were no obvious immediate solar events that might have contributed to this skywave activity.  Its my belief that we are simply seeing the effects of less solar illumination in the northern hemisphere which means less D-layer absorption during the day when the geomagnetic field is behaving itself.

The “spotlight” moved around from the Midwest to the South East through the afternoon with pings reported by Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO until the spotlight would move again.  It was a remarkable afternoon and bodes well for future daylight activity as we approach the Winter solstice.

But this is only part of the remarkable story.

Steve, KK7UV / WH2XNV, was running his 100-watt CW beacon from near Missoula, MT and was looking for reports of ground wave activity.  Amazingly, John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported on the 600-meter research group email reflector that Steve was “… 559 in central VT, FN33lq.  RX E-Field probe, 12′ untuned preamped
loop.”  That’s a very long haul for night time, particularly so close to the auroral oval, forget about doing it in full sun at 2045z!  Congrats to both on this amazing achievement.  Even more remarkable, John reported in an email to me that he was not hearing WG2XSB in Stow, MA, which was operating on 482 kHz and only 150-miles away.  The band was fickle but very much on fire!

Normal WSPR activities commenced as North America was bathed in darkness.  In the East, WG2XJM is reported by G3XKR.

WG2XJM G3XKR 102615

WG2XJM, as reported by G3XKR

WD2XSH/17 also reported the dynamic-duo of DK7FC and G8HUH.  That pair has become standard fare at Dave’s seaside QTH.

G8HUH WD2XSH17 102615

G8HUH, as reported by WD2XSH/17


DK7FC WD2XSH17 102615

DK7FC, as reported by WD2XSH/17


During the mid-evening, this session took another turn as very strong state side conditions yielded CW-levels for many stations.  In fact, WH2XZO recommended a CW QSO before bedtime and WG2XJM and I did our best to oblige.  By the time we were situated, the band had shifted a bit but I was hearing Eric RST 579 and he reported me as RST 559.  I was not hearing Doug very well at all at this point, certainly not enough for a chat, but he reported me as RST 539 with Eric relaying the report.  Not quite a three-way CW QSO but Eric did a very nice job as ring master for that circus.  At this point, Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, had transitioned to JT9 so we took the party over to JT9.  I said this in the ON4KST chat/logger and will say it again:  I’m not sure I have the patience to run JT9.  I do it so infrequently that there is always a learning curve when I start it back up.  Anyway, Ken worked Doug and Eric and then after some confusion, Doug and I worked and as Neil, W0YSE / WG2XSV, said, “The JT9 passband is quiet again”.  It really was like a cattle stampede that had resolved itself of its own volition.

WH2XZO XIQ JT9 102615

Screen shot of the WG2XIQ JT9 console

Back to WSPR…

Overnight yielded fantastic reports for a number of stations in North America, including six stations hearing WE2XPQ in Alaska – what a difference a week makes – and WG2XKA being heard in KH6 by WH2XCR.

WE2XPQ 102615

WE2XPQ 24-hour WSPR activity


WG2XKA WH2XCR 102615

WG2XKA, as reported by WH2XCR

WH2XCR reported 11 stations from KH6 during the session.

WH2XCR 102615

WH2XCR 24-hour WSPR activity

In the Caribbean, both ZF1EJ and ZF1RC did a nice job hearing stations in North America.  WG2XXM noted that ZF1EJ reported him at +7 during the session.  ZF1EJ also reported VE7BDQ for what I believe is the first time.

ZF1EJ 102615

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


ZF1RC 102615

ZF1RC 24-hour WSPR activity. Note that there is some data pollution due to  poor band selection in the software by the operator

VK3ELV is once again reported in Japan and at WH2XCR on KH6.  There is still a lot of activity in Oceania and Asia and I hope both regions continue to have success.

VK3ELV 102615

VK3ELV 24-hour WSPR activity


VK3ELV WH2XCR 102615

VK3ELV, as reported by WH2XCR


Usually this is where I wrap up but all of the excitement is not over.  After being QRT for much of the weekend, Steve, KF5RYI / WG2XIQ/1, and I were planning to resume our twice-a-day CW skeds on 474.5 kHz and 1030z on Monday morning was going to be the first.  I decided to get into the shack early to call CQ for a bit and perhaps catch WH2XZO during some of the better propagation near his sunrise.  First off, WSPR crashed around 0730z so there is no telling just how many spots were missed in that 2.5 hour window before I made it into the ham shack.  That’s ok because I was going to be calling CQ on CW prior to my sked with Steve and see what I could dredge up.  I never heard Doug but to my amazement, there was Steve, KK7UV / WH2XNV, calling me in response to my CQ!  This was a most welcome and exciting opportunity because he was a strong RST 539 at the start and then RST 449 before drifting back into the noise.  Its nice to know there is a CW station in MT that I can hear – bring on 630-meter WAS!

Also noteworthy was the CW ID of WH2XGP in Washington state as I transitioned back to WSPR from CW.  It was easy, armchair copy.  Also of note was the fact that Larry was heard here well before normal at levels that are atypical for the early evening.  Like I said, the band was on fire!

I’m running WSPR through the day today and already have some reports of my signal being seen on the waterfall but at the time of writing, no additional daytime decodes.  The details and developments from this afternoon will be featured in tomorrow’s report.