Storms along the gulf coast complicated the longest night of the year. While the geomagnetic field is beginning to recover from the most recent CME, aurora persists and continues to impact northern stations. Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported at 1316z that it had been over five hours since he last decoded a station. John WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported that only regional stations were hearing or being heard over night and he was generally unaffected by the gulf coast storm noise. I suppose that being so close to the auroral zone, even outside noise has no chance to propagate in. John was reported here on a few occasions, with the latest spot at 0402z based on a quick glance of the decode window on the WSPR console. Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, who was probably closest to the gulf storms, reports that the S/N was seriously impacted, particularly for northern stations. Doug was, however, reported in Indiana by Ken, SWL-EN61, at +4 db S/N during the evening.
So there are a couple of issues impacting the session: 1) gulf coast storms with intense lightning, and 2) a compromised geomagnetic field that is trying to recover but the damage has already been done in the higher latitudes. The K-indices were high for a long time so its going to take some time to recover. We can only hope that another CME does not arrive before these effects clear.
In Texas, the noise level was higher than normal and S/N was impacted for a number of stations as a result of these two issues previously mentioned but I thought it was actually a pretty good session as far a propagation was concerned. I was able to steer the multi-turn loop such that the noise was in the null. Reports decreased for many stations either because they were in the null or the angle of RF attack was not as favorable with the loop but they were still reported. Six stations were reported at WG2XIQ, about half compared to normal sessions, with the null favoring the gulf coast and Pacific Northwest which is probably why those stations were not heard here last night.
The Kyoto DST has levelled off after a free fall.
The Australian DST had improved but like the Kyoto index, the magnetic field remains compromised and electron reservoirs are full.
A comment was made that listening stations were fewer than in previous sessions but as of 0345z, 83 MF WSPR stations were reported on the WSPRnet activity page. The listing has a history of being incomplete, in fact, I was an active station but I was not in the list when I checked at 0345z. There were several new stations during this session: N9RU, W0AIR, W7CSO, and WB8SKP. Denis, WB8SKP, indicates that he is listening with a Kenwood TS-2000 and Radio Works Super Loop 40. He hears very well, with persistent reports of my signal at +10 db S/N on a noisy night, I can’t imagine what signals will be like when its quiet. Welcome aboard and congrats on your efforts. Last night was a tough night to be a listener.
The regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no trans-Atlantic or trans-African reports during this session. Ed, VP9GE, was present through the session but had no reports.
Pedro, CT7AEZ, was QRV during this session for the first time, reporting DK7FC and EA5DOM. This is the first MF activity from Portugal.
Luis, EA5DOM, corresponded with Pedro about his operating conditions. The email was posted on the RSGB “blacksheep” reflector:
EA8BVP reported G8HUH, DK7FC, and EA5DOM. Who will be next?
Somehow Eden, ZF1EJ, was able to hear stations through the storms in the Gulf of Mexico. Well done!
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, successfully sent and received signals from the active auroral zone. Reports were limited and conditions were very poor, but these successes found during the session are very interesting.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had another successful night, being reported by three JA’s and one VK. Its interesting how the noise zone, which was highest east of the Mississippi river, is so clearly delineated by the reports. Also interesting is that my loop was oriented NE/SW so Merv was heard slightly off to one side of the loop. I realize that the loop is not extremely narrow but Merv was still heard here with respectable signals and storm noise was pretty well nulled. That’s extremely encouraging.
Other anecdotes, statistics, and comments from the session:
John, VK2XGJ, wrote last night that in the previous session no stations were decoded. This was the first time in months that he had nothing to show for his effort. Fortunately that changed for this session with reports for WH2XCR.
Several stations in Europe are sending Christmas greetings via CW. G3KEV, DK7FC, and EA5DOM are all transmitting at 474.15 kHz and below and it was reported that this operation would continue in the evenings through the 27th although it unclear how time-sharing with WSPR is being handled since Luis and Stefan seem to be QRV on WSPR.
This morning’s CW session was noisy. No additional QSO’s were reported but the semi-daily CW sked with Steve, KF5RYI / WG2XIQ/1 occurred as normal. I returned to WSPR at 1200z.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!