The current solar storm appears to be doing some odd things. The solar wind speed is very high but according to Spaceweather.com the more curious features are the shock waves that have been embedded in the stream that have touched off aurora. Not living in an aurora-prone region, its difficult for me to understand exactly what is really going on but the behavior of this storm has left many wondering just what is happening because propagation has not made a lot of sense. In fact I was relating to one individual how these variations have me questioning previous on-air experiences through similar conditions.
The K-index remained high through the session, at storm levels.
Perhaps this characterizes some of the fading seen during the overnight period and through the CW-session that occurred last evening between WG2XJM, WG2XIQ, and WH2XZO. Additionally, Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported strong, early WSPR decodes by John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, and Eden, ZF1EJ. Eden’s reports were debunked and excluded as it was determined that he was operating earlier than he normally would be so it possible those conditions are common but not normally observed in his absence. Doug also noted strong signals from Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, at 2316z as he called CQ on 474.5 kHz CW at 750-watts out. No copy here at that time.
The Bz component never really decreased, instead remaining only slightly negative or moving positive although the Kyoto DST, which is largely regarded a good indicator of band conditions at these frequencies, dropped sharply into negative values where it remains at the time of this writing.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, indicated this morning that the northern path that moves east and west across North America was very poor through the session and his other numbers, in general, were down from previous sessions.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, indicated that the north-south path from Vermont seemed poor but the east-west path seemed serviceable but down from previous sessions. John reported a high noise level not associated with consumer electronics or thunderstorms.
Here in Texas, wild swings in S/N were observed on a number of stations through the evening on an otherwise quiet night. Noise levels were between S3 and S4.
Daytime conditions were generally poor as well here at WG2XIQ, compared to previous sessions with the only reports being from W0JW in Iowa, at 1522z (-29db), 2200z (-29db), 2206z (-28db), 2210z (-27db).
During the evening CW session mentioned earlier around 0230z, WG2XJM in Pennsylvania could hear WH2XZO in South Carolina, and my station in Texas. WH2XZO could hear both stations but I could only hear Eric with occasional characters exiting the noise from WH2XZO. Eric was able to relay for both stations, which was good practice for the upcoming special event on November 13 and 14. I continued CQing after it was obvious that propagation was not going to support a round table QSO. Eric answered my CQ again a little later and we had a nice QSO at RST 559/569 both ways using our bugs. Signals were strong and fairly stable at this time.
Eric received an e-mail report from Bill, VE1YY in Nova Scotia, indicating that his side of our CW QSO was heard at 559 levels. Bill is using “…an 80 Meter Windom (OCF) Dipole at 12 meters above ground level and an Icom 765 Pro III that has unspecified sensitivity below 0.5 MHz (probably less than 13uV for 10 dB SNR).” Bill was not copying my CW at this time.
Eric also answered my CQ this morning at 1120z and we exchanged reports of RST 579/559. Eric indicated virtually no noise at his QTH while I was observing an elevated noise level, characteristic of local thunderstorms. A review of the lightning map of North American showed no real lightning activity in the lower-48 at that time.
Worldwide WSPR activity was as follows:
Trans-Atlantic reports were generally down for most stations overnight but VE1HF was reported in the UK for what I believe is the first time this season. WG2XKA was also reported in the UK.
Eden, ZF1EJ, reported that there were storms in his local area so he shut down early. He did make some reports prior to shut down. Roger, ZF1RC, appears to have been on the air through the session.
While no activity was reported during this session between Europe and Reunion Island as has been reported for the last several sessions, Markus, DF6NM, created a plot of the S/N versus time through the major opening that yielded reports for six European stations in a single session. It is reproduced here with Markus’ permission.
TNUKJPM reported VK3ELV once during this session. I think the question everyone is asking is how long will that path remain open.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, saw a decrease in reports overnight with stations mostly limited to the west coast and Pacific Northwest regions but the path between Alaska and Hawaii remained strong in spite of being located under the auroral oval.
In Hawaii, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, saw decreases as well but was still reported 157 times on the mainland by 11 unique reporting stations with the best report at -18 db S/N.
Merv also reported that at his sunset he was hearing my station, which is very rare for that early in the evening, in addition to WG2XXM, Ken in Oklahoma. He also indicated that WH2XGP in Washington state was audible.
I was fortunate to copy Merv once through the session in spite of the disturbed conditions:
By comparison, WG2XJM reported Merv at -28 db S/N levels. I suppose this suggests that either the path was better or my noise was more elevated by the time of the report.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, reported hearing 12 unique WSPR stations while having 42 stations report his signal, the best being at SWL/K9 in Indiana at a whopping +14 db S/N.
Conditions through the session were generally all over the place. It seems difficult to apply any real theory to what is going on. If I sound a little frustrated today its because this session does not really fit into a “box” that I can characterize with previous on-air experience. There are some quantum analogies here as well, like “what is up is really down”, etc. It certainly makes for an interesting session.
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