Radio: it's not just a hobby, it's a way of life

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR but will be QRV on CW somewhere between 472.5 kHz and 475 kHz after dark

SCHEDULED ACTIVITY: CQ 474.5 kHz CW by 1030z through sunrise most days, WX permitting

Pretty good propagation in spite of a slow start and lower activity; wild evening QSB; ‘MP’ returns; WG2XKA –> KL7L

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

This session experienced a bit of a slow start, at least here in Texas.  The noise floor was extremely low, even prompting me to check the receiver and converter to make sure they were working nominally.  They were.  Slow starts and even very poor overnight conditions have been observed in previous years during late January and into February.  Part of this is the coincidence of the CQ 160-meter CW contest this weekend.  As I noted in the ON4KST chat/logger last night, we will probably have a skeleton crew on 630-meters this weekend. Geomagnetic activity was very quiet with solar wind at extremely low levels near 250 km/s.  The Bz was at or near 0 nT through the session.

planetary-k-index 013016


Kyoto DST 013016


Australia DST 013016


Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, noted that overall conditions were descent but activity seemed to be down.  Larry noted that he had WSPR decodes of WD2XSH/15, which was unusual, and the east-west path was OK with reports from WG2XKA and WH2XZO.

Joe, VO1NA, was QRV once again with QRSS3 on 477.7 kHz.  The only report was from Roelof, PA0RDT, who reports that band conditions were day and band noise was up in Europe.

VE3OT’s ‘MP’ QRSS beacon has returned to air after a catastrophic failure of the PA in the last few days.  This is good timing since next weekend is the Midwinter 630-meter activity weekend.  QSB was quite wild during the early evening and I did not hear the normally audible ‘MP’ signal.  A quick look with Argo indicated a very weak signal after John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported the signal booming into Vermont.

MP QRSS3 013016

First view of the session for ‘MP” at WG2XIQ


Two minutes later I noticed that WG2XKA was decoded at a reasonable level on WSPR so I checked ‘MP’ again.  What a difference 2-minutes makes!

MP QRSS3 2 minutes later 013016

‘MP’ at WG2XIQ enjoying wild QSB swings just 2 minutes later


In spite of the lower WSPR activity in North America through the session, 78 worldwide MF WSPR stations were observed on the WSPRnet activity page at 0120z.

HamWSPR, the WSPRnet alternative system yielded the following screen captures.  It’s nice to see a few Europeans making the transition as well!


HamWSPR North American 24-hour WSPR activity



HamWSPR European 24-hour WSPR activity



Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:

NA 0123016

North American 24-hour WSPR activity


EU 013016

European 24-hour WSPR activity


JA 013016

Japanese 24-hour WSPR activity


VK 013016

Australian 24-hour WSPR activity



VE1HF reported DK7FC and was reported by G3XKR on the trans-Atlantic path.

VE1HF G3XKR 013016

VE1HF, as reported by G3XKR


DK7FC VE1HF 013016

DK7FC, as reported by VE1HF


The trans-African path yielded reports by Michel, FR5ZX, for EA5DOM and DK7FC.

FR5ZX 013016

FR5ZX 24-hour WSPR activity


DK7FC FR5ZX 013016

DK7FC, as reported by FR5ZX


EA5DOM FR5ZX 013016

EA5DOM, as reported by FR5ZX


EA8BVP on the Canary Islands reported EA5DOM, DK7FC, and DH5RAE.

EA8BVP 013016

EA8BVP 24-hour WSPR activity


DH5RAE EA8BVP 013016

DH5RAE, as reported by EA8BVP


DK7FC EA8BVP 013016

DK7FC, as reported by EA8BVP


EA5DOM EA8BVP 013016

EA5DOM, as reported by EA8BVP


Halldor, TF3HZ, reported seven European stations during the session.

TF3HZ 013016

TF3HZ 24-hour WSPR activity



PA3ABK2 TF3HZ 013016

PA3ABK/2, as reported by TF3HZ


PA0A TF3HZ 013016

PA0A, as reported by TF3HZ


PA0OCD TF3HZ 013016

PA0OCD, as reported by TF3HZ


G8HUH TF3HZ 013016

G8HUH, as reported by TF3HZ


EA5DOM TF3HZ 013016

EA5DOM, as reported by TF3HZ


DK7FC TF3HZ 013016

DK7FC, as reported by TF3HZ


DJ0ABR TF3HZ 013016

DJ0ABR, as reported by TF3HZ


Eden, ZF1EJ, provided typical reports for eastern and southern US stations.

ZF1EJ 013016

ZF1EJ 24-hour WSPR activity


Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was not transmitting during this session but he did experience a remarkable opening through the auroral oval, reporting John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont.  That is a very long haul and a very difficult path as polar absorption normally intercedes.  99% of the time, this path won’t be open.  What a great catch!

KL7L 013016a

KL7L 24-hour WSPR activity


WG2XKA KL7L 013016

WG2XKA, as reported by KL7L


Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, was not on the air through this session.  I suspect he was operating in the CQ 160-meter CW contest.

Additional statistics, information, anecdotes, and comments:

Jim, W5EST, provided the first in a series of discussions on 630-meter propagation:

“VIEWPOINT: 630M PROPAGATION (1st of a multi-part series.)

When 630m ops talk about “propagation” we actually use several different meanings depending on what we have in mind.

Firstly, “propagation” can simply mean your signal travelling from the transmitter to a receiver. But we rarely mean only that which electromagnetic waves of RF actually do.

Second, we might speak of “propagation” like SNR declining to either refer to some QSB lasting a few minutes or to mention hours of slide in all-night band conditions.  On the other hand, if there’s low band noise over several hours, and/or your signal is getting through to more stations than ever, the SNRs are good and that’s “good propagation” in some sense.

Third, we might use “propagation” to talk about ducting, or telling number of hops and which ionospheric region might be reflecting.

Fourth, we use “propagation” to describe the ionosphere generally – like some relative lack of absorption and/or some relatively high reflection regardless of whatever caused it.

Today, I mention some scenarios to focus in on this 4th meaning. Why? Not because it’s the “right” meaning.  It’s because in future parts, let’s think over how to estimate this “propagation.”

If you dial up your transmitter power or transmit more frequently so your signal gets decoded with higher SNR and more often, this “propagation” is not different just because of what you did.

Does the transmit mode matter to the state of this 4th “propagation”?  Same answer, even if you change from WSPR to CW and I can’t copy the CW at all. No, “propagation” in this 4th sense didn’t change. Ditto: If a 630m receiving station switches from a noisy attic antenna to a sensitive low noise outdoor loop, the “propagation” is nevertheless independent of the RX antenna changeover.

Suppose a thunderstorm rolls through some night and you can barely receive anything.  The propagation isn’t any worse just because of a storm. On the other hand, if the sun comes up after a clear night and you can barely receive anything, “propagation” seems worse indeed.

How about receiving equal-powered TX stations located at different distances?  The “propagation” isn’t necessarily different even though their SNRs may be quite different.  Or, suppose a half-watt 630m DX station in southern Italy delivered your mid-USA station a first-ever -33dB WSPR transatlantic decode some evening. We’d say the “propagation” was good even though the SNR was rock bottom.

In future parts of this propagation discussion, I’ll describe some methods of estimating this 4th “propagation.”  Do you have any thoughts about it already?  Let us know, and I’ll try to include your ideas.”

Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc?  Send me a message on the Contact page!