Noise and an active magnetic field made for an interesting evening in North America. I won’t go so far as to call the session bad because if you could discriminate noise, the band was, in fact, open and a number of stations took advantage of these openings. It was definitely a very different band compared to the previous session and the depth of any storm event on-set enhancement will probably never fully be known. I think at this point the best we can hope for is quieter terrestrial weather and a quick recovery to the magnetic field. The DST may tell us a lot about what the next few sessions might be like.
Proton levels were high during the evening and overnight in North America. The Bz was strongly north-pointing but has since turned south and solar wind has been in excess of 500 km/s with one spike observed at 612 km/s.
Daytime activity from this session was interesting and seemed to move around in pockets of reports in a variety of regions. Here is a sample taken of my reports from during the day:
Nicholas, F4DTL, posted the following screen captures of SP9DNO and LA1TN QRSS3 activity.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, had a good night on the salt water path to Hawaii as well as two successful cross band CW QSO’s. As Neil indicates, every time we put a signal on the air, someone may be listening that may be new to 630-meters and that’s good for what we do in the long run.
In spite of the noise and solar activity, 72 MF WSPR stations were observed at 0315z on the WSPRnet activity page. Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-African path. Also, UA0SNV was present but had no reports in the WSPRnet database.
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, was reported by DL4RAJ on the trans-Atlantic path.
Eden, ZF1EJ, and Roger, ZF1RC, did quite well given their proximity to the very noisy storms in the south eastern US:
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, was only receiving during this session.
Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, received early reports from JA1NQI-2 and VK2XGJ. He also had a single report for Phil, VK3ELV.
As a side note, John states that VK4YB is a new stations and appears to be doing very well.
Additional anecdotes, statistics, comments and information:
Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, notes that he received reports from forty unique stations, including DL4RAJ on the trans-Atlantic path that was preciously reported.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reports that he received a reply about the radial system used so successfully by Phil, VE3CIQ. Phil explained that he is using the same radial system as used with his 160- and 80-meter inverted L which consists of about 40 radials, where most are 60-foot long. Phil also noted that he had a smaller radial field that is also tied into the larger radial field and the vertical is 20-foot tall. Well done, Phil and thanks to John for bringing us this information.
Jim, W5EST. brings this commentary entitled “630M SMALL STATIONS THROW THEIR WEIGHT AROUND”:
“A couple of days ago 50 milliwatts from Phil VE3CIQ’s 20’ top-loaded vertical reached John WG2XIQ in Texas at -27 dB S/N. John put it this way, “…this band does not require big hardware and big power when conditions are good. While every night won’t be great, the trend this season has yielded some pretty spectacular sessions…Don’t be afraid to try because chances are you will find some kind of success!”
I got to thinking… How many nights will be great, or at least good? What chances?
The illustration shows one approach to answering this question. For the last 137 days of this fall-winter season, my attic 630m RX antenna and equipment have been monitoring the band. Experience shows that this setup has about 15dB less SNR than most people’s outdoor antennas. This SNR deficit actually becomes useful to answer the question because Larry WH2XGP (WA) and John WG2XKA (VT) have been transmitting regularly throughout the season.
So I can use the attic antenna to simulate WSPR reception of stations with 15dB less EIRP than theirs. The simulation imagines Larry XGP all season running 300mw (40dBm -15dBm) and John XKA 30mw (30dBm-15dBm) and being received by a good outdoor antenna.
What do the numerical results tell us? They tell us emphatically that this band really doesn’t require big hardware and big power. Steve, WH2XHY WD8DAS, likewise showed us with his 630m station in January QST, “You, Too, Can Work 630 Meters” (p.76-78).
During this season so far, the simulated 0.3 watt at 2661km was decoded at least once 51 nights– almost 2 months of nights–or 37% of the season. Remarkably, even the simulated 30 milliwatts at 1931km was decoded at least once 37 nights– more than a month of nights—or 27% of the season.
Take note: This data is talking about paths into the thunderstorm-prone USA mid-South from distant USA Pacific Northwest and New England originating points. At least half the nights with decodes were pulling in at least 11 decodes from the simulated 300mw, and getting 8 decodes or more from the simulated 30mw! One very good night, that simulated 30mw put 30 decodes into Arkansas 1200 miles distant. On a dozen nights, the simulated 300mw from Washington state put between 24 and 49 decodes per night into Arkansas 1600 miles away.
Bottom line: 630m stations with remarkably small footprints can surely cover at least their own regions with decodes pretty thoroughly, and can throw their weight around the continent on the good nights. GL!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page or directly to KB5NJD <at> gmail dot (com)!