Last night heralded the return of what conditions should generally be like this time of year. It was a good session. The noise level was very low and signals just looked stronger in the waterfall. What makes all of this so bizarre is the unexpected shock wave that impacted the Earth’s magnetosphere at 2100z, upsetting magnetometers around the world. The Bz turned significantly to the south and the Kp was at 3 and rising. Solar wind was elevated but still in the low category but proton density increased to moderate levels. I believe that many of us expected the situation to go one of two directions: It was either going to be a horrible night here in North America or the band was going to go crazy and we would be pleasantly surprised by morning.
Fortunately it did not take too long to see that the session was going to be pretty good. I began registering reports from Brian, W1IR / WG2XPJ, and John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, both of which are located in Vermont at 0032z and 2348z, respectively. This represents a departure from a “normal” session when these same spots would have come much later and at significantly lower signal levels. It was still light here in Texas when John was reported.
This morning has yielded a moderately unsettled geomagnetic field with a north-pointing Bz and generally low and stable but elevated solar wind conditions. Proton density continues to be elevated which should have had a more detrimental effect on the high latitude paths but as will be shown, these had little impact. No solar radiation storm warning was issued.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported very strong conditions from the Pacific Northwest on the high latitude transcontinental path but had no spot for or from west coast stations located further south in spite of having more than 1000 WSPR reports of his signal overnight. At one point during the evening John had to revert to receive-only mode due to high winds that were upsetting the antenna match. He provided the following screen capture of some of his reports, including those reported during his brief receive-only interlude:
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, notes that conditions at the southern latitudes were good but unstable from South Carolina. Northerly paths, which in many cases are transcontinental in nature, were still compromised when the ignal was moving to the north. The WH2XXP / WH2XGP band quality spot ratio stands at 101:19 for the session. Doug also indicates that the path to and from WG2XKA in Vermont was down by as much as 6 db S/N from record levels while the path to ZF1EJ in the Caribbean was at best ever +6 and +7 db S/N levels. Doug reports the first decodes of Joseph, NU6O / WI2XBV, in California in addition to 28 decodes by Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, 20 decodes by Steve, VE7SL, and 2 decodes by Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, indicated that his 200 mW ERP signal was reported by KL7L. Neil also noted that WE2XPQ was reported seven times, with a best of -26 db S/N and WG2XIQ fifteen times with a best of -23 db S/N.
Larry, W7IUV / WH2XGP, noted a better session, decoding twelve WSPR stations and being decoded by 38 unique stations with an open path to the east coast once again.
So the takeaway message should be that the band was pretty good overnight here in North America.
WSPRnet outages plagued the session again so its difficult to have an accurate participation number. At one point in the evening, 79 MF WSPR stations were observed. New or returning station KA5DWI was observed making reception reports during the session.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no trans-African reports through the session. UA0SNV was present from Asiatic Russia but had no WSPR reports in the database.
AA1A provided the lone trans-Atlantic report for Luis, EA5DOM:
EA8BVP returned for the session, also providing a report for EA5DOM:
Eden, ZF1EJ, had a very strong night in the Caribbean, reporting almost every Part-5 station that was QRV on the mainland US last night:
In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, had a surprisingly good session in spite of elevated proton levels which typically degrades propagation almost immediately in the polar regions. Even without the protons, the report from JH3XCU is quite notable. KL7L was once again designated as a receive-only station.
In the Pacific Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR had a very big night with reports from VK2XGJ, KL7L, JA1NQI-1, JH1INM, JH3XCU and the North American mainland, including WG2XJM and WH2XZO in the eastern US. He also reported Phil, VK3ELV.
In Australia, Phil, VK3ELV, was reported by WH2XCR during this session and JH3XCU in the previous session after the reporting period.
Additional anecdotes, reports, statistics, or information:
Jim, W5EST, provided by popular demand, another 630-meter puzzle (scroll down for answers):
“TODAY’S 630 METER PUZZLE: Using all 25 letters from the six resource words, complete words for five “Active 630m Places.” Enjoy!
_ _ U _ _ _ _ , _ S _ _ _ A _ _ , _ _ R _ _ N _ , _ _ Y M _ _ _ , _ H A _ _
EVENT, BANDS, SNOW, CORN, PARK, MIC .”
WSPRnet continues to experience interruptions. A note placed on the WSPRnet chat page last night about the current status received a reply that the system admin had recently applied updates to the system. I don’t know if this was an attempt to correct the problem or if the problems began after the update. The commonly held belief is that the system is simply overloaded and needs more capacity but since I am not in a position to be privy to actual detailed information I can’t say for certain that this is the problem. WSPRnet is a very important centerpiece to “what we do” but our hands are tied until someone in a position of administrative power can devise a plan of action with details so that those of us that have offered resources to help can do so. At the moment it is a helpless situation.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!