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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR but QRV after dark tonigth

SCHEDULED ACTIVITY: CQ 474.5 kHz CW by 1015z through sunrise most days, WX permitting

Strong night of propagation in spite of geomagnetic storms brings persistent CW levels

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

Its been a while since we have seen such strong conditions that lasted throughout the entire overnight period and even longer since we have seen it happen during a strong geomagnetic storm.  A check of the band at 0630z yielded strong aural signals from WSPR stations and the data suggests that strong two-way CW levels were persistent through the night from Texas to Western Pennsylvania.  Unfortunately Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, was away from the screen and by the time he saw my CW QSO requests on the ON4KST kHz logger I had gone back to bed.  I am formally calling for the reinstatement of the “one ringy-dingy” in the future so I get out of bed and come do radio, which is more important than sleep most of the time.  Failing that, the Bat Signal is getting pulled out of storage…


This WSPR screen shot from nearly 0700z looks more like a winter waterfall on 630-meters than August!  Note the “mystery” carrier that is seen world wide between 475.640 kHz and 475.650 kHz.  It normally does not appear until November or December.

So what are “CW levels”?  Typically for comfortable, aural CW QSO’s at normal speeds (15-25 wpm), you want a signal-to-noise ratio of -10db or better for the average operator.  Some guys can hear down to -12 to -13 db S/N but those QSO’s tend to be more canned “599 73” style QSO’s.  When the band is quiet during the winter, it is also possible to hear much weaker signals and pull them out of the noise.  Under those conditions, the noise floor sounds more like 10-meters on a very quiet day.  Its also not uncommon to hear CW elements of a WSPR CW ID down to much lower S/N levels due to QSB.

630-meters has been a real roller coaster  this summer, more so than previous summers.  Perhaps last night’s episode will be the start of a new trend.  If not, we will still be QRV every night doing what we do – digging in the noise, looking for a new signal.