This session was characterized by extremely strong signals starting in the late evening with early reports from a number of stations, particularly in the Pacific Northwest and quiet terrestrial noise conditions from coast to coast. The propagation that seemed to be shifting Pacific activity to the east in previous sessions apparently moved back to the east as trans-Atlantic reports were rampant and the previously closed path to Japan for WE2XPQ and WH2XCR was once again open. Its my suspicion that a late report will be generated for WH2XCR from VK.
The geomagnetic field was quiet with a few periods of elevated Kp-indices. The Bz was variable through the session and solar wind persisted at low levels, averaging near 350 km/s. As sunrise approached in North America, geomagnetic conditions became more active.
John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, observed all-time best for domestic reports in this sessions with 42-unique reporting stations, a likely clean-sweep of North American transmitting stations, and a trans-Atlantic reception for G8HUH.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, reported strong signals on all azimuths. Doug decoded WH2XXP 53 times and WG2XIQ 50 times.
Mike, WA3TTS, posted the following report on the LOWFER reflector:
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, was QRV again, receiving 20-unqiue WSPR decodes with new reports from VE3CIQ in FN15, 3492 km away and W9HLY in EN70, 3063 km away.
Steve, VE7SL, reported that WH2XXP was registering +8 dB S/N on two transmit cycle with 24 reports at postive S/N levels. It was reported a few days ago that Ward made antenna improvements and added a new amplifier.
John, VE7BDQ, indicated that he had 33 unique stations reporting his signal and received 8 stations during the session.
Bill, N3CXV / WH2HRR, received his first trans-Atlantic signal on 630-meters, transmitted by G8HUH. Bill was receive-only through the session and reported 12-unique stations.
VE3OT’s ‘MP’ QRSS CW beacon was quite weak through the session, which is atypical given that the CW ID is normally armchair copy from another part of the house (that’s a true statement!). Last night the QRSS was barely audible and the the CW ID was at or just below the noise level. It just goes to show that because propagation is good on some paths, it doesn’t mean it’s good on all paths.
WSPR activity was very high with 81 MF WSPR stations observed at 0100z. I expect this number was even higher later in the evening. VE1HF was observed to be transmitting, which it has been suggested that this was his first time to do so. W5QCP and N2KMF were observed receiving during this session. Both have done so in the past.
Pre-sunset WSPR peaks of WG2XIQ at WG2XJM were observed once again but the path was even more degraded than the previous session, down from highs two session ago, where daylight signals peaked at +7 dB S/N.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
There were no reports from the trans-African path. UA0SNV was present from Asiatic Russia through the session but had no reports in the WSPRnet database.
The trans-Atlantic path yielded a number of reports as the path was more open than its been in a few weeks.
EA8BVP on the Canary Islands provided reports once again for DK7FC and EA5DOM:
Halldor, TF3HZ, reported numerous other European stations through the session:
Eden, ZF1EJ, almost had a clean sweep for North American stations that were present. The lack of reports for WH2XCR is consistent with the eastward shift observed with other reporting stations. Hopefully we will see another lower latitude trans-Atlantic episode that will result in European reports on Cayman.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, experienced a very good session with reports from JA1NQI-1 as sunrise approached. North American coverage did not see a repeat of the previous session where WB0VAK reported WE2XPQ and KL7L reported WG2XIQ. KL7L was once again designated for receive-only duty during the session.
In the Pacific, Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, was reported once again by JA1NQI-1. Eastern US reports were less numerous than the previous sessions where JA reports were absent. I’m of the opinion that whatever propagation feature resulted in the improved trans-Atlantic conditions through the session also contributed to degraded conditions from KH6 to the north eastern portions of North America during the session. That is only my opinion based on very limited data on the subject at the moment.
In Australia, Phil, VK3ELV, was reported in TNUKJPM during the previous session:
Additional comments, statistics, information and anecdotes:
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, provided an interesting link to phased arrays of active receive antennas and loops. I find this quite interesting because the loop designs are consistent with system in use for maritime MF service. Commercial systems were quite expensive but perhaps an amateur could cobble together a system at a reasonable price that could fit on a small piece of property.
Ron, NI7J / WH2XND, sent the following link to a series of “antenna basics” presentations developed by Dick Sanders, K5QY, which might be useful to a would-be MF or LF operator who wanted to learn basic antenna theory in order to ultimately build an MF or LF station.
The alternative WSPR reporting system is making progress. The data forwarding to WSPRnet appears to be working for most users. There have been a few reports of dropped spots but those will be resolved. The system appears to work well across all WSPR platforms. Remaining is the functionality to show all stations on the band whether they have reports to make or whether they are transmitting. I am sure the programmer has other features to add once the main issues are resolved.
Jim, W5EST, offers the following advantages of 630-meters, a compliment to Tuesday’s 630-meter challenges:
“VIEWPOINT: TOP-12 630M ADVANTAGES
12: Propagation mysteries day and night increase operating excitement.
11: Many DX countries are active on 630m.
10: Antennas and towers for higher bands can be modified and re-used on 630m.
9: Beaconing network heralds JT9 and CW QSOs.
8: Get TX, RX, and parts through strong 630m community and on internet.
7: Use or modify vintage receivers and transmitters for strong 630m performance.
6: Regional over-horizon ground wave is there for you, day and night.
5: Shared codes can radically increase low data rate info content at narrow bandwidth.
4: Circuit layouts are far less critical for LF/MF than HF/VHF.
3: 630m propagation continues or even gets better when HF propagation is unsettled.
2: Great platform for deep SNR modes and new antennas. Challenges are fun!
1: Enthusiasm, experience and ingenuity of LF/MF community!
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