Very strong domestic band conditions continue as the geomagnetic field continues to stabilize, with the Bz pointing generally to the north and solar wind returning to the low category at near 350 km/s. The Kp has stabilized to 1 or less through the session. These geomagnetic features, coupled with extremely quiet terrestrial weather have resulted in many reports for many stations at phone levels (+0 dB and greater) for persistent periods through the session.
Doug, K4LY / WH2XZO, had the following comments for the session:
Similarly, John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, reported very low noise and good domestic conditions with 40-unique WSPR spotters, including Merv, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, on KH6 at -27 dB S/N. John notes that this is only the second time that he has been reported in Hawaii on 630-meters.
Neil, W0YSE/7 / WG2XSV, reported 18-unique spotters for his WSPR signal, including a number of stations in the east. Neil also notes that he received WE2XPQ during this session only once at -30 dB S/N.
Steve, VE7SL, received 7-unique WSPR stations with 85 reports for WG2XIQ, 44 of which were at +3 dB S/N, meaning very easy CW and even phone levels, and 52 reports for Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ. The best was -12 dB S/N.
From my station here in Texas, the early session was characterized by strong daytime conditions with persistent Midwestern and eastern reports at JT9 levels. One very curious period starting almost an hour prior to sunset in Texas yielded positive S/N reports of my signal at WG2XJM in western Pennsylvania. We have observed similar behavior in late January and early February but I don’t recall conditions being this strong so early since my start on 630-meters in 2012.
VE3OT’s ‘MP’ QRSS beacon returned to 475 kHz during this session. It was audible here in Texas during the evening. John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, sent a screen capture, followed by a capture I made between transmissions here at WG2XIQ.
WSPR activity dominated the session but no exact census numbers were recorded. At one point in the evening in North America 70+ MF WSPR stations were present. A number of new or newer / returning stations were present through the session including AD1KW, VE2NNX, KR5J, KJ4SPG. The latter station had not submitted reports but was indicating that listening was in progress. Steve, W6SJP/BY, was also present for the session.
There was an interesting post on JH1GVY’s site with a graph of WSPR spots through a year and plotted against previous years. The number of band users, particularly on WSPR, is just staggering. As Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, noted in the ON4KST chat/logger, the FCC’s jaw would drop wide open if they really knew the number of active operators on 630-meters.
Regional and continental WSPR breakdowns follow:
The trans-African path had no reports. The trans-Atlantic path peaked once again at lower latitudes, yielding reports for EA5DOM by AA1A.
The path from EA8BVP on the Canary Islands to continental Europe was once again open to DK7FC and EA5DOM:
In Iceland, Halldor, TF3HZ, reported six Europeans through the session:
In the Caribbean Eden, ZF1EJ, had reports from coast-to-coast in the US. There were no reports for WH2XCR, which the quality of the band conditions suggest should have been probable, but I am not aware of the weather and subsequent noise conditions through this session on Cayman.
In Alaska, Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, appears to have had a typical session with a significant number of reports on the salt-water path to KH6. KL7L was designated as receive-only through the session.
In the Pacific, K9FD/KH6 / WH2XCR, had a very strong session with signals moving to the east, being reported by many along the east coast of the US in addition to reporting John, WA3ETD / WG2XKA, in Vermont for only the second time ever. Interestingly enough, Merv had no reports from Japan in spite of the usual suspects being present through the session. Weather is always a factor or it could simply be that the path was not open. Conditions to and from North America were very good through this session.
Mike, WA3TTS, sent the following report of Merv for this session:
In Australia, Phil, VK3ELV, had these reports from TNUKJPM during the last session:
Additional comments, statistics, reports and information:
I am including the following information because its important to make sure that what is reported makes sense. Through this session, a station in VK reported three European stations using WSPR. As it turns out, there were inconsistencies with these reports and after some comparisons of data, it seems that the station in VK was likely using the webSDR at the University of Twente in the Netherlands. Why someone would want to do this is anyone’s guess, particularly since it was not declared. If you are going to use a remote receiver so far away, please declare the operation in a public forum and always review your reports to see if they make sense. In North America we get a lot of reports for stations that are reporting the wrong band and these inconsistencies always stand out.
I have no additional details to report regarding the development of the alternative WSPR reporting site. The developer was looking at larger scale datasets by using other bands on Sunday night. Its my presumption that this testing and debugging continues. Jay, W1VD, who also possesses a number of other experimental call signs, posted the following comment on the 600-meter research group reflector last night:
As another operator commented last night, I think the new system has grown legs and can’t be stopped at this point, potentially flourishing in a similar way as WSPRnet has under improved administrative care. I don’t see the programmer of the alternative system stopping his development, at least I don’t think that he will, and while WSPRnet has worked very well for the previous 24 hours, I think most users are taking a wait-and-see attitude. I have already seen a large number of operators comment that they were going to take a break from WSPR because of the site problems. As much as I support WSPRnet, I think having redundancy will be a good thing for the communities of users.
Jim, W5EST, provided the following content regarding the challenges of 630-meter operations:
“VIEWPOINT: TOP-12 630M CHALLENGES
Read tomorrow’s Top-12 630m Advantages too!
12: Suspend disbelief? How to design 630m handsets and 630m repeaters.
11: MilliHertz oscillator stability for high QRSS#.
10: Tap 630m narrowband digital voice potential. More SSTV too.
9: Activate more DX countries on 630m.
8: Get more QSOs while keeping beacons running.
7: Spatial diversity: Combine your RX antenna and another station’s RX antenna.
6: Get deeper decoding into -40’s dB SNR region without reducing data rate much.
5: Safety: Reduce high-KV RF voltage in arm’s reach on TX antenna. Keep EIRP up.
4: Resist storm noise that lowers sky wave/ ground wave reliability.
3: Overcome daytime absorption that limits daytime 630m sky wave contacts.
2: Make 630m TX antenna/ground systems more convenient to build and install.
1: Increase 630m radiation efficiency of small antenna systems.
Did I miss something? Want to know more about one of these challenges? Tell us what you think!”
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!