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

Current Operating Frequency and Mode

OFF AIR but will be QRV on CW somewhere between 472.5 kHz and 475 kHz after dark

SCHEDULED ACTIVITY: CQ 474.5 kHz CW by 1030z through sunrise most days, WX permitting

WG2XIQ –> ZL2AFP : An unlikely opportunity

– Posted in: 630 Meter Daily Reports, 630 Meters

This morning I posted the following to the 600mrg list:

“I was prepared to say it was not a very good night.  Eric XJM and I kinda stalled a bit at 0700z to see if things would improve.  It was hard to really put ones finger on what was “wrong” with the band.  There was a major wx/noise maker in KS and Ken XXM had commented that it was pretty tough copy for him in OK, which was evidenced by a period of no reports of my signal.  I went back to bed at 0845z with the intention of checking the band again at 1000z.

At 1000z, the band sounded about the same, maybe a little improvement.  I stayed about 5 minutes and see this morning that Eric commented that he thought the condx were improvings about 2 minutes after I had left.  I suppose that is for the best that I missed him because had I hung around and we had snuck off for a CW QSO, this would have been missed:
 2014-09-01 10:10  WG2XIQ  0.475628  -28  0  EM12mp  5  ZL2AFP  RF91ah  11815  234
Thanks to Ken XXM for pointing this one out.  As its a holiday, I am not doing anything very quickly this morning so it would have been later today before I figured it out.  Anyway, that is later than the VK2DDI spot from last monday morning… Seems sunday nights ->monday mornings are in the sweet spot at the moment.”
wg2xiq 090114
So in spite of what what appeared to be an otherwise poor night, the path existed nonetheless and at levels reasonably higher than the detection limit.
Also very curious is that Rudy, WD2XSH/20, made the trip to John, VK2XGJ, and Larry, WH2XGP, made it to ZL2AFP as I did.  Larry’s ping occurred within 10 minutes of mine while Rudy’s ping with John, VK2XGJ, occurred well after sunrise here in Texas.  It makes sense that I would not make a repeat trip to VK during this session, but why not Larry who is located only 200 miles North of Rudy and running comparable power.
To speculate about this seems to suggest that latitude is involved.  In fact, John, VE7BDQ, was also active during this time and is located near the the same longitude as Larry and Rudy but at a higher latitude.   He did not make it to either site in Oceania during this session.
Providing additional support to this theory is the fact that last winter Ken, K5DNL / WG2XXM, seemed to make regular, almost at-will excursions to Europe on the evening path going NE.  I, on the other hand, had considerably fewer excursions on that path and conditions had to be noted as “remarkable” on the nights where I was reported in Europe.
Laurence, KL7L / WE2XPQ, indicated the following excerpt:
” … What Ive found here empirically is a very small change in latitude/long be it Geographically or magnetic has a profound difference in prop just over a few hundred Kms.

I put in as sitting inside a  double metal box but with a couple of  small holes drilling in each and if I’m lucky I can squint and see out, but only if perfectly aligned, and what I see is pretty limited. Other peoples’ drill holes appear to be differently aligned –

My holes appear to be very small 🙂

Last night, before the whole neighborhood lost AC power I had warnings of K>4 with “persistence” from NOAA which means normally for me the band will produce poorish results – BUT the word “normally”  is important as we all know the iono is a recalcitrant child and loves to play games, resulting in some really “scratch your bonce” (as we say in the UK) responses to Solar events…”
That is a great way to put it from someone who lives in an area fraught with ionospheric chaos on a regular basis.
We know so little about long haul propagation on 630-meters.  There is so much work left to be done.  Fortunately we have what looks like might be a very good season ahead and significant number of active, motivated, and very interested operators to be involved.