This was a good session. While the Kp was creeping higher and the proton density was slow to subside the band seemed very alive, very early. Much like yesterday’s session, conditions were different from the previous session. Doug, WH2XZO, indicated that in SC conditions seemed down a bit with a best of -9 db S/N at VE1YY which occurred very early in the evening.
Near sunset in Western PA, WG2XJM called CQ on CW and was answered by WH2XZO in SC. Ken, SWL/EN61, in Indiana reported that he was able to hear both sides of the QSO very well. In VT, WG2XKA reported as early as 0140z that the path across the northern tier of states to the Pacific Northwest was open. John also indicated this morning that the path persisted throughout the session.
Around 0115z a JT9 session broke out between WG2XGP, WG2XJM, and WH2XZO. Others were in-tow but the band was noisy here in Texas as a result of the storm system over Mexico that we are experiencing today. In fact, I’ve never seen the waterfall look as it did.
WG2XSV in Washington state indicated that Toby, VE7CNF was CQing on JT9. Its unclear whether Toby completed a QSO.
WSPR activity was once again plentiful. Activity was down in Australia and Japan and there is no trans-Pacific or trans-Asian to report through this session.
The early evening yielded a significant amount of trans-Atlantic reports for the Northeast and VE1 in particular.
In addition to these very noteworthy accomplishments, a few rare stations were QRV overnight and provided reports to stations in Europe.
It was reported that LA3JJ was leaving EA8 today or tomorrow but would be back in January and March of 2016. It was suggested that he might be prepared to transmit from EA8 at that time.
Also very noteworthy were the efforts of FR5ZX on Reunion Island, a remote outpost in the southwestern Indian ocean, who reported on DK7FC’s signal.
After some discussion on the RSGB “Blacksheep” reflector, it seems that this is a legitimate and very significant report. Congrats to Andre Michel and Stefan for a job very well done!
It was “situation-normal” in the Caribbean with ZF1EJ and ZF1RC working hard to report North Americans. I have noticed that ZF1RC’s signal reports are up so that may be indicative that he is using a new antenna.
So I suppose we are only left with the session’s main event.
For a year-and-a-half Merv, K9FD/KH6 has held the FCC Part-5 experimental call sign, WH2XCR. He has diligently reported on signals in North America, Asia, and Oceania, impressing many with his ability to hear so well from a tropical paradise. Unfortunately the combination of living in a remote area without many of the amenities that many of us take for granted and the amount of work involved with the general upkeep of his compound, which sits on a former radio broadcast site, has made it difficult for Merv to get his own station on the air.
That all changed last night.
After making a recent synthesizer upgrade for his K3 and purchasing an amplifier, Merv was able to implement a loading coil on his 80/160-meter vertical and with some rudimentary matching make his first transmissions at a reduced power of 10-watts TPO. No one really knew what to expect since records indicate that no amateur has actually been on the air on 630-meters from KH6 (Records indicate that a station was assigned a slot with the ARRL’s 600-meter research group but no records have been found to validate that transmissions actually took place). And after all, this was just a test. Merv was only planning to be QRV for a few transmit cycles to make sure that the system was working. There is still work to be done with the impedance matching, after all.
I think we were all surprised. The first reception report was from WH2XGP in Washington state.
The reports began to fill in from all over the Pacific Northwest, Canada and then further south, Alaska, and even at my station in Texas, which turned out to be the furthest report to the east through the session (Note that I was originally listening on my TX vertical but switched to the E-probe in the pecan tree in front of my house because of approaching storms and I wanted to secure the bulk of my station).
I went to receive-only for the remainder of the session, as did Laurence, WE2XPQ / KL7L. I’m happy that I did as I might have missed the single report of Merv’s 10-watt TPO signal, estimated to be .5-watts ERP, which might be a little hopefully. Best reports were from WH2XGP, at -5 db S/N. I would expect a QSO between those two very shortly. Merv ended the session with 12 unique reporting stations and 294 spots.
Merv reports that in the coming week he will complete the impedance matching on his antenna so that he can begin running 100-watts TPO. Eric, NO3M / WG2XJM, has graciously offered his assistance with modelling the system to expedite the process.
This event has been a long time coming, but it has been worth the wait and who knows what we can expect from WH2XCR’s station over the coming winter. Its the expectation of many that Merv will rule the Pacific.
Additions, corrections, clarifications, etc? Send me a message on the Contact page!