Tuesday, April 30, 2019

We're back to checking 160-meter daytime propagation after five days of absence.  Considering the conditions of the previous few month's odds are we didn't miss an opening.  

Today we had KGØVL, KP2AE, AB4AM, KM4PFF, and W4DEX on 1899 kHz.  AB4AM on CW was detectable at W4DEX and better copy at KP2AE but still not Q5.  KM4PFF was partially readable at W4DEX and heard with poor copy at KP2AE.  AB4AM had some signal from W4DEX during a CW transmission but KGØVL detected nothing.  A CW transmission by KGØVL was not heard.

Wednesday, April 24, 2019

Unlike yesterday WW8II's CW was not detected by W4DEX.  Also, WA4LDU's signal was down from yesterday with deep QSB fades.  As we've seen before when a signal fades at one location it may increase at another.  Today when WA4LDU's signal went into the noise at W4DEX the signal increased at KP2AE 51 miles from W4DEX.  AB4AM was not heard on SSB at W4DEX but his CW was Q5 copy.  KP2AE and WA4LDU probably could have copied AB4AM's SSB but they had to check out early.  

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Propagation was better than yesterday but still far from good.  WW8II's CW was detectable at W4DEX.  AB4AM on SSB was copied at W4DEX for about 10 seconds out of a 120-second transmission.  The short 73-mile path between WA1AC and W4DEX was back to about a normal level with very little QSB.  WA4LDU checked in late with a much better signal that has been recently seen on that 103-mile path.   None of the solar charts seem to explain why local propagation was very poor yesterday.  Maybe it was due to more D-Layer absorption, weaker F2 Layer ionization or a combination of both.    

Monday, April 22, 2019

We experienced very poor conditions today.  No signal was detected from WW8II on CW by any stations in NC or SC.  Short paths were also poor.  On today we had W2AZQ, KM4PFF, WA4LDU, KP2AE, W4DEX, and WW8II.  

Saturday, April 20, 2019

On today we had WA1AC, KP2AE, WA4LDU, WB4EZ and W4DEX.  The most distant path made today was between WB4EZ and W4DEX at 202 miles.  This was on CW and signals were very weak.  KP2AE detected WB4EZ's CW with no copy at 553 miles.  Singles between KP2AE, WA4LDU and WA1AC were useable with some fades close to the noise but still copyable.  

Friday, April 19, 2019

The band was very noisy today with QRN.  Even with all the QRN WW8II's CW was heard at KGØVL, 443 miles, and W4DEX, 510 miles.  WW8II was able to detect KGØVL's CW in the noise.  KGØVL was not heard by either W4DEX, KP2AE, WA4LDU or WA1AC.  N8CVV, located approximately 35miles north of WW8II, logged on NetLogger and expressed an interest in the propagation study.  

The short 51 mile path between W4DEX and KP2AE was again much weaker than the 73 mile path to WA1AC and the 103 mile path to WA4LDU.   Just as WA1AC was signing off his signal level jumped dramatically about 20 dB.   Then tapered off gradually.  This has condition has been reported by several operators over the past 16 months of midday operating.  Now we have a recording of this sudden increase:  WA1AC almost instant 20 dB enhancement
At the same time this unusual enhancement was happening KP2AE later reported what was earlier an S9 signal from W4DEX became very weak with poor copy.  

The GOES 15 solar X-ray level chart seems to have been reset or recalibrated?

Thursday, April 18, 2019

The most noticeable propagation variable today was the QSB swings observed on signals under 200 miles.  Signal levels ranged from a high of S7 to SØ, no signal detected, on an IC-7300 S-meter using a 7-foot diameter tuned loop.  This was seen on SSB transmission from KP2AE, WA1AC, W2AZQ, and WA4PGI received at W4DEX.  

The first CW transmission from WW8II was heard at both KGØVL, 443 miles, and W4DEX, 510 miles.  A second transmission was not heard at W4DEX and was weaker at KGØVL.  A CW transmission from KGØVL was not heard at WW8II or W4DEX nor was a transmission by W4DEX heard at WW8II or KGØVL.  WW8II operates with 3 dB more power than KGØVL and W4DEX.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Distant propagation was still possible today but maybe not as good as yesterday.  WW8II's initial CW transmission was not heard by KGØVL, KP2AE or W4DEX but his second transmission was heard.  KGØVL had good copy during the first minute of the two-minute transmission but it was weak at W4DEX.  On the second minute, the opposite was observed with the best copy at W4DEX being the second minute.  The CW was not copied but was detectable at KP2AE.  The short 51-mile path between KP2AE and W4DEX produced good S4 copy at W4DEX with very little QSB.  

Tuesday, April 16, 2019

WW8II on CW was again Q5 copy at W4DEX and heard by KP2AE.  KGØVL called WW8II after the initial 2M transmission and a QSO was made.  CW form KGØVL was heard along with a local SSB transmission at W4DEX.  A second CW transmission by WW8II was weaker but still readable at W4DEX.  Neither KGØVL or WW8II detected a CW transmission by W4DEX.

Both KP2AE, WA1AC, and WA4LDU was good copy at W4DEX with some QSB.  

Monday, April 15, 2019

Propagation was very much improved today.  WW8II on CW worked WA4PGI and was copied well by KGØVL and W4DEX.  Hear WW8II's CW at W4DEX at the link below.  KW4DE and KP2AE also heard WW8II's CW.  

WA4PGI was good copy at W4DEX, KW4DE and KP2AE.  But the shorter path between W4DEX and KP2AE was much weaker than we have become to expect as normal. 

AB4AM on SSB was good Q5 copy at KP2AE but not heard at KW4DE or W4DEX.

Sunday, April 14, 2019

WW8II on CW was again heard but was very poor copy at KGØVL.  The signal was barely detected at W4DEX.  No one reported hearing a CW transmission from KGØVL.  N3EIO was monitoring but didn't report hearing anyone. 

Even though there were no distant contacts made today we observed some very interesting local propagation.   Signal levels between KP2AE, WA4LDU and W4DEX ranged from barely detectable to moderately strong.  On the 51 mile path, KP2AE's SSB ranged from barely detectable to very good copy then back close to the noise over about a 30 second period at W4DEX.  The signal ratio was determined to be close to a 40 dB swing using a signal generator.  About the same large change in signal level at about the time period was observed multiple times between all three stations.  This has been observed just a few times over the past 16 months of mid midday operating.  

Saturday, April 13, 2019

160M daytime propagation continues to be unsettled today.  W4DEX was in receive mode only due to nearby thunderstorms.  The only station heard at W4DEX was WA4LDU who was readable but only S1 copy.  A CW transmission by WW8II was heard very weak at KGØVL.  WW8II did not hear a CW transmission by KGØVL.  Neither stations was heard at W4DEX but it would have taken a strong signal to override the charged air hash created by the thunderstorms.  K9TXJ checked in on NetLogger briefly reporting no signal heard.

Friday, April 12, 2019

There were a few X-ray spikes earlier in the day that was higher than yesterday.  But we found propagation to be noticeably better today.  Perhaps that due to the quick X-ray spikes versus the longer duration X-ray event yesterday.  

WW8II on CW was detectable but not readable today at W4DEX.  KGØVL did not copy WW8II most likely due to loosing his best receive antenna during a recent storm.  AB4AM detected a weak signal on WW8II's initial CW transmission but not on the second one.  

 AB4AM on SSB was good copy at KP2AE and WA4LDU.  AB4AM was Q5 but weak at W4DEX.

KP2AE and WA4LDU had a better signal at W4DEX than during the past several days.  WA4PGI on CW was 539 at W4DEX.  AD4HG and WA4PGI was heard in QSO by KP2AE.  AD4HG was weak but readable at W4DEX

Thursday, April 11, 2019

It appears the D-layer was well ionized today due to the higher level and a longer duration dose of solar X-rays several hours before our daily 1630 UT propagation test.  The only path over spanned over 100 miles was from AB4AM running 1.5 KW SSB that was copied by KP2AE at approximately 160 miles.   WW8II's 1.4 KW CW was not heard today but the closest station was over 400 miles away.  KGØVL reported hearing a signal at times but the source was never identified.  

Signals at short range were severely down from even the weakest propagation days we have recently had.  KP2AE at 51 miles from W4DEX was Q5 less than 50% of the time.  The same for WA4LDU at W4DEX.  KW4DE also reported very weak copy on those two stations.  

The current Space Weather News explains the current conditions very well.

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Propagation today starting at 1630 UT looks a bit more promising than it has been recently.  WW8II on CW was detectable at W4DEX.  KGØVL had good copy on WW8II's CW.  KP2AE was copying AB4AM on SSB Q5S5.  Although AB4AM initially was barely detectable at W4DEX the signal was later Q5 copy.  WA4PGI initially was good copy at both KP2AE and W4DEX.  Then the band conditions seemed to deteriorate.  

The short 51 mile path between KP2AE and W4DEX was very stable with good signal level up until just prior to 1700 UT.  Then signal levels on the path became erratic with fast QSB taking the signals close to the noise level briefly.  This almost sudden change in propagation may have been due to the quick x-ray flux rise shown on the chart below.

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

We saw a noticeable improvement in propagation today.  There no was no .1 to .8 nanometer X-ray spikes above 1e-7th Watts per meter squared after about 0600 UT today. 👀?  Perhaps that caused less D-layer ionization.

KGØVL had good reception on the CW transmission from WW8II at 443 miles.  WW8II did not copy the KGØVL CW transmission probably due to 3 dB less power transmitted and a higher receive noise level at WW8II.  It has become obvious KGØVL has both an excellent receive antenna system and a low noise environment.  Also, WW8II has a great transmit antenna and near legal limit power.

In the NC and SC area, locals signal were much stronger today but still had some deep quick fades.  KP2AE, WA4LDU, WA1AC, WA4PGI and KW4DE were all good copy most of the time at W4DEX.  The only station that went into the noise at times was the most distant, WA4PGI at 175 miles.  

Monday, April 8, 2019

Very poor propagation today.  This is likely due to increased D layer ionization caused by higher hard X-rays in the 1 to 8 Angstrom range.  This X-ray band is measured by a sensor on the GOES 15 satellite and is indicated by the red line in the bottom chart below. 

The most distant reception made was only 165 miles from the 1500 watt station of AB4AM as received by KP2AE.  AB4AM was not heard the additional 51 miles at W4DEX.  Both KP2AE and W4NUS was very weak copy at W4DEX.  Considering the short 51 and 24 mile distance to W4DEX what signal was heard was likely ground wave. 

No one detected the 1400 watt CW transmission from WW8II and the 750W signal from KGØVL.  Neither of those two stations plus AB4AM detected a 750W transmission from W4DEX.

Sunday, April 7, 2019

Conditions today was very close to a repeat of yesterday.  At less than 100 miles both KD4RLD and WA1AC were good copy most of the time with deep fades into the noise at W4DEX.  

CW sent by WW8II was again barely detectable at W4DEX (510 miles) but good copy at KGØVL (443 miles).  A second transmission by WW8II was a bit weaker at KGØVL.  No signal was detected by either WW8II, KGØVL and N4EIO on a CW transmission from W4DEX.

CONTINUED ALERT: Electron 2MeV Integral Flux exceeded 1000pfu
Continuation of Serial Number: 2925
Begin Time: 2019 Apr 05 1400 UTC
Yesterday Maximum 2MeV Flux: 8560 pfu

Saturday, April 6, 2019

160M conditions continued to be unsettled today.  The 103-mile path between WA4LDU and W4DEX was unusable at times ranging from 30 dB above the noise no signal for up to 5 minute periods.  AB4AM was not heard at W4DEX.  AB4AM on SSB was detected at WA4LDU but the copy was poor.  

Farther north KGØVL had amazingly good copy from WW8II on that 443-mile path.   A short audio clip of WW8II's CW as heard at KGØVL is at the link below.   Noise at WW8II prevented a QSO.  

WW8II received by KGØVL 06apr19

No CW was detected from WW8II by WA4LDU, AB4AM or W4DEX.  Neither KGØVL or WW8II detected a CW transmission form W4DEX.  

Space Weather Message Code: ALTEF3
Serial Number: 2926
Issue Time: 2019 Apr 06 0901 UTC
CONTINUED ALERT: Electron 2MeV Integral Flux exceeded 1000pfu
Continuation of Serial Number: 2925
Begin Time: 2019 Apr 05 1400 UTC
Yesterday Maximum 2MeV Flux: 8560 pfu

Friday, April 5, 2019

Today we experienced much lower than normal short range signal reports with some reporting higher background noise levels.  A few of the <100-mile paths were unusable at times.  Several times over the past 15 months when the Space Weather alerts, like the one below, are sent we have seen poor local propagation but better DX signals levels.  That was somewhat true today.  The DX propagation levels was a bit better than it has been recently.

On a two minute CW transmission at 1632 UT WW8II was initially just detectable but near the end, the CW was almost copyable at W4DEX.  That is a 510-mile path.  KGØVL also had a partial copy at 443 miles.  A second CW transmission by WW8II the signal was noticeably better at W4DEX and was detected on peaks by KP2AE. 

Solar Storm Forecast 04-04-2019 

Space Weather Message Code: ALTEF3
Serial Number: 2925
Issue Time: 2019 Apr 05 1432 UTC
ALERT: Electron 2MeV Integral Flux exceeded 1000pfu
Threshold Reached: 2019 Apr 05 1400 UTC
Station: GOES-15

Thursday, April 4, 2019

There was a small solar x-ray spike about 45 minutes before our test started today.  That may have been responsible for the fast deep QSB fades we experienced.  W2AZQ at 100 miles averaged S4 at W4DEX but the signal strength fluctuated from a peak of S8 all the way into the noise within a few seconds at one point.  KP2AE at 51 miles averaged S5 at W4DEX also with quick fades into the noise at times. 

WW8II on CW was heard just prior to 1630 UT by W4DEX at 510 miles but the signal was not copyable.  KGØVL also detected CW from WW8II on the same transmission and also on a second transmission at approximately 1645 UT.  A CW transmission by W4DEX was not detected by either WW8II or KGØVL. 

Note on the chart below how the solar wind speed increased after the flare and how erratic the speed was during the test today.