630m Midwinter Activity Summary





Last weekend's 630m Midwinter Activity Event appeared to bring out a lot of new listeners to the band as well as to the crossband activity.


John, KB5NJD, reports in his daily 630m summary, that numbers were higher than previous events, indicating much new interest in what might eventually become the new 'Topband'. John has a very detailed timeline of events for the night including extensive coverage of experimental station reports.

Unfortunately, as is often the case, geomagnetic conditions were still suffering the effects of a week long coronal hole stream bombardment, particularly geo-effective in VE7 and the PNW, which always seems to tickle the southern elongated tail of the auroral oval further north. Stations to the south reported better, but quickly shifting propagation paths, while VE3OT in Ontario seemed to have no difficulty in working his numerous QSX callers.

Murphy's Law in action. The yellow disturbance coincides exactly with the event!

The path from VE7 was predominantly north-south, with the east-west path almost non-existent ... often the case when K indices are higher than 0 or 1. Several of the crossband stations reported heavy QRM on their HF QSX frequencies, which was expected. There were a number of CW events, including the NA CW and the FOC parties, as well as an international RTTY contest in full swing. I found my QSX of 3526 kHz to be busy but manageable as stations did not seem to stay too long before moving to another frequency. My 40m QSX of 7115 kHz was clear all night but most callers chose to use 80m.

Eventually, if and when the U.S. gets the 630m band, crossband work will no longer be needed. With all of the loud VE7 and Washington state activity on 630m, it will be an interesting challenge to work within the band itself ... but what great fun it will eventually be to hear 630m sounding like 160m during a winter CW contest!

Here is a rundown on the Canadian crossband action:

Joe, VO1NA out on the rock, used 80m as his talkback frequency while running 50W to a large inverted-L.

  • PE5T              
  • VO1DI             
  • PAØO             
  • K1PX          

Additional 'heard reports' were received from LA6LU, VE2PEP, DL4HG and PAØRDT.

Moving further west, Mitch, VE3OT, had a busy night with his 250 watts and 340' rectangular loop pointing east-west:

  • VA3DN---ON
  • W3TS---PA
  • K1PX---CT
  • W8PI---MI
  • WB3AVN---MD
  • K3PA---KS
  • K3CCR---MD
  • AC9S---IN
  • WA8ZZ---MI
  • W3WH---PA
  • WA9ETW---WI
  • AB4KJ---IL
  • NS8S---MI
  • N9SE---IN
  • WA3TTS---PA
  • W2JEK---NJ
  • VE3GRO---ON
  • WØBV---CO
  • K2PI---VA
  • K1HTV---VA
  • N2MS---NJ
  • KB5NJD---TX
  • NO3M---PA
  • NA5DX---MS
  • K9RT---IN
  • WØJW---IA

Mitch adds:

"Good conditions here - and similar frequency choice as last year….all but 2 QSOs on 3.5Mhz. Lost 3 possible QSOs - just too weak - at the noise level, but they obviously were copying me on 477….interesting.
Thinking about band condx - I think I should have stayed another hour or so and see i the band finally opened further West than Colorado.
It was interesting to see the East slowly fade away and the Mid-West and Western stations started calling. A good exercise - and lots of compliments and thanks from the U.S. operators."

Mitch is working on a special QSL for those stations that worked him.

Out on the west coast, things were busy as well but other than a couple of brief periods, there seemed to be a Faraday shield not too far east of the Rockies ... mostly a north-south affair.

John, VE7BDQ, reports:

  • W7FI---WA
  • K7WA---WA
  • K6YK---CA
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VA7JX---BC
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • K7CW---WA
  • AH6EX/W7---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • K6IR---WA
  • K7SS---WA
  • W9PL---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7SL---BC

From Toby, VE7CNF:

  • AH6EZ/W7---WA
  • K7CW---WA
  • CF7MM---BC
  • K7SS---WA
  • W9PL---WA
  • N7BYD---MT
  • VE7BDQ---BC
  • W7FI---WA
  • W6TOD---CA
  • VE7KW---BC
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • VA7JX---BC
  • K6YK---CA
  • KB5NJD---TX

From Mark, VA7MM:

  • W7FI---WA
  • K7CW---WA
  • W6RKC---CA
  • W6TOD---CA
  • AH6EZ/W7---WA
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VE7KW---BC
  • K6YK---CA
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • VA7JX---BC
  • K7SS---WA
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7BDQ---BC
Both Toby and Mark were in the middle of a nasty ice storm, slowly watching their output power drop as their antennas gradually accumulated more and more ice. Thankfully neither antenna came down!

630m top-loaded 'T' (and multiband HF dipole) at VA7MM...100' vertical x 50' tophat.
At least there was no ice storm in progress here on Mayne at VE7SL:
  •  CF7MM---BC
  • W6TOD---CA
  • K7CW---WA
  • W7FI---WA
  • K6YK---CA
  • K7WA---WA
  • WØBV---CO
  • AH6ZE/W7---WA
  • VE7KW---BC
  • VE6XH---AB
  • VA7JX---BC
  • VE7BGJ---BC
  • NO3M---PA
  • KB5NJD---TX
  • K7SS---WA
  • N7BYD---MT
  • CG7CNF---BC
  • VE7BDQ---BC
Besides being just a lot of fun, these events always provide some interesting 'takeaways'.

It's clear that there is a lot of interest in this band and it continues to grow ... reporting levels have never been higher. One crossbander in Washington state indicated that he has a station already to go, once the U.S. gets the band.

Activities such as this continue to demonstrate that stations running something less than the maximum allowable 5 watts eirp can produce impressive signal levels, allowing solid aural contacts over considerable distances via skywave ... even under the marginal conditions just experienced.

Considering the amount of RF being generated nightly for several years by high erp experimental stations as well as during numerous frenzied 630m activity nights, there should be little doubt that interference to hydro switching systems is a non-issue. Sadly, this argument by power authority lobbyists still appears to be the main obstacle for the FCC's foot-dragging of 630m implementation in the U.S.A.

It was great to see participation and interest from VE6 land! Hopefully more Canadian amateurs will take up the challenges offered by 630m ... both in operating and in building a station. You need not have anything more than a suburban backyard to enjoy transcontinental work and like so many activities ... the more, the merrier!
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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