|10m WSPR spots @ G4ILO 1242z 16 May 2013|
By running WSPR day after day on the same band you start to get a feel for how propagation behaves that you don’t get from casual operation. It’s interesting to compare this map of WSPR spots for G4ILO around lunchtime today with the kind of results I was getting in November. Then I was getting DX spots throughout the day. Now I’m getting mostly local spots, within Europe.
In the autumn the picture changed slowly through the day. Now, in springtime, the picture changes all the time. Stations pop up for a few cycles and then disappear, never to be heard of again. The signal reports vary wildly as well, from just above the noise to +10dB or even higher in the space of a few minutes. This didn’t happen in November. It is a clear indication of Sporadic-E propagation: reflections from fast-moving clouds that are highly ionized and very reflective, creating a path with very little loss.
From time to time I pause the WSPR and tune the band to see what activity there is. I’ve also tried 6m for short periods. I’ve had a few spots on 6 (this is with 5W to my attic dipole) but the magic band is still fairly quiet at 55 degrees north. 10m is far from being wide open yet too. I’ve still to see what WSPR is like when the band is open and signals are romping in at S9+. So I will continue with my WSPR monitoring in the expectation that things will get even more interesting.