630m And Recent Geomagnetic Activity

High levels of geomagnetic activity have usually, but not always, been the kiss-off-death for LF/MF propagation.

These past few months have seen fairly regular field disturbances, often pushing the K index to a level '5' or higher. However, while usually attenuating the east-west and northerly polar paths, the Trans-Pacific path often seems to benefit from these events ... particularly last night.

Perhaps it is related to the equinox's normal preference for this path or maybe the goop the sun is sending us at this point in the cycle is different or not as energetic as it is at mid-cycle. Nevertheless it's really encouraging to see that not all disturbances are detrimental to LF propagation.

For a daily summary of all overnight activity and much more, see KB5NJD's '630m Daily Reports'.

The WSPRnet map reproduced below shows the extent of reception during my own overnight WSPR 630m beaconing session. Missing are many of the normal spots from the eastern provinces and east coast states, indicating the attenuation on this path. Everything else seems enhanced.

courtesy: WSPRnet

The path to down under, in-spite of my obstruction in that direction, perked-up as well, with VK4YB decoded here 19 times as well as VK3ELV's 150W and inverted-L near Wangaratta, Victoria.

               13:56      VK4YB      0.4756      -28   QG62ku   11820      
               13:50      VK4YB      0.4756      -28   QG62ku   11820      
               13:44      VK4YB      0.4756      -24   QG62ku   11820      
               13:40      VK4YB      0.4756      -24   QG62ku   11820    
               13:30      VK4YB      0.4756      -27   QG62ku   11820      
               13:24      VK4YB      0.4756      -20   QG62ku   11820      
               13:18      VK4YB      0.4756      -24   QG62ku   11820    
               13:12      VK4YB      0.4756      -22   QG62ku   11820    
               12:42      VK4YB      0.4756      -26   QG62ku   11820    
               12:14      VK4YB      0.4756      -20   QG62ku   11820    
               12:02      VK4YB      0.4756      -23   QG62ku   11820    
               11:58      VK4YB      0.4756      -25   QG62ku   11820    
               11:52      VK4YB      0.4756      -25   QG62ku   11820    
               11:40      VK4YB      0.4756      -29   QG62ku   11820      
               11:32      VK4YB      0.4756      -26   QG62ku   11820    
               11:24      VK4YB      0.4756      -25   QG62ku   11820    
               11:12      VK4YB      0.4756      -22   QG62ku   11820    
               10:56      VK4YB      0.4756      -26   QG62ku   11820    
               10:54      VK4YB      0.4756      -25   QG62ku   11820

Merv, WH2XCR in Hawaii, was spotted here 56 times, with numerous transmissions at 'easy CW' levels. He even spotted me twice, with his 80m dipole, presently laying on the ground!

It was also encouraging to see 21 spots from Eden, ZF1EJ in the Cayman Islands, with several at CW levels.

The following stations all uploaded spots of my overnight WSPR signals, as nightly activity continues to grow with the DX season now at the doorstep. Given equal ERP, most of these stations would be workable on either CW or on JT9.

              WH2XGP      DN07dg      319      122
               WG2XSV      CN85sr      353      169
               WI2XJQ        CN87ts      138      150
               NO1D         DM34tn      1825      147
               N3IZN/RX  DM13ji      1796      161
               WW6D      CM88pl      1155      177
               VE7CNF      CN89ng      55      33
               VA7MM      CN89og      59      38
               WE2XPQ      BP51ip      2151      321
               W5EMC      EM10cl      2963      124
               K5ACL      EM10bd      2987      125
               WG2XXM    EM15lj      2610      115
               ZF1EJ/1       EK99ig      4977      116
               KE7LGT      DN26xm      739      107
               W3PM       EM64or      3365      104
               ZF1EJ        EK99ig      4977      116
               VE7KPB      DN29cm      550      79
               KU7Z        DN41af      1227      129
               WH2XCR      BL11je      4295      236
               KB0BRY      EN17nc      1966      86
               WD2XSH/20 CN83      598      178
               WG2XIQ      EM12      2841      120
               WE4X      EM65ut      3326      102
               VE7BDQ      CN89la      26      44
               KB7W      CN93jx      565      163
               W6LEO      DN17oq      498      103
               WH2XAR      DM33vp      1924      147

As interest in 630m continues to expand, many U.S. amateurs are already building their stations so they will be ready to go when the word finally comes. I suspect that 630m may soon sound like a small slice of 40m on a busy night ... will you be ready?
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

One Response to “630m And Recent Geomagnetic Activity”

  • Ron NI7J/WH2XND FCC Part 5:

    Very nice article Steve.
    As you know the USA crowd is still waiting on the FCC to release the 137, 475 bands.
    I personally think the Experimental license is the way to go for now.
    Yes I spent the money and went through the FCC paper chase as we all have, I added in additional frequency’s outside the 137, 475 window. This out of the bands move will enable me to transmit higher power to enable off shore stations to hear my station, this will not be possible with the low EIRP regulations.

    I feel that the FCC is issuing Experimental licenses at a fast pace because of the extensive amount of data they collect from each Experimental station. Its a well know fact the operators location, power, etc., is cross checked with Utility companies, Military, etc. This data for the most part will help to eliminate possible interference with the utility companies. I have a feeling it will be a while before the Utility companies finish their fiber optic cable installations and once completed the 137, 475 bands release will follow.
    Ron NI7J/WH2XND

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