630m Midwinter Summary




Friday and Saturday evening's 'Midwinter 630m Activity' event was an interesting demonstration of the band's capability and, by most accounts, a real success.


At first-glance, the propagation gods appeared to favor Friday night but I'm not really so sure as both nights were quite different.

Friday night's extremely high winds and pounding rain played havoc with most of the west coast antenna systems, producing fluctuating SWR's and scopematch traces dancing crazily for most of the night. Geomagnetic conditions were playing tricks on both evenings as well, with the K-index varying between '1' and '4' ... but the sudden dip to '1' on Saturday night was immediately obvious out west. Stations that had struggled to hear any signs of the CQ-ing VE7's suddenly reported aural reception and several quick contacts were made before calling it a night at around 0700Z. Some of the lower ERP stations were never able to crack the Saturday night, generally high, K-curtain, making for a less interesting night.

courtesy: NOAA and http://www.solarham.net/planetk.htm

The highlight of the event was assuredly the activity from Canada's most recent arrival to the band, Mitch (VE3OT) in London, Ontario. A veteran 2200m operator, Mitch recently modified his system to add 630m capability and after a few setbacks, managed to provide a lot of excitement for the crossbanders back east. I'm sure that Mitch's participation has resulted in many eastern amateurs making plans for 630m in the months ahead.

Mitch managed twenty-five two-way crossband contacts, all along the eastern seaboard and as far south as Texas, with his well-heard 200W and 340' backyard loop ... proving once again that you don't need to live in the country with several acres to have a ton of fun on 630m!

VE3OT's Crossband Coverage courtesy: https://www.google.ca/maps
'Backyarders' in VE7 land also had fun, with VE7BDQ, VE7CNF and VA7MM working crossbanders across the PNW and down into California, Utah and Nevada. Although my own system can also fit into a backyard (with kindly help from the neighbours!), it doesn't quite qualify for such description as my antenna is mounted almost over the ocean, with an unobstructed seawater horizon looking towards the rest of North America and to the north.

An interesting observation, noticed during previous events and reconfirmed once again, is the ability of the smaller and lower antennas used by some of the city stations, to propagate much stronger signals into closer regions such as Washington, Oregon and northern California.

On more than one occasion, my signal was reported as 'unreadable' or 'just above the noise floor', while the other backyarders were reported with, sometimes, 'booming' signals. I can only surmise that these antennas offer more high-angled (NVIS-like) radiation compared with my high seaside inverted-L, which likely has a lower takeoff angle ... Saturday night's activity tended to back up this observation. When it comes down to it, I think that all amateur 630m antennas are basically NVIS radiators due to their small size and low height but some are just a tiny bit 'less NVIS' than others!

As conditions enjoyed a short spike late on Saturday evening, NO3M and WA3TTS, both in Pennsylvania, reported good reception of my CQ's and crossband QSO's were quickly completed with both stations, as well as with KB5NJD in Texas. During the short propagation lift, ABØCW, in Colorado, also called in for a quick exchange, indicating that my previously unheard signal had quickly built from nothing to a 549.

Another highlight of the night was a report from Paul, K7CW, from his quiet receiving location in Tahuya, Washington. Paul reports reception of both VE3OT and VO1NA, with the latter being a 'first' from the west coast!

Hi Steve,

Here is my report of things I took part in or observed tonight:

0204Z - Worked VE7SL 473/3566 kHz RST 559.


0209Z - Worked VE7CNF 476.5/3558 kHz Pretty fast QSB RST 529 to 559.


0214Z - 0409Z WG2XSV 476.1 Beacon RST 559. Announced QRT and QSY at 0409Z.


0219Z - Heard VO1NA 477.4 kHz Weak with QSB. I could get or or three characters now and then. Too weak to attempt a QSO. Signal faded to nothing after about 15 minutes.


0225Z - Heard VE3OT 477.0 kHz Weak but much better than VO1NA. Also with QSB fading to nothing. I called several times, but couldn't tell if he came back to me. Strong enough to make a hopeful try. Also disappeared after about 15 minutes.


0241Z - Came across WD2XSH/20 RST 599+ in QSO with WH2XGP RST 589. 474.5 kHz.


0300Z - WD2XSH/20 472.0 599+ now in beacon mode.


0400Z - VE7BDQ 474.0 kHz RST 539 showed up and called CQ twice. I responded on 3555 kHz, but he did not call me back. He then disappeared from the QRG. There was a strong birdie on 475 kHz, but I don't think VA7MM came on.


0409Z - WG2XSV 476.1 Beacon interrupted by announcement of QRT and QSY.


0434Z - Came across VE7BDQ 474.0 kHz again calling CQ. He worked VA7JX, but apparently couldn't hear me.

With that, I took one more look for VO1NA and stopped.

Another interesting night.

73, Paul K7CW


Thanks also to AI8Z in Colorado and W7OIL in Washington for submitting  reception reports!

THE LOGS

From Mitch, VE3OT, in London, ON:

Friday night:

NØFW (OH)
WA3TTS (PA)
KB5NJD (TX)
K4LY (SC)
K3OO (PA)
VE3MM (ON)
N4PY (NC)
WA9ETW (WI)
K9LA (IN)
NO3M (PA)
N2TK (NY)
KK8X (MI)
N2ZK (NY)
N8RR (WV)
VA3SC (ON)

Saturday night:

WD8DSB (IN)
K3UL ( PA)
WB2QMY (NJ)
AA1P (MA)
W2JEK (NJ)
WA3LAB (PA)
K3PA (KS)
NF4C (NC)
W1VD (CT)
WØJW (IA)

From Joe, VO1NA, in Torbay, NF:

N1CGP (ME)
VO1FOG 
VO1BQ
reception reports from around the province, almost all reporting
a positive reception. Also got reports from DF6NM and PAØRDT


From John, VE7BDQ, in Delta, BC. (a description of John's station as well as other VE7's, can all be viewed here):

KGØD/7 (WA)
KU7Z (UT)
VE7KW
WØYSE/7 (WA)
VE7BGJ
W6RKC (CA)
WB2AWQ (NV)
VE7CNF
VA7MM
VE7SL
VA7JX


From Toby, VE7CNF, in Burnaby, BC:

Friday night:

KU7Z (UT)
WØYSE/7 (WA)
VE7KW
VE7BGJ
KGØD/7 (WA)
W6RKC (CA)
VE7BDQ
VA7MM

Saturday night

K7CW (WA)
N7BYD (MT)
WØYSE/7 (WA)
VE7SL
VA7MM

As well, Toby was copied on QRSS3 mode in Illinois, late Saturday night.

From Mark, VA7MM, in Port Coquitlam, BC:

Friday night: 

VE7KW
KU7D (UT)
VE7BGJ
WØYSE/7 (WA)
W6RKC (CA)

Beacon copied: WD2XSH/2Ø 472 kHz

Report of my signal received from N6SKM


Saturday night:

VE7BDQ
VE7SL
VE7CNF

From myself, VE7SL, on Mayne Island, BC:

Friday night:

VE7KW
KU7Z (UT)
W6RKC (CA)
VE7BGJ
KB5NJD (TX)
NO3M (PA)
KGØD/7 (WA)
VA7MM
WØYSE/7 (WA)
WB2AWQ (NV)


Saturday night:

K7CW (WA)
VE7CNF
VA7CNF
VA7JX
K7SF (OR)
VE7BDQ
KB5NJD (TX)

N7BYD (MT)
WØYSE/7 (WA)
NO3M (PA)
ABØCW (CO)
WA3TTS (PA)
VA7MM


For an even more detailed description of the weekend event, see KB5NJD's 630m blogs here.

Thanks to all participants ... you have created another successful 630m operating event. Hopefully U.S. amateurs will have access to the band before next winter, allowing all of the two-way activity to take place within the band itself ... how different that will be! Otherwise, another crossband weekend will be in store for the fall of 2016!
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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