Sunday, October 12, 2014

10-Meter Activity on PropNET Week-Ending 10/25/2014

Hi everyone,
Solar Flux and activity increased early in the week. It was a good week on 10-Meters, but not as good as it was this time last year. It was the first time this year that the weekly conditions failed to exceed the same period last year.  Solar flux was well above this year, bit it appeared that several strong M and X- Class solar flares did enough disruption to keep numbers down. There seemed to be a number of radio blackouts this week.
Not as many different stations were captured by me this week,
 but the total captures were about the same.
Overall 2014 captures remain greater than last year.
This was the first week since the season began that 2013 volumes were greater than last year.
For the first time in at least 4 weeks, captures favored Trans-Equatorial
Lat years activity favored Trans-Atlantic and Pacific.
Meanwhile solar activity increased in 2013.
Solar Flux in 2014 is much higher
Solar activity was down for 2014, but the number of stronger flares are more proportionate.
The X-Flares can have a highly negative affect on propagation.
Contributors:

Call Grid Square   Captures
K5KKW DM65QG 7
KA5DWI DM34UN 1112
KD0FW EM29TC 38
KD0IOM EN41EX 1187
KD4IZ FM19OO 844
KF6XA DM13JO 1133
KF9KV EN52ET 234
KI7J DM42OF 288
KO4FR FM06VW 1
N7YG DM42NF 29
NM4V FM06QR 4
W0MAF EM29TD 31
W2EV FN03XD 1820
W5LA EM32VN 1290
W6CGH DM13BR 1288
W7HD DM42JI 1183
WB8ILI EN82OQ 944
WE2M FN32KV 398
WU9Q EN41RL 33
Total
North America
11864

The outstanding conditions show those results.  Thanks everyone for participating.

Good Luck... Have Fun!
Art KA5DWI/7

Finding Tropo Enhancement in a Place That Doesn't Have Tropo - 10/20 Update

Hello everyone,

When I retired last June I moved to the Highlands of Arizona, a community known as Prescott (pronounced "preskit" rhymes with "biscuit"), grid square DM34un. I was excited to start over again on 2-Meter VUCC (#237 4/1988), but understood that this one would be more challenging.

I set up an antenna to monitor the FM broadcast band to help me find potential 2-Meter Es and Meteor scatter paths in the future. To my surprise, on a few occasions I would pick up FM broadcast stations from Tuscon, 175 miles away. So something is enhancing it. I asked for volunteers and luckily Ron Herring, W7HD just north and west of Tuscon volunteered to operate 2-Meter PropNET and see if we could capture each other.

Ron is running 25 watts into a Diamond X50 vertical @ 50 feet and I am running 10-15 watts into a 4-Element F9FT Tonna Yagi @ 25 feet. On occasions I switched to a Cushcraft Ringo Ranger II without the radials (base at 18 feet).

Here are our results for the week-ending 10/18:
Weather was not very cooperative this week.
They were a few low pressure disturbances that passed through the area.

Tx Call
Tx Grid
Rx Call
Rx Grid
Distance (km)
Band
Path Score
Freq Δ
IMD
UTC Time
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-092
60%
2014-10-18 14:47:20
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
33%
-093
80%
2014-10-18 12:57:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
33%
-094
-07
2014-10-18 12:37:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
33%
-115
99%
2014-10-18 11:57:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-097
-08
2014-10-18 11:27:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
50%
-121
99%
2014-10-18 10:17:20
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
33%
-120
40%
2014-10-18 10:07:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
33%
-116
80%
2014-10-18 09:17:21
DM34UN
DM42JI
265
2 meters
17%
+296
60%
2014-10-18 08:55:29
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
67%
-119
40%
2014-10-18 08:27:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
67%
-119
50%
2014-10-18 08:07:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
50%
-119
60%
2014-10-18 07:57:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
33%
-122
80%
2014-10-18 07:37:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-122
-14
2014-10-18 07:17:21
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-103
80%
2014-10-17 12:37:22
DM34UN
DM42JI
265
2 meters
17%
+184
80%
2014-10-17 11:25:45
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-109
40%
2014-10-17 11:17:23
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-109
-14
2014-10-17 10:17:22
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-113
-04
2014-10-17 08:57:12
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-115
+00
2014-10-17 07:37:12
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
67%
-121
80%
2014-10-17 06:07:12
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
50%
-124
60%
2014-10-17 05:47:13
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
33%
-124
90%
2014-10-17 05:37:13
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-126
-03
2014-10-17 05:27:12
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-124
40%
2014-10-17 04:17:13
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
50%
-088
80%
2014-10-16 11:27:15
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
33%
-083
-06
2014-10-16 11:17:15
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-086
+00
2014-10-16 10:47:15
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-113
-16
2014-10-16 06:37:14
DM42JI
DM34UN
265
2 meters
17%
-069
80%
2014-10-14 06:17:19
DM34UN
DM42JI
265
2 meters
17%
-282
40%
2014-10-12 14:03:07

Several times I saw Ron's signal on the waterfall, but the software failed to sync with it. All captures this week was using the Yagi.

What Provides the Enhancement.
My Station
A Yaesu FT290R driving a THP 30 watt Amp, Janel QSA5 MosFET preamp into a rebuilt Tonna F9FT 4-Element Yagi.  All of the equipment is 32 years old!  Ron's W7HD signal is being captured in the pic.
Path 
I am located in Prescott Valley. Verde Valley and Black Canyon are to my Southeast. Phoenix is located in a valley and continues as San Tan Valley towards Tucson. 
There are very few obstructions between us.
The vertical line marks to the direction to W7HD from my QTH. As noted, it is straight down the valley. Only one mountain is in the downward view and it is low on my horizon. 
The view to my station (KA5DWI) from Ron's QTH is noted by the vertical line. He has no obstructions to my QTH
Weather Conditions Promoting an Opportunity

Week-Ending 10/11/14

First Captures
NWS Radar Mosaic Afternoon of 10/07/14.
Tropical Storm Simon was entering the Gulf of California. 
As it approached, the counter-clockwise wind from the low pushed warm air along the eastern border of the valleys. The false echoes (light blue) shows the inversion in the valleys. This provides the conditions for ducting of VHF signals.
Second Opportunity
The next opportunity was a surprise on 10/10.  The line of very strong thunderstorms formed in the northern Chino Valley. The storms produced hail and started to break up once the sun set.
Once the storms died out, the air cleared, the atmosphere stabilized, and winds were fairly light.
Upper air winds were also light. That is odd for Thunderstorm formation.  The storms had tremendous uplift as observed at my QTH. The result was hail. 
Upper-Air Soundings-Flagstaff AZ the following morning.
Line on left: Dewpoint
Line on right:Air Temperature
Vertical Axis: Height
An inversion occurs when both measurement lines go in opposite directions.
Inversion at: 3,100 m, 5,100 m, & 10,000 m.
No strong inversions over Tucson, but small ones at 1,500 m and 2,500 m.
Third Opportunity
Still wedged between two surface low pressure troughs, little to no wind on the surface. Notice the heat island temperature in Phoenix are 10-20 degrees warmer than the surrounding areas..
Upper level winds are light over Arizona.
High pressure is centered over Arizona at mid-levels.

There are three inversions over Flagstaff.
4,700 m, 6,700 m, & 10,000 m.
Over Tucson, there are well-defined inversions at 1,500 m and 4,700 m.
Week-Ending 10/18/14 Opportunity
The NWS Radar Mosiac show once again good temperature inversions in the valleys.
Arizona is located this day between 2 surface lines of low pressure (trough and warm front).
Very little to no surface winds provide good radiation cooling
In the Upper Air, Arizona is located on the backside (left) of high pressure centers. Winds again are light. 
 



At both Flagstaff and Tucson there are at least 2 levels of temperature inversions.
Air-Temperature increases, Dew Point rapidly decreases

Summary
Tropospheric enhancement and ducting of VHF signals are a matter of having temperature inversions at levels visible to your RF path. The opportunities are there more than you think. Once identified, it is a matter of having someone on the other end.

I hope this can guide you in experiencing the joys of working VHF/UHF weak signal.

73s
Art Jackson KA5DWI/7 DM34un