Tuesday, November 25, 2014

11/22/14 Update - North American Propagation Conditions on 10-Meters

Note:
All information reviewed comes from the captures of PropNET participants worldwide. The data includes North American 10-Meter PSK31 captures and captures of North American stations from non-North American PropNET participants. Groundwave and self captures have been removed to the best of my ability and only DX has been charted. 
If you wish to know more about PropNET, visit the website www.propnet.org

Happy Thanksgiving to all.
I have not done an update since the first of November.  So I thought I would share with you all how propagation conditions on 10-Meters are doing. 

The experts and predictors are wrong. The Sun remains active and we continue to see very good conditions this Fall.

In 2013, Solar Flux averaged 156 and changed little these 3 weeks.
X-axis are days in November 
This year for the same period, Solar Flux steadily increased and averaged 148.
In 2013 high levels of Solar Flux resulted in excellent propagation towards Europe in the morning hours as well as good trans-continental and Asia/Oceania activity seen in the afternoon hours.
X-axis are UTC Hours 
This year activity towards Europe was not as strong until the last week surveyed. The totals between the years were basically equal.
This map represents my 10-Meter PropNET captures for a week ending 11/22.  As noted, conditions were excellent worldwide to my Arizona QTH.  The rig  used  was a Radio Shack HTX-10 and the antenna was a Cushcraft ATV-3 or a WB4BUM Hamstick.
2014 has seen approximately 19,000 more captures this year. The trends for both years are strikingly similar. The decline is expected because sunlight is shorter week to week. 
The increase in captures for 2014 is visible for the hourly breakdown, but once again the trends between each year is similar,

X-axis are UTC Hours
From year to year the hourly trend was similar for the same week. With high Solar Flux it strangely resembles the trends we see during the Spring/Summer Es season. 
Summary:
Solar Flux remains above 140. This results in outstanding conditions with great opportunities to Europe during the morning, trans-equatorial and trans-continental during the entire daylight hours and finally opportunities towards Asia and Oceania late in the afternoon.

Again, make use of these good opportunities as we should be heading towards the decline of this Solar Cycle.

73s
Art Jackson KA5DWI/7 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

10-Meter Activity on PropNET Week-Ending 11/01/2014

Hi everyone,
Solar Flux was high early in the week. It was a good week on 10-Meters, and very similar to this this time last year. This week was equal to the same period last year.  The propagation hurting M and X- Class solar flares ended as the active region rotate around the sun. There were fewer radio blackouts this week.
For me this week there was excellent coverage to Europe, good trans-continental and improved numbers out west.
Through 11/01, the hourly distribution of captures are nearly equal between each year.
2014 is a better year although the gap has narrowed the past 2 weeks.
The sharp peak at 17:00 UTC shows that Europe is strong.
Results were similar to last year. 
Last year solar flux had only decreased slightly, but was at good levels.
During the 2013 week, flaring was still active,
Solar flux was high at the beginning of this week and rapidly.
Once Region 2192 started to rotate to the far side, it was very quiet.
If no major regions develop, 10 Meters will probably slow down this week and next.
A region is developing facing the earth, in addition Region 2192 will reappear in 2 weeks.
Next report will be in 2 weeks. 

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