I wrote my final propagation analysis paper using PropNET towards the end of January 2016 titled, “How Solar Cycle 24 Affected 10 Meter Spring Summer Es”
The analysis showed that Cycle 24 had exponentially lessened Es activity during the Spring/Summer season. The good thing I thought was that the decline of solar activity should result in improved Es conditions for 2016. During the spring and summer of 2015, I had experienced some nice 6 Meter Es (118 grid squares worked) and looked forward to what the 2016 season held.
In December 2015, I played in a few contests and had a great time working the bands, particularly 10-Meters. Cycle 24 was going out with a bang and was still pretty active. I couldn’t help myself and fired up the old Dell desktop on 10 Meter WSPR (Weak Signal Propagation Reporter) to see if the band was open. After a couple of weeks pulling in some nice Trans-Atlantic and Pacific DX, I put the old Yaesu HF rig (FT-747GX) back in line, set to one-half a watt to see who could hear me.
From January thru April I pulled in WSPR signals and was also heard throughout the world. I received some nice emails from Hams copying my signal and/or me copying theirs. The old XP computer worked like a charm. No issues at all with memory or crashes. The WSPRNET website is another issue. I never was impressed with it. There were constant connection timeout issues that still exist today. Where is Dave when you need him?
I decided that despite the Website issues, to operate on 10-Meter WSPR as I had in my early days on PropNET to see if Es conditions were improving since the decline of Cycle 24. Also, I wanted to see if a different propagation reporting system would show similar results. I took a relaxed approach this year. I operated only when I was nearby. It was infrequently left on all night.
If you already know me, you can skip this next section.
1. Amateur Radio Operator since 1979. Have carried the same call since issued. Worked all states, all continents and well over 200 DXCC entities on 10-Meters.
2. TV/FM/VHF/UHF/Utility DXer and CB’er since the early 1970’s. MWBC and SW DX’er since the early to mid-1960’s.
3. Active 2, 6 & .70 Meter weak signal. 540+ 6M, 200+ 2M, 40+ .70M grid squares. 60+ DXCC on 6M and one-half of the 2-Meter N. American DX record for Tropo-Overland (9/2003). All activity from near Fort Worth, Texas (EM12).
4. Retired in June 2014 and moved to near Prescott Arizona (DM34un) and now working on new VUCC’s, DXCC and WAS.
5. Participated in PropNET from 2004 to 2015. Wrote 7 annual seasonal and 5 cumulative year analyses on Spring/Summer 10-Meter Es. Published 2 Papers for the annual proceedings of the Central States VHF Society Conference. Also wrote papers on other special events.
Operating WSPR 2016:
1. Rig: Yaesu FT-747GX. Power output set to 2 watts for the Spring and Summer.
2. Computer and Interface: Very old Dell Dimension 2.1 GHz XP Desktop and West Mountain RigBlaster with a Serial interface. Computer was dedicated to WSPR operation, Telnet and Weak-Signal or Contest logging. No other programs were used to limit CPU and memory resources.
3. Antennas: Primary – 42 year old 3 Element Yagi. My original CB Yagi (Antenna Specialists Hustler) pointed generally east, but pointed in other directions when working 6-Meter openings. Secondary – 35 year old Cushcraft ATV-3 Vertical nestled between 2 Blue Spruce trees. The antenna was used whenever monsoon storms were forecasted or within the area.
4. Operating Setup – Whenever on, transmitted a 2-minute long WSPR packet either 18 or 20 minutes apart. Software was set to transmit at 10% (10 2-minute transmissions every 3 hours, listening 160 minutes during that time). I operated on average about 11 hours each day from morning to early evening.
1. All measurements and charts are derived from my reception of 10-Meter WSPR packets. Extracted from the ALL_WSPR.txt file and imported into and compiled from an Excel spreadsheet.
2. The database from WSPRNET was NOT used due to unreliability of the website to acquire propagation reports.
3. Any reception considered ground wave or Trans-Equatorial was removed from this analysis.
1. Operating Dates – From April 29 through August 28, 2016 (122 days)
2. WSPR Packet receptions - 2,543
3. My WSPR Transmissions – 3,941
4. Shortest reception – N7NEV DM43 103 miles Es Backscatter, N6RY DM13 281 miles Single Hop Es
5. Longest reception – WP3D FK68 2,979 miles Multi-Hop Es (F2 MUF was too low)
6. Most active day – July 12 with 154 captures.
7. Least active day – 16 recorded days without activity.
8. Distance – Average capture length 1,175 miles, Median distance approximately 1,050 miles.
9. First capture – KD6RF EM22 4/29 @ 16:34 UTC (9:34 AM PDT Time), Last Capture – W1VR 8/24 @ 01:50 UTC (8/23 6:50 PM PDT)
10. Calls captured – 96, Grid Squares captured – 69
Third observation was once we passed the Fourth of July, something turned the Es switch on and we enjoyed a very good end of the season. The period around the Perseid meteor shower was also very good.
The median WSPR capture this season was 1,026 miles, so I distributed the hourly captures at the next mileage capture 1,079 miles.
The following maps show both 10-Meter WSPR stations that I captured or those who captured my 2 watt signal.
Expecting a much improved season from the past few years was not the case. There were occasional signs that Es conditions were on the upswing. In the stratosphere, Noctilucent Clouds reappeared in the Northern latitudes. The first weekend in June, a nice European opening occurred on 6-Meters as far west as southern Arizona. I worked 106 grid squares (down 10%) on 6-Meters and my best worked DX was Maine, Dominican Republic and copying Alaska on JT65. The difference appeared to be periods that the bands were void of activity.
73 Art Jackson KA5DWI/7 near Prescott Arizona
2016 10-Meter WSPR Honor Roll
The following Hamradio operators accounted for 80% of the season's captures:
The following Hamradio operators accounted for the remaining 20%: