Saturday, June 22, 2013

ViewProp: more charts

This is a continuation from the last post. Let's look at some more.

2013 JIDX CW

(2013/4/13) SFI=125, SSN=148, A=6, K=2

(2013/4/14) SFI=116, SSN=111, A=12, K=3

  • This 30-hour contest starts at 7z Saturday and ends at 13z Sunday. So there is a 6-hour overlap. That means we have two chances of high-band EU openings and low-band NA openings.
  • Being situated during one of the best times for DX (mid-spring), both high and low bands open pleasantly for a good amount of time.

2013 RDXC

(2013/3/16) SFI=126, SSN=90, A=10, K=2

(2013/3/17) SFI=125, SSN=126, A=72, K=5

  • This is more of an European contest so not as many NA spots seen.
  • From JA fifteen is already closed at the outset so we start rather slowly on 20.
  • Toward the end of the 2nd day it suffered from geomagnetic activity somewhat.
  • On the 2nd day, ten meters, for Europe and Russia, dried out completely by 8z, followed by 15 at around 10z. Two hours to go but I almost gave up the contest here since I became quite empty-handed, other than picking up weak NA stations on 40 and 80. (I was operating mobile entering low power CW.) I was quite surprised when I saw 15 came back to life (though a little bit) in the last minutes!


(2013/2/16) SFI=103, SSN=75, A=8, K=1

(2013/2/17) SFI=105, SSN=74, A=9, K=1

  • This one is a NA vs DX contest so let's focus only on NA side.
  • Sunspots are not quite but thanks to geomagnetic serenity, it made a good contest.
  • Apparently this still shows a typical WINTER condition with shorter high band and longer low band openings.
  • Ten meters' rate peak from JA is always at 2230z to 2330z.
  • Looks like we can sleep 'safely' between 17z and 20z. (Of course you can play with scatter on 10m etc.)

2012 WAE CW

(2012/8/11) SFI=119, SSN=98, A=4, K=0

(2012/8/12) SFI=112, SSN=76, A=7, K=2

  • This is an EU vs DX test so forget about NA part now.
  • This I remember was a tough contest. Although geomagnetic was within OK limit, the sun was stagnating. F-layer seemed not thick enough for 10m and there are also not enough darkness for 80m to travel through to Europe. So 10 and 80 were almost nothing.

2012 IARU HF

(2012/7/14) SFI=147, SSN=120, A=19, K=2

(2012/7/15) SFI=140, SSN=134, A=78, K=5

  • This one also suffered from geomagnetic storm especially on the 2nd day.
  • A typical summer condition but fifteen was not much impressive.
  • Ten had minimal openings and 80 was almost nothing.

Friday, June 21, 2013

ViewProp: Visualising openings from JA to Europe and North America

Kudos to Rick ZL2HAM, who has developed a truly fantastic tool called ViewProp, with which you can visualise RBN data in various ways (as well as traditional DX spots).

From a contester's perspective, I am very interested in the time course of the openings from JA to Europe and North America. Knowing and preparing for them are most crucial in contest strategy.

ViewProp can now load raw RBN spot data for a day of interest and do exactly what I need. I'll show you some examples here.

Click on images below to enlarge.
Each image has ten rows. The upper five are for EU (10-15-20-40-80 meters) and the lower five for NA.

2013 All Asian CW

(2013/6/15) SFI=110, SSN=101, A=3, K=1

(2013/6/16) SFI=115, SSN=104, A=3, K=1

  • This contest enjoyed typical summer openings through the night on high bands, often seen at cycle peaks.
  • Fifteen was open nearly 24 hours to Europe!
  • Although SSN hit 200 a few weeks ago, it unfortunately came down to around 100 now so openings on ten were marginal.
  • Twenty was also excellent especially for EU.
  • You can see very short openings on forty (and eighty) toward EU.
  • High band openings for NA in local mornings (around 0z) are surprisingly poor. This could be due to lack of participation from eastern NA being far flung from Asia.

2013 CQ WPX CW

(2013/5/25) SFI=121, SSN=107, A=37, K=4

(2013/5/26) SFI=120, SSN=92, A=18, K=4

  • This contest suffered greatly from a coincidental geomagnetic storm.
  • Compared to AA CW above, EU openings on 15 and 20 were significantly poor and 10 and 15 for NA were disastrous. (Openings in local Sunday morning were almost non-existent.)
OK, now let's see the big one in autumn.

2012 CQ WW CW

(2012/11/24) SFI=118, SSN=87, A=15, K=4

(2012/11/25) SFI=121, SSN=64, A=4, K=0

  • Compared to AA CW (in summer) above, this contest shows typical winter condition.
  • Ten and 15 openings are much shorter, while 40 and 80 much longer.
  • The initial running of day one for NA was a struggle, perhaps due to geomagnetic turbulence.
  • On the 2nd day local morning high band openings for NA were slightly improved.
I now realise CQ WW CW to be really a WINTER contest. Perhaps we need more focus on low bands (especially 40).
Now let's look at the year before.

2011 CQ WW CW

(2011/11/26) SFI=132, SSN=117, A=3, K=1

(2011/11/27) SFI=135, SSN=123, A=6, K=1

  • Geomagnetic activity quieter and solar indices higher than 2012 so 'shapes' are more normal.
  • Even so, 10m openings to EU were very short in duration.