Thursday, 12 March 2015

NDB Band Wakes Up

The LF NDB band was alive with signals from the east on Tuesday evening ... not the best I have heard but one of the better openings this winter. Nothing over the past few years can compare with the unbelievably good propagation of the last Solar Cycle minimum, so there should be some great LF propagation in the upcoming years. Remember also that listening for NDB's in the 400Khz range can be a good test of your 630m receiving system.

My nightly "go to" propagation indicators to the east are YLJ-406, in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan and AA-365, in Fargo, on the ND/MN border. Their reported powers are 15W and 100W respectively.

YLJ's signal was a solid S9 as heard here, while AA, further to the south was also doing well, heard here.

Further to the east, 25W ZHD-399, in Dryden, Ontario, revealed itself here.

From near Montreal, ZHU-407, at 95W, made a rare appearance here, along with YMW-366, a 500-watter from Maniwaki, Quebec here.

YMW-366KHz Maniwaki, QC courtesy:

By far the highlight of the evening (and a new catch for me) was little OO-391, at the Oshawa Municipal Airport, Ontario ... last reported to be at just 7W output! Listen here carefully for the long dash followed by the 'OO'.

OO-391KHz Oshawa, ON courtesy:

Yahoo Group's NDBlist member, VE3GOP, is the beacon maintenance man for OO and many others, and will check the power tomorrow.

All of these signals were heard at ~ 9PM local time, in a 6Hz filter using the Perseus SDR and my 10' x 20' active loop.

The previous morning had some of the year's best propagation to Alaska so far ... that direction has been dismal ... with the following NDB's heard (mostly 25-watters) in the pre-dawn hours:

03 10 1300 529 SQM Level Island AK CO36
03 10 1300 396 CMJ Ketchikan AK CO45
03 10 1300 391 EEF Sisters Island AK CO28
03 10 1300 372 FPN Fredericks Point AK CO36
03 10 1300 266 ICK Annette Island AK CO45
03 10 1300 414 IME Mt. Edgecumbe AK CO27
03 10 1300 394 RWO Kodiak AK BO37
03 10 1300 209 CYT Yakataga AK BP80
03 10 1300 390 HBT Sand Point AK AO95
03 10 1300 358 SIT Sitka AK CO26
03 10 1300 350 VTR McGrath AK BP22
03 10 1100 338 CMQ Campbell Lake AK BP41
03 10 1100 233 ALJ Johnstone Point AK BP60
03 10 1100 212 CGL Coghlan Island AK CO28
03 10 1100 223 AFE Kake AK CO36
03 10 1100 229 AKW Klawock AK CO35
03 10 1100 283 DUT Dutch Harbor AK AO63
03 10 1100 245 HNS Haines AK CO29
03 10 1300 347 DJN Delta Junction AK BP74
03 10 1100 411 ILI Iliama AK BO29
03 10 1100 277 ACE Homer AK BO49
03 10 1100 355 AUB King Salmon AK BO18
03 10 1100 524 MNL Valdez AK BP61
03 10 1300 382 JNR Unalakleet AK AP93
03 10 1100 281 CRN Cairn Mountain AK BP21
03 10 1100 385 EHM Cape Newenham AK AO88
03 10 1100 385 OCC Yakutat AK CO09
03 10 1300 390 AES Northway AK BP29
03 10 1100 404 GCR Cordova AK BP70
03 10 1100 525 ICW Nenana AK BP54
03 10 1300 251 OSE Bethel AK AP90
03 10 1100 341 ELF Cold Bay AK AO85
03 10 1300 248 GLA Gulkana AK BP72
03 10 1100 379 IWW Kenai AK BP40
03 10 1300 399 SRI St. George AK AO56
03 10 1300 393 TOG Togiak, AK AO99
03 10 1300 429 BTS Dillingham, AK BO08
03 10 1300 227 MHM Minchumina AK BP33

Unfortunately it looks like LF prop will be deteriorating rapidly, with the recent round of flares expecting to stir up absorption levels over the next several days ... however, HF should see the benefits of the increased sunspot activity ... maybe all is not lost after all!


Anonymous said...

I am always astounded at the difference in DX condx 160-630M in spite of our close proximity & have concluded that the incredible ground-plane the Salish Sea provides you, as opposed to who has the superior receivers & antennae to chose from, is the decided difference. A waterfront resident myself for 18 yrs reminded me of the superior tx/rx condx that go with it. You always hear much more than I with your favoured NE, E & SE take-off. In addition, you are a long ways from the mainland mountains making low-angle reception possible whereas here inland that opportunity doesn't exist. I'm also reminded of this having travelled many, many times on the smaller open-air, steel-decked ferries that have provided me with some of the best MW DX possible (FM too!) on a vehcile radio/antenna. Those are some great catches Steve!

73 Mike VE7SKA

Steve McDonald said...

Yes Mike...there is nothing quite as great as a salt water horizon. I know that on VHF it is good for at least the 6db of 'theoretical' sea gain, making my single yagis believe they are actually four and on 160m I suspect at least the same amount of horizon gain. It's a great spot to operate from for sure.

Anonymous said...

It really convinces me Steve that grounding is MORE important for long-haul MW/NDB DX than sheer gain provided by assorted antennas. The unlimited size of the ocean as 'ground-plane' makes this infinite.

Steve McDonald said...

Yes! I've often pictured the ocean in front of me acting as a giant collector for signals coming out of the sky many many miles from my actual antenna location...and the ocean surface allowing them to arrive at the antenna with little attenuation. Kind of like having an antenna at various locations along the coastline.

Alex VE3GOP said...

Hey Steve... just to let you know I went to check the power on Oshawa NDB is sure enough it's putting put around 7 watts. Well done on the reception!!!

Steve McDonald said...

Thanks a million Alex. Talk about service! That makes my 'OO' catch even more surprising. I've listened for it for years, even under better conditions, but it seems conditions were just perfect for our path this time.