Propagation reports and conditions.... do you follow them?

Discussion in 'QRP Corner' started by KK4NSF, Dec 21, 2015.

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  1. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    For the last few days, band conditions have been pretty bad on 40m.... with noise levels reaching up to S7 at some times. This is mostly due to a Coronal Mass Ejection from the sun that occurred over the week-end. According to the forecasts, this noise is supposed to be subsiding today and tomorrow is expected to be a good radio day.

    As a qrp operator, I use the heck out these forecasts and plan my sessions partly based on what the Space Weather forecast looks like..... the same way I also look at the regular weather forecast to see if there is going to be lightning or thunderstorms. I've learned from experience that if the noise level is running greater than s5, my puny little QRP signal won't get through no matter what I do....in which case I break out the BIG GUNS: 100W from my Kenwood 440.

    I use www.bandconditions.com Do you use these sort of Space Weather Reports to plan your activities? If so, which forecast do you find to be the best indicator? OR do you just turn on your radio and listen to see how noisy it is out there?

    Dave
    KK4NSF

    quote for the day: "We've created a mess so big and so tall, there's no way to fix it.... no way at all" Dr Suess, in "The Cat in the Hat" 1957
     
  2. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have G4ILO VOAPROP that shows the MUF on the world map, relative to my QTH.

    I recommend it.

    At my QTH, 40-meters is right now.
     
  3. N5EIT

    N5EIT Platinum Subscriber Platinum Subscriber QRZ Page

    I use VOAPROP when I'm planning a portable op, but I don't always rely on propagation reports as a strict condition. Unless there's a storm like the last few days, I still get on the radio and make some contacts to somewhere. I actually made some good Olivia qso's this weekend when prop was crazy. I find that casual operating at my qth is just as fun if my plans for portable ops don't seem worth it.
     
  4. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    The other thing, is to get on a band and listen for the band to open.

    It is a great skill, to be able to hear a band open.

    Then, you have a jump on the DX Spotters.
     
  5. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    I've noticed that the CONUS Band Conditions report is often different than the QRZ predictions. I've found that CBC is more accurate.

    Has anyone used the Beacon Receiver that MFJ sells?
     
  6. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Here is an example of G4ILO VOAprop depicting propagation with reference to my QTH. The sunrise-sunset line is there.
    The lines depict where on the map, to find that propagation.

    VOAProp.png
     
  7. KI5WW

    KI5WW Ham Member QRZ Page


    I use that one every day, several times a day.
     
  8. W7CJD

    W7CJD Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have VOAProp open on the Desktop.

    I have selected Auto Update.

    Every time I select a radio amateur band, the map is updated for the selected band.

    I go back and forth, looking at each band of interest.

    I look at all the bands, 1.8 (160-meter) to 28 (10-meter) to see the general picture.

    There is also a check box for selecting Long Path.

    The only improvement I can think of is to be able to select a slide show and set the amount of time on each slide, or, be able to have a separate open window for each band I am watching and it auto updates as an animation.

    It is free to download at G4ILO's website: "google" G4ILO VOAProp.

    If you click on an ad, there, and stay at that advertiser a few seconds, or more, that generates income.

    He no longer "supports" it, by answering questions because he is SK.

    However, it is maintained.

    I followed the instructions to install the download.

    I installed it in a folder, as instructed.

    I followed instructions to get the files that update from VOACAP.

    There, the instruction is: take the last (most recent) file.

    I took the last file.

    It is the most recent, to work with the more recent versions of Windows.

    I installed it in a folder, as instructed.

    I only had to "right-click" on the map to get the menu for entering my name and QTH lat-long and the grid square filled in.

    If you know your way around the Windows operating system, at all, this isn't difficult.

    If you do not, it guides you thru it.

    It is worth knowing this much about Windows.

    In Windows 8.1 the Windows Explorer equivalent is in the system tray or otherwise referred to as the Task Bar.

    The drawing lines are roughly drawn because it is an approximation: near the line will you get S9 or S5, no kidding.

    It is that good.

    That is my experience.

    It also shows "the picture" why you are getting S9 perhaps thousands of miles distant, and not reaching the next state over from your position.

    Think of propagation as S9 S5 S1 etc. bubbles that move over the landscape of the world.

    Add in the sunrise-sunset line.

    I found another graphic: the world map is all squeezed together and it is difficult to look at dark blue regions and yellow dashed lines.

    I look at it.

    No help.

    This is the only graphic presentation that gives the whole picture.
     
  9. KK4NSF

    KK4NSF Ham Member QRZ Page

    Thanks guys. The VOAProp looks like it might be handy. I'll go check it out.
     

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