Track HF Band Openings

Track HF band openings and learn from winning strategies used by leading reporters in the “WSPR challenge” – a challenge to receive distant weak signals.

This episode charts the weak signals reported by winners in the “WSPR challenge” – conducted by Remko PA3FYM and Rob PE1ITR at wspr.pe1itr.com

Distance winners are measured by distance in Km for all unique reports, on all bands, over a 24 hour period.

Table-1 links to charts showing times and signal strengths reported by winning reporters – based on maximum distance in Km. Use the charts to learn strategies used by winning reporters and to refine your strategy.

You are free to copy images and build your own portfolio of charts that are most relevant to your location and strategy. Right-click any image and select “copy image” from the menu list. Then paste the image into your planning document.

WSPR technology is well suited to accurate reporting of weak signal strengths (below the noise floor). The charts include Maidenhead grid locators to enable precise geographical positioning.

At another level, the charts help transmitting stations see their signal strengths as received from a distance by the best ears on the planet – at any time of day.

This episode is experimental, with plans for updates as winning positions change.

Updated on 8 April 2021

m)AFOCSANAASEU
160EA8BFKDP0GVNKD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
80EA8BFKVK4CT
DP0GVN
KD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
60EA8BFKDP0GVNKD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
40EA8BFKVK4CT
VK7JJ
DP0GVN
PY1EME
PT2FHC
KD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
30EA8BFKVK4CT
VK7JJ
DP0GVN
PY1EME
PT2FHC
KD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
20EA8BFKVK4CT
DP0GVN
PY1EME
PT2FHC
KD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
17EA8BFKVK4CTPY1EME
PT2FHC
KD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
15EA8BFKVK4CT
AI6VN/KH6
PY1EME
PT2FHC
KD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
12EA8BFKKD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
10EA8BFKVK4CTKD2OM
WA2TP
OE9GHV
Table 1. Links to charts of winning reporters at the “WSPR Challenge

Example of HF band openings from Germany to Australia

As an example, the chart below tracks 40m band openings for radio communication from Germany to Queensland Australia.

HF band openings are pictured as weak signal spots from DF2UU to VK4CT during period of 7 days to 2021-Jan-19
Chart 1. 40m band openings from Germany to Queensland Australia

Description

In this example, each dot on the chart above represents a weak signal transmitted by DF2UU in Germany and received by VK4CT near Brisbane Australia.

In this case, spots grouped on the left-side represent signals received on the long-path bearing 246 degrees from Germany to Brisbane. Spots grouped on the right-side represent signals received along the short-path bearing 64 degrees from Germany to Brisbane. Signal strengths correlate with the sun’s solar activity. The strongest signals generally occur during dawn and dusk along the grey line.

The example chart shows that during seven days ended 2021-Jan-19, the 40m band opened for 1.5 hours on the long-path and six hours on the short-path.

The chart demonstrates that signal to noise ratios vary by about 17dB on the short-path and about 20 dB on the long-path.

Applications

The HF band openings charts are useful for a variety of applications – including: propagation trend analysis station comparisons and contest strategy planning.

Contest planning

A plan is essential for competitive performance. Knowing the best band opening times helps to prepare for opportunities when they arise. The alternative is to miss narrow windows to valuable openings. The charts show the best times to work any continent on any HF band.

A plan can be easily mapped on a one page spreadsheet. That sheet is enough to guide the operation. Label each row with the UTC hour down the left column. Label each column with bands along the top row.

Mark cells with band openings using continent abbreviations – AF, OC, SA, NA, AS and EU – as well as the antenna employed for any opening.

For further refinement add colour highlights to your high priority cells.

Station comparisons

Select two reporters that you would like to compare. Then open two browser windows side-by-side on the same screen. Use the first browser to open charts for the first reporter’s callsign, and use the second browser to open charts for the second reporter’s callsign. Scroll through the charts to compare spots received and reported by the stations being compared.

Rob PE1ITR publishes comprehensive daily reports measured by kilometers and by unique callsigns. Scroll to the bottom section of Rob’s page to see his ‘challenge’ score board showing kilometers by band and total kilometers for all bands.

We hope you enjoy an educational journey while browsing through the charts for insights into strategies used by winning reporters.

Enjoy!