Wednesday, January 09, 2019

DXers Unlimited edition, January 6

Radio Havana Cuba

Dxers Unlimited, weekend edition for Sunday 6 January 2019 By Arnie Coro CO2KK

Happy New Year 2019 amigos ! You are welcome to stay here for about nine minutes enjoying the weekend edition of Dxers Unlimited with yours truly Arnie Coro at the microphone.

Item One: HF propagation conditions for January will be poor due to the prevailing very low solar activity, typical of the tail end of the present cycle.

If you want to calculate your own HF point to point circuits, when asked about the number of sunspots, fill that blank with the number 2, and then  
proceed to the forecasts. Of the many HF propagation forecasting software, my favorite for fast results is to use the freeware W6EL program. It is simple to understand, and quite accurate. It can be downloaded from several Internet sites, and if you do not find it, send me an email message and I will be more than happy to send you the compacted dot zip computer file.

I am talking about the W6EL whisky six echo lima HF propagation forecasting software program. Send your request to

A recent newspaper article published in China describing a new antenna system for Extra Low Frequency communications and scientific experiments.

The ELF signals are used for the detecting earthquakes, studying the earth's magnetic field. The military use those kilometric wavelengths to provide communications with submarines.

China has built a giant experimental radio antenna on a piece of land almost five times the size of New York City, according to researchers involved in the highly controversial project.

The Wireless Electromagnetic Method (WEM) project took 13 years to build but researchers said that it was finally ready to emit extremely low frequency radio waves, also known as ELF waves. Those waves have been linked to cancer by the World Health Organization-affiliated International Agency for Research on Cancer.

Although the project has civilian applications – officially it will be used for earthquake and mineral detection and forms part of China’s 11th five-year plan – it could also play a crucial role in military communications.

Scientists said that its transmissions could be picked up by a submarines that are hundreds of metres under the sea, thus reducing the vessel’s risk of having to resurface to receive transmissions.

The project follows the construction of China’s first military-grade Super Low Frequency transmission station in 2009.

By the way, present worldwide regulations about the use of the radio frequency spectrum make possible for radio amateurs to transmit on extremely low frequencies from one kilohertz to nine kilohertz, and already a few experimenters have built and tested receivers and transmitters to operate on extremely low frequencies.

A preliminary fast scan analysis tells us that this year 2019 is the year of the solar cycle 24 minimum, and the good news is that if the forecasts are correct by the month of September the average number of sunspots should see a discrete upward trend, signaling the start of solar cycle 25.

Another interesting information:
Predictions of the monthly smoothed Sunspot Number using the last provisional value, calculated for June 2018: 7.3 (plus or minus +-5%)

18 Jul 7 5
2018 Aug 7 4
2018 Sep 6 4
2018 Oct 5 3
2018 Nov 4 3
2019 Jan  3 4
2019 Feb  2 4
2019 Mar  2 5
2019 Jul  0 13
2019 Apr  1 7
2019 May  1 9
2019 Jun  1 11
2019 Jul  7 5
2019 Aug 0 16
2019 Sep 0 18
2019 Oct 0 21
2019 Nov 1 25
2019 Dec 1 28

Predictions of the monthly smoothed Sunspot Number using the last provisional value, calculated for June 2018: 7.3 (+-5%)

At the end of 2018, there were 221 days with an official daily sunspot number (DSSN) of 0.

Amateur radio operators that want to activate a DX location in order to participate on one of the leading worldwide contests need to do advanced planning, even a fairly common Caribbean location contest station implies moving equipment, finding accommodations and the installation of antennas.  
Here is now an example of a DX spot to be activated for the upcoming Worldwide RTTY WPX contest organized by CQ Radio Amateur magazine.
It will be on the air from Bonaire, using a PJ4 callsign. Operators Fred WW4LL and Mike NN9DD will be active as PJ4/WW4LL and PJ4/NN9DD, respectively, between February 4-10th.

Activity will be on FT8, RTTY and SSB, on all bands, and including the CQWW WPX RTTY Contest (February 9-10th) as PJ4Z.

For solid copy paper QSLs, please QSL via K4BAI, but LoTW is the preferred method for all QSLs (PJ4Z, PJ4/WW4LL and PJ4/NN9DD).
Log will be uploaded post contest.
It is interesting to follow the development of the FT8 digital communications mode that continues to generate a lot of activity on the bands despite the poor propagation conditions.

Although the 2019 Tropical Hurricane Season will not start officially until the first day of June, long range weather forecasts are calling the attention on the fact that the 2018 season brought a relevant sub-tropical event.

Several weather gurus are saying that the ongoing increase in sea water temperatures may be a contributing factor for the formation of powerful hurricanes this year.

The analysis of the 2017 season that produced hurricanes Harvey, India and Maria showed that they were clearly linked to abnormally high sea surface temperatures.

Cuban radio amateur operators are already planning a national emergency communications training drill, to be held during late May, a few days ahead of the start of the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico tropical hurricanes season.

A very practical, easy to use CW Morse Code training program that also decodes audio signals to on screen text is available for Android Operating System Smart Phones, whether to improve your CW speed or to maintain it, if you are the owner of an Android Phone, I recommend the application QSOSender3 to install on your Smartphone.

Under clear reception conditions, just placing the smart phone near your receiver's loudspeaker will produce a nice clear copy of the CW Morse Code signal.

If the transmission follows the adequate timing procedures, clear copy will be achieved. If sloppy sending is sent, the screen of your smart phone will be full of garbage.

By the way the application also serves as a primitive morse code training program, at least good to master the around 40 different characters required to make the best use of the CW signals on the air.

A more advanced training program is also available as freeware. It is known as the G4FON, yes GEE FOUR FOX OSCAR NOVEMBER trainer that can be downloaded from several Internet sites. Just go to the following URL from where you can pick it up free at again slowly and using the international phonetic alphabet… whisky whisky whisky, symbol for dot, gulf four fox oscar november, symbol for dot november echo tango. The URL of the site for downloading the G4FON CW morse code trainer program is

Send your signal reports and comments via email to and via airmail to: Arnie Coro, Radio Havana Cuba, Havana Cuba.