[CQ-Contest] beta test the 160m 3Y0X propagation study website during CQ 160

Eric Scace K3NA eric at k3na.org
Fri Jan 28 15:13:02 EST 2005

Hello everyone --

   In preparation for the Peter 1st DXpedtion's 160m propagation study, please help us beta test our website at www.dxmap.com/160m.

   A description of the study, and how to use the website, follows (in plain text) below.

   To stress test the software, we are asking you to:

   a) register as a web site user, describing your 160m antennas.

   b) during the WW 160m contest this weekend, listen for three signals from CT3BH, CT9C and CT9M.  Please record, in real time,
your observations of their signal strengths on the website, following the procedures described below.

   c) report any problems to me (eric at k3na.org) and Brian N9ADG (brianmo at yahoo. com).

   Please enter REAL reception reports!  The operators at CT3BH, CT9C and CT9M are evaluating their respective QTHs to see which
works best on 160m.

   Last point: at the moment, the "CT3BH" call is listed as "CQ9A".  We'll try to get that corrected before the start of the
contest... but, if unsuccessful, just enter CT3BH's reports using the CQ9A callsign.  (Welcome to the wonderful whacky world of beta

   Thanks for testing our tools... and keep your fingers crossed for interesting propagation on 160m to Peter 1st Island!

   -- Eric Scace K3NA


1	3Y0X 160m Propagation Project

   This project intends to:
·	Improve understanding of 160m DX propagation.
·	Provide more information to DXers attempting to work 3Y0X about current 160m conditions.

   Participants use a website to report, as frequently as desired, the strength of 3Y0X signals and the best antenna for reception.
The date/time of any claimed QSO may also be reported.

   The website stores these reports in a permanent database. Real-time maps and animated map sequences, updated automatically by the
website, show graylines and all current reports.

   The database, together with the 160m log and audio archives recorded at 3Y0X, will be used for more detailed analysis of openings
after the Dxpedition. We expect to present the results both in technical publications and in presentations at appropriate
conferences and hamfests.

2	Background

   Rodrigues Island 3B9C

   During the Five Star DX Association’s Rodrigues Island 3B9C DXpedition in 2004 March, Mike Devereaux G3SED, Don Field G3XTT and
Eric Scace K3NA experienced many unusual 160m openings to North America. Some of these openings were recorded. After the expedition,
Eric K3NA examined some of these North American openings in more detail. His analysis, first presented at the 160m dinner during the
Dayton Hamvention in 2004 April, included animated sequences of maps showing the grayline (sunset and astronomical) and locations of
stations worked on a minute-by-minute basis.  Among the phenomenae illustrated were:
·	Clusters of small geographic area (“hot spots’) within which many consecutive QSOs were made.
·	Alignment of multiple hot spots in narrow ranges of great circle bearing from Rodrigues, sometimes with separations suggesting
E-layer hops.
·	Isolated contacts in locations unlikely to be served by conventional great circle routes, implying skewed propagation.
·	Audio recordings indicative of strong ducting in the E-F trough.

   Anecdotal reports from North American 160m operators included descriptions of nights when relatively short periods of very strong
signals occurred. These enhancements did not necessarily occur at the operator’s local sunset terminator.

   However, it was realized that many unusual propagation events may have gone unrecorded because (a) no stations in that location
were attempting to work 3B9C (especially later in the course of the month-long expedition); (b) no systematic effort was made by
operators to log the strength of received signals from 3B9C. The lack of data also meant that intriguing hypotheses for unusual
propagation could only remain speculative.

   Subsequent conversations between 160m operators at Dayton, HamCOM (Arlington TX) and W9DXCC (Chicago) during the summer of 2004
suggested that a better picture of 160m propagation to a major DXpedition could be developed if regular reception reports were

   Peter 1st Island 3Y0X

   The upcoming DXpedition to Peter 1st Island includes many experienced 160m operators and a serious full-time effort on the band
is expected. As one of the 3Y0X operators, Eric K3NA asked for assistance to create a website supporting a detailed study of 160m
propagation during the expedition. The following key contributors stepped forward:
·	Alex Shovkoplyas VE3NEA, author of the DXAtlas mapping software. Alex developed specialized implementations used to generate the
maps on the website.
·	Brian Moran N9ADG, who created the website software and database.
·	Walt Fair W5ALT, whose company ComPort Computing provides and supports the server.

3	How to participate

   Any 160m operator, including medium-wave SWL DXers, is encouraged to participate in the project. Sophisticated antennas are not

3.1	Registration

   First, register your participation on the website http://www.dxmap.com/160m. The registration webpages ask for information about
you and your station:

Registration login
   ·	A registration callsign and password. If you are a SWL operator with no callsign, enter your name or some other unique
identifier in the callsign field. The use of a call/password logon is intended to help reduce erroneous data entry.

Station location and contact information
   ·	Your station’s latitude and longitude. Please provide a precise location so that your reports can be properly located on the
   ·	Your email address, so that we may contact you later if necessary to clarify any reports.

Antenna information
   The last part of station registration is the description of 160m antennas that you use for receiving or transceiving. Give each
antenna a short name in the NAME field; this will be used to identify the antenna in reports.
   Your station may have just one antenna for 160m. That’s OK! Please enter a description of that antenna.
If your station has multiple antennas, or antennas with switachable patterns, please follow these guidelines when completing the
antenna information form.
   ·	For omnidirectional antennas such as a vertical or dipole , leave the DIRECTIONAL checkbox empty. You should add a short
technical description; e.g., “Gladiator vertical” or “dipole at 25 meters”.
   ·	For antenna systems with switchable patterns, such as 4-square arrays, please enter each pattern as a separate antenna. For
example, a 4-square with patterns of NE, SE, SW and NW would be described as four antennas: “NE 4-sq”, “SE 4-sq”, “SW 4-sq” and “NW
4-sq”. Use the heading fields to describe the range of azimuths over which, compared to the other patterns, you believe each pattern
hears best. For example, enter a start heading for 350° and end heading of 80° if you think the NE pattern of the 4-square hears
better than the NW or SE patterns in this azimuth range. Remember to check the DIRECTIONAL and FIXED boxes.
   ·	Beverage receiving antennas should be individually entered in a similar way to the 4-square example above. Describe the azimuth
range over which you think each beverage hears best, compared to other similar antennas at your station.
   ·	For rotatable antennas, such as a rotatable receiving loop with sharp nulls or a 160m Yagi (!), check the DIRECTIONAL box but
uncheck the FIXED box. When submitting a report with this antenna, you will be able to enter a heading for the report.
   If you make a mistake, just use the DELETE button to remove the erroneous description and enter a new description.
When finished, click BACK TO MAIN PAGE. You may update your antenna description at any time.

3.2	Reporting

Enter your callsign (or other user name) and password to enter the website’s reporting facility.

For the BETA TEST, you may enter reports for CT3BH, CT9C and CT9M.  At the moment (Jan 28 Fri/2000z), the CT3BH station is listed as
"CQ3A" -- hopefully we'll get this corrected to CT3BH before the start of the contest!

On the left side of the screen you may enter signal reports as often as you wish. For each report:
   ·	Choose the station whose signal you are reporting.
   ·	Choose the antenna which currently provides the best signal. If you have a choice of directional antennas or patterns, we can
use this information to detect skew path conditions.
   ·	If you can not hear the target station right now, that’s important information! Uncheck the box CHECK HERE IF STATION IS
AUDIBLE and click the REPORT button.
   ·	If you can hear the station, then submit a signal strength report. Very important: Enter the signal strength as S-units above
the current local noise level on the antenna you have selected for this report. For example, if the local noise level is S-4 right
now, and signal is S-6, you would report 2 S-UNITS ABOVE NOISE.
   ·	Click the CHECK IF FIRST TIME HEARD box if you have been listening for a while with no signals heard, and just now that station
’s signal has become audible.
   ·	Note: We plan to add a JUST WORKED 3Y0X! check box for you to mark at the time you successfully complete a QSO with 3Y0X.

   When you have submitted your report, a THANK YOU message will appear with a summary of the report. After a moment, the thank you
message disappears and a new, empty report form appears.

   Your recent reports are summarized in the bottom left corner.

When to listen and make reports

   Beta Testing:  Anytime from Jan 28 Fri through Jan 30 Mon.

   3Y0X DXpedition: details will follow later.

3.3	Explanation of map features

Animated and non-animated maps

   The website provides two families of maps. Animated maps display a 10-minute sequence, ending at the current minute, which loops
repeatedly on your screen. The animation requires loading a Java applet into your computer. The sequence updates automatically every
5 minutes. You may click the REFRESH button to update the sequence at any time. To magnify a region of the map, click the ZOOM
button, place your mouse pointer at the center of the area to be zoomed, and left-click.

   BETA TEST:  To reduce load on the server, the animated map feature is turned OFF for the beta test.

   The other family of maps display just a single map showing all the report in the previous GMT minute. About once every 2 minutes
this map updates itself automatically.

   The world map shows an equi-distant azimuthal (great circle) chart centered on station of interest. The other choices provide
close-ups of specific regions where we anticipate a higher density of reports.

   Every map includes a time-stamp in the upper left corner, indicating the GMT date and time when the map was created. The gray
lines are correct for the indicated time. Signal reports lag the indicated time by 1-2 minutes due to various delays in storing and
processing reports. For example, your report submitted at 10:43:50z may first appear on a map generated at 10:44:20z or perhaps

   Gray lines: Each map shows the sunlight and dark sectors of the earth. Within the dark sector, the twilight region is bounded by
the point of sunrise/sunset on the surface of the earth on one side, and the point of astronomical sunrise/sunset on the other side.
Astronomical sunrise/sunset is located 18° behind sunrise/sunset on the surface, and corresponds to the point where the sun no
longer illuminates the atmosphere; i.e., all ionospheric layers are in darkness.

   Reports: Each map displays signal reports as a dot or circle. Larger circles correspond to stronger signals, compared to local
noise. The color of the dot has this meaning:
·	Green dot: this report was made during the GMT minute indicated by the time-stamp. Your report made at 0343z will appear green on
a map with the 0343z time-stamp.
·	Blue dot: this report was made during the 9 minutes preceding the time-stamp.

   Each map includes reports for the 10-minute period ending at the time-stamped moment. If a station submits multiple reports
during the 10-minute window, only the most recent report is displayed.
   Note 1: We intend to add a “+” mark at locations which report that the station was not be heard at that location.
   Note 2: We intend to add a distinct color to indicate stations which just worked the station, or worked it within the last
   Note 3: If time permits, we will use pie-shaped wedges to indicate the range of azimuths for the antenna used in the report.

   Other data: We may add some features that will give you details about other stations’ reports as these are received.
— END —

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