Weekly Propagation Summary – 2015 May 25 16:10 UTC

Weekly Propagation Summary (2015 May 25 16:10 UTC)

Here is this week’s space weather and geophysical report, issued 2015 May 25 0854 UTC.

Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
18 – 24 May 2015

Solar activity was at low levels from 18-23 May with very low levels observed on 24 May. Only low level isolated C-class flaring was observed during the period originating from Regions 2349 (S21, L=002, class/area Dao/060 on 24 May), 2351 (N22, L=330, class/area Cso/020 on 20 May), and 2353 (N07, L=344, class/area Dao/060 on 24 May). Region 2339 (N13, L=129, class/area Fkc/900 on 08 May), which was very productive last period, decayed as it quietly rotated around the NW limb on 18 May. Region 2349 emerged on the visible disk on 18 May, but did not show any significant growth until 23 May. Region 2353 emerged on 21 May and exhibited growth through the end of the period. However, both regions only managed 60 millionths of coverage by the end of the period. No Earth directed coronal mass ejections were observed.

No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at normal levels on 19 and 24 May, moderate levels from 20-23 May, and at high levels on 18 May.

Geomagnetic field activity ranged from quiet to major storm conditions. The period began under the influence of a co-rotating interaction region followed by a positive polarity equatorial coronal hole high speed stream (CH HSS). Total field increased to a maximum of 18 nT at 19/0052 UTC while the Bz component fluctuated between +13 nT and -15 nT late on 18 May through early on 19 May. Solar wind increased to near 575 km/s by midday on 19 May before slowly returning to nominal conditions by late on 20 May. The geomagnetic field responded with minor to major storm conditions late on 18 May through early on 19 May. Quiet to unsettled levels were observed on 20 May. A return to quiet conditions occurred on 21 May and persisted through the end of the period.

Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
25 May – 20 June 2015

Solar activity is expected to be at very low to low levels. A chance for moderate levels exists from 30 May through 11 Jun with the return of Region 2339.

No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.

The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to be at normal to moderate levels with high levels possible from 31 May-01 Jun, 04-06 Jun, 10-12 Jun, and 16-20 Jun due to recurrent CH HSS effects.

Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at unsettled to active levels from 28-30 May, 02-03 Jun, 07-11 Jun, and 13-15 Jun with possible minor storm levels on 08-09 Jun due to recurrent CH HSS effects.

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Tomas Hood, NW7US, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Nebraska, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

Optical communications over the horizon

I have been too unwell to do this recently, but not long before my brain bleed (Sept 2013) I was amazed at optical communications over the horizon, non line of sight (NLOS) using clear air scattering.

The inspiration for all my optical experiments came from Stuart Wisher G8CYW who did a great series in RadCom a few years ago.

Testing optics
My home made transmitter only consumed about 0.7W from a red LED bought on the internet. My homemade RX and TX used homemade optics based around cheap drain pipes and cheap magnifying glasses. The whole RX and TX were simple and low cost. Only simple test gear was needed too. It is a bit like microwaves, but easier to build and test.

There was no sign at all of the TX beam in the sky.  All alignment used dead reckoning with some panning at the RX end to find the TX.

Using free PC software and QRSS3 helped as bandwidths as low as 0.37Hz were possible.

When fitter I want to try infra-red LEDs instead.

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/optical/481thz-nlos.

Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cambridge, England.

Dayton 2015 – Part 2 of ?

(…continued from Part 1)

This year I stayed in downtown Dayton, at the Dayton Marriott.  It was my first experience driving in downtown Dayton as last year I stayed at a hotel close to Hara north of town.  Dayton has obviously seen better days, and folks walking the streets living in poverty is a common sight.  Driving through downtown Friday morning I wondered what the locals thought of all the vehicles with antennas driving by for one weekend out of the year.  Do they know anything about amateur radio?  The word Dayton to us means amateur radio Mecca, but to them Dayton is just the place they live day in and day out, trying to eek out a living.  They were likely born here, will die here, and probably will not get to see much of the world outside of Dayton.  I think back to my childhood growing up in backwoods Pennsylvania, and I’m thankful for the people and opportunities I had that made me successful and steered me away from several perhaps less fortunate alternative realities.  Amateur radio was undoubtedly a positive influence, one that got me to where I am technically and professionally today.

Dayton has overhead electric wires for trolleys.  I can’t recall ever seeing this in my travels.  I didn’t see any trolleys, however there were several city buses using the overhead electric wires.  I wondered what it would take to equip an electric car with poles to attach to the electric lines and and get free energy for your vehicle (evil grin).   IMG_5696

Electric Avenue

Last year I promised myself that in 2015 I would spend less time on the flea market and more time on the floor and in forums.  I was partially successful, attending one additional forum this year, the Clandestine Spy forum.  This was a standing-room only presentation covering the equipment and techniques used by the Resistance during WWII.  There were a lot of photographs.

The AMSAT forum covered all the activities and projects the organization is working on, of which there are many.  In the Fox 1 program there are four or five satellite projects in progress and at various phases.  The big news was the potential for a geosynchronous payload, something satellite aficionados have been fantasizing about for decades.  The amount of work that goes into these projects from an engineering, fundraising, political, and project management perspective is mind-boggling.  It can’t be understated how complex this is.  It is indeed rocket science.  The expertise and human resources behind all this is impressive, and I can’t imagine the amount of time AMSAT volunteers and officers spend on this, as most undoubtedly have day jobs in engineering, technology, and science fields. IMG_5710

AMSAT Forum

One speaker in the AMSAT forum presentation touched upon something that really struck a cord with me and others.  Kids often see amateur radio operators as just operators.  What really sparks interest in kids are experimenters and experimentation.  What AMSAT is doing is experimentation, and at an extreme level.  Space is interesting to kids, but it’s difficult to be hands on with it due to the very nature of it, and these satellites and the projects AMSAT is leading gives them access to this.  AMSAT goes beyond providing flying repeaters for amateurs, but also partners extensively with universities, government agencies, and K-12 schools. IMG_5712

Where to find Fox 1

This is not meant to belittle other activities within amateur radio, but I don’t think most people realize just how complex and far-reaching the activities of AMSAT-NA and other AMSAT organizations around the world are, and the benefit this offers to amateur radio today and into the future.  While ragchewing, contesting, and DXing are traditional staple activities within amateur radio, the work of AMSAT has real world impact, and this is a vehicle for getting new people into amateur radio, ones that will likely stick around for the long haul.  Case in point, sitting behind me during the presentation were two young guys, both from Virginia Tech and recently licensed.  They are involved in an AMSAT project writing software for one of the birds.  In talking with them it was clear they were very intelligent and they had a passion for what they were doing.  Undoubtedly they will get high-paying engineering jobs upon graduating.  Will they ever pick up a microphone or CW key?  Maybe not, but satellite work has them hooked and it looks great on a resume. As one AMSAT speaker half jokingly quipped, there is no free launch. All of this costs money, and a lot of it.  AMSAT is continually seeking donations and new members.  With my annual membership running out, I decided to take the plunge and sign up for a lifetime membership.

The Ballonsat forum was quite interesting and was well attended with a good number of movers and shakers who frequently launch, track, and recover balloons and payloads.  A new area covered was pico balloons which are smaller balloons with extremely lightweight and small payloads.  Several people have been launching these around the world with great success, some traversing the globe five to ten times.

Friday night I attended the DX Dinner and got to network with movers and shakers in the DX world.  It was worth the cost of the meal as I won a Comet antenna analyzer door prize.  Not surprisingly, K1N was announced as the the DXpedition of the year.

IMG_5695

DX Pileup

While I lamented about about flea market Neanderthals in the first part of this article, there were positive social aspects to the Hamvention.  One morning walking in the crosswalk across the road going into Hara I observed an attendee thanking a black police officer stationed in the street for his service as a police officer.  At lunch I could strike up a friendly conversation with anyone, total strangers.  Folks stopped me to take a picture of my Morse code key tee shirt, many commented and laughed about it.  There continues to be a sense of camaraderie in amateur radio.  For this I’m thankful. IMG_5714

Flea Market Pedestrian Mobile

The ARRL area was superb.  ARRL folks should be commended on the layout and organization of their area.  They have all the bases covered and all booths within the area were well staffed.  I brought a stack of QSL cards in for DXCC checking.  The staff there did a great job of helping me out, after figuring out I initially screwed up my paperwork.  I’ll continue to say it, but despite ARRL’s flaws and our disagreements, we are truly lucky to have such a hardworking organization within amateur radio. IMG_5691

ARRL Area

Those often annoying, sometimes threatening death machines known as rental scooters continue to roam the Hamvention.  I don’t know if it was that I’ve become more accustomed to them or there truly are less of them, but it sure seemed to me that there weren’t as many as last year.  What’s happening to the scooter people?  Are they dying off?  Are they disappearing during the Hamvention?  Inquiring minds want to know. Undoubtedly the liability insurance for such an activity would be expensive, but I would love to have a scooter demolition derby some Hamvention afternoon.  Folks could rent dilapidated scooters or bring their own pimped-out scooters for a battle royale of destruction and excitement.  (Hamvention committee members, I can make this happen, you know where to reach me.  I want a cut of the profits from beer sales. :-)

….to be continued…

This article was originally published on the Radio Artisan blog.


Anthony, K3NG, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com.

How simple?

Some years ago I attempted to see how few components were needed to communicate on 10m. The Lesser Chirpy was the best I could manage. This was a derivative of The Chirpy, which worked, but had far too much chirp!

Looking at the circuit I see I could save 1 component by replacing C1 and C2 by preset C's and shorting out C3. This would allow the TX-RX offset to be set. If one was made a variable rather than a preset the RX-TX offset could be adjustable.

Since being ill I have not tried the rig. A limitation was the limited RX sensitivity, meaning only stronger stations would be workable.  However, the rig does work and is very simple. Another possibility is to switch to an external RX but allow the internal RX to be used when signals are strong enough. The TX power is certainly enough to span the Atlantic and work all over Europe.

The secret to low chirp on 10m is the use of FSK rather than CW. Essentially the TX changes frequency rather than go from RX to TX every time. This means full break-in is not possible in such a simple circuit. Can you do better? If so, I'd love to see the schematic please. I make no great claims for my circuit, which is an amalgam of ideas. Pure fun!

See https://sites.google.com/site/g3xbmqrp3/hf/chirpy .

Roger Lapthorn, G3XBM, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from Cambridge, England.

Stealthy Roof Mast

courtesy: https://openclipart.org/
Colorado DXer and YouTuber, John Bellini, has been at it again.

This time it's his stealthy mast to support some small VHF utility antennas. If you're interested in a simple stealthy mast for the roof-top, you may find some worthwhile hints here. His system would make a very nice stealthy support for a PAØRDT mini-whip which would put your antenna well above the house and its associated noise fields ... have a look.


Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

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