Capricious Cycle 24


July 6th - Courtesy: nasa.gov
Sun Today - Courtesy: nasa.gov


 


















What a difference a week can make, even on something the size of the sun! Boasting an SFI of just over 200 on July 6th, today's numbers have fallen to 109 along with the disappearance of most sunspot activity.

It's really too bad that this last surge of activity did not occur in November or December when we would have seen a marked increase in HF F2 conditions, along with a tiny hope of some 6m intercontinental propagation. Normally, here on the west coast, we have at least one or two 6m openings to Europe each summer, lasting from a few minutes to several hours. So far this summer, this transpolar path has been missing and I suspect largely because of the high level of solar activity. The long haul transoceanic openings that we have had (to Japan and to Africa) did not have to traverse the signal-absorbing polar auroral zone as would normally be the case. Whether these transpolar openings in the summer are true Es or something different is a topic for deeper discussion!


Courtesy: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SolarCycle/


I'm hoping, and somehow suspect, that this isn't the last hurrah for what has generally been a most unusual solar cycle.
 

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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