Monitoring Solar Cycle 24

Now that solar cycle 24 is definitely underway, it’s good to be able to monitor what the sun is doing since as hams, it dramatically affects our ability to communicate. I’ve used dx.qsl.net/propagation/ for a long time as a site that I can go to for a quick overview of what’s going on, but for more in-depth information I’ll stop by solarham.com (aka http://solarcycle24.com). Kevin, VE3EN put this site together in 2006 to track the status of the then-upcoming solar cycle 24, and he’s kept improving it since then. On that site, there’s information about the current solar conditions (flux, sunspots, flares, etc.), historical data (such as the chart I’ve included in this post), solar images, and a message board where there are some fascinating discussions, many by recognized experts in their field. Kevin’s even built a version of his site that’s perfect for viewing on mobile devices, so you can view it while on the go.

Kevin’s been funding this site primarily on his own since it’s inception, although he does have a way to make a donation if you so choose. He’s been very low-key about this, but on a recent visit, I saw that he’s got an impossible-to-miss banner up on his website asking for help. Apparently his full-time job has been “off-shored” and he’s not sure that he’ll be able to keep the site available. If you click on that link it will explain the situation more fully. I have no interest in this site other than as a visitor, but if you find it useful, you might want to consider making a donation to help keep the site (and Kevin) going.

David Kozinn, K2DBK, is a regular contributor to AmateurRadio.com and writes from New Jersey, USA. Contact him at [email protected].

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