Solar activity

See http://www.solen.info/solar/ .

Looking at the data on this excellent page, it now looks pretty certain that we have started on the downwards part of the current cycle. This does NOT mean an end to decent HF conditions. For several years to come there will be good days and 15,12 and 10m will still support DX but far less easily than around the sunspot maximum years.

Even in the depths of the last minimum N-S DX was still there to be worked on QRP SSB, so expect some decent openings. This is really where regular WSPR operation will help, by seeing just how often 10m opens up.  As I have said before, operating on the weaker parts of the solar cycle are, in many ways, more challenging and interesting. When 10m is wide open it becomes too easy.

Also, don’t forget Es (sporadic-E) which can produce some spectacular DX at the right time of the year – in the northern hemisphere this is usually May, Jun, July and August but Es can occur (more fleetingly) at other times times of the year. This is why regular WSPR operation will help.

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

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