Summer Es


There is no doubt about it.

This summer's Sporadic-E season has been the worst in memory, for myself and for most North American six-meter fans. My last log entry, and the last time that I heard a signal on 6m, was on July 7th. During a 'normal' season, rarely a day goes by without an opening in some direction. Often, the band will be open for several days in a row. It was only a few summers ago that the PNW region had propagation to Europe (extremely rare) for three days in succession!

There has been much speculation as to why this season is particularly poor. Is it the early higher-than-normal temperatures being experienced this summer? Is it the constant bombardment from the sun, with several solar flares during the prime weeks as well as an almost continuous coronal hole streaming? Is it all just a normal part of the cyclical behavior of most natural phenomena? Whatever the reason, time is running out for this year.

After operating on 6m for over 40 years, the peak conditions always seem to happen during or close to the first week of July ... but, living up to its 'sporadic' classification, I have seen some spectacular openings right up until early August. In fact, my longest 2m Es contact (Oklahoma) was made on July 24, so there is still some time left for the band to exonerate itself.

With the sun flatlining once again, and no sign of flaring or no coronal hole streaming, perhaps the next few days will turn things around. If not, the summer of 2015 will be notable for not being notable.

One great opening over the pole will make the poor conditions just a distant memory!
Steve McDonald, VE7SL, is a regular contributor to and writes from British Columbia, Canada. Contact him at [email protected].

5 Responses to “Summer Es”

  • Stephen G0PQB:

    My friend in California was saying how bad it has been in North America but in Europe it has been, in my view, better than last year. I use dxmaps website and often have looked at North America regarding sporadic E and there has been none at all. However I only started 6 metres Sporadic E working in 2013 and I enjoy it so much. I have worked Finland, Sardinia, Croatia and Spain on 5 watts portable using a quarter wave antenna and a home brew dipole and have had good reports back.
    But I am fearful of withdrawl symptoms once the season dies. What then?

  • Steve VE7SL:

    Yes Stephen….it’s a short season and it’s always sad to see it vanish around mid August. This year however, it vanished almost totally. I switch over to my LF activities as well ac 160m in the Fall. It’s surprising the number of topband fellows that are also 6m diehards. I guess they enjoy the challenge.

  • Lyle N0LWF:

    There has been activity almost everyday on 6 meters. Have you tried the digital modes? lots of activity digital using Iscat B, JT65A and FSK441

  • Brock W6GMT:

    Yep it is a slow season. Not many 6 meter contacts in the log book. Only only one run so far this year on 50.140 about 45 stations in that pileup. Just 2 new grids for the FFMA, plus one DX grid. Hope for a winter E-season in Dec.

  • Stephen G0PQB:

    Sporadic E has got quiet again in the UK but central and eastern Europe has been ablaze with it over the last ten days whilst not much has happened in the UK.

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