Sunspots slowly falling?

Today’s sunspot count is 65 with “normal” 20-30MHz conditions. It looks to me as if the solar activity is now on the slide downwards. This does not mean an end to good conditions. This autumn 15, 12 and 10m should still be in very good shape and it will be a few years before we really see the changes.

There are all sorts of predictions about the next few cycles. The consensus is the next few cycles will be ones with low solar activity. It is still too soon to say if we are really entering another Maunder minimum. Don’t worry: this is a chance to explore HF in different times. There is unlikely to be good (any) E-W F-layer propagation on 12,10 and 6m but N-S propagation will be possible some of the time and openings on Es can be surprisingly distant in all directions at the optimum times of the year.

And there are always VHF, UHF, microwaves and nanowaves to explore!

See the coming months and years as a challenge. We may never see really good conditions again in our lifetimes but there will still be interesting propagation and DX to be worked and heard.

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

5 Responses to “Sunspots slowly falling?”

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    During the Maunder minimum we also had a mini ice age. Maybe we need to get more tube based radios to keep the radio shake warm 🙂 As far as making contacts there is WSPR, JT-65, JT-9, SSB/CW/FM Satellite and with enough wire 160,80/75,60 and 40 meters. (Maybe 30 meters also). Lots of ways to have fun with the hobby with or without sunspots….

  • Harry K7ZOV:

    HAM SHACK not HAM SHAKE…DUH One day I will get a keyboard that knows how to type… 🙂

  • Phil n4lne:

    Hello Harry

    I purchased my keyboard from the same manufacturer and it works
    just like yours does.

    73’s OM
    Happy DX if there is any!

    Phil N4LNE

  • Bill - WA8MEA:

    It is somewhat hard to accept, that at age 58… I have probably experienced my best solar cycles in previous decades… and will see nothing like those cycles ever again.

    This is why I believe the ARRL should adjust 5 band awards to include optional bands… other than ten and fifteen meters. Perhaps 160 and one of the WARC bands?

    73, Bill

  • jason ke7tdy:

    As I like to say, part of the fun of our great hobby is the challenge! We never know just where we will hear at any given time. Sure we have hf nets and can guess where we will hear, but then out of nowhere comes some DX station and you’re blown away!

    I love the challenge and mystery! With all the new modes, like wspr an the jt65 variants, there could still be some great fun despite what may be challenging conditions!

    73 all
    J [ke7tdy]

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