Posts Tagged ‘solar weather’

156th Anniversary

It was this time of year, from August 28th to September 2nd, 1859 that the Earth experienced what was to be known as The Carrington Event. On September 1st, a solar flare was observed by two British amateur astronomers, Richard Carrington and Richard Hodgson.


This was a coronal mass ejection that occurred during Cycle 10. It was a solar storm of such great intensity that reportedly, people as far south in Florida and Cuba were able to see aurora. In the Rockies, gold miners woke up in the middle of the night and started preparing breakfast because they thought it was daybreak. The aurora was so bright here in the northeast, that people outside were able to read newspapers by the aurora's glow.

Telegraph stations (our forerunners) were hit particularly hard. It was reported that some telegraph poles threw sparks into the air. Telegraph operators reported that not only did they receive shocks when they tried to operate, but that they were also able to continue to operate their telegraph apparatus after disconnecting it from the power supply.

I can only imagine the damage that would occur today if we suffered a direct blast from the sun as we did in 1859. I'm pretty sure that not only would the power grid be very badly affected, but that telephone and radio communications of all types would probably be non-existent, and much, much more.

Here are some interesting links:

http://news.nationalgeographic.com/news/2011/03/110302-solar-flares-sun-storms-earth-danger-carrington-event-science/

http://science.nasa.gov/science-news/science-at-nasa/2008/06may_carringtonflare/

http://www.history.com/news/a-perfect-solar-superstorm-the-1859-carrington-event

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Possibilities

It's sunny and the sky is a brilliant blue and there are no clouds. The high temperature for the day is expected to reach around 80F (27C). The SSN is currently at 110 and while the A index is slightly high, the K index is only "1".

I am hoping this makes for good band conditions during lunchtime today. Hopefully, I'll jump on somewhere around 1745 UTC for about an hour.

Amateur Radio is so much like fishing. The possibilities abound, and you rarely know what you're going to get. I don't get how anyone could not like this hobby. Even when I get skunked, I may be disappointed, but I never have a bad time.

To turn a phrase, "A bad day at Amateur Radio is better than a good day at ...... (you fill in the blank)".

I'll update this later to let you know how it went.

Lunchtime Post Mortem:

The weather was indeed beautiful, the band conditions were "meh".  Signals were non-existent on 10 and 12 Meters, sparse on 15 Meters and most plentiful on 17 Meters (which has become a favorite band).

I worked YN5SU in Nicaragua and OT4A in Belgium, and that was it.  I called CQ for a bit and had no takers. But I was getting out, according to RBN:


I have no idea, however, why RBN has my location as somewhere in the vicinity of Missouri.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

A lot better today!

I saw another e-mail in my inbox this morning from Marv K2VHW with the subject "Another flare". I groaned loudly, inwardly, because no one near me would have understood.  Then, just before heading out to the Jeep at lunch time, I checked http://www.bandconditions.com/index.htm

That had me shaking my head even more.

I'm glad I didn't give in to the temptation to chuck it all for today, because I had the best QRP lunch time that I've had in a while - numbers and predictions be damned!

I started out on 17 Meters which seemed to be in great condition. Low noise level and some loud signals. I worked EA6NB, Jaime in the Balearic Islands.  From there I wandered around a bit and worked W4B a Special Event Station for Earth Day in Florida.

After that, I switched bands and called CQ near the 20 Meter QRP Watering Hole and was answered by Dick K5TF in Atlanta, GA.  Dick had a gorgeous signal. He was pushing 5 Watts out of his K2 to a Hexbeam (secretly, I am lusting for one of these babies.  Bob W3BBO and I always dream about getting one for our stations and my good friend and fellow DXer/QRPer Steve WX2S is in the process of installing one). Not only was Dick's signal excellent, but his fist was a dream to copy. The words were appearing in my brain as if I were reading a teleprompter. It was a very enjoyable, but short chat.


From there, I decided to spend the last bit of time that I could squeeze out of lunch break by calling CQ at the 15 Meter QRP Watering Hole on 21.060 MHz.  I was greeted there by Alberto WP4L for another 2X QRP chat. Alberto was pushing 5 Watts out of his Yeasu FT-450 and sounded like he was just down the street. And I might add, another excellent fist that was bliss to copy.

If the flare that Marv e-mailed me about helped provide the kind of band conditions that I experienced today, then I hope we get them all the time! Loud signals, quiet background noise - what more could you want or ask for?  The only bad thing was having to stop so that I could come back inside in order to finish the work day out.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to senf the very least!

Solar Flares and CMEs

I was pointed to this NASA video by Don K2DSV.  For those of you who are not sure, or perhaps were not even aware of, the difference between solar flares and coronal mass ejections:



72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

Ol’ Sol slowing down?

Looks like we’re headed directly for a period of minimal solar activity:

And here’s a related article from the Helsinki Times:

http://www.helsinkitimes.fi/themes/themes/science-and-technology/11590-hundred-year-period-of-increased-solar-activity-coming-to-end.html

The video was brought to my attention by Don K2DSV.  IF the hypothesis of the video is correct, lower ionospheric activity would be the least of our worries.

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Conditions

It’s evident that we are now on the down side of the peak of Cycle 24.  For the most part, I have had superb conditions for working DX during my lunch time QRP sessions for the past 17 months. DX has been plentiful, with good signals and decent RSTs on both ends. 17, 15 and sometimes even 12 Meters have been happy hunting grounds.  There have even been smatterings of openings on 10 Meters, which is not often the case during the 1700-1800 UTC weekday time frame.

I still hear DX signals on 17 Meters, but they’re not as strong or as plentiful as they were. 15 Meters is nowhere near as nice as it was just a few months ago.  It wasn’t so long ago that I was working three or four different DX stations during my lunch break – and it seemed like all areas of the world were open at the same time! I think that the days of working the world “with 5 Watts to a wet string” are just about over – as far as Cycle 24 is concerned, anyway.

With band conditions changing, it seems that lately, more and more of my lunch QSOs have been domestic – not that there’s anything wrong with that!  Today, I was saved from being shut out at lunchtime by Jim K4AHO, who answered my CQ on 20 Meters.  We had a nice chat that was not only 2X QRP, but was also 2X KX3.  Jim was using a dipole and I was using the Buddistick, of course.  QSB was a bit of a nuisance. At the fading’s worst, Jim was 459, and at best he was 579 (which he was for most of the QSO).

In addition to the declining ionospheric conditions, the weather here in New Jersey this Summer has been less “Summer-y” than I was looking forward to.  Take this morning for instance. When I woke up this morning, the thermometer was displaying an outdoor temperature of 52F (11C).  Very strange for August 18th.  That’s almost unheard of, any other year. On the whole, it’s been an average to dry Summer and the temperatures have been down and the humidity has been way down compared to the past three or four Summers.  The number of days that we have reached or have gone above 90F (32C), can be counted on both hands. There have not been many hazy, humid, hot days (The Dog Days of Summer) this year at all.

The weather people on TV have been saying that we are experiencing is an “average” Summer for this part of the country. The past few have been hotter than normal, so that’s why this one feels so strangly cool. After the Winter we had last year, I was really looking forward to the heat.  I guess there’s still time for us to get some hot days, but I saw on the AccuWeather.com website that the Northeast and the upper Midwest are supposed to experience a Polar Vortex in mid September, bringing along temperatures closer to what we might expect in mid to late November. Brrrrrr.

The other day, while walking my beagle Harold, I noticed the oak trees in the neighborhood are already shedding their acorns. That’s not a great sign as the trees did the same thing around this time last year and we had a terrible Winter.  Normally, the acorns don’t start falling until mid to late September around these parts.  The squirrels will have extra time to store up food for the Winter, and we’ll probably have another long, cold one.  Oh well, at least conditions on 160 and 80 Meters will probably be good. You always have to look for the silver lining and try not to think about the heating bill!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!

Article on the Sunspot Cycle

Seems the general public is beginning to learn about stuff we have been observing and talking about for the past few years.

http://thesiweather.com/2014/07/16/1045-am-the-sun-has-gone-quiet-solar-cycle-24-continues-to-rank-as-one-of-the-weakest-cycles-more-than-a-century/

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP – When you care to send the very least!


Subscribe FREE to AmateurRadio.com's
Amateur Radio Newsletter

 
We never share your e-mail address.

Please support our generous sponsors who make AmateurRadio.com possible:

KB3IFH QSL Cards

Hip Ham Shirts

Georgia Copper

Ham-Cram
Expert Linears

morseDX

Ni4L Antennas

N3ZN Keys

West Mountain
R&L Electronics


Do you like to write?
Interesting project to share?
Helpful tips and ideas for other hams?

Submit an article and we will review it for publication on AmateurRadio.com!

Have a ham radio product or service?
Consider advertising on our site.

Are you a reporter covering ham radio?
Find ham radio experts for your story.

How to Set Up a Ham Radio Blog
Get started in less than 15 minutes!


  • Matt W1MST, Managing Editor




Sign up for our free
Amateur Radio Newsletter

Enter your e-mail address: