Posts Tagged ‘sunspot’
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.
Today the sunspot count is 155 (good) but 20-30MHz conditions are expected to be poor. Mind you they were meant to be poor yesterday yet CX2ABP was a decent signal on 10m WSPR last evening.
So far this morning 6m has been disappointing with just locals spotting me and no Es seen, as yet. It was quiet on 6m yesterday , which was why I spent most of the day on 10m.
We are now in basically summertime conditions so we can expect F-layer DX to be mainly N-S with fewer E-W openings on 15, 12 and 10m. Of course Es livens the summer months and some quite exceptional DX is possible on rare days. This is one of the pleasures of summertime DXing, you can never be sure, even on 6m or even 4m. The latter is band I’ve rarely used.
Sunspot count is 102 today (higher than of late) and 20-30MHz propagation is forecast to be “good”, so better than of late. 10m could be better for F-layer propagation today.
So far, it has been quiet on 6m again with just locals spotting me on WSPR – G4IKZ (18km) and G4KPX (14km). No sign of Es yet at 1040z.
The Sun currently is active, with powerful, complex magnetic structures that have formed a healthy number of sunspots. We are seeing a fair number of x-ray flares, which push the 10.7-cm flux higher than we’ve seen in a while.
Sunspots and flares means better propagation in general, especially on the higher frequencies of the shortwave spectrum. While a flare can cause a short period of “blackout” conditions (especially on the lower frequencies) on the sunlit side of the Earth, such activity is part of the positive activity that ionizes the F-region, providing for DX.
Here’s a movie of one such flare and the release of solar plasma, a release known as a coronal mass ejection (CME): At about midnight, UTC, on 6 November 2013, a moderately-strong M-class flare erupted, with a “beautiful” CME: http://g.nw7us.us/18a0QvI
We will see continued flare activity over the weekend, so expect great conditions on the HF bands, with momentary blackouts. Keep up to the minute on space weather at http://SunSpotWatch.com
73 – de NW7US
Propagation Columnist, CQ Communications Magazine, Popular Communications Magazine