The K7RA Solar Update
The average daily sunspot numbers for the week of November 25-December 1 increased only slightly from the previous seven days: 1.3 points to 25.9. Sunspot numbers for November 25-December 1 were 22, 23, 22, 34, 31, 24 and 25, with a mean of 25.9. The 10.7 cm flux was 77.9, 76.2, 76.5, 80.1, 82.5, 86.4 and 86.5, with a mean of 80.9. The estimated planetary A indices were 4, 2, 12, 6, 3, 3 and 2, with a mean of 4.6. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 0, 5, 7, 2, 2 and 1, with a mean of 2.7. The average daily sunspot numbers for the month of November were 36.2, an increase of 1.2 points over October. The average monthly values for June through November were 18, 23.1, 28.2, 35.7, 35 and 36.2.
The average daily solar flux rose 1.8 points to 80.9. The predicted solar flux values from NOAA/USAF for the next 10 days -- December 3-12 -- are 90, 90, 90, 88, 88, 86, 86, 85, 85 and 88. The predicted planetary A index is 10, 8, and 7 for December 3-5, 5 on December 6-10 and 7 on December 11-12. There is a possibility of geomagnetic activity today, December 3, caused by a possible coronal mass ejection. Geophysical Institute Prague predicts unsettled conditions on December 3-4, quiet December 5-6, unsettled December 7-8 and quiet to unsettled December 9.
We now know the average daily sunspot number for the past three months, centered on October is 35.6, up about 2.6 points from the three month period centered on September. So the three-month moving average, centered on May through October was 16.2, 20.4, 23.2, 28.9, 33 and 35.6. Because it is a moving average, with one month increments, the average centered on September includes all the data from August 1-October 31; the latest centered on October includes daily sunspot numbers from September 1-November 30. A more precise reading of the difference between the non-rounded October-centered and the September-centered averages is 2.67 points. The solar cycle continues to show improvement, but at a very slow pace.
Robert Elek, W3HKK, of Johnstown, Ohio reported good conditions for last week’s CQ World Wide CW DX Contest. He wanted to see what he could do with 100 W and simple antennas on 40, 15 and 10 meters, and with some casual contest operating he worked 200 stations in 31 zones. He was eager to check out a new antenna he built -- a 40 meter phased array with two quarter wave verticals spaced a quarter wave length apart, with 12 ground radials each. He used this on 40 and 15 meters, and a ground plane on 10 meters. On Friday night, he had problems with interference. The bands were packed with strong signals.
He reports that he “got up around 4:30 AM Saturday morning and heard much more manageable QRM levels, and good signals from the equatorial regions -- Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific. As we approached sunrise and for a few hours after sunrise, there were scattered strong signals, including ZL8X and a half dozen Hawaiian stations, but only a few JAs or anything over the pole from Asia; however, northern Europe (OY, OH0, TF, SM) was coming through well past our daybreak.
“This time I was concentrating on seeing what I could do with my new 40 meter phased array by chasing rarer and longhaul DX, and trying to work as many CQ zones as I could, but not concentrating on rates or QSO numbers. It was a casual weekend of DXing for me. I checked 15 and 10 meters and heard good signals, so I spent some time between 10 AM and 4 PM working the interesting strong ones with my 40 meter phased array on 15 and a simple ground plane on 10. To my surprise, if I heard the DX station well, I could work them, no matter where they were. Lots of tropical Africans, some Europeans, the Caribbean and South America were all coming in 59+.
“Back to 40 early Saturday evening saw significantly improved conditions, with tons of Europeans coming through. The amazing multiplication of 40 meter Yagis seemingly filled the band with big signals from both sides of the pond, South America and Africa. I again decided to sleep early and get up around 3 AM Sunday to look for Asia and the Pacific, rather than battle it out with the multitudes. Sunday morning, polar conditions were still not good, but more JAs were coming through. I heard about a dozen, some with signals around 599 for a time, but most were 559 or so. I heard one Guam station, perhaps 8 VKs and ZLs, and again a smattering of JAs, but no Indian, Chinese or other Asian stations in my casual strolls up and down the band. Pacific and Northern European stations continued to come in several hours past sunrise, and some up until around 11 AM local time (Northern Europe and Northern Russia).
“Sunday from 11 AM until 4 PM, working 10 and 15 was a ball! Not a ton of signals, but plenty to choose from, and about half were desirable DX, including ZD9, ZD8, Gambia, Morocco, South Africa, VQ9, 5R8, ZL8X, ZL7(Kermadec). Plus many South Americans, especially LU, CX, PY, YV and numerous Caribbean stations. It was a ball being able to work nearly everything I heard with my simple antennas. You gotta love CW for that!
“On Sunday at 4 PM, I moved back to 40 and it sounded like 20 does during contests! 599 DX galore in the afternoon Ohio sunshine. First the Euros were coming in from 7.000 to 7.105. Then stations in Bulgaria, Romania, Georgia, Cyprus and Lebanon, followed by tropical Africa, the Caribbean and South America, all with much better signals. Sure, there is less interference as more operators drop out, but you can really cherry pick some nice DX if you poke through the rubble on 40 on the last day of a contest.”
Dave Deatrick, WA8OLD, way up in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, had a similar experience on 40 meters on Sunday, running 400 W CW into an inverted-V, with the apex at the top of his roof. He was amazed that European stations were coming in strong before his local sunset. He also worked an Australian before 9 AM local time on Sunday morning. In the 1300 hour, he worked Iceland, Finland, Bahamas and Australia. In the 2100 , it was Slovenia, Croatia, Poland, Sicily and Serbia. In the 2200, hour it was Netherlands, Sweden, Cyprus and Portugal, and during the 2300, hour he worked Turkmenistan, France and Bulgaria.
Jon Jones, N0JK, in Wichita, Kansas, reports that on November 29 at 0225, he worked W4IMD in EM84 on 6 meter E-skip. Later, he heard the XE2K beacon for over 30 minutes around 0335 on 50.015 MHz. Click here for some images of what W4IMD was using.
Mike Carter, K8CN, of Durham, New Hampshire wrote: “As a relative newcomer to QRP contesting (about 3 years experience now) and without a substantial history of contesting at any higher power level, I was intrigued by the unusually good propagation we experienced in CQWW CW last weekend. Many QRP contesters established new personal records for this contest. Apparently I was not the only one who noticed -- the 3830 contest reflector has many comments on the good propagation enjoyed by all.”
Dick Bingham, W7WKR, of Stehekin, Washington (a little village in the mountains completely off the grid, and reachable only by boat), sends along some info about Long Delayed Echoes (LDE) from Spaceweather.com. Click here for some recordings made by DK6NP of supposed LDEs on 40 meters with a 46 second delay, but I had difficulty hearing exactly what was going on in those recordings. Spaceweather.com offered a couple of interesting LDE links, here and here.
Check out this page on the Ionosphere Program at the National Geophysical Data Center.
Dean Straw, N6BV, sent along a useful link for Web-based seminars from the Northern California Contest Club. At the bottom are a couple of his presentations on propagation, complete with audio.
All times listed are UTC, unless otherwise noted.
Amateur solar observer Tad Cook, K7RA, of Seattle, Washington, provides this weekly report on solar conditions and propagation. This report also is available via W1AW every Friday, and an abbreviated version appears each Thursday in The ARRL Letter. You can find a guide to articles and programs concerning propagation here. Check here for a detailed explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin. An archive of past propagation bulletins can be found here. You can find monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and 12 overseas locations here. Readers may contact the author via e-mail.