The K7RA Solar Update
This edition of the K7RA Solar Update is issued Monday, November 28, to fill the gap between the early bulletin last week and the regularly scheduled bulletin to be published Friday, December 2.
Recently, I mentioned recently that some of the sunspot numbers released by NOAA didn’t seem right. I just got word from Mike Husler at NOAA that data posted recently -- like that record-breaking day when the sunspot number hit 220 -- was wrong. The corrected data is now on their site. In his e-mail, he wrote: “Sunspot Number, Sunspot Area, Number of New Regions, Number of Spotted Regions and Number of Spots calculations were at times incorrect on the external web for about one month. The current values are the correct values. Please use them.” I’m not sure how to correct the record on this, except to note it here. If you are keeping track of data with this bulletin as a source, you should go back and correct the bad data.
Between October 18 and November 9, the data on 18 of those 23 days was bad. On October 18 the SSN changes from 155 to 144; October 19, from 162 to 140; October 20, from 195 to 159; October 21, from 207 to 184; October 23, from 128 to 102; October 24, from 151 to 125; October 25, from 147 to 121; October 26, from 104 to 91; October 27, from 98 to 85; October 28, from 104 to 91; November 1, from 141 to 129; November 2, from 121 to 109; November 3, from 161 to 149; November 4, from 100 to 88; November 5, from 135 to 123; November 6, from 144 to 132; November 8, from 160 to 148, and November, from 9 220 to 208. This means that the data in propagation bulletins numbered 42, 43, 44 and 45 had partially bad data.
Sunspot numbers for November 21-27 were 101, 132, 123, 139, 171, 133 and 123, with a mean of 131.7. The 10.7 cm flux was 141.1, 142.4, 140, 137.2, 135.2, 132.8 and 135.2, with a mean of 137.7. The estimated planetary A indices were 5, 6, 5, 5, 4, 3 and 6, with a mean of 4.9. The estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 7, 4, 4, 3, 4 and 5 with a mean of 4.6. The latest prediction from USAF/NOAA shows solar flux at 140 on November 28, 145 on November 29-30, and 150, 155, 155, 155, 160, 165, 165, 160, 160, 155, 150 and 140 on December 1-12, followed by 135 on December 13-19. Planetary A index over the same period is 12, 18, 12, 10, and 8 on November 28-December 2, and then 5 on December 3-24.
On November 27 at 2220, the Australian IPS Radio and Space Services issued an alert predicted a geomagnetic disturbance on November 29-30, with unsettled to active conditions on November 29 and Active to Minor Storm November 30. This is due to a wind stream from a coronal hole.
Randy Leedy, WS4C, of Greenville, South Carolina, has some observations on the CQ Worldwide CW DX contest: “With good solar numbers this year, I decided to try something new (for me) for CQWW CW: Go for 100 countries from my modest station of 100 W to a tree-hung antenna farm consisting of a G5RV and a trap dipole. I started at about 0030 and found the bands so exciting overnight that I never went to bed. I’d never have imagined that I would hit 100 countries at breakfast time on Saturday, at about 1400. The toughest thing about the conditions was that from about 0900 on, most signals on 40 and 20 meters were coming in on both short and long path, in many cases with both paths at nearly equal strengths, making copy pretty rough on my single-element antennas. Looking back at my log, I can see that, if I had thought to try it, I could probably have worked all continents (except Antarctica) within a period of 10-15 minutes on 40 meters at about 0800 when pretty much the whole dark hemisphere -- plus an hour or two past the grayline -- was coming in strong.” Thanks Randy!
Glenn Packard, K4ZOT, of Atlanta, Georgia, had a blast on 10 meter FM on Sunday, November 27: “I had an unusual contact on 10 meters today on 29.6 MHz at 2045 UTC. I saw Jamaica on the DX clusters -- a DX entity that I do not have -- and clicked on the spot. I did not focus on the exact frequency until I tried to tune in the voice. I soon realized it was FM at 29.600. I did get a response from 6Y1X on FM, but he could not get my entire call sign. I then called one more time and I got ZL2OK from Northern New Zealand who was 5×5. We exchanged signal reports, names and QTH and he then faded away. I then heard a K7 and a W6 on FM. These were my first FM contacts on 10 meters. It was interesting FM propagation today on the upper end of 10 meters.”
John Coleman, K5JVC, of Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, reports: “I’m on cloud nine! I’ve received several stations from the Indian Ocean on PSK31 over the last year, but as a QRP station, I just couldn’t make contact with them -- until tonight. I made contact with FR5MV at 0146 on 20 meters with 5 W into a 22 foot commercial multi-band vertical. I can’t begin to tell you what a great feeling it is to land a station 10,000 miles away with 5 W that I’ve been watching for a year.”
Vito Leo, ON6VL, of Belgium writes: “With the incredible openings on 10 meters, I noticed that in the morning in Europe, we hear VK/ZL -- both SP and LP -- which translates into significant echoes on the signals. So this week I tried to send very short ‘dits’ in full break-in mode and managed to consistently hear my own signal going full circle around the earth, going over South America (southwest of me) and coming back, I presume, from the northeast on the back of my beam. Beaming in other directions would not produce such echoes, which confirms that this no artifact. It’s kind of fun! It's actually a neat way to probe propagation without any external help or information.” Thanks, Vito!
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 and 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.