The K7RA Solar Update
Average daily sunspot numbers increased slightly this week from 111.4 to 113.3, but average daily solar flux declined by 22 points from 155.4 to 133.4. Although there seems to be no shortage of sunspots, they are anemic and not magnetically complex, and thus radiation from the spots is feeble, indicated by lower solar flux values.
Predicted solar flux for the near term is 135 on January 24, 130 on January 25-26, 135 on January 27, 140 on January 28-30, 150 on January 31, 155 on February 1-5, 160 on February 6-7, then 150, 140 and 135 on February 8-10, 125 on February 11-15, and 130 on February 16-20.
Predicted planetary A index is 5 on January 24-26, 8 on January 27, 12 on January 28, 5 on January 29 through February 6, 8 on February 7-8, 5 on February 9-16, 8 on February 17 and 5 on February 18-23.
OK1HH sends his latest geomagnetic predictions, which have mostly quiet conditions on January 24, quiet on January 25, mostly quiet January 26, quiet January 27, quiet to active January 28, active to disturbed January 29, quiet to unsettled January 30, mostly quiet January 31, quiet on February 1, quiet to unsettled February 2-3, mostly quiet February 4-6, quiet February 7-9, quiet to unsettled February 10-11, and mostly quiet February 12.
This weekend is the CQ World Wide 160-Meter CW Contest. It begins today, Friday January 24 at 2200 UTC and ends at 2200 UTC on Sunday, January 26. As there are no geomagnetic disturbances predicted for the weekend, conditions should be good. See http://www.cq160.com/rules.htm for info.
Jimmy Mahuron, K9JWJ, of Salem, Indiana (in southern Indiana, about 30 miles NNW of Louisville, Kentucky) noted great 40 meter conditions with strong signals on January 21, and commented on the sunspot number. The sunspot number on January 20-21 was 131 and 141, with solar flux at 137.4 and 146.
Jeff, N8II, sent this report from West Virginia on January 21:
“I was operating as W1AW/8 from Jan 3-7 here and worked mainly 75/80, 30, 15, and 10 meters. There were strong signals on 10 meters, but propagation seemed fairly unremarkable for SFI's running over 200. There was not a lot of activity on 10 from the USA in the afternoon and I didn't work that much from Eastern EU on 10 in the mornings. EU was pretty well gone on 10 at 1700Z.
“Signals from the USA were loud on 15 meter SSB Monday afternoon the January 6 as close as WI and IL with many of the louder ones more than 20 dB over S9. I received several calls from AK and HI with loud signals and then was treated to a JA run which did not last that long starting about 2235Z until QRT at 2305. By my return at 2320Z on CW signals were markedly weaker from JA. Earlier on phone the loudest JA’s were S9 with weakest ones S3-5, but they all were apparently hearing me quite well. The morning of the January 7 on 15 phone, I ran a pretty big raucous EU pile up working as far as UA4 in Russia until about 1430Z.
“HZ1PS and A71EA called in with good signals with the highlight being called by a VK7 long path! I had never worked eastern Australia on 15 via long path before. But that is pale compared to the Midway Island QSO long path on 10 CW around 1315Z in early December.
“Conditions were down a bit compared to last year in the NAQP SSB contest this past weekend January 18-19 according to several comments, but I managed 1276 QSO's in about 9 hours with some very good conditions on 20 and 75 meters. After dark, around 2230Z until just past 0100Z, 20 meters was wide open from Texas to the West Coast with loud KL7 and KH6 as well. Around 0430Z, 75 was open well to the West Coast with quite a few CA stations logged which was not possible around 0200Z. I never did work much west of MN, NM and MO on 160, but signals out to about 800-900 miles away were pretty loud. 10 was average with fairly weak signals from the West Coast and loud ones from the Rocky mountain area. 15 was better to the West Coast and stations as close WI, MN, KS, AR and TX were loud. Both 10 and 15 were wide open to AK with little activity and a few KH6s were on both bands with good signals. Near sunset a couple of ZS stations were good copy off the back of the beam on 20 and a UA0Q called in with a S9 signal around 0015Z.
“On the January 16 at 0500, 80 meter CW was wide open to EU with E7, LY, SM, OM, SP, OK, OE, EW, DK, US5, and S5 stations all worked between 0500 and 0530Z. Most signals were S9 or better!
“On the January 17 at 0103Z, 9V1YC was 579 long path on 20 CW, later than the usual long path here which peaks 2230-2345Z. Also worked with a strong signal at 0110Z was VK6FZM/MM about halfway around the world from me on their way to Amsterdam Island from Freemantle in VK6.
“Then in the morning of the January 19, the Russian Olympic special stations were worked on 20 and 15. Some on 20 were S9+ while others were weak in the noise. Stations with 22 in their calls honor the Olympics (22nd Olympiad) and 11 the Paralympics. Also worked on 20 CW were the wild card stations R7378TM and R7979TM. A65CA was 579 long path on 20 at 1401Z and a few western EU stations were also heard long path.”
Amid many news reports with observations about a quieting sun, we get this from Scott Bidstrup, TI3/W7RI on Costa Rica:
“A friend of mine in Panamá (HP3AK) is quite the 75 meter DX enthusiast, and is up every morning looking for whatever DX he can find in the DX window on that band at gray-line from his QTH in the western Panamá highlands. He reports to me that so far, this has been the lousiest DX season he can remember. With his monster high-gain phased delta loop array, he can still manage to work Japan only about every other day, and in past seasons, he'd be talking to his friends there every morning with great signals both ways. He's only worked a couple of new ones in the South Pacific all season.
“Six meters has been very quiet here lately, too. There hasn't been a really good opening on six from down here since the big F2 opening in December - just the odd, short sporadic E opening now and again. Pickings have been pretty slim other than the usual daily TE (trans-equatorial) openings into Brazil and Argentina from here, and always with the same stations in evidence every day.
“Ten meters is showing some decline here. The reliable, daily openings are still there, but signals are fewer and weaker, with South America beginning to predominate - which leads me to suspect what I am seeing is mostly a TE propagation mode. I've given up on 10 and have moved my PSK activity to 15, which has been quite hot - but only early in the morning and late in the afternoon.”
For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service at http://arrl.org/propagation-of-rf-signals. For an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin, see http://arrl.org/the-sun-the-earth-the-ionosphere. An archive of past propagation bulletins is at http://arrl.org/w1aw-bulletins-archive-propagation. More good information and tutorials on propagation are at http://k9la.us/.
Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve overseas locations are at http://arrl.org/propagation.
Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are at http://arrl.org/bulletins.
Sunspot numbers for January 16 through 22 were 77, 95, 114, 91, 131, 141, and 144, with a mean of 113.3. 10.7 cm flux was 121, 128.8, 129.6, 127.5, 137.4, 146, and 143.3, with a mean of 133.4. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 4, 2, 2, 3, 8, and 9, with a mean of 4.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 2, 1, 2, 4, 6, and 8, with a mean of 3.6.