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The K7RA Solar Update


Strong solar activity continued this week, with average daily sunspot numbers rising 36 points to 119.9 and average daily solar flux up 24 points to 198. The X-Ray background flux from GOES-15 has ranged from C1.2 to C2.6 since October 19. RWC Prague predicts a range from B2.0 to C1.5 from October 31 through November 6.

You can see daily X-ray flux at It also shows for each day the number of new sunspot regions which appeared, and on October 30 there were four new regions and the sunspot number was 121. This is the highest number of new regions to appear on any day since August 14, when there were four, on December 31, 2013 when there were also four new ones, and August 7, 2013, and April 5 2013. Way back on January 4, 2013 five new regions appeared in one day.

If you are recording solar flux and sunspot data into a personal archive, you will be happy to know that the DRAO site in Penticton has their archive of solar flux data now current, and updated three times per day. You can find it at and at for the html copy. The data has been updated infrequently over the past couple of months.

You can also download an update from of the data file for Scott Craig’s solar data plotting utility. A new data file through October 29, 2014 is now up. It replaces the April 3, 2014 file. You can update the data file weekly using Scott’s program with new copies of this bulletin. This gives you daily solar flux and sunspot numbers stretching back over a quarter century, to January 1, 1989.

The Solar Data Plotting Utility only runs on the Windows operating system, on all versions through Windows XP. I currently use it in XP mode in Windows 7.

Our updated prediction has daily solar flux at 130 on October 31 through November 2, 125 on November 3-4, 120 on November 5-7, 160 on November 8, 165 on November 9-10, 175 on November 11-12, then peaking at 200 on November 19-20, and reaching a low of 110 on December 12.

Predicted planetary A index is 12 on October 30, 8 on October 31 through November 4, 12 on November 5, 8 on November 6-7, 5 on November 8-9, 8 on November 10-11, then 5 and 8 on November 12-13, 12 on November 14-15, then 22, 15 and 10 on November 16-18, and 8 on November 19-21.

OK1HH sees quiet to unsettled geomagnetic conditions on October 31, quiet conditions November 1, mostly quiet November 2, quiet to unsettled November 3, quiet on November 4, quiet to active November 5, active to disturbed November 6, mostly quiet November 7, quiet to unsettled November 8, quiet November 9, mostly quiet November 10-11, quiet to unsettled November 12, mostly quiet November 13-14, quiet to unsettled November 15, mostly quiet November 16, active to disturbed November 17, quiet to active November 18, quiet to unsettled November 19, mostly quiet November 20-22, quiet on November 23, quiet to active November 24, and back to quiet on November 25-26.

Conditions should be good this weekend for ARRL CW Sweepstakes. It begins at 2100 UTC Saturday, November 1 and runs until 0259 UTC Monday, but is limited to 24 hours. This is the weekend that Daylight Savings Time ends so for those of us on the West Coast, that actually runs from 2:00 PM PDT Saturday until 6:59 PM PST Sunday. UTC Time is constant, so don’t worry about any notion of gaining an hour that the rest of the country considers when moving the clocks back by 60 minutes on Sunday at 2:00 AM local time.

The Phone weekend for ARRL Sweepstakes is two weeks later.

If you are not a contester, it might be fun to give out contacts to the bleary eyed hungry hordes in the last few hours of the event when things have quieted down and those still participating are desperate for new ones. You should get plenty of attention. For more details, check

Often late in the contest casual operators showing up this late may be confused about their ARRL Section, and give their state instead. For most states, this works, but in some states it is a bit more complicated. Check for a map, and you’ll see that California is divided into nine sections. For a more detailed description, check

A week ago on October 24 Fred Honnold, KH7Y, sent this: “Yesterday starting at 2200 UTC worked many W6 and W7 stations some were 20 over S9 on six meters. I also worked TX, OK, NM, AZ and NV, all F2 propagation. I was spotted by JA, BV during this opening on back scatter. Also many XE1, 2 and PY, LU, CX, ZP, CE worked and later on in the evening VK, DU, ZL, and KG6.”

Today Fred reported: “Six meters has been open every day, good openings in the morning to South America, Some to the southern part of the mainland. So far this month W6, W7, W5, XE1, 2 and 3, HK, PJ4, CX, ZP, CP, LU, PY, CE, ZL, YJ0, VK, DU, 9M2, KG6, V73, FK8, E51, T30, JA. So October has been great on six meters, from KH6.

The sun sure went crazy there for 6 days or so. Looks like it is going back to sleep. Will be interesting to see what next March, April will bring. Those long path QSO are really fun to make.”

James French, W8ISS, of Lincoln Park, Michigan sent this message last Saturday: “I posted a picture I took last Thursday during the partial eclipse. Even for what I got, you can easily see Sunspot grouping 2192 there.

Taken with a Samsung M575 cell phone held up to the eyepiece of a 4-inch Meade Reflector.”

An interesting article about magnetic reconnection converting magnetic energy into explosive particle energy, came from Jim Henderson, KF7E, of Queen Creek, Arizona.

Scott Bidstrup, TI3/W7RI, wrote: “Here's an item that suggests recent research is explaining the mechanisms behind solar flares, and may make it possible to predict solar flares themselves, not just the probability of them.”

On October 26 Scott Bidstrup also wrote, “Propagation here in the equatorial region has been much improved with the recent spate of solar activity - the recent series of flares from the giant sunspot region 2192 has raised the 304a radiation from the sun, along with long-wave X-radiation, and the F2 layer has responded accordingly. The 10m PSK window has looked like the 20m window usually does - packed wall to wall with digimode signals, mostly Europeans, but with a lot of W4s and W5s as well. The rest of the upper HF bands have been similarly crowded. Sure is good to see all those strong signals after the recent doldrums.

“The presence of a lot of Stateside signals on 10 meters here has bode well for six meters - JAs working into LU, CX and CE have become almost a nightly occurrence. Rémi, FK8CP, with his usual persistence, has been working a lot of stations throughout the Americas, Canada all the way to Chile, and there have been occasional contacts between VK/ZL stations and the west coast of the U.S. Last night, Rémi's signal here in Costa Rica was an S9 for more than two hours on and off.

“Six meter transequatorial openings from the Caribbean and Central America into South America have been happening nightly, to the point where the activity has dropped off noticeably simply because of everyone having worked everyone else already - several times, in fact. Occasionally, openings have begun as early as ten in the morning till well past bedtime, on and off. On the DX maps, I've been seeing occasional 6m contacts ducted along the Transequatorial Anomaly, too - though, sadly, none have happened from here in Costa Rica. We've even had a few Es openings from here into Venezuela and the Windward Islands, though. Phil, TI5/N5BEK, reports hearing the PR8ZIX beacon from mid-morning until late in the day, almost every day. It's so frequent, he rarely bothers to even spot it anymore.”

More six meter news from Rich Zwirko, K1HTV: “On October 21, with the SFI hovering just below 200 we had some 6 meter TEP to South America. From my FM18ap Virginia QTH I worked two stations in Uruguay, CX8DS on SSB and CX9AU on CW. Also heard were the LU2EE/B and LU7YSb CW beacons.

“The following UTC day, October 22nd will be one that I will long remember. I was chasing W1AW/7 and 8 on the HF bands when I noticed a DX Cluster spot from WZ8D in Ohio that he had just worked a New Caledonia station on 6 meters. I tuned to 50.110 MHz and there was FK8CP on CW. A quick call and at 0324Z (11:24 EDT, Oct 21) FK8CP was in the K1HTV log. Remi was my 6M DXCC country #155. I quickly called W3LPL in MD and a few minutes later Frank worked FK8CP, as well as did his neighbor Bernie, W3UR, both in FM19.

“A few minutes later FK8CP, now on SSB, was on a different frequency calling CQ. I called Remi on SSB and he said, ‘You are already in my log.’ . He continued calling CQ North America on both CW and SSB. His signal varied from just at the noise level to S4. Remi was last heard at my FM18ap Virginia QTH at 0415Z. In all, FK8CP was heard here, for 55 minutes!

“Later that same day date around 2340Z, I heard ZL1RS on CW for about 10 seconds. Dave, N4DB, who is 102 miles south of me heard ZL1RS for about 2 minutes and was able to work him. Thirty-five minutes later Dave also worked FK8CP. At that time I could hear nothing from FK8CP. Talk about the 6 meter spotlight effect! The Magic Band can be that way.

“A few days later on October 25th on 6 meters I worked CT1HZE and EA4SV. Not sure if it was F2 because I was also hearing the VO1SEP/B CW beacon at the same time, leading me to think that it may have been Es propagation. With the SFI varying from around 180 to 218 for over a week I wouldn't be surprised to see some loud E-W F2 skip coming into the Mid-Atlantic area in the next week or so. Hope so!”

And finally, Jon Jones, N0JK wrote, “One unusual occurrence this October has been the prevalence of Sporadic E propagation on 6 meters. There has been sporadic E on a majority of the days so far this month. A particularly intense Es opening on 6 meters took place on Monday morning October 27. Es was present over 4 hours from the Midwest states to New England, New York and New Jersey on 6 meters. The 8 watt N2GHR/b FN30 beacon 50.078 MHz was solid copy during this period for me in EM28, and K2MUB FN20 was 40 dB over S-9. This opening created some Es links to F2 earlier for stations in New England to Europe. Es was spotted between W1 and VO1, and then W1 stations linked on to western Europe.

“On Wednesday evening (October 29 UTC), a sporadic E cloud over western Nebraska set up an Es link from W8, W9 and W0 on via TEP to FK8CP on 6. Many northern 8, 9 and 0 stations were able to work New Caledonia that evening. W9RM DM58 heard the eastern stations via Es, he is on the great circle path from them on out to FK8. The October sporadic E created interesting DX opportunities for many 6 meter DXers.

“Typically sporadic E is very rare on 6 meters in October, only the month of March has less Es.

“To clarify I am referring to sporadic E propagation on 50 MHz in the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes. Not aurora associated Es, equatorial Es or in the southern hemisphere.

“I am unsure of any direct connection between the higher solar flux and solar activity and the sporadic E occurrence. The higher solar flux did raise F2 MUFs and brought the TEP zone where 50 MHz signals may be propagated further north.”

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service at For an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin, see An archive of past propagation bulletins is at More good information and tutorials on propagation are at

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve overseas locations are at

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for October 23 through 29 were 126, 147, 115, 138, 120, 109, and 84, with a mean of 119.9. 10.7 cm flux was 227.1, 217.8, 219.3, 216.6, 187.8, 167.2, and 150.4, with a mean of 198. Estimated planetary A indices were 11, 11, 10, 12, 14, 14, and 9, with a mean of 11.6. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 8, 9, 9, 11, 15, 11, and 7, with a mean of 10.