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The K7RA Solar Update


We skipped last week’s bulletin due to the Thanksgiving holiday.

Outlook for the near term shows solar flux at 72 on December 1, 70 on December 2-7, 71 on December 8, 72 on December 9-12, 74 on December 13, 75 on December 14-16, 74 on December 17, 73 on December 18-20, 74 on December 21-22, 76 on December 23-29, 72 on December 30-31, 70 on January 1-3, 71 on January 4, 72 on January 5-8, 74 on January 9, 75 on January 10-12, 74 on January 13 and 73 on January 14.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on December 1-3, then 32, 36, 18, 12 and 10 on December 4-8, 5 on December 9-10, then 12, 15, 12 and 8 on December 11-14, 5 on December 15-16, then 8, 25, and 10 on December 17-19, 8 on December 20-21, 5 on December 22-23, 15 on December 24, then 12 on December 25-27, 8 on December 28, 5 on December 29-30, then 35, 40, 28, 20 and 10 on December 31 through January 4, 5 on January 5-6, then 12, 15, 12, 8 and 5 on January 7-11, 8 on January 12-13 and 25 on January 14.

From F.K. Janda, OK1HH his geomagnetic activity forecast for the period December 1-27, 2017.

Geomagnetic field will be:
Quiet on December 2, 16, 23, 26
Mostly quiet on December 1, 8, 14, 17, 21, 24-25
Quiet to unsettled on December 3-4, 9-12, 15, 20, 27
Quiet to active on December 7, 13, 18
Active to disturbed on December 5-6, 19, 22

Amplifications of the solar wind from coronal holes are expected on December (1-2, 4,) 5, 7-8, 17-20, (21-22, 24-25).

- Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement.

A new video from Dr. Skov:

Jeff, N8II, in West Virginia wrote: “Tonight, November 30, is pretty exceptional on the low bands. On 160 meters several Europeans, including SM3EVR in Sweden, and a G4 in Great Britain, are generating steady pile ups. The ARRL 160-Meter Contest starts tomorrow and USA big guns are flexing their muscles. I also managed a marginal QSO with S01WS, Western Sahara for a new country on 160. Several European stations were worked on 80 meter CW, including Norway and Lithuania.

“In the CQWW CW DX contest November 25-26, conditions overall were better than last year with no disturbances of consequence throughout and probably slightly lower solar flux. Last year was disturbed until around 1200Z Sunday.

“The 160-meter band was productive for the big guns the first night. I managed QSOs with Scotland, Ireland, Great Britain, and Hungary along with Caribbean and the north edge of South American running low power 100 W.

“Conditions on 80 meters could not have been much better through 0500Z the first night. I worked Iceland, Kaliningrad, Europe Russia, Ukraine, Lithuania, Latvia, and Macedonia and many other European countries along with several QSOs with West Africa (Canary Is, Morocco, and Madeira).

“Forty meters was in good shape to central, western, and southern Europe the first 3 hours first night. One Caribbean station claimed over 3600 QSOs on 40! Asian stations were very difficult to find and work for me including the Arabian Peninsula where I heard Oman and Saudi Arabia.

“Twenty meters was open very well to Russia before sunrise both days, and on Sunday I managed to get many to answer my CQs. I worked a RA9 station in Asia, but his zone was 16, the same as European Russia. I never heard any Russians from zones 17-19, which was very unusual. Every part of Europe was loud early on both days, but mainly only western Europe was workable by 1600Z and very few Europeans were worked past 1830Z. Many stations were active from West Africa, but I did not hear African zones 34 or 36.

“V6, Micronesia, was worked short path around 2100Z Saturday and V7, Marshall Islands, on Sunday. Australia was also worked long path in the 2000Z hour and New Zealand at 0130Z short path. Signals from the south were workable all day and peaked around 2100-2300Z.

“Fifteen meters was fairly marginal with only southern and western Europe the first day with a much better but fairly short opening Sunday around 1300-1415Z which included QSOs with many northern Europe countries including Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, northern Finland, Denmark, and Sweden. One southern Russian (R7) was worked and western Europe lingered past 15Z. African signals were good as were the Caribbean and South America. Several Hawaiians, New Zealand, Tonga, and Micronesia were worked in the Pacific.

“Ten meters was barely open Saturday mostly only to the Sao Paolo, PY2 area and only a bit better Sunday to Argentina, Costa Rica, and Panama. There was sporadic E to Wisconsin and I worked a strong signal from British Columbia via either double hop Es or F2.

“I meant to mention about northern Europe 15M: This opening was very unusual for late Nov and SFI 72-73, probably the best to this area since the CQ WW SSB weekend a month ago.”

Jon Jones, N0JK of Lawrence, Kansas wrote: “The 2017 Winter E-skip season appears to be underway. There was a nice 3 hour sporadic-E opening on 6 meters November 28/29 UTC. Here in eastern Kansas EM28 -- the opening started with both the WB7PMP/b EM95 and the 5 watt XE2O/b EL05 6 meter beacons booming in at 2350z November 28.

“On 50 MHz, I logged W1RAJ in EM72 on SSB, W4RER in EL89 on CW, K5VWZ in rare grid EL28 on SSB, NM5Z in EM41 on CW, and K4DJ in EM95 on CW and a loud WB7PMP in EM95 between 0015 - 0200z. I noted FT8 spots for double hop sporadic-E between K1TOL Maine to XE2JS in DL68 at 0123z. N2CJ in FN30 spotted N7HD in DM34 at 0104z and WB7PMP in EM95 noted AA7WB in DM26 at 0225z, both SSB double-hop Es. It was a good mix of SSB, CW and the FT8 during the Es opening. A tip to FT8 ops: when conditions are good, contacts can be made quicker on SSB and CW.”

Jon mentioned rare grid EL28. Most of this grid is in the Gulf of Mexico and south of Houston, as seen at .

He also noted the winter E-skip season, which we hope will be active during the ARRL 10 meter contest, next weekend, December 9-10, 2017:

The contest occurs a few days before the peak of the Geminids meteor shower, which could enhance 10 meter conditions.

Scott Bidstrup, TI/W7RI, in Costa Rica wrote two weeks ago on November 17: “Bands down here in the single-digit latitudes are showing the effects of the approaching solar minimum. There hasn't been a single opening on six meters of any consequence since last September, and normally, we would be in the middle of our evening TEP season into South America by now. I've only seen a handful of FT8 decodes from South America, and by now the band should be busy with activity every night. Since the FT8 protocol permits signal detection at levels well below those of traditional methods such as CW and SSB, the utter lack of decode activity suggests that propagation via the evening TEP mode has all but stalled out. Two years ago, I was busy every night by now.

“On the HF bands, though, the approaching solar minimum has been good news for us here, as the solar ultraviolet and X-ray emissions that excite the D-layer and cause us our mid-day blackout on the HF bands, has been getting progressively weaker, and so the mid-day blackout has been shorter and less intense recently. There's been quite a bit of TEP activity on ten meters in the afternoons here recently. On just about every day, the 10-meter band has been open from here into CE, LU, CX and PY. But every day it's always the same stations, so there's little incentive to take advantage of it once you've worked them all several times. On 20 through 12 meters, though, there's been plenty of daytime DX from other regions to choose from, with the bands opening into Europe by 10AM and not closing to the Far East until after sunset.

“Twenty meters has often been open till late in the evening, occasionally even through the night, usually into North and South America with a smattering of Europeans, and 40 meters has been open almost around the clock without fail, often with some good DX, particularly in the early morning. The lower D-layer absorption means that we are frequently working the States in the middle of the day on 40, and every day, without exception, we can see FT8 decodes all day long, even with modest antennas. Even using weak signal modes, that was seldom possible just as recently as last year.

“The great blessing that FT8 has been for 160, combined with the lower D-layer absorption, means that grayline conditions have been workable for much longer than in the past, and several of my friends have worked some very respectable DX with very modest antennas on 160 including Mellish Reef and several African stations, using 80-meter dipoles tuned with a tuner.”

A possible future solar disturbance like the Carrington Event in the nineteenth century is described somewhat breathlessly, over the top, and as if the event is actually predicted to happen in the next few minutes. Not sure I trust the source, but this one actually proposes a solution, a 100,000 ton coil sitting between Earth and our sun:

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service at For an explanation of 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 November 16 through 22, 2017 were 15, 26, 14, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 7.9. 10.7 cm flux was 73.2, 76.4, 76.1, 74.4, 73.6, 73.2, and 73.4, with a mean of 74.3. Estimated planetary A indices were 14, 6, 6, 5, 8, 28, and 10, with a mean of 11. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 11, 5, 5, 5, 7, 16, and 7, with a mean of 8.

Sunspot numbers for November 23 through 29, 2017 were 0, 0, 13, 15, 15, 14, and 12, with a mean of 9.9. 10.7 cm flux was 72.4, 74.1, 74.3, 75.5, 73.6, 71.9, and 72.6, with a mean of 73.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 9, 10, 7, 3, 5, 8, and 5, with a mean of 6.7. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 7, 8, 4, 2, 4, 6, and 4, with a mean of 5.