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The K7RA Solar Update


Low solar activity continues. There were no sunspots seen from January 20-29, and the sunspot number was 13 on January 30-31, but back to zero on February 1. Average daily solar flux declined marginally from 70 to 69.1.


Predicted solar flux is 70 on February 2, 71 on February 3-8, 70 on February 9-22, 69 on February 23 to March 4, 70 on March 5-18.


Predicted planetary A index is 5 on February 2-3, 10 and 8 on February 4-5, 5 on February 6-8, then 8, 12 and 8 on February 9-11, 5 on February 12-14, then 8, 12, 8, 10, 5, 8, 10 and 8 on February 15-22, 5 on February 23 to March 2, 8 on March 3-4, 5 on March 5-7, then 8, 12 and 8 on March 8-10, 5 on March 11-13, then 8, 12, 8, 10 and 5 on March 14-18. 


Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period February 2-28, 2018 from F.K. Janda, OK1HH.


“Geomagnetic field will be:

Quiet on February 2, 5-8, 12-14, 20

Mostly quiet on February 3, 9, 17, 23, 25-27

Quiet to unsettled on February 11, 16, 18-19, 21-22

Quiet to active on February 4, 10, 15, 24, 28

Active to disturbed-not anticipated


Amplifications of the solar wind from coronal holes are expected on February 5-6, 9-12, 18-19, 27-28



- Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement.

- Regarding ongoing changes, current forecasts are even less reliable.”



Joe Flamini, W4BXJ, of White Hall, Virginia wrote on January 29, “So, I usually leave the 10-meter rig scanning in the shack, and it's usually quiet. So much so, in fact, that I forget it's there. Imagine my surprise to hear a couple of amateurs in New Zealand talking mobile-to-mobile at about 1500 GMT on January 27. I reached out and had a 45-second QSO with them both before the link faded. That'll never happen again!"


I checked back with Joe, and he told me it all happened so fast he didn’t log their call signs, but they were both mobile in the Christchurch area, and I estimate the short path distance at about 8,800 miles.


The latest from Tamitha Skov:



Jeff Hartley, N8II, of Shepherdstown, West Virginia wrote on February 1: “The solar indices have been remarkably very similar day to day in January with K index seldom above 2, often 0 and SFI running 69-71. There are other factors that influence signal strength on 80 meters and even more so on 160 meters night to night.


“During the CQWW 160-meter contest last weekend, I missed the best hours to Europe around the European sunrise the first night, but signals did seem down considerably from 2300Z-0240Z when I operated and the second night was even worse, about as poor as winter conditions ever get on the path to Europe.


“There were loud west-coast signals around sunrise Saturday morning with two strong callers from British Columbia and a good signal from KH7M in Hawaii.


“The second night ZC4A (British bases on Cypress), was calling CQ on my run frequency and they apparently could not hear me at all. Sunday night after the contest ended ZC4A was 579!


“It was not until several nights later that I was able to complete a QSO on their last night of operation. I also worked them on 80 meters, both modes, 40 meters, both modes, on January 26 (not very loud when worked there) and on 30-meter CW where they were barely readable at 0541Z.


“Signals on 80 were quite a bit louder than the other bands. Forty meters seems to be improving to Europe with some southern European stations still having decent signals well into our evening.


“I have added quite a few band countries on the low bands lately (log started Jan 2017). On the 26th, on 80-meter CW, I worked TG9ADM Guatemala, CP4BT in Bolivia (quite rare on that band), and less rare, but more distant, RI50ANO on the South Shetland Islands near Antarctica.


“I also have logged Alex, RI50ANO, on 40-meter phone and CW. By far the hardest-to-work DX recently was last night, February 1st, when worked UN9L in Kazakhstan on 80-meter CW. He was weak, but readable, and heard me right away, but it took several tries to get my call through.


“Over the last two months, I have checked the DX cluster for reports of him on 80 meters, only to hear nothing. The slightly increased daylight near the North Pole seems to be improving conditions as of about January 20. Fifteen meters has been essentially dead, even to Africa, on many days, but today I snagged C81G off the coast of Mozambique on CW and EA6VQ in the Balearic Islands was S9+ from 1615-1650Z. Even 17 meters is closed or very marginal to Europe on most days due to the low solar flux.


“The big DXCC news is the addition of Kosovo (Z6) to the DXCC list effective January 21st. The Z60A club station has a good signal on 20 meters every day. I logged them easily on the 21st on 20 CW, and later 20-meter SSB and 80-meter CW. They seem to have a high noise level at their location on the low bands.”


David Moore sent this link about stellar magnetism:



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 January 25-31, 2018 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 13, and 13, with a mean of 3.7. 10.7 cm flux was 70.3, 69.8, 68.8, 68.5, 68.2, 68.9, and 69.2, with a mean of 69.1. Estimated planetary A indices were 10, 8, 6, 4, 4, 5, and 7, with a mean of 6.3. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 9, 7, 5, 2, 3, 3, and 5, with a mean of 4.9.





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