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The K7RA Solar Update


It turns out last week’s bulletin ARLP028 did not get posted to the ARRL web site and did not go out via the usual channels. If you need a copy, check the bulletin archive link given at the end of this bulletin (perhaps tomorrow), or email a request to the author at

Over the past week, July 9-15, just one day had sunspot activity, and that was July 10 when the daily sunspot number was 12. The sunspot was number 2766, returning for a second appearance from old Cycle 24.

On July 16 reported “a tiny proto-sunspot” exhibiting polarity indicating Cycle 25. But later it seemed to be gone, and every time I thought I’d spotted something, it turned out to be dirt on my computer screen.

From the previous week to this week, average daily sunspot number declined from 3.3 to 1.7, but average daily solar flux stayed the same, at 68.5.

Predicted solar flux remains low, further evidence of this long, deep solar minimum. All flux values for the next 45 days are predicted to stay below 70. 69 is the predicted 10.7 cm solar flux on July 17-22, 68 on July 23-24, 69 on July 25 through August 1, 68 again on August 2-20, 69 on August 21-28 and 68 on August 29-30.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on July 17-30, then 8 and 10 on July 31 through August 1, 5 on August 2-8, 8 on August 9-10, 5 on August 11-26, 8 on August 27-28, and 5 on August 29-30.

Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period July 17 until Aug 12, 2020 from OK1HH.

Geomagnetic field will be

quiet on: July 17-21, 25-26, 28-29, August 4-7

quiet to unsettled on: July 24, 27, 30, August 1-3, 10-12

quiet to active on: (July 22-23, 31, August 8-9)

unsettled to active on: nothing predicted

active to disturbed: nothing predicted

Solar wind will intensify on: July (17-18, 21-22)

23-25, (26-27,) August 1-3 (- 4)


- Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement.

- The predictability of changes remains in the long run lower as there are very few indications.


George Hall, N2CG, reported, “I'm located in Northern New Jersey (FN20wv) and on July 11 starting around 8 AM EDT (1200Z) and for the next eleven hours the 6-meter band on FT8 mode was open to five continents.

“All parts of Europe were coming in for over 10 hours and I managed to work 11 different DXCC entities, including JW7QIA in Svalbard for an all-time new one.

“In Africa, the Canary Islands were coming in and there were a few Caribbean stations as well as many areas of the US and parts of northern South America workable with strong signals.

“At 2200Z I had to go off the air due to an approaching thunderstorm. When I returned to the air at 2240Z the HamSpots DX cluster was showing I had spotted over a dozen Japanese stations on 6-meter FT8! For the next 25 minutes I managed to work six Japanese stations, with received signals ranging from -06 to -18 dBm. So, working Japan not only gave me an all-time new one, it also gave me Asia; the last continent I needed for my 6-meter Worked All Continents award, which I'll be able to apply for when I receive a paper QSL card from one of the Japanese stations. Let’s hope the remaining weeks of this summer’s 6-meter Es season will bring more DX surprises.”


Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW, of Easton, Pennsylvania wrote: "On Sunday July 12, at 1 PM local time (1700 UTC), heard and worked Elye, KI5DLL, from Malvern, Arkansas (95 miles away from the Texas state line in Texarkana) at a distance of 1,057 miles. Initially his signal report was 1x1, but later rose to 3x3.

“On Thursday, July 14, at 11 AM local time (1500 UTC), I heard Mark, KI4SWB, from Melbourne Beach, Florida at 924 miles. His signal report was 4x7, peaking +30 dB with deep fading. Both contacts were on the 10-meter FM simplex frequency of 29.600 MHz.

“Considering operators on the lower segment 10 meter band (28 MHz) are having a rough time making DX contacts using SSB at a 3-kHz bandwidth, which is four times narrower compared to FM, it is somewhat amazing that I am starting to hear these type of emissions in the depths of a Solar Minimum. I urge everyone to continue monitoring 29.600 FM simplex. Even if the frequency sounds dead, give a call anyway. You might be pleasantly surprised."

Mike sent an update on July 16: "Today, at 11:53 AM local (1553 UTC), I heard Lloyd, KC5FM, from Newkirk, Oklahoma, north of Oklahoma City. He was involved in a conversation, so I waited until be finished and then called him. To my surprise he returned my call with a 3x3 signal report. The distance was 1,203 miles. This is my FM record to date!”


The latest video from WX6SWW:


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Sunspot numbers for July 9 through 15, 2020 were 0, 12, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 1.7. 10.7 cm flux was 68.7, 68.8, 68.7, 67.6, 68.2, 68.9, and 68.4, with a mean of 68.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 3, 3, 3, 6, 11, and 5, with a mean of 5. Middle latitude A index was 4, 3, 2, 3, 7, 9, and 6, with a mean of 4.9.