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The K7RA Solar Update

01/15/2021

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: What happened? Solar Cycle 25 seemed well under way, but no new sunspots have emerged since December 23. The last time any sunspot was visible was January 2. On January 14, Spaceweather.com posted, “Welcome back, solar minimum.”

Average daily solar flux declined from 78.6 to 73.8. Geomagnetic A index remained quiet. Predicted solar flux for the next 30 days is 73, 73, and 74 on January 14 – 16; 75 on January 17 – 19; 73 and 75 on January 20 – 21; 78 on January 22 – 27; 77 on January 28 – 31; 75 on February 1 – 6, and 74 on February 7 – 12. Solar flux is expected to peak at 78 again after February 14.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on January 14 – 16; 10, 12, 10, and 8 on January 17 – 20; 5 on January 21 – 24; 8 on January 25 – 26; 5 on January 27 – 31; 10 on February 1 – 2, and 5 on February 3 – 12.

Here’s the geomagnetic activity forecast for January 15 – February 10, 2021 from F.K. Janda, OK1HH. The geomagnetic field will be:

  • quiet on  January 22, 28 – 30, February 4, 10

  • quiet to unsettled on  January 23, 25, 27, February 5 – 6, 9

  • quiet to active on  January 15 – 16, 21, 24, 26, 31, February 1, 3

  • unsettled to active  January 17 – 20, February 2, 7 – 8

  • active to disturbed  none predicted

  • Solar wind will intensify on January (19 – 20,) 21, (25 – 27, 31) February (1,) 2 – 3

Notes:

Parentheses mean lower probability of activity enhancement.

The predictability of changes is lower again, as there are ambiguous and changing indicators.

Peering at the STEREO spacecraft, at I see a promising bright spot a few days from now in our sun’s southern hemisphere, so perhaps that indicates a new sunspot over the solar horizon. But I have been fooled by bright spots on STEREO in the past that did not emerge as sunspots.

A few days ago, Space Weather Woman Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW, posted this video.

Jon Jones, N0JK, reports E-skip on 6 meters:

“Sporadic-E on 50 MHz dropped off after the first week of January. There was a sporadic-E opening I found January 10 with K8TB (EN72) in on FT8 at 1937 UTC.

“On January 14, a rare and unusual opening on 6 meters occurred between New England, VE1, and Europe. DK8NW and DK1MAX were spotted at 1415 UTC by WW1L (FN54).

“HA2NP was spotted by VE1P UTC (FN85) at 1436 UTC.  VE1PZ was spotted by OH6MW at 1430 UTC calling CQ on 50.313 MHz FT8.

“Propagation mode unclear but probably multi-hop sporadic-E. Solar flux only 73, unlikely to be F2.”

Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, gave an excellent talk on propagation for the Madison DX Club on January 12. The video will be posted soon. Until then, you can also watch a presentation on Solar Cycle 25 by Douglas Biesecker of NOAA via the same link.

Here’s some more speculation about Solar Cycle 25.

WB8VLC in Salem, Oregon (CN84lv), sent an extensive listing of DX he’s worked over the past few months, none of it using FT8 — just phone and CW. Recently on January 10 using a homemade Moxon antenna at 24 feet on 17 meters he worked TZ4AM on CW in Mali at 1903 UTC with 599 signals both ways, and a few minutes earlier at 1857 UTC on SSB he worked V51WH in Namibia, with S-9 signals that persisted for 2 hours.

In late November on 10 meter FM, he worked Brazil, Costa Rica, and Jamaica.

He wrote, “I like to promote the upper bands 10 and 12 meters to show that they are open more often than one would think.”

Sunspot numbers for January 7 – 13 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 74.6, 75.2, 74.2, 73.1, 73.2, 72.8, and 73.2, with a mean of 73.8. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 2, 3, 3, 14, 9, and 4, with a mean of 5.9. Middle latitude A index was 4, 1, 2, 3, 10, 8, and 3, with a mean of 4.4.

For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service, read “What the Numbers Mean…,” and check out K9LA’s Propagation Page.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. For customizable propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are on the ARRL website.

Share your reports and observations.



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