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The K7RA Solar Update


A coronal mass ejection (CME) left the sun on June 28th and it is expected to reach Earth on July 2nd. Otherwise, there hasn't been much change in solar activity since last week, but all indicators were lower. Average daily sunspot number moved from 29.4 last week to 20.3 this week, and average daily solar flux went from 74.6 to 73.6.

Average daily planetary A index went from 9.4 to 6.9, and mid-latitude A index from 8.1 to 7.4.

Predicted solar flux is 72 on June 30 through July 7, 75 on July 8-14, 76 on July 15-16, 75 on July 17-19, 74 on July 20-22, 72 on July 23-24, 77 on July 25-28, then 74, 73 and 72 on July 29-31, 73 on August 1, 74 on August 2-3, 75 on August 4-10 and 76 on August 11-12.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on June 30 through July 1, then 12, 20 and 10 on July 2-4, 5 on July 5-12, then 20, 12 and 10 on July 13-15, 5 on July 16-20, then 10, 12, 10 and 5 on July 21-24, 10 on July 25-26, 5 on July 27 through August 8, then 20, 12 and 10 on August 9-11 and 5 on August 12-13.

Tomas Bayer of the Dept. of Geomagnetism at the Budkov Observatory sends this Geomagnetic activity summary:

“Next week, we expect at most quiet to unsettled level conditions only with a single active episode. The active episodes are possible about June 30 and at the end of forecast period.

“Geomagnetic activity increase is possible because of a small equatorial coronal hole. Nevertheless, we expect the greater activity increase at the start of the next weekly forecast, i.e. after July 7.”

From F.K. Janda, OK1HH of the Czech Propagation Interest Group:

"Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period June 30-July 26, 2017.

Geomagnetic field will be:
Quiet on July 1, 4-5, 17
Mostly quiet on July 2, 12, 16, 18-20, 24
Quiet to unsettled July 6-7, 10-11, 15, 25-26
Quiet to active on June 30, July 3, 8-9, 14, 21-23
Active to disturbed on July 13

Amplifications of the solar wind from coronal holes are expected on July (8,) 9-17, (18, 21,) 22-24, (25)

- Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement and/or lower reliability of prediction.
- As a result of ongoing changes to the configuration of active areas
on the Sun, reliability of forecasts is temporarily lowered."

Dean Pesnell of NASA says the upcoming solar minimum (over the next few years) will bring longer lasting coronal holes:

This report from Jeff Hartley, N8II, in West Virginia: “Going back to June 17, I operated in the WV QSO Party and conditions were disturbed, which may have actually improved conditions for me into the States.

“I worked a total of 892 QSOs with 619 on 20-meter SSB in 8.3 hours between 1600Z and 0200Z, with 49 states (no calls from Alaska, but about 6 from Hawaii!), 11 WV counties, and 14 DXCC countries without looking for EU, which was fairly loud from 1800Z-2300Z.

“There was excellent sporadic E until about 2400Z, with some still toward the Gulf Coast and Florida after that. Twenty-meter phone featured direct ionospheric propagation at some time to all states except Alaska (maybe), Maryland, Delaware, and Pennsylvania. I was called at one point from Roanoke, Virginia, which is about 165 miles away, and in the first 4 hours I worked many stations in New York and New England. There was apparently no F2 above 20 meters, except to the south on 15 meters, but I did work Puerto Rico on 10-meter double hop Es.

“The other propagation highlight was working a VK2 in Australia on 20-meter SSB in the 2300Z hour via short path, a first in 47 years of hamming during the Aussie morning; long path QSOs are pretty common around 2100-2300Z, except in our summer. I used my 80-meter dipole in lieu of the 5 element Yagi or tribander fixed south at times on 20 to get more omnidirectional coverage as the skip was short in all directions. Many New York stations were loudest off the back of my triband Force 12 Yagi at 60 feet (signals from high angle).

“There was good Es from Michigan to Minnesota at around noon on the 18th on 10 meters. The highlight of the week was a multi-hop Es opening to Europe on the 19th, working F5RAG in France first at 2111Z and working Spain, England, and Ireland (tremendous rapid fading from in the noise to S5) until 2127Z when F5RAG said hello again at S7 (best signal). I then worked Northern Ireland an hour later. Wednesday, Thursday and Friday were quiet with little 28 MHz Es, other than a few openings into Texas including 2 Dallas area QSOs on 6 meter at around 1500Z on the 21st.

“Field Day was spent between home and K8EP in the field, operating from near the foot of a mountain to the west (not the greatest location) near Martinsburg, WV. I can never remember a Field Day when the sporadic E was so widespread in different directions on 15 and 10 meter for such a long duration as it was this year!

“There was a high noise level at K8EP on 20 meters, which was found to be a noisy computer power supply, but I was very aware of Es to the west on starting around 2230Z and working many Michigan and 9th call area stations, along with Ohio, as the evening progressed, as well as some QSOs into New England. When I returned to home and fired up at 0215Z, I found W3AO on 15 meters (distant local) in Maryland first and Bob, W3IDT, reported some Es, but ‘things are slowing down.’

“Having not worked 15-meter phone, I started a fast-paced run with plenty of callers, but propagation was limited to mostly W5s (TX was rather weak), 9s, and 0s (nothing from Colorado, North Dakota, and South Dakota) and 4s in Georgia, Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee. I switched to 20 meters around 0300Z and had nearly perfect coverage to my west from the 9th area and beyond and south from South Carolina and Tennessee and beyond, running a big pile up with many west-coast QSOs. Two KL7s in Alaska called in with loud signals! Without the Es, skip would have been very long by 0300Z, so many QSOs may have been Es on the east end into F2 out west.

“I returned to the air at 1446Z and single hop Es could not have been much better in all directions on 15 and 10 meters through 1720Z! I stayed on 10 until 1613Z working stations as close as New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Ohio, and Kentucky. The band was wide open to New England, but QSO rates into the 9th and 0 call areas with 4s and 5s to boot were much better.

“I worked Colorado and Arizona on double-hop Es, but no Dakotas. Fifteen meters was even that much better than 10, working stations as close as eastern Pennsylvania (about 150-200 miles away), as well as New Jersey, New York, New England, Ohio, Kentucky, and North Carolina. I was called via double-hop Es from Colorado, Arizona, Nevada, and California (many, mostly from San Francisco south), and Washington as well! In 5 hours, total time, I worked 557 QSOs with 272 on 15 meters and 195 on 10 meters.

“The few times I checked 6M, there was surprisingly not much Es.”

Harry Rudolph, WX8C, of Grand Blanc, Michigan sent this Field Day report: "Operated from southeast Michigan with battery power, running around 75 W to an all-band dipole. Early Sunday afternoon, local time, I made 42 6-meter contacts from New England to Florida, and then along the Gulf Coast and stretching to West Texas. Most stations were loud."

Rich Zwirko, K1HTV, of Amissville, Virginia sent this 6-meter report: "On June 25th, for the second time in this month, 50 MHz signals from Japan were copied at the FM18ap Virginia home of K1HTV. The first signal heard on June 9th was at 2149Z from JR1LZK. The last Japanese station heard was JA9SJI, 2 hours and 22 minutes later at 00 11Z June 10th!

“Of the 142 minutes between the start and finish of the UTC June 9/10 opening:
- 25 different JA stations were copied during 42 different minutes.
- The PSKreporter website reported that 7 stations in Japan copied K1HTV.
- 126 lines of data were received from Japanese stations
- 2-way QSOs were completed with JH4UYB and JG1TSG.

“During the UTC June 9/10, 2017 opening, 3 or more JA stations were copied during their one minute transmit periods at:

UTC  - Number of stations
2243 - 7
2247 - 4
2249 - 5
2305 - 10
2307 - 8
2309 - 6
2311 - 4
2313 - 4
2315 - 8
2317 - 7
2319 - 8
2321 - 5
2323 - 5
2325 - 4
2335 - 5
2339 - 3

“The second 50 MHz opening between Japan and the K1HTV occurred on June 25, but was much shorter than the one earlier in the month, lasting only 10 minutes. Again, using the JT65 mode, the first station, JP1LRT, was copied at 2325Z and the last copied, ten minutes later at 2335Z was JA7QVI. Using the JT65 mode, 7 different JA stations were received, JP1LRT, JO1ALS, JK1SQI, JM1IGJ, JE1BMJ, JN1GTG and JA7QVI. I was unable to make any 2-way QSOs during this opening.

“Earlier in the month on June 12th at 1450Z, I copied a CQ by 4X4DK in Israel on the 50.276 MHz JT65 frequency. But his signals quickly disappeared in a few minutes before a QSO could be made.

“On June 19, JT65 transmissions from TY2AC in Benin were copied at 1216, 1220 and 1252 UTC. After completing a QSO with another station, Nic copied my call, but lost commercial power and the use of his power amplifier. He came back on the air running only 100 W using a small backup generator, but was too weak to copy here. By the time commercial power was restored, the propagation had changed, so the contact could not be completed.

“The next day, June 20, was another exciting but frustrating day on the Magic Band. I copied 9K2OD in Kuwait calling CQ at 1324 and 1326 UTC. After a fellow PVRC member, John, K3AJ, worked Osama, I again called. 9K2OD reported on the cluster that he had heard me, but we were unable to complete the 2-way QSO because the propagation had changed and his JT65 signal faded into the noise.

“I can't wait for the K1JT software development team to complete their work on a new digital mode which can better handle rapidly changing multi-hop propagation that is experienced by 6-meter DXers."

And finally, a report from Scott Bidstrup, TI3/W7RI, in Costa Rica: “This year's sporadic E season on six meters here in Central America, has been short but spectacular. It began way later than usual, but certainly made up for lost time, with reliable openings into W4, starting around the end of May. By the end of the first week in June, we had been seeing propagation into Europe on an almost daily basis, at least until about a week ago, when the openings have begun to die down, both in frequency and intensity.

“Phil Phillips, TI5/N5BEK, and I have been taking full advantage of this, with my working two new European countries on 6 meters and his working several more, sometimes working the same stations for several days running. The first European opening of the season this year was a spectacular one, which, of course, happened during my morning nap - when I got up and came into the shack to check the decodes in the activity window on WSJT-X, I astonished and dismayed to discover that I had just missed working both Gibraltar and Slovenia - proof positive that, on 6 meters at least, when you snooze, you can sure lose. Big time.

“In discussing this during our early morning coffee klatch on 75 meters a few days ago, Phil and I concluded that it's not that the band has been in spectacularly good shape this year, in fact it's probably been poorer than in most recent years. Rather, it's been that the JT65 protocol makes the very weak openings sufficient to establish QSOs where none would have otherwise been possible on SSB or even CW. Contacts into both Belgium and Germany this year with my peanut-whistle station running 60 W into a 5/8 vertical, would not have been possible on SSB, and unlikely even on CW, but when a QSO can be completed at a signal-to-noise ratio of -25dB, much more is possible. JT65 has improved my 6-meter country and states totals rather significantly this year, particularly for Europe. So far, I've had only one SSB contact into Europe this year, but have had an abundance of JT65 contacts. Increased states totals, too, have been made possible with the use of JT65; I've added several new states to my total since getting on JT65 late last year. Even better results will likely happen when the new, faster protocols that Joe Taylor is working on, are finally ready for 6-meter prime time and become widely adopted.

“MSK144 via Es extension has produced some interesting results here on 6m recently as well. There are very few stations on MSK144 within one-hop range of me as you would expect (in fact, other than Phil, I don't know of any), mostly because the population is so sparse within the one-hop range. So, trying to do meteor scatter within the one-hop range is pretty much a waste of time, and trying to do a coincident double-hop means working against the stubborn laws of probability. I've left the receiver running for a week at a time and have not seen a single decode other than tests and CQs from Phil.

“But when there is heavy sporadic E activity along the Gulf Coast, the situation can be quite different with decodes of Stateside stations, usually in the Midwest, occurring with regularity, and Phil has managed several contacts with that method, though I have not managed it yet so far. I was the first to see a signal (from NZ8D), and try as we might, we were not able to complete, but Phil was the first to manage a two-way contact via this mode from here.

“Clearly, what is happening is the meteor burst near us is being extended via another hop with the aid of a sporadic E cloud over the northern Gulf of Mexico. So far as I know, Phil's success with this mode is the first from Central America.

“The low bands haven't been anything to write home about lately, as one might expect from the rather dismal solar activity. Tuning around the 20-meter band in mid-day has revealed our mid-day blackout, particularly intense in the summer months, to be reduced in intensity compared to recent years - doubtless the result of a lessening of the intensity of the D-layer ionization that causes it.

“Occasional signals, mostly from South America and Western Europe occasionally hit S9, which is pretty good for our mid-day break, but there simply aren’t a lot of them. Frequently I can tune from one end of 20 meters to the other and never hear more than a half dozen signals, and those from the States are typically in the S3-S6 range. What a contrast from my memories of the peak of Cycle 19 as a child, when I could tune across any band and never hear a gap anywhere from one end of the band to the other, on any band I tried. But that was at higher latitudes (southern Idaho). The good news is that this year, the mid-day break has been beginning later and ending earlier than in past years.

“A quick tune across both 15 and 10 meters as I am writing this at 1230 in the afternoon, failed to reveal a single signal on either band. It's beginning to look like it's 20 meters or nothing these days, particularly at mid-day. A check of 17 meters revealed a single JT9 signal. That was it. Under conditions like this, it's monster beams or forget it. But a bit later in the day, when the D-layer absorption has gone down, the band will open into Europe and signals can become quite strong, even spectacularly so at times. One must be patient. And take one's naps at midday - and hope that 6m doesn't open while you're doing it.”

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 June 22 through 28, 2017 were 23, 22, 28, 20, 19, 17, and 13, with a mean of 20.3. 10.7 cm flux was 73.7, 73.7, 74.1, 73.7, 73.7, 74.1, and 72.1, with a mean of 73.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 5, 9, 11, 7, 5, and 5, with a mean of 6.9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 8, 6, 8, 11, 9, 5, and 5, with a mean of 7.4.




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