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The K7RA Solar Update

10/23/2020

The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports:

Sunspots appeared every day of the past reporting week. Compared to the previous 7 days, the average daily sunspot number increased from 13.1 to 15. Average daily solar flux rose from 73.1 to 74.5. Geomagnetic indicators were up slightly, with average daily planetary A index rising from 2.7 to 5, and middle latitude A index going from 1.9 to 4.1.

Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 75 on October 23 – 27; 72 on October 28; 70 on November 1 – 7; 73 on November 8 – 10; 72 on November 11; 71 on November 12 – 13; 70 on November 14 – 23; 72 on November 24 – 27, and 73 on November 28 – December 6.

Predicted planetary A index is 18 and 20 on October 23; 15 on October 24 – 26; 12 on October 27; 10 on October 28; 8 on October 29; 5 on October 30 – November 6, 10 on November 7; 5 on November 8 – 15; 10, 15, and 18 on November 16 – 18; 20 on November 19 – 20; 24, 14, and 10 on November 21 – 23; 8 on November 24 – 25, and 5 on November 26 – December 6.

Here is the geomagnetic activity forecast from F.K. Janda, OK1HH, for October 23 – November 18.

The geomagnetic field will be:

  • quiet on November 5-7, 10-13

  • quiet to unsettled on October 31, November 3, 14-15

  • quiet to active on October 28-29, (30,) November (1, 4,) 16

  • unsettled to active on October (24,) 27, November 2, (8-9,) 17-18

  • active to disturbed on October (23, 25-26)

  • Solar wind will intensify on October (23-25,) 26-29, (30,) 31; November (2-3,) 4-5, (12-14,) 15-18

Parentheses mean lower probability of activity enhancement.

We received this report from Jeff, N8II, in West Virginia:

“It took a while — the first 10 days of October were pretty dismal — but recently there has been an opening to Europe daily here on 15 meters, so perhaps conditions on 15 are better than this time last year. Conversely, very little has been heard on 12 or 10, CW or phone. Last year featured some loud signals on 10 meters from South America in the late afternoon.

“It was October 10 when I started putting 15-meter European contacts in my log. MI0SAI in Northern Ireland was S-9 at 1525 on SSB, and SJ6A in Sweden was about S-5 – 7 at 1542 UTC. Sunday, October 11 I worked Germany, England, Italy, The Netherlands, and Croatia, all with S-7 or stronger signals on SSB, between 1417 and 1527 UTC.

“One thing seems apparent: The MUF is so close to 21 MHz that each opening is somewhat different in coverage and peak propagation time. Some other highlights: EU1KY in Belarus on SSB at 1306; OZ8KW in Denmark at 1411; SP9LCW in Poland at 1414; at 1416, SM5YOC and at 1528, SM3LBP in Sweden, and OD5OZ in Lebanon at 1608 (quite late for him) on October 12. The next day, I worked LY2TS in Lithuania on CW at 1516, and I had a CW pile-up of mostly western European stations until 1552, with best DX being southern Russia, R6MI at 1544 and UR7QC at 1547. Signals seem to completely or nearly fade by 1630, and decrease right after 1600. On the October 16, 9K2HS in Kuwait was my first QSO on CW at 1532, and he was S-5 – 6, but heard me on first call. On October 18, I logged 7Z1IS Saudi Arabia at S-7 at 1407. The next day, there was a very strong opening to the UK from 1515 to 1548. On the October 20, OH5LF in Finland was S-9+ when we signed on SSB at 1407; his antenna was 5/5-element Yagis, and he was running 1.5 kW remote from his summer cottage.

“Strong European SSB signals showed up on October 20, 1330 – 1510 after starting with 9K2HS at S-5 on SSB. I worked three stations in a row in Lebanon on SSB at 1500 UTC. Conditions dropped rapidly after 1510, very early for the band to close. Other stations worked during the European opening were ZS6TVB in South Africa and ZD7FT on St. Helena Island, both with strong signals.”

Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW, in Easton, Pennsylvania (FN20jq) sent this:

“Yikes! October out-of-season single-hop sporadic-E (Es) was active on 6 meters along the east coast, Saturday, October 17, 2100 to 2300 UTC. This is 25 days past the autumnal equinox.

“Once again, the unexpected happens during the early recovery out of a solar minimum.

“I was monitoring FT8 on 50.313 MHz waiting for Es to show-up along the Gulf of Mexico. Then it happened. The first direct decodes:

215700 –3 –0.4 1527 ~ WA2FZW W4KBX EL98

220345 –2 –0.4 2178 ~ KK2DOG W4KBX EL98

220545 –1 –0.4 2177 ~ KC3PIB W4KBX EL98

220845 –9 –0.5 1566 ~ CQ K2IL EL97

“Grid Squares: EL98 in central Florida, around Orlando, and EL97 in south central Florida, north of Lake Okeechobee.

“Now that the band is open with Es expanding farther south, I decided to try for contacts on the SSB calling frequency on 50.125 MHz.

“When I rolled down there, several operators were already having conversations about how pleasant it was that the band came back to life since the summer months. 

“At 2252 UTC, I put out my first CQ. AG4N, Bill, replied from West Point, Georgia, which is some 300 yards from the Alabama state line. From my location to AG4GN, 230° azimuth, distance 771 air miles. 

“I gave Bill a 4/7 signal report with QSB. 

“The Es was being funneled as far away as Mobile, Alabama (996 miles), and Biloxi, Mississippi (1,045 miles).

“By 2335 UTC the band started to collapse, with signal reports sliding down to 2/2.

“No double-hop Es from Puerto Rico, Dominican Republic, or other northern Caribbean Sea islands was heard.

“Even if the band sounds dead, I urge everyone to continue monitoring the 6-meter SSB calling frequency, 50.125 MHz, then take it one step farther and call CQ. You might be pleasantly rewarded, even if you are running 10 W into a 6-meter horizontal half-wave dipole less than 8 feet off the ground.”

Space Weather Woman Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW, has posted a video.

Sunspot numbers for October 15 – 21 were 14, 14, 15, 28, 12, 11, and 11, with a mean of 15. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 73.8, 75.3, 73.1, 75.9, 74.8, 74.7, and 73.7, with a mean of 74.5. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 4, 5, 3, 6, 4, and 10, with a mean of 5. Middle latitude A index was 2, 4, 5, 3, 5, 3, and 7, with a mean of 4.1.

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.

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