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The K7RA Solar Update

01/21/2022

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Solar and geomagnetic activity increased this week. The average daily sunspot number was up by 52 points, rising from 42.4 to 94.4. The sunspot number peaked at 120 last Saturday, January 15.

Average daily solar flux went from 101.6 to 112, peaking at 119.4 on Sunday, January 16. Average daily planetary A index rose from 6.1 to 15.6, and average middle latitude numbers went from 4.1 to 11.3. On January 20, the daily solar flux dipped to 99.3, the first daily noon reading below 100 since January 6.

As reported by Spaceweather.com, sunspot AR2929 erupted at 1744 UTC on January 18 with an M1.5 class solar flare, blasting a pulse of X-rays causing a shortwave radio blackout. Another eruption occurred on January 20, producing a radio blackout.

I observed the January 18 blackout while using FT8 on 10 meters to observe propagation via pskreporter.info. Just before the blast, I could see my 10-meter signal reported by stations on the East Coast. Suddenly, I saw no reports. The surprising part: during that period, no local stations reported copying my signal either.

Predicted solar flux is 95, 93, and 91 on January 21 – 23; 89 on January 24 – 26; then 92 on January 27 – 28; 90 on January 29 – 30; 95 on January 31; then 100 and 105 on February 1 – 2; 110 on February 3 – 10; 115 on February 11 – 14; then 110, 108, and 106 on February 15 – 17; 102 on February 18 – 21; 100 on February 22 – 23; 95 on February 24, and 90 on February 25 – 26. Flux values may rise to 110 after March 2.

Predicted planetary A index is 8, 10, and 12 on January 21 – 23; 8 on January 24 – 26; 5 on January 27; 10 on January 28 – 30; 5 on January 31 – February 3; then 15 and 10 on February 4 – 5; 5 on February 6 – 9; then 12, 15, 12, 18, and 10 on February 10 – 14; 5 on February 15 – 19; 8 on February 20 – 22; 5 on February 23; 10 on February 24 – 26, then back to 5 through the end of the month.

These predicted values are updated daily.

Here’s the daily solar flux from Penticton, British Columbia, Canada. The local noon reading is the official SFN for the day.

This is the Weekly Commentary on the Sun, the Magnetosphere, and the Earth's Ionosphere – January 20, 2022, from F.K. Janda, OK1HH:

“We have been able to observe four to eight groups of sunspots on the Sun over the past 7 days. They are now mostly in the western hemisphere, therefore solar flux has been declining. And suddenly a bang!

“This morning (January 20), we could observe a nice moderately sized solar flare near the northwestern limb of the solar disc. With a maximum at 0601 UTC, it caused the Dellinger effect in the Indian Ocean region for tens of minutes, followed by Type II and IV solar radio noise bursts, which confirmed the outburst of CME (but plasma cloud likely will miss Earth).

“Now we are facing a gradual decline in solar activity. Larger geomagnetic disturbances are expected in early February again. Their more accurate prediction will depend on the further development of the sunspot groups that are now located around the eastern limb of the solar disk.

“This is the geomagnetic activity forecast for January 21 – 27:

  • Quiet: January 22 – 23

  • Unsettled: January 21 – 22, 25 – 27

  • Active: January 24 – 25

  • Minor storm: January 24

  • Major storm: 0

  • Severe storm: 0

“Geomagnetic activity summary: After the last active and minor storm events (at the Budkov observatory, minor storm event were recorded on January 14, 16, 18, and 19) we expect decreased to unsettled geomagnetic activity January 21 – 22 or quiet to unsettled January 22 – 23. Then, starting on Monday, January 24, other active or minor storm events are possible. At the end of the current forecast period, we expect quiet to unsettled conditions to return.

Tomas Bayer

RWC Prague

Institute of Geophysics of the ASCR Prague,

Department of Geomagnetism

Budkov Observatory (BDV)

Here’s an interesting sunspot plot.

KA3JAW in Easton, Pennsylvania (FN20jq), reported:

“On Saturday, January 15, from 1346 to 1426 UTC, started hearing multiple central Mediterranean Sea stations, Italy, Greece, with others along the Adriatic Sea on SSB on 11 meters. Signal strengths deviated from fairly good to moderately strong with moderate QSB. Average distances reached up to 4X sporadic-e ranges at 4,750 miles. This was the time frame when the Global D-Region Absorption Predictions (D-RAP) maximum absorption attenuation reached up to 16 MHz. For the rest of the day Es conditions were dampened with higher amounts of skywave background noise.”

K7HBN (CN87) reported on January 14 via Western Washington DX Club:

“Today’s opening on 28 MHz was unique indeed. The opening was obviously enhanced by the solar wind stream from the coronal hole. What was the strangest, I heard stations from Arizona with a strong auroral component on their signals calling CQ on the same frequency as strong OH, SM, and LA stations. I can’t remember ever encountering such propagation in my entire time in ham radio, and I’ve orbited the Sun a few times.”

Dr. Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW, reports: “Our sun is getting busy.”

Sunspot numbers for January 13 – 19, were 111, 112, 120, 103, 99, 59, and 57, with a mean of 94.4. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 105.5, 110.2, 115.6, 119.4, 113.5, 114.5, and 105.3, with a mean of 112. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 15, 22, 19, 9, 18, and 23, with a mean of 15.6. Middle latitude A index was 3, 10, 17, 16, 6, 12, and 15, with a mean of 11.3.

For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service, read “What the Numbers Mean…,” and check this propagation page by Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA.

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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