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ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP002 (2020)

SB PROP @ ARL $ARLP002
ARLP002 Propagation de K7RA

ZCZC AP02
QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 2  ARLP002
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  January 10, 2020
To all radio amateurs 

SB PROP ARL ARLP002
ARLP002 Propagation de K7RA

A single new Solar Cycle 25 sunspot appeared over the past week,
January 1 through January 8. NOAA did not record or number the new
spot until January 2, but Spaceweather.com indicated it (sunspot
region 2755) began on January 1.

Then another new Solar Cycle 25 spot emerged on Thursday, January 9
with a daily sunspot number of 14. I was excited to see
Spaceweather.com post "Solar Cycle 25 Continues to Intensify."

Average daily sunspot number rose from 3.1 to 8.4. The solar flux
average rose insignificantly from 71.7 to 71.8. Geomagnetic
indicators were slightly higher, with average planetary A index
increasing from 3.1 to 6.3, and average middle latitude A index
rising from 2 to 5.3.

Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 74 on January 10-12, 72
on January 13-25, 70 on January 26 through February 7, and 72 on
February 8-22 and 70 on February 23.

Predicted planetary A index is 8 on January 10, 5 on January 11-12,
8 on January 13, 10 on January 14-15, 8 on January 16, 5 on January
17-31, then 8, 8 and 5 on February 1-3, 10 on February 4-6, 5 on
February 7-9, 10 on February 10-11, 5 on February 12-22 and 8 on
February 23.

Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period January 10 to February
5, 2020 from OK1HH.

"Geomagnetic field will be:
Quiet on January 12-13, 18-19, 29-30
Quiet to unsettled on January 10-11, 20-21, 24-28, February 5
Quiet to active on (January 14, 16-17, 22-23, 31, February 1-4)
Unsettled to active on (January 15)

"Solar wind will intensify on: January 14-16, (17, 22-24,) February
4-6.

"Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement."

Jon Jones, N0JK sent this 6-meter report from Kansas on January 8:

"Sporadic-E was scarce in December, 2019 after early openings the
first week. 6 meters came back to life the last couple of days.
Sporadic-E was reported on January 6, 7, 8 and 9. The most
widespread Es was on the 8th with most of the eastern half of North
America taking part. Stations began making Es contacts around 1800z
(Illinois to Texas) and it lasted until 0035z January 9. From
eastern Kansas, I worked W1, W2, W3 and W4 around 2200z. Best DX was
to WA1EAZ (FN42) and K1SIX (FN42). N0LL (EM09) and N0YO (EM18) made
many Es contacts.

"Later I set up 'fixed mobile' with 10 watts and 1/4 wave whip south
of Manhattan, KS. Worked a very loud KN4NN (EM60) at 0032z January 9
at the opening's end.

"The Quadrantids Meteor shower peaked earlier than predicted January
4 at 0500z with a ZHR of 125. At that time the shower radiant was
too low to be usable for meteors for North America. Larry, N0LL was
operating portable from rare grid EN02 the morning of the 4th. He
was on the air about 1200z on 6 meter MSK144 and made over 20
contacts.  The ZHR at this time was only around 25, but still higher
than normal."

Jeff, N8II reported from West Virginia on January 3:

"Several long time 160 operators agree with me that during the Stew
Perry Top Band DX Challenge on December 28-29 we had some of the
best DX conditions ever in a 160 meter event! I was not able to
operate full time, but with my 100W and half sloper starting at 80
feet high, I was able to work 34 European stations in just the 05Z
hour (total was about 20 higher) which is near sunrise in Central
and Eastern EU. Some signals were very strong. I worked multiple
stations each in Russia, Ukraine, Finland, Sweden, and Lithuania.
Also worked was D4Z in Cape Verde, LU8DPM in Argentina (best DX),
and OH0R in the Aland Islands.

"Conditions almost all nights recently have been excellent on 80 and
160 meters. Hannes, DK1NO is routinely S9+20dB on 75 meter phone
around 23-24Z. After months of not hearing him, I managed to work
Santi, VU2GSM in India on both 40 and 80M CW in the past 2 weeks. He
operates nearly every day based on the DX cluster spots. I also
heard UA9BA in Asiatic Russia with a good signal on 160M CW January
2nd around 0215Z working a European. I have added many new band slot
countries to my log in the past 3 weeks on the low bands.

"20 meter conditions virtually every day are excellent to Central
and Western Europe on 20 meters. 15M has been nearly closed to EU,
but I hear occasional stations in the Mediterranean area around
14-15Z and most days the band is open to Africa well with very
sparse activity.

"10M has been essentially dead for F2 propagation recently and
sporadic-E has been very limited compared to seasonal norms. We did
have a good Es opening during the ARRL 10M contest to AL, MS, TX,
KS, OK, AR, MO, IA, IL, MN, and WI on the 2nd Saturday morning of
December. The primary mode of ionospheric propagation during the
contest was meteor scatter enhanced by the Geminids meteor shower.
There was an opening to South America Saturday afternoon."

N8II reported on January 9:

"Propagation has been quite interesting this week with unexpected
happenings on 160 through 10 meters. On January 6th there was a good
but poorly attended 15M opening to Europe; OK2PAY in the Czech
Republic was worked 599 at 1354Z followed by IW5EKR/m on 15 SSB at
1403Z. I also worked VA2RF in Quebec just north of the ME border. I
strongly suspect a sporadic-E on the NA end to F2 link for this
opening. I then had a big run of about 20 European stations in
western EU on 20M SSB 1530-1630Z (1630Z is a bit late for good
conditions). The 7th seemed down from normal, but I did work France,
Spain, and Daniel ZD7DL on St. Helena Island on 17M around 1600Z.

"Last evening, January 8, there was strong sporadic-E on 10 meters
SSB from 2200-2225Z logging stations in MS, TX, MO, NE, WI, KS, IL,
MN, and IA. After a dinner break at 2322Z, I logged 3D2AG/p on
Rotuma Island at 2322Z on 17M CW about 80 minutes past sunset thanks
to the Es to F2 link to the west.  Starting 2327Z there was a 'best
it ever gets' opening to Europe on 160 meters CW. IK5ZUK in Italy
averaged S9+20dB and I also worked very loud IK5ZUL and Romania,
Spain, England, Denmark, and Sweden.

"Today, the 9th, there was another very intense sporadic-E opening
on 10 SSB from 2126Z until past 0135Z logging stations in KS, MN,
GA, western KY, MO, WI, IL, MI, AL, TN, and two in nearby OH, and
AR. At 0117Z, LA5MIA in northern Norway was logged S7 on Auroral Es.
There was very little Es from December 16 through January 5, so
these openings were quite a pleasant surprise. Many stations with
simple antennas were S9 or better!"

Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW reported:

"Today, January 9th at 3 am local (0800 UTC) a rare winter season
sporadic-E event occurred on the 11 meter band in Easton,
Pennsylvania (FN20jq).

"States heard were toward the south, Florida, Alabama, and as far
west as Texas.

"The Kp index rose to 4, which aided to produce auroras over the
southern Canadian provinces that stretched from coast-to-coast with
a solar flux index (SFI) of 74.

It seems that Solar Cycle 25 is very slowly intensifying out of its
slumber."

News article about transition to Solar Cycle 25:

https://bit.ly/2QVHqto

W1PJE MIT lecture on solar physics and HF propagation:

https://bit.ly/35wM9He

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers,
email the author at, k7ra@arrl.net.

For more information concerning radio propagation, see
http://www.arrl.org/propagation and the ARRL Technical Information
Service web page at, http://arrl.org/propagation-of-rf-signals. For
an explanation of numbers used in this bulletin, see
http://arrl.org/the-sun-the-earth-the-ionosphere.

An archive of past propagation bulletins is at
http://arrl.org/w1aw-bulletins-archive-propagation. More good
information and tutorials on propagation are at http://k9la.us/.

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at http://arrl.org/propagation.

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at http://arrl.org/bulletins.

Sunspot numbers for January 2 through 8, 2020 were 13, 13, 11, 11,
11, 0, and 0, with a mean of 8.4. 10.7 cm flux was 71.9, 71.2, 72.2,
71.8, 70.5, 71.6, and 73.7, with a mean of 71.8. Estimated planetary
A indices were 3, 6, 6, 9, 9, 5, and 6, with a mean of 6.3. Middle
latitude A index was 2, 6, 5, 7, 9, 4, and 4, with a mean of 5.3.
NNNN
/EX