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ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP007 (2016)

SB PROP @ ARL $ARLP007
ARLP007 Propagation de K7RA

ZCZC AP07
QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 7  ARLP007
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  February 12, 2016
To all radio amateurs 

SB PROP ARL ARLP007
ARLP007 Propagation de K7RA

All four of the indices we track rose over the past week, with the
average daily sunspot number rising from 50.6 to 86.6, average daily
solar flux up from 105.4 to 117.4, average daily planetary A index
increasing from 7.3 to 9.4, and average daily mid-latitude A index
up from 5.6 to 6.4.

Predicted solar flux for the near term is 110 and 105 on February
12-13, 105 on February 14-16, 111, 100, 105 and 110 on February
17-20, 115 on February 21-23, then 110 and 112 on February 24-25,
115 on February 26-27, 112 on February 28-29, then 110, 105, 100,
105 and 100 on March 1-5, 115 on March 6-7, then 118, 115 and 112 on
March 8-10, 110 on March 11-14, and 112 on March 15-16.

Predicted planetary A index is 12, 10, 6 and 5 on February 12-15,
then 8, 20, 12, 10 and 8 on February 16-20, 5 on February 21-29,
then 15, 10, 12, 8 and 5 on March 1-5, 18 on March 6-7, 8 on March
8, 10 on March 9-10, and 5 on March 11-14.

OK1HH predicts geomagnetic activity will be quiet to unsettled on
February 12, quiet to active February 13, mostly quiet February
14-15, quiet on February 16, active to disturbed February 17, quiet
to active February 18, quiet to unsettled February 19-20, quiet
February 21-22, mostly quiet February 23-24, quiet February 25-26,
quiet to unsettled February 27, quiet February 28-29, quiet to
active March 1, quiet to unsettled March 2, quiet to active March 3,
quiet March 4-5, active to disturbed March 6, quiet to active March
7, and quiet to unsettled March 8.

OK1HH expects an increase in solar wind on February 15, 17-21, and
29 through March 3, but he is uncertain about February 15 and 29.

Jon Jones, N0JK of Kansas wrote: "The recent South Georgia VP8SGI
DXpedition battled high winds, storms and disturbed geomagnetic
conditions. It was challenging for many to try to work them on 10
meters from North America. The statistics bear this out -- VP8SGI
reported only 2,080 North American contacts on 10 meters compared
with over 5,400 on the 15 meter band. The low solar flux of 120 was
a factor. Many days VP8SGI was only a faint 'whisper' in North
America on 10 and only the largest stations were successful.

"Propagation did vary day to day. On February 5 the VP8SGI 12 meter
signal was the strongest I had heard at 1845z -- an honest 599. I
set up fixed mobile from a hilltop with a full 1/4 wave whip on 28
MHz. At 1910z VP8SGI popped up out of the noise on 28.023 MHz and I
was able to complete a 10 meter CW contact. Several other NA
stations reported working them using dipoles and small Yagis on 10
that day. VP8SGI was hearing very well. Listening and persistence
sometimes pay off."

N8II of Shepherdstown, West Virginia (FM19cj) wrote on February 6:
"Thanks for the useful historical data about the cycle. At the peak,
10 meters was fantastic into Asia.  Thailand was coming thru both
morning and evening for about 3 weeks most days and Mongolia was
worked in the evening (very difficult path from here). Now we are
lucky to hear EU, no signals most days, worse than Oct-Nov 2015 when
we had some good openings including especially the phone CQWW. 10 is
open to Africa (FR4NT Reunion/3B8HC Mauritius worked in past week)
and to AZ/CA and farther north most days, but I did not hear any
VE7s today on 10 working the BC QSO party. 15M was open, but seemed
poor by 2100Z.

"I also recently worked FR4NT on Reunion on 75M SSB around his
sunrise. Of interest also were QSOs with K5P on Palmyra long path on
both 15 SSB and 12M CW around 1900-2000Z. They were not readable
short path at that time. Finding 12M open that path was amazing to
me! 3D2AG/P on Rotuma also had a good signal one day on 15 CW long
path mid-January and was loud on 20 CW long path 1900-2000Z day
after day.

"Last year western MN was workable on 15 especially western and
northern areas.  Today in the Minnesota QSO Party I worked 2
stations very weak on backscatter only. Of interest was that 20
meters was as close to perfect all day as I can ever remember. I was
the right distance away. Many MN mobiles were S9+, easy to copy even
through QRM! The last couple of year's signals went weak for 2-4
hours mid-day on 20.  40 meters did not seem that great, no mobiles
for about 5 hours and then QRM from a RTTY contest. 80 was open well
enough that W0ZQ/rover was S7-9 on 80 and worked 2-3 other MN
mobiles all in the last 20 minutes with contest ending at 2400Z
(near MN sunset).

"One recent afternoon, two FL stations called me on 20M CW running
QRP to simple verticals around 2100Z, both were S9 on peaks with
solid copy with one running 1 W! I decreased power to 5 W here and
they copied me solid. One was portable on the beach. My antenna was
a 2 el Yagi at 60 ft.  I did not even bother to try larger Yagi."

And N8II wrote again on February 11: "Looking at the SFI numbers,
there was no particular reason, SFI from 117 down to 112 today 2/11
(K index 2 thru AM), but the MUF was significantly higher today on
the bands. At 1411Z, I found Jonas LY5A in Lithuania S9 on 12 meter
CW, first LY or around that area heard since probably November on 24
MHz, after a quick hello, it was up to 10 meter CW for QSOs with
RM7C in southern Russia who was about S4 on peaks.

"Then I found CN8CE Morocco and was called by OM3TDD, UW2ZO
(Ukraine) followed by a string of south central Europeans ending
with biggest surprise EW3W in Belarus at 1443Z who was S7. Other
signals ranged from S5 to S9. Back on at 1600Z, I found DJ6ZM who
was S9+30 dB running 500W to stacked 5/5 Yagis. My 10 meter antenna
is a 5 el Yagi on short boom at 99 ft. After logging special Dutch
call PG16ANT on CW, I moved up to SSB and was treated to a string of
loud mostly British Isle stations with a few Dutch and Germans.

"Many of the Welsh and British stations were S9+ some with very
simple verticals or dipoles. The opening did not seem to extend up
to Scotland or Norway. The string of QSOs ended with OE2SCM near
Salzburg, Austria S9 and CT1EUB in Portugal at 1738Z. I then found
5V7TH in Togo loud and easy to work and very loud (S9+20-30dB) TK5MH
in Corsica on 10 M SSB. I then QSY'd to 15M SSB and was called by
England (one 5 W to wire), Germany, Netherlands, and Scotland.

"In the afternoon I found 7P8C in Lesotho on 17 meter SSB and V51WW
in Namibia on 12M SSB.

"During the CQ 160 M CW contest on January 30-31, conditions seemed
high absorption early with IL stations weak even after their sunset
and not much of anything workable past W0s. But conditions did
improve, and had a nice run of West Coast (mainly AZ/CA) stations
and a good number of Europeans call from 0420-0615Z Saturday. KH6AT
called at 0515Z near his sunset, I ended up working all states
except AK and 42 DXCC countries with similar conditions on Saturday
evening/Sunday AM except that many reported good European conditions
around 2300Z that I seemed to have largely missed.

"I worked several AZ and CA stations never worked before on 160 and
was called by CW5W in Uruguay with a signal as loud as or louder
than the loudest European and also HC2AO in Ecuador. In Europe,
conditions seemed to favor the north a bit. Two R4 area Russians
near the Asia border called in along with Leningrad area, Finland,
UA2F Kaliningrad, Sweden, Denmark, and Belarus. I worked a total of
14 German calls and quite a few Czech and Slovak, as well as being
called by P33W on Cyprus and LX7I Luxembourg. The hardest to work
USA area was definitely the Pacific Northwest with only 3 WA
stations logged and no VE7 (unusual).

"The first weekend of February I was active in the MN and BC
(British Columbia) QSO parties and found excellent nearly perfect
conditions on 20 meters all day to MN (mobiles S9+) with only 3
backscatter QSOs on 15 and 40 meters seemed poor.

"Sunday Feb 7, there was a taste of good 10 meter conditions but to
spotlight areas. At 1611Z I ran a string of Dutch (at first loud
then gone 10 minutes later), Italian, Spanish, Belgian, Swiss, and
French stations. In the midst of the pile up, Francisco TT8FC called
in from Goundi, Chad with a nice S9 signal once I moved antenna to
Africa. On the 8th, 12 meters was open pretty well to EU from 1348Z
until QRT at 1505Z with a weak RK3Y in Russia logged. I also worked
two Italians, one Swiss and E73RO with good signals on 10 meters
from 1410-1430Z."

Last week I mentioned I hoped to review a new edition of the ACE-HF
propagation prediction program. I received the package on Monday,
but no key for installing it yet.

In the solar flux prediction archive, February 8 saw a significant
jump across the board in expected solar flux, about 10-15%.  You can
download the archive at http://bit.ly/1VOqf9B .

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 the ARRL
Technical Information Service web page at,
http://arrl.org/propagation-of-rf-signals. For an explanation of the
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/.

My own archives of the NOAA/USAF daily 45 day forecast for solar
flux and planetary A index are in downloadable spreadsheet format at
http://bit.ly/1VOqf9B and http://bit.ly/1DcpaC5 .

Click on "Download this file" to download the archive, and ignore
the security warning about file format. Pop-up blockers may suppress
the download.

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 February 4 through 10 were 95, 113, 71, 84, 82,
79, and 82, with a mean of 86.6. 10.7 cm flux was 123.3, 119.7,
117.1, 117.1, 115.2, 117.3, and 112.2, with a mean of 117.4.
Estimated planetary A indices were 6, 12, 8, 8, 17, 10, and 5, with
a mean of 9.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 8, 5, 6, 11,
8, and 4, with a mean of 7.4.
NNNN
/EX