ARRL

ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP009 (2006)

SB PROP @ ARL $ARLP009
ARLP009 Propagation de K7RA

ZCZC AP09
QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 9  ARLP009
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  March 3, 2006
To all radio amateurs 

SB PROP ARL ARLP009
ARLP009 Propagation de K7RA

Low activity continues with another string of zero-sunspot days.
Average daily sunspot numbers for this week were down four points
from the prior week to 3.1. Average solar flux declined one point to
76.4.

February ended, so a comparison of monthly averages of daily sunspot
numbers and solar flux is called for. As you can see below, the
average sunspot numbers plummeted in February, far below any other
month in the second half of cycle 23.

The average daily sunspot numbers for the months January 2005
through February 2006 were 52, 45.4, 41, 41.5, 65.4, 59.8, 68.7,
65.6, 39.2, 13, 32.2, 62.6, 26.7 and 5.3. Average daily solar flux
for the same months was 102.3, 97.2, 89.9, 85.9, 99.5, 93.7, 96.5,
92.4, 91.9, 76.6, 86.3, 90.8, 83.4 and 76.5.

This weekend is the ARRL International SSB DX Contest. Although
solar activity is low, geomagnetic conditions should remain quiet,
which is good. Sunday, March 5 could see some unsettled activity.
The predicted planetary A index for March 3-7 is 8, 5, 12, 5 and 5.
Sunspot and solar flux levels should stay about the same, which is
very low.

Geophysical Institute Prague predicts quiet conditions on March 3,
4, 6, 7 and 8. Quiet to unsettled conditions are seen for March 5
and 9.

Jake Groenhof, N0LX of Golden, Colorado sent an interesting and
amusing email titled "Solar Minimum Hoax." He mentioned all the fun
he's been having as we slide toward the end of Cycle 23, working
hams around the world from his backpack pedestrian mobile QRP rig.

Jake writes:

"This will be my first solar minimum as an active ham. To top it
off, I've operated almost 100% QRP (sideband) for the past four
years and I'm beginning to think this solar min stuff is all a hoax.
How else could you explain this past weekend?"

He continues, "I was up on a hilltop near the home QTH in Colorado
running five watts from a backpack-mounted radio on 17 meters. My
second contact was Hawaii. Then, a few QSOs later I was talking to
Yuu, JH1OCC, in Japan. A half-hour later I received a 57 signal
report from Hiro, JE7JIS."

He goes on to say, "The East Coast was well represented from New
York to Florida, and a MD station recorded one of my transmissions
and sent it to me in an e-mail. Here is a link to the recording from
my website: http://hometown.aol.com/N0LX/N3HQB-N0LX."

He continues, "The weird thing was the complete lack of W6 calls.
Not a single California station to be heard in four hours. Maybe
it's not a hoax. It's a conspiracy!"

Jake uses some impressive antennas for his backpack rig, and I'll
bet he is careful about walking near power lines. In fact, all of
his photos show him standing out in the wide open spaces of
Colorado.

Check out photos of the setup he used last weekend at,
http://hometown.aol.com/n0lx/tallpack.html. At the
http://hometown.aol.com/n0lx/hamradio.html page you'll see many
links to photos of his mobile and pedestrian endeavors.

Not to be missed is Jake standing in a snowstorm using an antenna
suspended from a balloon! See it at,
http://hometown.aol.com/n0lx/snowday.html. Very impressive.

Thanks, Jake, for sharing the audio recording and these
extraordinary photos with us!

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 and an explanation
of the numbers used in this bulletin see the ARRL Technical
Information Service propagation page at,
http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html. An archive of past
propagation bulletins is found at, http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/.

Sunspot numbers for February 23 through March 1 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 11,
11 and 0 with a mean of 3.1. 10.7 cm flux was 75.1, 76, 76, 76.5,
77, 77.1, and 77, with a mean of 76.4. Estimated planetary A indices
were 3, 6, 1, 5, 3, 5 and 7 with a mean of 4.3. Estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 4, 4, 1, 3, 2, 2 and 5, with a mean of
3.
NNNN
/EX