ARRL

ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP022 (2014)

SB PROP @ ARL $ARLP022
ARLP022 Propagation de K7RA

ZCZC AP22
QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 22  ARLP022
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  May 30, 2014
To all radio amateurs 

SB PROP ARL ARLP022
ARLP022 Propagation de K7RA

Solar indicators continue to weaken. Average daily sunspot numbers
declined from 129.4 to 103.3, and average daily solar flux went from
128.5 to 110.3. This is comparing data from May 22-28 to the
previous seven days.

The instruments used to measure solar flux at the observatory in
British Columbia were overloaded on May 24, and the estimated solar
flux was 118. The actual measured value was 124.5. Something went
wrong at the Fredericksburg, Virginia magnetometer which supplies
our mid-latitude magnetic K and A indices, so there is no data for
May 24-27. The mid-latitude A index numbers for those dates that
appear at the end of today's bulletin are also estimates, but they
are my own.

The predicted solar flux values for Field Day weekend, Friday
through Sunday, June 27-29 have also been on the decline. On May 15
the prediction was 125, 135 and 135. Then on May 19 they were
adjusted down to 120 for all three days, and on May 26 the estimate
declined again, to 108, 108 and 110, where they remain today. Field
Day does not begin until Saturday, June 28, but it is useful to see
the prediction for the day before.

The latest prediction has solar flux at 105 on May 30-31, 100 on
June 1-3, 95 on June 4-5, 105 on June 6, 120 on June 7-8, 125 on
June 9-11, 120 on June 12-13, 115 on June 14, 110 on June 15-25, 108
on June 26-28, 110 on June 29-30, 115 on July 1-2 and 120 on July
3-5.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on May 30-31, 8 on June 1, 5 on
June 2, 8 on June 3-4, 5 on June 5, then 8, 10 and 8 on June 6-8, 5
on June 9-30, then 8 on July 1-3 and 10 on July 4.

OK1HH provides us with his weekly geomagnetic outlook which predicts
quiet to active conditions May 30, quiet to unsettled May 31, mostly
quiet June 1, quiet June 2, quiet to active June 3, mostly quiet
June 4-5, active to disturbed June 6, quiet to unsettled June 7,
quiet on June 8, mostly quiet June 9-10, quiet to unsettled June 11,
quiet on June 12, mostly quiet June 13, quiet on June 14-17, quiet
to active June 18-19, and quiet on June 20-24.

On May 24, Jon Jones, N0JK wrote: "Back in 2013, on May 9 was a
major 6 meter Es to TEP opening to South America from the Midwest
and Alberta, Canada to South America.

"The Dogs 'had another day' on 6 meters May 24, 2014.

"6 meters opened via Es linking to TEP on to South America starting
around 2050z May 24. Here in eastern Kansas, LU1FP FF99, LU1FAM and
LU5FF FF97 were peaking 20 over S-9 on my attic M2 HO loop around
2120z. The opening lasted until about 2230z.

"Logged PP5XX, PY1RO, LU1FP, LU5FF, LU1FAM, PY2HN and PY2XB. Other
stations were spotting/working CE and CX, but I did not hear them.

"Many low power 'dogs' made South American DX contacts with loops,
dipoles and whips on 6 meters during this opening. One ham in Iowa
e-mailed me that he worked LU5FF from his car sitting in the
driveway with an M2 loop! It didn't take a Herculean station with a
Yagi stack and big amplifier to work the DX. Just being on the radio
at the right time.

"The opening extended north to W7GJ MT, VE7SL BC, VE5UF SK and NT0V
ND. CE3SX worked NT0V to complete the 48 continental states on 6
meters.

"LU5FF worked VE7SL in BC at 2212z.

"What a great day on 6 meters."

Jim Henderson, KF7E wrote on May 28: "The current SFI has dropped to
99. It was approx 160 just 2 weeks ago, and 184 on 4/16.

"I think the last time it was this low was mid September 2013.

"A substantial dip, and worth watching."

Yes, almost frightening, isn't it? However I am happy to report that
after a solar flux reading of 99.4 on May 28, it rose to 102.7 on
May 29. In other news of declining solar numbers, the daily sunspot
numbers on May 26-29 were 110, 96, 72 and 55.

Carl Zelich, AA4MI of Chuluota, Florida wrote: "Last weekend was the
'CQ World Wide WPX Contest (CW).' Not being a contester, I, of
course, decided to explore the 'no-contest' bands.

"Activity was extremely quiet; you could count the number of
stations on one hand. And the SFI at 118 with a K at 1.

"Nevertheless I heard a very, very weak CW signal! Further
investigation revealed FW5JJ in Wallis and Futuna!

"A few RST exchanges and a short QSO on 18.082 MHz on May 24 at 2156
UTC.

"After locating the country on my giant wall chart, I measured the
distance at approximately 7,480 miles!

"Wow! And this was with 40 watts to a dipole under impossible,
unpredictable conditions!

"The conclusion is to keep trying to communicate even when all
indicators tell you to don't bother trying."

Probably the actual great circle distance between AA4MI and FW5JJ is
about 7,028 miles. It is tough to estimate long distances on a
Mercator projection map, but if you use a great circle projection
with your location at the center, you can get a pretty good estimate
of distances, but only between your location and any other.

Here is what running the numbers for that day on W6ELprop revealed.
Looks like the band would open around 1800 UTC on 18.1 MHz and after
2330 UTC, signal strength should improve, reaching a peak around
0500-0600 UTC. There is another much shorter opening around
1100-1230 UTC.

Carl is correct. The band sounds dead if nobody is transmitting. Of
course the band may have sounded dead because so many were in the
contest.

Max White, M0VNG sent along an article about the basics of HF
propagation, written by G3XTT:

http://www.beru.org.uk/Propagation/HF%20Propagation%20PW.pdf

Dennis Egan, W1UE/HR9 wrote about a 6 meter opening to Honduras:
"I'm here on Roatan Island, NA057 grid EK66 for the week, saw some
activity on 6 meters on the cluster, so on a lark I tuned up to the
band. Station here isn't much, a barefoot K3, 90 feet of LMR240
coax, and a G5RV antenna up 15 feet. To get any power out, I had to
use the K3 internal tuner, so if one does the math I probably had
less than 20w at the antenna. So, I wasn't expecting much.

"I heard KP4KD/4, he was loud, so I gave him a call. One call, one
Q.  Over the next several hours I worked 45 stations, from VY2ZM
(FN86) to W7DN (CN95). While most of the stations were in the EM
grids, it was still exciting. Last station worked was N5DG, at 0017Z
on May 27.

"Moral of the story: if you can get a match on whatever antenna you
have, give 6M a try!  You have only QSOs to make."

Laurence, GJ3RAX from Jersey sent a nice clarification about his QTH
and its relation to the British Isle. Last week I said Jersey is
part of the UK, and it is not.

"I feel the need to give you a correction to your latest news
report. The island of Jersey is not in the United Kingdom. We are
self governing for all internal matters but external matters are
administered from the UK. Our taxes are set locally and are
different to those in the UK. A rather inexact analogy could be the
relationship between Puerto Rico and the USA as PR is not a State
but the licenses are administered by the FCC in the USA. I usually
say that where I live is the real Jersey as opposed to the new one
that was founded in 1664 by Sir George Carteret who was from Jersey.

"Great Britain is G, GW and GM. The UK is Great Britain and Northern
Ireland, GI. The British Isles consist of the UK plus GJ, GU, GD and
EI and so is a geographic definition rather than political. The
British Islands are all those with a G series prefix (and the new
ones starting with M or 2) and does not include EI.

"My passport says that I am a citizen of the British Islands and
does not mention the UK. I am actually a citizen of the UK as I was
born in London while the Channel Islands were under German
occupation. As I was born in London I would be allowed to work
anywhere in the EU, should I want to, whereas those born here to
parents who were also born here would not be automatically entitled
to work in Europe. The UK is part of the EU but the Channel Islands
are not:

"http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Islands

"https://www.cia.gov/library/publications/the-world-factbook/geos/je.html

"For the purposes of Amateur Radio I tend to assume that my callsign
is my last name! I stopped having my full name and address listed in
the callbook some time after I started using the HF bands and wanted
to avoid getting QSL cards. I now respond to them through the bureau
but for VHF and UHF QSOs only. Unlike those licensed by the FCC we
can choose to prevent our details being listed.

"When I was first licensed, in 1962, the 4 meter band was from 70.2
MHz to 70.4 MHz. My license then, without having passed the Morse
test, allowed me to use 70 cm and higher frequency bands. We were
allowed to use 2 meters as well in 1968.

"I passed my Morse test in 1979 and then started to use the HF bands
as well as VHF. I was also allowed on 4 meters which had then become
70.0 MHz to 70.5 MHz. I was able to get QSOs with the rest of the
British Isles, including EI, and also ZB2 (Gibraltar) during the Es
season. Now most countries in Europe also have access to 4 meters
although my neighbours in France are not allowed on it yet.

"We did not have 6 meters until I was given a special permit to use
it in 1983 but that was for late at night only outside Band 1 TV
hours. Only 40 such permits were issued in the British Islands and
some time later that was extended to 100 permits. Before then I was
able to work stations crossband from 10 meters and did so after
being persuaded to do so by Bob VE1YX.

"This morning (May 23) there was another Es opening on 6 meters and
I worked several stations in LA (Norway) and one in OZ (Denmark) for
the first time this year. Then I looked south again and worked 7X5QB
(Algeria). Those were new countries and grids for me for this year
so I was able to update the tables again including,
http://www.uksmg.org/standings/annual-table.php."

On May 29, GJ3RAX wrote: "I have had some more nice QSOs on 6 meters
this week during the Es openings. Last year I had a total of 39
countries and 106 grid squares worked on that band. This year I am
already up to 27 countries and 58 grid squares so I am on track to
do better than last year and I have still not yet improved my
antenna system.

"On Tuesday my only DX was down to EA9 again. On Wednesday it was
better with QSOs to YL, DL, OK, SP, OE and 9A. Some of them were
indicating well over 30 dB over S9 until the opening suddenly closed
and I was able to relax again.

"Today I have had no QSOs on 6 meters and only heard a couple of
very weak stations, identifying only one callsign which was EC5CIA
who was way down, but 5x9 each way a week ago. Today it sounded more
like a meteor ping as he soon vanished and did not emerge again from
the noise.

"Later this morning I felt masochistic so I went on 40 meters with
QRP running my IC-703 which usually gets me reports that are as good
as running 100 watts from my IC-756 Pro 2. I got the IC-703 a couple
of weeks ago for use as a transverter driver but it is fun using as
it is on HF. I don't tell them that I am only running 10 watts out
until I have been given a report and they are usually surprised when
I tell them what I am using. It is great pity that the IC-703 is no
longer in production. The only modern comparable radio for QRP is
the KX3 and that is a lot more expensive over here.

"What has surprised me recently is that when there is Es on 6 meters
I assume that I should also be hearing more of it on 10 meters, but
I often find that band is very quiet when 6 meters is wide open."

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/.

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 May 22 through 28 were 70, 112, 130, 133, 110,
96, and 72, with a mean of 103.3. 10.7 cm flux was 111.3, 116.3,
118, 113, 108.2, 105.9, and 99.4, with a mean of 110.3. Estimated
planetary A indices were 9, 19, 6, 4, 4, 4, and 4, with a mean of
7.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 9, 17, 6, 4, 4, 4, and 5,
with a mean of 7.
NNNN
/EX