ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP026 (2012)

ARLP026 Propagation de K7RA

QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 26  ARLP026
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  June 29, 2012
To all radio amateurs 

ARLP026 Propagation de K7RA

Sunspot activity continued to drop until early this week.  Average
daily sunspot numbers were 26.3, down over 58 points from last
week's numbers.  Average daily solar flux declined to 92.8, down
over 33 points from last week's average.
The weekly sunspot number average has declined since the May 31
through June 6 period, when it was 130.4, followed by 116.1 the next
week, 84.6 the next and 26.3 this week.
In next week's bulletin we will have the latest 3-month moving
average of daily sunspot numbers, for April-May-June, and it looks
like it will be higher than the previous 3-month average,
March-April-May.  Also, yesterday was day number 180 for 2012, and
sunspot numbers are running higher this year.  The average sunspot
number over those 180 days is 82.4.  Previous years 2003-2011 had
yearly sunspot number averages of 109.2, 68.6, 48.9, 26.1, 12.8,
4.7, 5.1, 25.5 and 29.9, so 82.4 is quite a jump.
In last week's bulletin ARLP025, we reported the average daily
sunspot number as 87, but it was really 84.6.  This is because we
reported what may have been a preliminary sunspot number of 46 for
June 20, but the sunspot number for that date was 29, recorded at
Geomagnetic conditions over the past week were quiet.  Average
planetary A index was 5.7, down from 12.6 last week, 9 the week
before, and 13.4 before that.  The quiet A index for this week was
exactly as it was on the week of May 24-30, 5.7.
The latest prediction from USAF/NOAA is from June 28, and it differs
very little from the June 27 forecast used in this week's ARRL
Letter.  It shows geomagnetic activity peaking on June 30 through
July 3, probably from a coronal hole spewing solar wind.  There is
also a thirty-percent chance of M-class solar flares today.
Predicted planetary A index for June 29-30 is 10 and 18, followed by
15 on July 1-3, 8 on July 4, 5 on July 5-7, 8 on July 8-9, and 5 on
July 10-25, and then on July 26-31, 10, 18, 15, 15, 15 and 8.  This
is an echo of the activity this week, based on the 27.5 day rotation
of our Sun relative to Earth.
The predicted solar flux is 115 on June 29-30, 120 and 125 on July
1-2, 130 on July 3-5, 135 and 140 on July 6-7, 135 on July 8-9, 130
on July 10-11, 125 on July 12-13, then 120, 115, 110 and 105 on July
14-17.  Solar flux may dip below 100 around July 19 and rise above
100 after July 28.   But that is a long way out, and difficult to
OK1MGW of the Czech Propagation Interest Group predicts quiet to
unsettled geomagnetic conditions on June 29, quiet to active June
30, active July 1-3, quiet to unsettled July 4-7, quiet to active
July 8-9, and mostly quiet on July 10-12.
Scott Woelm, WX0V of Fridley, Minnesota commented on the recent lack
of sunspots, and may have discovered a correlation of some sort.  He
wrote, "I have found the reason for the recent decline in sunspots!
My Dad, David Woelm, W0ELM, just got a new radio."  Good thinking!
He also wrote, "For those interested, I have some images of the
recent Annular Eclipse in May, and the Venus Transit in June, on my
web site:
The second link has a great shot of the Annular Eclipse that was
taken in Texas by Bob Adams, KC0JJ, of Crystal, Minnesota."
Conditions were pretty good for 2012 Field Day last weekend, meaning
there was some solar activity, and geomagnetic conditions were nice
and quiet.  Some past Field Days didn't have it so good.
At you can download
planetary K and A indices all the way back to 1932, and with a
perpetual calendar you can find the fourth full weekend in June for
any year.  1988 ARRL Field Day on June 25-26 looks particularly bad,
and so does June 23-24, 1984.  Either may have been the year I was
out with the Western Washington DX Club, and a sudden ionospheric
disturbance hit late Saturday morning, making all receivers appear
dead.  You can see by downloading the data for 1988 that the K index
hit 4 and 5 on Saturday morning, then conditions recovered into the
evening, only to have a repeat on Sunday morning, a double-whammy.
Bill Mader, K8TE, president of the Albuquerque DX Association sent a
report on the W5UR Field Day operation at Torrance County Park in
Edgewood, New Mexico:
"Conditions were generally very good for FD excluding 6 and 10
meters.  Our 10 meter CW station made just one contact and 6 meters
made just 48 contacts with the majority during an opening to
California Saturday evening.  Propagation for both was disappointing
compared with previous years."
"15 and 20 made up the bulk of the SSB and three CW stations QSOs
and were hot!  We ran 20 well into the night and started again early
in the morning.  Our GOTA operators ran stations on both 20 and 15
for hours in a row.  40 was good and we used 75 and 80 to advantage
after running out of new ones on 40."
"Overall, Old' Sol helped this year, rather than hindering us.
Getting up dipoles from 45 to 60 feet high took advantage of good
propagation as did our A4S at 40 feet.  We seldom had to search and
pounce keeping our QSO rates up.  Our last hour on 15 meters in the
SSB tent produced 99 QSOs thanks to all three components:  good
propagation and antenna plus an excellent operator.  We're looking
forward to FD 2013, after we clean the desert dust off everything.
Our preliminary QSO estimate is 5,100 and with lots of CW plus bonus
points 2012 may be our best scoring FD ever."
Gabor Horvath, VE7JH reported on the Cowichan Valley Amateur Radio
Society operation (VE7CVA) from Duncan, British Columbia, on
Vancouver Island:
"20 meters was open till about midnight.  We had a great run on 15
meters, 6-10 PM.  10 meters barely popped open, I think we made less
than 10 QSOs.  40 meters seemed to be real good with action starting
at about 7PM till dawn.  80 meters did not produce much long
distance stuff, but was fairly quiet and we had many contacts out to
about 2000 miles."
Walt Aulenbacher, WA5AU reported on the Hays/Caldwell Amateur Radio
Club KE5LOT operation from San Marcos, Texas.  "We found conditions
on 15 meters to be very good (lots of contacts) and of course also
on 20 meters, but 10 meters and 6 meters not great.  We made some
contacts on 10 meters and 6 meters despite conditions."
Jed Petrovich, AD7KG of the Utah DX Association reported on the K7UM
operation, just east of Fairview, Utah in the mountains at 9,000
feet.  "We operated three stations for the entire 24 hours.  We only
made two contacts on 10 meters.  On Saturday, it didn't appear there
was much activity on 15 meters.  We checked this with a P3
panadapter and our 15 meter station was getting few responses to his
CQs.  The bulk of our nearly 3400 contacts (including dupes) were on
20 and 40 meters, both CW and SSB.  On Sunday morning, we were still
working 20 and 40.  However, I switched over to 15 CW just after
10:00 AM MDT and found a lot of activity.  I had some good runs
going for nearly two hours until the end of the event.  One of the
other stations was also working 15 SSB during the same time frame
Sunday morning.  However, he didn't do quite as well.  N1MM reported
my run rates around 90 per hour, the SSB station was about 40 per
hour.  During the same time frame, the 20 meter phone op was going
strong with run rates over 150 per hour."
"We did have an antenna (dipole, up about 60 feet) for 80 meters,
but the band seemed very noisy.  Hence, very few contacts were made
on 75 meter phone."
"All in all, propagation seemed fairly good.  Last year, for
example, one of our phone ops made 160 contacts on 10 meters during
the last 2 hours of the event.  We periodically checked 10 meters,
but didn't find much going on."
Thanks, Jed!
Kevin Lahaie, K7ZS of Hillsboro, Oregon wrote:  "VERY interesting
band conditions.  In a word, 10 meters was a big ZERO, 20 meter
paths were very atypical, just never really opened up like you would
expect.  But, the big surprise was 15 METERS.  It was open to the
East Coast at the opening bell, and it stayed open to the EAST COAST
all day, until around 10 PM.  A little north south, but just an
amazing, solid long skip that defied time of day!  We made 950
contacts on that band, 200 more than 20 meters!"
"Overall I don't think propagation was very good, but the real
anomaly to me was the solid and long endurance 15 meter opening to
the east coast.  I will be curious if east coast stations were able
to work each other with the long skip?"
W5BCR, the Bosque County Amateur Radio Club, operated from Clifton,
Texas.  Danny Rymer, K5FDR reports:  "I believe this was my best
Field Day ever.  I made a contact in Maui, Hawaii and I was able to
have the contact talk to a few Cub Scouts who came to see what Field
Day was all about.  You should have seen their eyes and the smiles
on their faces when they realized they were actually talking to
someone in Hawaii.  A reporter took a few pictures for the local
newspaper while the boys were talking to the contact in Hawaii."
"Other members of the W5BCR club made numerous contacts throughout
the U.S. and Canada, and several of the club members let the Cub
Scouts talk to their contacts on the other end.  Those contacts
really made a big impression and made the Cub Scout's day."
"Conditions were very good here in Texas, as a club we worked all of
the legal frequencies that were allowed per the rules.  Most of the
contacts were made on 20 meters and 40 meters (not too surprising)
as well as a few other bands.  We made a contact in Germany during
the late evening and Slovenia at 0621 UTC on 14.272.  All in all,
this field day was better than any field day that I have ever
participated in with any club, and that goes even for my first field
Six meters apparently didn't produce results for Field Day, but
Julio Medina, NP3CW of San Juan, Puerto Rico (FK68wl) reported:

"On June 21, 2012 on six meters I worked TI5KD at 2306z, and HK4BKB
at 2313z.  On June 22, 2012 worked ON4GG at 1353z, F6GCP 1309z, PA2M
and F6ARC at 1309z, F8DBF and OE1WWA at 1710z, FJ/W6JKV in St.
Barthelemy at 1842z and WD4AB in EL95 at 1852z."
Last week we mentioned old military surplus Command radios converted
to SSB, and John Laney, K4BAI of Columbus, Georgia wrote:  "The
conversion of a Command Set to SSB was called the 'W2EWL
conversion'.  I think a ham with that call wrote an article for QST
about it.  I bought one in the late 1950s or early 1960s that
someone else had converted.  It would work 75 meters well and worked
a bit on 20 meters.  I think I had figured out a way to use it on CW
you can see photos of the conversion.

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Sunspot numbers for June 21 through 27 were 13, 13, 13, 24, 14, 28,
and 79, with a mean of 26.3.  10.7 cm flux was 97.7, 88.4, 84, 85.3,
88.6, 99.2 and 106.3, with a mean of 92.8.  Estimated planetary A
indices were 3, 5, 4, 5, 9, 8, and 6, with a mean of 5.7.  Estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 3, 5, 4, 5, 5, 7, and 8, with a mean of