ARRL

ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP045 (2010)

SB PROP @ ARL $ARLP045
ARLP045 Propagation de K7RA

ZCZC AP45
QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 45  ARLP045
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  November 12, 2010
To all radio amateurs 

SB PROP ARL ARLP045
ARLP045 Propagation de K7RA

Average daily sunspot numbers and solar flux increased over the past
week, with sunspot numbers up 7.4 points to 33.1 and solar flux up
2.1 points to 84.2.  Four new sunspot groups appeared since November
4.  For some reason NOAA is currently showing a sunspot number of
zero for Thursday, November 11, yet there are spots visible.  In
fact, the total sunspot area increased by 57% from November 10 to
11, and the sunspot number on November 10 was 55. On early Friday
morning a peek at http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/indices/DSD.txt
shows the zero sunspot number for yesterday, but perhaps by the time
you read this, it will be corrected.

The latest forecast shows predicted solar flux at 85 on November
12-13, 84 on November 14-15, and 83 on November 16-18.  Predicted
planetary index for November 12-21 is 10, 10, 8, 8, 7, 5, 5, 20, 15
and 10.

Last year Steve Nichols, G0KYA wrote the bulletin for us on October
30, 2009, and he has just published a free online book with G3NYK.
The title is "Understanding LF and HF Propagation," and you can
download it from Steve's blog at http://www.g0kya.blogspot.com/.

Don Kalinowski, NJ2E sent a link to a blog on the Aviation Week and
Space Technology web site about a new international initiative to
work on space weather issues.  You can read it at
http://snipurl.com/1ftp42.  In the article is a link to a series
from NASA explaining space weather.  See it at
http://tinyurl.com/2ak5g9f.

We got mail about ARRL CW Sweepstakes last weekend.  Don Lynch,
W4ZYT of Virginia Beach, Virginia wrote, "We operated from the Outer
Banks of North Carolina, and did well on 15 through 80 meters.  We
did not operate 160, and found 10 meters so unproductive that we
made no contacts there.  15 was surprisingly good during the day and
more productive than I expected.

"I found all the bands were long - I was working west coast stations
on 80 meters at 0600 UTC, and on 40, could easily work W6 and W7 and
KH6 stations, but had trouble connecting with New England and
Florida.

"Our group worked the VY1 as our first QSO and then missed the sweep
because of Nebraska."

Paul Mackanos, K2DB wrote, "I started out on 40 and it was the best
start we ever had at K2NNY. Band was great, we ran 40 then went to
80 and had the same conditions, GREAT, everything went well, super
rates, etc, until daylight on Sunday, then everything seemed to die
down.

"We could never get anything going on Sunday. Just limped along,
maybe we worked everyone over night on 80!"

Jim Jordan, K4QPL wrote, "I thought propagation was very 'normal'
for the time of year, with 80M on the East Coast being better than
average.  This was my first time QRP so I was a bit more sensitive
to 'softness' in prop. Really don't have time or memory to give a
blow by blow hourly report.

"80M- No weird going long as it sometimes does in winter and I heard
happened earlier in the week. On the other hand, with the storms
having moved out, QRN was low so weaker stations not masked in
noise. QRP was good for the entire east coast and to the Rockies and
I got several 'FB QRP SIG' comments. Antenna is an inverted V with
apex at about 60'. Occasional QSOs with west coast but generally
with the stations known to have good antennas and 'ears.'

"40M- For some reason 40 is never my best band despite it being a
'money band' for others. It performed about at par with a bit more
range into the west than 80 as the skip lengthened. But for sheer
numbers, 80 still came in better for me.

"20M also performed pretty much as expected. Good transcontinental
prop to help me fill in western and Canadian mults and S&P (search
and pounce) the ones I couldn't work on 80. Went long enough to also
get KH6 and KL7 mults. Hard to hold a run frequency there except way
high in the band.

"15M was surprisingly good and exhibited a lot of normal 20M
characteristics. As I only have a tribander for 10-15-20 I sometimes
put my second radio with a 40M dipole on 15 while running 20 and it
seemed to do as well as the tribander if not better for S&P.  Maybe
the higher angle was getting more refraction in target areas when
the band was perhaps actually longer. 15 also did well as a primary
band for a short time but didn't generate the same volume for me.
Tried a couple runs with both antennas but didn't seem to support
QRP very well.

"10M- Never went there. Flipped the Orion II to 10 every now and
then on Sunday afternoon and could tell from the display nothing was
happening."

Ted Saba, KN5O who operated W5RU wrote, "From W5-land near New
Orleans, we found 80M to be in great shape.  In fact, we made nearly
as many Qs on 80 as we did on 40M.  (I use a 40M moxon at 86ft and a
phased pair of 1/4-wave verticals on 80).  80 was good all over,
very low QRN.  We may have benefited more by moving to 80 sooner
than we did.

"Looking at the log, by the time we switched from 20m to 40m, 40 had
gone long. Normally we can work the close in sections, NFL, WCF,
SFL, AL and sometimes MS/AR with relative ease.  Not so this year.
Skip zone had to be a good 700+ miles from us.

"20m was its usual crowded self - it is where we normally start and
can run for about 3-4 hours,  we did so this year as usual.  I found
20m typical.

"15m is terrible for us. 1st skip zone is about 1300+ miles I would
guess.  Only good for AK, PAC, WA, OR, CA, AZ and a few Canadian
provinces - VY1, VY0, BC, AB and SK.  Occasionally we would hear the
far NE, but not consistently."

Tim Prosser, KT8K wrote, "20m and 40m went long fairly early, but
noise levels were fortunately fairly low on 80m at my location (SE
Mich) - about S7 on my Orion.  My K9AY loop (with new termination
resistor) did a fantastic job of reducing that to S1 while signals
only dropped to S5-7 - much easier on the ears.

"Propagation on 40m was a bit spotty, and was better as always while
I was in the gray line zone.

"80m was great and I got great signal reports from my 5 Watts and
wires in the trees as far away as Hawaii and LAX."

Connie Marshall, K5CM wrote, "Conditions were good in general, but
better the first day. Being in the center of the USA has both
advantage and disadvantages. It's an advantage on 80 meters where
conditions were very good Saturday night (the largest number of Qs
came on 80 with 538). It's a disadvantage on 15m, where skip was
just too long to work anything but the very edges of the East and
West coast and mainly just the West. Was hoping for a little Es to
help prop on 15 and 10 meters, but no luck this year. It's still a
little early for the winter time Es season, which as you know,
usually peaks in Dec/Jan.  40 meters was good with East coast
stations  being heard in the middle of the day. We probably should
have spent more time on 40.  20 meter prop was good but very
crowded, especially at the beginning of the contest. We still had a
good contest, setting a new Multi-op CW-SS record for Oklahoma."

Bob Norin, W7YAQ wrote, "I had not been on the air for two months
preceding the SS.  But managed to put in the full 24 hours in the CW
SS.  Running QRP, and having a 3-el SteppIR for 20-10, I was hoping
for a nice 10 meter opening, and evening openings on 20.  QRP on the
low bands is not always a lot of fun.

"Here are my observations by band:

"10 meters:  [3-el SteppIR at 70'] We had an opening Sunday morning
from Central Oregon to the east coast.  Signals were very good, but
there just wasn't much activity.  Between 1724 and 1814 UTC I worked
11 stations in MAR, QC, ON, ENY, WNY, MDC, EPA, VA, TN, and GA.

"15 meters:  [3-el SteppIR at 70'] Generally good conditions, better
than 2009 and 2008.

"20 meters:  [3-el SteppIR at 70'] Band closed at sunset both days.
No short skip to BC/AB/WA/CA/ID/MT/NV this year.

"40 meters:  [SteppIR trombone dipole at 70'] Good conditions
Saturday evening.  Seemed to close shortly after sunset Sunday.
(Maybe everybody just went to 80)

"80 meters:  [Inv vee at 65'] Seemed in great shape with signals
booming in from all over NA.  Made some east coast QSOs late
Saturday night.  Running QRP, however, I would prefer the loud
signals to only be from the western NA, as can distinguish which
ones I can work better.  If I were running 100 watts, I would have
loved 80 this weekend!

"I have operated the last 3 SS contests QRP and with same antennas."

Stu Mitchell, W7IY of Stafford, Virginia wrote, "I operated
unassisted QRP from VA again this year at W4NF's station. The bands
seemed in pretty good shape and matched the VOACAP predictions. I
started on 20M and had no problem working CA, WA and OR. Although,
20M seemed pretty quiet before the contest. It was hard to tell if
the solar activity was the culprit or people were just getting in a
last minute nap. 20M closed around night fall, so I moved to 40M.
Nothing unusual there, but it seemed like there were fewer people to
work. The band was quiet with no QSB.

"During the evening, I spent the vast majority of my time on 80M,
routinely checking 40M. Hawaii (0600Z on 40M) appeared on time and
was easy to work. No QRN or QSB on both bands. If a station was over
S5, I was able to work them without any problem at all. I was able
to run several times with good results.

"I experienced the typical doldrums during the day on the higher
bands. 15M opened for a bit to the TX, NM and CA. My first 15M QSO
was at 1542Z and my last was at 1755Z. I worked Alaska at 1700Z on
15M. No QSB on either 15 or 20. 10M never opened for me.

"Through the second diurnal shift, I made my way back to 80M through
40M. 40M seemed much quieter during the last few hours of the
contest, although I kept sweeping the band with my second radio
looking for ID. Finally, at 0139Z, I came across K0TO on 80M and
completed Worked All States. Didn't get a clean sweep. Missed MB,
NL, NWT. I heard MB and NWT, but the pileups were too big for my QRP
station."

Tim Kresky, AB0S wrote, "From Kansas, 20m, 40m, and 80m were good.
Very little noise on the low bands.  10m was dead.  15m had some
activity, but not enough for us to spend any useful time there.  I
suspect the skip was such on 15m that the coasts had a great time
talking to each other, but it was just a little too long for us to
hear most stations."

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.  Find more good
information and tutorials on propagation at
http://mysite.ncnetwork.net/k9la/index.html.

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 November 4 through 10 were 34, 29, 43, 34, 36,
35, and 55, with a mean of 33.1. 10.7 cm flux was 79.2, 83, 88.6,
85, 83.7, 84.1 and 85.6 with a mean of 84.2. Estimated planetary A
indices were 3, 2, 1, 1, 3, 3 and 4 with a mean of 2.4. Estimated
mid-latitude A indices were 2, 2, 1, 1, 2, 1 and 3 with a mean of
1.7.
NNNN
/EX