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The K7RA Solar Update


Solar activity was a mixed bag over the week of December 18-24, compared to the previous 7 days. Average daily sunspot numbers were down 12.5 points to 132.9, while average daily solar flux rose 22.9 points to 190.6.

Geomagnetic activity peaks occurred on December 22 and 24, with planetary A indices at 20 and 17, respectively. Three coronal mass ejections (CMEs) hit Earth on December 21-22.

The latest prediction (December 25) from NOAA/USAF forecasters has solar flux at 140 for December 26, 145 for December 27-28, 150 for December 29-31, and 140 for January 1-3. After that it climbs from 145, 150, and 155 for January 4-6, then 165, 170, 175, and 180 for January 7-10, 185 for January 11-12, 190 and 200 for January 13-14, 205 for January 15-17, and peaking at 210 on January 18. Flux values then decline to a low of 140 for January 28-20.

Predicted planetary A index from the same source is 5 on December 26, 8 on December 27, 10 for December 28 through January 1, then 12, 25, 15, and 10 for January 2-5, 8 for January 6-7, 10 for January 8-9, 8 for January 10-11, and 5 for January 12-18.

OK1HH sends his weekly geomagnetic forecast, which calls for quiet conditions December 26, mostly quiet December 27, quiet to unsettled December 28-30, mostly quiet December 31, quiet to unsettled January 1, quiet to active January 2, active to disturbed January 3-4, quiet to active January 5-6, quiet January 7, quiet to active January 8, quiet to unsettled January 9, quiet to active January 10, quiet to unsettled January 11, active to disturbed January 12, mostly quiet January 13-14, quiet January 15-17, active to disturbed January 18, mostly quiet January 19, quiet to unsettled January 20, and quiet to active January 21.

Lee, W4KUT, reported that he was unable to participate in the recent ARRL 10 Meter Contest, but, “I did venture into 28 MHz CW territory, and, Wow! I sent a quick response to a CQ from W1AW/7 (Nevada) at 2329 UTC on December 12, S9+ on both ends.

“I've got to do more 10 metr activity. The band is hot these days!

“I would urge American hams to check out 10 meters, and, yes, 10 meters is available to Technician licensees — CW, RTTY/Data and Phone (SSB).

Jon Jones, N0JK, (EM28) in Kansas reports “a strong winter Es opening on 50 MHz between the Midwest and eastern states December 19 from 1430-1730 UTC. Here in eastern Kansas, K1RO (FN33) and K2UU (FN30) were very loud around 1600. No links noted to F2 to Europe or Africa.”

Jon is edits “The World Above 50 MHz” column in QST, which originated as “On the Ultra Highs” in December 1939 under the direction of Ed Tilton, W1HDQ. He also is a frequent contributor to this bulletin.

W1HDQ was the author of this weekly bulletin until 1991, when he became ill, and I offered to fill in for a week. I’ve been at it ever since. Ed may have been the first editor of this bulletin, but I have not been able to pin that down. I do know that I first copied it on CW from W1AW in 1966, when I was a very young ham.

Check out to hear real time audio related to meteor activity. This site is run by Chip Sufitchi, N2YO, who is in the Washington, DC, area, and uses an SDR tuned to 55.23693 MHz with a Yagi pointed toward a channel 2 television tower in Canada. The page also features both a spectral and a waterfall display.

An interesting article appeared in The Daily Mail about a new space telescope.

One more report came in concerning working Bob, ZL1RS, on 6 meters, reported in last week’s bulletin. Bob Miles, K9IL in Martin, Tennessee, (EM56) wrote on December 19 that he heard ZL1RS as good as 579 over three evenings around 0100 UTC.

This is the last propagation bulletin of 2014. In 1999 in propagation bulletin 52 I briefly mentioned the completion of my 17th season playing the Grandfather character in Pacific Northwest Ballet’s lavish production of “The Nutcracker.”

Now we have come to the end of the run of this particular “Nutcracker” production, with sets and costumes by children’s book author and illustrator Maurice Sendak and choreographed by Kent Stowell. This weekend I will complete my 32nd and final season in this same role, and my character doesn’t appear in the brand-new 2015 production.

This began for me with a series of unlikely events in 1983 when Don Walter, W7NG, recommended me for this role in a brand new “Nutcracker.” It was a huge hit, and as many as 46 performances are done (but I am not in all of them) every December. The house holds an audience of 3000. This became hugely popular, so now that this is ending, every performance has sold out. By noon the day after Thanksgiving, ticket sales for this final “Nutcracker” had hit $7 million.

Every Christmas Eve we perform an alternative version, “The Nutty Nutcracker,” with all kinds of gags and pratfalls, improvised and with no rehearsal. On December 25, 2013, this photo appeared in The Seattle Times. That’s me in the brown coat, leaning back in shock, as I did not know that the dancer crouching down on the right was going to release a can of Silly String, nor did I know that photos were being taken. I sneak up on him as he is about to let go with a tremendous, dramatic sneeze while facing the audience downstage center so that I can react and express annoyance. He held the can so it appeared that it all projected from his face.

On opening night this year at the end of November I gave a backstage tour to a writer, who came up with this reflection. The Seattle Times also published an article about the big change.

I will be sad after the final last performance, which begins at 2330 UTC on Sunday, December 28. I am the only player remaining from the premiere season, and I won’t know what to do with myself in December 2015. But I love this company so much that I may come back as a volunteer “Kid Wrangler,” herding the children from dressing rooms to the stage and back. It has been an incredible run, far beyond what I ever could have imagined!

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service at For an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin, see An archive of past propagation bulletins is at More good information and tutorials on propagation are at
Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve overseas locations are at

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for December 18 through 24 were 168, 156, 120, 159, 113, 128, and 86, with a mean of 132.9. The 10.7 centimeter flux was 213.2, 215.7, 203.2, 205.8, 179.2, 165.9, and 151.4, with a mean of 190.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 5, 8, 9, 14, 20, 13, and 17, with a mean of 12.3. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 6, 6, 10, 13, 8, and 12, with a mean of 8.6.




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