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Worst Solar Cycle for HF Since Radio Invented

Bonnie KQ6XA
 

"This solar cycle 24 is the worst for HF propagation since the invention of radio."
-Bonnie Crystal, KQ6XA, 4 September 2017.

You can quote me on that.

But, there is an HF propagation anomaly currently in progress for this
week, that might give us a temporary boost.
Look for unusually strong, short term, band openings via F2 layer and
Sporadic-E (Es) in the 14 MHz to 54 MHz range.

We are near the bottom of our 11-year-long Solar Cycle 24, but today we
are seeing space weather that is similar to the higher part of this cycle.
A recent, fast-growing earth-targeted sunspot, combined with increased
x-ray flux, is associated with the anomaly.
The x-ray flux has reached sustained M-class levels, and could impulse
higher to X-class bursts.

This can also temporarily cause short-term HF blackouts for NVIS and
regional HF communications below 15 MHz.
An R2 level blackout just happened a couple hours ago, which obliterated
the mid-day 7 MHz ham radio nets in North America.

At this moment, we currently have highly unusual solar numbers for this
part of the cycle:

Sunspot Number = 96
Solar Flux = 183
X-ray Flares = M5
K-index Kp = 4
A-index = 14

That Solar Flux is very high for the valley of the solar cycle we are in.
The highest solar flux in this cycle, Solar Flux =237,  happened during
the peak of this cycle in January 2014.

-Bonnie KQ6XA

see attached graphs.

Bonnie KQ6XA
 

Perhaps we should call it the zombie solar cycle.
We are in the bottom of this awful solar cycle, but today we are experiencing a solar flux that is about the same level as it was during the peak of this cycle.

An X-class flare caused a temporary HF blackout on the lower HF bands (3 MHz to 14 MHz range) .

But, we are also seeing enhanced propagation on the upper HF bands. It is very unusual.
Look for unusually strong, short term, band openings via F2 layer, trans-equatorial, and multi-hop Sporadic-E (Es) in the 14 MHz to 54 MHz range.
5 MHz - 14 MHz will probably be good late into the night.
It is noon here... 28 MHz is open, I'm listening to Florida on it.

Bonnie KQ6XA
California

Bonnie KQ6XA
 

Another X-class flare happened 3 hours ago.
see attached graph.
The entire HF spectrum is in a blackout condition here at my QTH at this moment.
I can't even copy WWV or WWVH, on any frequency.
This is a temporary blackout.
I predict that we will see enhanced band openings from 20 meters to 10 meters within the next few days.

Bonnie KQ6XA

George Csahanin
 

With about 2-3 years to minimum it will get worse. But I know how it feels like its bad. Seems as in the past even small sunspot numbers or flux just above the 60's and we had communications possible. It just isn't working that way. Summer is always not good on the upper bands 15-10. But I even hear evenings on 20 aren't as active as before.

Or is is just fewer rigs "on"?

FWIW, just did a McD-run at halftime and was hearing the 40M Irma activity from Florida. Not strong, but keeping the squelch open on the Micom-2

GeorgeC
W2DB
Crowley, TX

Hugh Bahar
 

I was on 80M on Sunday at 3pm EST and it was dead.  I heard one SSB signal on 20M but didn’t bother to wait for a call sign or scan other bands.

 

I was very successful with SSB ground wave @100 watts on 80M from my QTH to AB2RA (10 miles) with both of us using dipoles as we conducted audio tests. 

 

HF blackouts are an opportunity to challenge yourself to think of and try other modes that will work  J

 

73,

Hugh WA2LXB

 

From: hfpack@groups.io [mailto:hfpack@groups.io] On Behalf Of Bonnie KQ6XA
Sent: Sunday, September 10, 2017 2:50 PM
To: hfpack@groups.io
Subject: Re: [hfpack] Worst Solar Cycle for HF Since Radio Invented

 

Another X-class flare happened 3 hours ago.
see attached graph.
The entire HF spectrum is in a blackout condition here at my QTH at this moment.
I can't even copy WWV or WWVH, on any frequency.
This is a temporary blackout.
I predict that we will see enhanced band openings from 20 meters to 10 meters within the next few days.

Bonnie KQ6XA

Peter Parker
 

Do you not have sporadic-E on 15 & 10m during summer & winter? 

Pedestrian mobile example from a few days ago at 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pHfnIbOWbJQ