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The K7RA Solar Update


Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: The Australian Space Forecast Centre issued this warning at 2355 UTC on January 13:

“A Southern coronal hole with extensions into the equatorial region is expected to reach geo-effective location on the solar disk on late UTC day 15 January. As a result, unsettled-to-active conditions with a chance of minor storms are possible on these two days.”

Two new sunspot groups emerged on January 9, and another showed up on January 12, followed by three more on January 13. Average daily sunspot numbers rose six points this week, to 42.4, and average daily solar flux increased from 91.4 to 101.6.

Another positive sign on Thursday, January 13: the daily sunspot number soared to 111, far above the recent weekly average, and the highest number since Christmas Day 2021.

Geomagnetic indicators were quieter this week, with average daily planetary A index declining from 7.7 to 6.1, and average daily middle latitude A index from 6 to 4.1. reported the new solar cycle is performing better than expected, and used this illustration.

They went on to say that sunspot counts exceeded predicted values for 15 straight months, and the monthly value at the end of December 2021 was the highest in 5 years — and more than twice the value forecast by the NOAA/NASA prediction panel.

Higher A index values on January 8 and 9 were from a G-1 class storm caused by co-rotating interaction regions.

Predicted solar flux for the next month shows values peaking at 120 on January 21 – 24 and again around mid – February. Predicted values are 106, 108, and 110 on January 14 – 16; 108 on January 17 – 18; 106 and 104 on January 19 – 20; 120 on January 21 – 24; 110 on January 25; 100 on January 26 – 27; 95 and 90 on January 28 – 29; 85 on January 30 – February 1; 95 and 105 on February 2 – 3; 100 on February 4 – 5; 102 on February 6 – 7; 105 on February 8; 110 on February 9 – 10; 115 on February 11 – 12, and 120 on February 13 – 20. Flux values are expected to dip below 90 after February 25.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on January 14; 14, 24, 12, and 8 on January 15 – 18; 5 on January 19 – 22; 10 on January 23; 8 on January 24 – 26; 5 on January 27; 10 on January 28 – 30; 5 on January 31 – February 3; 15, 10, and 8 on February 4 – 6; 5 on February 7 – 11; 12, 10, and 8 on February 12 – 14; 5 on February 15 – 18; 10 on February 19, and 8 on February 20 – 21.

Here’s the “Weekly Commentary on the Sun, the Magnetosphere, and the Earth's Ionosphere — January 13, 2022” from F.K. Janda, OK1HH:

“The current view of the distribution of active areas on the sun seems at first glance to be relatively simple. Current activity should keep solar flux above 100 SFU. Other active areas beyond the eastern limb of the solar disk — which we see thanks to the STEREO satellite — should increase that number to somewhere around 120 SFU soon. The key feature for the influence toward Earth is the prominence of the southern polar coronal hole, which will be responsible for increasing of the enhanced speed of the solar wind and the activity of the Earth's magnetic field in the coming days. This is a recurring event that will take place around January 16. After that we expect a decline in solar activity at the end of January and the beginning of February.”

N2CG wrote:

“On Monday, January 10, at around 1600 UTC I went on the DXMAPS website and clicked the ‘50 MHz’ tab, and to my surprise found that there was a very strong, in-progress 6 meter FT8 opening between Florida and my location in Northern New Jersey (FN20) and the Pennsylvania/New York/Connecticut and Southern New England area. Over the next 2-1/2 hours I casually made FT8 contacts with 12 Florida stations in addition to C6ACB in FL15 and CM2RSV in EL83. The band continued to be open from morning into the afternoon and evening and finally closed at around midnight local time, 0500 UTC.

“The next day January 11, 6 again opened up on FT8 although not as concentrated to Florida from my location. I worked stations on FT8 in Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Oklahoma, and Arkansas. At 2022 UTC I worked XE2X in EL06 on 6-meters FT8.” 

Carl, K9LA, commented on the question from W1VTP about poor local 75 meter propagation in last week’s bulletin.

“I'm active in the Indiana CW traffic net (QIN) and the Ninth Region Net (9RN). We can also have problems on 80 in the winter months, especially when we're still near solar minimum. Our Plan B is to move to 160 meters, and that always works.

“Yes, it's due to the nighttime F2 region electron density being too low to support high-angle signals. I wrote about this in my April 2020 Monthly Feature on my website.”

Here’s the latest video from Space Weather Woman Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW.

Here’s a local newspaper article about solar cycle progress with a nice solar image.

Even Forbes magazine has a solar update.

Sunspot numbers for January 6 – 12 were 35, 38, 31, 36, 38, 51, and 68, with a mean of 42.4. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 93.7, 107.3, 102.4, 102.1, 102.2, 100, and 103.2, with a mean of 101.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 2, 2, 14, 10, 6, 5, and 4, with a mean of 6.1. Middle latitude A index was 2, 1, 9, 7, 4, 3, and 3, with a mean of 4.1.

For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service, read “What the Numbers Mean…,” and check this propagation page by Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. For customizable propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are on the ARRL website.

Share your reports and observations.