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ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP026 (2017)

ARLP026 Propagation de K7RA

QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 26  ARLP026
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  June 30, 2017
To all radio amateurs 

ARLP026 Propagation de K7RA

Not much change in the numbers since last week, but all indicators
were lower. Average daily sunspot number moved from 29.4 last week
to 20.3 this week, and average daily solar flux went from 74.6 to

Average daily planetary A index went from 9.4 to 6.9, and
mid-latitude A index from 8.1 to 7.4.

Predicted solar flux is 72 on June 30 through July 7, 75 on July
8-14, 76 on July 15-16, 75 on July 17-19, 74 on July 20-22, 72 on
July 23-24, 77 on July 25-28, then 74, 73 and 72 on July 29-31, 73
on August 1, 74 on August 2-3, 75 on August 4-10 and 76 on August

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on June 30 through July 1, then 12,
20 and 10 on July 2-4, 5 on July 5-12, then 20, 12 and 10 on July
13-15, 5 on July 16-20, then 10, 12, 10 and 5 on July 21-24, 10 on
July 25-26, 5 on July 27 through August 8, then 20, 12 and 10 on
August 9-11 and 5 on August 12-13.

Tomas Bayer of the Deptartment of Geomagnetism at the Budkov
Observatory sends this Geomagnetic activity summary:

"Next week, we expect at most quiet to unsettled level conditions
only with a single active episode. The active episodes are possible
about June 30 and also at the end of forecast period.

"Geomagnetic activity increase is possible because of a small
equatorial coronal hole. Nevertheless, we expect the greater
activity increase at the start of the next weekly forecast, i.e.
after July 7."

From F.K. Janda, OK1HH of the Czech Propagation Interest Group:

"Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period June 30-July 26, 2017.

"Geomagnetic field will be:
Quiet on July 1, 4-5, 17
Mostly quiet on July 2, 12, 16, 18-20, 24
Quiet to unsettled July 6-7, 10-11, 15, 25-26
Quiet to active on June 30, July 3, 8-9, 14, 21-23
Active to disturbed on July 13

"Amplifications of the solar wind from coronal holes are expected on
July (8,) 9-17, (18, 21,) 22-24, (25)

"Remarks: - Parenthesis means lower probability of activity
enhancement and/or lower reliability of prediction. - As a result of
ongoing changes to the configuration of active areas on the Sun,
reliability of forecasts is temporarily lowered."

Dean Pesnell of NASA says the upcoming solar minimum (over the next
few years) will bring longer lasting coronal holes:

This report is from N8II in West Virginia:

"Going back to June 17, I operated in the WV QSO Party and
conditions were disturbed which may have actually improved
conditions for me into the states.

"I worked a total of 892 QSOs with 619 on 20M SSB in 8.3 hours
between 1600Z and 0200Z, with 49 states (no calls from Alaska, but
about 6 from Hawaii!), 11 WV counties, and 14 DXCC countries without
looking for EU which was fairly loud from 1800Z-2300Z.

"There was excellent sporadic-E until about 2400Z with some still
toward the Gulf Coast and FL after that. 20 phone featured direct
ionospheric propagation at some time to all states except AK
(maybe), MD, DE, and PA. I was called at one point from Roanoke, VA
which is about 165 miles away and in the first 4 hours I worked many
stations in NY and New England. There was apparently no F2 above 20M
except to the south on 15M, but I did work Puerto Rico on 10M double
hop Es.

"The other propagation highlight was working a VK2 in Australia on
20 SSB in the 2300Z hour via SHORT PATH, a first in 47 years of
hamming during the Aussie morning; long path QSOs are pretty common
around 2100-2300Z except in our summer. I used my 80M dipole in lieu
of the 5 element Yagi or tribander fixed south at times on 20 to get
more omni directional coverage as the skip was short in all
directions.  Many NY stations were loudest off the back of my
triband Force 12 Yagi at 60 feet (signals from high angle).

"There was good Es from MI to MN around noon on the 18th on 10M. The
highlight of the week was a multi hop Es opening to Europe on the
19th working F5RAG in France first at 2111Z also working Spain,
England, and Ireland (tremendous rapid QSB from in the noise to S5)
until 2127Z when F5RAG said hello again at S7 (best signal) then
working Northern Ireland an hour later. Wednesday, Thursday and
Friday were pretty quiet with little 28 MHz Es with a few openings
into TX including 2 Dallas area QSOs on 6M around 1500Z on the 21st.

"Field Day was spent between home and K8EP in the field operating
from near the foot of a mountain to the west (not the greatest
location) near Martinsburg, WV. I can never remember a FD when the
sporadic-E was so widespread in different directions on 15 and 10M
for such a long duration as 2017!

"There was a high noise level at K8EP on 20M which was found to be a
noisy computer power supply after I left Saturday, but I was very
aware of Es to the west on 20 starting around 2230Z working many MI
and 9th call area stations with OH as the evening progressed as well
as some QSOs into New England. When I returned to home and fired up
at 0215Z, I found W3AO on 15M (distant local) in MD first and Bob,
W3IDT reported some Es, but 'things are slowing down.'

"Having not worked 15 phone, I started a fast paced run with plenty
of callers, but prop was limited to mostly W5s (TX was rather weak),
9s, and 0s (no CO, ND, SD) and 4s in GA, FL, AL, and TN. I switched
to 20M around 0300Z and had nearly perfect coverage to my west from
the 9th area and beyond and south from SC, and TN and beyond running
a big pile up with many west coast QSOs. Two KL7s in AK called in
with loud signals! Without the Es, skip would have been very long by
0300Z, so many QSOs may have been Es on the east end into F2 out

"I returned to the air at 1446Z and single hop Es could not have
been much better in all directions on 15 and 10 meters through
1720Z! I stayed on 10 until 1613Z working stations as close as NY,
CT, MA, OH, OH (mobile) and KY. The band was wide open to New
England, but QSO rates into the 9th and 0 call areas with 4s and 5s
to boot were much better.

"I worked CO and AZ on double hop Es, no Dakotas. 15M was even that
much better than 10 working stations as close as EPA (about 150-200
miles away), NJ, NY, all of New England, OH, KY, and NC. I was
called via double hop Es from CO, AZ, NV, CA (many, mostly San
Francisco south), and WA as well! In 5 hours total time I worked 557
QSOs, 272 on 15M and 195 on 10M.

"The few times I checked 6M, there was surprisingly not much Es.

"73, Jeff N8II FM19cj Shepherdstown, WV"

Harry Rudolph, WX8C of Grand Blanc, Michigan sent this Field Day

"Operated from SE Michigan with battery power, running around 75
watts to an all band dipole. Early Sunday afternoon, local time,
made 42, 6 meter contacts from New England to Florida and then along
the Gulf Coast and stretching to West Texas. Most stations were

Rich Zwirko, K1HTV of Amissville, Virginia sent this 6-meter report:

"On June 25th, for the second time in this month, 50 MHz signals
from Japan were copied at the FM18ap Virginia QTH of K1HTV. The
first signal heard on June 9th was at 2149Z from JR1LZK. The last
Japanese station heard was JA9SJI, 2 hours and 22 minutes later at
0011Z June 10th!

"Of the 142 minutes between the start and finish of the UTC June 9/10 opening:
- 25 different JA stations were copied during 42 different minutes.
- The PSKreporter website reported that 7 stations in Japan copied K1HTV.
- 126 lines of data were received from Japanese stations.
- 2-Way QSOs were completed with JH4UYB and JG1TSG.

"During the UTC June 9/10, 2017 opening, 3 or more JA stations were
copied during their one minute transmit periods at:

UTC  - Nr. of stations
2243 - 7
2247 - 4
2249 - 5
2305 - 10
2307 - 8
2309 - 6
2311 - 4
2313 - 4
2315 - 8
2317 - 7
2319 - 8
2321 - 5
2323 - 5
2325 - 4
2335 - 5
2339 - 3

"The second 50 MHz opening between Japan and the K1HTV QTH occurred
on June 25 but was much shorter than the one earlier in the month,
lasting only 10 minutes. Again, using the JT65 mode, the first
station, JP1LRT, was copied at 2325Z and the last copied, ten
minutes later at 2335Z was JA7QVI. Using the JT65 mode, 7 different
JA stations were received, JP1LRT, JO1ALS, JK1SQI, JM1IGJ, JE1BMJ,
JN1GTG and JA7QVI. I was unable to make any 2-Way QSOs during this

"Earlier in the month on June 12th at 1450Z, I copied a CQ by 4X4DK
in Israel on the 50.276 MHz JT65 frequency. But his signals quickly
disappeared in a few minutes before a QSO could be made.

"On June 19, JT65 transmissions from TY2AC in Benin were copied at
1216, 1220 and 1252 UTC. After completing a QSO with another
station, Nic copied my call but lost commercial power and the use of
his PA. He came back on the air running only 100 Watts using a small
backup generator, but was too weak to copy here. By the time
commercial power was restored, the propagation had changed, so the
contact could not be completed.

"The next day, June 20, was another exciting but frustrating day on
the Magic Band. I copied 9K2OD in Kuwait calling CQ at 1324 and 1326
UTC. After a fellow PVRC member, John, K3AJ, worked Osama, I again
called. 9K2OD reported on the cluster that he had heard me, but we
were unable to complete the 2-Way QSO because the propagation had
changed and his JT65 signal faded into the noise.

"I can't wait for the K1JT software development team to complete
their work on a new digital mode that can better handle rapidly
changing multi-hop propagation that is experienced by 6 Meter

And finally, a report from Scott Bidstrup in Costa Rica:

"The latest on propagation from down here in the single-digit

"This year's sporadic-E season on 6 meters here in Central America
at least, has been short but spectacular. It began way later than
usual, but certainly made up for lost time, with reliable openings
into W4, starting around the end of May. By the end of the first
week in June, we had been seeing propagation into Europe on an
almost daily basis, at least until about a week ago, when the
openings have begun to die down, both in frequency and intensity.

"Phil Phillips, TI5/N5BEK and I have been taking full advantage of
this, with my working two new European countries on 6m and his
working several more, sometimes working the same stations for
several days running. The first European opening of the season this
year was a spectacular one, which, of course, happened during my
morning nap - when I got up and came into the shack to check the
decodes in the activity window on WSJT-X, I astonished and dismayed
to discover that I had just missed working both Gibraltar and
Slovenia - proof positive that, on 6m at least, when you snooze, you
can sure lose. Big time.

"In discussing this during our early morning coffee klatch on 75m a
few days ago, Phil and I concluded that it's not that the band has
been in spectacularly good shape this year, in fact it's probably
been poorer than in most recent years. Rather, it's been that the
JT65 protocol makes the very weak openings sufficient to establish
QSOs where none would have otherwise been possible on SSB or even
CW. Contacts into both Belgium and Germany this year with my
peanut-whistle station running 60 watts into a 5/8 vertical, would
not have been possible on SSB, and unlikely even on CW - but when a
QSO can be completed at a signal-to-noise ratio of -25dB, much more
is possible. JT65 has improved my 6m country and states totals
rather significantly this year, particularly for Europe. So far,
I've had only one SSB contact into Europe this year, but have had an
abundance of JT65 contacts. Increased states totals, too, have been
made possible by the use of JT65 - I've added several new states to
my total since getting on JT65 late last year. Even better results
will likely happen when the new, faster protocols that Joe Taylor is
working on, are finally ready for 6m prime time and become widely

"MSK144 via Es extension has produced some interesting results here
on 6m recently as well. There are very few stations on MSK144 within
one-hop range of me as you would expect (in fact, other than Phil, I
don't know of any), mostly because the population is so sparse
within the one-hop range, so trying to do meteor scatter within the
one-hop range is pretty much a waste of time, and trying to do a
coincident double-hop means working against the stubborn laws of
probability. I've left the receiver running for a week at a time and
have not seen a single decode other than tests and CQs from Phil.

"But when there is heavy sporadic-E activity along the Gulf Coast,
the situation can be quite different - decodes of Stateside
stations, usually in the Midwest, can occur with regularity, and
Phil has managed several contacts with that method, though I have
not managed it yet so far. I was the first to see a signal (from
NZ8D), and try as we might, we were not able to complete, but Phil
was the first to manage a two-way contact via this mode from here.

"Clearly what is happening is the meteor burst near us is being
extended via another hop with the aid of a sporadic-E cloud over the
northern Gulf of Mexico. So far as I know, Phil's success with this
mode is the first from Central America.

"The low bands haven't been anything to write home about lately, as
one might expect from the rather dismal solar activity. Tuning
around the 20m band in mid-day has revealed our mid-day blackout,
particularly intense in the summer months, to be reduced in
intensity compared to recent years - doubtless the result of a
lessening of the intensity of the D-layer ionization that causes it.

"Occasional signals, mostly from South America and Western Europe
occasionally hit S9, which is pretty good for our mid-day break, but
there simply aren't a lot of them. Frequently I can tune from one
end of 20m to the other and never hear more than a half dozen
signals, and those from the States are typically in the S3-S6 range.
What a contrast from my memories of the peak of Cycle 19 as a child,
when I could tune across any band and never hear a gap anywhere from
one end of the band to the other, on any band I tried. But that was
at higher latitudes (southern Idaho). The good news is that this
year, the mid-day break has been beginning later and ending earlier
than in past years.

"A quick tune across both 15m and 10m as I am writing this at 1230
in the afternoon failed to reveal a single signal on either band.
It's beginning to look like it's 20m or nothing these days,
particularly at mid-day. A check of 17m revealed a single JT9
signal. That was it. Under conditions like this, it's gotta be
monster beams or forget it. But a bit later in the day, when the
D-layer absorption has gone down, the band will open into Europe and
signals can become quite strong, even spectacularly so at times. One
must be patient.  And take one's naps at midday - and hope that 6m
doesn't open while you're doing it.

"73, Scott Bidstrup TI3/W7RI"

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email the author at

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service web page at, For an explanation of
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
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bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for June 22 through 28, 2017 were 23, 22, 28, 20,
19, 17, and 13, with a mean of 20.3. 10.7 cm flux was 73.7, 73.7,
74.1, 73.7, 73.7, 74.1, and 72.1, with a mean of 73.6. Estimated
planetary A indices were 6, 5, 9, 11, 7, 5, and 5, with a mean of
6.9. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 8, 6, 8, 11, 9, 5, and 5,
with a mean of 7.4.


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