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ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP035 (2003)

ARLP035 Propagation de K7RA

QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 35  ARLP035
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  August 29, 2003
To all radio amateurs 

ARLP035 Propagation de K7RA

Sunspot counts were up this week, but so were geomagnetic indices.
Average daily sunspot numbers rose 33% over last week and the
average daily planetary A index was up 18%. Solar flux remained
about the same. This week didn't have an extremely stormy day, such
as August 18 last week, but the higher A indices were sustained
through the week. Active geomagnetic conditions declined through the
week, with the most active days August 21-23 (our reporting week
runs Thursday through Wednesday). The active days started August 21
because that is when the earth entered a high-speed solar wind,
which continued over the next few days.

The moderate conditions should continue through this weekend. The
latest reading predicts a planetary A index of 12 for August 29-31,
Friday through Sunday. Monday has a predicted planetary A index of
10, but Tuesday, September 2 may become active again, based upon
recurring conditions from the previous rotation of the sun. Solar
flux is expected to remain around 125 through September 1, and then
rise gradually to around 135 for September 3-4.

The days are getting shorter, and soon it will be the fall DX
season, bringing better conditions. The higher frequencies should be
opening during the day and 80 and 40 meters will open earlier and
more reliably after dark. As an example, over the path from
California to Japan, a month ago 10 meters offered no reliable
communication. Currently 10 meters may have an opening on some days
from around 2100-0430z. But around the equinox, the same California
to Japan path on 10 meters looks quite good, with much stronger
signals and reliable openings from 2130 to 0130z.

On the new 60 meter band from California to Georgia, a month ago
signals were very strong from sundown on the west coast until
sunrise at the east end. Strongest signals would be from 0400-1030z,
with reasonable openings as early as 0130 and as late as 1230z.
Currently the strongest signals should run from around 0330-1100z,
with possible openings from 0030-1300z. Around the third week in
September, strongest results should be from 0300-1100z, with
openings generally good from 0000-1330z. September will also have
much lower atmospheric noise on the lower frequencies.

One caveat about the equinox. During this phase of the solar cycle,
although HF propagation should be better, there is also a greater
chance of severe geomagnetic storms and aurora. This is because
around late September the interplanetary magnetic field near earth
tips far to the south. This makes the earth vulnerable to solar
wind. For more on the interplanetary magnetic field and how it
affects geomagnetic conditions, see .

For more information on propagation and an explanation of the
numbers used in this bulletin see the Propagation page on the ARRL
Web site at .

Sunspot numbers for August 21 through 27 were 86, 126, 125, 132,
146, 124, and 116, with a mean of 122.1. 10.7 cm flux was 119.2,
120.9, 120.2, 116.4, 116.5, 120.8, and 125.7, with a mean of 120.
Estimated planetary A indices were 53, 43, 44, 24, 21, 14, and 13,
with a mean of 30.3.


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