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ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP044 (2014)

ARLP044 Propagation de K7RA

QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 44  ARLP044
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  October 31, 2014
To all radio amateurs 

ARLP044 Propagation de K7RA

Strong solar activity continued this week, with average daily
sunspot numbers rising 36 points to 119.9 and average daily solar
flux up 24 points to 198. The X-Ray background flux from GOES-15 has
ranged from C1.2 to C2.6 since October 19. RWC Prague predicts a
range from B2.0 to C1.5 from October 31 through November 6.

You can see daily X-ray flux at It also shows for
each day the number of new sunspot regions which appeared, and on
October 30 there were four new regions and the sunspot number was
121. This is the highest number of new regions to appear on any day
since August 14, when there were four, on December 31, 2013 when
there were also four new ones, and August 7, 2013, and April 5 2013.
Way back on January 4, 2013 five new regions appeared in one day.

If you are recording solar flux and sunspot data into a personal
archive, you will be happy to know that the DRAO site in Penticton
has their archive of solar flux data now current, and updated three
times per day. You can find it at
and at for
the html copy. The data has been updated infrequently over the past
couple of months.

You can also download an update from of the data file for Scott
Craig's solar data plotting utility. A new data file through October
29, 2014 is now up. It replaces the April 3, 2014 file. You can
update the data file weekly using Scott's program with new copies of
this bulletin. This gives you daily solar flux and sunspot numbers
stretching back over a quarter century, to January 1, 1989.

The Solar Data Plotting Utility only runs on the Windows operating
system, on all versions through Windows Xp. I currently use it in Xp
mode in Windows 7.

Our updated prediction has daily solar flux at 130 on October 31
through November 2, 125 on November 3-4, 120 on November 5-7, 160 on
November 8, 165 on November 9-10, 175 on November 11-12, then
peaking at 200 on November 19-20, and reaching a low of 110 on
December 12.

Predicted planetary A index is 12 on October 30, 8 on October 31
through November 4, 12 on November 5, 8 on November 6-7, 5 on
November 8-9, 8 on November 10-11, then 5 and 8 on November 12-13,
12 on November 14-15, then 22, 15 and 10 on November 16-18, and 8 on
November 19-21.

OK1HH sees quiet to unsettled geomagnetic conditions on October 31,
quiet conditions November 1, mostly quiet November 2, quiet to
unsettled November 3, quiet on November 4, quiet to active November
5, active to disturbed November 6, mostly quiet November 7, quiet to
unsettled November 8, quiet November 9, mostly quiet November 10-11,
quiet to unsettled November 12, mostly quiet November 13-14, quiet
to unsettled November 15, mostly quiet November 16, active to
disturbed November 17, quiet to active November 18, quiet to
unsettled November 19, mostly quiet November 20-22, quiet on
November 23, quiet to active November 24, and back to quiet on
November 25-26.

Conditions should be good this weekend for ARRL CW Sweepstakes. It
begins at 2100 UTC Saturday, November 1 and runs until 0259 UTC
Monday, but is limited to 24 hours. This is the weekend that
Daylight Saving Time ends so for those of us on the West Coast, that
actually runs from 2:00 PM PDT Saturday until 6:59 PM PST Sunday.
UTC Time is constant, so don't worry about any notion of gaining an
hour that the rest of the country considers when moving the clocks
back by 60 minutes on Sunday at 2:00 AM local time.

The Phone weekend for ARRL Sweepstakes is two weeks later.

If you are not a contester, it might be fun to give out contacts to
the bleary eyed hungry hordes in the last few hours of the event
when things have quieted down and those still participating are
desperate for new ones. You should get plenty of attention. For more
details, check

Often late in the contest casual operators showing up this late may
be confused about their ARRL Section, and give their state instead.
For most states, this works, but in some states it is a bit more
complicated. Check
for a map, and you'll see that California is divided into nine

For a more detailed description, check .

A week ago on October 24 Fred Honnold, KH7Y sent this: "Yesterday
starting at 2200 UTC worked many W6 and W7 stations some were 20
over S9 on 6 meters. I also worked TX, OK, NM, AZ and NV, all F2
propagation. I was spotted by JA, BV during this opening on back
scatter. Also many XE1, 2 and PY, LU, CX, ZP, CE worked and later on
in the evening VK, DU, ZL, and KG6."

Today Fred reported: "6 meters has been open every day, good
openings in the morning to South America, Some to the southern part
of the mainland. So far this month W6, W7, W5, XE1, 2 and 3, HK,
PJ4, CX, ZP, CP, LU, PY, CE, ZL, YJ0, VK, DU, 9M2, KG6, V73, FK8,
E51, T30, JA. So October has been great on 6 meters from KH6.

"The Sun sure went crazy there for 6 days or so. Looks like it is
going back to sleep. Will be interesting to see what next March,
April will bring. Those long path QSOs are really fun to make."

James French, W8ISS of Lincoln Park, Michigan sent this message last
Saturday: "I posted a picture I took last Thursday during the
partial eclipse. Even for what I got, you can easily see Sunspot
grouping 2192 there.

"See, .

"Taken with a Samsung M575 cell phone held up to the eyepiece of a
4-inch Meade Reflector."

An interesting article about magnetic reconnection converting
magnetic energy into explosive particle energy, came from Jim
Henderson, KF7E of Queen Creek, Arizona:

Scott Bidstrup, TI3/W7RI, wrote: "Here's an item that suggests
recent research is explaining the mechanisms behind solar flares,
and may make it possible to predict solar flares themselves, not
just the probability of them."

On October 26 Scott Bidstrup also wrote, "Propagation here in the
equatorial region has been much improved with the recent spate of
solar activity - the recent series of flares from the giant sunspot
region 2192 has raised the 304a radiation from the Sun, along with
long-wave X-radiation, and the F2 layer has responded accordingly.
The 10m PSK window has looked like the 20m window usually does -
packed wall to wall with digimode signals, mostly Europeans, but
with a lot of W4s and W5s as well. The rest of the upper HF bands
have been similarly crowded. Sure is good to see all those strong
signals after the recent doldrums.

"The presence of a lot of Stateside signals on 10m here has bode
well for 6 meters - JAs working into LU, CX and CE have become
almost a nightly occurrence. Remi, FK8CP, with his usual
persistence, has been working a lot of stations throughout the
Americas, Canada all the way to Chile, and there have been
occasional contacts between VK/ZL stations and the west coast of the
U.S. Last night, Remi's signal here in Costa Rica was an S9 for more
than two hours on and off.

"6m transequatorial openings from the Caribbean and Central America
into South America have been happening nightly, to the point where
the activity has dropped off noticeably simply because of everyone
having worked everyone else already - several times, in fact.
Occasionally, openings have begun as early as ten in the morning
till well past bedtime, on and off. On the DX maps, I've been seeing
occasional 6m contacts ducted along the Transequatorial Anomaly, too
- though, sadly, none have happened from here in Costa Rica. We've
even had a few Es openings from here into Venezuela and the Windward
Islands, though. Phil, TI5/N5BEK, reports hearing the PR8ZIX beacon
from mid-morning until late in the day, almost every day. It's so
frequent, he rarely bothers to even spot it anymore.

"73 from Costa Rica where it's finally drying out. The rainy season
is ending. Thank goodness! I can get some antenna work done!"

More 6 meter news from Rich Zwirko, K1HTV: "On October 21, with the
SFI hovering just below 200 we had some 6 Meter TEP to South
America. From my FM18ap Virginia QTH I worked two stations in
Uruguay, CX8DS on SSB and CX9AU on CW. Also heard were the LU2EE/B
and LU7YSb CW beacons.

"The following UTC day, October 22nd will be one that I will long
remember. I was chasing W1AW/7 and W1AW/8 on the HF bands when I
noticed a DX Cluster spot from WZ8D in Ohio that he had just worked
a New Caledonia station on 6 Meters. I tuned to 50.110 MHz and there
was FK8CP on CW. A quick call and at 0324Z (11:24 EDT, Oct 21) FK8CP
was in the K1HTV log. Remi was my 6M DXCC country #155. I quickly
called W3LPL in MD and a few minutes later Frank worked FK8CP, as
well as did his neighbor Bernie, W3UR, both in FM19.

"A few minutes later FK8CP, now on SSB, was on a different frequency
calling CQ. I called Remi on SSB and he said, 'You are already in my
log.' He continued calling CQ North America on both CW and SSB. His
signal varied from just at the noise level to S4. Remi was last
heard at my FM18ap Virginia QTH at 0415Z. In all, FK8CP was heard
here, for 55 minutes!

"Later that same Oct. 22 UTC date around 2340Z I heard ZL1RS on CW
for about 10 seconds. Dave, N4DB, who is 102 miles south of me heard
ZL1RS for about 2 minutes and was able to work him. Thirty-five
minutes later Dave also worked FK8CP. At that time I could hear
nothing from FK8CP. Talk about the 6 Meter spotlight effect! The
Magic Band can be that way.

"A few days later on October 25th on 6 Meters I worked CT1HZE and
EA4SV. Not sure if it was F2 because I was also hearing the VO1SEP/B
CW beacon at the same time, leading me to think that it may have
been Es propagation. With the SFI varying from around 180 to 218 for
over a week I wouldn't be surprised to see some loud E-W F2 skip
coming into the Mid-Atlantic area in the next week or so. Hope so!"

And finally, Jon Jones, N0JK wrote, "One unusual occurrence this
October has been the prevalence of sporadic-E propagation on 6
meters. There has been sporadic-E on a majority of the days so far
this month. A particularly intense Es opening on 6 meters took place
on Monday morning October 27. Es was present over 4 hours from the
Midwest states to New England, New York and New Jersey on 6 meters.
The 8 watt N2GHR/B FN30 beacon 50.078 MHz was solid copy during this
period for me in EM28, and K2MUB FN20 was 40 dB over S-9. This
opening created some Es links to F2 earlier for stations in New
England to Europe. Es was spotted between W1 and VO1, and then W1
stations linked on to western Europe.

"On Wednesday evening (October 29 UTC), a sporadic-E cloud over
western Nebraska set up an Es link from W8, W9 and W0 on via TEP to
FK8CP on 6. Many northern 8, 9 and 0 stations were able to work New
Caledonia that evening. W9RM DM58 heard the eastern stations via Es,
he is on the great circle path from them on out to FK8. The October
sporadic-E created interesting DX opportunities for many 6 meter

"Typically sporadic-E is very rare on 6 meters in October, only the
month of March has less Es.

"To clarify I am referring to sporadic-E propagation on 50 MHz in
the northern hemisphere mid-latitudes. Not aurora associated Es,
equatorial Es or in the southern hemisphere.

"I am unsure of any direct connection between the higher solar flux
and solar activity and the sporadic-E occurrence. The higher solar
flux did raise F2 MUFs and brought the TEP zone where 50 MHz signals
may be propagated further north."

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers,
email the author at,

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service web page 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 October 23 through 29 were 126, 147, 115, 138,
120, 109, and 84, with a mean of 119.9. 10.7 cm flux was 227.1,
217.8, 219.3, 216.6, 187.8, 167.2, and 150.4, with a mean of 198.
Estimated planetary A indices were 11, 11, 10, 12, 14, 14, and 9,
with a mean of 11.6. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 8, 9, 9,
11, 15, 11, and 7, with a mean of 10.


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