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ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP044 (2020)

ARLP044 Propagation de K7RA

QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 44  ARLP044
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  October 30, 2020
To all radio amateurs 

ARLP044 Propagation de K7RA

Our sun is finally waking up.  Average daily sunspot number rose
this week from 15 to 17, which is nothing remarkable, but the
reporting week ended on Wednesday with a daily sunspot number of 36.
Average daily solar flux rose from 74.5 to 76.9.

The two sunspot regions currently visible, 2778 and 2779, have been
growing rapidly.  The total sunspot area in millionths of the solar
disc on October 27 to 29 were 140, 230 and 440.  Such activity has
not been seen since spring 2019, when the total sunspot area was
280, 300 and 410 on May 5 to 7, 2019.  Still further back, the last
time the sunspot area was higher than the 440 we saw on Thursday was
late September and early October, 2017, when sunspot area reached

You can find these old records here:

Predicted solar flux is 88 on October 30 and 31, which is
remarkable, then 82, 78, 75 and 72 on November 1 to 4, 74 on
November 5 to 7, 75 on November 8 to 12, 72 on November 13, 70 on
November 14 to 21, 74 and 72 on November 22 and 23, 70 on November
24 to 26, 72 on November 27, 74 on November 28 through December 4,
75 on December 5 to 9, 72 on December 10, and 70 on December 11 to

Predicted planetary A index is 8, 5, 12 and 8 on October 30 through
November 2, 5 on November 3 to 6, 10 on November 7, 5 on November 8
to 16, then 10, 8 and 12 on November 17 to 19, 18, 15 and 20 on
November 20 to 22, then 15, 10 and 8 on November 23 to 25, 5 on
November 26 to 27, 8 on November 28, and 5 on November 29 through
December 13.

F. K. Janda, OK1HH sends his geomagnetic activity forecast for the
period October 30 til November 25, 2020.

"Geomagnetic field will be
Quiet on:  November 5 to 7, 10 and 11
Quiet to unsettled on:  October 31, November 12 to 15
Quiet to active on:  October (30,) November (3 and 4, 8 and 9,) 16,
23 to 25 
Unsettled to active:  November (1 and 2, 17 to 19,) 21 and 22
Active to disturbed:  November 20

Solar wind will intensify on: October (30 and 31,) November (2,) 3
to 5, (18 to 20,) 21 to 25

Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement."

Note that OK1HH predicts disturbed conditions on the day prior to
the ARRL Phone Sweepstakes Contest.  But over that weekend, Friday
through Sunday, the NOAA/USAF prediction sees planetary A index at
18, 15 and 20.

I frequently check for
connections from CN87, my local grid square.  With the increasing
solar activity over the past couple of days I've seen worldwide 12
meter propagation via FT8 reported.

I also check the STEREO site at to
peek across the solar horizon to look for upcoming activity.  Right
now on Thursday night I see some big white blotches, in both the
southern and northern hemispheres indicating possible activity.

This report from Jeff, N8II in West Virginia on October 29:

"Today was a great day on 10 through 15 meters with the SFI reported
as high as 88!  I was slow to get started, but worked about 20
Europeans on 10 meters with some signals around S9!  At one point 4
out of 5 CW QSOs in a row were new band slots on 10M CW in my 4 year
old log:  Hungary, Ireland, Slovak Republic, and Montenegro, also
adding Serbia.  Some signals from England, Wales, and Italy were
still good copy past 1600Z.  Most 12M activity was FT8, but I did
work loud stations from France and Bulgaria.

In the CQWW Phone contest, I worked mainly 15M, but was peeking at
10M long enough to work 4 Italians quite early around 1325Z at the
same time there was sporadic E to Newfoundland Saturday.  I worked 3
French stations, plus OE2S in Austria, DL5L in Germany and the
loudest PI4DX in the Netherlands about S8 in the 1500Z hour Sunday.

I expected to hear no signals on 15M at the 0000Z start as it was
nearly 2 hours past sunset.  I was surprised to make 26 QSOs before
the band died past 0100Z. At the start there was sporadic E to
Florida and Cuba, and stations from southern SA were workable. Into
the Pacific, I worked 3 Hawaiians, New Zealand, and Queensland,

All weekend the K index was either 3 or 4 and especially Saturday it
hurt propagation to Europe despite an early opening to southern EU.
The most northern QSOs were Scotland and Poland.  But, there were
plenty of stations from Central and Western EU to work and late in
the opening I caught a big gun in the Ukraine.  The 250 kHz phone
band filled up by 1300Z.  I could tell prop to Germany was limited
and UK stations were not as loud as a normal recent day.  In fact,
Friday before the WW was one of the best EU openings of the season
so far.

In the afternoon many stations in SA were active, particularly from
Brazil and Argentina, but signals mid afternoon were weaker than
expected.  African signals from the Madeira and Canary Islands were
loud until about 1900Z.  I also worked 7Q6M in Malawi and ZS6TVB in
South Africa.  Over both days, conditions were often good to the
Middle East:  I logged Israel, Oman, Qatar, United Arab Emirates,
and Saudi Arabia, missing Lebanon which I had worked multiple times
the week prior.  The last stations worked were around 2340Z in

Sunday, conditions were better to EU and SA.  I started filling in
the Northern EU map working Belarus, UB7K in southern Russia,
Lithuania, OH0V in Aland Is., Sweden, Norway, and Denmark, missing 2
weak stations from Estonia.  After the band closed fairly late to
EU, there was an auroral sporadic E opening to Finland around 2000Z
working OH1F and OG6N about 3 KHz apart.

Band crowding was severe during the EU opening making it hard to
hear weaker signals.  I noticed USA big guns working EU stations I
could not hear or barely heard the last 90 minutes of the opening.
ZD7BG on St. Helena Island in the South Atlantic was very difficult
to work due to the pile up, but finally logged around 1915Z.  I kept
looking for Alaska, Japan, or north/east Pacific stations to no
avail due to the disturbed conditions both days.  SA stations were
workable an hour past sunset, but no new Pacific countries were

Jon Jones, N0JK of Lawrence, Kansas wrote:

"Last week's bulletin mentioned sporadic-E reported by Mike, KA3JAW
on 6 Meters October 17.

More sporadic-E appeared on 6 Meters the following week, and some
interesting links and propagation occurred.

On October 22, there was a major sporadic-E opening on 50 MHz across
the eastern half of North America.  The sporadic-E was able to link
to late afternoon TEP (trans-equatorial-propagation) on to Brazil.
Stations in New England and along the eastern seaboard were able to
work deep into Brazil.  This with a solar flux of only 75.

October 24 sporadic-E took place from the Heartland to the southeast
states in the evening on 50 MHz.  KF0M (EM17), N0LL (EM09) and N0JK
(EM28) made 6 Meter FT8 contacts to Georgia, Florida, and South
Carolina around 0030z (October 25 UTC).  Earlier I had sporadic-E on
10 Meters to Mexico, working XE1KK and XE1RK on 28.074 MHz FT8.

The following morning a very unusual opening took place on 6 Meters
around 1440z.  Trans-Atlantic multi-hop sporadic Es occurred from
New England to central Europe.  This is the first trans-Atlantic
October sporadic-E opening I am aware of.  Es are rare in October,
and a multi-hop trans-Atlantic opening of this magnitude is

Max White, M0VNG sent this from the UK concerning our sun's

The latest from Dr. Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW:

For more information concerning radio propagation, see and the ARRL Technical Information
Service 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

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at .

Sunspot numbers for October 22 through 28, 2020 were 11, 11, 11, 11,
17, 22, and 36, with a mean of 17.  10.7 cm flux was 74.9, 72, 72.1,
74.2, 75, 82.4, and 87.6, with a mean of 76.9.  Estimated planetary
A indices were 6, 12, 17, 15, 15, 9, and 12, with a mean of 12.3.
Middle latitude A index was 3, 10, 16, 9, 15, 7, and 9, with a mean
of 9.9.


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