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ARRL Propagation Bulletin ARLP052 (2011)

ARLP052 Propagation de K7RA

QST de W1AW  
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 52  ARLP052
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA  December 23, 2011
To all radio amateurs 

ARLP052 Propagation de K7RA

Average daily sunspot numbers this week were about the same as last,
and average daily solar flux declined a little over eight points to
128.9.  Geomagnetic indicators were quiet. Average daily sunspot
numbers of 95.3 for the week is considerably below the average for
the previous 90 days, which was 120.8.

Solar flux has been climbing over the past week, after a low of
119.6 on December 17.  Predicted flux values for the near term are
145 on December 23, 140 on December 24-27, 145 on December 28-30,
dropping suddenly to 120 on December 31 through January 2, 125 on
January 3-4, 128 on January 5-8, and peaking at 130 on January 9-17.

Predicted planetary A index is 5 on December 23 through January 4, 8
on January 5-6, and 5 on January 7-21. This is from NOAA and the
U.S. Air Force Space Weather Operations.

There is another opinion, of course.  Geophysical Institute Prague
predicts quiet conditions December 23, quiet to unsettled December
24, active conditions December 25, unsettled to active December 26,
quiet to unsettled December 27, and quiet again on December 28-29.

Active conditions is quite different from an A index of 5, although
the NOAA/USAF outlook is at least 8 hours newer than the Prague
prediction. But looking back 24 hours earlier to the December 21
prediction, USAF/NOAA has nothing different on December 25, although
they do show an A index of 8 on December 29.

You can check
for the latest prediction, which is updated daily after 2100z.

The predicted maximum for the current sunspot cycle keeps increasing
and being moved closer, as detailed at  There is no
archive of these monthly (usually) announcements, but we've been
tracking the changes here.

Back on September 2 we reported the forecast for the peak had been
revised from June-July 2013 at 69 to May 2013 at 70. (This is a
smoothed, Geneva sunspot number, different than the higher scale
used in this bulletin.)  On October 7 our report noted a change to
77 in April 2013, then last month it changed to 89 in May 2013, and
the latest now predicts a maximum of 99 in February 2013.

We have more 10-meter reports. Al Kaiser, N1API of Meriden,
Connecticut says, "10 Meters continues to impress! This morning,
(12/16), here on the East Coast we had a long path opening into
Asia. I managed to work BD7LMD at 1333 UTC then followed by VR2XRT
at 1355 and BD7IS at 1402 on SSB Phone. There were also a number of
other Chinese and India stations spotted on both CW and phone. This
is the first time in my 33 year ham career that I can remember
hearing a long path opening into ASIA on 10 meters, though I have
heard some during the contests this year on 20 meters. I have had
some long path openings to VK and ZL on 10 meters this year though.

"VR2XRT was still calling and working NA Long path at 1515 UTC when
I had to shut down to go out for an appointment.  He was about 5X3
when I last hear him be probably still workable."

Referring to Propagation Forecast Bulletin ARLP050, Pat Dyer, WA5IYX
of San Antonio, Texas writes: "What KI4FW was hearing during the
10-m test was likely F2 backscatter. Lacking any short Es it's often
the only way to work the closer-in states.  With my 100-w and 3-el I
have to wait until no one else (on loud direct F2) is calling them
to even have a chance for any contact via that mode.  Residual
scatter from the Geminid meteor shower can give almost the same
effect at night during it on the QRO stations.

"Somehow the last two 10 meter tests I managed to win the low-power
single-op phone STX certificate.  With over twice as many Qs as last
year in it in 2011 I probably won't this time - conditions were
likely 'too good' with many high scores.  With all the QRM finding a
spot to sustain any run with 100-w is a challenge (even up at
28.7-28.8 MHz).  Also, some nasty RFI to me here for several hours
on Sunday cut into my operating time.  (My only past instances of
breaking 1k Qs in this occurred while I was still using paper logs -
the peak rates of 5 Qs/min are a bit exhausting doing it that way!)

"Anyway, a few rare (for me) things like 9M6YBG, DU1BP, and YB1AR
were caught."

Jon Jones, N0JK of Kansas made similar comments about backscatter.
"The stations Rick was hearing from 'locations nearby' on 10 meters
may have been propagated via F2 backscatter.

"They were probably KW stations with large antennas, though when
conditions are good, 100 watts and even less can work backscatter.
Using F2 backscatter is a great way to work those 'nearby' sections
inside your skip zone in the 10 meter 'test.'

"I heard K9CT in Illinois on 10 meter CW via F2 backscatter Sunday
afternoon here in Kansas. But my 100 watts and 'rain gutter' antenna
could not attract their attention. During the F2 opening on 6 meters
on September 26 I heard F2 backscatter stations in Florida, Texas,
Arizona and California."

Joe Schroeder, W9JUV of Glenview, Illinois wrote: "10 meter long
path has been phenomenal! On 10 CW this morning (12/16) I worked
four Chinese stations and VR2KF in Hong Kong between 1430Z and
1530Z. All had good signals, and BD7LMD hit S9 plus 10 dB on my
756Pro's meter.

"I suspect that KF4FW was hearing backscatter during the 10 meter
contest. During previous sunspot peaks on 6 meters we in Northern
Illinois would often hear 5s and 0s, weak but readable, working
Europeans we couldn't hear right over us; very frustrating! It was
backscatter for sure; turn the beam southwest and they'd be in the

Roland Anders, K3RA of Elkridge, Maryland wrote on December 16: "10
meters has been open on the east coast via long path to Southeast
Asia in the mornings from just after sunrise until 1530 or later.
E.g., this morning I started out with VR2KF on 10 CW at 1244, then
at 1319 worked BD7BMD on 10 SSB, followed by BD7IS and Charlie
VR2XMT in quick succession-all LP. Charlie has been on for several
mornings in a row on LP.  Then, also on SSB, I worked VU2DSI, Datta,
at 1329 and Sarla, VU2SWS at 1341-both LP.  At that point, I moved
to 20, and 9K2GS was booming in on the LP.  At 1422 I went back to
10 to work BA7LO on the LP.  Then to 17m meters for a while, then
back to 10 CW to work BD7NWF at 1522 and BA7IO at 1524 on the LP.

"Also, just about every evening I have been getting on 40 (CW
mainly) to work JAs and other Asian stations on the LP (beaming SSE)
and the JAs are usually coming through from about 2130Z until a
little after 2200Z. Opening is short, but I usually work anywhere
from 2-3 to a half dozen Asians-mostly JAs but some UA0, BV, BY, and
YB stations occasionally, and last night XU7SSB.

"At 0130, approximately, HZ0ZIN and HS0ZJU were quite good on 20 SSB
short path.  Around the same time, 4S7NE and several VUs including
VU2PAI have been very strong on the SP on 40m CW."

Tim Oppugner, K6GEP wrote, "Had a chance to guest-op the 10 meter
Contest at N6WIN (Force 12 C31XR Yagi with full legal limit amp),
and had a strange QSO. I was beaming Alaska at 340 deg at 2130z on
Sunday, and SM3PHM came back to me! That is 10:30 PM local time in
Sweden! Was this some kind of polar sneak-path?"

Tom Gallagher, N6RA of Santa Barbara, California wrote on December
18: "Yesterday I observed 10 meter long path for the first time in
my 56 years on the air. I noticed on the DX Summit that the East
Coast was reporting VR2XMT on the long path (28.495 SSB), so I
thought I would listen to see if I could hear him out here (I was
operating at the UTC Santa Barbara radio club station). Indeed I
could hear him (beaming short path with a Force 12 C4XR). I turned
the beam to South America and he got much louder (about S8 to S9)
and he came back with one call. He gave me a 55. (Running a barefoot
TS850 on this end). The time was 1605Z on 17 December. At 1614, I
worked VR2KF (559 both ways) on 10 CW-also long path. I've been
pondering what sort of propagation may have been involved. Perhaps
F2 to the south and then a link to TEP up to VR2?  It was well
before sunrise in VR2 (sunrise was 1500Z here in Santa Barbara. The
A and K indices were both zero, according to DX Summit.

"I'm also a 6 meter guy. I should have checked it, too. Oddly
enough, VR2XMT is my only VR2 on 6 - I worked him in November 2001,
the weekend of the incredible opening into Asia."

Oleh Kernytskyy, KD7WPJ had fun in the 10 meter contest, and
reports: "I would like to report good propagation at Salt Lake City,
Utah during ARRL 10 Meter Contest. I was able to make 81 QSOs on CW,
running 5 watts only and an indoor dipole. This includes ZM2V, ZM1A
and CE/K7CA."

Adrian Pollock, VK4OX in grid QG63kf worked VK3AMZ in grid QF22fe
via meteor scatter SSB on 432.36 MHz on December 14, 2011 between
1700-1830z, over a distance of 1457 km, or 905 miles. Both were
running 400 watts PEP output. VK4OX used 2 vertically stacked
horizontally polarized 26 element Yagis, and VK3AMZ used a single 13
element Yagi.

Adrian writes, "We were using pre-recorded voice messages similar in
format to FSK441, stored in a Meteor Scatter program called
'MultiKeyer.' We were using 15 second periods.

"The Geminids Meteor shower was predicted to be maximum this
morning. OH5IY and other programs predicted the best time for a QSO
between QG63kf and QF22fe as being 1730z to 1830z on 2011-12-14.
That was Thursday, 15th Dec between 0300 and 0430 my local time or
0400-0530 Melbourne time.

"We started at 1700z.  I got only a few pings in the first hour, but
no useful information."

He sent sound files recorded at both ends. He continues, "I had been
transmitting the same message, callsigns only, for over one hour. My
ripply transmit audio was caused by me having my monitor on and only
appears on the recording, not on my actual transmission. At 1808z I
receive a beautiful burst with both callsigns and a report. I change
my transmit message to mostly 'Roger 27' because I know that Arie
must have both callsigns, otherwise he would not be sending a

"Nothing for about 20 minutes then the best 'QSL' I have ever
received. This then, I believe, satisfied my requirements for a
valid SSB QSO."


Robert Miles, K9IL of Martin, Tennessee wrote: "Most of my effort
has been on 40 and 30 meters. They are the best I've heard in years.
Using a HyTower vertical and 500 watts I've worked a bunch of Asians
on 40m. My best has been 4S7. I use a homebrew 2 el Moxon Yagi on
30m. Recently worked VU, 9Y and DU. They all had 579 or better
signals. All of these were countries I've never heard before on 40m
or 30m."

Sometimes you will see items in the media about possible mass chaos
resulting from a large solar flare.  Check out another view at

I nearly neglected writing this bulletin because of a major
distraction provided by the entire run of the old "73 Magazine"
appearing online.  You can see them yourself at, complete with all the
wild and wacky editorials, although that is just a personal opinion.
Where else could you find musings about communications between UFOs,
the world according to Wayne, and all the other products of the
restless, peripatetic imagination of the publisher? Great stuff
(perhaps only in retrospect), or at the very least, provocative.
Some of the most enjoyable (to me) are the early advertisements for
2-meter FM gear, accompanying articles promoting VHF FM and
repeaters, and earlier ads for miracle antennas, such as the
Joystick. Or later in the seventies, when the publisher wrote of a
trip to California to check out an early microcomputer manufacturer,
knocked on the door of the suburban Los Altos home shown at where he was directed by the woman
of the house to the garage where he could find the two Steves at
work. If you go back more than 40 years and look hard enough, you
may even find a couple of articles of dubious technical quality,
springing from the fevered teenaged imagination of yours truly.
Thanks to WA5ZNU via for this.

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 Find more good
information and tutorials on propagation 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 December 15 through 21 were 44, 60, 95, 103,
133, 139, and 93, with a mean of 95.3. 10.7 cm flux was 124.2, 121,
119.6, 127.4, 128.2, 137.4, and 144.5, with a mean of 128.9.
Estimated planetary A indices were 0, 0, 0, 1, 4, 3, and 3, with a
mean of 1.6. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 2, 2, 2, 3, 6, 5,
and 5, with a mean of 3.6.


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