Despite poor geomagnetic conditions, HF propagation for last weekend’s National Field Day was actually better than we forecast. Norfolk Amateur Radio Club even managed to contact New Zealand via the F layer on 40 metres. NFD was no doubt helped by sporadic E, which gave good propagation to Europe on most bands.
Speaking of sporadic E, there were some excellent openings on 10 metres earlier last week. Some of them were very short skip indeed, with reports of UK stations working the Netherlands and even the Orkney Islands.
If you haven’t been on 10 metres this season please do. In one morning a whole host of low power five watt beacons were audible from Austria, Italy, Germany, Belgium and Poland, along with FM repeaters from Switzerland, Poland and Germany. The rest of the band was full of CW, SSB and FT8 signals. This rather showed that you can have sporadic E openings despite a high-speed solar wind.
Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will remain around 70 again, but geomagnetic conditions will likely be more settled than last week due to a lack of substantial Earth-facing coronal holes.
The most reliable HF band for F-layer propagation remains 20 metres, with occasional 17 metre openings. But all the bands from 40 metres to 10 metres are benefiting from sporadic E and short skip this month so don’t miss out.
There have also been some reports of multi-hop sporadic E, which can take your signal even further afield, but more of that in the VHF section.
VHF and up:
It has been a classic first week of June for sporadic E, with CW, SSB and digital VHF QSOs to the Americas, although it has tailed off a bit now. Sporadic E has been good so far this month so continue checking every day, mid-morning and late afternoon, or early evening if your time is limited.
The weather patterns remain much the same into the first part of next week, but with the addition of a few showers, possibly thundery in the south particularly. This could be good for rain scatter on the microwave bands.
There will be a change from the more settled high-pressure weather after midweek with Atlantic lows starting to roll in once again. These should bring some stronger jet streams into western Europe, especially towards the Pyrenees, perhaps boosting sporadic E into Spain and the central Mediterranean.
Tropo has also been a feature recently and will continue to provide for a while as high pressure remains close by over northern Britain. Sea paths have performed well and this will remain the case with paths across the North Sea once again proving a good route into Europe.
The first half of June is also one of the best periods of the year for meteor scatter. Last week, two broad-peak showers coincided, so look for meteor scatter in between the sporadic E openings.
The moon’s declination is positive and rising to a maximum and with perigee on Thursday, a good week for EME. Only on Wednesday, when the Moon and the Sun are very close will sun noise be a problem.