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Propagation News – 24 October 2021

After a week of sunspots and DX fun it looks like we are back in the doldrums again. The Sun currently has just one sunspot visible, meaning the sunspot number is 11. This represents one sunspot in one group.

There has been DX to be had, mostly thanks to DXpeditions, including Guinea Bissau, J5T, The Kingdom of Eswatini, 3DA0WW, and Sao Tome and Principe, S90K. These have been relatively easy to work and brought much-needed excitement to the HF bands.

Geomagnetic conditions have been mixed, with the Kp index hitting four on Tuesday. This was the result of a large coronal hole that was Earth-facing earlier in the week. Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will climb again to the high 80s, ending the week in the low to mid 90s. This is likely due to a large active region that is visible on the STEREO Ahead spacecraft’s imager and which should rotate into view over the next few days. This may bring a surge in activity again, which should be welcomed by HF operators.

VHF and up:

After a reminder of how unsettled Autumn can be, this weekend will see a weak and transient ridge crossing the country, and a possible brief Tropo window, especially to the east across the North Sea. Apart from that, the unsettled autumn flavour continues through the whole of next week and, as we have seen recently, that can mean some pretty wet and windy weather. Rain scatter on the GHz bands is, of course, an option in these conditions, but there is little else to bring cheer, unless meteor scatter and aurora come into play.

Today the Moon is at apogee, so EME path losses are at their maximum. Moon declination reaches maximum positive declination again on Tuesday so we’ll see the Moon reaching its highest elevations at its zenith.

The Orionids shower is still active and the Leonis Minorids peaks today, so there’s still some interest for meteor scatter enthusiasts. The best time for reflections is, as always, around dawn. (rsgb.org)

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