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The K7RA Solar Update

Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Solar activity declined last week, and on Sunday, October 17, there were no sunspots at all. Most days had the minimum non-zero sunspot number, which is 11, indicating a single sunspot group containing a single sunspot.

Average daily sunspot number declined from 23.7 to 11.3, and average daily solar flux dropped 7 points from 85.6 to 78.6.

Geomagnetic indicators were quiet, with average planetary A index declining from 12.4 to 8.4, and average middle latitude A index from 10.1 to 5.4. No middle latitude A index was available for October 16 – 18, so middle latitude A index figures presented in this report are uneducated guesses on my part.

Despite the lower activity, I noticed frequent 10- and 12-meter openings here at my location in Seattle, via FT8.

Predicted solar flux appears lower too, with values at 82 and 83 on October 22 – 23; 84 on October 24 – 25; 85 on October 26 – 29; 88 on October 30; 85 on October 31 – November 11; 80 on November 12 – 20; 85, 90, 95, and 90 on November 21 – 24; 88 on November 25 – 26, and 85 through the end of November.

Predicted planetary A index is 8 on October 22; 5 on October 23 – November 1; 8 on November 2; 5 on November 3 – 5; 12, 10, and 8 on November 6 – 8; 5 on November 9 – 13; 12 on November 14 – 15; 8 on November 16 – 18; 5 on November 19 – 20; 10 on November 21; 5 on November 22 – 28, and 8 on November 29.

Here’s the geomagnetic activity forecast for October 22 – November 16 from F.K. Janda, OK1HH. The geomagnetic field will be:

quiet on October 27, November 3 – 5
quiet to unsettled on October 22 – 24, 26, 30 – 31, November 9
quiet to active on October 25, November 1, 6, 10 – 13
unsettled to active on October (28 – 29,) November (2,) 7 – 8, 14 – 16
Active to disturbed — Nothing predicted

Solar wind will intensify on October (22, 25,) 27 – 31, November 1, (8,)

9 – 10, (11)

Note: Parenthesis indicates a lower probability of activity enhancement.

On October 21 WB8VLC in Salem, Oregon, as well as posts on the Western Washington DX Club email list noted S-9 SSB signals on 15 meters from J5T in Guinea-Bissau.

WB8VLC sent an extensive list of contacts, and said, “10, 12, and 15 meters have sounded like 20 meter phone for the past month, and not listed are many 10- and 12-meter QSOs on SSB to South America and the Pacific that I haven’t included.

“Antennas all homemade: 10 meter, four-element Yagi at 30 feet, and a dual-band (12 and 15) Moxon at 23 feet. All QSOs use 400 to 500 W.”

Here’s a short list of a few of his contacts and his comments, all times in UTC:

2021-10-19

1517

FY5KE

10 M

28.019

CW

French Guiana

I hear him every week on 10 CW or 10 SSB since Sept 2021.

2021-10-18

0032

3D2AG

12 M

24.907

CW

Fiji

Antoine and I start on 10 CW then we move to 12 CW most weekends.

2021-10-18

0016

3D2AG

10 M

28.029

CW

Fiji

Antoine has been on every night for the past week on 10 and 12 CW.

2021-10-17

2143

E51JD

10 M

28.430

SSB

South Cook Islands

Jim has been on every week on 10 SSB since ~early September.

N0JK in Kansas wrote: “The afternoon of October 18 sporadic-E appeared over the east coast of North America. This allowed suitably located stations in W3, such as NZ3M, to make sporadic E transequitorial propagation contacts to Argentina. The Es continued after sundown.

“In eastern Kansas, I found 6 meters wide open after returning from dinner at 0010 UTC October 19. I made over a dozen FT8 contacts to W1, W2, W3, W4, and VE3. Best DX was WW1L FN54 at over 1,400 miles.

“October 21 is the peak of the Orionid meteor shower. I set up portable and was able to work N0LL/P in rare grid DN80 at 1142 UTC on 6-meter meteor scatter using MSK144.

“Larry Lambert, N0LL is operating portable from rare grid DN80 during the Orionid shower on 6 meters to help Fred Fish Memorial Award (FFMA) enthusiasts log a new one.

“He had a strong sporadic-E opening on 6 meters October 20, making contacts from VE2 across the eastern states around 1600 UTC, then west to California. His operation was planned to be primarily meteor scatter, but rare October sporadic-E let many stations work a rare grid square.”

Here’s yet another article concerning big solar activity and monster flares.

I like to check the STEREO mission for upcoming activity. I look out for the big white splotchy images just over the eastern solar horizon, which is on the left in the image.

On October 21 Spaceweather.com noted: “A new sunspot group is emerging over the sun’s southeastern limb. It is crackling with activity.”

Sunspot numbers for October 14 – 20 were 24, 11, 11, 0, 11, 11, and 11, with a mean of 11.3. The 10.7-centimeter flux was 83.4, 84, 77.6, 77.4, 75.9, 76, and 75.9, with a mean of 78.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 7, 6, 6, 10, 10, 14, and 6, with a mean of 8.4. Middle latitude A index was 6, 4, 3, 5, 6, 9, and 5, with a mean of 5.4.

For more information concerning radio propagation, visit the ARRL Technical Information Service, read “What the Numbers Mean…,” and check this propagation page by Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA.

A propagation bulletin archive is available. For customizable propagation charts, visit the VOACAP Online for Ham Radio website.

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are on the ARRL website. (arrl.org)

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