QST de W1AW
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 40 ARLP040
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA October 1, 2004
To all radio amateurs
SB PROP ARL ARLP040
ARLP040 Propagation de K7RA
The sun was quiet this week. Average daily sunspot numbers fell over 31 points to 20.9, and average daily solar flux declined from last week over 11 points to 89.7. Geomagnetic conditions were very stable though, which is always good. Conditions for the near term look the same, but with a slowly increasing solar flux and sunspot numbers. 90 is the predicted solar flux for October 1-2, 95 for October 3-4, and solar flux is expected to pass 200 around October 7. Quiet geomagnetic conditions should prevail over the next two days, with a rise to only slightly unsettled conditions for October 3-5.
Kangaroo Tabor Software has a new version of the real-time propagation monitoring software for the PC, called "GeoAlert Extreme Wizard." You can download a temporary version good for a 60-day trial at, http://www.taborsoft.com/gawiz.
This program monitors solar flux and geomagnetic indices, and displays them in real time. One really neat feature is the ability to draw real time MUF maps centered on your location. These are world maps with colored areas corresponding to each amateur band. A glance at the map tells you the approximate best band to use to reach anywhere in the world. It calculates this using the VOACAP engine.
Comments in the previous two bulletins about using beacon signals to determine when 10-meters is actually open when nobody appears to be using the band elicited a huge email response.
Thomas Giella, KN4LF sent a message about PropNET, an automatic beacon network that operates on 10-meters at 28.128 MHz. There are both regular packet and PSK31 networks described at, http://w2ev.rochesterny.org/PropNET/, which has a title at the top of the page that reads, "If the band is open and no one is transmitting, does anybody hear it?" Chuck Bridges, AK6DV sent in a link to PropNET at, http://www.rochesterny.org/beaconet/propnet/.
Vincent Varnas, W7FA of Portland, Oregon wrote to say he works the Southern Hemisphere regularly on 10-meters, even when he can't hear any beacons. He usually calls CQ around 28.345 or 28.495 MHz. During sporadic-E season this summer, he worked the east coast as late as 0600z on 10-meters. He says he can work 10-meters even when the solar cycle is low, and when the band is marginal he will often hear loud signals that will fade to nothing, then come back to S9 a few minutes later.
Mike Williams, W4DL of South Florida had to run outside and take down antennas before the next hurricane, but said he also likes to use beacons, on both 10 and 6-meters. Lately he finds 1800z to be the best time for him, and he regularly works the northeast U.S. and the Caribbean, although the openings are short lived.
Also Bernie McIvor, VK4EJ wrote to say he has been working many low power SSB stations on 10-meters from all over North America. He noted "Good strong signals from folk with 25 watt radios and dipoles and verticals," and said even if the band sounds dead and you don't hear beacons, "Don't give up! Call CQ." He recommends staying between 28.3-28.5 MHz on phone when the band isn't active, so you have more chance of being discovered.
Jack Fisher, K2JX wrote to say that recently there was great propagation on 12-meters according to the beacon signals he heard, and the only two live operators audible were two DX stations with S-9 signals complaining that the band was dead! I used to read advice to newcomers to listen instead of calling, but if everyone is listening instead of calling, nobody communicates with anyone.
Allen Sherwood, K6USN said he was ZK1USN in the South Cooks last November, and he tried 10-meter FM. Several times, he brought up 10-meter repeaters in Chicago and Dallas, but his call of "ZULU KILO ONE UNIFORM SIERRA NOVEMBER listening" brought only kerchunks in response, no calls from anyone.
Tim Lanners, N9RET wrote that he operates a 10-meter beacon in Illinois (on 28.2335 MHz) that was mentioned in last year's Propagation Forecast Bulletin ARLP045, dated November 7, 2003. He said he enjoys getting QSL cards and reports for his beacon station, and wants to tell us about the "hfbeacons" email list, dedicated to operating and listening for HF beacon stations.
You can get details on the list by sending what I presume is just a blank email to firstname.lastname@example.org and/or email@example.com.
Geoff, GM4ESD says that he keeps his receiver tuned to around 28.2 MHz when he is not actively listening or on the air from his location in Scotland at 56.31 deg N, 3.08 deg W. He hears ZS6DN almost daily from 1100-1400z and sometimes from 1600-1700z with good copy, even at one watt sometimes. After 1700z he hears LU beacons. The majority of the time when he is copying South Africa and South America, he hears no live signals on the band, except E-skip from Europe.
If you would like to comment or have a tip, email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information concerning propagation and an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin see the ARRL Technical Information Service propagation page at, http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html.
Sunspot numbers for September 23 through 29 were 19, 15, 24, 22, 22, 22 and 22 with a mean of 20.9. 10.7 cm flux was 90.2, 89.4, 89.5, 89.5, 89.8, 89.9 and 89.8, with a mean of 89.7. Estimated planetary A indices were 12, 6, 5, 4, 5, 8 and 5, with a mean of 6.4. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 10, 5, 2, 2, 2, 5 and 3, with a mean of 4.1.