Propagation News – 14 February 2016

| February 12, 2016

This past week saw an increase in the solar flux index, helped along by a gaggle of sunspots. The SFI hovered around 117 mid-week which, when coupled with relatively settled geomagnetic conditions, brought some life to the upper HF bands. Andy, M0NKR reported working Japan on 20 metres from his car at lunchtime using a monoband whip and 150 watts. Australia has also put in an appearance on 10m at times.

Next week, NOAA predicts the solar flux index will be around 110 to 115, with generally settled geomagnetic conditions. There is the chance of unsettled conditions later in the week with the K-index predicted to hit four on Thursday and/or Friday. This is due to a high-speed solar wind stream from a recurring coronal hole. So the message is, get your DXing efforts in earlier in the week.

The critical frequency as measured by the Chilton Ionosonde was 8.6MHz at noon on Wednesday the 10th. This translates to an estimated maximum useable frequency of 31MHz over a 3,000km path and explains why DX was to be found on 10 metres. It may be worthwhile keeping an eye on 28MHz this week to see if the good conditions continue.

VHF and up propagation news

It’s been a poor winter overall for tropo and there are few glimmers of hope in the coming week. After we have shunted the cold wintry weather into the continent, indications are that it will be Monday when a ridge of high pressure moves into Ireland and western Britain. This will migrate eastwards across the country, being replaced by low pressure again from Thursday onwards. This means that we may have a mid-week opportunity to get some marginal tropospheric enhancement on the VHF and UHF bands, before it fades away again.

This is not a particularly strong ridge and is unlikely to bring widespread good conditions. The best tropo prospects are reserved for the eastern Mediterranean, around Cyprus and Crete, and also from Portugal to the Azores and Canaries.

There is still no respite from the annual dip in meteor rates so early morning continues to be best time day for random meteor scatter operation.

The Moon declination increases all next week, reaching maximum on Thursday. So long moon windows, with associated low losses, means it’s a good week for Earth-Moon-Earth (EME) operation. If you aren’t equipped for EME, or Oscar Zero as the Moon is sometimes called, artificial satellite DX is always available. Maybe take this slow week as an excuse to try satellite operation.

Category: GB2RS Propagation News