Propagation News – 3 March 2019

| March 1, 2019

The settled Sun came to an abrupt end on Thursday when the Kp index rose to five as a result of an elongated coronal hole on its surface. This sparked high-latitude auroras. It brought to an end a period of settled conditions, with the Chilton ionosonde showing MUFs struggling to reach much above 14MHz on Thursday morning.

Before this there was DX to be had if you stuck with it. Chris, G0DWV reports working T31EU Central Kiribati on 40m CW at 1750UTC. Another DX station that was sought after was FH/UA4WMHX on Mayotte, off the coast of Madagascar, which was worked on many HF bands by Mike, G4DYC during the week. Both Hawaii and Peru were worked on 40m in the morning by Andy, M0NKR.

Next weekend is the Commonwealth Contest with lots of stations on, so make the most of it, but don’t expect much above 14MHz.

NOAA has the solar conditions settled until Friday, 8 March 2019, when it expects the Kp index to rise to four or more, due to a coronal hole. This should be relatively short-lived as it should die down again shortly after. The solar flux index is pegged solidly at 71, so no surprises there.

As we head into March, expect conditions to improve slightly with better DX, although the lower bands may suffer with more daylight. This is a great time for north-south paths, such as the UK to South Africa, and UK to South America.

VHF and up

We’ve now seen the end of the extended tropo weather we’ve been enjoying, and are now in a very unsettled Atlantic weather pattern. Weather systems moving towards the British Isles will bring stronger winds and periods of rain or showers.

It’s hard to pinpoint a good weather propagation mode in this pattern, other than some occasional GHz bands rain scatter from showers or the more active cold fronts that happen to pass by. As usual there are many good radar displays, which can allow you to pick the most intense echoes.

Without tropo to boost activity, and still too early for traditional sporadic E, pickings may be thin. However, with such strong jet streams on the charts, especially across the Atlantic, there’s always a remote chance for a brief 28MHz path, but I wouldn’t take a day off work for it!

Meteor scatter conditions are still quiet until April, so just random meteors to keep us interested there.

The Moon is at apogee tomorrow and last Friday saw minimum declination. This week we have a daytime Moon and a week of lengthening Moon windows and falling losses.

Category: GB2RS Propagation News