Propagation News – 14 June 2020

| June 12, 2020

Well, we’ve finally got a good Solar Cycle 25 sunspot to talk about! Region 2765 was a big one with a number of spots appearing, taking the sunspot number to 17 at one point. But by the time it had rotated into the centre of the Sun, the spot had started to decline a little. While the sunspot had little effect on HF propagation, it is a good sign that we are moving in the right direction.

Meanwhile, HF propagation continued to be dominated by sporadic E, often with good multi-hop paths bringing in DX. J69DS and J68HZ in St Lucia were both on 10m FT8 at 1430UTC on Tuesday, the 9th, and other Caribbean contacts were also reported. An elevated solar wind stream helped to disturb our geomagnetic field with the Kp index rising to three at times. Next week NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain around 70, with geomagnetic conditions remaining calm. The Kp index is predicted as being around two all week. Finally, do make the most of the sporadic E season as conditions are likely to decline a little once we leave June.

VHF and up

The weekend’s unsettled weather should be followed briefly by a weak high from Sunday to Tuesday, then back to largely unsettled weather for the rest of the week. This means only a brief period of tropo is possible early next week, particularly for paths across the North Sea and the Channel into Biscay. Otherwise, the weather patterns suggest that rain scatter will feature strongly and hopefully produce some good conditions on the microwave bands.

The ‘go-to’ mode is, of course, sporadic E at this time of year. This has been good at times, but mostly for digital modes where the bulk of the activity now lies. Let’s hope that in this peak part of the sporadic E season we can get some good openings to encourage CW and SSB operation. Certainly the jet stream pattern looks favourable as we ended this week, but it is not clear if it lasts into next week. Regardless, remember to check mid-morning and late afternoon or early evening for signs of activity.

Moon declination goes positive again on Sunday, the 15th, but with apogee on the same day, path losses are at their highest. 144MHz sky temperatures are low, so combined with lengthening Moon windows, EME conditions will improve as the week progresses.

June continues to be an active time for meteor scatter operations. The high on-air activity levels due to lockdowns mean that meteor scatter QSOs have been plenty, despite no major showers until the June Bootids, on the 27th.

Category: GB2RS Propagation News