Propagation News – 10 October 2021

| October 8, 2021

Solar activity has dipped a little over the last two weeks. From a solar flux high of 102 on the 20th of September, activity declined to the mid-80s and stayed there. That isn’t to say that HF activity has been poor. Far from it. There are numerous reports of DX being worked, including S9OK on Sao Tome and Principe. The Czech DXpedition, off the coast of western Africa, has been logged on many bands and continues to be popular. Ten metres has thrown up SSB contacts into Brazil, Chile and Uruguay for many, and openings to the Far East at times. Autumnal HF conditions are driving the DX, rather than the solar flux index. Maximum usable frequencies over a 3,000km path are often above 24 or even 28MHz in the afternoons.

Next week is looking like more of the same, with NOAA predicting a solar flux index of 85, declining to 75 later in the week. Having said that, the STEREO Ahead spacecraft is highlighting two active regions due to rotate into view that may or may not develop into sunspots, so NOAA’s forecast may turn out to be pessimistic.

The good news is that a decline in coronal hole activity means the Kp index may remain low, perhaps down to two, which may result in continued settled geomagnetic conditions.

As always, we maintain that October is one of the best months for HF DX, so do make the most of it.

VHF and up

High pressure this weekend should be producing good Tropo conditions for the southern half of the country, but probably peaking on Saturday the 9th. It is likely to return at times after mid-week as high pressure becomes more dominant over the country.

Remember that Tropo can be long-lasting, as opposed to brief Sporadic-E openings, and it is often better on higher frequencies, so if 2m feels good then look at 70cm and 23cm too. It is worth looking up on, checking out some of the useful beacons across DL, OZ, SM, SP, LY, YL, and ES and getting them in your rig memories. In the second part of the week Tropo is more likely to favour the western side of the UK and support paths south to France or Spain.

Other modes such as rain scatter, aurora and meteor scatter are worth checking and of course you have a number of opportunities using the low earth orbit and geostationary satellites to keep you interested.

The Draconids meteor shower peaked on Friday and we have the small delta-Aurigids, with a low ZHR of two, peaking on the 11th.

For EME enthusiasts, the SV5/HB9COG DXpedition to Rhodes is now over, with the team making QSOs on all bands from 432MHz up to 10GHz with just a lightweight 1.5metre portable dish and a single Yagi.

Moon declination reaches minimum on Tuesday with the Moon barely reaching 11 degrees elevation at its zenith that day. Path losses are still low but increasing.

Category: GB2RS Propagation News