Propagation News – 8 January 2023

| January 6, 2023

Firstly, a happy New Year to all our listeners. Let’s hope that the propagation gods continue to smile on us in 2023!

The solar flux index is back near the 150 mark having seen a low of 128 on 23 December and a recent high of 165 on New Year’s eve.

Geomagnetic conditions had been mainly settled. That was until the Kp index hit five on the fourth thanks to a fast-moving enhanced solar wind. This may have come from an Earth-facing coronal hole on the Sun’s equator.

Propagation-wise, conditions have been good, but not exceptional. The main DX station on the bands has been Thierry, FT8WW on Crozet Island off the coast of South Africa. Thierry has been very active on FT8 and CW, but the pileups have been massive.

Next week, NOAA predicts that the solar flux index will remain in the range of 140-150. Geomagnetic conditions should remain quiet with no visible coronal holes coming into view at the time of writing. Expect the Kp index to be around two to three.

And finally, don’t forget the low bands, including 160 and 80 metres, which tend to come into their own at this time of year. Look for a night-time path between the UK and the DX, and also consider enhancements just before sunrise for signals from the West.

VHF and up

The main weather theme for the next week is once again a continuation of low-pressure systems crossing the country with periods of strong winds and rain.

This suggests that tropo produced by high pressure will not feature again this week. It does, however, make rain scatter a possibility on the GHz bands, either from active frontal systems or from showery weather that these systems bring.

The unsettled weather is being driven by an active jet stream pattern, which offers good opportunity for ‘out of season’ Sporadic-E triggers, particularly towards Italy and round to Scandinavia.

These are very rare events in winter, but it will be possible to pick up signs of some Es on the foEs plots on some days. So, don’t give up hope and monitor the clusters up to the middle of the month, at least.

The disturbed solar conditions put aurora a bit higher up the agenda this week.

For meteor scatter enthusiasts, last week’s two-hour outburst of the Quadrantids shower was the ‘last hurrah’ of showers until the late April Lyrids.

We are entering the annual ‘lull’ in shower activity, with just the minor Gamma-Ursae-Minorids active from 10 January to 22 January reaching a low maximum on 18 January. Look to benefit from the pre-dawn peak of random meteors.

The Moon is at apogee today, Sunday, and declination is positive until late next Friday. Moon windows will slowly shorten and zenith angles decrease, while EME path losses decrease. 144MHz sky noise is low all week.

Category: GB2RS Propagation News