QST de W1AW
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 30 ARLP030
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA July 23, 2004
To all radio amateurs
SB PROP ARL ARLP030
ARLP030 Propagation de K7RA
Rising solar activity is in the news this week. Sunspot 652, a really big one, is currently looking straight at Earth. We are also experiencing effects from a coronal mass ejection from this spot. Early Thursday, July 22 (actually Wednesday night in the Americas) geomagnetic K indices were at 0 at all latitudes, even above the Arctic Circle. The effects of the coronal mass ejection itself were unimportant, but there was a strong solar wind behind it and the interplanetary magnetic field pointed south, which makes Earth vulnerable. By Thursday night K indices were at 5 and 6.
Average daily sunspot numbers this week over the week previous rose more than 72 points. Average daily solar flux rose nearly 48 points. When the daily sunspot number reached 176 on Monday, July 19, it was the highest reading of this index since November 30, 2003. The solar flux at 175.2 on July 20 was the highest flux value since November 24 of last year. Of course, this doesn't signal any sort of upward trend in the solar cycle, but at this point there is still enough variation to provide some excitement and interest.
The latest SEC prediction still shows the low point of the smoothed sunspot cycle around December 2006 to January 2007. The January 2005 predicted smoothed sunspot number of 21 is two years prior to the predicted cycle bottom, but December 2007 shows the smoothed sunspot number rising back to 21. You can see this at the back of this week's Preliminary Report and Forecast from Space Weather Operations, on the web at, http://www.sec.noaa.gov/weekly/pdf/prf1507.pdf. You will need Adobe Reader to view it.
For July 23-26, Friday through Monday, the predicted planetary A index is 25, 15, 10 and 10. Predicted solar flux for those same dates is 170, 160, 160 and 150. For HF, we generally want sunspot counts to be high for several days with stable geomagnetic conditions. Often the two don't arrive together.
Carl Luetzelschwab, K9LA, wrote a great piece for the propagation section of the ARRL Technical Information Service site titled "Propagation Planning for DXpeditions." The information in this article isn't just for folks planning expeditions to rare DXCC countries, but has good information about HF propagation and planning your ham radio activities. The link to his article is http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/pdf/propplan.pdf.
Here is an interesting website: http://space.rice.edu/ISTP/#Forecast. This is the Space Weather Resources Page from the Rice Space Institute at Rice University in Texas. This page has many interesting links for those interested in space weather and its effects.
For more information concerning propagation and an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin see the ARRL Technical Information Service propagation web page at, http://www.arrl.org/tis/info/propagation.html.
Sunspot numbers for July 15 through 21 were 146, 142, 165, 169, 176, 147 and 162 with a mean of 158.1. 10.7 cm flux was 145.7, 146.5, 149.2, 155.1, 170.2, 175.2 and 172.2, with a mean of 159.2. Estimated planetary A indices were 9, 12, 24, 9, 9, 9 and 6, with a mean of 11.1. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 7, 8, 13, 6, 8, 6 and 5, with a mean of 7.6.