Sunspots (or lack of!) ...& DX

Created on Friday, 28 August 2009

Whats unusual about the current Sunspot Cycle is that we have now seen more than 750 days where there have been no Sunspots at all. Some suggested this lack of Sunspots could even go to someway in explaining Global Warming. Solar_FlareThey also suggested that the strength in the Magnetic Field of the Sunspots was decreasing with time and that they may even completely vanish by 2015! The research into the gathered data and experiments made the scientists ask what was different between this Solar Cycle and previous ones. The results and information gathered is truly fascinating and for detailed account of this, check out this article featured in ‘EOS’. It will either please you – or not as the case may be!

Click here for the full Sunspot article

As you are aware like many others out there, I am very active on HF and most days I am qrv in one mode or another. I like to dabble on SSB, CW and RTTY. Conditions are generally poor but despite all the stories you hear, equinoxprom_eitthe DX is still out there, you just need patience to find it. DX Cluster is a good tool in seeing how busy the Bands are but lack of activity on there does not necessarily mean that the bands are closed. Conditions can also be strange and which part of the UK you are in can also play a big factor in what you can hear and/or work.

Take today for example. 17M sounded very busy on SSB and because of that i decided to try RTTY and put a call out on 17M ‘’CQ JA & Far East’’ (my favourite beam heading!). After working one guy in Italy and one hour later, that was it not a cracker. Not being deterred I switched to 20M and again chose RTTY as my mode of operation....... on the title header to read full story....


I persevered in the same direction and then heard the first JA, always a good signal JA2ATE, Iku in Ichinomya City, Japan. Sunspots_againThroughout the next 90 minutes I managed to work 16 JA (Japan), 3 DU (Philippines), Luis in HI9 and several others stations in Asiatic Russia. (See log extract below).

So, the DX is there. It may not be apparent from other sources but the only true way you will know is to get on the bands and call 'CQ'.

Even now, I am a big believer in calling ‘CQ’.... on 10M, or maybe 12 & 15 too? Despite everyone telling you conditions are dire, you may have a big surprise if you just key up and have a call. Try different Bands at different times of the day when you are qrv, make the most of the access you have.

Photos Top - Twisted magnetic fields arching from the solar surface can trap ionized gas, suspending it in huge looping structures. These majestic plasma arches are seen as prominences above the solar limb. This Photo shows hot plasma escaping into space as a fiery prominence breaks free from magnetic confinement a hundred thousand kilometers above the Sun. These awesome events bear watching as they can affect communications and power systems over 100 million kilometers away on Planet Earth hence our Radio Black-outs! Photo directly above - This Sunspot is in the midst of erupting a large Class C solar flare. It can be seen as the dark region to the upper right. In the above image, relatively cool regions appear dark while hot regions appear bright. On the far left, solar prominences are visible hovering above the Sun's surface.

73 de Charles

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