The K7RA solar update
Tad Cook, K7RA, Seattle, reports: Solar business continues to increase. In last week’s bulletin ARLP027, the average daily number of sunspots was 34.7. This week it jumped to 55.6. The average daily solar flux increased from 86.9 to 88.9.
Despite solar flare activity causing sudden ionospheric disruption and dramatic HF radio blackout (July 3), the average daily planetary A index for the week was only 5.7, down from 6.1 last week . The average middle latitude index A was also 6.1 last week and 6.3 this week.
The July 3 eruption was a class X1.5 event, the largest since September 2017 and the only class X solar flare since then. It made readers wonder what was going on.
Scott Craig, WA4TTK, wrote: “What happened around 1430 UTC on July 3rd? Some people on a forum say it was a massive solar flare. I was on 20 FT8 meters and my waterfall display went from steady red signals to nothing in the blink of an eye. It lasted about 10 minutes.
Events such as this can be so dramatic that many may assume equipment or antenna failure. Fortunately, these are rare.
W3LPL has developed an excellent account of this event. See “Solar Cycle 25’s first major X-class solar flare extinguishes on July 3. “
The event received coverage outside the usual channels, including Market Research Telecast (TRM), IFLScience, and CNN.
Also, Tamitha Skov, WX6SWW, our space weather woman covered this in its July 6 edition of “Space Weather News”. I love his enthusiasm, as well as his solid science reporting.
The predicted solar flux is 73 from July 9 to 13; 72 from July 12 to 13; 72 from July 14 to 15; 76 July 16; 82 from July 17 to 18; 84 on July 19; 88 from July 20 to 22; 90 from July 23 to 28; 88 from July 29 to August 2; 84 on August 3; 82 on August 4 and 5; 80 from August 6 to 11 and 82 from August 12 to 14.
The forecast planetary A index is 5 from July 9 to 10; 8, 12, 16, 12 and 8 from July 11 to 15; 5 from July 16 to 17; July 15, 12 and 10 from July 18 to 20; 5 from July 21 to 31; August 10 and 8 on August 1 and 2; 5 from August 3 to 5, 15 and 12 from 6 to 7 August and 5 from 8 to 13 August.
Here is the geomagnetic activity forecast for July 9 to August 5 from Frantisek K. Janda, OK1HH, of the Czech Propagation Interest Group. He has been compiling this weekly forecast of geomagnetic activity since January 1978.
The geomagnetic field will be:
- calm on August 14, 16-18, 21, 23-25, 28, 30-31, 3-5
- calm to unstable on July 9-10, 15, 22, 29, August 1-2
- calm to active July 11, 13, 19-20, 26-27
- unstable to active July 12
- active to disturbed none planned
The parenthesis means a lower probability of improvement in activity.
Bob McHenry, G3NSM wrote:
“On July 5th, I was amazed to work KL7HBK at 1447 UTC on 50.323 MHz FT8. John is at Anchor Point, BO49, just south of Anchorage and I was beaming on the short path, 345 °. It was not a marginal contact. John had been there for 10 minutes and gave me a +05 gear, which suggests he may have heard me on CW. I believe John also worked in [Europe] the same day. He confirmed contact with me on LoTW the next day.
“Contact between Alaska and Europe over 6 meters is very rare, and John was the only signal from that region. There were no W6, W7 or VE7 stations audible like the day before. “
Thanks, Bob. I’ll check if there are any reports from July 4th.
Jeff Hartley, N8II, West Virginia wrote:
“Between the increase in SFI and the abundance of sporadic E’s, it was a fun week on groups.
“RAC’s Canada Day contest on July 1 began with a good opening night out of 40 in all neighboring regions of Canada. I worked about 65 stations in Ontario and Quebec, mainly in SSB. Sunday morning around 1400-1845 UTC there was a very intense sporadic E in all provinces from Ontario east to Newfoundland on all bands, including 10 meters. Normally, Ontario exceeds me out of 20. I worked nine provinces on 15 CW, 10 on SSB, 8 on 10 CW, 9 on SSB! Even Labrador worked on 15 SSBs. The highlight was a passage of five BC stations on 10 meters CW at 5 p.m. VE1 – VE9, except VE8 and VY2 Prince Edward Island have all been recorded on 10 SSBs.
“On July 2 from 1340 UTC I worked three English stations and PA1CC in the Netherlands on 10 meters Es. TM13COL, a special French call sign for the 13 Colonies on the Air event, was worked on 12 CW with a strong signal. Then at 1455 UTC, in the midst of many out of 10 New England QSOs, I worked two Italian stations and MM0TFU in Scotland. At 1533UTC I found LY4A Lithuania (new band slot) on 10 SSB and in Germany.
“17M was open late at 2340 UTC towards Poland and S9 EI3GIB in Ireland on July 3. On July 4 at 2048 UTC, HB90BERO in Switzerland was S-9 of 15 SSB. I also heard two Lebanese stations, with OD5ZZ peaking at S-6, but no QSO. In 2017, SO1WS Western Sahara was recorded on 17 SSBs, followed by V73NS in the Marshall Islands on 17 CW which worked in Denmark and Portugal over the North Pole. At 2200 UTC, 17 was still wide open working Switzerland, Russia, Slovenia, Dominican Republic and England. G3YPZ moved up to 15 where it was S-5 in SSB followed by S-9 + IK4GRO in Italy. July 5 in 10:12 pm on 15 CW KH0W in the Mariana Islands was weak on a difficult path from here, and CT3MD Madeira was S-9 +. On July 6 at 1750 UTC, SP9FMP was marginally worked on 10 CW. ZA1E in Albania was a weak Q5, and stations very close to it in Europe were heard working it for about 15 minutes.
The update of the ARRL competition reported, July 7:
“Six yards has been thrilling over the past week or so, with reports of excellent intercontinental spread. American hams have had many contacts with Asia and the EU. Craig, K9CT, worked on a few new ones on July 2nd: “Six yards was amazing today! The DXCC total for 6 went from 128 to 141! ‘ The Pacific Northwest even took part in some of the action, with some stations reporting that new countries worked on 6, even with antennas like “a 20-meter dipole with an antenna tuner”. You can’t work them out if you don’t try!
The sunspot count for July 1-7 was 56, 72, 81, 60, 43, 52 and 25, with an average of 55.6. The flow of 10.7 centimeters was 94.1, 94.9, 93.7, 91.1, 89.4, 83.2 and 76, with an average of 88.9. The estimated planetary A indices were 7, 5, 4, 3, 7, 8 and 6, with an average of 5.7. The middle latitude index A was 7, 6, 4, 4, 9, 8 and 6, with a mean of 6.3.
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