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Sun Spots!


#1

OK not the most relevant news item and I have not heard the radio programme myself but it may be of some interest:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/today/hi/today/newsid_8009000/8009581.stm

http://physicsworld.com/blog/2009/04/where_are_the_sunspots.html


#2

In reply to M0YHB:

The Sun is the dimmest it has been for nearly a century. Mike Lockwood,
professor of physics at Southampton University, explains why there are no
sunspots and very few solar flares.

We are all doomed! Forget global warming there is an ice age coming!

Seriously this is, or should be very relevant to every radio enthusiast. Is there anyone here who doesn’t want a little bit of DX propagation?

Any ‘Hamster’ who hadn’t noticed the lack of spots must have been living under a rock, but official confirmation from that bastion of truth the BBC is always interesting. Strange that NASA and others have been commenting like this for a while. Maybe when it goes mainstream like this it is time to worry.

It was only the other day that the papers where predicting the end of the world being caused by a super massive flare, maybe they know something they aren’t telling us, like the sun is building up for a big sneeze.

73 Steve

GW7AAV puts his tin foil hat on and crawls under the bed.


#3

In reply to GW7AAV:

…official confirmation from that bastion of truth the BBC is always interesting.

There is a certain rather keen DX’er who works on the BBC news desk that decided this would make a good story and got the ball rolling a few days back… blame him. :slight_smile:

Anyway, this isn’t so bad Steve. You just need to concentrate on the LF DX’ing instead. Now where can I get that Top Band antenna up?

73 Marc G0AZS


#4

In reply to G0AZS:

You just need to concentrate on the LF DX’ing instead.

Hi Marc,with 130 ft of garden I can just get an 80m antenna up so I consider myself very lucky to be active on every other band up to 23cms. One of these days I will get a second 160m contact in the log. I wonder which will be first that or 10GHz? I have been thinking about a helically coiled drainpipe antenna for Top Band with a fishing pole whip. Anyone done it?

I would make up an extension for the linked dipole but 160 tends to be better after dark when I don’t tend to be up hills.

73 Steve GW7AAV who is looking for sun spots and a spot in the sun.


#5

In reply to GW7AAV:

What’s the problem with Top Band, Steve? I have a G5RV set up as a doublet which has got me a number of contacts on Top Band, and if 102 feet can do it, 130 foot should be able to do it better! Unfortunately I now have S9+ digital noise from the Medium wave down to 10 metres for much of the day so my activity on the DC bands has dropped right off!

73

Brian G8ADD


#6

In reply to GW7AAV:
130ft… Luxury! Sounds like a perfect “spot” for an inverted L for Top Band.

Anyway I have to say the sunspots may not be the biggest negative factor. It’s all the plasma TVs around here that are making HF tough for me.

73 Marc G0AZS


#7

In reply to GW7AAV: I seem to get the impression that the BEEB where stuck for articals to detract from what was going on in politics at this point. Yes the sun is quiet but is it normal, who knows, records are not that old :smiley:


#8

My biggest worry is if Global Warming ever gets IN phase with solar output.
G4YSS.


#9

In reply to GW7AAV:

I have been thinking about
a helically coiled drainpipe antenna for Top Band with a fishing pole
whip. Anyone done it?

Hi Steve,

Take a look at this antenna designed by G4ERZ:

http://tinyurl.com/cy2plm

When I want to go on 160m I set it up temporarily and it works well.
I have worked 36 countries in EU plus CN and CT3 with it and it costs next to nothing to build.

73
Ron, GW4EVX


#10

In reply to GW7AAV:

Seriously this is, or should be very relevant to every radio enthusiast. Is there anyone here who doesn’t want a little bit of DX propagation?

Drifting OT - I decided to do a little test after these posts yesterday. I’ve left my 706 (with its G5RV at 8m) running on 14.070 for the last 24 hours (apart from working a few summits during today). Any PSK31 station who called or worked another was recognised and logged by the DM780 software (and sent to the PSK Reporter website).

The bottom line was that, without even moving the dial to go looking, I “heard” 54 different countries on just one QRG. OK so I didn’t copy any Pacific (JA, VK, ZL etc) but you can see the locations of the stations heard at my QTH if you follow this 'link:

http://www.pskreporter.info/pskmapn.html?G0AZS

I think it’s a pretty reasonable spread for a modest station and I reckon I could have worked many of them if I tried. Add a good antenna and a bit of hunting (including CW) and I think there is some DX to be had after all in these dreary “sunspotless” days.

…and it was a fun diversion watching the propagation change and develop.

73 Marc G0AZS


#11

In reply to G0AZS:

Oh no the old fear raises it’s head again as I leave my PSK robot running and work the world while I am asleep in bed, QRZZZZZZZ!

You haven’t done real DX until you unkey and hear yourself on the long path. It is so long since I heard stations with that familiar short path long path echo that I bet most M calls would wonder what it was.

It is a little different working the same stations on SSB to using super efficient modes such as PSK of course but you are right. I see data modes as a fun diversion but I would not consider I had worked a country until I did it on phone or CW (if I was up to it(must try harder)). Interesting data!

73 Steve GW7AAV


#12

In reply to GW4EVX:

Take a look at this antenna designed by G4ERZ:

Spooky! I was just looking at that before I started reading the latest additions to this thread. It is similar to what I had in mind but a sloper. I may just have a go at one.

73 Steve GW7AAV


#13

In reply to GW7AAV:
Oh I tend to agree with you Steve. I stopped using PSK31 regularly when I came back to Europe from the US because QSO’s were more rubber stamp than ever.

F1, F2, F3, 73 QRZ… etc

At least I used to rag chew using the mode in the US but that seems rare elsewhere. Anyway I was intrigued by the stations captured… and when do you want a CW sked then?

73 Marc G0AZS


#14

In reply to G0AZS:

and when do you want a CW sked then?

That would be when I find the golden ticket. The one that says “We do not require your services any more. Please pick up a big wheel barrow full of money and turn the lights off on your way out”.

I got so close when I was off work with a broken ankle, but I need a disciplined regular CW work out for an hour a day and work gets in the way because I am too tired to concentrate after work and for a few days after I come off nights. I do have a few CW contacts in the log but I get very flustered live on air. I can send or receive (slowly) but not both together. One day time and the devil permitting I will crack it and start knocking off those CW only summits.

Regards Steve GW7AAV


#15

In reply to M0YHB:

I’ve been making predictions that we’re entering the Second Maunder Minimum for some months now. Of course I’ve no scientific basis, I’m just being pessimistic. But I don’t think it’s something that can be ruled out.


#16

In reply to M0FFX:

I have always had doubts that the “Maunder Minimum” was as spotless as is generally supposed. This was at a time when telescopes were either non-achromatic refractors that had become extremely long to minimise their defects, often a lens and an eyepiece on a spar, or reflectors with the mirrors made out of speculum metal. The refractors would only have shown the largest sunspots and would have been difficult to aim, and the reflectors would rapidly lose their figure due to uneven heating and again give poor image quality. I suspect that the Maunder Minimum was in reality no worse than the “Dalton Minimum” when the sunspot cycle continued but at unusually low activity levels.

73

Brian G8ADD