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Current propagation conditions (Some light at the End of the Tunnel?)

Being myself currently able to chase several european activators and even some activators from North American East coast from time to time with just 5 watts and an endfed random wire antenna in my balcony, I’d dare to say that the tunnel is not that dark yet.
My feel is we haven’t yet achieved the bottom of the curve and I’d guess it will happen sometime next year or even a bit later, as I believe the last maximum occurred around 2013 and we should expect the minimum around 5.5 years later. Let’s say around 2018-19.


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At last, this might be the long awaited light at the end of the tunnel: Belgian STCE predicts the solar minimum, namely the begin of cycle 25, for Summer 2018. :metal::sunglasses::metal:


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Hi Pom,

Great to hear the revised end of the Solar Cycle

But get on 20m NOW!

I’m listening to a Canadian calling a SOTA activator in DL. Earlier heard EA9 (Ceuta), Russia and Sweden, like they were next door and US, VK & JA stations at 55/56!

73 Ed.

Don’t be too optimistic, Ed. They only say the end was nigh. :wink:
Anyway this news made my day.


The first solar storm of the next Solar cycle was spotted last Novemeber I believe (I think they know it didn’t belong to this cycle by the fact it was rotating in the other direction?). So another 3 years before the new soalr cycle starts … I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Nothing wrong with being optimistic though!

Solar Cycle 25 to start on March 10th. 2018 - SFI 145 and K 0 coinciding with the SOTA EU-VK/ZL S2S event … Now I’m dreaming!

73 Ed.

Blockquote Solar Cycle 25 to start on March 10th. 2018 - SFI 145 and K 0 coinciding with the SOTA EU-VK/ZL S2S event


Dear all,
After deeply depressing propagation conditions often experienced this summer with not even copying the NA East-Coast SOTA activators, I have the feel that things may be improving a bit. I chased recently:
1 W1 SOTA on Sep 10th
1 VE2 SOTA on Sep 13th
1 W2 SOTA on Sep 14th
1 W0C + 2 W1 SOTAs on Sept 15th
1 W1 SOTA on Sept 16th
I could have also chased @KX0R last night from W0C SOTA shouldn’t some of my neighbours at the remote station QTH have connected a TV set or LED lamp with a faulty switching power supply producing constant S9 QRM on my receptor. However, I was able to hear him (not understand him) below the QRM and heard Jorge EA2LU chasing him from Pamplona. I had not being able to copy KX0R on 20m since mid-May.
Something seems to be changing…



What a memorable day yesterday, with 26 SOTA chases in my log among which 8 were DX with the USA ranging from W2 to W4G, W5N, W9 and W0C!

Thank you all activators!



Yesterday on DL/AL-001 (Biberkopf), I was heard by RBN stations in W1, W3, and VE with 6 - 11 dB from 5W and an EFHW deployed on a 5m mast in a suboptimal inverted-V configuration. Unfortunately no contacts, likely due to being on a weekday and too early for the US.
But the sig was there.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

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Glorious afternoon-evening today for SOTA DX Europe<>Northamerica.

The minimum will occur Dec. 20, 2020. There was a recent article that correlated the solar cycle to a planetary alignment that occurs every 11.07 years. They claim a 100 % correlation going back in history. So cycle 25 should start on Dec. 20, 2020.

Jeff K6QCB

Hi Jeff,

Ha ha, very funny.

Just in case you are serious.
Of course it is easy enough to fit an equation to historic data and be 100% correct in using it to “predict” past values. There is a significantly high probably it is useless for predictions especially considering all data has uncertainties and achieving 100% correlation must involve a fudge.



No I am not kidding. The paper was published in the May 2019 issue of “Solar Physics” by three researchers in Germany. The story was published in the CQ Amateur Radio Newsroom http://cqnewsroom.blogspot.com/2019/08/solar-minimum-high-tide.html . I am not making the claim the German Researchers are. I am not smart enough to figure it out on my own, I just listen to those smarter than I. I remember seeing the next alignment was Dec. 20, 2020 but I can not find that again, so I might be wrong on that date.

Jeff K6QCB

Hi Jeff,
There are so many different predictions around when Solar Cycle 25 will start (or has already started) - a lot with a great deal of scientific explanation. In the end what we want to know is when we will have the best conditions out of the next cycle - and despite a really detailed investigation in this report:


They still can only give an answer of 2024 ± 1 year!

Isn’t nature great!!

73 Ed.

In fact the method used for the paper in question was not new, a similar analysis was performed in the 1950’s and used to make predictions - which were a failure. The conclusion was that the basic cycle was triggered by planetary alignments but it was subject to random peturbations. Of course the original analysis was done without the benefit of modern computers, but that should not have been a problem, I remember at that time people computed things like comet orbits and ephemerides by hand and it took weeks instead of minutes but the results were still good!

There is also, apparently, a correlation between sunspot activity and planetary weather - maybe that explains the recent storms.

Off to hide behind my tungsten umbrella :innocent:

It was Minovitch in 1962 who produced effective solutions to three body problems et al. using the computer of the day, IBM’s 7090 masterpiece. In FORTRAN as FORTRAN IV hadn’t been designed.

I’ll get my coat…mine’s the one with a punched deck of Playboy’s Playmate of the Month in the pocket.

I joined the BAA (British Astronomical Association) in 1959 and I remember details from the reports of the Comet Section at that time, they parceled out the different periodic comets expected in any year to individual members who calculated the positions of the comets in the sky using at best mechanical calculators, I think some used sliderules and log tables, a slow and painstaking job - definately not one for me, I preferred using my telescope! Things like that really show the scale of the computer revolution, but it reminds us that before computers we were still capable of terrific calculations.

Anyway, the point is that Ron is right, unless this team of researchers has found some order in the apparent random peturbations their predictions will probably go the way of the earlier work. I for one will be watching with interest!

Hi Brian,

The paper Ed references is more circumspect with an uncertainty of 1 year on when the next peak will occur. The predicted sunspot count is 118 at the peak also with an uncertainty. The last time I saw a 100% claim it was on a bottle of snake oil.

There are a couple more things that I am uneasy about.

Sunspot count is a rubbery measurement. Just look at how it is constructed. It’s full of assumptions and estimated corrections. Ugh! The microwave solar flux has a better basis in terms of a proper measurement.

A solar cycle of 11 or so years is a nonsense as has been pointed out before by more qualified people. The cycle is about 22 years, the time it takes for the direction of motion of the sunspots to repeat.

Finally, outside of astrology, I am unconvinced that the alignment of the planets affects much at all. Brian may differ. For example the Earth’s tides may be affected by the alignment of the planets by up to 0.01%, principally by Venus but that is not measurable given the normal fluctuations in tide heights. The effect of sun spots is measurable so I await further investigations by solar physicists. The answer lies in the Sol as Arthur Fallowfield almost said.


Normal service will resume in 5 minutes.

Well the mass of Jupiter is such that the Sun and Jupiter rotate about a point that is well away from the centre of the sun. The Jovian Year is 11.8618 Terrestrial years, so the approximate correlation between the sunspot cycle and the Jovian year was bound to attract attention. However the average observed length of the sunspot cycle is 10.7 years so obviously the sunspot cycle and Jupiter will go out of step with each other and re-align approximately every ten cycles. That there is any possibility of an effect at all can be ascribed to the orbital eccentricity of Jupiter, which at 0.0489 is about three times greater than that of the Earth. Other planets have a smaller but measurable gravitational effect on the sun and I assume that any analysis would have taken into account the magnitude of the pull of the various planets modulated both by the eccentricity of their orbits and the changes in that eccentricity over time. In other words, one heck of a number crunching exercise!

The best attitude is wait and see. I know that those who like the higher HF bands get antsy at sunspot minimum (it is more like nirvana for those who like the lower HF bands, particularly 160 and 80 metres!) but they do say that “a watched pot never boils!”