Is it just me or are the bands not working. The reason I ask is I just can’t hear any Activators whether it be SSB or CW. I noticed on SotaWatch there were more CW than usual, I know I don’t use CW a lot but my usual contact Bruno HB9CBR who is normally 599 to me , well I can’t hear him at all. so is it my antennae which need checking or are others experiencing the same thing please ?
Thanks and Best 73
No, today the prop is very short. The longest qso I made was G/NP-001 on 30m whith some difficult and Greece on 20m
Thanks Claudio wonder why it’s this bad
It’s been very unusual times Allen, thats for sure. Complete blackouts at times. High SFI, but flares knocking prop. at times too.
Ah cheers Fraser, weird isn’t it, I now know why you didn’t come blasting through like you normally do.
Dave and I found conditions to be pretty bad yesterday on G/TW-003 and today I have only managed a few contacts and like you I cannot hear most signals.
Take a look at this webpage:
This is the NVIS page and it shows how high the Critical Frequency is - when it goes over 7 MHz as it is today your 40m communications are going to be mainly short-range NVIS contacts. Hence, while DX may still be possible, it’s likely to be swamped by local signals (be it radio amateurs or all kinds of nasty QRM noises).
Looking at this other page on the same website: PROPquest | Graphs
You can see what the maximum usable frequency is - at the moment in the UK, I’d be trying 17m.
Wow Thanks Ed. I wish I was clever like you to be able to understand these things lol
Doesn’t look good does it.
Hi Nick I was lucky to get you and Dave yesterday as normally you are both 59 plus. Whats it like when you’re on the mountain…can you hear everything then ?
Same observation here yesterday and today.
You can’t change that even with 5 watts, hi.
Note text below these sections at https://spaceweather.com/
- X-CLASS SOLAR FLARE
- A MIXED-UP SUNSPOT
Thanks Heinz that is so so interesting.
Thanks for the compliments Allen,
I’m certainly no expert but as always, it’s less what you know and more if you know where to look and this website from Jim Bacon G3YLA is a real godsend, especially for those living in the UK.
Another good one to keep an eye on is this one: https://www.spaceweatherlive.com/
I use it to monitor the Kp Index. There are lots and lots of space weather and prediction sites but many are US-Centred (but still valuable). These two are in the UK and in Belgium.
Now, if you were a WAB square chaser - this short skip in the UK would be very good news, actually for an HF SOTA activator on 40m these conditions mean more local contacts are possible and if you are activating in the middle or south of the UK, as this would mean you will have plenty of chasers within range.
The fact that (I am told) it is absolutely throwing it down in the UK at the moment, may reduce the number of UK activators out and about, so as a chaser you would hope to catch some in central and southern Europe where we are enjoying a few nice days before the rain gets here as well. With the critical frequency so high, however, you get the situation that you described with the majority of 40m chaser signals going straight up as cloud warmers and getting refracted straight back down instead of off at an obtuse angle as they normally do.
How long will this last? - Everything can be back to normal tomorrow or it could take longer as this doesn’t seem to have been caused by one CME hitting the Ionosphere but rather a general plastering of plasma from the sun.
Update 1900 UTC 11/5/22:
Looking at this report, I think tomorrow may not be a lot better than today:
The Sun’s been flinging out a few surprises of late, and quite a few of them have caused radio blackouts of various durations. If things seem a bit quiet I take a peek at the Global D-Layer Absorption - Space Weather by SolarHam map. If it’s darker than a dull deep blue then things are fairly normal. If it’s rather brighter, then chances are some of the higher bands won’t be working if the path they need to take goes through the brighter region…
We normally hear most European signals on our North Yorkshire summits. Although they aren’t very high they are all well clear of most electrical noise so we can usually pick up most SOTA signals but that wasn’t the case yesterday. We were using a KX-3 running at about 10 W to a link dipole. Hopefully, we will be out again on Friday if the wx forecast is good.
Any CME from yesterday’s X1.5 flare won’t have reached us yet. That flare at 13.55 UTC yesterday caused an hour long blackout in countries surrounding the Atlantic, but there has been many weaker flares from the same sunspot group making communication rather spotty. For the last several years we have been looking forward to the benefits of more sunspots - well, this is what goes with them! At least we can say that unpredictability makes things more interesting…
Same website but different analysis: PROPquest | EPI
I’m in France at the moment and did some chasing today from a reasonable location but I could barely hear anyone in the UK on 40m SSB. My one result to show for an hour of chasing was a 30m CW QSO with @HB9CGA/P - for which I was very grateful!