Still no sunspots to report. Spaceweather.com reported on May 20 that the current stretch of days with no sunspots has now reached 18. And with that the 2020 percentage of days with no sunspots has risen to 77%, equal to 2019. Until May 15 that statistic stood at 76%.
Average daily solar flux for the week rose to 69, marginally higher than last week’s average of 68.5. Average planetary A index declined from 4.1 to 3.7, while average mid-latitude A index shifted from 4.7 to 4.
Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 70, every day from May 22 through July 5. Predicted planetary A index is 5 on May 22 until June 14, 8 on June 15-16, and 5 on June 17 through July 5.
Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period May 22 until June 16, 2020 from F.K. Janda, OK1HH.
Geomagnetic field will be
quiet on: May 25-31, June 2-5, 9-13
quiet to unsettled on: May 22-24, June 14
quiet to active on: (June 1, 6-8, 15-16)
unsettled to active on: – none predicted!
active to disturbed: – none predicted!
Solar wind will intensify on: May (23,) 24, June (6-7)
– Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement.
– The predictability of changes remains lower as there are no indicators.
Scotty, W7PSK, in Everett, Washington wrote on May 21, “Six-meter E Skip for me blew open with a bang. I’ve rarely heard USA stations as it is on 6 since I’ve been on it (about 3 years). I was just on and with my pipsqueak station (SteppIR 3-element beam with a 4th passive element). I just worked J68, KP4 and FG8.”
AA8WH reports from Dearborn Heights, Michigan, “I been listening over the last few days. Yesterday, May 20, 6 meters has been open at various times all day. Sometimes, FT8 would be up, stay up for a while, then a few minutes later would fade back into the noise.
“I figured that must’ve been sporadic E. I went down to 10 meters and it was quiet, but 12 meters was open, as was 15. Seventeen and 20 meters were hopping most of the day. I was able to hear the W1AW broadcasts up to 15 meters and sometimes even 10 meters.”
Dave, W5BU, reported on May 16, “Yesterday, here in central Texas (EM11), 6 meters was really booming, and the waterfall was filled with signals. Most of the signals were within the continental US and down south into Mexico and Caribbean. I quickly fired up the rig and amp and proceeded to work almost 20 new grids and six new grids in Mexico. The most notable contact was with XCE2IF at the southern tip of Mexico’s Baja California Sur Peninsula (Cabo San Lucas). Additionally, there were multiple contacts into Canada. The amp was needed to complete the contact with the Baja station as he must have had difficulty in copying my signals. I kept hoping that the propagation would extend into Hawaii/Alaska, but no such luck.
“My present antenna is a US Army OE-254 bi-conical vertical at 30 feet as
my 4-element loop-fed Yagi is still waiting for a tower climber for
installation on my tower. My goal is the Worked All States award on six meters, but I am presently stuck at 39 states and six countries confirmed with my modest antenna setup. I pulled the plug about 9:30PM local time and uploaded my log.”
It is nice to read a good science-based article about solar activity in the popular press. I subscribe to a service that sends me every news article that mentions “sunspot”, and some of them are quite bad, and not exactly fact based. The worst offenders in my opinion are the British tabloids. But this article is a good one: https://bit.ly/36lXID1
Jeff, N8II, in West Virginia reported on May 18, “The last week has been amazing for 28 MHz Es with multi hop openings to Europe, Africa the Caribbean, South America, Central American, Mexico, California, and Colorado from here!
“The first opening I noticed was May 8 on 10-meter SSB into Pensacola, Florida, and to KP3JL in Puerto Rico at about 1520Z. Then, on the evening of May 9, I worked HI8AT and HI8RD in the Dominican Republic, KP4TF and WP4IRV in Puerto Rico, and all with signals well over S9 on SSB except Iceland on CW. It sounded more like F2, although that’s impossible with our very low SFI. On May 11 there was a good opening to the southern and southwest US from 2227-2300Z. At 2339Z, FG4SO in Guadeloupe was an easy contact on SSB; he was S7 here. Then, I worked WP4OCB and KP3JL, then TI2GBB, Costa Rica, and HI8AT — all on 10-meter SSB.
The 14th was amazing, starting off with a couple of contacts with Maine on SSB. At 2207 CT3MD, Madeira Island was S9 and easily worked on CW, followed at 2232Z by HK1MW, in Columbia at S9+, CT1GFK and CT1EWX, both weak form Portugal, with KP4TF booming in again as well — all on CW. This is probably the earliest in the Es season that I have ever worked Europe on 10 meters. From then until 2300Z, I contacted NP4ET, KP4CQ, and KP4ARR — all better than S9. I heard Brazil and Argentina on CW calling stations, too. Returning at 2334Z, I found Steve, HP9SAM, in Panama at S9+. HC5DX from Ecuador on SSB, and YY4RCT, in Venezuela answered my SSB CQ about S5. I also worked 9Z4Y in Trinidad on CW and a loud HC5RF on SSB.
“On the 15th, I caught up with HH2AA in Haiti who had been spotted earlier in the week. He had an S9 signal at 1931Z on CW. Then at 2110Z, K6BIG in Pasadena, California answered my CQ on SSB. At 2237Z, CT3MD was logged as an S9 signal on 12-meter CW. Starting 2337Z, HK1ANP was S7 on 10-meter CW and he kindly moved to 12-meter CW and was also S7 there. XE1HON in Mexico called me on SSB, and then I found XE1XR on CW and 4A60I (also Mexico) at 0011Z, both on SSB and both S9.”
Regular contributor David Moore sent this article about the Parker Solar Probe: https://bit.ly/2TrgRy8
Another article about solar minimum: https://bit.ly/2LQ94pv
Tom Scott, N5GIT, reported from San Antonio (EL09), “Made an impressive run on 6-meter FT8 on Mother’s Day evening (May 10). Out of 133 stations that heard me according to Pskreporter, I contacted 41 stations during a 4-hour stint well into the midnight hour from Canada to Cuba!”
Here is the latest video from Dr. Skov: https://bit.ly/3cOUV7X
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For more information concerning radio propagation, see http://www.arrl.org/propagation and the ARRL Technical Information Service at http://arrl.org/propagation-of-rf-signals. For an explanation of numbers used in this bulletin, see http://arrl.org/the-sun-the-earth-the-ionosphere.
An archive of past propagation bulletins is at http://arrl.org/w1aw-bulletins-archive-propagation. More good information and tutorials on propagation are at http://k9la.us/.
Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve overseas locations are at http://arrl.org/propagation.
Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL bulletins are at http://arrl.org/bulletins.
Sunspot numbers for May 14 through 20, 2020 were 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, 0, and 0, with a mean of 0. 10.7 cm flux was 67.6, 67.8, 69.4, 69.6, 70.2, 68.7, and 69.6, with a mean of 69. Estimated planetary A indices were 3, 4, 4, 3, 4, 5, and 3, with a mean of 3.7. Middle latitude A index was 3, 4, 4, 3, 5, 6, and 3, with a mean of 4.
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