Sunspot cycle and 10 meters question

Discussion in 'General Technical Questions and Answers' started by KC0BUS, Mar 23, 2009.

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  1. KC0BUS

    KC0BUS Ham Member QRZ Page

    I have been out of ham radio for a while now, so I've become dull in thought. Where are we at in the current sunspot cycle? At the bottom of the valley, starting to go up hill, going uphill quickly, nearing the peak?

    How many years will this cycle last?

    What has 10 meters been like lately? Is it starting to come to life or is it still mostly dead or hit and miss?

    What year will this cycle peak?

    How will the coming sunspot cycle affect the other bands (12 through 160 meters)? Will they degrade or be enhanced? Are they degrading or enhancing right now?

  2. WB3BEL

    WB3BEL Ham Member QRZ Page

    Most folks think that we are at the bottom of the valley and hopefully will see some upward swing soon. We are actually quite late in seeing some improvement in the sunspot numbers and solar flux.

    Sunspot cycles last on average 11 years but can be longer or shorter. There is no real accurate prediction method available.

    Ten meters has been pretty slow lately. There is always sporadic E propagation that is independant of sunspot numbers that peaks from may through August and also in December. There has been some caribbean F layer propagation between north america and south america that can be seen during contests when the superstations are on. In addition there has been some TEP to southern south america. There is always some meteor scatter available especially in the early morning.

    No one knows the answer to this one. The peak of the last cycle was around 1999-2000 so statistically speaking the peak would occur around 2010-2011. But the last cycle had a double peak so its not too clear how to project the next one. But it looks like the next cycle is getting a slow start so the peak may be later than this rough approximation.

    The sunspots in the next cycle will improve worldwide propagation on all frequencies above 14 MHz. Some folks think that the lower bands have slightly lower propagation, but that might just be due to the fact that the low bands are harder to work and when the ionosphere is red hot all the operators are enjoying the higher frequencies where a handful of watts and a conductive spaghetti noodle will make QSOs.
  3. K0RGR

    K0RGR Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Assuming that we're not entering another 'Maunder Minimum' with no significant sunpots for the next couple generations, we should see some sunspots again shortly. There have already been sunspots from the next cycle, and there has been a rise in solar activity outside of sunspots.

    Typically, the number of sunspots ramps up very quickly, then tapers off slowly.

    At this point, I'm not sure I'd invest a fortune in monoband 10 meter gear.
    Based on my previous experience, which may not be typical, I'd expect 15 meters to come back to life at least a year ahead of 10. 15 exhibits much of the same characteristics as 10, in fact, it has some propagation modes, such as 'long path', that you won't often see on 10.

    If, however, this sunspot peak is much lower than what we've seen recently, it's possible that 10 might not be fantastic this time around. We might see 15 and even 12 meters being the top DX band for a while.

    Alas, the experts just don't know. Some are predicting a low cycle, and others are predicting a spectacular one.

    Of course, more than just 10 meters is involved - the sunspot cycle affects the whole HF spectrum. When the higher bands are great, the lower bands tend to stink. But, you'll find better conditions on 20, 30 and 40 meters at night when the sunspots are high, too.
  4. G0GQK

    G0GQK Ham Member QRZ Page

    At the present time the sunspot cyle is at its very lowest and has been for some time. It seems 10 metres is working in the US in some states and they are having contacts into South America and across country. The best bands at the moment are 80,40 and 20 occasionally some activity on 17 but 15, 12 and 10 are spasmodic

  5. VE4CY

    VE4CY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    We're close to a 100 year low when it comes to sunspots. I hope we aren't entering a Maunder minimum. That was when the 11 year sunspot cycles stoped and the sunspots all but dissapeared for almost 70 years.

    Here's a recent article from about the current solar activity.



    Don't worry, you are not the only one to become dull/be out of radio, I too have had an extended hiatus away from radio for about 15-20 years, I remember having a ball on the airwaves on 11m around 1984-1986? running 4w am into a very small centre load magnetic mount in the rain gutter on my house & was chatting to stations around Australia up to 1000Km plus.

    Then moved on to have a modest base setup & talking the world on SSB running full legal power of 12W PEP, was in the process of getting my ham licence, then the bum fell out of the skip & it dropped off by about 1988ish which was around the time I met my wife & she was not supportive of radio so i dropped out & sold all my gear etc

    After a almost 15 year marriage (and missing 2 times 11 year cycles) got divorced & now with new woman who is supportive of radio & now I am restocking my radio's & getting my licence just in time for the next cycle :confused:

  7. NN4RH

    NN4RH Subscriber QRZ Page

    Here's the predictions Solar Cycle Progression

    The predictions suggest that we already should be on the up-swing some time this year, with a peak coming in 2012 - 2013.

    But there's no way to be sure what it's going to do, until after it's over. The current minimum has been running longer than anyone predicted.
  8. K2QI

    K2QI Ham Member QRZ Page

    Good grief...

  9. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I hope the moderaters turn you in..:)
  10. VE4CY

    VE4CY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    It seems to me there are a lot of freebanders and CB'ers on QRZ who have no intention of getting their ham license. (At least that's my impression).

    It also seems that this is tolerated on these forums, so QRZ should at least create a CB corner for them where they can talk about stuff like shooting skip and modifying ham radio equipment for freeband use.
  11. AC0FP

    AC0FP Ham Member QRZ Page

    It certainly looks like this will be a very late cycle to start, it has been 8 or 9 years since the peak! NASA scientist Hathaway keeps revising his predictions to a later and later date. Link to Hatchway's latest revised prediction graph#5 3/2009.

    There are those that have some concerns about that lack of activity, which would include me!

    When I was discussing the current cycles abnormality with a NOAA space weather scientist they made the comment, "have you ever heard of the Maunder minimum?"



    Please don't put me in that category, not the slightest bit interested in 11m legal or otherwise, I fired up my old 11m ssb rig a couple of weeks ago..... still the same brain dead element on there ;)

    I am working towards getting my ham ticket, picking up where I left off over 20 years ago, at least this time around I won't have the morse code pill to try to swallow, in fact there has been a resurgence of interest in CW, (at least down under) I have heard it said on air that a lot of new recruits are taking up CW because they don't have to, not because they are forced to :)

    I think there would be already plenty of forums around that cater to that calibre of operator, I don't get all this boasting about how illegal they are & how many kw they push out on the pirate bands......

    I find it more exciting to see how far I can get on a couple of watts with a wet piece of string in the roof space :D

  13. NN4RH

    NN4RH Subscriber QRZ Page

    Well, nobody would know for sure if it's another "Maunder Minimum" until after most of us are all SK. And then they'd probably name it after someone else who probably isn't born yet, rather than calling "Maunder Minimum v 2.0".

    Hey. I'm going to predict right now, based on the NN4RH Sunspot Cycle Model*, that the sunspot number will exceed 50 on or before July 4 this year!

    *The NN4RH Sunspot Cycle Model is to assume that whoever predicts these things has made a factor-of-2 error that they haven't caught yet, so just doubling everything will give the right answer.
  14. VE4CY

    VE4CY XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I definitely wasn't referring to you... It was the other poster who boasted about freebanding. There seems to be a growing number of people like that. (I see the mods deleted his post).


    No offence taken, no wonder there is so many freebanders, it is just so easy to buy modded or non authorised equipment on Ebay etc.

    OFF TOPIC ALERT! sorry

  16. KA4DPO

    KA4DPO Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    Good for you Michael. I liked what you had to say and the way you said it. I hope to work you on the air one of these days.

    Let's hope NN4RH is wrong we don't need another Maunder minimum, at least for another 50 years anyway.:)
  17. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    This winter there hs been a lot of DX chasing on 160 and 80M bands. I stay out of the "big guns'" way but have no problem working out to the west coast with 100w and dipoles...all on CW..
    40M is even better at night where I use a big vertical ant.


    Can't wait to get my ticket, waiting for my local club to get back to me about holding an assessement ;)

    If we don't get our cycle, then there's always Irlp! I live within spitting distance of a noded repeater, handheld WWDX here I come :D

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