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The solar cycle trough: Are we there yet? (and why it doesn't really matter)

Discussion in 'On-Air Operations - Q&A' started by VK3YE, Aug 6, 2017.

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  1. VK3YE

    VK3YE Ham Member QRZ Page

    You hear a lot of discussion on the air about supposedly bad conditions due to declining solar activity.

    Every sunspot low (and I've gone through a few) opens with older people say 'I've never known the bands this bad in my 50 years of operating'.

    However inspection of records shows that DX is still being worked during sunspot low years.

    And besides there are other frequencies and facets unaffected by solar activity.

    More detail in this video:

    W4KJG, K9ASE and WD4IGX like this.
  2. W4KJG

    W4KJG Subscriber QRZ Page

    In my 55 years of being licensed, there have been few days when 20 and 40 meters we're not usable. I've never had big antennas, nor have I ever had a transmitter that ran more than 100 watts. In recent years I've been running about 3 watts and have worked a lot of DX on 80 at night,

    40, and 20 using wire antennas using non- voice modes.
  3. VK2WP

    VK2WP XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Still plenty of dx about and usually have no trouble with contacting the States in an evening on 40M CW. My aerials are pretty mediocre, need more height.

    Noticed in the early mornings there are some VK ops whom work UK and EU on 40m without to much trouble. These guys have pretty good high aerials set up.

    80M would be another good band in this low sunspot cycle and I must do something about get an aerial going for 80.
  4. WB1E

    WB1E Ham Member QRZ Page

    Everyone's here on QRZ instead of answering my CQDX
    WB5THT likes this.
  5. NM0O

    NM0O Premium Subscriber QRZ Page

    I have been licensed for a while, and I've been able to work through the low sunspot activity cycles reasonably well. The big thing is not power or having the fanciest station in the city; it's decent antennas.

    The antenna accounts for a lot of my fun, because each of the dipoles (x 5) is cut for its specific band. The bands also may only appear to be inactive, such as 20 meters this morning. I heard one station calling CQ, so I called him and talked with him for about 9 minutes (VP9Kd).
  6. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Had my 2nd (ever) CW QSO with a fella 30 miles away last week. Wouldn't have mattered if he had been 3000 miles away. Actually, I've always had a particular interest in short-skip, so I thought it was pretty neat. Anyway, I'm focusing on CW now. I'm not even trying for DX yet; I've got a long way to go before that.

    Yep: Antenna, antenna, antenna.

  7. DU7DVE

    DU7DVE Ham Member QRZ Page

    I wonder why when bad cndx are brought up, someone always brings up the weak signal digital modes. That's comparing apples to oranges when it's voice and cw being talked about. I guess everybody knows by now about the digital modes but they're just not into it.
  8. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    Even the correlation between solar flux and 10 meter propagation isn't perfect, I remember doing quite well in the March 1986 WPX contest running 4 watts to a 2 element Quad on 10 meters--even though the solar flux was in the 60s! The band opened quite nicely and I was able to work from South American and Japan, in addition to the usual Pacific stations I expected to work from Hawaii. Internet services make it easier to identify good times to operate on the higher bands during times of low solar activity. I can now call CQ and get reports that indicate the band is open.

    Zack W1VT
  9. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    Bad Conditions, Why?
    It seems to me that local noise from a decaying power utility distribution network and the proliferation of noise radiating electronic gadgets in every household are causing a lot of hams to have decreased reception ability.
    Maybe the bands are really not in so terrible a shape after all.
    Desensitization of receivers from external noise is a problem I have run into in my years of two way radio service and it seems to directly relate to the lousy reports I have gotten from a lot of stations while others give me a RST 599 report.
    I have gotten a lot of IM and E-mail mesages after a QSO telling me about S9 noise levels hindering the QSO on the other end.
  10. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    Do you think that a dedicated receive antenna like a BOG or similar could mitigate that high level of QRM?


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