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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. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    So many times there are short hop sporadic E-layer openings on 10 and 6 M and that is not related to the F-layer and the solar flux. There are a few months every year that this kind of propagation occurs. Even though double hop E- paths are rare they can happen.
    Just something that makes the 10 M and 6 M bands interesting. I even have worked what seems to be e- skip on 12 M a few times.
  2. K8JD

    K8JD Ham Member QRZ Page

    When noise is all around your QTH , even a directional antenna like a mag loop is not very effective a nulling out noise. A beverage antenna is fairly directional but how can you move it around to find the null, sounds like a lot of work even if you have the room to try various positions,
    I have driven around with the car radio on a local AM station running 50 KW and it gets wiped out by power line noise in a dozen hot spots within a few miles of my QTH. Some times you can drive for a half mile from an arcing insulator, along the power line before the noise fades out.
    My specific neighborhood is not too bad since the power Co trimmed trees away from lines a few times. I also was able to place my low band antennas far from the local power line and noisy neighbors. It took a lot of coax !
  3. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    But the contacts I made were almost certainly F2 at the bottom of the cycle. The band was open to Japan, 6000 km away, for two hours. And Chile was a whopping 11,000 miles away. I worked CE3, CE6, CE0. And as nice bonus, a TI8 for my 4th continent running QRP SSB. I'm sure they checked my log, as I took first in the world for 10M QRP :).
  4. KG5THG

    KG5THG XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    As a new ham that just started a few months ago, I can say that if what I have been seeing is representative of poor conditions (I use 40-6 meters with a dipole, 80 on a loaded coil dipole) at the bottom of the sunspot cycle, then it must be really crazy on the air during the top of the sunspot cycles. Regardless, lot of fun to be had out there. I'm almost all digital with some contest and general SSB. No amp. Looking forward to see how CW travels when I finish learning the characters.
  5. KM4DYX

    KM4DYX XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I started three years ago. 10 M was open all the time. I talked SSB to NZ, 5 watts from my 817. You're in for a good time when the cycle starts to move back up. The digital modes are the way to go for now, if that's what you enjoy. I'm finally operating CW, so maybe I'll see you on the air.

    K3XR and KG5THG like this.
  6. W1VT

    W1VT Ham Member QRZ Page

    It is usually pretty easy to differentiate E skip from F2 openings. E skip clouds are usually quite small, which means that band openings are localized. It can be very frustrating to listen to another station, maybe 25 or 50 miles away, running a pileup that you can't even hear. F2 openings usually open everywhere. And they move in a very predictable manner as the Sun illuminates different parts of the ionosphere. After working all those Japanese stations on 10M in the contest I actually had a chat with VK2KAY at 9PM local time on 10M--which means I saw good 10M conditions at all the corners of the world my station normally works during a single contest weekend.
  7. K3XR

    K3XR Ham Member QRZ Page

    If you go through life waiting for peaks in the solar cycle to operate you might as well take up golf the way you deal with varying conditions is to vary what bands and modes you operate. To say you are only interested in phone or cw operation and not the digital modes puts self limitation on your opportunities if that suits you fine I happen to enjoy exploring different modes right now in the process of building new M2 satellite antennas another option for poor conditions. Yes there are times when bands like 10 meters are open but no one is calling CQ to realize it .
  8. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    I might add that at moderate ("normal") latitudes, the long term propagation follows more or less an 11 year sine wave. In Fairbanks, it's more like a class C amplifier plate current graph. We get a strong peak of a few weeks during the solar max, which drops down to nearly nothing for the remaining 10.9 years. I have not heard a PEEP on 10,12, or 15 meters in about three years.
    15 MHz WWV/WWVH is BARELY discernible a couple of days a week.
    So, it's definitely lowband operation here for the foreseeable future.
  9. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

    P.S. When the 8 MHz Kodiak coast guard WEFAX is barely above the noise, we KNOW we have lousy propagation.
  10. KL7AJ

    KL7AJ XML Subscriber QRZ Page

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