22 Aug 2016

End of the Es Season

We are now seeing days with little or no Es (sporadic E) propagation on 10m and 6m. The "season" is all but over. As years go, this has not been great, but most days have seen openings to somewhere in Europe.

It never actually ends, but the number of openings declines dramatically and it is easy to miss the times when they do occur. This is where WSPR and JT modes would prove so useful as long as people stay on the bands and don't go to lower bands for more easy pickings. There is a small peak around New Year (I don't know why) but we'll have to wait until May 2017 for Es to really get going again. With 10m F2 in decline these Es openings will be the lifeblood of bands like 10m.

As I have said before, don't dismiss 10m for local contacts. A small vertical, a few watts, FM and you will reliably work 30km. On SSB,CW, or even better modes like JT65 or JT9-1 and you will work 100km or a lot more. In the quiet years 10m behaves more like a VHF band, but there are wide open spaces, so almost any mode is possible.

UPDATE 0815z: It is still very early for Es, but nothing seen here yet today on 10m JT65.

UPDATE 1246z: Just one Es spot of me today, so far, from IZ0AIS (1506km). We are definitely seeing less Es than in the last few months.

UPDATE 1617z: With just a single Es spot all day today, so far on 10m, I think it unlikely I shall be spotted outside Europe on 10m JT65 today. I wonder what 10m will be like this autumn? Will there be much F2 propagation? It is a battle between declining solar conditions and improving HF conditions as we leave summer. I am pretty sure there will be far fewer USA openings on 10m this year than in the last few years. There will be the odd opening, but we cannot expect things to be "humming" exactly.

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