17 Nov 2016

Declining solar activity - don't give up!

There is now little doubt that we are on the slide downwards towards the next solar minimum. If the experts in solar science are to be believed, the next maximum may well be poor.

This is not the end of amateur radio on the higher bands. I have said before that I have worked some real DX on QRP SSB on 10m in years at previous minima and we now have weak signal modes like WSPR and JT65 to catch even the briefest of openings.

Certainly, bands like 10m are nothing like as easy as a few years ago, but there is often propagation when people assume the band is "dead". Also, don't forget Es is good at any point in the solar cycle. It is rare to find a day without some 10m propagation, even in the quiet years. Es tends to peak in the summer months but can (and does) appear at any point in the year as is proved with regular JT65 use on 10m.

1 comment:

Hugh said...

I remember days in my youth (1980s) when 10m was full of stations. Americans and Russians so thick on the dial they were crammed in, and Australians nice and echoey from the multi round-trip. It will surely return, but probably not before I'm pushing up daisies. I'll still mount my 10m antennas (moved house recently) and monitor the band with wideband RTL dongle for signs of life.