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Propagation Forecast Bulletin #07 de K7RA:

from W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL on February 17, 2012
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Propagation Forecast Bulletin #07 de K7RA:

Propagation Forecast Bulletin 7 ARLP007
>From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA February 17, 2012
To all radio amateurs

ARLP007 Propagation de K7RA

We are over half way through the winter season, and today, February 17 is 58 days after the winter solstice. Propagation should improve as we approach the vernal equinox on March 20, which is just 32 days from now.

Solar activity is still in the temporary doldrums, with sunspot numbers below 100. But the weekly average of daily sunspot numbers rose this week by over 15 points to 55.6.

There was a geomagnetic storm on Wednesday, February 15 (UTC). Early in the UTC day (Tuesday night in North America) the planetary K index went to 5, and planetary A index was 22. The College A index in Fairbanks was estimated at 46, which is quite high. The disturbance was probably from a CME a few days earlier. Aurora in North America was seen as far south as Minnesota.

The latest forecast has solar flux about 65 points lower than last month's prediction for the ARRL International CW DX Contest this weekend. Latest predicted flux values are 105 on February 17-18, 100 on February 19, 110 on February 20-21, 115 on February 22-26, 110 on February 27-29, and 105 on March 1-3. The predicted flux values go back to 115 on March 14-16 and again on March 20-24. Predicted planetary A index for February 17-19 is 5, 8, and 8, then 5 on February 20 through March 1.

This just in, the latest sunspot cycle prediction from NASA, and it doesn't look good:

Two weeks ago NASA released a revised prediction stating the cycle should peak in late 2013 at a smoothed sunspot number of 96. The latest outlook estimates a peak in early 2013 at 63, about 35 percent lower than the prediction from two weeks ago. We hope it isn't true.

Tom Little, WA9BOT is in EM57 in West Frankfort, Illinois. He reports: "On Wednesday, January 25, 2012, I heard a couple of 6 meter QSOs. While I heard no call signs, I was able to determine the stations were in New Mexico and Florida. They were using 50.165 MHz. I heard another QSO at 50.150 MHz, but could not pick up a call sign as what I heard was only one side of the QSO.

I am new to 6 meters. Just recently put up a 5 element beam. I am waiting for a good opening."

Thanks, Tom.

N5TM, Dan Bates lives in Katy, Texas, and wrote: "ZL1RS was loud into south Texas on 50.105 starting around 0230 on February 8, and lasted for about an hour. I personally worked Bob three times, twice on CW and once on SSB. He also worked WD5IYT, and many others... At times he was S9." That's loud!

Jon Jones, N0JK writes: "FK8CP had an extensive opening on 50 MHz to the Midwest February 12. States hearing/working Remi included AR, CA, IA, IL, IN, KS, MI, MO, MS NE, OH, OK, and TX. This was an Es link to TEP opening. FK8CP peaked up to 5x9 in KS and OH between 0200-0220 UTC February 13."

In last week's bulletin there was a URL linking to an old newspaper article which blamed a plane crash on solar activity. Unfortunately, the ampersands in this long URL were dropped in the email version, and on the copy in the bulletin archive listed toward the end of this bulletin, so the link did not work. Try this one: The link is in the last paragraph of the bulletin.

Another article on solar activity appeared in the popular press this week. See

Of course, not all articles about solar activity in the popular press are accurate. Leave it to Britain's Fleet Street tabloids to make normal solar activity sound like the end of the world. Of course, the sun is massive and the amount of energy involved in solar events is huge, but check the headline for this article: You'll note that these journalists reserve the right side of paper for the really substantial news.

Note they get their information from the Spaceweather website, but check the archive at in the upper right corner, dialing back to February 11. Yes, the sunspot doubled in size, twice actually.

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers, email the author at,

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL Technical Information Service at For an explanation of the numbers used in this bulletin, see An archive of past propagation bulletins is at Find more good information and tutorials on propagation at

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve overseas locations are at

Sunspot numbers for February 9 through 15 were 33, 51, 62, 80, 59, 64, and 40, with a mean of 55.6. 10.7 cm flux was 99.2, 110.8, 112.3, 110.4, 108.4, 107.4, and 104.6, with a mean of 107.6. Estimated planetary A indices were 4, 4, 4, 4, 8, 10, and 22, with a mean of 8. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 4, 4, 3, 3, 7, 8, and 18, with a mean of 6.7.

Source: W1AW Bulletin via the ARRL.

Member Comments:
This article has expired. No more comments may be added.
Propagation Forecast Bulletin #07 de K7RA:  
by K9SRV on February 18, 2012 Mail this to a friend!
Not to be a dick, but why forecast if the numbers are going to be 65 points off?
Imagine the money spent to be on some obscure island when prop was said to be 165, and now it's 103...

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