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Survey Question
How well do you understand HF propagation? Comments please!
  Posted: Nov 21, 2017   (218 votes, 11 comments) by N2MG

  I'm blissfully unaware of how little I know.
  I realize how little I know but would like to learn more.
  I know some stuff, but realize I need to learn more. I can't really explain it well to anyone.
  I know a lot and can explain it to a 4th grader.
    (218 votes, 11 comments)

Survey Results
I'm blissfully unaware of how little I know. 3% (7)
I realize how little I know but would like to learn more. 15% (33)
I know some stuff, but realize I need to learn more. I can't really explain it well to anyone. 46% (101)
I know a lot and can explain it to a 4th grader. 29% (64)
Other 6% (13)

Survey Comments
Do You really know Propagation?
I know enough to explain it to brand new Hams-- but, the way to understand this Science is to get on the Bands day and night and check by calling CQ -and- also doing a lot of listening-- and noting where indeed the Calls are coming from! '73, George AA7LX.

Posted by AA7LX on November 23, 2017

Although I have taught Radio Propagation at degree/ professional radio engineer/operator level. I am still learning every day, and will never know all about HF radio propagation.On line tools help.
My gut instinct after many years as a practicing radio engineer is that an ability to apply the theory into practice on the fly is even more important than understanding the theory.
And with so much misinformation out on the Web it is difficult for the novice ham to sift the facts from the junk. Classic is amount of non-fact on the Web about Short Range Skywave Communications dubbed in recent years NVIS. I will stop there as my XYL tells me it is my "hobby-horse".

Posted by EI0DB on November 23, 2017

Daily Propagation
I used the program Minimuf on my pc, and followed the shortwave stations as the bands above 5 MHz gradually opened up as the MUF rose during the day, and then closed down in the evening, just as the MUF predictions said they would.

Fairly accurate and it was fun to observe, and I learned a lot about how the ionosphere and the sun all interact with our radio signals, and what the Solar Flux means and where to find it.

Posted by VE3WGO on November 22, 2017

Since the entry-level license in the US went to
the VHF-and-above-centric (read: non-HF)
Technician, newly minted hams don't get exposed
to the nuances of HF propagation by force.
Many (most?) of them (even after upgrading)
barely operate VHF and far fewer venture to HF
where propagation issues reign supreme.

When one cut one's teeth on 40M and 15M CW, one
*had* to learn what it was all about.

Posted by N2MG on November 21, 2017

So propagation is like when I shoot skip
with my 2-meter HT? Sometimes I hear CB'ers
on 146.525 here on the west coast from the
east coast of the US and really love that
echo effect they use! Go propagation!

Posted by AF7EC on November 20, 2017

Currently reading "The Little Pistol's Guide
to HF Propagation", and once I finish that,
I'll go back to trying to understand ON4UN's
book on low-band propagation.

You can never learn enough about this topic.

Propagation can always surprise. Worked J5T
on 20m RTTY recently about 15 minutes before
local sunrise. Half an hour later, they were
inaudible on 20m.

Posted by AA4LR on November 20, 2017

Good heavens, accurate propagation prediction flummoxes
even those who are held in esteem as being experts in the

So how is a lowly little untrained "...propagation user" such
as yours truly expected to successfully & repeatedly navigate
that world with any sort of authority…?!

Posted by VE3CUI on November 20, 2017

Even more fun... that the two hemispheres of the sun are peaking at diverging times in the sunspot cycle. Will they wind up at opposite times eventually and cause a nearly flat "Maunder Minimum" sunspot cycle?

Posted by N3EG on November 19, 2017

There is a considerable amount of unfocused unorganized information making it difficult for anyone to draw an accurate conclusion regarding what has happened, why, and what to expect. All anyone can do is look at the Macro trends over the past few cycles clearly pointing to a period of much lower solar activity in the next cycle maybe two. Until there is growth in the magnetic size and complexity of the sunspots, the trend will continue down. This has happened in the past; it's just that no one is alive today to remember it. - Randy W7TJ

Posted by W7TJ on November 18, 2017

What hams used to know
I am glad to be knowledgeable about propagation theory. The hams of yesteryear used to know a fair amount of propagation theory, but I find that many newly minted hams know little to no theory in general. Brave new world we live in.

The good news is that if the new hams do not know the theory, the web has spotters and SFI numbers online.

Posted by KB6QXM on November 18, 2017

I know a little about it and use to follow the Propagation Forecasts from WWV way back when. I had an elementary Computer program that gave me some idea of what was suppose to happen. It is like any other realm in science, there is much to learn and it does not necessarily follow the rules.

In My Humble Opinion, Hams put too much emphasis one the forecasts and do not even try, if the prediction says the band is Bad or Closed, instead of getting on the air and sending out a CQ or two.

Posted by WA0TML on November 17, 2017

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