January 1993 Forecast -- Flux Range 104 - 141

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

This is winter. Both 10 and 15 Meters are closing shortly after sunset, and even 20 is closing in the early evening. Since this is also occurring in the rest of the northern hemisphere, our morning DX openings to Europe are cut short. The band closes in Russia before it even opens for us in the morning, so there is very little 10 Meter propagation to the former USSR. Much of the day path activity has already moved to 15, which buys us longer openings and better propagation at high latitudes. Once the 15 Meter day path closes in late morning, try 20 Meters. You may be surprised to find DX on 20 in mid afternoon. This is the way it will be in coming years with lower sunspot activity and lower MUF's.

In the evening, you may catch the last of the 20 Meter propagation with a path across South America to the Antarctic. Also watch for long path signals from Asia. Once 20 closes, it is time for serious low band work (or TV?). Signals are stronger on 80 this year, and the 160 Meter season is also an improvement over last year. This gives us something to look forward to in the coming years as the fluxes head toward the low 70's and 60's. There will be plenty of DX activity on 80 through the coming sunspot bottom.

One problem with low bands is that the east coast has a much greater advantage over us into Europe than on the higher bands. In the early evening, the few DX stations that are copyable are usually eastern Europeans running high power. It is important to recognize that these operators are night owls - operating during pre-dawn hours, and not during their sunrise propagation peak. On our end of the path, the frequency is trashed by hoards of packeteers with yankee accents (just like on the other bands). Breaking these pileups is not easy, but if you stay up past midnight, the real propagation peak to Europe occurs. Not only is there more DX activity, but most of the lids have gone to bed, leaving the opening to us and the west coast. DX in westerly directions is best worked during our own sunrise peak. On most mornings, you will find several JA's on 80 - and maybe something more exotic. Pacific DX-peditions are easy to work, because they make a point of working stateside during our sunrise openings. Simply turn on your radio at sunrise, work a new 80 Meter country, and crawl back into bed. This trick also works for Pacific expeditions in the summer. 100 countries on 80 isn't that hard.

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