February 1992 Forecast -- Flux Range 196 - 288

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

With sunspot numbers still high in the cycle, 20 Meters comes back quickly during February for all-night openings that continue until November. The wonderful night propagation we enjoy for most of the year on 20 (and the daily long path openings) are a product of high solar activity. Though we still have a couple more years of this, it doesn't last forever.

This paragraph is included to remind you of what conditions are like at the bottom of the cycle: 20 closes at night most of the year. In late spring we get some extended evening openings over the pole, which are the same openings we get on 15 at the high end of the cycle. Openings into Russia are much less common on 20, and impossible on 10 and 15. 20 meter night path (and long path) propagation is sparse at the low end of the cycle. 20 becomes a daytime band, replacing 10 and 15 for the day path to Europe (though at higher QRN levels.) 10 Meters is good for collecting 10-10 numbers and practicing Spanish. Openings to Europe are often better on 80 than they are on 15. Conditions on 40 thru 160 are great, and the lowbands are where serious DX'ers will spend their time.

The past few months have been good for 40 and 80, and many rare DX stations have been workable on lowbands. A few of the better equipped stations have made some nice 80 meter long path contacts into Asia at our sunset (I was not one of them). This propagation is more common at the low end of the cycle. The 80 meter season is nearly over, but 40 will be good for several more months. The activity, however, will be moving back up to 20.

It is also late in the 10 meter season. We therefore only have a month or two left of good propagation on 10 before the MUFs take their seasonal nosedive. The rebound comes in the fall, and the quality of next fall's season will depend on how much the actual solar activity declines over the coming months.

There is currently DX activity on all HF bands from 160 thru 10. This freedom of choice will continue for at least a month. After March, DX activity will begin moving to 15 and 20.

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