April 1995 Forecast -- Flux Range 67 - 92

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

As I write this, solar fluxes are in the low 70's as we look for seasonal improvement in the polar windows on 20. There is a big difference between a 70 and a 90 flux, and we can still anticipate periods each month when the numbers are closer to the 90 level. Eventually we will get used to them being in the low 70's most of the time. In any case, we look forward to 20 Meter conditions in late spring because they are the best we will get for the next few years. This is the peak season for nightpath work on higher frequencies. At the high end of the cycle, this is when 15 becomes an awesome night band. Now it is almost totally dead.

Late April and May is when the evening paths really open up. When fluxes are at rock bottom, the window into deep (southern) Asia is only about a half hour long. Paths to Russia and Siberia become quite reliable. Any improvement in flux will broaden the coverage of this band opening as well as its duration.

Since it is still early spring, 20 closes down soon after sunset unless we get some help from the solar flux. This means DX'ers move back to 40 and 80 for their prime time DX. Signals are weakening on 80, and the shorter nights are effecting the [duration of northern latitude openings on 40. The sunrise sweep across Russia and Europe happens earlier in our evening and no longer occurs after midnight. This is when signals peak.

In the morning we get the other end of the 20 Meter window. There is some daypath activity to Europe with good polar conditions to Russia and Siberia. As the season progresses, the grey line will tilt increasingly toward the west and open a nice path to the Far East. Some asian stations are already workable in the morning, but not in great quantity. We tune for the exotic stuff, ideally zone 26. During the summer, morning signals from BV and VS6 will become quite common.

There is still hope for 15 Meters, but only on days when flux levels rise above the 70's. Openings to Europe are usually marginal. A better daypath band is 17 Meters, and many DX'ers are already moving there after the windows close on 20 in the morning. The 30 Meter WARC band is good to check out for long haul openings in the evening, after 20 dies.

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