April 1996 Forecast -- Flux Range 67 - 74

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

With solar activity as low as it is, we are still in lowband season but this will change during April. Currently the best times to work DX on 20 are in the morning and late afternoon / early evening, and this is across daypaths. 20 Meter paths will begin their transition to a summer configuration this month. This is because of the rising MUF's along nighttime paths. The predicted bottom of the sunspot cycle is predicted for the coming months, but don't let this bother you.

Though the night is growing shorter and noise levels are increasing, conditions are still excellent on 40. In mid-winter, MUF's drop below 7 MHz at night on the path to Europe - reducing the number of signals on the band for much of the evening. Currently Europeans are coming through all evening, with excellent openings to the northern areas after 0500Z. Until the evening paths return to 20, there is still plenty of propagation to enjoy on 40. Another option is 30 Meters, which also closes at night in the winter. It is opening up, and will have later evening propagation than 20 during the current transition.

We are past the equinox now, and the tilt in the morning and evening grey lines have flipped to opposite sides of the pole. We currently find openings to Europe in the morning and Asia in the afternoon. By summer, the Asian pipeline will be in the morning, Europe in the late afternoon, and Russia all evening. DXing on 20 will be possible for more of the day, and Europe will still be very workable in the morning through spring. All these openings will broaden. The sun is low over the pole for 24 hours now, so polar windows should really open up. We will find excellent openings into Asia both in the morning and in the early evening. As springtime progresses, the number of echoing polar signals will increase until they are wall-to-wall across the band in the evening. Most of these will be Russian. The morning window will favor areas of Asia where there is less activity, but more exotic DX to work (another Burma operation?).

15 Meters will improve slightly. Little activity or interest in this band is expected, and the reliable paths will be mostly east/west and north/south. For the USA, this means Africa, South America and the Pacific (and not Europe or Asia). Sporadic-E season is approaching for both 10 and 6 Meters. This is not DX, and won't bring out much CW activity (other than chasing off the CB'ers on 10 CW). It does breathe life into the 10 Meter Novice (SSB) band, giving many no-code operators something to do with their radios.

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