April 1997 Forecast -- Flux Range 68 - 81

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

We are now past the equinox - the day the sun rises at the north pole. Polar windows are opening nicely on 20 Meters in the early evening, but the band still closes a few hours after dark. Prime time evening activity includes a good opening into central Asia, along with the usual South American, African and Pacific DX that comes through across lower latitudes.

Morning also brings an opening over the pole, along with a path to Europe lasting several hours. The change in seasons will bring deterioration in this morning European window as the grey line no longer leads in that direction. It has drifted to the other side of the pole, and by summer will extend to the Far East. The daily European opening will shift to late afternoon. In recent months the path to Asia has occurred around sunset and this will also deteriorate. It will eventually be replaced by a much better pipeline in the morning. For now, 20 Meters is in transition and most evening DX activity remains on 40.

Conditions on 40 are excellent, as the QRN levels are still fairly low and signals are strong. Europeans are easily workable through the evening, with many Russian signals also coming through. After sunrise we get a great opening to Asia. Over the next couple months the QRN levels will continue to rise and activity will move primarily to 20.

Nightpath openings on 20 will improve during April and May. The morning polar window is currently narrow, but will expand to include more of Asia. From W5 we should watch for signals from Mongolia, China and Southeast Asia on paths west of due North. DXers in other parts of the northern hemisphere will get the same northerly path - but it will lead to other parts of the world. (The long haul polar paths are difficult from any perspective - Europe needs these same openings to access the Pacific.) Our evening DX window will also broaden to include the more densely populated areas of Russia. This will mean plenty of DX to work in the evening.

Conditions on higher bands will not improve very much. Significant activity on 15 Meters is not expected, though the 17 Meter WARC band does show some promise. Conditions on 30 Meters should be excellent, as most areas of the world will be workable.

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