April 1998 Forecast -- Flux Range 86 - 141

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

Wow! With the help of higher solar flux numbers, the spring DX season is on a roll. Nightpaths have opened up on 20, making the whole world easily accessible from anywhere in the northern hemisphere. I hope everyone in Europe worked the new one in the Pacific. There are two others that may be added soon, presumably under the new DXCC rules.

The polar paths have opened, and they are going to open wider. On 20, we currently have no problem reaching across Siberia to the moslem areas. As we approach summer, the grey line will tilt toward european Russia in the evening. With its dense population of CW operators, 20 will be vibrant with polar signals echoing everywhere.

The higher fluxes will make the 20 meter evening openings much better than last year. The band will stay open longer, with paths open to more of the world. East/west paths will be open for much of the day, with the path to Africa beginning in the afternoon and continuing well into the night. Europe will peak in late afternoon, and this path is improving as the morning path to europe fades. The new path emerging in the morning is a pipeline to Asia along with more polar openings. All these openings will be with us through the summer.

And then there is long path on 20. Currently the morning and late afternoon paths across the Antarctic are in great shape, but will deteriorate as we move into summer. For now, we can work into southern Asia, the Middle East, N.E. Africa, Europe and Russia in the morning, and to Indonesia and S.E. Asia in the afternoon. This perspective is from Texas, with a somewhat shifted outlook from either coast. Best of all: the southern US dominates in long path pileups :-)

The fine spring conditions are also enhancing propagation at higher frequencies. Polar openings are common on 17 Meters, and some northerly signals are coming across on 15 (especially from equatorial areas). 12 Meters is also active, but reliable high latitude propagation on 10 & 12 will have to wait.

As we move to late spring, conditions will change on 15. The band will open later, and remain open after dark. Watch for Europe to start coming through in the afternoon, especially when the fluxes are up.

40 is still in good shape, but with great propagation on other bands in the evening much of the activity has moved higher. Options to work DX currently exist on many bands, and the best of this variety will be found in April of May. Enjoy!

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