July 1988 Forecast -- Flux Range 133 - 192

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

The objective of this column has been to emphasize the seasonal influence on propagation paths to different parts of the world, especially those that are harder to reach. This can be difficult with the wild variations in solar activity we have been getting lately. It is summer, and MUF's are low across all northern daytime paths. This means weak signals on 15 and little activity on ten other than E skip. Openings on 15 are not as broad as they were in the spring, but high fluxes can really open things up at night. 20 is open all night, with excellent propagation for about 2 hours after sunrise. We said much of this last month, and this pattern should continue through August. Instead of sounding redundant, we shall go on to other topics which we would otherwise not have space for here.

Flares - generally: As I write this, the WWV numbers are 193/15/3. There have been some major flares lately, but the bands could have been much worse. The stormy period following a flare effects polar propagation the most, and it is best to stay with lower frequencies and east/west paths. Watch for a drop in the A/K indices first, leaving high fluxes and excellent DX conditions after the storms clear. Much of this should occur by the time you read this.

Long Path: A "K" index of 3 is not a serious problem for long path work, especially in the summer for our morning path to the west on 20. It is time to watch for LP on 15. Experienced Dx'ers know that 20 meter paths are often crooked - usually bending around Antarctica instead of crossing it. Long path on 15 is especially skewed, and LP to Russia and Europe is usually 20 to 40 degrees west of the true heading. 15 LP can open to Europe when the same path on 20 is out of season. When fluxes are high, this nighttime path opens in the morning while 20 is open in the same general direction. You can tune for LP on 15 and 20 at the same time without turning your beam much. Any time you hear VK in the morning, long path is open too.

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