July 1992 Forecast -- Flux Range 96 - 176

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

July is the least exiting month of the year for DX'ers. Summer MUFs are low enough to seriously effect 15 Meters, with only generally weaker signals on daypath DX openings. Since 10 is also dead, there are few options remaining for daytime DXing. The solar fluxes are much lower this year, and this will also adversely effect 15. DXers must adjust to the lower fluxes by moving to lower frequencies. When 15 is unproductive, try the 18 MHz WARC band, and if this fails, try 20.

We can expect improved daypath conditions on 20 as sunspots fade. Through the next few years, 20 Meters will replace 10 and 15 as the most reliable daypath band. This also means that 20 night paths will be closed for much of the year. Late spring will still give us the highest MUF's of the year, and spring DX on 20 will replace the fine nighttime propagation we have enjoyed on 15 through the sunspot peak. Late afternoon and evening paths will almost always be open to Europe and Russia, though polar openings will be shorter. We will have morning paths to Europe like we are used to finding on 15, but with more QRN. Watch for early band closings on 20. At the peak of the cycle, these only occur during the winter. They will now be evident for more of the year, even in the summer when fluxes get real low.

The time of night a band closes is a major factor determining which paths are open. If a band (any band) is open all night, expect to find pipeline conditions to Europe following the sunrise there. If the band closes at 2:00am, this high latitude path is closed and late evening propagation is to the northwest (Asia) instead. The best path to Europe will then be in late afternoon. When a band closes promptly after sunset, all propagation is on day paths and Europe is workable in the morning. If the fluxes are too low to open the polar areas at all, hope for east/west paths to Africa and the Pacific. North/south propagation to South America never drops out. This news is not all bad, since many new opportunities for DX will be found on 80 and 160. 40 becomes the primary night path band through the bottom of the cycle.

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