July 1994 Forecast -- Flux Range 74 - 88

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

The forecast for this month is dismal. Fluxes are in the 80's at best, but this is July - the month when the ionosphere ceases to deflect DX signals back to earth. This is a result of the atmosphere getting overheated. As it expands outward, it pushes the ionosphere higher and reduces its ion density. This means that the MUF is lower and the high bands are mostly dead.

In the morning, the high bands open much more slowly. This also means that the 40 meter sunrise peak hangs in there longer. With the fluxes as low as they are, it is not reasonable to expect much 15 Meter DX propagation in the morning. If Europe opens at all, it will be in the afternoon. For the most part we will have only the east/west paths to Africa & the Pacific, and of course South America. A similar situation will exist on 17 Meters, but conditions will be better. 15 is drier than a Texas drought. 10 Meter CW has been taken over by hispanic CB bootleggers, not to be reclaimed by DX'ers for another few years. 10 & 6 Meter SSB are hopping with Sporadic E short skip activity.

Though we still have disturbed activity for half of the month, the effect of the coronal hole is slowly diminishing. Last month, the hole reappeared in the middle of the WPX CW. This month it was during Field Day, however, the bands are still usable. If you like digging weak signals out of the low bands amid static crashes, 40 is in OK shape. The best time to play on 80 is during the IARU Contest, when several of the QRO stations in Europe are workable. 30 Meters is in great shape, though there really isn't that much activity. Most stations on this band do not have sophisticated antennas, myself included.

Europe is workable on 20 for much of the day, and is at its best in the late afternoon. These openings are not pipelines, so signals are never plentiful. We hear the stronger stations. At this time of the year there is a greyline path to Asia in the morning. Since MUF's rise so slowly, the opening lasts several hours. At the top of the cycle, this path was a daily pipeline and signals were loud. This year they are not. There is also a path to Asia in the evening, especially after Europe drops out. This will probably be the best time during the IARU test to run JA on this band.

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