December 1991 Forecast -- Flux Range 171 - 272

by Roy, AD5Q - Houston, Texas

The days are now very short in the northern hemisphere. The sun doesn't shine at all on the north pole, so 10 meter opportunities into central and southern Asia are rare. Grey line paths in the morning lead to Europe, and there is plenty of activity on this popular path. The 10 meter season will continue for several months with openings to most of the world. The other fine daytime band will be 15, which will have broader openings to more of the world. On 15, polar openings are still common.

Nighttime MUF's are lower now, and 20 Meters is seriously effected. The band begins to close in mid-evening, and paths to the northeast are not open for the European sunrise. The band stays open in the early evening for polar paths to Asia and Russia, and then closes. In the morning, we no longer have that fine summer short path to the Far East. Instead, Antarctic long path is at the peak of its season. Excellent morning long path to India, Russia, the Middle East and Europe is an every day occurrence. This is a favorite DX path for many experienced DX'ers, with plenty of activity on both ends of the path. It is near sunset at the other end of the path, but DX'ers in Europe and Russia know it well. There are also excellent long path openings around our sunset to the Far East that are not closely watched.

The early band closings on 20 move much North American DX activity to the low bands. New challenges await DX'ers who have already worked everything over and over on the high bands. There are also frustrations. SSB DX'ers find 40 Meters loaded with foreign political propaganda and either move on to 75, or work on their 5 Band DXCC on 40 CW. This is one reason why 40 meter pileups are so quickly overrun with lids. (The main reason, however, is packet.) 40 Meters is a great band, and many exotic stations appear in the evening hours. African CW ops in particular seem to like 40.

80 and 160 Meters are also in season, but we are still too high in the sunspot cycle for serious DXing on 160. On 80, most of the activity is on SSB. On all the low bands, the east coast has a much greater advantage to Europe and Africa than they do on the high bands. Hoards of east coast packeteers dominate pileups most of the evening, and Europe is hard to work. It is important to note that European activity in the evening comes mostly from insomniacs with big signals. The real propagation peak is at the EU sunrise, which occurs after midnight here. By then, most of the east coast is in bed and 80 meter DX is very workable. You will still need an amplifier and a good wire antenna.

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