Wednesday, January 08, 2014

Too important to wait for tonight

As seen on QRP-L this morning, by Paul NA5N:

Solar flares and a heads up

Gang,
Ole Sol has awoken with three large flares in the past 18 hours, an M3, M6 and an X1.  There may be more to come.  The active solar region is in the center of the sun, looking right at us, meaning any CMEs (and future flares/CMEs) will most likely deliver a shock wave to planet Earth on Friday and/or Saturday with some geomagnetic storming.

But more exciting is how these flares have gushed waves of ionizing radiation into our ionosphere. The average solar flux for the past 90 days has been a count of 150.  Today's flares increased the solar flux to *237*, though short lived as local sunset occurred not long after in North America with EU already in the dark.

However, the prediction for the next two days is a solar flux of 195.  This is about the highest it has been this solar cycle and sufficient for 10M openings in local daylight hours.  So for those of you snow bound, freezing your coax off and otherwise bored Wednesday in the Eastern U.S., turn on that rig during daylight hours and enjoy some very likely good conditions from 20-10M.  Daytime conditions should be very favorable until late Friday, when the shock wave from the X1 flare is expected to arrive.  The CME left the sun at about 1,100 km/sec - a pretty decent shock wave.  NOAA is predicting a moderate geomagnetic storm, but it could get worse, though short lived.

These favorable conditions apply to all areas, Europe, the Americas, Asia, Australia, etc. during daylight hours.  The proton count is also fairly high, meaning signals may be very attenuated in the polar latitudes and causing some fading (QSB) in the middle latitudes.  If the proton count remains high and the CMEs hit Friday night, it could mean some impressive northern lights, perhaps extending into the northern tier of U.S. states or northern EU (depending on when it hits).

If you're new to ham radio or QRP, check out 15M and 10M next couple of days.  If those bands are open and the solar flux indeed comes in around 190-200, you should be able to easily work some nice DX with your 5 watts.  This is the first such opportunity I have seen in a long time.  Unfortunately, I will be at work tomorrow, installing some experimental 74 and 300 MHz receivers onto some VLA antennas.  Maybe I can sneak my 817 into one of the tool bags?

Let us know if you snag any good catches, or how conditions sound at your QTH. The way I figure it for right now ... turning on your 100W coffee pot and 500W shack heater to get your 5W on the air will be worth it -hi.

GL to all.
72, Paul

Current solar and geophysical conditions are always here:
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/today.html
or ... http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/SWN/index.html

Alerts and warning here:
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/alerts/warnings_timeline.html

And, current solar flux values here:
http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/ftpdir/latest/curind.txt
-1 means no data or the station is currently "in the dark"

Good news! Too bad I am stuck here at work!

72 de Larry W2LJ
QRP - When you care to send the very least!

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