Thursday, July 28, 2011

The sun's kicking into life . . . again

Click on the image to see a 3-day animation
Radio hams around the world get very excited about sunspots. There's a reason for this. The more sunspots, the better the propagation. After an extended lull in sunspot activity, it really seemed like 2011 would bring the great upswing that all hams waited for. A big leap in sunspot numbers early in the year brought great hope, and a few good lifts in conditions on the bands. And then things died off again. For the past couple of months sunspots have appeared in fits and starts and then fizzled away.

So when space scientists clapped eyes on the above images this week, they started to get excited. And us radio amateurs are perhaps entitled to a wee glimmer of excitement also, as there is a real prospect of good propagation. This would potentially help enormously for those interested in working the various Dxpeditions which are active now. These include ST0R in Southern Sudan, VK9HR in Lord Howe Island, and ZD8D on Ascension Island in the Atlantic Ocean.

Now I hate to tempt fate, so I'm not going to. Based on solar activity this year so far, the most we can expect is that the new sunspots will just fizzle out and propagation will fall away again . . .

For more on sunspot activity, visit the website

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