Saturday, June 30, 2012

Jumping Heliophysics Batman........

M class solar flare letting go
It's Saturday afternoon  around 3:15 local time and 19:15 UTC I just finished turning the Elecraft k3 on for the 3rd time today and nothing!! I looked over at my LDG antenna switch to see if I was on the dummy load but no the attic antenna was connected. I turned on my Elecraft P3 and it was almost flat lined hardly any signals to be found. I try not to use propagation alone to judge the bands as in the past propagation conditions have not been good but I had made some great contacts. Well it was time to head off to to have a look. Things started to come together as I looked at the solar data, solar flux is up and sunspots are as well ...that's good but look at the solar wind speed 689.5 also the K index is up around 4 which is not great but could be worse. the Bz has come up to +2.0. This morning when I checked the
Bz was way in the negative which is not good. The rise in solar wind and K index numbers pointed to a solar flare. The sun sure has been very busy on June 28th M2.4 class flare, June 29th M2.2 flare and now today two flares M1.0 and M1.6 class.
So in a nut shell things are very busy in space in such a way that radio is affected here on earth!! I have been using a less power as possible mind set here at VE3WDM to see how many miles per watt I can get. It seems I may have to chance the game up a little....see  how many contacts I can make compared to the size of solar storm that is affecting us.
 In closing let me know how this conditions are affecting you in your ham location. Oh and a side note to all those who live in the high latitude parts of the world.....enjoy the Auroras this evening.


  1. Mike,

    that is really a challenge: QRP against solar storms.
    On 20m nearly no signals but lots of "atmospheric" noise. So the K3 seems to be not much better than my old K2 ;-)or did I miss something?


    1. Good evening Hajo, its good to hear that conditions are the same over your way as well....well not good to hear but you know what I mean. I take the solar storm as just but another challenge!! No there is nothing to miss I have a K2 as well but just wanted to mention it was the K3 that I was using...oh and have a KX1 as well.
      Have a great weekend Hajo

  2. Hello Mike,
    I do use propagation forecasts and other tools (RBN), when it comes to milliwatting.
    That's because I have no permanent antenna, so I'd better check propagation before making the effort of setting up a temporary 10m fiber pole vertical on the balcony - as said there is no use in fighting against poor propagation with low power.
    But never found a good explanation on how to evaluate the different dimensions of the magnetic field e.g. the z-axis,
    you mention, do you know any links dealing with such?
    And yes, propagation is always good for some suprising results, no matter, how bad the numbers might be, guess, that's part of the fun.
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts/72!

    1. Good afternoon Peter, in the past I was in the same situation as you having to set up an antenna to operate. I will agree back then knowing how the bands were was very important. I did not want to set things up to have to take them down again. The RBN is a great at seeing were your signal is being heard and that gives you a good idea how the band is doing. As for the z axis try going to it has a short overview of the Bz also try give these two links a go and let me know if they were a help?
      Peter thanks for stopping by the blog and also taking the time to comment.

    2. Thanks a lot for the links, Mike, indeed they do help - given the high variability of HF-conditions
      it seems more effective to watch propagation carefully rather than tweaking around ones rig/antenna for at best one or two dB more, while path-losses varies by several s-units within hours.

  3. Hello Peter, you just mentioned the variability on HF.....just got word that this morning there was an M5.6 flare and the HF bands are feeling the effects of it now. I am off to RBN to see where my 5 watt signal is being heard. Oh and your welcome regarding the links. If there is anything else I can help out with do send an email.
    Have a good week Peter.