Bouvet Watch: Keeping Watch on 20 and 40M

It just so happens that after what seemed like a very weak 20M today, as we progressed to the later afternoon, the South American stations came to life. This would be a few hours past their sunset, and the one station of most interest was in Rosario, Argentina, which is exactly the same path as Bouvet will be. The station I worked was S9 +10 and stayed that way for an hour. At the bottom of a cycle – the N – S path is your best bet, especially non polar, which Bouvet will be for the West Coast. Now – from the West Coast, its also a water path. It won’t be open as long as to the East Coast US or EU and AF, but it will offer something decent.

The prediction was quite a bit below actual – and if you asked me about 20M conditions even 2 hours earlier – I would have said – forget it – we are at the bottom of the cycle . . . heh heh

If Bouvet were on right now – it would be pretty grim. The chart shows ZERO possibility at 2200z, but 0900z there would be an opening, but right now would be the middle of Bouvet’s Winter, so they wouldn’t go there now anyway.

BUT, the station I worked in LU is 2/3rds of the way to Bouvet, meaning I probably could work Bouvet today with full power and my 2 element home brewed yagi, but it would be like when I worked BS7H. Crummy summer conditions.

Now – look what happens just past the Autumnal Equinox – things really perk up. This is the point of this post – DON’T JUDGE CONDITIONS FOR BOUVET BY WHAT IS GOING ON RIGHT NOW. We are at a really crappy part of the year – even Field Day has crappy local conditions just about every year. Its funny – but conditions on all bands in the northern hemisphere seem to get better toward the end of July every year. (except the peak of a cycle maybe – like when I worked Turkmenistan on 20M – hi hi). But this coming October would be about the “last best” time for Bouvet – there could be openings from 160 – 10M, although I would bet mostly on 80 – 15M.

Now – look at what VOACAP Online says about next January – 20M will be fine, and I fully expect 30, 40 and 80M to be fine. 15 and 17M will be OK too – its not quite as good as October, but workable anyway. I fully expect this to be a lot like 3Y0X was in 2006 – maybe just a bit harder since 3Y0X was almost directly south of me and a full water path – 3Y0X was VERY easy to work, and conditions then:

Conditions for 3Y0X were a little better than they will be for 3Y0Z. Anyway back to the path to 3Y . .

L20F at 0330z on 40M – S9 +20

Well, that says it all – this path during the late afternoon on 20 and early evening on 40M is bone crushing. Since its 2/3rds of the way to Bouvet, me thinks at the right time it will be a done deal – even with these awful bottom of the cycle scraping conditions. I’m guessing if L20F was > S9 on 20 and 40M today that 3Y would be very workable – perhaps between S7 – 9. If the Bouvet team were on that little beach in the NW part of the island the US West Coast would get a leg up on EU especially, maybe even US East Coast. 3Y0Z, on Slakhallet would mean that the US will need higher angle DX, and that’s fine because the openings will be near our sunset with enhancement at higher angles. I talked to Ralph, K0IR, and he said he fully understands this situation, so I do expect that 3Y0Z will be looking for West Coast at what will be a critical time – and will work all of the West Coast by explicitly asking for West Coast. 3Y0X was so strong for so many hours on the West Coast that nothing special was needed – I do think a little more attention will be needed from 3Y0Z.

In fact, the entire reason I am doing my summer project is because I am so sure that 160 – 15M will be where its at. I will make sure I have antennas that cover these bands with gain or great pattern – will you?

I actually expect this 3Y0Z expedition to be similar to 3Y0X – which happened just before the bottom of the last cycle – with very similar conditions.

And for all my worry – I am feeling like we will do just fine and this will be an epic activation of Bouvet.



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