Solar Cycle 24, 3Y0Z, and the Downward Trend

Wow – it seems like we are closer to the bottom of the cycle than I would have expected. Look at the wild swings we have had in the last few months. Luckily, even with zero sunspots, 40M has been a beacon to ZS and V51 on the evening short path (only West Coast path for 3Y0Z) and the morning long path.

Can you believe it? 3Y0Z should be on the air in 6 weeks. I guess I will use the 11 days I have off between Christmas and New Years to get everything ready. I’ll use my “Air Boss” pneumatic antenna launcher to get that 17M EDZ up in the trees – and pray the squirrels don’t eat the rope before or during 3Y0Z.

I think 3Y0Z will be the last real hurrah for Cycle 24, at least on the high bands. There will be a time when even 20M will grow dim and I will re-purpose my 2 element 20M yagi to be a 30M Moxon – all aluminum since the dimensions width wise are about the same – all I need to do is get some really thin aluminum from DX Engineering and make the two side pieces.

This week we had a glimpse of some great Top Band conditions. JA, BA, HS, VK and JD1 were all quite good. So, as the high bands fade, the low bands will become good. Top Band for the most part has been disappointing this Fall – but I do remember how things can get better in the first 3 or 4 months of the year.

I think DXpeditions will start advertising what great low band antennas they have – and I think this will get more people on the low bands – if people have the room (and patience) to get something half way decent on 160 and 80. 40 and 30M are much easier to get a decent antenna in – phased verticals offer best bang for the buck where maintenance is very easy. Its amazing how much time I’ve spent on “simple” vertical low band antennas!

Gee Santa Claus – how about 8 Top Band QSO’s and ONE 3Y0Z QSL card? That would be swell!

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