Sliding down the sunspot cycle
As I had expected, 3Y0Z had the last chance at some “decent” higher band propagation. We are now already at the bottom of the sunspot cycle as far as I am concerned. However, the low bands are getting better – so those with great antennas on 160 – 30M will be the big winners when Bouvet and Glorioso are activated – and Murphy tells me they will be activated during the “din” of Cycle 24 or beginning of Cycle 25.
Lets look at the VOACAP Online predictions for my QTH
The prediction for December 2018 (when 3Y0I might go to Bouvet as far as rumor has it)
I’m quite surprised that the higher bands will be open. Now I am very happy that I purchased the UrbanBeam and ALM-31 tower. With my 2 phased vertical elements on 80 and 40 and then the UrbanBeam a dipole on 40 and 30 and then 2 element yagi on 20 – 6M, I will be in better shape than I was for 3Y0Z. The path to Bouvet from Northern California seems really great – reminds me of 3Y0X, which was also activated at a point quite a bit better in the sunspot cycle than where 3Y0I or 3Y0Z will be activated. 2006 was a tad bit better thn what could have happened with the recent 3Y0Z planned time on Bouvet. Its really hard to say if conditions will be much worse when Bouvet is finally (and I am sure it will be) activated.
I still can’t believe the demise of 3Y0Z – I can’t remember this sort of high profile, expensive DXpedition having this kind of bad luck. Now I find myself cheering on anyone who can activate Bouvet, and so 3Y0I is in the game now – fair and square. I am a bit saddened that 3Y0Z and 3Y0I couldn’t work together, but I also know once you have $750K of money and gear donated to a project – its a tangled web to try to unweave, and I don’t envy the principles. I did worry when we were planning VK0EK – so I have been on the “ground floor” of such projects.
As I mentioned before – VK0EK had no ship going into the 2015 IDXC, and literally – during that Visalia convention we closed on a ship – the Braveheart. So – I know how within one day your project can be on, and then off.