This graph is from a very interesting web site – http://users.telenet.be/j.janssens/SC24web/SC24.html
I know that we have already had a Cycle 25 sunspot, so it will be interesting how long the minimum will be between Cycle 24 and 25. This graph shows how unusual Cycle 24 was at its bottom. It was deeper and longer than the past three cycles.
This is one of the better web sites to check out if you are wondering what might happen between now and the peak of Cycle 25. One big take away for me is just how abnormal the bottom of Cycle 23 was, and that the bottom of Cycle 24 might not be as deep or long as Cycle 23. How high will Cycle 25 go? That is too hard to tell – but I remember how ridiculously all over the map the predictions were for Cycle 24, so this is a “just wait and see” thing for me.
I am now convinced that I will get one last chance to work Bouvet (I am sure the 3Y0I guys will try again – all of their pride is wrapped up in this, and I have learned from “driven” DXpedition leaders that once they fixate on such a project, it does happen). My only hope is that the 3Y0I and some of the 3Y0Z guys would work together and also do a proper fund raising. Go next October and make it a success. I think its time for everyone to join forces, and that the clubs and foundations need to support whomever goes. But for that to happen, the 3Y0I and 3Y0Z teams need to put aside some of their attitudes.
I also expect that the French Team will activate Glorioso – but that it will be the last time that entity is activated in my lifetime. This means I very much expect that if you started DXCC today – the probability is you won’t make it to Honor Roll #1, and I even think making Honor Roll wouldn’t be possible. I knew things were trending this way, and the numbers aren’t there to support these activities moving forward. There are just way too many entities that are too expensive or environmentally hard to access. Just as important is that the number and age of “well healed” DXpedition Teams is dwindling. More will have to come from non US countries, like 3Y0I, but without US Foundation and Club Support, good luck.
I’ve decided after visiting my neighbors awesome ham radio shack (and having some fun socializing at the same time) that ending my Honor Roll #1 pursuit at another shack is what I will do. I’ve worked all the rest from my own shack, and sure – I will also try to work these from my shack, but also won’t do what I did with FT5GA – suffered without a peep from them at my shack while others ran up to the Stanford ham shack and worked them. I don’t need this purist BS any more. I’ve moved on to just having fun – DXing definitely started feeling like work and not fun – so that’s the reason I decided to move into a new area – the vintage gear space.
And in getting into the vintage space I have made new ham radio friends. I love the passion in each of these genres – they are like their own little worlds, and they are all interesting and fun to check out – kind of like going to your favorite amusement park when you were a kid. Lots of fun rides – my favorite amusement park was the Boardwalk at Wildwood at the Jersey Shore . . .
I do expect that I will get serious about QRP and CW – that is waiting in the wings after I get the KWS-1 on the air. Of course, I am always dreaming of antenna projects, but there is only so much you can do at your QTH – and I know I won’t be buying any big properties when I retire, so in a way, what I am doing now at my QTH is about the speed of what I will be doing when I do leave Orinda. I will certainly make sure I don’t move into a place with HOA’s and CC&R’s that preclude at least a flagpole vertical or a wire up in the trees. But the plan will be to bring the US Towers ALM-31 Crank Up tower and SteppIR UrbanBeam.