Solar Groundhog Day?

Is there help sunspot and solar flux wise – right around the corner? From the NASA Marshall web site –

It looks like there could be help in 2020 as far as getting out of the bottom of cycle 24 and getting into Cycle 25. In all predictions, it looks like Cycle 25 swings up almost perfectly coinciding with the new year, and the swing up would be noticeable.

Solar predictions have been downright awful in the past – but this one looks pretty conservative and more believable than all of the wildly varying predictions we had for Cycle 24. The good news here is that even the most pessimistic prediction spells relief. My guess is that we have been more on the green line than the blue line this year – we have had an occasional sunspot – and it does seem a little better than the bottom of Cycle 23 going into 24. My perception could be “skewed” by the fact that at this point in the last solar cycle(s) I was still chasing DXCC Honor Roll – so I was all buggered up regarding that OCD. Today, I am much more relaxed and am in no hurry about anything ham radio wise.

What I am looking forward to is longer nights and hopefully fewer disturbances on 40M. When the noise is lower than say S7, 40M comes alive – with or without sunspots. I have worked Perth, Australia, Sri Lanka and 9M6 for my three farthest QRP DX QSO’s, all on 40M, and all during my West Coast morning, so that bodes well for the Fall and Winter – both just around the corner. If ANY of the predictions on this graph (and the Solar Flux prediction on their web site) are true – optimistic, realistic or pessimistic, then better conditions are literally one quarter or so away – I say sooner only because the season is already changing – look how close we are to the Autumnal Equinox:

It always seems that the second half of August accelerates the daylight length – where it really feels like we are going from Summer to Autumn 

It is now dark at 8 PM, and even that seems to be changing in a noticeable way almost daily. Since I ride my bike to and from BART to go to work every day – I am especially sensitive to this change.

With my Summer Ham Radio antenna project done and in anticipation of the changing of the seasons, one project that I will pick back up is finally fixing that mechanical problem with the Collins KWS-1. I did find an OEM replacement part – and will use it as a guide to make some extras of my own. When the days and nights get a bit cooler – I will fire up the Gold Dust Twins again – its been too warm this summer to use those rigs. They will help heat up the shack this Winter, so I am hoping to fix the “slug rack ribbon” in October – which is going on almost 1 year since I accidentally “fell into” the 75A4 – followed by the KWS-1. Some day I will sell them, but I am in no hurry now – and have no desire to replace them with something else. I’m really surprised that I am not even thinking about something like the Elecraft K4 – but instead, wondering about the successor to the KX-3.

I think this means my new QRP DX “pursuit” is here to stay, and if I want QRO – I have the IC-7300 and better yet – the Gold Dust Twins. I think this is still a pretty sweet setup, actually. Oh – and the UrbanBeam at 55′ is really fantastic.


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