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Sunspot Cycle

Singularity35

DU7DVE
Jan 16, 2014
425
90
138
Small City, Philippines
I have heard of it and I've tried googling but I don't see much that is tied in with the outlook on propagation. Can anybody please explain in dumb guy language whether we will have better propagation in the year or two to come? Thanks in advance.
 

BJ radionut

Supporting Member and 6m addict
May 9, 2008
4,217
4,817
373
35 miles East of Indianapolis
Chuck: Sorry to say we are reaching the bottom of Cycle 24. The schedule for cycle 24 varies somewhat, but Cycle 25 is due to begin in about 2 years.
That said by estimates we are looking at about 4 to 5 years of about the same or similar decay of conditions as we are experiencing at this time.
The normal trend we are seeing is somewhat strange, from past experience when the upper bands 20m-10m begin to decay then 160-40m begin to enhance.
This cycle has proven to miss all predictions, first it never reached the expectations in upper band enhancement it should have, and at the same time the lower bands are not showing the enhancement normally seen either.
Though recently 160 to 40 meters has shown some improvement, the conditions have been unstable.This means the 100-500 mile pattern can show huge signals during the dark hours(2-3 hours before and after Sunrise/Sunset)but the pattern can fade to almost blackout, with sharp QSB in a matter of minutes. Yet at the same time the 1000+ mile pattern can be very strong, or can do the same. No consistent conditions at all.
Though the lower bands are showing some good openings, and the upper bands still have had a few during early morning to afternoon hours, nothing has been very stable.
Sorry to say all the experts are even puzzled by the status of Cycle 24 and predictions for Cycle 25(said to begin 2019) vary from Very Good, to worse than Cycle 24.
Sorry not to be of much help.
I will post a couple of links that have many good sources of information on Solar conditions.
Let's us all hope for the best and go from here.
All the Best
Gary/W9FNB

http://www.solarham.net/

http://www.hamqsl.com/solar.html
 

Singularity35

DU7DVE
Jan 16, 2014
425
90
138
Small City, Philippines
Thanks BJ, that's actually very helpful. I know that predictions are always iffy but that is the best explanation and elaboration I've read so far.

I've looked often at those sites but never found an explanation and anything about when the next cycle starts.
 

BJ radionut

Supporting Member and 6m addict
May 9, 2008
4,217
4,817
373
35 miles East of Indianapolis
Chuck: The best thing we can all do in this part of the cycle, like I said hope for the best.
Best tool is keep a good eye on the DX Clusters (there are many) and watch the pattern of time vs. distance in your S. Pacific rim. This over time will give you a good idea of what hours the propagation is peaking or declining during your hours of operation.
Next is optimize any antenna system one has to get maximum signal.
You are about to do that I believe by going with an all band doublet system.
Maximum frequency range with minimum loss.
A few hints I can offer just from my own experience. no expert testimony just good old hands on.
First: At your feedpoint Apex of the doublet, try and get that feedpoint angle a wide as possible(or practical). I have found as your going to do 90 degs and greater will give best performance. This design is very forgiving in that it need not be a perfect inverted "V".
One can support it so that pulling that Apex angle open more than 90 degs. even 10-15 feet from each side of center will ease the user in tuning it (IMHO) it seems to lower the impedance slightly which I think, makes finding the"sweet" spot on some bands a little easier to find. Others may differ with this thought, just another opinion.:LOL:
However this is not critical by any means.
Second: Cut the antenna longer than your bottom range of operating space...Ex. 80/75 meters- if possible make the antenna a couple feet longer each side than your lowest operating frequency. My antenna is cut 62.5 feet either side of center, this seems to give me best ease of tuning from 3.5 to 4.0 MHz...again not critical...just if practical.:)
This seems to also give me the best range...meaning once I tune a frequency, I can move +/- 15-20 kc without having to completely retune, just takes a "slight tweak" to optimize again....You'll find that with practice, tuning gets easier the more you use your system.
Thirdly: Keep a list of where you operate and the tuner settings once you find the "sweet" spot on any given band/(frequency). This will help you preset the tuner back to that spot next time you go there, thus shortening the tuning time. Those settings may change a little due to rain/humidity etc. but this should be expected.
When tuning I set my rigs output power at about 25% of maximum(100w rig/set power to 25-30w) this is normally enough for any tuning, and one need only "touch-up" the tuning at full power.
I prefer a cross needle meter showing both power and vswr simultaneously.
I use Average power, and look for output to rise and vswr to decrease while tuning. I look for max output once the vswr falls near 1.5:1 and then quit, it is not necessary to null it out totally to 1:1...as maximum signal radiation is not necessarily achieved at minimum vswr, much to some beliefs :whistle:
Ok enough said for now. I look forward to the day when the propagation "gods" shine on us, and I can put you in the log.:LOL:
73
All the Best
Gary
 

Singularity35

DU7DVE
Jan 16, 2014
425
90
138
Small City, Philippines
Thanks, that's great advice. I did try a doublet before at my location but it was horizontal and I found it performed much better than my dipole and my delta loop. That install would be impractical as a permanent fixture though or I would have have one up already. :)
 

scrufy

New Member
Nov 22, 2016
12
3
3
60
BJ gave you a great explanation, and a lot of sound advise.
One thing to add to that is another way to check propogation.
I use Pskreporter. If you don't operate PSK it's not a big deal, just go to the map and find a station near you and select that. The map will show you where that station was heard, or basically where propagation is at from a location near you. There is differences with antennas, and things like hills that affect the take off angle etc... but you can use it as a decent guide to where you can hear or get out to if you have a halfway decent antenna.
Like BJ said though, don't expect much for the next 5 years. Hasn't really been all that great during this last cycle at all. Hope the next one is better. Even the "double peak" this cycle had, or was supposed to have was disappointing.
 

RatsoW8

Supporting Member, W9WDX ARC Member - WD8T
Nov 3, 2009
3,102
1,408
273
West Central Michigan
Sadly for anyone just getting interested in radio we may be headed into whats called a "Maunder Minimum". Kind of a dormant period for the sun that could last a long time. Google it.

I have my reloading bench set up now so I have another expensive hobby to empty my bank account into while Mr. Sun gets over it. I hope I live long enough to see another solar peak like the first two when I was a new ham.
 

Robb

Yup
Dec 18, 2008
11,433
3,611
323
Silicon Valley CA, Storm Lake IA
Sadly for anyone just getting interested in radio we may be headed into whats called a "Maunder Minimum". Kind of a dormant period for the sun that could last a long time. Google it.

I have my reloading bench set up now so I have another expensive hobby to empty my bank account into while Mr. Sun gets over it. I hope I live long enough to see another solar peak like the first two when I was a new ham.
What makes you think that?
Evidence?
 

338_MtRushmore

Sr. Member
Jun 17, 2012
1,639
1,141
193
The Dakotas
There has been a lot of discussion regarding the possibility of us entering into a Maunder Minimum period.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/dr-sten-odenwald/waiting-for-the-next-suns_b_11812282.html
I only saw one sentence in that whole article;
"All of these features, and many other statistical rules-of-thumb, lead to predictive schemes of one kind or another, but they generally fail to produce accurate and detailed forecasts of the ‘next’ sunspot cycle."
 

scrufy

New Member
Nov 22, 2016
12
3
3
60
I've also been doing this a long time.. and in all that time I've yet to see really good predictions. The old charts they used to print in the back of QST were good about a month out some of the time but years? Other than the cycle peak, which they even got wrong last cycle (remember the double peak that was, then wasn't , then was again?) the prop predictions are getting better but still just not there. As far as a minimum, at this point it's just guessing.
 
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Captain Kilowatt

Professional Amateur
Staff member
Apr 6, 2005
16,992
11,420
823
59
Nova Scotia,Canada
I only saw one sentence in that whole article;
"All of these features, and many other statistical rules-of-thumb, lead to predictive schemes of one kind or another, but they generally fail to produce accurate and detailed forecasts of the ‘next’ sunspot cycle."

The entire gist of the article was talking about a possible Maunder Minimum. Nobody says it WILL happen only that things point in that direction.
 

Captain Kilowatt

Professional Amateur
Staff member
Apr 6, 2005
16,992
11,420
823
59
Nova Scotia,Canada
I've also been doing this a long time.. and in all that time I've yet to see really good predictions. The old charts they used to print in the back of QST were good about a month out some of the time but years? Other than the cycle peak, which they even got wrong last cycle (remember the double peak that was, then wasn't , then was again?) the prop predictions are getting better but still just not there. As far as a minimum, at this point it's just guessing.
One of the reasons they got it wrong was the weird things that were happening on the sun. Maunder Minimums have happened in the past and like all things cyclic they will happen again. Maybe not in my lifetime but maybe it will. Each of the last couple cycles have been worse than the previous.

Also as far as those propagation predictions in QST yeah they were OK for the average month but nobody is trying to make propagation predictions for years in advance. They are however trying to predict the overall solar activity. The two are related but definitely not the same. Propagation predictions involve frequency, time of day, and target areas whereas the overall solar cycle simply predicts how active the sun may be.
 
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Robb

Yup
Dec 18, 2008
11,433
3,611
323
Silicon Valley CA, Storm Lake IA
If one looks at four sun spot cycles in any consecutive group, it is plain to see that they are anything but consistent. So having said that, it is anybodies guess as to what it will do this coming cycle. Could be huge too. Or maybe just average.

What I don't appreciate is the Huffington Post, which feeds the fire for the global warming crowd. Truth in the press - it seems - is the privilege of the few; not the many. They aren't helping anyone but themselves - IMO.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_solar_cycles
 
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  • @ BJ radionut:
    I hope he did not ask that question on the "ZED" he would get vaporized...75% telling in some "polite way" are you going to put up a "REAL" antenna? The rest telling him that's the greatest antenna ever with my 7300o_O:coffee:
  • @ Roadstar:
    still the dx wa 135 antenna
  • @ cbjunkie:
    test
  • @ cbjunkie:
    the guy qrming 27385l is on 27383 is Matt K2YCK in New York for info very bad operator causing intententional
  • @ cbjunkie:
    bleedover to 27385lsb