Monday, September 29, 2014

Week-Ending September 27, 2014 10-Meter Activity

I will try to do an update of each week during what is known as the Fall/Winter F2 season on 10-Meters. I will compare each week to the same periods from prior years to help you maximize opportunities on 10-Meters and other bands closely related. The analysis will be expanded from time to time to educate and inform us the best times and circumstances to operate this band.

Your comments and experiences are always welcome.
Art KA5DWI/7

Back in Business!!!

Since I moved towards the left coast I have started analyzing what is happening on 10-Meters for all PropNET participants, not just me.  I will list those participants as I have time. So if I do not, thank you all for putting a signal on.

All reports unless otherwise noted will be based on the PropNET or Non-PropNET captures of 10-Meter PSK31 signals Telnet to PropNET's database, extracted then reviewed for accuracy. Example: Ground-wave captures are eliminated.

So here goes...
I think one of my last comments before I started my journey to Arizona was, "Who said the Solar Cycle had peaked?".

Compared to the same period last year (September 21-27) solar flux on average was 40 higher this year (110 to 150). 10-Meter propagation always excels when greater than 140 and the results show it.


The result was over 5,300 captures in 2014 compared to just below 3,000 in 2013.

During the week here in Arizona I was hearing signals at sunrise. There was some geomagnetic activity, but it was helping the band.
The daily results reflect in increase of solar activity.

Increased solar activity shows a very positive influence in the morning hours (17-19 UTC) as European captures were up his year. Also much more transcontinental was evident.

Make use of the continuing high solar flux. The cycle is very finicky and should be declining,  I keep thinking we are seeing the end, but that is not the case so far.

Contributors Week-ending 9/27



Art KA5DWI/7

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Back and Running After a Short Hiatus

I am back!
Not sure if it is bigger and better. But it is at least it is better than never.

I pulled the plug on everything during my Winter Break teaching Math in Dallas/Ft.Worth and began the task of organizing, packing and/or disbursing all my radio and computer equipment.

What a chore!

Thanks to an OCD YL, she packed the entire house except for my stuff. I managed to pack all of my equipment, antennas, tower, library, stereo, guitars, and computers in time to spend a small fortune to move my 62- year Texan life to the Prescott, Arizona area at the end of July.

I have moved from 6-million high strung energetic, attitude-filled people and RF/QRN filled neighborhoods to an area that is 5,000 feet high, has 225,000 in the county and all utilities under ground. The nearest metro-area Phoenix is 90 miles away and is on the other side of a mountain range.

I am in heaven!

The station is partially up and operational and should be fully in the groove by March 2015 and probably sooner.  I am back on PropNET along with 3 other fellow Arizonians.
Very soon I will start posting what is happening on the bands, specially 10 Meters.  In addition I will participate in any Play-On-PropNET (POP) events and report on them.

Stay tune.  I will announce postings as they occur.

Art Jackson KA5DWI/7 DM34un

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Final Report - 10-Meters at the Winter Solstice

[BLOG MANAGER EDIT ADDED] Over the years, Art has been one of the central figures to the PropNET project, having contributed a data analysis perspective that has benefited many.  His career as a math teacher has served us well.  While his contributions will be missed, we wish him both success in relocating his family to a new area and a speedy return to The PropNET Project when that becomes possible for him again.  The PropNET Project will remain "Alive and Well" in the mean time, at]

Happy Holidays,
Happy high solar flux.

If you are not on 10-Meters, you need to hurry up and get on.
Solar flux continues to be high and shows that a second peak in the cycle is occurring.  Conditions are great.

All charts are based on PropNET 10-Meter PSK31 captures from participants in North America.

Recently solar flux levels have significantly increased.
 Trendlines for 2013 are the highest this cycle.
 Almost 120,000 captures have occurred since 9/21/2013.
 14:00 and 15:00 UTC are the peaks for Trans-Atlantic.
 Despite less sun, activity has picked up.
 Activity across the North American continent is steady once the sun rises, then declines as the sun sets.
 Trans-Equatorial propagation rises steadily after sun up and peaks mid-afternoon. 
 Trans-Pacific activity peaks late afternoon prior to sunset.

Again, solar flux is high. The predictions are that Cycle 24 will not peak until after mid 2014.  Take advantage of the Winter and early Spring Season.

So long and and thank you for reading my posts and papers the past 9 years.
I hope that you have learned a little and have used this Blog to better understand this band.

Happy DX and 73s
Art Jackson - KA5DWI

Friday, December 6, 2013

Happy High Solar Flux

December 6, 2013 @ 14:45 UTC
One hour 10 Meter PropNET Capture Map

Hurrah for high solar flux.
Currently at 150.

Have Fun.  
I will be here for 2 more weeks, then unplug.

Art KA5DWI  

Monday, December 2, 2013

12-Meter POP (Play On PropNET) Preliminary Results

Thanksgiving POP 

The Play on PropNET event on 12 Meters was well participated over the Thanksgiving holiday.
21 PNP stations played on 12-Meters, while 19 stations participated on 10-Meters.

For this analysis, captures were limited to North American continental only. This was due to the lack of non-PropNet captures on 12-Meters. The operating frequency for unattended operations on 12-Meters was not conducive to capture non-PropNET stations. DX activity was very limited on 12-Meters.

In 4 days, total captures were almost equal on both bands; 2,104 on 12M and 2,173 on 10M.

Both bands are quite similar with subtle differences.

Note that the average length of a 12-Meter Capture is 2,300 Kilometers
Note that the average length of a 10-Meter Capture is 2,700 Kilometers
 12-Meter Captures peak at the 20:00 UTC (4 PM Central) time frame and linger till 02:00 UTC (8 PM Central).
 10-Meter Captures peak at the 19:00 UTC (3 PM Central) time frame and linger till 00:00 UTC (6 PM Central).

Both bands are daytime active and 12-Meters can be open almost 2 hours more. It is verifiable when looking at propagation programs.  F2 MUF will drop by 4 MHz and hour after sunset.  The best advice is that 12-Meters can give you a little extra fun when 10-Meters is shutting down.  It is a excellent band in peak solar conditions.

I hope you enjoyed this analysis as I will close the books on this project next month.

Art Jackson KA5DWI

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Who Said the Cycle Had Peaked? - November 22 Update

Once again, you never know what to expect cycle to cycle.
We might be seeing a downward turn after several weeks of excellent activity.

For the first time in 2 years, solar flux had remained near the 140 level and has peaked near 180.  For the first time in 33 days, solar flux dropped below 140. The result is a decline in activity since November 16.

 7 Days 10-Meter Captures @ KA5DWI EM12 11/22/13

 7 Days 10-Meter Captures @ KA5DWI EM12 11/29/13

Less sun and less solar flux results in less activity.

 The day starts off with Trans-Atlantic, shifts to Continental
and Trans-equatorial,and finishes with Trans-Pacific.
It is strangely similar to Summer Es trends.

 It is all about the sun, except that the afternoon hours are best.
There is some indication of Es or at least backscatter.

 Trans-Equatorial is similar except for a very sharp peak at the 21:00 hour.

 As soon as the sun rises on the East Coast we hear Europe and Africa. For 3 hours during mid-morning conditions are great.

 Trans-Pacific activity has been slow to grow, and was improving weekly.  This peaks as the sun begins in set in the west.

Things have looked great and are not moderating. The latest predictions are that solar flux will be no lower that 130 the next 45 days, overall will be in the 130-165 range, and average 144-148.  That should still produce many great opportunities to work DX. We are now entering the period 3 weeks prior to and the same time after the Winter Solstice.  Daylight is the main factor for activity, so make sure you take the opportunities during the day. 

Enjoy it while you can as the trends point lower in the future.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

4-Year Analysis Spring/Summer Es Propagation from PropNET

The following charts and data are based on 10-Meter PropNET and Non-PropNET PSK31 captures of North American PropNET participants from April 25 through August 15 2010 - 2013.

A specific formula was used to distinguish Sporadic Es propagation from F2 or Trans-Equatorial propagation. Only PropNET participant data from North America and Hawaii was used in the study. Any questionable data was removed to the best of my ability.

This information is for the use Amateur Radio public.  Please reference PropNET Studies as the source.

Narrative will be added as time permits.

Enjoy.  This stuff is fascinating and I believe it answers many questions about Sporadic Es propagation from year to year.

After one of the longest lulls in the Solar cycle ever recorded, the sun finally started to get more active in 2011. Unfortunately the increased activity in Solar Flux peaked in 2012.  Many look for a second peak in 2013-14.
Once the 2012 Es season ended, solar flux hit levels approaching 180.  By the spring of 2012 it had begun a decline.
On the other hand, the actual number of sunspots has not declined that much.
The number of new sunspot regions have actually grown year to year since 2010.
Despite the growth in new regions, these do not last very long.
Their ability to produce intense flares has been impeded.

Solar activity actually has a steady increase since 2010.  Due to mistiming of the solar poles, there has been a less extreme rise in solar flux. New sunspot regions form, create instability but do not produce the high MUF to support F2 propagation.

In 4 years, North American PropNET participants captured almost 300,000 packets from other members or non-participants transmitting specific algorithms. 

These are the average daily captures by day six weeks prior to and after the Summer Solstice. The trend line produced by the data shows that peak activity occurs at or near the solstice.
The overall trend was highly affected by the volumes of 2010 and 2011.
2010 - The last year of low solar activity.
2011 - Solar activity picks up.  The season had a lull early, and then became active toward the latter half.
2012 - Solar activity has peaked.  What activity there is occurs in the first half with a large lull during the solstice period.
2013 - Solar activity remained high. The trend line was almost a duplicate of 2012.
Activity has drastically deceased since 2010.
The number of open hours each season has declined, but at a slower level.

As has been seen in most years, Es activity has a dual-peaked diurnal.  In 2010, it was a morning peak.  As solar activity increased, it became afternoon active.
11:00 UTC represents sunrise on the East Coast of North America.  Activity peaks 2 hours prior to noon in the center of the continent and again 2 hours before the sun begins to set.
When solar activity was low, the morning hours are most active. As solar activity increases, it shifts to afternoon.
This chart is based on an equal percentage breakdown.  The highest hourly percentage of day occurred late afternoon when solar activity was its highest.
As solar activity increased, active hours of Es declined.
As the season begins if an hour opens, intensity increases until the solstice and steadily declines afterward. 
This chart shows that once solar activity increases, intensity drops of at beginning and end of the season.
As noted on the chart, low solar activity has a great influence.

F2 and Trans-Equitorial:
As solar activity rises so does TEP open.  This was very prevalent in the last 3 years.

Population Changes in 4 Years:

PropNET captures were about 5 times greater than Non-PropNET captures.

Changes in the mixture of PropNET to Non-PropNET changes since 2010 have occurred, but are very slight overall.  For the past two seasons, PropNET to Non-PropNET are at 80% to 20%. The only real changes that were noticeable were around year 2011 and were no more than 5%.

 The decline became more extreme after 2011
 Non-PropNET declines more evenly in 4 years.
 The mix of Non-PropNET to PropNET does not change much.
The overall decrease since 2010 for PropNET captures is about 3.5% greater than Non-PropNET..

Comparing North To South:

I wondered if what happens in the southern half of the continent is different than the northern half.  I split the continent at the grid squares FMx7, EMx7, DMx7 and CMx7 to the north and measured the data by hour by year.  To my surprise there is little difference, other than there is more activity in the south.

There are more active southern participants in PropNET.

When the totals are broken down by percentage of day, the north sees more Noon activity, the south sees more sunrise and sunset activity.  Not much difference, but a little more noticeable the last couple of years.

More Directional Comparisons:

So how does Es propagation differ by direction.  Once again consistant North to South, East to West.  Only Northeast to Southwest, Northwest to Southeast show any differences. 

 There are little differences in these directions.
Most activity is to the North.

 Only Eastward conditions are more volumes found.
Northeast and Southwest show morning activity.
Northwest and Southeast show afternoon and evening activity.

As was expected, solar activity has a profound affect on Es propagation after the minimum has occurred. The peak should occur by the winter.  It will be interesting to see how these numbers change the next few years.  I think it will be on the way up.

More analysis to come...............

Art Jackson KA5DWI