Thanksgiving weekend is shaping up to be active on the High Frequency (HF) bands. It’s time to fire up your HF radio and log some new contacts thanks to the beginning of Solar Cycle 25 and sunspot AR2786 rotating towards earth.
AR2786 is a sunspot twice the size of earth. It’s the first large sunspot to erupt on the sun’s surface in many years.
”AR2786 is the strongest far-side signal we have had this solar cycle. We first noticed the signal in our far-side images on November 14, 2020. It was inconspicuous at first but grew quickly, breaking detection thresholds just one day later. Since we are in the very early phase of the new solar cycle, the signal from this large spot stands out clearly.”Kiran Jain, National Solar Observatory
Why is this good for ham radio?
Sunspots impact radio propagation by affecting the layer of the atmosphere called the ionosphere. The ionosphere contains electrified layers of ions. Greater levels of ultraviolet radiation means more ultraviolet energy pumped into the ionosphere. Higher levels of ionization in the atmosphere increases its ability to bend HF radio waves and return them to the earth at great distances from their source. That’s why amateur radio operators love to see a high sunspot count.
Click here to see the latest space weather conditions.
How I’ve been doing on HF
I’ve had my 93′ ZS6BKW dipole up around 50 feet for one week as of 11/27/2020. I’ve already nabbed 300 QSOs across 23 countries. This is all done on 100 watts. You can do it too, just get out there and call CQ!