How to Adapt Your DX Contest Strategies for

How to Adapt Your DX Contest Strategies for

How to Adapt Your DX Contest Strategies for Low Solar Activity How to Adapt Your DX Contest Strategies for Low Solar Activity Frank Donovan W3LPL Five Years of Very Low Solar Activity Solar activity should start to increase by 2020 http://services.swpc.noaa.gov/images/solar-cycle-10-cm-radio-flux.gif What About Solar Cycle 25 ?? Solar Cycle 25 is likely to be another weak cycle, slightly weaker than Cycle 24 Solar polar magnetic field strength continues very weak during Cycle 24 Sunspot Number Spotless days have recently become much more frequent

there were 817 spotless days over five years during the last solar minimum weak cycles are preceded by at least 600 spotless days over five years probably more than 100 this year, many more for the next three years Geomagnetically quiet days are much more frequent after solar minimum slightly weaker than the very weak Cycle 23 field strength an early indicator that Cycle 25 may be slightly weaker than Cycle 24 very few solar flares and coronal mass ejections have occurred since 2016 there will be less frequent, less intense coronal holes after solar minimum Cycle 25 sunspots will be more frequent as solar minimum approaches but solar flux will continue at low levels -- in the 70s for five more years High accuracy Cycle 25 forecasting isnt possible 3 Declining Solar Activity Since Cycle 22 Suggests a weaker Solar Cycle 25

Cycle 25? solarscience.msfc.nasa.gov/images/Cycle22Cycle23Cycle24big.gif The Solar Polar Field Precursor Method Solar Cycle 21/22 minimum Solar Cycle 22/23 minimum Solar Cycle 23/24 minimum Solar Cycle 24/25 minimum -200 uT Polar Field Strength +200 uT A proven early solar cycle prediction method Cycle 25 www.solen.info/solar/polarfields/polar.html 160 Meter Propagation During five years of very low solar activity

Significantly improved DX propagation More crowded band conditions stronger signals more reliable openings especially to Europe and Japan consistently low absorption caused by less frequent coronal holes especially after solar minimum in about 2020 until 2022 less intense daytime D layer absorption before sunset and just after sunrise less intense night time E layer absorption especially when there is no strong 40 meter propagation to Europe Longer, more regular and stronger worldwide DX openings continuous openings to Europe, Mid-east and north Africa 2200-0830Z

frequent strong JA openings at sunrise mid-Nov to mid-Feb 1200-1230Z direct short path polar opening to central Asia will be more frequent 80 Meter Propagation During five years of very low solar activity Significantly improved DX propagation stronger signals more reliable openings especially to Europe and Japan consistently low absorption caused by less intense geomagnetic activity less daytime D layer absorption before sunset and just after sunrise More crowded band conditions especially for about two years after solar minimum from 2020-2022 especially when there is no strong 40 meter propagation to Europe

Longer, more regular and stronger worldwide DX openings 2130-0830Z ~1130-1300Z direct short path polar opening to central Asia will be more frequent continuous openings to Europe, Mid-East & north Africa regular openings to JA starting before our sunrise 40 Meter Propagation During five years of very low solar activity Nearly 24 hour DX openings during CQWW CW Europe, Mid-East and north Africa propagation activity QSYs to 40 meters before mid-afternoon ~1930Z dont miss the strong mid-afternoon/evening openings 2000-0200Z propagation often fades/fails a few hours after sunset 0200-0600Z strong openings usually resume at sunrise in Europe ~06000900Z

Japan, Far East and Central Asia propagation brief direct short path opening at JA sunset 0800-0900Z weak skew path opening at about 240 ~0900-1130Z strongest short path JA opening from the east coast ~1130-1300Z strong long path Asia signals at 150 21302215Z VK/ZL and southeast Asia long path 90-150 2100-2300Z Southeast and central Asia long path ~240 ~1130-1300Z 20 Meter Propagation During five years of very low solar activity Usually closes well before midnight ~0300Z

Sporadic, weak night time Africa & south Pacific openings 0500-0700Z Europe, Mid-East and north Africa propagation from before our sunrise until mid-afternoon ~1000-1900Z Japan, Far East and central Asia propagation the opening is sometimes delayed until after sunrise the opening ends earlier in the afternoon than in recent years short evening short path opening 2100-0100Z morning short path opening 1300-1500Z both openings are much shorter than in recent years South Asia and Mid-East morning long path 1300-1500Z VK, ZL and south Pacific mid-afternoon long path 1900-2200Z 15 Meter Propagation

During five years of very low solar activity Europe, Mid-East and north Africa propagation from just after our sunrise until early afternoon 1200-1800Z shorter openings than weve enjoyed in recent years Japan and Far East propagation weak late afternoon short path opening 2300Z 2130- sometimes only via the weak signal skew path to the southwest much shorter openings than weve enjoyed in recent years 15M usually closes a few hours after our sunset ~0100Z

always stays closed all night 10 Meter Propagation During five years of very low solar activity South America, Caribbean and Central America PY and LU activity has increased significantly in recent years usually opens about an hour after our sunrise ~1300Z opening can fade for an hour or two, then return much stronger usually closes about an hour before our sunset ~2100Z Southern Europe and north Africa very weak signals on the SE skew path at 110-150 ~1400-1700Z VK/ZL and south Pacific

always stays closed all night A fairly reliable weak signal opening 2100Z ~1900- Japan, North Pacific and Far East rare morning weak signal long path opening at 150 ~1300-1400Z rare evening very weak signal skew path 200-240 2100-2200Z DX Contest Strategies for five years of very low solar activity High antennas are much more important during solar minimum Improve your low band transmitting and receiving antennas! Start every DX contest on 40 meters

the strong European opening often ends a few hours after sunset Capitalize on improved 160 and 80M propagation 2200-0830Z especially important when 40 meters is not strongly open to Europe Strong 40 meter opening after sunrise in Europe 0600-0900Z 160, 80 and 40 meter openings to VK, ZL and JA 0900-1230Z 20M European opening starts before sunrise 1000-1900Z 15M European opening starts just after sunrise 1200-1800Z 10 meters opens primarily to the south 1300-2100Z Strong 40M afternoon/evening openings to Europe 2000-0300Z 20 meter evening openings to Japan 2100-0100Z

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