Tuesday, 13 January 2015

Follow The Sun!

Courtesy: http://www.swpc.noaa.gov/
I like to follow the sun, but ... that doesn't mean that I pack-up and head to Hawaii every winter. I like to follow what is happening on the sun as it so profoundly affects every aspect of skywave propagation.

Where do you get your propagation information?

If you're anything like the rest of us, you probably have two or three favorite sites that you visit to collect the latest data. The news of NOAA's new solar page has been making the e-mail rounds of late and just in case you've missed it....the "Space Weather Enthusiasts Dashboard" (and what ham isn't a 'space weather enthusiast'?) can be found here.

The new site provides an all-in-one viewing experience, with up-to-the-minute reports on such things as the 'K' index, dynamic solar images from various satellites and at various wavelengths, auroral conditions, CME impact predictions (dynamic), a TEC (Total Electron Count) map, sunspot and Solar Cycle activity graphs and more. I didn't see anything showing the daily solar flux numbers (SFI) but it may be there. There is now a growing belief that the SFI value is not that great an indicator of what will or won't be happening, radio-wise, especially when it comes to 50MHz.

Another feature that would be nice, is a display of the latest DST index. This number, based upon equatorial ring currents, is a valuable indicator for the trend in LF propagation. I use the Kyoto site, which provides a real time look at the numbers. Anything positive, or a positive-going trend, is always a good thing to see.
Courtesy: http://wdc.kugi.kyoto-u.ac.jp/
My favorite site is still SolarHam, manned by Kevin (VE3EN). It also provides a smorgasbord of solar information, even more than the new NOAA site!

If you haven't checked these three sites out, have a look...they're well worth a bookmark and a daily visit ... and, you won't have to go to Hawaii to follow the sun.

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