Check out the ACE-HF propagation software - the latest is version 2.05. ACE-HF is propagation forecasting and modeling for Amateur Radio as well as for Shortwave radio Listening and general HF operation. This software is even used by the military and other clients around the world. This software is developed and maintained by the same engineers that keep VOACAP up-to-date. As a result, this software is the most accurate user interface integrated with VOACAP. CHECK IT OUT, TODAY. This software is the most accurate modeling software available, and is endorsed by NW7US. Read the details to find out why.
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Map, Above: Conditions in the D region of the ionosphere have a dramatic effect on high frequency (HF) communications and low frequency (LF) navigation systems. The global D Region Absorption Predictions (D-RAP) depicts the D region at high latitudes where it is driven by particles as well as low latitudes, where photons cause the prompt changes.
Note: At times, images may appear broken or missing, when SDO is working on the AIA/HMI instruments.
Planetary A-index (Ap): 4
| Planetary K-index (Kp): 1
Solar Wind: 399 km/s at 8.0 protons/cm3, Bz is 4.0 nT
(Feb 22, 2018 at 0648 UT)
X-ray Solar Flares:
6h hi [none] 24h hi [none]
Background X-ray Level, Last Six Days
Feb 21 2018 :: A2.4
Feb 20 2018 :: A2.4
Feb 19 2018 :: A2.9
Feb 18 2018 :: A3.6
Feb 17 2018 :: A4.3
Feb 16 2018 :: A4.3
What is the difference between the CB and Amateur Radio Services, in the USA? Here are some thoughts on the portrayal of the Amateur Radio Service by the Hit TV Series, NCIS, and a clarification of the difference between CB radio and ham radio.
(Skip to timecode 1:33 to bypass the introductory chat and talk about the headset microphone.)
Here is a video introduction to shortwave / HF amateur radio -- what is it that we amateur radio oprators listen to? If you have not yet been introduced to this world, this is a very basic introduction.
If you are using software utilities such as Ace-HF, that require a "smoothed" sunspot number
(Referred to as the SSN), or, the smoothed 10.7-cm Radio Flux Index,
use the following predicted values in this following table:
Predicted SMOOTHED Sunspot Number And Radio Flux Values
With Expected Ranges
At 0805 UTC, on 9 August 2011, a strong magnitude X6.9 X-ray flare -- the strongest yet in this current solar cycle (Cycle 24) -- erupted on the northwestern solar limb. Here is a HD Movie of the event:
Videos of Interest - Space Weather, Solar Dynamics Observatory, STEREO, and more... from the NW7US YouTube Channel. (Click on the small image to launch the video...)
Video: Voyager Finds Magnetic Foam at Solar Systems Edge
Video: Zoom View of Prominence Eruption and X-Ray Flare - M2.5 Magnitude - June 7 2011
Video: X-Ray Flare, Coronal Mass Ejection, Proton Storm - M2.5 Magnitude - June 7 2011 (Close-up of the video, above)
Video: Stunning Close-up View of M3 X-Ray Flare 24 February 2011
Video: On How NCIS TV Show Maligned Amateur Radio Service (Full UHD Version)
What's the difference between CB and amateur (ham) radio?
Video: June 2011 20-meter (14-Mhz) JT65A Coverage Map of NW7US Radio Signal
The NW7US Current Sunspot and Geophysical Activity Report
The observations, prognastications, and comments by NW7US
NW7US is Tomas David Hood, Propagation and Space Weather Columnist
for CQ Communications
More about Background X-rays
The hard X-ray energy present from the wavelengths of 1 to 8 Angstroms provide the most effective ionizing energy throughout all of the ionospheric layers in our atmosphere. The GEOS satellites measure these wavelengths and the resulting measurements are reported as the "background X-ray level" throughout the day. A daily average is reported, as well.
Just like X-ray flares, the background hard X-ray level is measured in watts per square meter (W/m2), reported using the categories, A, B, C, M, and X. These letters are multipliers; each class has a peak flux ten times greater than the preceding one. Within a class there is a linear scale from 1 to 9.
If one records the daily background X-ray levels for the course of a sunspot cycle, one would discover that the background X-ray levels remained at the A class level during the sunspot cycle minumum. During the rise and fall of a solar cycle, the background X-ray energy levels remained mostly in the B range. During peak solar cycle periods, the background energy reached the C and sometimes even M levels.
Armed with this information, can we discover any clues as to the current status of Sunspot Cycle 24? Below is a graph plotting the background hard X-ray energy reported by the GEOS satellites since the end of Sunspot Cycle 22. Clearly, we see a noticeable rise in Cycle 24 activity. We're seeing the energy mostly in the B level more often, supporting the view that Cycle 24 is alive and moving along toward an eventual sunspot cycle peak in several years.
Overall, the monthly average background 'hard' X-ray level is rising (as seen by the following plot), showing a change from deep solar cycle minimum. We are certainly in the rising phase of Sunspot Cycle 24. While it has been a slow up-tick over the last eighteen months, I expect to see a more rapid rise during mid to late 2011.
Highlights of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
Covering the period: 12 - 18 February 2018
Solar activity was at very low levels on 13-18 Feb and low levels on 12 Feb. The strongest flare of the period was a C1 from Region 2699 (S07, L=165, class/area Dai/240 on 10 Feb) at 12/0135 UTC. The event produced an associated asymmetric halo signature first observed in SOHO/LASCO C2 imagery at 12/0125 UTC. Analysis and modeling of the event suggested arrival of the CME at Earth on 15 Feb.
No proton events were observed at geosynchronous orbit.
The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit was at background levels 12-16 Feb. An increase to moderate levels on 17 Feb and to high levels on 18 Feb was observed in response influence from a negative polarity CH HSS.
Geomagnetic field activity ranged from quiet to active levels. Quiet conditions were observed on 12-14 Feb. On 15 Feb, arrival of the 12 Feb CME produced only one isolated period of active during the day. Total magnetic field strength increased to a peak of 15 nT around 16/0530 UTC while Bz remained mostly positive. Solar wind speeds were relatively slow, between 300-400 km/s through the event. Active levels were reached again on 17 and 18 Feb in response to influence from a negative polarity CH HSS. Solar wind speeds continued to increase over the two days to a peak of about 600 km/s late on 18 Feb.
Monthly and smoothed sunspot number - The monthly mean sunspot number (blue) and 13-month smoothed monthly sunspot number (red) for the last five cycles. You can see that this current cycle, Cycle 24, is a weak cycle, compared to the last few.
(Click to see actual size)
Daily and monthly sunspot number (last 13 years)
Daily sunspot number (yellow), monthly mean sunspot number (blue), smoothed monthly sunspot number (red) for the last 13 years and 12-month ahead predictions of the monthly smoothed sunspot number:
SC (red dots) : prediction method based on an interpolation of Waldmeier's standard curves; It is only based on the sunspot number series.
CM (red dashes) : method (from K. Denkmayr and P. Cugnon) combining a regression technique applied to the sunspot number series with the aa geomagnetic index used as a precursor (improved predictions during the minimum phase between solar cycles).
(Click to see actual size)
What is 'Space Weather'? Click on these two information slides to view them in full size:
Three Day Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
(as of 2200Z on 07 Dec 2014)
Solar activity is expected to be low with a chance for M-class flares on days one, two, and three (08 Dec, 09 Dec, 10 Dec).
The geomagnetic field is expected to be at quiet to minor storm levels on day one (08 Dec), quiet to active levels on day two (09 Dec) and quiet levels on day three (10 Dec).
Forecast of Solar and Geomagnetic Activity
19 February - 17 March 2018
Solar activity is expected to be very low through the outlook period.
No proton events are expected at geosynchronous orbit.
The greater than 2 MeV electron flux at geosynchronous orbit is expected to range from normal to high levels. High levels from CH HSS influence are expected from 19-25 Feb. A transition back to normal levels is expected from 26 Feb to 17 Mar.
Geomagnetic field activity is expected to range quiet to G1 (Minor) geomagnetic storm conditions. Influence from a negative polarity CH HSS is expected to produce isolated periods of G1 (Minor) storming on 19 Feb. A decrease to quiet to active levels by 20 Feb and quiet to unsettled levels over 21-23 Feb is expected as influence from the CH HSS slowly wanes. Quiet to unsettled levels are again expected on 04 Mar and 15 March, with quiet to active levels expected on 14 Mar and 16-17 Mar, as multiple, recurrent CH HSSs are anticipated to become geoeffective. The remainder of the outlook period is expected to observe quiet conditions.
Be sure to check the Date shown in each photo - is it today's date?
(click to enlarge)
Check out these books on Radio Propagation:
+ The New Shortwave Propagation Handbook (Paperback) - by George Jacobs, Theodore J. Cohen, R. B. Rose. The NEW Shortwave Progagation Handbook may well be the only book you'll need on the subject of ionospheric propagation! It is a "must read" for Radio Amateurs, Shortwave Listeners, and radio communicators of any type who need to make the most productive use of the radio spectrum, regardless of the time of day, the season of the year, or the state of the sunspot cycle. It will become your ever-present companion a the operating table as you master the art of shortwave radio progagation.
+ How Radio Signals Work (Paperback) - by Jim Sinclair. This book provides a basic understanding of the way radio signals work-without becoming bogged down with the technicalities. It covers all kinds of radio signal types--including mobile communications, short-wave, satellite, and microwave. No detailed knowledge of electronics or mathematics is required. A-Z coverage of radio signals including satellites, mobile communications, and short-wave radio. No math or electronics background necessary.
+ Introduction to RF Propagation (Hardcover) - by John S. Seybold. This book provides readers with a solid understanding of the concepts involved in the propagation of electromagnetic waves and of the commonly used modeling techniques. While many books cover RF propagation, most are geared to cellular telephone systems and, therefore, are limited in scope. This title is comprehensive-it treats the growing number of wireless applications that range well beyond the mobile telecommunications industry, including radar and satellite communications.
Data and images courtesy of IPS Australia, NOAA, NASA, SWPC, SIDC
Layout, analysis, commentary, and certain forecasts and content is Copyright, 2017, Tomas David Hood (NW7US), all rights reserved.
No part, except for the space weather 'banners', may be copied without express permission.