Welcome to the Saturday edition of “Big Island ARRL News”–a Hawaii Island-based blog bringing ARRL and Amateur/Ham Radio News to Hawaii Island radio amateurs. Views expressed in this news summary are those of the reporters and correspondents.
Before we post Tad Cook’s (K7RA) propagation and solar activity forecast, here are a few events for Hawaii Island radio amateurs:
The regular monthly test of the Mauna Kea VOAD Repeater (146.72 MHz-PL 100.0), WH6FIU, will happen today, Saturday, 05 January 2019, from 1200 to 1300 HST.
The Original Big Island of Hawaii International Swap Meet/Ham Fest is set for Saturday, 02 February 2019, at the Waimea Community Center near the ball field off the Mamalahoa Highway in Waimea (Kamuela). Doors will be open to the public from 0930 HST to 1400 HST. The event includes a swap meet, vendor sales, an EMCOMM forum, and VE Testing for new and upgraded amateur radio licenses. For details, contact Steve Milner (WH6N) at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Radio amateurs are needed to provide communications for the Sunday, 17 March 2019 Big Island International Marathon in Hilo. According to comms coordinator Sean Fendt (KH6SF), the race is “a prime opportunity to practice in-the-field radio skills, learn new operating techniques and network with fellow hams and others who help with the marathon.” For details, contact Sean–email@example.com.
Here is the current propagation forecast from Tad Cook (K7RA) and his staff of volunteer observers and reporters.
Email from W1AW and HQ ARRL, Newington, CT, 06111.
Here is the complete text of the W1AQ Bulletin:
SB PROP @ ARL $ARLP001
ARLP001 Propagation de K7RA
QST de W1AW
Propagation Forecast Bulletin 1 ARLP001
From Tad Cook, K7RA
Seattle, WA January 4, 2019
To all radio amateurs
SB PROP ARL ARLP001
ARLP001 Propagation de K7RA
Sunspots returned with the New Year, with sunspot numbers of 13, 16
and 16 on January 1-3. The new region was AR2732, and the area of
the spot tripled each day, beginning at 10 millionths of the visible
solar disc, then tripling to 30 on Tuesday, and 90 on Wednesday.
This made the average daily sunspot number for the reporting week
(December 27 to January 2) 4.1, compared to 0 for the previous seven
Average daily solar flux rose slightly from 70 to 70.4.
Average daily planetary A index rose from 4.9 to 9.3, and average
mid-latitude A index from 4 to 7.6.
Predicted solar flux for the next 45 days is 72 on January 4-5, 70
on January 6-11, 71 on January 12-19, 69 on January 20 through
February 2, 71 on February 3-15, and 69 on February 16-17.
Predicted planetary A index is 15, 24, 15 and 8 on January 4-7, 5 on
January 8-9, 10 on January 10, 5 on January 11-15, 12 on January 16,
5 on January 17-23, then 20, 12, 12 and 10 on January 24-27, 5 on
January 28-30, 12 on January 31, then 15, 15 and 8 on February 1-3,
5 on February 4-11, 12 on February 12, and 5 on February 13-17.
Geomagnetic activity forecast for the period January 4-30, 2019 from
F.K. Janda, OK1HH of the Czech Propagation Interested Group
compiling this geomagnetic activity weekly forecast since 1978.
“Geomagnetic field will be:
Quiet on January 10-12, 22-23, 29-30
Quiet to unsettled on January 13, 20, 27-28
Quiet to active on January 9, 14, 18-19
Unsettled to active on January 4-8, 15, 17, 21, 25-26
Active to disturbed on January 16-17, 24
“Solar wind will intensify on January 3-7, (8, 13-14,) 15-19,
“Parenthesis means lower probability of activity enhancement.
“This forecast was compiled on January 3. The next one will be
compiled on January 31.”
Jon, N0JK of Lawrence, Kansas wrote on January 3:
“After a relatively lackluster December for sporadic-E, conditions
improved at the end of December on to the first few days of the New
“I had 6 meter Es December 28 to Canada, and the 29th to the
southeast states. Logged several stations running just 10 watts on
“But the real DX took place on January 2, 2019. 6 meters opened for
sporadic-E around 1700z across North America and stayed open late
into the evening. Around 2330z, Es links to afternoon
trans-equatorial propagation across the geomagnetic equator set up
an opening between North America and Australia.
“VK3OT, VK3DUT, VK4MA and others appeared suddenly on the JT65 and
FT8 modes on 50 MHz VK4MA worked east to Illinois on FT8. Larry,
N0LL (EM09) decoded VK3OT and VK3DUT on JT65. He worked NH6Y on FT8.
I copied one decode on NH6Y on FT8. The Hawaiian stations made
contacts in Texas, Mississippi and the Rocky Mountain states.
“The ‘Winter Surprise’ North America to VK/ZL openings have taken
place in past years, one of the best was late December 2015. But to
occur with a solar flux of only 70 is remarkable. Carl
Luetzelschwab, K9LA discussed the mechanism of these openings in a
column he wrote for the World Radio magazine.”
Mike Schaffer, KA3JAW of Easton, Pennsylvania regularly monitors the
FM broadcast band for interesting openings:
“On Friday, December 28, 2018 at 5:49 pm EST (2249 UTC) I was
monitoring the FM broadcast band on 88.3 MHz and started to hear
Spanish music, then when the music ended, a male announcer. The
signal which was fairly weak for roughly thirty seconds vaporized,
being taken over with a mix from WRAU, Ocean City, MD (50 kW), WPPB,
Southampton, NY (25 kW). The unidentified station’s announcer
sounded Cuban, which would be near 1274 miles to the south.
“While watching the DXMAPS website, spots were starting to come in
on 6 meter SSB via Es from MA to AL, 1154 mile path at 2349 UTC.
“On December 29, 0005 UTC 6 meter CW Beacon from Maine to Manitoba,
Canada, 1315 mile path.
“By 0018 UTC, the MUF climbed up to 72 MHz above FN04 (Barrie,
“Then the unexpected happened. A report of 6M FT8 from Massachusetts
to New Mexico, 2133 mile path, double-hop Es event at 0032 UTC.
“At 0037 UTC MUF shot up to 95 MHz above EN92 (London, Ontario,
“A report of brief Es in the FM broadcast band from near
Williamsport, PA (FN11) to various south Miami, Florida stations
(EL95) up to 1118 miles away at 0055 UTC.
“Forty-five minutes later, analog television channel 6 with a plus
offset was observed, likely from Cuba.
“Now the western panhandle of Florida to the lower Hudson Bay-James
Bay, Canada with the MUF stabilizing at 95 MHz on a 1572 mile path
at 0100 UTC with FT8 mode.
“By this time at 0115 UTC I expected the MUF to begin crashing down
into the HF bands. Nope, the MUF rose 4 MHz higher to 99.
“Yikes, it is 8:15 pm EST (0115 UTC) and the Es storm continues! At
0133 UTC MUF remains at 99 MHz.
“By 0158 UTC, finally a report of a weak analog television channel
2, CHBX in Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario (EN76) was detected in Akron,
OH (EN91) via short-hop sporadic-E at 406 miles. The video rendered
an advertisement for ‘Boxing Week’ with a boxer dog.”
Jeff, N8II of West Virginia wrote on December 29:
“The only ‘ray of sunshine’ Xmas week was some long path into
Australia on 30 and 40M CW and Japan on 40M SSB and CW this week. It
had been nearly 2 years since my last JA QSOs on 40M outside of
contests and I failed to work any in this year’s CQWW as well.
“That was until Friday night the 29th GMT date when there was
widespread sporadic-E right in time for the Radio Amateurs of Canada
Winter Contest. I ran all 6 bands within 4 minutes with VE9HF in New
Brunswick and worked several VE3s on 20M and then many on 40M in the
0100Z hour along with many USA stations some at very short distances
in the 1/2/3/4/5/8/9th call areas on 40 SSB.
“10 meters was open to W4/5, lots of activity. Saturday morning 20
was open to EU as usual as well as Eastern Canada, and by 1500Z to
western Canada as well with lots of Manitoba and Saskatchewan
activity. On 15 CW, I worked Slovenia, France, and England. Also
worked on 15 were W5/6/7/0 and QC and ON on backscatter as well as
SK, AB, and BC.”
Jeff Howington, AD0AK of Fairfax, Iowa sent this on December 29:
“Regarding Al, W1VTP’s inquiry in your 28 December bulletin, the
Australian Space Weather Services has a web page at
https://bit.ly/2sbceum that might better address his needs. It
provides Hourly Area Prediction (HAP) charts containing easy to
understand graphical MUF (foF5) data for various locations. Al can
select the Boston map from the pull down list.
“That map typically shows roughly concentric rings centered on
Boston that are color coded to indicate the maximum usable frequency
a Boston base station should use to reach a mobile at various
distances away. It’s not a stretch to mentally re-center the rings
to Al’s station in Manchester to give an idea of where his signal
will go from that location. Note that these maps are good only for
one hour and are refreshed on the hour.
“I’ve used the HAP map centered on Kansas City with good success
while running a NVIS net in the Midwest Region. Since nearly all
nets are fixed in the frequencies they use, these maps can help
select the best times to run the net, and they can also provide
information as to which stations can best serve as relays to net
control assuming you know their locations.”
Check the AD0AK page on QRZ.com for more on Jeff’s interests and
work at Collins.
If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers,
email the author at, firstname.lastname@example.org .
For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service web page at,
http://arrl.org/propagation-of-rf-signals. For an explanation of
numbers used in this bulletin, see
An archive of past propagation bulletins is at
http://arrl.org/w1aw-bulletins-archive-propagation. More good
information and tutorials on propagation are at http://k9la.us/.
Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at http://arrl.org/propagation.
Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at http://arrl.org/bulletins.
Sunspot numbers for December 27, through January 2, 2019 were 0, 0,
0, 0, 0, 13, and 16, with a mean of 4.1. 10.7 cm flux was 68.5,
69.3, 69, 69.4, 69.3, 71.9, and 75.2, with a mean of 70.4. Estimated
planetary A indices were 5, 24, 11, 10, 7, 6, and 2, with a mean of
9.3. Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 5, 19, 9, 7, 7, 5, and 1,
with a mean of 7.6.
For the latest Amateur/Ham Radio news and information, please
check the blog sidebars and links. These news feeds are updated
daily and weekly.
Aloha es 73 de
Russell Roberts (KH6JRM)
Public Information Coordinator
Hawaii County, ARRL Pacific Section