Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Sun Fart

Our geomagnetic field is currently doing a song and dance with old Sol.

Via The Watchers:
A sequence of events led to an Earth-directed asymmetric halo CME on March 15, 2015. The events began with a 14 degree long filament eruption, centered near S24W38, lifting off between 00:45 to 02:00 UTC. This was followed by C2.4 flare at 00:41 UTC and a long duration C9.1 at 02:13 UTC, both from Region 2297. 
Associated with the C9.1 flare were low-frequency radio emissions including Type II (estimated velocity 745 km/s) and Type IV radio sweeps. WSA/ENLIL modelling showed an approximate arrival time around 20:00 on March 17. However, it appears this CME arrived some 16 hours earlier (see update #2).
An interplanetary shock wave arrived at the ACE spacecraft around 04:15 UTC and at Earth a half hour later.Geomagnetic K-index of 5 (G1 - Minor) threshold was reached at 05:59 UTC. Potential impacts: Area of impact primarily poleward of 60 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude. Weak power grid fluctuations can occur. Minor impact on satellite operations are possible. Aurora may be visible at high latitudes, i.e., northern tier of the U.S. such as northern Michigan and Maine.
A G2 - Moderate geomagnetic storm warning has been issued based on solar wind signatures at the ACE spacecraft. Under G2 conditions, area of impact is primarily poleward of 55 degrees Geomagnetic Latitude. Power grid fluctuations can occur. High-latitude power systems may experience voltage alarms. Satellite orientation irregularities may occur; increased drag on low Earth-orbit satellites is possible. HF (high frequency) radio propagation can fade at higher latitudes. Aurora may be seen as low as New York to Wisconsin to Washington state.
Update #1: 
Geomagnetic K-index of 6 (G2 Moderate geomagnetic storm) threshold was reached at 08:46 UTC.
Update #2:
Initial SWPC's diagnosis suggested the arrival of the anticipated CME from March 15, however, the subsequent temperature and density measurements pointed towards a recurrent negative polarity coronal hole high speed solar wind stream (CH HSS). 
The disturbed conditions may be the combined effects of the high speed stream and CME.
Geomagnetic K-index of 7 or greater (G3 or greater - Strong to Extreme) is expected as the impacts from today's shock continue. 
Update #3:
Geomagnetic K-index of 8 (G4 Severe) threshold was reached at 13:58 UTC. 
I wasn't on the radio at all this afternoon (17-Mar) so I can't say how the conditions on the higher bands were. Tonight (18-Mar @ 0300 UTC) 40m has a noise level at S3, with occasional crashes as high as S5. The A index was 100 earlier, currently 117 with a K of 6.

9Q0HQ (Dem. Rep. of Congo) is about S4 on 40m, maybe a little weaker than they've been this past week but still readable; 7QAA (Malawi) is a bit stronger at S5 on 40m and about S4 on 30m. Oddly, hardly any other stations heard on 30m at this time other than a few stateside ops, but there are a few EU signals on 40m.

Sunday, March 1, 2015

February 2015

DX - Some great operations graced the bands in February and I had a fair amount of luck working most of them, including nine all-time new ones.

  • K1N Navassa Island: ATNO #207. Possibly the biggest operation that we'll see in 2015. Worked on 80/40/30/20/17/15m CW and 20/15m SSB. My Navassa exploits are documented here. The K1N guys made 140,000 Qs with 30,000+ unique stations. All QSOs matched on ClubLog. More on K1N: and DX-World.
  • S79AC and S79CO Seychelles Is.: ATNO #208 - First S79AC on 30m CW, then S79CO on 15m 10 days later. The 30m QSO has been matched on ClubLog.
  • TJ3SN Cameroon: ATNO #209. Worked on 10m only, ClubLog match and LOTW QSL the next day! Good sigs with some QSB.
  • 5T0JL Mauritania: ATNO #210. Worked on 12m CW, no ClubLog or LOTW. An email exchange with op Jean confirms the contact for me, so I will send a QSL when I get mine printed. Great CW op! More on 5T0JL here.
  • 5Z4/DF3FS Kenya: ATNO #211. Worked 12m CW, no ClubLog or LOTW, but I am confident this was not a blown Q. Ops Bertrand DF3FS and Oli DL9OLI are scheduled to be QRV until March 8.
  • TI9/3Z9DX Cocos Island: ATNO #212. Worked 17, CW, matched on ClubLog. This was a difficult one to work because of pileup bedlam and a general lidfest on the DX frequency throughout the operation. I was originally critical of the way 3Z9DX handled things at his end but I've become more understanding and sympathetic since learning of the difficulties he and his team endured. More on DX-World and
  • UA2F Kaliningrad: ATNO #213. Worked 15/10m CW during the ARRL International DX Contest. Matched on ClubLog.
  • Z81X Southern Sudan: ATNO#214. Caught this one by surprise during the ARRL contest on 20m CW. ClubLog not updated since 2013, hoping they upload soon. LOTW shows an upload on 3/1 but so far no QSL. Hoping this one wasn't blown; it seemed like a clean contact at the time.
  • VK9LC Lord Howe Island: ATNO#215. Worked on 12/10m CW. No ClubLog or LOTW log data at this time. More: DX-World.
  • KG4HI and KG4HF Guantanamo Bay: Two different operations, with KG4HI worked on 30m CW and KG4HF on 20/17/12m CW. Only the 30m, 20m and 17m contacts have been matched in ClubLog and confirmed on LOTW so I assume the 12m contact was busted.
  • C5DX The Gambia: Another C5 expedition following C5X. Worked 40m CW only, matched on ClubLog. Good sigs into FL but I didn't chase them since I have C5X verified on 40/30/20/15/12/10m. Didn't hear them on 80/17m anyway. 
  • 3G0ZC Juan Fernandez Islands: Worked 30/20/15/12/10m. Already have Juan Fernandez verified on 40m CW (the XR0ZR operation in 2013) so I'm just filling in missing bands. QRV until 3/4 so maybe there's still time for 80/17m. No ClubLog or LOTW yet. More on 3G0ZC:  &
  • 7Q7GIA Malawi: Worked 12m CW, matched on ClubLog and verified on LOTW (DXCC Mixed #175 and CW #160). Already have a 30m CW QSO with 7QNL from June 2014 matched on ClubLog. More on 7Q7GIA: DX-World.

That's 13 out of 131 DXCC worked in February, a good number of those worked during the ARRL Int. DX CW test. Funny how I was trying for 100 countries in January and fell short, then the following month worked well over 100 without noticing until the month was over. One good contest makes all the difference.

A total of 403 QSOs added 53 YTD new DXCC and bringing the YTD total countries worked to 151. Adding 31 zones worked YTD puts my 2015 CQ Marathon score at 182 through the end of February. I even made 9 phone QSOs! As I write this (3/1), 51 productive QSLs received last month (i.e., new country/mode/band slots verified) have my DXCC Challenge count sitting at 601.

More boring stats:

DXCC Totals

Last 10 New DXCC Worked
212COCOS IS.TI9/3Z9DX2/19/2015
207NAVASSA IS.K1N2/1/2015

WPX (Confirmed LOTW)