Sunday, February 20, 2011

Friday, February 18, 2011

35 minutes on the exercise bike

I'm soaking wet with sweat, but the burn is feeling good.

Courtesy the ARRL, the K7RA weekly propagation report.

A dramatic surge in solar activity is underway, with a level of
sunspot numbers and solar flux not seen since 2005-2006.  Tuesday's
sunspot number of 100 has not been equaled or exceeded since April
6, 2006 when it was 105.  On Wednesday the solar flux was 114.1, and
the last time it was that high or higher was September 15, 2005 at

Average daily sunspot numbers rose this week by more than 25 points
to 69.9, and average daily solar flux was up 20 points to 103.5.

NOAA/USAF predicts solar flux at 110 on February 18-19, 105 on
February 20, 100 on February 21, and 105 on February 22-24.
Planetary A index is predicted at 25 and 12 on February 18-19, and 5
on February 20-28, then rising to 7, 10, 10 and 7 on March 1-4.

Geophysical Institute Prague predicts active conditions on February
18, unsettled to active February 19, unsettled February 20, quiet to
unsettled February 21, and quiet conditions February 22-24.

This weekend is the ARRL International DX CW Contest, and Bob
Marston, K6TW notes that a geomagnetic storm is predicted for
Friday, just before the start of the contest.  This is due to two
coronal mass ejections, one on February 13 at 1735z, and the other
on February 15 at 0156z.  A CME hit Earth's magnetic field at 0100z
today, February 18, but was not as strong as expected.  It is
possible we may be spared major geo-storms.  However, there is a new
alert from Solar Storm Watch of an expected CME direct hit at 0900z
on February 18.  The planetary K index on February 18 at 0300, 0600
and 0900z was 3, 4 and 5.

Most of the activity this week has been from large sunspot group
1158, which will soon rotate out of view over the Sun's western
limb.  More centrally positioned is sunspot 1161, and there seems to
be a new sunspot emerging above it.  It is probably significant that
USAF/NOAA revised the solar flux estimate upward for the near term
between Wednesday's and Thursday's prediction.

K6TW introduced us to a resource for updates on solar activity,, and specifically a Twitter resource,
which you can read without a Twitter account at

Fred Honnold, KH7Y of Ocean View, Hawaii (south part of the big
island of Hawaii) has a report of some 10 meter longpath to Europe
propagation on February 14.

"I wanted to let you know about some excellent long path QSO last
night from 0923 till 1055.  The bands were still alive but it was
1AM here and I just quit.  Signal levels on 15 meters from the KW
stations were S8 or so on 12 meters the signals were still strong so
after working about 100 stations on 12 meters I moved to 10 meters.
I worked many European stations with signals S1 to S5.  The best
signals were from EA1DR S9+ and S57S very loud."

You can see the spots by going to DX Sherlock at  Just select 28 MHz, February 14 from
1000z to 1059z, containing the callsign KH7Y, set maximum number of
returned QSOs at 100, then Submit Query.

An article on the ARRL web site about sunspot 1158 and this week's
activity mentions that "According to NASA, the Sun will reach its
next maximum this year, give or take one year."

I don't think this is true, as the latest prediction for the next
solar maximum is in 2013.  If you check a recent Preliminary Report
and Forecast at,
look on page 10 and note that the highest smoothed sunspot number in
the near future is 90, predicted for February through July 2013.

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers,
email the author at,

For more information concerning radio propagation, see the ARRL
Technical Information Service web page at For an explanation of the
numbers used in this bulletin, see An archive of past
propagation bulletins is at  Find more good
information and tutorials on propagation at

Monthly propagation charts between four USA regions and twelve
overseas locations are at

Instructions for starting or ending email distribution of ARRL
bulletins are at

Sunspot numbers for February 10 through 16 were 38, 54, 63, 84, 90,
100, and 60, with a mean of 69.9. 10.7 cm flux was 91.4, 91.2, 95.6,
106.8, 112.6, 112.8 and 114.1 with a mean of 103.5. Estimated
planetary A indices were 3, 4, 4, 2, 10, 5 and 2 with a mean of 4.3.
Estimated mid-latitude A indices were 4, 3, 2, 1, 6, 4 and 1 with a
mean of 3.

I hate that I'm missing the nice weather

It's 75 degrees outside, and a beautiful day.  Yet here I am sitting in my cube, slaving away, doing desktop support at my office.  In a perfect world, I might be on the lake with a fishing pole in my hand.  In a perfect world, I might be sitting on my deck with a tasty adult beverage on the table next to me.  In a perfect world, I might be taking my dogs for a walk. But this is not a perfect world, there are bills to be paid, groceries to be bought, heating and cooling to be paid for.  So I'm sitting in my cube, slaving away, doing desktop support at my office.

Study Shows 80% of Americans Think Most Statistics are Wrong

Including this headline.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

More information on the Valentine's Day Flare

Experts expect minimal impact other than the possibility of Auroral activity.

You can clearly see the shock wave as the flare event occurs.

The story on the NASA website.

Radio communications may be problematic through this Saturday

The sun, which has been extremely quiet over the last few years, has come to life and is starting to generate CMEs in the direction of earth.  Link to story on AccuWeather   Hopefully tomorrow's Late Night Radio session on 3675KHz at 0200Z won't be adversely affected.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Sunspot 1158 Unleashes A Strong Solar Flare

Remnants of the CME are expected to reach the earth's magnetic field sometime today. Expect reports of increased auroral activity, and a potential increase in the MUF at least for awhile. The story on

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Friday, February 11, 2011

The Government's Case against Baseball's Home Run King is going, going ...

... gone?

With Trial Looming, Feds Streamline Charges Against Bonds

Fans loved to hate Bonds.  Sports Writers used to hate Bonds.  Now it may be the Government's turn.  Time, reluctant witnesses, and the fact that public simply doesn't care any more has made the urgency and ability to prosecute him dubious.  The Feds have dropped the number of charges against Bonds from 11 to 5.  And after all, how do you prove he perjured himself, when your most damaging witness has said that he would go to jail before he would testify against Bonds?  It may be time to stick an asterisk in this one.

Fuel Injection Coming to NASCAR in 2012

Link to article: NASCAR names fuel injection official partners

This move makes the NASCAR racing cars more like the street cars that the various sponsor corporations use, but I have to wonder what they'll do at the traditional restrictor plate tracks like Daytona and Talladega.  Will all the teams get the same chip to go into their engine's ECU?  With all the engines making exactly the same horsepower, drafting and teamwork are going to become even more important than they are now, and even more races will be won on pit strategy. Combine that with a re-worked points strategy, next season could be very interesting indeed.

Ham Radio Not a Viable Option for Egypt?

Despite the obvious value of Amateur Radio in emergency situations as experienced in the Haiti earthquake recently, experts disagree on whether or not it would or would not have been of value in the recent unrest in #Egypt where the government shut down conventional means of communications.  Link to article.  I'm on the side of the argument that says Ham Radio is invaluable in these sorts of situations, especially when the health and welfare of friends and family is unknown.

Weekly Propagation Forecast from the ARRL

The K7RA Solar Update

The weekly Solar Weather update from Todd Cook, K7RA.  There's always some interesting news about amateur radio propagation.  This week auroral propagation is in the news.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The very definition of stupidity

It was recently announced that Farmers Insurance of California has purchased the naming rights to the downtown LA football stadium for $700 million. (story) The only problem is that not only is there no football stadium in downtown LA, there's no NFL football team there either. Heck, there may not even be NFL football at all next season.

There are seven teams which may be in the market to move because of stadium leases, the Chargers, Jaguars, Vikings, 49'ers, Rams, Bills, and Raiders. Al Davis can't decide where the Raiders play anyway so maybe they're the prime suspect.

But there's no stadium and no team, so somewhere in LA there's going to be a vacant lot named Farmers Field.

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Thursday, February 3, 2011

Thought provoking article

Noam Chomsky blogs about changes in the Arab world.  Whether or not you agree, it's interesting reading.


Seriously, does the Mubarak regime think it can keep the world from finding out what it's doing by strong-arm bullying international news teams in Cairo?  He's not making any friends in the Arab World by harassing Al Jazeera reporters, either.
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Tuesday, February 1, 2011

The Fool on the Hill

I'm not sure why it was that I did nothing about my situation for 10 years.  It wasn't that I was hoping in my heart of hearts that there might be a reconciliation, that train had left the station long before I made my decision.  It wasn't because I hadn't had plenty of encouragement from others, because most of my friends were incredulous that I hadn't made the move, and one very special friend was downright angry about it.  Can't say I blame her.

No, there were really two things that kept me from following through on the inevitable.  First was an over-developed sense of responsibility for the care and well-being of someone who had health needs that couldn't be easily addressed outside of a traditional, institutional health care plan.  I had been asked when our engagement was announced by her father, "Why get married?"  My answer at that time was, "So she can get health care."  She needed it then, and still does to this day.  That had always been there as a reason to do nothing.  Second, and most importantly, was fear.  Fear of the 'what-ifs'.  What if I lose everything?  What will people think of me?  Fear of the process itself.  I knew nothing of these things.  In the past, it had been the other party who had initiated the proceedings, and I had let them proceed.

But, it had been too long with my life in limbo.  I had been carrying around a part of my life that had no meaning for me any more, and which was coming between me, and the person I was trying to become.  So I decided to move forward.

Once I made the decision to proceed, everything seemed to fall into place.  The process itself was relatively painless.  The 'what-ifs' were trivial.  If I lost everything, I still had my friends and family.  The people about whose opinion I was concerned were probably glad that I was finally making the move.  There were avenues for her to continue to receive health care for a period of time, to act as a bridge to when she could get it on her own.  And I had a counselor who understood why I was proceeding, who was with me all the way, and who believed that I was doing the right thing.  She laid everything out in steps, and once each step was completed, I was one more step closer to the goal.

I'm not quite there yet, but the goal is in sight.  The best part is that there's a door at the goal line that opens up to the rest of my life.

Winter weather

I don't know about you, but I'm grateful that we're not going to be hit by the "Big Weather" this time around.
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Droid Blogging?

From the what will they think of next category is blogging from your mobile device. Only time will tell if I think this will be worth keeping up, but for now, here it is.
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