According to the specialists the becoming circle 24 will be a really big one. We don’t know when exactly starts but it will be soon. We have just to wait to see it. So propagation will improve dramatically next years. And this is one-way. I give you here some documentation for this prediction as I found it in NASA pages.
In the plot, left, black curves are solar cycles; the amplitude is the sunspot number. Red curves are geomagnetic indices, specifically the Inter-hour Variability Index or IHV. "These indices are derived from magnetometer data recorded at two points on opposite sides of Earth: one in England and another in Australia. IHV data have been taken every day since 1868," Cross correlating sunspot number vs. IHV, they found that the IHV predicts the amplitude of the solar cycle 6-plus years in advance with a 94% correlation coefficient.
According to their analysis, the next Solar Maximum should peak around 2010 with a sunspot number of 160 plus or minus 25. This would make it one of the strongest solar cycles of the past fifty years—which is to say, one of the strongest in recorded history.
A great dxpedition in Swain’s Island has been announced for March 2007. The call they will use it is N8S. Among the famous hams in the crew it will be a Greek one: Vangelis, SV2BFN. I think it is the first time that a Greek amateur participates in such a big event. We all of us wish to them great success. More info you can find in their page: http://www.yt1ad.info/n8s/index.html
I thought it was time to clean my tuner: a Palstar AT1KM. I have to admit the feeling of a robust construction that hit me at the first glimpse without the cover. I cleaned the coil carefully with isopropyl alcohol even I didn’t see any sign of dirty after a year of service. I put it up together again with that kind of satisfaction that hams experience after any successful job of repair. But the great event it was my first take off with WSJT. (This is a really marvelous piece of software, nearly magic). Under continuous guidance of the veteran in these modes, my friend SV8CS, I set it up and we had the first QSO in 2m in FSK441. Unfortunately the 8Km distance between us it is incredibly small for such kind of test. So we activated an other veteran, SV2JT, who lives in Salonica about 400Km away from Zante in straight line. Even between us there are mountains 3000m high the QSO was absolutely unhindered using no more than 8watts and five element beams. We used FSK441 and JT65B. Communication in 2m band with so small power in this season of the year would be impossible with any other mode. Till next meteor scattering that I will try in deep water, I have to give my compliments to K1JT for his great program and my thanks to SV8CS and SV2JL for their help.
It was a lazy afternoon on shack. Suddenly I saw a cluster spot YS1/HB9KNA. I had my antenna pointing to the EAST looking for VU7LD. I clicked my cat command program just to check the frequency with my FT1000MP MKV without any hope that I could hear anything. But...quite unexpectedly I heard the station booming long path with signals 59. I worked him rather easily among a big pileup. I had to go to my favorite propagation site http://dx.qsl.net/propagation/ to understand the unusual phenomenon. Propagation indexes for today were SFI = 103 A = 22 K = 4. Much more than the previous days. Was that the last breath of 23 cycle or the first one of 24? We shall see soon. Till then, I wish surprises like that happen to you too.
It seems that a kind of competition is taking place there. NIAR (National Institute of Amateur Radio) has announced an expedition to Lakshadweep also. They will start at January 15, as they say, with the call VU7RG. Their team has many international operators in contrast with ARSI (Amateur Radio Society Of India) that they have only local. You can find a lot of details in their page (http://www.vu7.in/). They promised on line logs updated daily. By the way among the operators will be MrsBharathi (VU2RBI)!
After a whole fortnight with the antennas to the west, working the 5A7A we have turn them to the east for VU7LD. Both of them are the major expeditions of the end of the year with a lot of interest among hams around the world. The 5A7A was very easy for Greek amateurs mostly because it is in the neighborhood. What a relief after the XF4DL thriller. The VU7DL is easy also even they have not so experienced operators. Propagation to east it is much better and this is helping. Never the less it is a hobby and we all should be cool, making traffic easier. I have made 7 QSO's with 5A7A and 3 QSO's with VU7DL till now. The later will stay there almost all December, so there is plenty of time. An other recent event that turned out to be very popular, it was the EPC PSK63 QSO PARTY at 19/11/2006. The great number of European participants, most of them members of the club (http://eu.srars.org/), gave to it a festive tone on its first take off. Results are expected just before Xmas. Good DX to all of you