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From Tad Cook, K7RA Seattle, WA  December 9, 2005 To all radio amateurs


This weekend is the ARRL 10-Meter Contest. This year's contest, the one for 2006 and perhaps 2007 will probably all have very few sunspots, but as we've discussed in recent bulletins, sometimes 10 meters opens when we least expect it, even in the middle of the night or very early morning hours.

Mark Madcharo, AB2IW in Schenectady, New York will be running QRP in the contest this weekend and wants to remind us to check paths from the northern to southern hemisphere, which at times may provide the only long distance openings. Don't be afraid to call CQ on what sounds like a dead band.

You can also check the beacons down in the area between 28.2-28.3 MHz (where most of them are, anyway) or the very useful NCDXF beacons. A list of 10-meter beacons we provided recently is at http://www.ten-ten.org/beacons.html. The NCDXF beacon details are at

http://www.ncdxf.org/Beacon/BeaconSchedule.html and http://www.ncdxf.org/beacons.html.

One of the remarkable features of the NCDXF beacons is that the timing is precisely controlled, so it is easy to tell where a weak signal is coming from if you know what time it is, even if you can't copy the call sign. Also, they step through several discrete power levels, at 100 watts, 10 watts, 1 watt and 100 mW. Another nice thing is that their network also covers the globe for 12 meters, which can sometimes give a hint of good things to come if 10 meters is not quite open yet.

Sunspot numbers and solar flux declined as sunspot 826 moved to the edge of the visible solar disk. Sunspot numbers peaked after the

beginning of the month. Average sunspot numbers for the past week (the first week of December) were almost 39 points above the previous week, at 72.6. Geomagnetic conditions were very quiet for the past few days. For this weekend, the predicted planetary A index from December 9-12 is 7, 12, 10 and 5. Predicted solar flux for today (December 9) is 85, and 80 is predicted for the following five days.

There is very little chance for disruptive solar flares this weekend, although conditions are expected to be slightly unsettled compared to the past few days. The College K index, measured in Fairbanks, Alaska has been 0 for sixty hours straight at the time of the writing of this bulletin, early Friday morning. You can access an array of magnetometers in Alaska to compare current to recent conditions at, measurements are in NanoTeslas, which are used to calculate the more familiar K index, but you can get a good visual indication of

relative quiet or activity. Note that at this site you can vary the time observed from the last 24 hours up to one month, vary the scale, and include readings for up to 8 stations.

Geophysical Institute Prague predicts unsettled conditions for December 9 and 10, quiet to unsettled December 11, and quiet conditions December 12-15.

David Moore sent us a SpaceRef.com article about space storms and observing upper atmosphere disturbances. You can read it at,


Back in December 1999, Propagation Forecast Bulletin ARLP052 for that year (see it at

http://www.arrl.org/w1aw/prop/1999-arlp052.html) noted that the end of 1999 would end the 9th calendar year of writing this bulletin, and that December was the 17th season the author performed as the Grandfather (a non-dancer's role) in Pacific Northwest Ballet's production of "The Nutcracker."

This year marks my 23rd season in the Nutcracker and December 2005 the end of the 15th calendar year writing the bulletin. When I began work on the Nutcracker, I thought if I was lucky the role might last a few years. With this bulletin, I thought my tenure would be just a few weeks. Thanks to you, the readers, and the ballet, both have been a blast!

If you would like to make a comment or have a tip for our readers,  email the author at, k7ra@arrl.net.

The MLDXCC NewsletterPage 10

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