Many things in life take precedence over ham radio. But I’m not sure how many more sunspot maximums I will see, so I am trying to get in a good amount of operating while I can. Cycle 25 may not have peaked yet, theoretically it will in 2024-25. It is pretty darn good right now. I believe it has already beat the last couple of solar maximums.
20 meters has been open at night lately, still going strong when I’m not. 17 and 15 meters has also had activity (FT8) past my bedtime (midnight or so). Also, while summertime may not be the most popular time to be on the radio, the grey line is optimum for certain parts of the world, like central Asia around our sunset times. My last 9 contacts have been:
- Uzbekistan – FT8 (new for me)
- Kyrgyzstan – CW (new for me)
- Sweden – FT8
- Germany – FT8
- Kyrgyzstan – FT8
- Georgia (the country) – FT8
- Pakistan – FT8 (new for me)
- Australia – FT8
- Hong Kong – FT8 (new for me)
All worked with a wire vertical, some 70 watts, most were 400 watts. All were on 17 or 15 meters after dark. It is around sunrise about that time for much of central Asia (this time of year), hence the good grey line propagation. Though these were mostly FT8 contacts, my previous logbook page is mostly CW and SSB contacts, with many DX, though not as rare as the -istans.
I haven’t even mentioned 12 and 10 meters. Mostly because I haven’t operated them a whole lot lately. They may be the best daytime bands for DX the next two years. If you don’t have any antennas for those bands, put up a fan dipole just with those two bands. It can be fit in 20 feet of space.
So I would just like to encourage people to take some time out of the busy summer for yourself, and do some operating. Pick a night and stay up late, or get up early. (I still need to try to the getting up early part). Likely different parts of the world will be coming in. This is the time, especially for modest stations to enjoy the worldwide propagation, before it disappears again in another extended solar minimum.