Propagation

This page contains a dynamic collection of propagation information gathered from many different sources. This data is extremely useful for ham radio operators and shortwave listeners to help determine whether or not long distance radio communications are possible.


The current time is: 21:31 UTC on Tuesday, October 21, 2014


Current Solar Indicies from WWV
21-Oct-2014 at 2110 UTC
SFI = 199   A = 17   K = 4
Conditions during the last 24 hours
Space weather for the past 24 hours has been minor.
Radio blackouts reaching the R1 level occurred.
Forecast for the next 24 hours
Space weather for the next 24 hours is predicted to be minor.
Radio blackouts reaching the R1 level are likely.

Solar Wind Data
Provides solar wind velocity and energetic particle intensity
Updated at: 2119Z on October 21, 2014

 Velocity (km/s):  562.3 
 Density (protons/cm3):  0.9 

Penticton Observatory SFI Measurement
WWV only updates its SFI reading once a day at 2100Z
The Penticton solar observatory takes measurements at 1700Z, 2000Z, and 2300Z
(WWV uses the 2000Z Penticton measurement)

 The Penticton Observatory SFI value on 23-Jul-2014 at 2300Z was:  100 

Three Day SFI and A-index Forecast
(updated daily after 2200Z)

This report issued on Oct 20, 2014 at 2200Z

  Date     SFI     A-index  
  20 Oct   195 18
  21 Oct   200 15
  22 Oct   205 15

Solar Activity Forecast
Solar activity is likely to be moderate with a slight chance for an X-class flare on days one, two, and three (21 Oct, 22 Oct, 23 Oct).
Geophysical Activity Forecast
The geomagnetic field is expected to be at unsettled to minor storm levels on day one (21 Oct), quiet to active levels on day two (22 Oct) and quiet to unsettled levels on day three (23 Oct). Protons have a slight chance of crossing threshold on days one, two, and three (21 Oct, 22 Oct, 23 Oct).

Recent Major Solar Flare Activity
(usually reported within 30 minutes of event peak)

  Date     Time     Magnitude  
  21-Oct-2014     1338Z     M1.2  
  20-Oct-2014     2255Z     M1.2  
  20-Oct-2014     2004Z     M1.7  
  20-Oct-2014     1902Z     M1.4  
  20-Oct-2014     1637Z     M4.5  
  20-Oct-2014     0911Z     M3.9  
  19-Oct-2014     0503Z     X1.1  
  18-Oct-2014     0758Z     M1.6  

NOAA (American) Sunspot Number
This number is reported daily around 0225Z and reports
the number of sunspots observed in the previous 24 hour period

 The NOAA Sunspot number for 20-Oct-2014 was:  93 

 Most recent five days (oldest first): 90  66  39  60  86   

GOES-14 Background X-ray Flux
This value is reported daily around 0225Z and reports the
average background x-ray flux level as measured by the GOES-14 satellite

 The GOES-14 Background X-ray Flux level on 20-Oct-2014 was:  C1 

 Most recent five days (oldest first): C1  C1  C1  B8  C1   

Auroral Activity

Aurora (also known as "aurora borealis" or "northern lights") is caused by interaction between the Earth's magnetic field and the solar wind (a mix of charged particles blowing away from the sun).  During storms, enough of these charged particles make it through to the Earth's upper atmosphere that they interact with the earths natural magnetic field lines.  When enough of these particles collide, energy is released in the form of auroral light.  In addition to creating a pretty light show (mostly in upper latitudes), ham radio signals scatter off of these particles and can greatly enhance propagation on the VHF and UHF ham radio bands. High levels of aurora can also make HF ham radio propagation via polar routes difficult.

Real-Time
Northern Hemisphere
Auroral Activity

Northern Hemisphere Aurora

 

Real-Time
Southern Hemisphere
Auroral Activity

Southern Hemisphere Aurora

 

Click on thumbnails to view a larger image
Images courtesy of the NOAA Auroral Activity site


Solar X-ray Flux

This chart shows X-ray flux levels as measured by the GOES-14 satellite.  The measurements (shown in red) are used to issue alerts when X-ray flux levels exceed certain levels.  Spikes on the chart correspond to solar flares.  Flares are considered "significant" when flux levels rise above the "M" level (as shown on the right side of the chart).  These large flares can often wipe out the ham radio and shortwave bands almost immediately and it can take minutes to hours for the bands to recover.  If the ham radio bands seem to go dead all of a sudden, it is always a good idea to check this chart to see if a large flare has occurred recently.

Solar X-ray Flux

Dynamically updating plots:
5-minute X-ray    1-minute X-ray    Satellite Environment
K-index    Proton Flux   Electron Flux   GOES Magnetometer


Grey Line Map

The grey line is a band around the Earth that separates the daylight from darkness.  Radio propagation along the grey line is very efficient.  One major reason for this is that the D layer, which absorbs HF signals, disappears rapidly on the sunset side of the grey line, and it has not yet built upon the sunrise side.  Ham radio operators and shortwave listeners can optimize long distance communications to various areas of the world by monitoring this area as it moves around the globe.  This map shows the current position of the grey line terminator.

Grey Line Map

Click here to show a dynamically updating Grey Line map


Near-Real-Time MUF map

The following map shows Maximum Usable Frequencies (MUFs) for 3000 kilometer radio signal paths.  More importantly, the current sunspot number (SSN) and Planetary A-index are updated every 30 minutes on the bottom of this image.  Additionally, the grey line position, auroral ovals, and sun position are provided.  Click on the map for more details on how to use it.

Near-Real-Time MUF Map (with SSN & A-index)

This image courtesy of  Solar Terrestrial Dispatch


Current Sun Images

The images below are current views of the sun shown at different wavelengths of light as taken by SOHO and the Yohkoh soft-Xray telescope. Generally, more bright regions on the disk indicates more solar activity, which usually leads to higher flux levels (which also often leads to better ham radio and shortwave propagation).  Click on any thumbnail to view a larger image.

SOHO - 17.1nm

SOHO 17.1nm

SOHO - 19.3nm

SOHO 19.5nm

SOHO - 21.1nm

SOHO 28.4nm

SOHO - 30.4nm

SOHO 30.4nm

Sometimes you may see the text "CCD Bakeout" instead of the images.  This occurs when NASA does routine maintenance and calibration on the cameras.  For a more technical explanation, read NASA CCD Bakeout explanation.

Images courtesy of the SDAC at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center


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