Here's Why the 6M-10M Bands Are Coming to Life on Ham Radio



Solar Cycle 25 Progression

(Updated March 1, 2023)


Inspired by W3LPL's writing (3/12/2023) to a club email reflector on the 6M subject, a guru of HF in Maryland. Further notes, references, and citings added by Greyline.
Anyone paying attention to 6 meters recently has noticed unusually frequent 6-meter DX for this time of year. This morning's opening from the mid-Atlantic and New England to the Falklands Islands is just one of many recent reports.

Greyline: Last night K7GS in Washington State reported working into the Middle East on FT8 at 2 AM local in W7 and S9+ signals from Europe during the daytime on 10M. This is great news and just not typical.

Like many -- but not all -- above-the-MUF 6-meter propagation reports, the openings are often brief but much more frequent than in recent years because of increased MUFs as we rapidly approach Solar Cycle 25 solar maximum next year. See the progression of Cycle 25 in graph form here. [1]

As we approach Spring -- especially from late April through most
of May -- enhanced F2 openings will become increasingly frequent and long-lasting.

There are increasingly frequent reports of QSOs from various U.S.
locations too far distant locations in Australia, New Zealand, New
Caledonia, Japan, the countries in the southern cone of South America, the Canary Islands, the countries of west Africa, Reunion Island, Mauritius, Rodrigues Island, and many others. {2}

In almost every case, above-the-MUF F2 propagation results from
significantly enhanced ionization in the Equatorial Ionization
Anomalies located 700 to 1400 miles north and south of the
*geomagnetic* equator.

Only the most southerly U.S. locations (south Florida, south Texas
and southern Arizona and far southern California) can propagate
directly into the northern Equatorial Ionization Anomaly, the rest of us need a strategically placed sporadic-E ionization patch or rare
above-the-MUF F2 enhancement at more northerly latitudes.
Greyline: Learn how to Decipher Solar Magnetic Activity [3]

K6MIO's classic article "F-Region Propagation and the Equatorial
Ionospheric Anomaly" -- available on the World Wide Web --
describes multiple forms of above-the-MUF 6-meter propagation involving enhanced F2 propagation at the Equatorial Ionization Anomalies. Jim's article begins on page 66. Here's the reference link. [4]
Current 50 MHz activity: Sunday 3/12/23 using

6m, ham radio, cycle 25, vhf, magic band

Give 6 meters a try, almost every modern HF transceiver covers 6 meters. A simple indoor or outdoor dipole only 25 feet high or a tuner driving your existing HF antenna will give you a taste of enhanced 6-meter F2 propagation as we approach solar maximum.



Greyline: A big thank you to Frank, W3LPL for the quick wisdom this morning that we can share with you and learn so much from. As he says, "give 6M a try!" You'll have fun and just might work a very far away DX station this week. 

Did you know Greyline Antennas operate on the 6M Magic Band too?

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