At this point in the sunspot cycle, we are supposed to have quiet band conditions, with long DX on the lower frequencies on winter nights. Conditions on HF, especially 20 meters should be stable throughout the daylight hours. The VHF bands should behave themselves.
“Should” is the operative word.
Instead, the sun is producing some giant sunspots, and huge solar flares with coronal mass ejections. In the current solar environment, anything can happen, and currently, we’re being bombarded with radiation from sunspot 720, which is bigger than the planet Jupiter!
The photo of the aurora is by NL7Z, and that is his antenna farm in the foreground. He titled the photo, “Great For the Eye, Bad For the Radio.”
That’s a good attitude to have — go to plan “B” when the band conditions take a nosedive. Last night, for several hours, I heard nothing on 75 meters except local signals. It gave me a chance to DF some local RFI sources, so all was not lost.
The spectacular photos above and many more from all over the world are available for your viewing pleasure at http://www.spaceweather.com/aurora/gallery_01jan05.htm
(Recovered from original website, 10-02-2012)