2009 at Mid-Year Update by Joe Reisert, W1JR

It seems like once a year is too seldom to stand back and see what's happening and where DX activity is going. Bernie W3UR agreed that a mid-year report may be helpful to keep us all on track. Many things are happening and unfortunately others either aren't happening or are stalled! Also by now most of you have received the ARRL DXCC 2008 Yearbook and the Honor Roll listing in the August 2009 QST. However, this information is also available on line so there were no surprises. LOTW seems to be gaining popularity by leaps and bounds and was particularly busy in January with the new ARRL Triple Play Award which started on January 1, 2009. Also one of the DXCC rules was modified. Several years ago the DXCC rules were modified stating that future deleted DXCC entities would just disappear. Now that rule has been reversed so in the future if an entity is deleted, it will be retained on the deleted list and still count in your DXCC lifetime total like in the past. This could soon come in to play if some of the Dutch islands in the Caribbean change status. Meanwhile, Kosovo still hasn't qualified for DXCC status so the active entity list still stands at 338 since January 1, 2008.

The propagation God's still don't seem to be yielding any large sunspot activity. A few of the older Solar Cycle 23 spots have come and gone quickly as did a few of the new Solar Cycle 24 sunspots. The Solar Minimum date is still undetermined and is now the longest for over 100 years. On June 17, 2009 NASA released a report that by using a technique called helioseismology they note that the solar jet stream that causes sunspots to intensify could be delayed for up to another year! The report is available at http://science.nasa.gov/headlines/y2009/17jun_jetstream.htm . The good news is that these NASA scientists do not expect another Maunder Minimum with little or no sunspots. Remember that the start of a new Solar Cycle can be slow and those cycles coming late (like Cycle 24) are usually shorter lived and have lower peak sunspot numbers. Stay tuned!

January started out as usual with lots of activity despite poor radio propagation conditions. Since it was Winter in most of the active DX world, activity was primarily concentrated on the low bands up through 20 meters. 40 meters was particularly active and many entities that were previously restricted to 7 - 7.1 MHz can now come into the middle of the phone band just as the broadcast stations are slowly vacating this portion of the spectrum. 160 at the expense of 80 meters had lots of activity but conditions didn't seem as good as expected. Meanwhile 30 meters was open for DX around the clock for short and long path DX. Notable semi-rare activity came from E44M, J5UAP, FW8DX, JD1BMM (M/T) and VP8DIF. The later operated mostly digital modes with low power from South Georgia. Several YLs also operated DX'pedition style from the Falkland Islands. ZS8T turned out to be a bust with only a handful of QSOs before returning to the mainland keeping this rare entity on the most needed list for many. For the month of January there were only about 200 entities activated, about 10 less than normal.

February saw better propagation conditions with 17 meters assisting. 160 also yielded some great long DX contacts. On various bands 3B7FQ, FW5RE, TN5SN, T27A, S79JF, TT8SK, PS0F (F/N), FH/G3SWH, FP/KV1J and several HV stations added some needed semi-rare activity. Also a French group activated several Antarcticia area entities. However, the big excitement for February was the large scale operation by K5D from Desecheo Island, a most needed entity by many that logged over 115,000 QSOs primarily on 160 through 15 meters. If you didn't work K5D at least once, you probably weren't on the air!

During March semi-rare entities were activated by H40FN, VK9AA (C/K), VK9LA (LHI), TL0A and VK9GMW (Mellish Reef). Also at the end of March, G3TXF and G3MXJ put on a 2 week marathon operating from FK, YJ and VK9N all in rapid succession. April saw activity from YK1BA, 3B9/SP2JMB, JA1XGI/VK9X and S04R. May followed with 5V7PM and a long stay by ZK2V. June saw activity from 5T0JL (now the only active station there), S92LX and TZ6EI although the later was primarily a 6 meter DX'pedition. Approximately 265 entities were activated during the first half of 2009, several below 2008 at this time of year.

May and June saw increased activity on 12, 10 and 6 meters. Some were convinced it was the return of F2 but it is actually sporadic E propagation and is probably not related to solar activity. The 2009 Sporadic E season on 10 and 6 meters was very active albeit mostly favoring Europeans. Sporadic E propagation in the Northern Hemisphere can occur at any time of year but the more intense and multi-hop propagation generally occurs between mid-May and the first week of August. Instead of the 2,500 miles per hop like on F2 propagation, single hops are usually less than 1300 miles but multiple hops usually occur during this time of year. This year seems to be no exception. The rise of multimode HF transceivers with 6 meters added and the DXCC Challenge award definitely have inceased 6 meter activity. There are several assistances for spotting 6 meter openings besides the DX Clusters. Increased activity on 10 meters is often an early warning. Most DX tends to show up around 50.110 MHz +/-25 KHz. Also, there are numerous propagation beacons worldwide that usually operate between 50.0 and 50.085 MHz. The 6 Meter season still has a few weeks to go.

Many DX'peditions planned for 2009 have been delayed or put off until 2010. The long promised FR/G operation has been delayed again (perhaps until late August) but they promise it will take place this year. Likewise YW0A. Long awaited operation from Wake Island is promised by KH4M in mid-October. Also look for C21, OJ0, 3D2/C, CY0S and others in the later half of 2008. Of course, many others could just pop up and surprise us. Stay tuned and good luck to the Deserving DX'ers.

Joe's other Year End Reviews:
2005 | 2006 | 2007 | 2008 | 2009 | 2010 | 2011 |


Used with permission and with special thanks to "The Daily DX"
Editor/Publisher Bernie McClenny W3UR
Many thanks to Joe Reisert W1JR for the review