Tag Archives: Space Weather

Met Office guide to space weather forecasts


Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Mike (K8RAT), who writes:

The Met Office has this brief introduction to the subject of space weather and the methods they use to make predictions. It may be useful to beginners in the radio hobby.

This download is found on The Met Office’s forecast page:

They are not giving us any good news regarding the next couple of days on HF.

Click here to download the Met Office guide: “Space Weather: Find out more about how we forecast space weather” (PDF).

G4-class geomagnetic storm in progress

(Source: NASA) The geomagnetic storm began as forecasted and quickly ramped up to severe (G4)  levels.  In Europe watchers should be looking for the aurora now and there is hope for those over the US tonight.

(Source: NASA) The geomagnetic storm began as forecasted and quickly ramped up to severe (G4) levels. In Europe watchers should be looking for the aurora now and there is hope for those over the US tonight.

Depending on where you live, this G4 geomagnetic storm may completely disrupt the HF band conditions. From Spaceweather.com:

SEVERE GEOMAGNETIC STORM IN PROGRESS: A severe G4-class geomagnetic storm is in progress on June 22nd. This follows a series of rapid-fire CME strikes to Earth’s magnetic field during the past 24 hours. Magnetic fields in the wake of the latest CME are strongly coupled to Earth’s own magnetic field. This is a condition that could sustain the geomagnetic storm for many hours to come. High- and mid-latitude sky watchers should be alert for auroras tonight, especially during the hours around local midnight.

On the up side, after this is over, there may be some excellent, short-term band openings. My buddy, David Goren, also reminds us that this is a good time to keep an eye on the broadcast bands for auroral conditions.

X-class solar flare causes radio blackout


(Image source: Screen capture from NASA video)

(Source: Discovery News)

The sun has erupted with its first X-class solar flare of 2015, a not-so-subtle reminder that it can still muster the energy required to generate the most powerful class of solar explosion.

The magnetic eruption occurred yesterday (Wednesday) at 12:22 p.m. ET (16:22 UT), lighting up a huge area in the lower solar corona (the sun’s magnetically dominated ‘atmosphere’). Shortly after the huge eruption, that measured X2 on the scale of flare energy, Spaceweather.com reports a radio blackout was detected over large swathes of the globe, including much of the Americas.

“The X-flare scrambled the ionosphere thoroughly so that no decametric radio signals were supported in my part of the world,” said amateur radio astronomer Thomas Ashcraft. “The ionosphere started to reform after about fifteen minutes when stations began to reappear. (The stuff visible during the blackout was my own observatory electricity. Nothing exterior.)”

Based in New Mexico, Ashcraft reports that the blackout was most obvious in the frequency range of 15 MHz to 26 MHz.

[Continue reading at Discovery News…]

Good news? There may be some HF band openings in the wake of this flare. We shall see.

Radio blackout: X-Ray Event exceeds X1


I’ve heard from several of you this morning that the shortwave bands are dead.

It’s not your radio…it’s our sun. We’re currently experiencing an X-ray event exceeding X1 on the NOAA Space Weather Scale. This equates to wide area blackout of HF radio communication and loss of radio contact for about an hour on sunlit side of Earth.

SWLing Post reader, Richard Langley, shares this space weather alert from NOAA:

Space Weather Message Code: SUMX01
Serial Number: 105
Issue Time: 2014 Oct 22 1454 UTC

SUMMARY: X-ray Event exceeded X1
Begin Time: 2014 Oct 22 1402 UTC
Maximum Time: 2014 Oct 22 1428 UTC
End Time: 2014 Oct 22 1450 UTC
X-ray Class: X1.6
Optical Class: 2b
Location: S14E13
NOAA Scale: R3 – Strong

NOAA Space Weather Scale descriptions can be found at

Potential Impacts: Area of impact consists of large portions of the sunlit side of Earth, strongest at the sub-solar point.

Radio – Wide area blackout of HF (high frequency) radio communication for about an hour.

Fear not, this shall eventually pass and SWLing will return to normal. Indeed, you might even catch a few rare band openings between event. I believe you can expect overall unsettled conditions near term, based on recent solar history.

Geomagnetic storms in weekend forecast

(Source: SpaceWeather.com)

(Source: SpaceWeather.com)

Heads up! Geomagnetic storms may make it a challenge to hear the test broadcast of Hamburger Lokalradio this weekend or any shortwave broadcaster for that matter.

Full details at Spaceweather.com and the ARRL (below):

(Source: ARRL)

Spaceweather.com reports a strong geomagnetic storm is in progress as Earth passes through a region of south-pointing magnetism in the solar wind. The storm has generated auroral displays as far south as Kansas in the US. The NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center indicates the storm is a G3 level event. WWV announced at 0900 UTC, “Geomagnetic storms reaching the G3 level are likely” over the next 24 hours. NOAA says that in a G3 level storm, HF radio may be intermittent. Calculated band conditions reported on the DX Summit site indicate “poor” conditions on 80 through 10 meters. WWV reported the estimated planetary K index at 0900 UTC was 5 (the 0600 UTC figure was 7). […] A coronal mass ejection (CME) is expected to deliver a glancing blow to Earth’s magnetic field late on June 30 or early on July 1.