Sunday, August 4, 2013

Current Solar Cycle 24 Is Weakest In 100 Years

I've been "Radio Active" since about 1961, and got much more involved about 1963 when I built my first Real Radio, a Knight-Kit "Star Roamer".

My Dad took me up to Allied Radio on 100 N. Western Ave. in Chicago, and one of my buddies at Holy Family grade school helped me get it built properly.

I missed out on Cycle 19, the Grand Daddy of all recorded solar cycles, but I've been through all the rest, if not on-the-air, then at least as a Short Wave Listener.

The next few cycles weren't as "good" as Cycle 19, at least for radio propagation, but I had fun listening anyway.

Here's a more expanded view of Cycle 23, the last one, and Cycle 24, the current one:

Cycle 24 doesn't even look like it's going to break a Smoothed Sunspot Number (SSN) of 100, which is a real bust for radio guys like me. There are daily peaks well above 100, but the smoothed numbers give you a better general overview of the state of Solar Activity, and brother, Old Sol is sleeping!

Now while its possible that even a "Quiet Sun" can cut loose with the Mother of All Solar Flares, with general Solar Activity being so low, it's highly improbable that it will do so.

Predicting this stuff ranges from the Highly Scientific, to the level of people reading chicken entrails.

I've met some Solar Cycle "experts" in my Amateur Radio travels, and these guys are laughable. They're always preaching their own pet theory that the upcoming cycle will be "Bigger Than Cycle 19!!!", and they are always wrong.




Then they disappear back to wherever they came from, and hibernate until the next cycle is starting, and pop up at Amateur Radio club meetings and seminars pushing their Snake Oil again.

The reason I'm bringing this up, is the recent (well, over the last several years) spate of ZOMG! SOLAR FLARE!! CME!!! TEOTWAWKI!!!!  and other such nonsense that appears on the TV and Web, some of it by people who should know better.

I'm not saying it's not possible for some massive CME/Flare/X-Ray Burst out of our own Sun to completely turn all electrical systems to toast, and plunge the world into a new Dark Ages, but that the probability of that happening is so small that I'm sure not going to lose any sleep over it.

There are far more nefarious forces at work among men, than to worry about Mother Nature dropping the hammer on us.

More info for those who care:

Solar Terrestrial Activity Report

Space Weather

Cycle 24 to be weakest in 100 years

NOAA Space Weather Prediction Center

SOHO Space Weather


  1. If the world ends, let us know. Otherwise, those guys can just crawl back into their wife's sewing room & dust off the radio set again.

  2. Great post follow up to our comments over at SiG's place.
    Any suggestions for propagation prediction sites? I usually just look at pskreporter or wsprnet to see what is happening real time. Or dxmaps but most of my activity lately has been PSK.


  3. None really special:

    1. Many thanks. Will save them and see how they do for me here in south Florida.


Keep it civil, please....