Silver Linings

According to my logbook, it’s been a month since I last disturbed the aether. In fact, over the entire summer I’ve barely been active. First it was constant days and nights of thunder that kept the feed line disconnected. That was followed by what could be the worst month or two of HF propagation in the history of radio. Lousy conditions punctuated by a few sporadic openings that have made HF seem a lot more like Six meters than a DXers paradise.

Don’t expect conditions to improve much in September. Maybe after a few cooler, longer nights in October the low bands will begin to show some life. I still plan to install a new antenna that’s optimized for 80 meters as I believe that will become my primary HF destination for as far into the future as I can imagine. I’m a Maunder minimalist, convinced that the higher bands will continue to slowly lose efficacy until long after I’ve assumed room temperature.

The silver lining is 160 and 80. And let’s not forget how fortunate we are to have access to loads of VHF, UHF and higher spectrum. Optimism about plans for upcoming satellite projects is nearing apogee. Networks for D-STAR, DMR, and Fusion continue to expand. Meteor scatter and moonbounce will be unaffected.

Amateur radio is a big tent filled with things that keep us entertained. It also presents obstacles, and these often serve to provoke us into pioneering new and improved methods of radio communication. Solving problems is the only way we advance the radio art and if conditions occur that transform our most fertile spectrum into barren land for a season, we will adapt and thrive.

Except those unwillingly to make other arrangements — their days are numbered.

Author: Jeff Davis