For several years all the space weather forecasts called for Cycle 25 to be every bit as anemic as 24. Then some scientific paper began to circulate suggesting that Cycle 25 might be the most active cycle of all time. And then we hit the bottom of 24 and signs pointed to the beginning of the new solar cycle. And sure enough, the SFI slowly began to rise a little and radio amateurs did a happy dance just before spiking the football and claiming a touchdown.
And then the SFI went back down where it has remained.
The only thing that most of us really know about solar impact on HF communications is that when certain measured numbers rise to some level, propagation on higher (HF) frequencies usually improves. I’m no expert, but I’m certain the hopes and wishes of radio enthusiasts on this planet can do nothing to change events on the sun. Whatever will be, will be.
And despite the overly optimistic projections of that lone scientific paper, I maintain the view that we’re in some sort of prolonged Maunder like event and that Cycle 25 will do nothing to reverse that trend. As the new cycle progresses there will be noticeable improvement from where we are now and we should celebrate better props whenever they visit us.
But there’s no pot of gold at the peak of the Cycle 25 rainbow.