If it were possible to tally all the words written along with all the words spoken about Solar Cycle 25 they would easily fill the Grand Canyon. HF propagation has been so bad, for so long, that I’m convinced people now are just making up fake good news to keep from beating themselves in the head.
The earliest predictions seemed to indicate that 25 would be nearly the same or weaker than 24 which, as you may recall, was a total bust. And yet as we got closer to the magnetic flip indicating the Sun had started the new cycle random reports about how active and robust Cycle 25 was going to be began appearing like weeds.
So how is Cycle 25 treating you so far? It’s early days and who knows, maybe good times are just around the corner. The peak isn’t expected until about 2025 so there’s still time for big movement. There have been a few blips of increased activity noted, but to this point reality seems to indicate this cycle is tracking right along with the last one.
It looks (to me) like the peak may occur early, say late 2023 and then we will see a longer slide back down to minimum around 2030. I remain convinced we’re in some new era of solar decline that has yet to be named. It’s not a Maunder, but it’s not normal either. A century from now scientists who study such things will have a name for this long season of low solar activity.
Radio hams will simply refer to it as the dark age of HF propagation.