South America


03/10/2017 Over four days last week, we saw a blank Sun, starting with March 4. On March 5, the sunspot number was 11 (indicating a single sunspot), then on March 6-8 the Sun was blank again. Thus, we saw an average daily sunspot number of just 14.1, a 20-point drop from the previous seven days. Yesterday (Thursday) still no sunspots (our reporting week for calculating averages runs Thursday through Wednesday, so the zero-sunspot number for Thursday will be included in the average for the March 17 bulletin). Average daily solar flux decreased by seven points from 81.3 to 74.3. Geomagnetic […]

The K7RA Solar Update


12/16/2016 Average daily solar indices over the past week were lower than the previous seven days, with average daily sunspot number declining from 40.9 to 13, and average daily solar flux dropping 10 points from 82.2 to 72.2.   Geomagnetic indicators were higher, with average daily planetary A index rising from 4.9 to 13.3, and mid-latitude A index from 3.4 to 9. Predicted solar flux is 72 on December 16-20, 75 on December 21-22, 88 on December 23-27, 86 on December 28-29, 88 on December 30 through January 1, 86 on January 2-3, 84 and 82 on January 4-5, 80 […]

The K7RA Solar Update


09/23/2016 Sunspot numbers and solar flux were down over our reporting week, September 15-21. Average daily sunspot number was 29.9, down from 50.1 during the previous seven days. Average daily solar flux went down from 88.9 to 83.4. Geomagnetic indices were up a bit, with average daily planetary A index rising from 6.7 to 8.9, and average daily mid-latitude A index from 6.1 to 7.6. The predicted average planetary A index for the next seven days is expected to rise to 13.1, and average solar flux to 86.4, according to the latest 45-day outlook. Predicted solar flux is 85 on […]

The K7RA Solar Update



The latest Australian pico balloon from Melbourne lifted off early Saturday August 27 to around Coffs Harbour on the New South Wales coast, before New Zealand, then headed for South America. Andy VK3YT launched the party-type helium balloon PS-68 as the latest in his series inviting it to be tracked by enthusiastic followers. The balloon has a solar powered 10 milliwatt transmitter on two-metresAutomatic Packet Reporting System, and Olivia Reed-Solomon Identification or RSID on 70 centimetres. It sends data on the location, speed, direction, altitude, temperature, and battery condition. Regular trackers in VK3, VK2, VK1 and ZL have so far […]

Latest Aussie balloon takes to the skies


07/29/2016 Reporting this week from the Hill Country of West Texas in Kerrville, northwest of San Antonio. Happy to report that the food is delicious, the locals very friendly and hospitable, and gas costs only two bucks a gallon. Speed limit on the highways is 75 MPH, and it seems almost like the 1970s again. We have fallen back to a period of zero sunspots, so far only lasting three days. This was after a brief uptick in solar activity from July 15-21. But looking at the STEREO site http://stereo.gsfc.nasa.gov/ we can see that on the opposite side of the […]

The K7RA Solar Update


  The European Space Agency (ESA) Education Office will give a prize to the first three radio amateurs to send a recorded signal from either the AAUSAT4, [email protected] or OUFTI-1 CubeSats which are expected to launch Sunday, April 24 at 2102 UT The launch of the three CubeSats on a Russian Soyuz-STA Fregat-M rocket from Kourou in South America had been planned for Friday, April 22 but was postponed due to poor weather. Soon after being deployed into their final orbit, the CubeSats will begin transmitting signals to Earth that can be picked up by anyone with common amateur radio […]

ESA announce competition for radio hams



12/15/2015 A Slow Scan TV (SSTV) image that a Brazilian radio amateur reported receiving on December 13 from Fox-1A (AO-85) was most likely a prank, not any sort of official test of the satellite’s SSTV capabilities. AMSAT Vice President for Engineering Jerry Buxton, N0JY, said the image, which depicted a cartoon fox and the legend “Testing Fox-1A/AO-85 AMSAT satellite,” was of terrestrial origin and transmitted via the AO-85 satellite’s transponder. “I can tell you that in South America, they are having some fun, and that our analog-to-digital to analog IHU processing of the audio seems to work very well at […]

AO-85 Slow Scan TV Image Likely a Prank, Not a Test


11/08/2015 AMSAT has announced that it will be conducting some tests on the new Fox-1A (AO-85) satellite while it is over North America during orbits 444, 448, and 449, and is requesting that users not uplink to the satellite during these periods: Sunday, November 8, 1715 through 1735 UTC Monday, November 9, 0005 through 0025 UTC Monday, November 9, 0145 through 0210 UTC “Stations in North, Central, and northern South America are asked to comply,” AMSAT said in announcing the test periods. “You are encouraged to copy telemetry with FoxTelem during these times to forward to the server to help […]

AO-85 Testing November 8 and 9


07/17/2015 Average daily sunspot numbers dropped from 109.1 on July 2-8 to 73.7 in the past week, July 9-15. Average daily solar flux dropped from 123.2 to 114.8 over the same two periods. Geomagnetic indices were more active, with average daily planetary A index increasing from 10 to 13.7, and average mid-latitude A index going from 8.9 to 12.3. The geomagnetic field was active on July 11 when the mid-latitude A index, the high latitude college A index, and planetary A index were 20, 44 and 23. Activity was greater on July 13 when the three indices were 22, 45 […]

The K7RA Solar Update



04/17/2015 A foil, party-type balloon carrying a ham radio payload has circumnavigated the globe. Launched on April 6 by Australian radio amateur Andy Nguyen, VK3YT, of Kensington, Victoria, Australia, the balloon, designated PS-41, completed its round-the-world journey on April 16 and is still in the air. Along the way, it has been tracked by a network of Amateur Radio operators. Nguyen has been trying since early last year to have one of his launches go full circle. “PS-41 crossed the starting longitude of 144.903 at 11:20 AM AEST (0120 UTC) this morning, completing the first PicoSpace around-the-world trip,” Nguyen posted […]

Australian Ham’s “PicoSpace” Balloon Circumnavigates the Globe