Are we headed for another Maunder Minimum? Most of us Hams alive today began our hobby in the Fifties or Sixties and have experienced some of the finest propagation that the sun can provide. We’ve also experienced some of the worst. The last three years are an example of the latter. Not since 1808 through 1810 (working form memory here so I’m close but not precise) showed a series of years with fewer sunspots than the last three, but not since that early time have we had such a dearth of spots. Now we have a new prediction that is suggesting a complete disappearance by 2015.
I wont go into a lot of what I have to take as gospel but is evidenced by a second data point. The Livingston and Penn paper can be found in discussion here . That second data point i spoke of is what is called effective sun spot number and is found and plotted at here . It is shown in the following graph.
It too seems to be trending downward but it is way too early to see that trend working. BTW I use SSN (eff) numbers in my propagation prediction runs in say Ham Cap which uses VOACAP as its prediction engine to forecast local propagation. Using SSN(eff) is more conservative and seems to yield better conformance to actual conditions. This is an idea Chuck Counselman W1HIS introduced to me several years ago and seems to work very well. BTW HAm Cap with VOACAP is a very cost effective solution to your propagation prediction needs. Free is pretty cheap!
Thanks for reading my Blog. Best, Chas W5PG