Here is the news from "DX.QSL.NET" concerning the solar flare/CME that was reported in the press yesterday (I found out about this from the news pages on Google!). It remains to be seen how much of an impact this has on the HF bands. The upper bands are fairly quiet but the background noise level is higher than normal - also it's raining quite heavily so I am probably getting some rain static adding to the overall background. A quick check on 6 and 10m didn't reveal any auroral activity. These events will get more common as the sun becomes more active over the next few years.
I don't particularly like these events as they knock out the high bands plus increase the background noise level masking any weak signals (and tend not to be strong enough to produce Au), plus the absorption on the lower bands is much higher than normal, making those all but useless. This means that the majority of traffic is concentrated on 20m and can make it rather congested. These events usually coincide with the times I do work on the equipment/antennas (not on purpose of course) and when I switch on after completing the work I often hear reduced strength signals with increased noise, which tends to make me panic slightly, although now I check the propagation forecast to see if anything has happened (and I make notes of signals heard before I do the work - which is not foolproof of course as a radio blackout could happen when the radio is off during the course of maintenance work!)
Geomagnetic field activity is expected to be at unsettled to minor storm levels on day 1 (04 August) as the current CME passage continues. Activity is forecast to increase to active to minor storm levels with a chance for major storm levels on day 2 (05 August) due to the arrival of the halo-CME observed on 01 August (associated with a large filament disappearance). Activity is expected to decrease to unsettled to active levels on day 3 (06 August) as CME effects subside.
Here are the figures from the DK0WCY propagation beacon in Kiel, Germany:
Date Hour SFI A K Exp.K R SA GMF Aurora Logger
3-Aug-2010 23 79 6 5 5 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 22 79 6 5 4 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 21 79 6 5 2 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 20 79 6 4 4 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 19 79 6 4 4 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 18 79 6 4 3 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 17 79 6 2 2 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 16 79 6 2 1 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 15 79 6 2 0 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
3-Aug-2010 14 79 6 3 2 17 qui act no <DK0WCY>
And these are the latest figures from WWV:
Date Hour SFI A K Forecast
4-Aug-2010 09 81 16 3 Moderate w/G2 -> Minor w/G1
4-Aug-2010 06 81 16 4 Moderate w/G2 -> Minor w/G1
4-Aug-2010 03 81 16 6 Moderate w/G2 -> Minor w/G1
4-Aug-2010 00 81 16 5 Minor w/G1 -> Minor w/G1
3-Aug-2010 21 81 16 4 No Storms -> Minor w/G1
The 'K' index rose to 6 (9 is the highest and indicates extremely disturbed conditions), which is the highest it has been for quite a long time. It iwll be interesting to see how things pan out over the next few days. I think it safe to say that MW and 160m will not be open for DX until these figures settle down to much lower numbers (ideally both A and K should be at 0)!