By Ron, KE6HKQ
This month instead of looking back, I thought it might be interesting to take a look forward. Just what is it that I am looking forward to, you ask? I am looking forward to improved propagation on the HF bands. As more hams get on the air on the HF bands, they create lots of rf energy that is radiated from their antennas. Much of this rf reaches the ionosphere where it causes the molecules to ionize (hence the ionosphere) and this can cause the signals to bounce back to earth. Now if this was all that happened, the story would end here. However, nothing in science is as simple as this. In addition to ionizing the molecules in this area, some of the energy is sent off into space as what I like to call "earth wind". The "earth wind" that ends up reaching the sun is what causes sun spots. These sun spots seem to have some mysterious effect on humans. It has caused otherwise normal people to sit and talk into a microphone for hours at a time, causing them to miss out on meals, sleep, and lots of other fun things.
Since we are now in the early stages of sun spot cycle 23 and the average cycle lasts 11 years, by my calculations these cycles have been going on since around the time Benjamin Franklin started messing around with kites and keys and lightning. It seems to me that it is hams and other electrical experimenters who are causing all these sunspots. I still haven't figured out why we operate in 11 year cycles, but I guess there are some things I am not supposed to understand.