I have noticed that activity on the HF bands has been very poor over the last few months. So much so that I hear absolutely nothing on 80m and minimal DX on the other bands.
At first I suspected my antenna, which is a long wire. But I do get good reports from DX stations that I am able to work. Then I started noticing reports about low solar activity. I came across an article entitled entitled Cooling Kills: Governments Must Shift to Cold Preparation by TOM HARRIS and DR. MADHAV KHANDEKAR:
Of particular concern are the warnings from solar scientists that over the next three decades, we are headed toward significant global cooling as the sun weakens into a grand minimum. The last time the sun was as weak as solar experts predict will occur starting after 2030, the Earth was in a particularly cold phase of the Little Ice Age that lasted from about 1350-1850, a period when there was great misery around the world.
Tom Harris is Executive Director of the International Climate Science Coalition. Dr. Madhav Khandekar is a former Research Scientist with Environment Canada.
This got me thinking. If their predictions are correct, we can expect reduced HF activity. However, I have also noticed that VHF/UHF FM activity seems to perform okay. This, together with the notion that technology is fast evolving, I think I will look deeper into C4FM technology. This is basically a digital FM mode that allows for the transmission of voice as well as date communications, using commercially available equipment. In the amateur radio domain, Yeasu have just launched a range of transceivers that I plan to purchase, once I have sold off my HF gear to make space on my workbench.
Watch this space.