When I last wrote on 5th September the SFI number was 186 but the magnetic fields were strong too and HF conditions poor in consequence with several radio blackouts. This state of a very disturbed Sun continued throughout September and although the SFI number dropped to a range of 100/80 the K and A indices remained very high and HF conditions consequently were poor. The top of the scale for the K index is 5 but someone told me he had seen 7 recorded!
However there were moments of better things to come and I found 18MHz in better form than for a long time. Stateside was worked after a gap of several months as was 5B4. Keith Bell (2E0GBK) had some success on 20 and worked a KL7 (Alaska) on the new data mode FT8.
80 meters provided early morning propagation at grey line time to the USA, but ZL was not heard on that band but appeared at 7:15 (clock time) on 40 meters sideband. I have not found time to explore 60 meters further, but more countries are being granted operation on that band and it will be interesting to see what can be heard as the winter approaches.
Recently I have again repaired my RV4 Mosley HF trap vertical. This is now 48 years old - a tribute to Mosley's good workmanship. It was my first shop bought antenna, but on reflection I think as a newly licenced ham I would have done better with simple one band dipoles. Beginners want to get active on all bands so trap verticals are popular, but never as good in an urban environment as a resonant horizontal wire antenna. Discuss! ( It's a different matter near the sea.) Lots of contests in October provide opportunities to work new countries - don't miss them.
I hope to see you / work you at JOTA 21st October at 7th Epsom Scout HQ.