Monday, September 7, 2015

The Bear & The Bull - You Decide

ISES Solar Cycle Data from NOAA/SWPC
It's obvious we are entering into a Bear Solar Cycle as it seems each and ever day I turn on my HF rig I hear more and more silence. As sunspot numbers head south, so do the number of QSO's in my HF logbook. Certainly a direct correlation for most logbooks. Not that I've added hundreds of contacts to my logbook lately. Operating QRP with indoor antennas makes this downward cycle even harder to produce logbook additions. All the more reason I will operate the weak signal modes like JT9 and JT65. The good thing about these cycles are there seems to be a pattern which make them predictable. 

Stock Market - As mapped by Google & Yahoo Finance
Recent non-scientific AK7DD data has made a connection between solar cycle data and the stock market. Not only has my QSO's suffered lately, so has any additional dollars to my 401K. 

Since 2011, you will see both cycles were on an upward swing. And as we hit 2015, now both cycles are on a downward swing. So what does this have to do with ham radio? Radio manufactures probably watch these cycles closely. As the solar cycle peaks and the stock market follows, hams have more money to spend on ham equipment! More new radios are born during this period than any other. And when I compare my new purchase equipment receipts, I find my additions follow this same pattern! I also look at family time and from the notes left on my shack door, my family sees much less of me during solar cycle peaks! But now that things are falling, this means that my family can expect to spend more time with me. I'll be broke yet again and with nothing on the bands, I'll spend the next few years catching up with my kids, friends, family and relatives. And in looking at the birth certificates of my five children, I find most were born at the bottom of the last five solar cycles! Now you have the rest of the story...

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