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FeverPitch

Posts: 26 Member Since: 08/30/14

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Sep 1 14 4:35 PM

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=10ptHow badly do solar flares disrupt ham radio communications?  Does it depend on whether you are using higher or lower frequencies?  How long do the flares typically last?
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Gloria

Posts: 25 Member Since:08/26/14

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Sep 2 14 10:09 AM

The flares themselves last maybe an hour or so but I think we'd notice effects for longer than that. As for the amount of disruption, it depends on the flare. Sometimes they can even help, I hear, but I don't know if that is true.

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FeverPitch

Posts: 26 Member Since:08/30/14

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Sep 2 14 12:53 PM

Yes, I thought they just made communication more difficult but I googled it after reading your comment. I guess flares can sometimes help with propagation if the top part of the ionosphere is affected but the bottom part isn't. I don't know how that would happen though.

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Gloria

Posts: 25 Member Since:08/26/14

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Sep 3 14 9:16 AM

Yes, I'm still learning the physics of it myself and have been reading up since you posted this question. The basic idea is that high frequency radio waves bounce off the ionosphere, particularly the upper layers. The lowest layer is most likely to interfere with HF waves, so you want more ionization at the top for longer skips.

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FeverPitch

Posts: 26 Member Since:08/30/14

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Sep 3 14 10:00 AM

That's helpful. Thank you. It sounds like small solar flares, then, would be ideal for DXing, but larger ones would hinder it. Is that overstating potential benefits?

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Gloria

Posts: 25 Member Since:08/26/14

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Sep 4 14 1:31 PM

You might be overstating it, but I couldn't say for certain one way or the other. Ideal is a pretty lofty term, though. I’d just say that small solar flares can help with DXing.

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White Noise

Posts: 52 Member Since:01/18/16

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Jan 20 16 6:47 AM

FeverPitch wrote:
Yes, I thought they just made communication more difficult but I googled it after reading your comment. I guess flares can sometimes help with propagation if the top part of the ionosphere is affected but the bottom part isn't. I don't know how that would happen though.

The only reason I can think of is if the flare isn't strong enough to reach the lower ionosphere. I'm no expert, but that just sounds logical.

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