An almost spotless Sun and you just know 15 and 20 meter HF propagation is going down the tubes again. Here’s hoping the bottom of the solar cycle does not last as long as the last time.
The peak of the solar cycle wasn’t much to write home about either, just my opinion. Oh sure we had our good periods but all in all not so good. Funny too because the “forecasts” were for the peak to be HUGE with off the chart solar storm etc. Didn’t happen. I know I watch closely being an Amateur Radio operator (one who LOVES 15 meter QRP CW).
The original caption released with this SDO image:
This week the sun was hitting its lowest level of solar activity since 2011 (Nov. 14-18, 2016) as it gradually marches toward solar minimum. This activity is usually measured by sunspot count and over the past several days the sun has been almost spotless. The sun has a pendulum-like pattern of solar cycle of activity that extends over about an 11-year period. The last peak of activity was in early 2014. At this point in time, the sunspot numbers seem to be sliding downwards faster than expected, though the solar minimum level should not occur until 2021. No doubt more and larger sunspots will inevitably appear, but we’ll just have to wait and see.