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Propagation forecasts are some DXers staples and others' after-dinner tea. All the monthly magazines have a propagation column and each has its uses. They are all prepared using the 56-day forecast method, due to the constraints of publishing. Forecasts found in the various DX bulletins and on the W1AW on-the-air propagation bulletins are based on 28-day recurrence of solar phenomena with some last-minute updating as necessary. One DXer who deserves recognition for the service he provides is Ted Cohen N4XX, who regularly supplies propagation forecasts to bulletin editors and Others, Ted's up-to-the-minute forecasts prove to be more accurate than, sayt the local weather forecaster who has thousands of dollars of equipment at his disposal.
The value of propagation forecasts in these sunspot-rich times is debatable. Those who are looking for the exquistte long-path openings on 15 and 10 meters may find the forecasts of use, although long-path propagation is vastly more difficult to predict than short path. Today's bands can generally be counted on to provide the necessary paths to what one is trying to work; the determining factor is availability of a station to work. At least that's betterthan during the sunspot doldrums, where both Sol and the operator at the other end often seem to be working to the DXei^s detriment. During December, the N4XX fore^ casts, which are always labeled Above Normal, High Normal, Normal, Low Normal, and Below Normal (or combinations thereof), totalled 9 Above, 14 High, 3 Low, and 5 combinations. No days were relegated Below Normal status.
Those who noted somewhat less than sterling radio conditions in January and February, compared to autumn, are advised lhat worry is not in order Typically, spring and fall provide more excitement than the dead of Northern Hemisphere winter, when propagation settles down and fireworks abate. Look for increasing delicious openings, especially on 20 and 15 long path, around the end of March, Meanwhile, enjoy the 40- and
80-meter bands, and 160 if you have it. during their winter peaks.
Any country you need is a rare one ., „ anything you have is run of the mill One year ago, Art Westneat W1 AM ran his last list of "Most Needed" countries in the West Coast DX Bulletin, Seventy-five strong, the list read iike the blank spaces on the countries list of most operating positions around the world. Den-nls Sullivan K6YCM took that list, subtracted the countries which have been available in the past year, and came up with a final tally of the twenty*five countries craved most. Nowt take a copy of this to your local travel agent and get out the checkbook!
25 places to visit in 1960: 1- BY China
2. VS9 Kamarans
3. XZ Burma
4. ZA Albania
5. VKfl Heard island
6. VU7 Laccadives
7. 70 PRD of Yemen
0. FBflW Crozet (on now) 9, XU Cambodia
10. 3Y Bouvet (on briefly in 79)
11. VU7 Andamans
12. 3X Guinea
13. 60 Somalia
14. FR7 Glorioso
15. CEO San Felix
16. YA Afghanistan
17. XV5 Vietnam
18. 9U5 Burundi
19. 4W Yemen
20. FR7 Juan de Nova 21 S9 Sao Thom6
22. H K0 Malpelo
23. 5A Libya
24. 7Q Malawi
Now, if anyone out there needs just 25 countries and they match with our list, we'd tike to hear from you. Some sort of prize would be in order. Your editor, who is holding at about 290 after 20 years of on-again. off^again DXing, has ten of the 25, but the other 15 are enticing. Admittedly, we worked most of the ten in the early 70s and haven't heard them since.
The Ust is interesting from several points of view. Ten of the 25 are islands. Nine are in Asia, twelve in Africa, two in South America, and one each in Oceania (Heard) and Europe (Ah banra). Several have essen tially zero population, including Crozet, Bouvet, Juan de Nova, Gtorioso, San Felix, and Malpelo. The Kamarans have only about 2,000 souls and the Andamans and Laccadives combined have less than 100,000, Of course, the most populous country on Earth tops the list.
What seems to set these 25 countries apart is a commentary on world affairs: They are all either so down and out technologically that radio is simply out of the question or else they have closed their doors to outsiders, even outsiders from their ^mother country." They are all hard to get to, to get into, and probably impossible to get Into with radios. The Bahamas, they ain't.
WARC is over, finally, and amateurs will probably be getting three new HF bands over the next five years or so. The implications are tremendous; 10 MHz will take much of the longdistance load off 20 meters during years of low sunspot activity, 18 MHz will be the premier OX band much of the time, and 24 MHz will give much of the fascination of 10 meters while not being quite so dependent on the soiar flux. However, most radios in use around the world will not be able to receive and transmit on these bands with the simple addition of a crystal or two, so extensive use of the new spots will depend on how much the manufacturers gear up for them in the next few years.
What the new bands will do is increase enthusiasm among amateurs who have run out of accomplishments to shoot for on our present bands. There- will be a #1 DXCC to be made on each band, and the scramble will be on. Some of the five^band awards will undoubtedly be expanded to eight-banders and the rush for contacts and QSLs will commence. Along with the Phase Three OSCAR satellites upcoming, these new HF bands will make the 1980s a banner decade for DXing.
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