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Sunspot AR2665 — News to Know

SOLAR FLARE AND RADIO BLACKOUT: Sunspot AR2665 has grown into a behemoth almost as wide as the planet Jupiter: movie. Stretching more than 125,000 km from end to end and containing dozens of dark cores, the active region is an now easy target for backyard solar telescopes. Amateur astronomer Peter Desypris sends this July 9th photo from Syros island, Greece:

“This is the biggest sunspot of 2017 so far,” says Desypris. “I photographed it using an 8’inch LX200 telescope and a safe solar filter.”

On July 9th at 0318 UT the big sunspot erupted, producing an M1.3-class solar flare. Telescopes onboard NASA’s Solar Dynamics Observatory recorded the explosion’s extreme ultraviolet flash:

A pulse of UV and X-radiation from the flare ionized the top of Earth’s atmosphere. This, in turn, altered the normal propagation of shortwave radio transmissions on the dayside of our planet. A map from NOAA shows the geographical regions affected: mostly Australia and east Asia. People who might have noticed blackouts, fades, and other transmission irregularities include aviators, mariners, and ham radio operators.

Considering its extreme size, AR2665 has been relatively calm so far. Stronger flares and CMEs could be in the offing, however, as the sunspot continues to grow and turns toward Earth. Stay tuned for updates.. Free: Solar Flare Alerts

Website Technical Issue v20170528

WordPress’ recent update (v4.7.5; 18 May 2017) seems to have introduced a bug in the “Feedback Notification System.” Prior to the v4.7.5 update, Feedback and Comment postings were automagically Emailed to your Kindly ‘Ole Volunteer Webmaster when posted. After the v4.7.5 update, automatic Email notifications became INOP. WordPress has been notified of the issue. Your Webmaster is monitoring the situation. Also, every ~3 days, or so, he will manually check our Club’s website’s Notification Queue. This will explain why there might be a delay in a response. Until the issue is resolved, if you have an urgent matter, please send an Email directly to gearsw6rhc.

Government’s Recognize Importance of Ham Radio Operators

Great article in GovTech’s Emergency Management column regarding the important—and increasing—role of Amateur Radio in government-led emergency operations.


What a month our area has seen this past month. A big thank you to our Butte County ARES Emergency Coordinator Dale Anderson, KK6EVX and others who gave of their time and talents during the Oroville Dam evacuation incident. There was a shortage of operators, so this is an opportunity to ask for members of our club to step up and contact Dale to be ARES members. This incident was a prime example of how quickly things can change and the need can arise for quick response to provide communications.

As we know we are a very unique and exclusive group in that through our hobby we alone have the capabilities to provide communications across the street or around the world with many different modes. No other volunteer groups can do quite what we can do, we are a needed asset to our fellow man in times of need.

Being an ARES member does not require a lot of time or fancy stations, it just means that you will be willing to be properly trained and willing to work shifts during an incident. The more willing and available ARES operators means a lighter load on everyone. Please consider this and contact Dale if you can commit to this crucial part of Amateur Radio.

Larry Marcum, KA6GND

GEARS President