Friday, September 23, 2016

Simple Ham Radio Antennas--U.S. Sharpens Surveillance of Crippling Solar Storms. Post #905.

U.S. Sharpens Surveillance of Crippling Solar Storms
(http://www.nature.com/news/us-sharpens-surveillance-of-crippling-solar-storms-1.20630).
Accessed on 24 September 2016, 01:15 hrs, UTC.
Reporter:  Alexandra Witze
Please click link or insert title URL into your browser search box to read the full article.

Comment:

It's only a matter of time before a X-Class solar flare or strong Coronal Mass Ejection hits Earth head on with devastating results to our power grids, communications, and our digitally managed economies.  If we're not prepared for the inevitable, we could wake up the next morning in the 19th century.

By early October 2016, NOAA should have a better idea of just how dangerous X-Class flares and CMEs are, thanks to a new method of predicting the intensity of solar geomagnetic storms.  Scientists have successfully integrated the data gained from sun-orbiting satellites into a new model that "spells out which power grids are at risk" from intense solar activity.  The new tool should give us some advanced warning of intense solar activity, so that sensitive medical, communications, and economic systems can be better protected.

This quest is urgent, considering the past effects of solar storms, beginning with the 1859 Carrington Event that destroyed telegraph stations to the 1989 solar flare that wiped out Canada's entire Hydro-Quebec grid for hours, leaving millions of people without power.  Solar flares have "friend" transformers in South Africa and overheated transformers at a Swedish nuclear power plant.

As radio amateurs, we should be aware that our solid state, digitally sophisticated equipment is equally susceptible to damage.  That's why I have an old tube rig standing by in case my more modern transceiver becomes an expensive door stop.  It might be advisable to build a Faraday Cage or other shielding device for your transceivers in the event we are warned of a super strong solar flare.  You may also want to consider alternate power sources should the flare destroy the electric grid.  The warning is out. The time to prepare is now.

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Aloha es 73 de Russ (KH6JRM).