Topband: Full Moon, Oct 21-Questions

Michael Tope
Fri, 18 Oct 2002 22:30:54 -0700

I agree, Ted. I think the number of stations we work oftentimes
has more to do with activity level than propagation. Contests are
a good example. A seemingly dead band will oftentimes come to
life at the beginning of a contest. The band isn't really coming
alive, it just seems like it is coming alive due to the sudden
appearance of  many stations.

The only way to validate Don's theory would be to control for
activity level. This could be done by looking at daily beacon
levels over long spans of time and correlating them with moon
phase, or by somehow controlling for the human behavioral
response to moon phase. I wouldn't be surprised if sleep
patterns have been studied as a function of moon phase. It
would be interesting to review this body of work to see if
humans are more likely to be sleepless on full moon nights
than new moon nights (seems plausible).

My gut feeling is that if Don's observations are correct, then
the root cause has more to do with sleep disturbance than
enhanced propagation. Sleepless DXers tend to make a
B-line for the shack (after stopping at the refrigerator).
Having more stations active at any given time will on
average make the bands sound better than when activity levels
are low, even though some low activity nights may correspond
with better propagation (an open band doesn't sound open
if nobody has their radios on).

My pet $.02 theory.

73 de Mike, W4EF....................