This article was originally posted on September 6, 2010.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) does a tremendous job collection huge amounts of solar data each and every day. They measure A- and K-index, Solar Flux index, X-Rays, Proton and Electron flux, and more, many times per day. All these variables tell us something about how well HF radio waves are able to travel through our beloved atmosphere. Putting all these variables together allows us to predict pretty well when is a good time to call CQ to our good friends elsewhere on the globe.
And that is what the new RigReference.com Solar widget does. It takes all the variables and computes them into a pleasantly looking graph. I believe it hasn’t been easier to tell which bands are open and which are closed:
How to use?
The widget uses 3 clear colors to indicate conditions: green (good), yellow (fair) and red (poor). Day and night conditions have their own bar.
Placing the widget on your own site is simple. Go to http://rigreference.com/solar, copy the supplied code and paste it into your site. Additional instructions can also be found on above mentioned page.
I intend to create different layouts and more user controlled parameters (colors, sizes) in the near future. Updates will be posted on this blog.
It goes without saying that suggestions, remarks and error reports are most welcome! You can leave them at http://rigreference.com/pages/contact, or as comments at the bottom of this page.
Weren’t there already widgets like this?
Yes. Some are even quite good. I created this widget for 3 reasons: 1) I like the mental challenge, 2) I didn’t like the looks of the other widgets and 3) most other widgets use ancient web technology (ie. tables) with poor control over colors and layout.
One final word of warning. The widget is currently in the beta stages of testing. There may be some flaws and the implementation may be changed without prior notice. Please watch this blog or http://rigreference.com/solar for updates.