Scientists have discovered the HF radio propagation phenomenon called sudden ionospheric disturbance (SID) is actually caused by a man named Sid.
For decades scientists have claimed that the sudden, unexpected, short duration loss of ionospheric propagation referred to as SID was caused by a large influx of solar particles that saturated the ionosphere and dramatically increased D-layer absorption. The phenomenon occurs randomly and usually produces HF propagation outages that lasts from tens of minutes to perhaps several hours at a time. Previous studies have linked the occurrence of SID to high sunspot and solar flux activity. The onset of a SID is quite sudden and dramatic and often described as if someone flipped a switch on the ionosphere, turning propagation off. Now, it turns out that may be exactly what is happening.
Scientists now say that the ionosphere is actually controlled by a light switch in the basement of the home of Sid Bloomfield of Nimrod, Arkansas. Bloomfield, who has lived in the same house since 1949, says that when he moved into the house, he and his wife Shirley found a light switch in the basement that did seem to be connected to anything in the house.
"For years I tried to figure out what that switch was for. I'd flip it and try to find a light or outlet that it was hooked to, but never could," said Bloomfield, 73. "I'd eventually forget about it, but every couple of years or so, I'd remember it and flip it and look some more. Usually after a couple of minutes or an hour or so, I'd give up and flip it back, just in case it was hooked to something important."
Scientists discovered that the timing of Sid Bloomfield's flipping of the light switch corresponded to occurrences of sudden ionospheric disturbances in the western hemisphere. They concluded that somehow the light switch in Sid Bloomfield's basement is connected directly to the ionosphere and it has the capability to turn it off and on. The exact mechanism is unknown, but theories based on quantum particle entanglement have been advanced as the most likely explanation.
Meanwhile Bloomfield is happy just knowing what the switch does. "I don't really understand it all. They tried to explain to me about the iron-sphere up in the sky. That's all way beyond me. When they first told me about it, all I could think about was 'There's iron up there?' But I'm just glad someone figured out what that switch in my basement does. Now I know, I won't be touching it again. Of course, the grandkids sometimes play down there in the basement, an' you never know what they'll get into. But I'll keep an eye on that switch and try to make sure it stays on."