November is a great month for 10 Meter propagation over northern latitude day paths. Much of the Arctic is in darkness now, so polar propagation is more difficult than it was around the equinox. Over the past month, solar conditions have not always been favorable. The flux remained below 120 for the last two weeks of October. This is not high enough to really open up the band. Conditions were marginal to Europe in the CQWW SSB contest for most of the US, though stations to the east and south had good paths
As I write this, the flux is back up to around 150. There were several days of excellent propagation on all bands - and then came the flares. At this early stage of the sunspot cycle 10 Meters is sensitive to the monthly swings in solar flux. A year from now, the monthly dips in flux levels should be higher than the current peaks. Conditions will be awesome, though the bands will always be sensitive to flares.
Our current moderate solar numbers are sufficient to provide reliable communication on 15. This is where most of the daytime activity was in the CQWW, as conditions to Europe were excellent. We have come to expect good 15 Meter openings almost every day. In the fall (in contrast with the late spring season), 15 is a daypath band. Some signals are currently making it over the pole, but this path will be increasingly difficult as winter nears. For now, 15 is loaded with activity that will move to 10 when flux levels improve.
20 now closes in the evening, and is no longer a night path band across the northern hemisphere. 15 is more optimum for day path work, but 20 still has its place. Conditions are ideal across paths were the sun is low in the sky, or has recently set. In addition, night paths are wide open in the southern hemisphere. The wise DXer knows to check the morning long path several times per week for unusual countries many would consider rare. He beams about 200 degrees south after sunrise for the first signals around the south pole from southern Asia. From Texas, this is the daily opening to India and Sri Lanka. These drop out early, but the opening broadens to include the Middle East, Russia and then the rest of Europe with east Africa. From other parts of the US this opening peaks to different areas. Since these DX windows are narrow, there is little pileup competition from stations to your east or west (they have their own band peaks). It is also good to be south of your competition.
For northern latitude night path work, the band to use is 40. Fluxes are high enough to keep the European path open through the evening for us, though activity is light where most are in bed. It is best to work into areas where the sun has risen. In the evening the signals from Russia are excellent, and then the opening sweeps across Europe. The best path to Asia follows our own sunrise. As you may have noticed, big antennas rule 40.
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