The bands will be in transition this month. Days are getting shorter at a very rapid clip. Nighttime MUF's are plummeting, and daytime MUF's are rising. Greyline openings are shifting to other parts of the world. QRN levels on the lowbands are dropping. Let's look forward to some Fall DX this season!
There will be improvement on most bands, but 20 is not one of them. The broad morning path to Asia will deteriorate and become a narrow window over the pole. As the early path to Asia drops out, a new path will open in that direction around sunset because the evening grey line will soon be tilting toward Asia. By the same token, morning conditions to Europe will improve as the late afternoon window deteriorates. The new daypath windows, however, will not be as good as the summer ones. All 20 Meter night paths are going south for the winter. The band will begin to close earlier in the evening, and by CQWW it will be mostly a daytime and greyline band. There won't be as many Russians on 20 because the polar windows will be narrow. For now, we can enjoy the polar pipelines of the evening and morning, and hope something substantive comes out of the rumored VU4 operation before that propagation window closes altogether for North America.
15 will be worth watching during September and October. We can't expect anything reliable, but there will be days with openings to Europe. The path to Africa will be easier, and even DX in zones 34 and 37 will be workable. Contacts in those zones are well worth tuning for, and stations tend to come up when the band sounds nearly dead.
Activity on 40 should pick up sharply during the month, especially when 20 closes well before midnight. With the expanding area of darkness in the northern hemisphere, paths will open deeper into Russia and will include the Middle East. 40 will be the most active evening DX band through the winter, and at the bottom of the solar cycle "winter" comes very early.
So the low band season begins this month, with activity picking up on 80 and 160 as well. Equinox time (not mid-winter) is the best time to work into the southern hemisphere on 80 & 160. Now that many of us have installed receiving EWE's on our small antenna farms, K6STI brings us another receiving antenna to try - horizontally polarized! I haven't started mine yet.
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