The HF bands have completed their transition to summertime conditions. 20 Meters is the band of choice for worldwide propagation, providing easy access to parts of the world that are difficult to reach in the winter. We can enjoy these conditions for the next 2 or 3 months.
There is also a surge in activity on 10 Meters at this time of year. It's not DX, but it's fun. The bottom of the sunspot cycle seems to bring out the best in Sporadic E propagation on this band. Openings occur through the daytime and into the night. This is an important source of SSB contacts during the ARRL Field Day. On normal days, most activity is in one of the two Novice bands on 10 Meters (the other one is deserted for some reason). 6 Meter propagation is also in season.
DX can be found primarily on 20, 30 & 40 Meters. 17 is OK, but the propagation is mostly north / south (as it is on 15 and 10). East / west propagation can also occur on 17 to, for example, Africa and the Pacific.
20 Meters is in excellent shape for much of the morning and most of the evening. There are several paths to watch. Long path isn't very reliable at current levels of solar activity, but the morning path to Africa is workable. This path peaks in the summertime even at sunspot peaks, while the Antarctic paths are best from the fall through the winter and spring. DX activity on these paths is currently low, since they are not watched very closely anymore. With higher solar numbers these long haul paths are really awesome from W5.
The morning also brings a 20 Meter opening to the Pacific and an excellent northerly opening to most of Asia. There usually aren't many JA's on the band, so we tune for the more exotic stuff. There is some upcoming activity from Nepal to watch for on SSB. On CW, contacts with BV, 9V, 9M, V8, BY, JT, HS & VS6 are a common occurrence. Our evening openings can also include Asia if the band stays open late enough. This would be a good source of JA contacts in the upcoming IARU contest. Europe is best in late afternoon, traversing a night (evening) path to a part of the world where the band is quiet and about to close. We all know that prime time evening DX consists of a nightly opening to Siberia and Russia, but also watch this opening for activity from the Middle East. The westerly path across the Pacific is also good in the evening. Enjoy!
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