January is mid-winter in the northern hemisphere, and is peak season for lowband work. On the higher bands, the darkness over the pole closes or narrows the windows into Asia. Starting at the end of December, we had an outbreak of solar activity pushing flux levels above 140. We have had two nice weeks of excellent propagation for this time of the cycle, and can expect another period of anomalous propagation starting in the last week of January (the sun rotates). I prefer to leave in-depth flux level prediction to other propagation writers who make this their primary focus. Factors effecting propagation in the near term (apart from geomagnetic disturbances) are nearly always seasonal.
15 has been in fine shape, and has effectively replaced 10 for daypath work. In the early morning it is not difficult to work into Russia, which will be the first path we lose as fluxes decline further. Openings on 15 are not as long as they used to be, because the band closes in Europe promptly at sunset. Openings deeper into Russia and Asia can be found on 20 for the first two hours after sunrise. This is a grey line path. 20 is also briefly open to Europe via long path at the same time, making signals difficult to copy due to the echo. The short path is usually better, and that is the direction to beam for Europe. Southern Asians will be on long path.
We are having a great season on 80. DX activity tends to increase later in the evening toward midnight. This is because it is closer to morning in Europe (which is easier to work after the east coast goes to bed). Also note that the sunrise is also sweeping across Africa, providing brief opportunities to work these countries when they are loud. Our own sunrise provides us with a window to Asia and all points west, with little competition from either the east or west coast.
40 (primarily CW) has the most DX activity in the evening. Openings in the morning are more interesting (opinion). The paths to the Far East seem more exotic, and everything in the Pacific is also open. Long path opens every day, but the guys with 40M beams have this to themselves. European LP activity is plentiful, but at peak time the propagation strongly favors the west coast. We get the less active (but more exotic) path to the Middle East and Moslem Russia. There is also a greyline SHORT path in the morning to Scandinavia and parts of northern Russia that is LOUD and easily workable without a beam. This path can also open on 80 with good antennas. Good polar openings are uncommon on all the lowbands, and most of the (former) USSR is difficult on 80 from W5.