June was good for us, with fluxes at least 10 points above rock bottom for much of the month. In the summer, this is all that is necessary to open 20 Meters for world-wide DX work. Polar paths open nicely both in the morning and evening. The morning hours give us a window into Asia and the Far East, while evening openings favor Russia. If 20 stays open late enough, we can also catch a morning opening that sweeps across the rest of Europe after the sun rises there.
All these openings are good for contesting because they don't favor the east coast so much. DX Signals were loud in the IARU, and many more were at least copyable (and worked). Nighttime 20 Meter propagation occurs for most of the year with higher flux levels, but for now we only have a few more months to enjoy it. There is no chance we will hear 20 like this in the CQWW or ARRL in the next couple years.
Late afternoon gives us a good path to Europe which DOES favor the east coast. Earlier in the day this path is still open, but marginally. European day paths will often be better on 17 Meters. Long haul polar paths to southern Asia and beyond can open in the morning and evening. The morning openings work better for paths west of due north, like to VU4 (Andaman). This country has a reputation for being activated at the bottom of solar cycles, but would be easily workable if it came on in the summer. Current rumors indicate an expedition in October, when the window to North America will be shorter and difficult on all bands.
Early July is also the tail end of the 15 Meter DX season, and paths were open to Europe in the IARU test. In midsummer the ionosphere gets cooked, so most activity moves to 20. 17 Meters has also been good. 15 Meter propagation will return in late August, but its fall DX season will be pretty dull because of the low solar numbers.
The Sporadic E season has been great this year, supporting my belief that it is always better at the low end of the cycle. 10 Meters stayed open past midnight at Field Day, and that doesn't seem to happen at sunspot peaks. 6 Meters has also been hopping, and sometimes double hopping: the east coast has been reporting openings to western Europe.
Due to the low sunspot numbers, the low bands are not completely out of the picture. Good signals can be heard at sunrise peaks on 80, along with the static crashes.