Fall at last! In recent months, lower flux levels and seasonally lower MUFs have substantially reduced DX activity across all day paths. September is a month of dramatically improving conditions on 10 and 15, but this year's fall DX season will be different than in recent years.
With flux levels swinging from the 90's to over 150 in a typical month, propagation on 10, 15 & 20 will vary greatly. Ten Meter propagation is reliable at flux levels above 150, but at the current stage of the cycle conditions will often be marginal. There will be much less polar propagation, and the path to Russia will often be difficult. When fluxes are in the 90's, any path to Europe is welcome. Sometimes openings will be mostly confined to western Europe, but the louder east European and Baltic stations will usually get through. The east coast will have better penetration into Europe and Russia than we will, especially before the band opens for us. The best response to weak 10 Meter propagation will be a move to 15.
Eventually solar fluxes will be consistently low, and European propagation will be scarce even on 15. For now, this band will usually supply day path propagation when it is lacking on 10. When even this fails, check 20 Meters for that morning path to Europe or try the 17 Meter WARC band.
Night path conditions will also be effected by the lower solar activity levels. The fall season on 20 Meters does not look good. Last year fluxes were off their peak of prior years, and the band started closing at night during November. We can expect these closings earlier in the season, forcing DX'ers down to 40 and 80. Some night paths will remain open, but not the ones taking a northerly route. 20 will often be open to Africa in the evening, and to all points south and west. Exploit the grey line path around sunrise and sunset for contacts in the Antarctic.
Any deterioration in 20 Meter nightpath conditions will benefit 40 Meters, where much of the CW activity will be concentrated in the bottom 10 Kc of the band. SSB activity is more likely to move to 75 Meters due to the short wave broadcast activity on 40.