August brought us improved conditions on 15 Meters, but as I write this, solar flux is down in the 80's. 20 is having trouble staying open at night, and this is effecting the morning path to Asia. A lot of day path activity is moving to 17 Meters, which is looking like a serious DX band for the long term. September is a month of dramatic change, and we have much to look forward to.
15 will continue to improve, and will likely carry most of the day path traffic to Europe this season. The 10 meter season does not look promising, but we will have a good idea of what to expect by the end of this month. With fluxes in the low 100's at best, we cannot expect much propagation to Russia. The seasonal window we get over the pole on 10 Meters is narrow, even at the peak of the cycle. At equinox time, the grey line runs directly over the pole, and the ionosphere at high latitudes gets just the right amount of solar exposure to elevate the MUFs and open these paths at high frequencies. As the 10 meter season progresses, the encroachment of darkness over the pole narrows and closes the window back up. When these paths are open, they will be early in the morning and around sunset (just before the band closes). With the low fluxes this year, the polar paths will probably not open at all on 10. We may get some propagation into Russia early in the season though. High latitude propagation on 10 peaks in October, while the European paths are good later in the season as the grey line aligns itself diagonally across the Atlantic. Even so, the lower the fluxes, the harder it will be to work Europe - especially eastern Europe, which brings us so much contest activity. The worst contest scenario is when the east coast gets to run Europe and we get only scatter.
With high latitude paths usually closed on 10, we anticipate narrow windows on 15. These will also become difficult later in the DX season, especially in winter. The fall season should otherwise be very good for 15. It will be a daypath band, closing shortly after sunset. When 10 isn't working, 15 will be crowded. There should be enough attention remaining on 10 Meters to spot and exploit openings when they do occur, especially with so many novices avoiding the 13 WPM code test.
During September, it is good to spend more time watching 40 and 80. Fall is the best season for working into the southern hemisphere on low bands, since these paths are mostly inactive during our winter. Low band DXers have a lot to look forward to this year. 20 Meter DX Hogs are in for early nighttime band closings, and frustration in major DX contests.