Winter approaches. A large area over the pole is in darkness, making certain Asian paths difficult on higher bands, especially 10 Meters. 10 & 15 will otherwise be excellent. The morning grey line extends NE to Europe and enhances propagation along the path with the heaviest DX activity. This path opens on 40 around sunrise for a brief opening to Scandinavia and Russia. The morning grey line also extends SSW around Antarctica and back up the Indian Ocean to the Middle East, Russia and Europe. This is the most popular 20 meter long path circuit, and it peaks in the winter.
20 Meters: Winter conditions, especially during January, seasonally bring the lowest MUF's of the year. This will usually shut the bands down at night. At the peak of the last sunspot cycle, even 20 would close in the early evening. Though fluxes in this cycle are higher than last, at some point in the night 20 will usually close. If this occurs earlier in the night, the nighttime path will not be open to the sunrise area that sweeps across Europe. Without fail, this path will open on 40, but 20 would experience better daytime propagation. Look for peak conditions on 20 in late afternoon to Europe, with excellent easterly paths to Africa and long path to VK & the Pacific. The long path shifts to the SSE around sunset for a grey line path to SE Asia and Indonesia. This will also be a good path to Antarctic regions for those BIG expeditions (e.g. 3Y). Vibrant equatorial ring will identify the South American stations, which will be loud.
LOW BANDS: 40 CW is very good right now, and should be tuned frequently for rare DX. Check 80 at sunrise on weekends. Pileups on the lowbands build to unmanageable levels very quickly nowadays, even though few are actually tuning the bands. Once the DX announcements hit the packet networks, frequencies are swamped with lids. This is true on all bands during contests.