Back in the 1970's era on American Television, there were commercials about American football that said presented an actual scenario during a game, and asked the viewer to guess at the actual outcome. The announcer would say something like:
Time has expired, the quarterback throws a long pass and the receiver jumps to catch it. The defensive safety interferes and a penalty flag is thrown. Time has run out. IS THE GAME OVER OR IS THERE A REPLAY? YOU MAKE THE CALL"
This would be followed by some advert for shaving cream or beer or some such rubbish, followed by a return to the scenario and an answer which the viewer had awaited through the useless advert.
So, it's 2020 UTC, I worked UA0FAI on Sakhalin Island near Japan. SHORT PATH OR LONG PATH PROPO? YOU MAKE THE CALL!
Before we break for a silly advert, let's look at the facts.
1. We know there is a well-established LP in fall and winter to JA from East Coast USA (I just worked this path on 17 meters two weeks ago). This happened on 18072 kHz, same band.
2. Does my antenna give any clues? It was the low (32 foot high) off-center-fed dipole. What is the pattern for the antenna? What does EZNEC tell us?
3. What about propagation? Well, the DX was IN the gray zone, and I was getting close to the gray zone.
4. The signal was fairly strong with no apparent polar flutter. However, we know from the great guidance given by an OT in my previous post, that this is not always a good indicator.
5. Look at it holistically. Who else worked him? http://www.dxsummit.fi/Search.aspx reveals two other spots: W5 and W8. Inconclusive.
So, YOU MAKE THE CALL! LP or SP! Inquiring minds want to know.
73 and good DX