Who says this sunspot cycle will be a bust? Some folks predicted another Maunder Minimum. Well, after getting off to a slow start, cycle 24 is going gangbusters. The prediction curve may need to be revised.
The bands are ALIVE. Here's a sampling of DX worked from my location (FM06be) using a 2 element 5-band hex beam (thanks, Mike Traffie, for getting me into the serious DX game).
All over the north pole: BY, 9M2, XV, BX, 4S7 (First time I ever heard 9M2 or XV)
Also, I was working these stations at 2200 local time on 15 meters, 2.5 hours after sunset!
On 10 meters, I can hear EU and AF with sunrise, and I can hear and work VK at least an hour after sunset. That's amazing, I have not done that since 2001.
On 20 meters at midnight local I can hear JA, A6, VK, and ZS.
Also, I busted a bunch of pileups to Middle East, Africa, and Asia. Bragging here: total DXCC count is up to 276 worked/263 confirmed. Closing in on 5BDXCC, 9BDXCC, and eventually Honor Roll.
I have added a couple of logs to the fire of the signal with an amplifier from Tokyo High Power. Talk about an outstanding piece of gear. It gives me 400-500 watts out, which is all I need for the extra "punch."
Hope to hear you on the bands in the pileups!
73 and good DX!