A few days ago I installed a vertical half wave antenna for 10m in the garden. It was moved up a bit yesterday, and immediately, at the first test, I worked into South America (CE). OK, 10m has improved since the late summer doldrums, but it was a surprise to get a reply from a not too strong station on F2 propagation, even if I used 100W this time.
This week end there has been a RTTY contest on the HF bands, and here is the point : 10m had signals coming in for several hours, QSB and all, some of them approaching S9. However, the only signals I heard on 10 CW today were PY2XC and one other PY, not nearly as strong as the RTTY stations. Yes, I realize that the RTTYs were contest stations with high power and big antennas, yet, if I recall correctly, PY2XC is not that small a station, either.
This leads me to one inescapable conclusion (one that should not surprise anyone) : 10m is open much more often than we discover, because of one simple problem - people think there is no propagation, and therefor do not even *TRY* to call on 10m - and, as we all know : Listening to another station listening is a poor way of making contacts. It is a vicious circle : No contacts, so no activity, so no contacts, etc... So, today I programmed my memory keyer and tried some CQ calls in 2 15-30 min periods of the afternoon - for now with no QSOs.
OK, now that I have a decent antenna for 10m I am planning to try the good old fashioned CW CQ method, especially in this winter season, because it might be the last good winter season on 10m for a *long* time. No one knows how long ...
I would probably also see if there is any local FM activity on or near 29.600.
I intend to do something similar on 6m, especially at the beginning and end of the sporadic E season.
Also, I intend to monitor 27MHz for possible propagation, there seems to be some SSB activity on 27.555, so a receiver on that frequency is in the planning. Yes, one more antenna ;)
So there we are, look for me between 28.020 and 28.030 when the band looks like it could be open. In the evening I may try to be on 29.600 or there about. Later I should become set up for digital modes on 10, probably some WSPR during my not-so-radio-active periods of the day.
The other thing to look for will be 10-10 members to make QSOs with. There are some QSO parties in October, so I am hoping to get to some of those.
I am looking forward to learning more about 10m propagation as I go.