The long, hot, Memorial Day weekend is over and the return to work and other bits of normalcy have resumed. While the summer season may not be officially underway until next month, school is out and and all the local swimming holes have opened. It was 97F here yesterday; how is this not summer?

The HF bands cooperated nicely during the recent WPX contest. Then as soon as that ended, the bands went “dead” again. We see this often enough that we really should declare propagation forecasts unnecessary cruft. You get enough people on the air and soon everyone discovers that the bands are magically “open”. Go figure.

I maintain it’s the high interest and activity that’s elevated FT8 to ham radio’s favorite mode. I was up and in the shack early on Monday morning and found plenty of DX on 40 meters using FT8. With five watts and a wire I worked New Zealand, Australia, Guam, Hawaii, Japan, stations in the Caribbean and Europe.

After 30 minutes I got tired of working that fishing hole and switched to CW. Several sweeps of the band from 7.000 to 7.125 yielded exactly one QSO in progress. One. Otherwise, crickets… Am I to believe that a magic DX window was open at 7.074 while the entire rest of 7MHz was dead due to our present position in the solar cycle?

Something weird is going on, but it has little to do with HF propagation…