I learned long ago that AM radio signals were enhanced after it got dark. That was radio propagation theory 101 for those of us of a certain age who spent too much of our youth listening to broadcast radio. Of course radio amateurs know this to be true of shortwave signals as well and sometimes adjust their own schedules to take advantage of propagation (and smaller crowds) on the air.
A few years ago I set my alarm for 3am local and worked a sleep deprived CW operator on Navassa Island (K1N) on 40 meters with a single call. Lesson reinforced.
That had a lot to do with my assumption that after retiring from the work-a-day world I might choose to invert my sleeping schedule for days or weeks at a time to better chase DX. Sleeping when the sun is up while patrolling the bands after dark seemed an obvious benefit for any retiree with a little pistol station.
What, are you kidding me? It’s only rarely that I can even keep my eyes open past 10pm. I’m usually sawing logs on New Year’s Eve hours before the ball drops. Besides, there are all kinds of studies and allegations to suggest that warping normal sleep patterns is bad for your health, and may even be fatal.
But the boys have arrived at Bouvet Island (3Y0J) and will be QRV soon. Of course I’d love to work them in my daylight and I’ll give that a shot. The higher bands are working well these days and that offers hope. But I can’t shake this feeling that my best chance to get into their log will occur during the still of my night.
Like it or not, I’ve seen the tea leaves, and they suggest more late night radio in my future.