The day began as usual with my daily chores but little did I know, today was going to end up a bit different than I had planned. After finishing my morning duties, I decided to check the radio one last time before I headed outdoors. I saw some 10 meter activity so on a whim, I decided to check the beacon portion of 10 meters. I normally start at 28.300 looking for K6FRC/B however, there was no signal there. I did however see a signal just below that and low and behold, it was a beacon! I copied the beacon around 1810z to be NS9RC in Illinois. This was the first time I had heard that beacon. I tuned around a bit more and heard other beacons as far east as Michigan. I hit the power on the amplifier and I went scouting for stations.
I don't operate SSB much but when 10 opens, it is always easier to find stations on SSB. My first contact was with TI8II, who was booming in. It was apparent that the propagation path was to Central and South America after tuning the band. As I tuned around, I was hearing stations in the lower 48 too, not as strong but they were easily heard. I found an open frequency and called CQ.
It was not long before I had a few stations calling me and I was surprised to find out that I had a very good path into Florida. I worked several stations in Florida and Georgia but to my surprise, I also worked stations north and west of those states! Ten meters was open here from roughly 1830z through 0145z! In that time, I worked SSB, JT65A, RTTY, and CW. By the time the dust cleared, I worked the following states or Canadian prefixes; FL, WI, MN, OK, VA, MO, NJ, IL, NE, AR, CO, NC, KS, IA, PA, MI, IN, GA, LA, MA, SC, along with VE4 and VE3 land. At the end of the day when I uploaded my log to LOTW (Logbook of the World), I obtained 4 brand new states confirmed toward my WAS (Worked All States) award.
In thinking back, I believe this was the longest I have ever heard 10 meters open in the last 8 years. The solar flux hit 150 today almost beating the yearly high of 155 set back in March. Hard to believe we went from hardly being able to hear a peep on the band yesterday to a full blown 10 meter funfest today. Ah, the fun of Ham Radio!!
It was beautiful outside today and my original plans were working on my WARC beam (Hexbeam) project but when the 10 meter band opens, it trumps most any planned activity. With the large amount of sunspots lately, we can only hope this great propagation continues. You can sure bet in the coming days I will be keeping an eye on the Solar Flux, A and K indexes, and the DX Cluster. I worked several stations today who told me it was the first time they had worked Alaska on 10 meters. I have 15 states yet to hear on 10 meters but you can sure bet, I'll be looking for them.