OK, now I'm really tempting fate. Sunspot group 1035 has grown beyond expectation and is now seven times the size of Earth. Not only that, but Spaceweather is reporting a C4 class solar flare associated with this sunspot group at 0120UT this morning. Here is the Spaceweather report:
INCOMING CME: This morning at 0120 UT, an eruption of magnetic fields around sunspot 1035 produced a long-duration C4-class solar flare and hurled a coronal mass ejection (CME) in the general direction of Earth. High-latitude sky watchers should prepare for auroras when the CME arrives on or about Dec. 18th. STEREO movies: solar flare, CME.
Hopefully this might bring a lift in conditions on the bands. We'll let you know!