There's an old saying here in Ireland, usually related to Dublin buses, but not exclusively. It goes something like this:
"You wait around for an hour for one to come, and then two come along at once!"
In a way, I can relate that to the twelve metre band. Having been licenced during one of the longest lulls in sunspot history in 2009, I have had precious few openings to enjoy on 12m, so my country total on that band was (and I reiterate was) quite low. Until, that is, this weekend which has seen spectacular openings.
The long and short of it is that I have added 17 new countries to my 12m total in just one weekend. Starting into the weekend I had 42 countries worked, six of those being relatively new ones worked in the previous fortnight. Now, at the end of the weekend, my total is up to 59. Almost every country I worked was a new one, or so it seemed.
All I have to do is browse my log to see the comments:
T77C CW - New country on 12m!!
Z30U SSB - New Country on 12m!!!
HI3/W1JNZ SSB - New Country on 12m!!
EA9EU CW - Very strong - new country on 12m!!!!!
EA8CAC CW - New country on 12m!
EA3NO CW - New country on 12m!!
ST2DZ SSB - New country on 12m!!
E74A CW - New country on 12m!!
3V8SS SSB - New country on 12m!!
YO6EV CW - New country on 12m!!
DL6UNF CW - New country on 12m!!!
9A2SY CW - New country on 12m!!
YL2UZ CW - New country on 12m!!!
IS0AFM CW - New country on 12m!!
You can see a screenshot of some of my log comments and also the relatively short space of time in which these new countries were worked.
There are two more countries which made it into the log but which at the time I didn't know they were new ones, so I can't say what they are. Nevertheless you can see that conditions have been great. Probably the best ones were ST2 Sudan, 3V8 Tunisia, and IS0 Sardinia. Nice to get those prefixes into the log on 12 metres.
So you see all this talk about the sun and sunspots and solar flux index and such apparent nonsense is really very relevant to the hobby of amateur radio. The solar flux is 84 right now and the sunspot number is 43. If things stay like this, or improve, we could be facing into a decent winter on the bands, which would be in complete contrast to last winter when the openings were as rare as hen's teeth. Or Dublin buses!