It’s already late May, but where’s the E-Skip?

May has proven to be a very quiet month for DXing in Northern Virginia.

With a week left in the month, there has not been one observed FM E-Skip opening in my area.  At least one to two mid-band FM Es openings are usually received by the 25th, based on my records dating back to 2007.

But I’m not alone.  FM Es has been quiet for most DXers, according to the Worldwide FM-TV DX Association email list.  In the past week or two, only a handful of low-band TV Es was observed, with an occasional FM logging noted—few to the top of the band.

The lack of Es in late May is concerning.  Usually by May 26, DXers in the Connecticut, New Jersey, Massachusetts and Florida areas have reported at least two strong Es openings, but none have been seen yet.

The 2011 Es season was devastating.  Es started about a month and a half late locally—on June 25.  All openings, with several having a MUF of 107.9 MHz, were weak, short and lacking in terms of states and stations logged.  The season ended around the normal time, on July 24.  But two small, 20-minute openings to 93.1 and 96.1 FM were received out-of-season on Aug. 8 and Sept. 13, respectively.  Read more about Es season 2011 in my review.

This comes on the heels of an equally-disappointing Es season 2010.  FM Es officially dropped out locally on July 3, 2010—a month before the traditional end.  July has proven, in previous years, to be full of top-of-the-band, marathon openings.  I even received Es past 200 MHz, or TV channel 10, during the infamous July 6, 2004 opening.  Yet there were none in July 2010 at all.  Thankfully, 2010 was saved by a few good, strong openings.

I’m still keeping my fingers crossed that Es season 2012 will go down in the record books as well as the 2006, 2007 and 2008 seasons did, but I’m afraid what we’ve seen so far, based on the past two years, is par for the course.