FYI: On Wednesday, September 6, I managed to work JF1IRW in Japan with 5W in CW from Crete on 30m and got 559 - 579 and could hear the station with bold 599+. My best DX so far! Of course, I was lucky to find a sweet spot in the current propagation turmoil.
I used my 5m vertical on a 6m mast + a small loading coil + an Elecraft T1 tuner for the final matching. The location close to the sea (5m) and my single counterpoise almost directly on the beach might have worked in my favor.
Still, I am impressed of how HF radio can feel like, having not yet experienced any solar maxima (licensed only in 2016).
73 de Martin