Chris, in case I forgot to thank you: I have the VU7M QSL card in hand. #312, it's a beauty and I owe you for your assitance and support. Nice to know the hobby is still as helpful and with comraderie as it was when I got my novice ticket in 1977.
Regarding the towers, I turned 49 in August...and since I am worried about retirement and need to keep the XYL happy...my tower climbing/cranking days are over. LOL. BTW, I still salivate over those pics of the Bencher Skyhawk! Simply a superb antenna
Back to your question: for me on the LP on the lower bands it was just dumb luck.
* 31 December 2005, I had not started in on the New Year partying yet. YB1A was on 40 CW LP at my sunset. I was running 100 watts to a Cushcraft MA8040V. He was a true 599, East Coast stations could hear and work him but not midwest or west coast. Big pileup. I kept calling just above the pileup as it moved and after an hour he answered me. He was an FB op.
* 14 December 2012, I had just finished putting up my HiZ 4 square receive array (early holiday present from the XYL, am I lucky or what?). XU1A was spotted on 80 SSB right at my sunset. I had 400 watts to a 160 meter inverted L with a remote tuner at the base. I could just barely hear him on the HiZ and not at all on the inverted L. One or two other hams were calling him but could not hear him with the QSB. After I worked him (repeated my call four times) he went QRT. I figure I got my return on investment from the HiZ antenna that day!
I read stories about LP on 80 and 160 from other hams, but I sometimes think that is for the insomniacs, the retired guys who still have good hearing, or the hams who have 500 foot beverages ever 30 degrees. None of which includes me at the current time. But I never give up, so maybe in a few years.
For LP HF, Chris, how do you know when it is truly a LP opening? I see a couple of Zone 26 QSO's that happened in fall 2011 just after my sunrise, but not sure how to tell for certain. Skewed path obviously does not count.