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40m the DXers Choice?


My last three Activations have all produced some nice DX.

Sunday, 1st April. G/SP-010 Winter Hill. It’s is not a summit I particularly like, poor take-off, just too flat. Nevertheless, 3 x ZL and 2 x VK in the log was a fair result on a 20m band that’s well in the Doldrums.

Thursday, 5th April, one of the best SOTA summits in the country, G/SP-017 Billinge Hill. Brilliant take-off, highly recommended. 2 x ZL and 5 x VK including VK7 Tasmania. Well worth the 50 odd mile drive. Looks like some light at the end of the Tunnel

Saturday 7th April G/SP-013 Gun. Not much more to be said about Gun. Activated it well over 150 times, produced some great DX. This morning, I arrived in the dark and had a bimble up to the trig just as it was breaking light. Being so early, I took the opportunity to put up both the homebrew 40m dipole and the Antron-99.

Looking along the 40 metere band found it was crowded, with North America and ZL making the trip. A self spot and I had a couple of Europeans, followed by a call from ZL1BYZ, many thanks for a new band, John. Next was an armchair call from North America.

By now, 20m was calling and as you can see from M1EYPs video, it was hard work, about 8 calls logged, including ZL1BYZ and VK6NU.

So there you have it, and early morning CQ on 40m may just pay off…

73 Mike


Good stuff Mike. Definitely better conditions today than recent days. I didn’t get any VK but VK6NU was a good signal with me. We both got ZL1BYZ of course, so all good, though I’m sure most of the credit goes to John’s station!

I was a little taken aback when you told me off insisting you were only looking for DX (in the video in the other thread) as you had just called QRZ after working G4IAR. I stood aside as requested - but you then took another non-DX call.

Anyway, thanks for the motivation to get out early doors Mike, and, as ever, the SWL point.


You can say that again! I found it VERY difficult to find a free frequency even though I was operational already by 06:30 UTC. (I had only planned on being on by 0700 UTC). Possibly the band was busy as 20 metres wasn’t very inviting this morning?



No doubt about it, Ed. The 20m band was in poor shape. There was a ZL1 who was working a North American on 40m, I could here both sides of the qso and both were big signals. Amazing really.

I wonder if any UK activator has worked ZL on 40m ssb, before? Well pleased with that contact…

73 Mike



What mode and power were you running?



Hi Paul,

40m ssb, 40 watts. 11340 miles (18235.6 km) short path, although, the contact may have been via long path…

73 Mike


Pretty awesome all around. Well done!!


Hi Mike,

one question: You write

Could you please give me a few hints on which characteristics of a summit lead to a good take off?


73 de Martin, DK3IT


The program HFTA by N6BV is what you want Martin. The ARRL used to distribute it possibly with a book. It lets you enter the terrain slopes and suggests the best height for antennas for different bands.

Essentially, don’t go to the middle of a flat plane, but operate from a cliff edge. Or pick ground that slopes away. This is so ground reflections do not interfere with the direct signal.

I had a contact from a G summit on 23cms with a friend about 145km distant. My report was about 51 and scratchy. I was about 15m from a steep cliff on a large flatish part of the summit (Blencathra G/LD-008). I walked to the egde of the cliff and my report went to 59++. The effect can be very noticeable.


Perhaps this is a similar program Andy:

More info here (including an online profile generator):
and here:


Yes, he’s written an extension program that performs terrain sweeps using N6BV’s program. You need the ARRL CD from the ARRL book to get the actual N6BV program.


Nothing new here - the Grey Line Golden Hour… but well done by the SOTA ops like Mike for doing it /Portable!

73 Phil


I was able to hear John ZL1BYZ on 40m when he was working Mike yesterday - and that was listening through a 20m GP aerial! I didn’t expect to be able to work ZL, but nonetheless, I was still inspired to try my first 40m SOTA activation in a good while.

Sunday 8th April 2018 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Mistake one, was not check the contest calendar. No excuse as Jan SM3CER maintains an excellent online resource of this information. And sure enough, the SP DX contest was in full swing. So finding a suitable frequency was going to be the main challenge, let alone keeping it, let alone working DX on it!

Mistake two, was forgetting to bring my waterproof notepad. In this situation, what I tend to do these days is simply use the logging facility on the DroidPSK app on my phone. It still isn’t as fast or seamless us paper logging in my waterproof notepad, but significantly better than struggling to use regular paper, which I find only works outdoors on the very driest on days.

Other than that, all very pleasant and peaceful. 25 QSOs made, 5 on SSB and 20 on CW. Many thanks to all the chasers and S2S activators I worked.

S2S with HB9EKO/P on HB/TG-010, OK/SP9MA/P on OK/ZL-045 and 9A2GA/P on 9A/ZH-032. In the SWL log went IN3ADF/P, who was on I/AA-208.


Activating G/SP-004 Shining Tor, this morning, found the 20m band was totally broken. There’s not much that gives the Antron-99 a hard time, however, it went down without so much as a fight. Just 3 EU contacts logged and 5 G groundwave contacts.

Top tip: For the early morning DXers, 40m is still your best friend.

Both ZL and VK logged on 40 ssb this morning.



Well done for trying 20m. 40m has always been a favourite DX band for me too. DX is always available (eventually) to those with the determination and skills.