10 Metres, the Band of Choice?

A visit to Gun G/SP-013, working the 10m band, once again proved to be very profitable for DX.

118 contacts logged in a few hours.

38 North America, half a dozen South America, with even ZS putting in an appearance.

With the SFI index down from a high of 217 on Friday to 188 today, I’m not too sure how much longer this will last.

Anyone care to speculate?

73 Mike

I have been observing sunspots since the 1967 cycle because I have the “Six Meter Disease”.

Even low solar numbers (100-140) will work pretty well in November on 10 meters…and in a few weeks that big spot will reappear on the sun again so that should perk things up. Most sunspot groups last more than one solar rotation (28 days), so u can expect to see this one again in some form.

So things may not be as good as they are now, but 10 meters should still be pretty darn good in November.


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It was rubbish this morning.

Wednesday 29th October 2014, and despite the late night contesting the evening before, I was up at 5.30am to go and try for some VKs from The Cloud G/SP-015.

As I pulled onto Cloudside there was a bit of mist in the Dane Valley, but nothing that was going to afford a repeat of the spectacular scenes from the previous early morning activation here. I hardly noticed the steps and ascent, even though it was less than eight hours since I last encountered them. I do think my fitness is on a gradual upward trend at present.

I first set up the 20m groundplane, identical to those built in the July YOTA workshop in Wolverhampton. Unusually, I began on SSB rather than CW, but this was because I knew Mickey 2E0YYY/P wouldn’t be anywhere near the CW frequencies, and VK activations tend to be predominantly SSB.

After working three European stations, I worked, with difficulty, Andrew VK1NAM/P on Mount Majura VK1/AC-034. This was immediately followed with a second S2S, but this one slightly less distant - Mickey 2E0YYY/P on the very next hill South-East of me - Gun G/SP-013. Andrew VK1MBE/P made it S2S #3 from Mount Ainslie VK1/AC-040 while #4 came from Mirko S52CU/P on Gora S5/RG-038. In between these were a further five QSOs on 20m SSB, including two more VKs in the shape of Tony VK3CAT and Paul VK5PAS near Adelaide.

Eventually I judged that 20m SSB had given me all it was going to, with my paltry 5 watts anyway, so I left it to Mickey. 20m CW started well with two more VKs - Andrew VK2UH and Gerard VK2IO. Mickey had told me that Matt VK2DAG was looking for me. Now Matt is usually the first VK into my log on an activation, and he works all modes - SSB, CW and PSK - so I was anticipating a call on 14.026MHz CW. Unfortunately, the call never came, but I couldn’t possibly be disappointed with six VKs (including 2 S2S) in the log with my 5 watts and homemade wire antenna.

I continued on 20m CW, adding 16 European stations to the log, plus a monster signal from CU3BL. When things got rather thin, I took down the 20m GP and replaced it with the 10m GP. This antenna is heavier, bulkier and not as well made as the 20m version, which had been optimised by SOTAbeams laser-cut components and ultra lightweight wire in preparation for the YOTA session.

It still worked though, but the 28MHz band was hard work. Just two QSOs on each of SSB and CW were all I could manage before the prospect of a filled oatcake increasingly felt like a more pressing priority than playing more radio. One thing I have noticed on the last couple of activations is terrible QRM throughout the CW portion of the 10m band. This is, apparently, due to an Iranian radar system, and has been around for around 20 months - which shows you how much I have neglected 10m in the last couple of years.

Final tally:
35 QSOs
31 on 20m, 4 on 10m.
21 on CW, 14 on SSB
4 S2S QSOs
Outside Europe: TA (1), VK1 (2), VK2 (2), VK3 (1), VK5 (1)

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A great handful of carrots indeed!

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Sadly not, a fact which surprised me when I learned it. Azores is Europe not Africa. Madeira & Canary Islands are Africa.

My post now edited so that I don’t look like an ill-informed wally and I can accuse you of falsely attributing quotes to me Andy…

No doubt Brian is about to tell us in big words about some rocks and stuff under the ocean that define the difference between Africa and Europe.

Hi Mikel,

A few carrots here also :wink:

8 VK’s logged from Gun G/SP-013, on the 20m band this morning two of them s2s. Signals were generally down from VK and I’m wondering if we’ve seen the best of the opening into VK on 20m.

Worked 3 contacts on 15m.

57 contacts on 20m.

Heard a lonely LZ1QI on the 10m band and gave him a shout, Too cold to hang about, so I pulled the plug at about 0930z :frowning:

61 contacts for the activation…

73 Mike

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Hi Mike,
I worked you on G/SO-013 with 100 and then 5 watts. On each contact you were loud and clear. I used a 132’ OCFDipole at home. I’m wondering what antenna you used?
I had great fun working around the pond from you to Morocco, and to Guantanamo Bay on 5 watts SSB.
Thanks again for the summit.
73, Marc

…but not clear enough to get the reference right :smile:

Hi Marc.

Many thanks for giving me a call. The antenna is a 25 year old Antron-99 CB antenna, which works really well on the 10m band. Bit heavy for lugging up onto summits, however, it has rewarded me well and so, I’ve learned to forgive it :wink:

Hopefully catch you on the 10m band very soon.

73 Mike

I’m at work now. It’s my memory that isn’t clear. :wink:

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Hi Pete,

Well, I popped up to my local summit G/SP-013 to give the 10m band another try. With the SFI down over 100 points since the peak of last week, I wasn’t too optimistic about the band

My first port of call was 29.200 FM. My very first contact was with Marc WA2FON, a good start to the activation. Thanks again Marc. There were another 13 FM contacts including Puerto Rico, before I QSY’d to ssb.

The band was in good shape and the path to North America was very good, albiet with qsb and I rattled off a further 92 contacts, 49 into North America and one into South America. There was also a nice call from Mike G6TUH who gave me a call long path, from down in East Sussex, a very long way to Gun indeed, Mike. Cheers for the call!
It was the rain that caused me to go qrt or I would probably still be up there now, working the 10m band :wink:

108 contacts for the activation…

2 on 20m both s2s.
14 on 10m FM
92 on 10m SSB.

Once again thanks to all the chasers for calling in, it’s such a pleasure to work you all on the 10m band!

73 Mike

Hello Mike,

A very good 10M tally.

I could not hear hear you at all, no surprise, so moved the antenna around to hear what stations/countries were calling you. I was quite amazed to hear you LP and make the contact. Propagation is full of suprises. Torrential rain this morning, wind and quite cold - winter is starting to arrive 8(


Hi Mike,

Shame I had to QRT, just as the West coast of NA was starting to come in.

It’s my experience that this is the band the chasers want more than any. The enthusiasm of the chasers when this band opens, is really quite remarkable. This may have something to do with only 12000 10m contacts recorded in the database, and I suspect only a fraction of them on the FM mode.

73 Mike


Yes I agree, a very interesting band.

Today on LP I was receiving your signal x2 milli secs apart which created a weird effect of someone talking in a large bathroom 8) echo echo… good stuff!

Again W, VE etc. booming in to you. VE here was 59+ here, quite amazing. JA were calling in to you but not so loud about 52-54 here. Pile up still going as I write… I hope you don’t get rained off today.


Hello Mike,

It has been very interesting monitoring your activation adventures on 28Mhz and 24Mhz. Your signal seems to be reaching places which are hard to work from a home setup let alone on a SOTA summit. I look forward to reading your write up to see what stations you worked! Could you send me a tub of the special RF grease you are using - I will pay shipping costs 8)


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Its that Antron, Mike, I reckon it works better around Haloween :o)


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After at least 200 activations, the Antron is about as straight as a witches finger and badly needs replacing :frowning:

To be honest, I’m a little unsure what to do with it.

Suggestions include…

  1. Auction it off for charity.

  2. Send it to the RSGB at Bletchley Park for closer scrutiny.

  3. Autograph it and stick it on Ebay with a “buy it now” price of a couple of grand. One careful owner. with just 50 million miles on the driven element.


73 Mike

PS…RF grease and a complimentry can of SWAR spray on their way to you.