40m - is it me?

How are others finding 40m of late? The band has been virtually unusable at this end with S9 noise all across the spectrum. Thank goodness 30m has been in use by some activators.

Some have commented on their preference for using HF due to the lack of activity on VHF. For me, hours of white noise on 2m would be far more bearable than ten minutes of what I’ve heard today.

73, Gerald

In reply to 2E0HJD:

HF SSB is my primary summit mode.

73 John GW4BVE

In reply to 2E0HJD:

Hi Mick,

I’ve just “risked” another look on 40m and the noise has subsided slightly, but I still have a swathe of interference across the CW end which seems to be centred below the band. I suppose faced with such conditions, it is not surprising that few are using SSB when QRP is to order of the day from summits for most. Not everyone drags a SLAB and linear up the hills like I do, Hi! I think the lack of 2m SSB activity is purely down to the weather - it is keeping me in anyway - thinking about it though, I did go out in bad weather in the winter period, so why not now? Maybe it’s down to those covetted winter bonus points!

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

Hi Gerald.

40m has been very noisy with much QRN due to thunderstorms rolling around Europe for the past week or so. The seasonal change to summer conditions is also causing much QSB on the signals.

Many activators in southern Europe, such as OK, HA and HB tend to use 5w from an FT-817 to a dipole, which does not make the trip into the UK on 40m. Listening to weak and fading SOTA signals on 40m would probably be against Health and Safety Regulations!

A change to 30m makes all the difference in the world. DF2GN, HB9AFH, HA5CQZ and OK1HRA were barely audible on 40m today but all gave me a comfortable 579 on 30m.


In reply to G4SSH:

Hi Roy,

I’m used to listening to weak signals having served my apprenticeship on 23cms, Hi! It’s just that 40m has been the thick end of the wedge of late. It’s not just the QRN, there has been a lot of wide spectrum non-amateur QRM coming in as well, the source of which does not appear to be local. Maybe my horizontal loop is prone to receiving this which may be coming in from a relatively high angle.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

Hi Gerald

I have struggled with stations on 60m and 40m today although I have been lucky enough to have a very good day sota wise.
30m has been the clear winner though.

To Mick, although my favourite mode is and always will be cw, I visualise myself in your position and really do agree and sympathise with your line of thought.

I always try to activate my “mole hill” with bands and modes to give all chasers a fair chance.

What I find strange in particular, is the growing number of ops who will activate a summit strictly cw only, but they don’t seem to have a problem using a microphone when working as a chaser? I find this scenario very odd!!

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to G4OIG:
Will Where do i start, I was expecting to have been at 10,000 chesser point by now
but with the lack off 2M and SSb operations and the increase of 5MHz and CW i do not think i will ever get to 10,000. If the activater would only remember that there are more then two bands come on lets have some more 2M and and SSB.
Regards Nigel (feed up with it all)

In reply to GW0DSP

What I find strange in particular, is the growing number of ops who
will activate a summit strictly cw only, but they don’t seem to have a
problem using a microphone when working as a chaser? I find this
scenario very odd!!

73 Mike GW0DSP

Hi Mike,

I also find this strange may be they don’t own a microphone until there is a new summit on air they need and the operator does not do CW but they soon find one.

de Terry G0VWP

In reply to 2E0NHM:

Hi Nigel,

Sorry I’ve not been out for a few weeks. Other 2m SSB activations have also been thin on the ground and HF conditions have made SSB on those bands very difficult. The situation WILL change!

Keep on in there - you’re doing a lot better than most, myself included! Maybe I’ll make single-sloth by 2010.

73, Gerald

In reply to 2E0NHM:

You could say I am a primary CW op who does SSB on HF from the hills because there are those that cant do the CW. However, on my last 2 activations I have used 2m SSB and not even raised a smile let alone a QSO. I always beam south as well as other directions but am always met with silence. Will try again next week from the West Coast and see what I get.

Regarding the noise levels on 40m - average around S3-4 here so I must count myself lucky. Maybe the interference, from whatever source, is localised.


In reply to GM4CFS:
Hi Glyn
2mtr. ssb is my favoured band but too good here in the Midlands at the moment, when you on a hill next, please try again, I do know how difficult it is to get a 2mtr. signal out of Scotland, I have managed to work Robin on occasions when there has been some propagation, would you like to try cw? but can you post it on the reflector.
Don [G0NES]

In reply to G0NES:

I will certainly be perservering with 2m SSB especially as I have just acquired the WASP which I have adjusted to work with my Brasher Trekking Poles. Off on holiday next week to Loch Melfort just south of Oban and there are some Unique 1 pointers near the hotel that I intend to walk. The XYL has authorised one day for walking (so Far!!!) and plan try 2 summits that day. Will attempt to get details on to the SOTAwatch if there is internet access at the hotel, otherwise just be spotlite once on the hills.


In reply to G0VWP & GW0DSP:

What I find strange in particular, is the growing number of ops
who will activate a summit strictly cw only, but they don’t seem to
have a problem using a microphone when working as a chaser? I find this
scenario very odd!!

I also find this strange may be they don’t own a microphone until
there is a new summit on air they need and the operator does not do CW
but they soon find one.

Nothing odd if you think about it for a moment. Whilst five watts and a rudimentary antenna on a hilltop will not be much use on SSB, the CW signal will (almost) always “come up trumps”. Sitting back in the shack, with a better antenna and one hundred watts of SSB will probably make the QSO possible. Methinks you SSB-only types are paranoid !!!

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to 2E0NHM:
I find watching tv better ::: im now watching Coast-to-Coast on BBC2, just wondering if we might see a activator on the South Wales summits :slight_smile:

Steve m0sgb

In reply to G3VQO:
Agree 100% Les - CW is by FAR the more efficient mode and especially when using low power. Have lost count of the number of QSOs which simply would not be possible on SSB but have been successful on CW (GM4CFS/p on 5 MHz several times recently comes to mind). Each to their own of course but a quick read of the centre column on the first page of G3VA’s article in latest RadCom will confirm the mode’s usefulness (despite being told that its out of date - see letters page in same issue!).
73 de CRIS

In reply to GM4FAM:
Of course CW is more efficient, of course you can make contacts more easily with CW. The question is this: is ease and efficiency everything? I came into amateur radio to talk, bleeping in code passes messages but it lacks the flavour of a real communication - you can’t even hear the wind in the mike and think to yourself “rather him than me!” It takes too long to comment on the view, too!

It seems to me that there is a huge swing to CW taking place in SOTA, sometimes many spots appear before someone finally remembers that he has a mike. If that’s what the activators want, fair enough, it’s up to them, they are at the sharp end: I can go and play IOTA or lurk on six waiting for it to open. No sweat. But it’s a pity that so many chasers are getting excluded. And don’t say that they aren’t excluded, they can learn morse, I tried for forty years to get up to a reasonable speed, but it’s a fact that some people just don’t have the aptitude.


Brian G8ADD

In reply to M0SGB:

Having just returned home, after activating 3 rarish summits in South Wales, I feel like replying to some of the comments.

SW022 - activated twice by me -condx on 5mhz were not gud with 6 qso’s.
Called on 7065 SSB, as advertised, with no replies UK or EU.
Switched to 7031 CW and did not stop for next 50 mins, 36 qso’s later, both UK and EU - what can I say!

SW028 - 5mhz still poor, struggled with SSB but managed 3 CW qso’s with ease.
Again, called on 7060 SSB, after posting by Frank G3RMD, with not one reply.
7031 CW brought again 15 qso’s both UK and EU.

SW031 - Called on 5mhz with no response, didn’t even try 7060 SSB.
1st call on 7031 CW produced immediate results, totalling 18 qso’s.
At this stage, the wx had changed to wind and heavy rain. I took shelter in an old concrete bunker, normally occupied by the local sheep, and stood operating for the next half hour, unable to sit down due to 3 inches of ‘sheep shit’!

What more can one do, under the conditions? - certainly not call for ages on SSB with 5watts and no replies!

73s de Peter G(W)3TJE+

There is no doubt that there is a lot of CW going on in SOTA. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that there is a reduction in SSB. Sure, there is a lot more CW going on in SOTA, but there are a lot more activations, and mostly from EU. I reckon that the raw number of SSB/FM activations in the UK has grown as well, but obviously not as dramatically as the CW from DL, F and HB9.

Anyway Brian, you don’t have to get up to a reasonable speed. I plod along quite happily at 12 wpm in my own activations, and every time I call a CW SOTA activation as a chaser, the activator always QRS’s for me.

To try and get this thread away from the anti-CW bias it has acquired, I would remind everybody that, by its very nature, every SOTA activation excludes somebody. Even if an activator were to use every mode, and every band from 160m to 23cm, there would still be some people who were “excluded”. Band conditions and distance from the activator, as well as non-radio inconveniences like sleeping, working, eating and general family life will mean somebody misses out. Just try and be philosophical about those missing QSOs. One day somebody else will be there, on your favourite band and mode, and when you’re in the shack - it’s only postponing the enjoyment. However, if you take every HF or CW activation as a personal insult, you will get incredibly frustrated, and STILL end up with the same number of chaser points! The choice is yours …

dah-dah-di-di-dit di-di-di-dah-dah

That mirrors my experience Peter. Recently I worked through a big pile up on 40m CW, then got myself spotted on SOTAwatch on 7.068 SSB. I called for ages and got only one reply, and that was from a station 7 miles away! Went back to CW and worked another pile-up. Then worked several on 2m FM, as I always do at the end of one of my CW activations.

The question is, who is excluding the chasers? Is it those who activate many summits on CW, or is it those don’t do much activating? :wink:

That’s a rhetorical question, just to highlight that “excluding” is probably not the best choice of word!