5 MHz

Hi all

My 5 MHz NoV arrived last weekend so I’m now eager to start operating on that band.

The question is…

Of you that are already active on 5 MHz what equipment are you using for portable operation?

Thank you

Carolyn (G6WRW)

In reply to G6WRW:
Hi Carolyn

I know lots of folks use the ft817

…but for a bit more “oomph” I use my 706IIG portable on 5 megs. although it’s heavy in weight and current consumption so not recommended.

I know others swear by the IC703 as a good balance between power, (up to 10W) weight and usability (has an ATU built in).

What have you got right now?

73 Marc G0AZS

In reply to G0AZS:

My portable rig is the FT-817 but have been thinking of possibly getting a FT-897 or another FT-857D (already have one which I run mobile) to run off a SLAB for 5 MHz.

But saying that I do like using my little 817 even though it’s limited with TX power.

I’ve already built a linked dipole for hf (not yet had time to try it out on a hill though) so it wouldn’t be difficult to add 5 MHz to it.


In reply to G6WRW:
Sounds like you’re all set then Carolyn!

Just be aware that current 817’s and 857’s (from the last year or so) need a hardware mod. rather than soft mod. to work on 5MHz (due to issues with the FCC apparently) so check yours.

Look forward to working you.

73 Marc G0AZS

In reply to G0AZS:

My 817ND needs the hardware mod, not a problem as I’ve worked on surface mount components before.

… but it is still usefull to know what others are using because during pile ups it’s not the done thing to ask what people are using :o)


I use an FT817 Carolyn.

It seems to do the job ok and is fairly lightweight. I have just used the internal battery up to now although I do have a SLAB available.

Only once have I failed to raise a load of stations on 5MHz, and that was when conditions were very bad (I was also freezing to death and just wanted to qualify the summit any way possible, using whatever assortment of bands, so I didn’t wait around long!!)

My antenna is a resonant (fairly !) dipole just plugged into the set - no ATU.

See you on 5MHZ.

Keith G8HXE.

In reply to G6WRW:

Like the majority of activators I use an FT-817 most of the time, but like Marc G0AZS I also use a IC-706 MkIIG from time to time, mainly if I am on what I know is a more wanted summit. I would however recommend the FT 857 over the 706 for the following reasons…

It is lighter to carry, it uses less power on RX and it will still be going when the battery is at 9.6v whereas the IC-706 stops working at about 11.5v so you will get longer out of it on a slab. The 897 is a bit bulky in comparison despite being designed as a portable rig.

Regards Steve GW7AAV

In reply to G6WRW:

I primarily operate using 5MHz. Now then and then I’m tempted onto other bands. For all activations I use my 817 running 5W. (measured output 3.9W) Only once in about 84 activations have I been unable to get 4 contacts on 5MHz with 5W and on that occasion the band was in really awful shape. 2m saved the day.

The biggest problem with 5W is not one of being heard but being loud enough to overcome the local noise at the chaser’s QTH. Typically many city dwelling chasers have high noise levels on 5MHz. Out in the country the noise is so low that it’s quite easy to copy people using quite serious QRP levels. I regularly work Brian G4ZRP who never uses more than 10W and on the last few occasions has been running just 1W SSB into a bit of damp string hanging from his garden fence. In the absence of such QRM, 5W gives a good signal and if the sky is awake enough I can normally work from 30 to 400miles and all points in between.

On an average day, 5W on 5MHz will return a handsome number of contacts. More power would help no doubt but 5MHz is so quiet, 5W is normally enough. 5W SSB on 40m is not going to cut the mustard due to the activity levels. Sure, you’ll have contacts but the band is so busy, QRP SSB will be a struggle. 40m QRP CW is a different story. As would be digi operations.

I’ve thought about making a simple PA for 40/60/80m using a handful of CB PA transistors. Typical signal reports for 5W on 60m is 54 with on many occasions 59 reports. To get from 54 to 55 would require me going from 5W to 20W. So the question has to asked if such a project is worthwhile. Would being 1 S point louder be worth the extra weight of a small PA and extra batteries for it? Probably not. I personally would rather carry a PA for 70cms or some microwave gear rather than bigger batteries and an HF PA.

There’s no right answer. Running more power will nearly always net you more contacts. You need to decide if the extra contacts are worth the weight and expense. My pack weighs around 14kg and up here in GM it’s not unusual to consider the walk in to the hill to be around 5-6km before the ascent often with minimal to non-existant paths. Perhaps the best advice would be to try a few activations with only the 817 and see how you get on.

For the record, I’m not a die hard QRPer. I do enjoy seeing how effective my 817 can be but I also get serious enjoyment by playing with a VHF/UHF contest group where we run ‘full-fat’ power levels!


In reply to MM0FMF:
Andy raises a good point about 5W and overcoming the local noise sometimes (it can be horrendous here). One thing I’ve been surprised about on 5 Mhz (SOTA or not) is the lack of CW use.

When I first got my NoV, I called using CW for a week or so with absolutely no replies. So I haven’t bothered since.

I’m convinced an 817 on 5 MHz using CW would be enough for pretty much any activation. I’ve often heard an unworkable “squeak” on 5 MHz SSB from the GM summits that would have been fine on CW.

So Carolyn, use the 817 and start a CW movement! :slight_smile:

73 Marc G0AZS

In reply to G0AZS:

I’m in the process of “trying” to learn cw atm but finishing a degree is taking priority :o)

I thought it was only me that had permanent S7/8 noise


In reply to G6WRW:

I thought it was only me that had permanent S7/8 noise
Only S7/8… lucky you.

FWIW… You’ve probably been told but do use the Koch method to learn CW (relatively fast character speed with BIG gaps that get smaller as you improve) and I recommend the G4FON software at www.g4fon.net

73 Marc G0AZS

In reply to G6WRW:

Hi Carolyn

Welcome to 60m - the band absolutely made for SOTA!

I use an 817 for 5megs and wouldn’t consider anything else. When the band is open (which is a bit frustratingly unreliable early and late at present, but should get better as the year advances) 5W usually nets me a run of between 10 and 20 contacts.

I use a resonant dipole, generally I find it more efficient and easier to use than an ATU + non resonant arrangement. Keep the ends well off the ground (at least 1.5m seems the critical height at 5megs) to avoid detuning and high SWR.

One thing to note - most chasers listen on 5.3985 (FE) and the other channels are sometimes neglected. I have on several occasions when FE has been in use or suffering QRM called unsuccessfully on other channels for ten minutes or more, only to be pounced on when a call on FE is possible. So a plea to chasers - listen elsewhere occasionally!

Looking forward to catching you for a s2s soon

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to G4MD:

Part of the success of 5 megs is that there is a single frequency which we can monitor. When I am monitoring 2m & 70cms FM, 2m ssb, & 40 or 80m ssb the one place I am not tuning around will tend to be 60m because the activity is primarily on FE. The act of either self spotting or having a chaser to announce your presence is essential when FE is either busy or unusable.

While I agree that the 817 is sufficient for 5 megs and for that matter 2m most of the time it just doesn’t cut the mustard on 80/40 or 20m most of the time. An increase from 5 to 20 watts will give the foundation and intermediate licensees a good chance of a contact on 80m and a possibility of EU contacts on 40 & 20m. If you have a look at the log entries of one or two activators who use a bit more power again you will see that 100 contacts on an activation is
not unknown.

Personally I like to do as many bands as I can and you can bet I called on 80/60/40 & 2m + 70 & 23cms on most activations even if I got no reply. While the activator is King and can operate whatever bands he likes I feel the ability to operate on as wide a spectrum as possible is the only way to give everyone a chance.

I really don’t want to see people just doing 5 megs because if we don’t get a permanent allocation at some time what will they do when it is gone? I have had times when 5megs was dead and when I have managed to get no-one on 2m because of the terrain. If these two things happened together I would be a very unhappy bunny if I didn’t have a back up plan. My back up is 80m and I feel the 817, as wonderful a piece of kit as it is, is not always going to make it through the QRM, QRN and QSB on that band. The price difference between the 817 and the 857 is now so small that I know what I would choose. As for output power you don’t have to use more than is needed but it is good to have it in reserve, just in case.

For input power I paid £6.45 each for the 7amp hour SLA batteries I use. There is no comparison to a spare battery pack for the 817 (Ow!) or Lithium Polymer cells (argg!) for those prices I will just carry the extra bit of weight.

73 Steve GW7AAV


My 817 is now mod-ed and tested so I’m now up and running on 5 MHz from home with two contacts so far. Thank you for the advice I’m now confident that the 817 will be suitable for hill top operation :o)

Thank you

Carolyn (G6WRW)

In reply to G6WRW:

Great, Carolyn, I will look out for you on the band. Try joining the net after the RSGB News tomorrow lunch time on 5.4035, to get reports from all over the country.

With my FT817, a homebrew Z-match and a G5RV I worked LA, OH and TF, but it took the 857 to cross the pond! Night before last I was listening to an HH on 5.4035 at 0100, there is lots of DX about in the small hours!


Brian G8ADD

PS Just heard you on 5, Carolyn, peaking at 9+ in deep QSB, would have called but you went QRT - next time!

In reply to G8ADD:

Hi Brian

Thank you for the report. I’ve things I should be doing instead of playing radios :o)

I won’t be around tomorrow but will listen for you.

Now all I need to do is mod my FT-840… and sort out the noise problem



Dear all

Sometime tomorrow or Friday I will quite likely do an activation of CE-005.

For a change, I want to use 5Mhz CW for some of it BUT… will any of you UK chasers be there? I’ve never made a 5Mhz CW QSO from home (despite a lot of calling) let alone from a portable location.

QRG would probably be 5.291… so will I just be warming up the ether?

73 Marc G0AZS

In reply to G0AZS:

CW QSOs on 5MHz are rather like hens’ teeth, but I have managed a few - mostly on 5280 which was, in the early days, promulgated as the CW channel.

I’ll be around some of the day, and I’ll keep an ear open, but the famous “law” predicts that either I’ll be out of the shack at the critical time, or the skip will be too long/too short/non-existent.

Good luck anyway.

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to G0AZS:
Hi, Marc, I can monitor 5 megs SSB tomorrow but will be en route for the Dales on Friday and may even get there in time to activate. I’m not up to any useful speed on CW yet (and haven’t got a lead on the key, yet, either!) however there are several hams round the country who use CW on 5, there was a contact on 5.3985 this afternoon (one with horrendous key clicks!) and there is one right now on 5.4035, so if you post a time you should be able to qualify.

5.291 is probably the channel I know as 5.2885 so don’t forget to stand by for the beacon chain!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:
Hi Brian and Les

Thanks for the replies. Well I’ll see what happens as I’m not sure when (if at all) I will get out and about. Unfortunately I cant do SSB as I have lost my voice and have a cough that would made exchanges frustrating to say the least.

As for the frequency… interestingly enough, the guidance on the 5MHz site is that CW contacts should be conducted on either 5.291 or 5.289. This avoids the beacon monitoring on 5.290 by 1 kHz (plenty) and also it suggests that it will avoid SSB QRM on other channels.

Anyway I’ll spot it and try there and if nothing comes up I may just try calling on 5.3895 CW.

The only caveat here is the fact that I might do this later this evening or early in the morning and 5MHZ may not be working for inter G then. If so, I’ll just do 80m and 40m CW.

…and I’ll start at 22-24wpm and then I’m happy to QRS to whatever anyone wants.

Hope to CUL… 73 Marc G0AZS