Anybody tried 80m for SOTA in the UK?

I’m looking for a challenge (done the VHF thing), but shouting to oneself isn’t great…and the skip on 40m is prohibitive.

In reply to M0DEV:
Short answer is yes. Next to 60m, 80m is my band of choice. I use a full fat, link dipole cut for 80m. It is pretty long, but if you pick your moment, and your peak, they work very well. I have found lately that 60m suits QRP power levels much better for inter-G. 80m can be noisy, but is a very good pile up generator.
My usual frequency for SSB is 3.666, I know this is also a popular frequency for other activators.
Have fun

In reply to M0DEV:

Hi Mark

A fair number of us use 80m, often to excellent effect. The band does have it’s challenges, especially winter early mornings/late evenings when the skip is long and summer mid-day when D-layer absorption gets in the way but generally it’s very rewarding. Can be difficult finding a clear frequency, particularly with QRP - a friendly high-power chaser can be very useful to get you started and spotted. Especially on Sunday mornings!

I use an ATU with my 60m antenna for 80 - a resonant dipole is surprisingly long…

Hope to see you around 3.666

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to M0DEV:

Just had a look back and 15% of my chases over the last month have been on 80 metres, much fewer than on 60 metres but still respectable.

Don’t give up on 40 metres, the sunspot activity is slowly increasing now and short skip on 40 will return, perhaps later this year but if not then certainly next year, and anyway, there are plenty of chasers on the continent!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:
80m as others have said is used fairly often and due to the aerials being longer can offer more of a challenge, If thats not enough of a challenge go lower to say 160m … it can be done The Cloud late night / Early Morning Activation - YouTube

                                        Sean M0GIA

In reply to M0DEV:

After 60m, 80m is probably the best band to use for inter-uk working at the moment, although as already stated , it can be difficult at certain times of the day. As with many others I use a linked dipole, cut for 60m & 80m, although when I get around to it I intend to add links for a few more bands as having a resonant antenna certainly helps a lot when feeding it with coax. At present I use a tuner work bands other than 80m or 60m.

Top band certainly has potential for qrp working, but you really need night time conditions to get anything like 80m coverage in the daytime.

About half way through this video you can see the aerial I use for 80m / 60m

3.666MHz does seem to be very popular as an unnoficial SOTA calling frequency.


Mark G0VOF

In reply to G4YTD:


Tim can you email: mm0fmf AT hotmail.com


When Jimmy and I first started using 80m, it was much easier to make SSB contacts on 80m than, say, 40m. Since the opportunity to use the extended 40m band,it is now easier on 40m. It used to be quite easy to get a bit of space around 3.660 / 3.666MHz SSB, but seems more difficult now, whereas 7.160MHz now seems reliable.

Inter-G is much better on 80m, but if you are activating in the further corners of the UK, then you can get far enough away so that the skip doesn’t skip over the chasers! For instance, I have had successful inter G activations from summits in GM/WS, GM/ES and G/SE. The latter one (Butser Hill G/SE-004) was probably a ‘luckier’ one though, as on other occasions, activations on 40m from G/DC and GI/AH have skipped right over all of the UK.

I have found 80m next to useless in daytime in the summer months, reasons explained earlier in the thread.

The best way to be successful on 80m and enjoy the inter-G work is to (a) activate in winter or early morning and (b) use CW - most activators use around 3.554 to 3.559MHz CW. This isn’t as congested as the SSB portion.


In reply to M1EYP:

Something I have noticed many times on 80 is that around mid afternoon the continental stations start to appear. You can have a clear frequency around 15:00 and ten minutes later there is a background babble of voices and by 15:30 the continentals are S9 and you are having trouble copying British stations. This happens later in summer giving you a clear slot between the end of D-layer absorption and the band going long but in summer you often have strong thunderstorm static to deal with. I wouldn’t go as far as Tom, the band is quite good in spring and autumn, outside SOTA it is a favourite of mine and at the right season and time of day gives world-wide DX, but it can be disappointing in high summer.

By the way, although the main frequency for phone is 3.666 there are some people who use around 3.725 just below the SSTV centre of activity. A dipole cut for 3.666 and the CW frequencies will be well off tune for 3.725, you can always add another link but IMHO too many links could introduce losses and are getting a bit complicated, one reason I use a W3EDP antenna for portable!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to M1EYP:
I’m thinking CW - I’m looking at (building) a KX1, operating off a dipole cut for 3550 ish, hanging from the trusty aged sotapole which lieth in the garage. I have a lash-up in the garden at the moment, trying out what I can get on 5W.

I just had a wonderful CW QSO with a really strong signal, gave me 599+20. Only prob was he turned out to be 2 miles down the road…

80m CW is a real winner. You call on 3.557MHz and you get called - and spotted, immediately by Roy G4SSH. An unerringly reliable process!


In reply to M1EYP:
Do I need an antenna then? And has he got four callsigns?

In reply to M0DEV:

Do I need an antenna then? And has he got four callsigns?

ROTFL! He has a lot more than 4.

73 de G3NYY

In reply to M0DEV:

I hope more activaters use also 80m, I have often no copy on 40m from ON and DL-stations ( in the SOTA time of day )
I use a verical and automatic tuner, so any band is possible.

73 de Hans PA3FYG

In reply to PA3FYG:

80m, this (Saturday) afternoon, would have been really hard work. Wall to wall TEST stuff with very little gap.

But I am not deterred! I’m ure I’ll end up with a KX-1 with ATU.