This question is more for North American chasers, but any response is helpful. Currently I have a linked dipole with the 20 and 40 meter bands. With the increase in the sunspots I am thinking of adding some higher bands such as 12,15, 17. Do you as chasers have antennas for any of these bands? I don’t want to add bands that I’ll never really use. 73 KG7AZY
You will find chasers on pretty much any band you might want to use
I do have antennas for all bands from 6 to 160m. Also for 2m. For chasing NorthAmerican activators, my tribander yagi gives me better chances on 10-15-20m, but I have sometimes chased Northamericans on 17m wirh my dipole.
The more the better. Who knows who will answer on what day, but that’s part of the fun!
I don’t operate on 30m, 4m and microwaves, I’m likely to show up on any of the other bands.
My instincts suggest there are many more chasers on 20m and 40m than the higher bands such as 17m and 15m. However, a recent activation on 17m CW got a lot of replies including a couple from the USA. Sadly my equipment wasn’t performing well on this band so I changed to
20m and had some good QSOs.
If you look at sites like dxheat and of course SOTAwatch you will see what bands people are using. A quick glance at today’s spots on SOTAwatch reveals many on 20m and 40m but also plenty of the higher bands.
Aaron, I suggest the more the better. With solar cycle 25 in full upswing the higher bands will continue to improve.
Consider 10 meters. A dipole is only 16.5’ long. The typical 17-20’ collapsible pole gets the apex up a half wavelength.
Since my KX3 has a tuner I use an EFRW wire (59’) or doublets of various lengths fed with CAT5 single twisted pair. I try to erect them horizontally and broadside to a northeastern drop off. A 66’ doublet easily matches on 60 through 6 meters. The higher the band the more multi-lobed the pattern, but the wire radiates. 15, 12, and 10 have more SSB spectrum than 20 meters so the chances of finding and keeping a clear frequency are better. 17 and 12 meters are sanctuaries, especially during big contests. And I agree with Michael, N4DCW, that you never know who will answer you. If you can spot yourself chasers will listen for you and call if they can hear you.
Whatever you decide, enjoy!
If you use a ZS6BKW variant of the G5RV, it works well on most HF bands, but requires a wide range ATU. The KX3 atu and its portable version the T1 both tune this antenna on all bands from 80m to 6m. One dipole, one feedline, no link changes, change bands from the radio instantly. What’s not to like?
I was on a summit on Saturday and found new local QRM from a firewatch tower, wiping out 80/40 and making 30 and 20 difficult. Worked some S2S with ZL and JA on 17 and 15m and was very glad to have the higher bands available.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
I have more success chasing JA ZL Activators on 15/17m than 20m from home and out portable. Might I suggest add a link for 17m in your 20/40m dipole and if you have a tuner in your rig tune 40m for 15m. Propagation in my morning works different across the northern hemisphere also especially on 20m I hear very low signals from JA giving good reports to U.S. stations I can’t hear at all. Another advantage with 17m is you can dodge contests if you want to activate when one is raging across the other bands.
Ian vk5cz …
I agree with Andrew, the ZS6BKW is a great antenna.
I recommend you explore this antenna.
When I am in the office and have the possibility of hunting I use my FT-3D on 2m. On the home station I can cover the bands from 80m to 15m with the AMA-85 and then on the club station all bands from 160m to 10m are available. I find it a pity that many activators work only in CW so hunters without CW knowledge have no chance to help these stations to QSO’s and perhaps so to obtain a valuable activation.
At home I have 160 meters thru 1296 Mhz…Yagis on 20, 15, 10, 6, 2, 222, 432, 902, and 1296. Wire antennas on the other HF bands.
My link dipole covers 80 thru 6 meters…with an option to add 160 meters (lots of wire and real estate needed for this band). Small portable yagis for all VHF and higher bands…
The higher frequency HF bands are going to be fun soon with the “invention” of sunspots. Ten and 12 meters should be great bands when that happens.
Thanks for the replies, I have a lot to think about. I think ill add at least 10 and 15 meters to the dipole, maybe more. I’m a little hesitant to add to many bands. Every connection is a possible failure point, and summits can be very harsh environments. -Aaron
Andrew, unfortunately my radio does not have a tuner
Well make them properly and regularly check for wear/impending failure and fix them before they fail.
If you are activating then I would strongly suggest you prepare some 1/4wave GP verticals for 12/10m as they will fit on a 5m (16.5ft) pole. A 15m 1/4wave is also worth having but you will need a longer pole.
Your correct, with a little maintenance it should never be an issue. I have a 20ft pole, so you idea of a 1/4 12/10 would work as well.
You may be able to fit a 15m 1/4wave on a 20ft (6.1m) pole.
Yes of course. I am QRV all bands with 3 elements on 40 and 30m, 4 elements on 20, 17, 15, 12m and 8 elements on 10m. See you soon on the air. 73, Chris
I used to use a 40-10m linked dipole, with links for every HF band and extensions for 80m. This was home made using spade connectors for the links and insulators made from kitchen chopping board “nylon” material. I have hardly used it since moving to the ZS6BKW. Without a tuner though, you do have the option to install additional links in your existing antenna. Or make a new one. Resonant antennas work with any rig and are probably slightly more efficient than one that requires a tuner to accept power from the radio. Experimentation is great….
However I suspect that the main factor driving your choice of bands on any one day is the propagation. It is usually the case that only 1 or 2 bands will be suitable at each nominated distance. One band will suit chaser X but you’ll need a different band for chaser Y at a longer distance. Having many band options eases this situation greatly.
Good luck and hope to work you one day.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
Chris, It’s always exciting to hear you answer my cq. Your a pretty good distance from the Western US. I’ve worked you quite a few times on 20 meters. Hopefully soon I can work you on some different bands as well, 73 Aaron
I’m guessing MM0FMF-land has vast expanses of grass and tussock and little in the way of scrub on it’s summits. Attempting to extract a multi-linked dipole from a scrubby summit was a ‘once and never again’ experience. At least with an end-fed wire I can detach everything from one end and pull it back through the vegatative tangle onto the winder!
60,40,20 and 17 is the current answer. 12 months ago it would have been 80,40,20. Next year …
Yet to manage a SOTA contact with North America - but with increasingly strong NA activity heard on 17m & 15m it’s feeling like it is only a matter of time.