Heading to G land in August what bands should I co

As the title says, I will be in G, GW, EI, GM and 4 days in F in August this year. I am a semi regular SOTA activator here in VK and intend to bring my FT817 with me. I have a light weight squid pole (about 6m long) and a light weight link dipole that covers 10, 15, 17, 20 and 40 meters. As my time will be limited for SOTA activations, should I bring along a 2m antenna (2el hand held yagi) for FM as this would be quicker to setup and get calling. If so what are the regular frequencies used for SOTA operation on 2 FM?

Any advise gratefully received.

73 Mike VK3XL


As a chaser (mostly) located well away from the larger Summit Areas such as G/LD, G/NP, G/SP and GW/NW it seems to me that the use of 2m FM is predominant in these areas, GW/SW and GW/MW also have people that only ever use 2m FM, but being close I have worked more of them anyway.

So I would say it depends on which areas you intend to activate - using just 2m FM from some of the G/SE, G/CE or even G/WB summits might take considerable time and effort to get enough contacts (especially during the working week).

It seems to me that some activators using 2m FM have their own favourite operating frequency and rarely seem to bother calling on the FM calling frequency of 145.500 (V40/S20) - I know I have missed chasing some I could have worked because they never called on that frequency.

Stewart G0LGS

In reply to G0LGS:
Thanks Stewart for the reply. I have put together a 3 el yagi for 2 meters today, yet to be tuned, but it all fits into a 3ft length of 3/4 inch PVC tube (which serves as the boom). I have not yet settled on which summits I am aiming at, but I want to operate from at least 1 from each association.
Bye for now

Using 17m to 40m down may give you up to 100 EUs across the continent if you gave HF a try (without Es on 10/12m). So it depends whether your time budget forces you to get 4 qsos as quick as possible or…

In reply to DL8MBS:
I still intend to bring the FT817 and a link dipole so it will all depend on how much time I have as to if I operate hf or vhf i suppose.

In reply to VK3XL:
Hi Mike,
If you are considering trying to get back into VK, you should use 20m between UTC 0600 and 0800 long path. I have managed this several times now on SSB (not sure if you’ll be running SSB or CW, or both). Managed this twice running the FT817 barefoot (5W SSB).

For EU contacts, 20m will give you some but 40m will give you lot more however there are a lot of very strong SSB stations on 40m across Europe so if you don’t have the optional IF filter in the FT817, this may be worth considering. I’m hoping to buy a 2.3KHz Yeasu/Collins or INRAD one at Friedrichshafen at the end of the month for my 817. The filter wasn’t needed in VK but the extra occupancy of the bands in Europe make it more important. If you operate CW and SSB, there are third party boards with both SSB and CW filters on the one board to fit the one filter socket.

From what I read 2m FM is used a lot by UK activators so a small 2 or 3 ele vertically polarised beam with the 817 should work well. I guess you’ll need a stronger mast than the Squiddy for it though?

73 Ed DD5LP / VK2JI / G8GLM.

In reply to DD5LP:
Thanks Ed, I have made a 3 el yagi that I intend to hand hold from the rear, seems to work ok here. The biggest problem is having all the kit small enough to fit on my suit case etc. As mentioned initially I will be on holidays with non amateur friends so the time I can spend on SOTA will be limited, but still hope to activate at least 1 summit from each association I visit.

In reply to VK3XL:

Hi Mike,

Just a few comments from a UK perspective. As Stewart says, it will depend upon where you are in the UK as to whether 2m FM produces any contacts. I would suggest a vertical such as a slim jim attached to your pole would do the job and be simple to erect. From experience, hand held antennas are a pain when weather conditions are not good and in August you might experience summer of a different kind to what you are used to.

If you are contemplating 2m SSB, then you will find that the number of chasers are limited to a very dedicated few spread around the country, so you might only work one or two with an 817 to a small yagi.

Your best chance of making contacts must lie with the HF bands and it really depends on what you want to achieve in terms of working the locals or further afield. You will be able to see from the spots which frequencies are most popular for SOTA.

If you can give some more details on which areas within each association you are likely to activate from, then I am sure more specific help will be provided.

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to DD5LP:

From what I read 2m FM is used a lot by UK activators so a small 2 or
3 ele vertically polarised beam with the 817 should work well.

Agreed, but not from lots of hills. The most reliable 2m FM hills tend to be in Wales, the Pennines (North and South) and the Lakes. Also hills that overlook the “central belt” of Scotland (Glasgow and Edinburgh). All have to have the height to reach larger population centres too. So Snowdon GW/NW-001 is great but a 1 pointer nearby will not be so good as it won’t get out into the NW of England where the chasers are.

Elsewhere 2m FM can be a bit of a struggle. I’ve had long waits to qualify some GM hills on 2M FM where you might have thought I would have no trouble.

If you end up with a hill “shortlist” post it here and you’ll get plenty of band advice. It would be awful for you to come all the way over here and have an activation which failed to get 4 contacts.

MW0WML (in sunny North Wales GW/NW)

In reply to MW0WML:
thanks Gerald and Gerald and I will take your advise and produce a short list of possibilities. I will probably concentrate on 40 meters when on HF but will be able to operate 10, 15, 17, 20 or 40. My only aim will be to qualify the summit, but will continue to work any dogpile that occurs until it goes quiet, after all its not just about me is it the chasers deserve a fair go as well.

best 73

In reply to VK3XL:
Hi Mike,
I am pretty sure G land only has the bottom 2MHz of the 2m band as well.
Just incase you didn’t know
73 Mike VK6MB (Will be 9H3BM in September and hope to activate 50% of the 9H summits :slight_smile: )

In reply to VK6MB:
Thanks Mike, I had found that out. I printed out the band plans for G and EI last week, yet to look into France, but suspect it will be the same. Wont have time or the transport to try SOTA from France as we will only be in Paris. Closest SOTA summit is about 50 Km away… too far to walk hi.

In reply to VK3XL:
Same with me Mike, most of the summits will be too far from the ports that we enter.
I am hoping to do a quick activation of 9H/MA-001 with the KX3 and a Moonraker spx-100 vertical, while on a tour of the island, as 9H3BM.

73 Mike VK6MB

I have created a list of summits close to our proposed route around UK as follows

I will not have time to activate all of these summits as my time will be limited. So I am now asking for guidance as to which of the above are relatively easy to get to and do not take too long to walk to the summit( or at least into the activation zone).
Also any other summit recomendations near the ones I have indicated above that may be easier to access/ activate etc.

My main aim is to activate at least 1 summit from each association that I visit.

Thanks in advance.

In reply to VK3XL:


Hi Mike,

I found Wentwood to be dead easy to activate, a 200m or so walk. I had more trouble finding the road courtesy of Mr Google sending me the wrong way. I have a write up on my blog (vk3arr.wordpress.com)

My main aim is to activate at least 1 summit from each association
that I visit.

If you’re coming down the M90 past Perth, consider Moncreiffe Hill (GM/SS-276) too, a 20 minute walk to the top on an easy path.


In reply to VK3XL:
Hi Mike,
GW/NW-076 is very easy to do especially if you’re passing close by on the A55.
If I’m not working I’ll join you. Drop me a line if you need any further info on this summit.

Roger mw0idx

Thanks Andrew and Roger for your advise, I have put those summits on my hit list as easy to activate. I will have to see how the time availability is on the days we intend to travel past those summits.

Only 3 weeks to go and I will be in London, Preparations for summit activations have progressed. I have permission from the park rangers at Arthurs Seat to transmit from near the summit, but I cannot even put a tent peg in the ground, so I have made a vertical that can support it self on a base flat on the ground. I will be in Edinburgh for 4 days only, so hope the weather plays along and we can get to visit Arthurs Seat.

Other activations I will tend to use a link dipole and a light weight squid pole with my trusty ft817. I hope to activate at least 1 summit in each association while there.

II will keep you posted about possible activations via the alerts page.

In reply to VK3XL:

I will be in London

You`ll be pleased to know there are lots of routes out of London. I can reccommend any routes leading North!

Arthurs Seat

Its funny that you need permission to use a radio transmitter but the rangers do nothing to stop the thousands of people using their phones from the summit. I guess phones dont use radio anymore since they are wireless :wink:

There are lots of nice easy summits around Edinburgh if you have a car. Far better than Arthur`s Seat and its regulations and crowds. Ask if you want suggestions.

Oh, and make sure you leave your rubbish VK winter weather at home. Its been a surprisingly dry and sunny summer so far and Id like it to stay that way!


Andy, MM0FMF
(23kms WSW of Arthur`s Seat)

In reply to VK3XL:

Hi Mike,

I activated Arthur’s Seat last summer. After some e-mail exchanges with the Park Service I did get the same permission you have now (no pegs!).

As Andy already mentioned, the summit is overcrowded, literally hundreds of people every hour if the weather is nice. There is no chance to set-up a shortwave antenna anywhere near the trig point. I found an operating spot a little down the summit near a hand rail on a steeper section of trail. I tied my 7m fishing rod to the rail (no pegs involved!). I kept working CW sitting next to the trail with headphones plugged in while lots of people were puzzled what I am doing there. Nobody bothered about a permit.

After the activation I hiked across the Park. I remember a nice pond and some other summits with a good view of Edinburgh and the North Sea in the background. Holyrood Park is certainly worth a visit and also interesting for non-ham family members, if you are into hiking and nature. Purely for SOTA there might be nicer summits if you have a car.

Have fun in Europe!
Heinz, OE5EEP