Higher HF bands

I’ve noticed a few spots on bands between 18 and 28MHz. With the lack of sunspots how useful are these for activations? Are the activators just hoping for Sporadic E?

Yesterday I saw a remark in another spot saying that 18MHz was open. I had a bit of spare time after working other bands; 14MHz was busy with a contest so I thought I’d give it a go.

No contacts, unfortunately.

But not trying it guarantees no contacts.



Been having regular contacts with JP1QEC on 18 mhz and 21 mhz cw most of year 2018. Sometimes from home or in my mobile at work and a small number of S2S when we both happen to be out activating at the same time. I rarely hear him on 20m but he can work into USA and around JA and I can hear ZL on 20m, this is all my morning time here down under.
regards Ian vk5cz …


During several recent activations (13 Jul, 2 Sep and 8 Sep) I worked a number of US East Coast stations from Arizona on 18 MHz—a distance of 2100+ miles/3300+ km. Stations heard were generally S1-S5. Earlier in the year I recall working ZL1BYZ on 18 MHz. It’s always a pleasant surprise when one gets a band opening on 18-28 MHz!


Maybe not that impressive in distance (~1260km) but worked Phil G4OBK on 15m with a 55 received and heard Phil with booming 59 this Sunday afternoon from Kremsmauer OE/OO-050

I think we can forget the higher bands for a couple of days, the slow solar winds have now hit and K is up to 5 - lest hope this clears in a couple of days!

73 Ed.

Update: K index is now at 6 (1030 UTC) - niose level here on 20m particularly high at the moment!
Update 2: This from Spaceweather.com:
GEOMAGNETIC STORM IN PROGRESS: Right now, G1-class geomagnetic storms are sparking bright auroras around the Arctic Circle as a stream of high-speed solar wind buffets Earth’s magnetic field. Anne Birgitte Fyhn sends this picture from Kvaløya island in Tromsø, Norway:

“The auroras were spectacular,” she says. “They were moving so fast, I had to use a 0.6 second shutter speed at ISO 3600.”

The solar wind stream causing this display is flowing from a canyon-shaped hole in the sun’s atmosphere. Originally, NOAA forecasters thought the stream might cause a G2-class geomagnetic storm, but now it appears set to peak as a weaker G1-class disturbance.

I’ve just looked at solarham. Anyone for EME?

Looking back through my paper SOTA log, I can see quite a few contacts since January 2018 on 17m, plus one on 15m, one on 12m and one on 10m, all CW !!
It’s not looking good at the moment, but if you dont try …!

9/9/18 12:28z QSO on 18.145 SSB…No Try No Luck :grin:
73 de geert pa7zee

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17m saved my bacon on a recent activation (remember how far North I am). 40m was a dead (well very lame) duck with just 2 contacts, the antenna refused to match on 20m so I spotted for 17m. Worked a bundle of UK stations plus DL and PA. Couldn’t hear any stations (except FT8) until I self spotted!

Don’t rule out the higher bands, they may not live up to their DX potential but may work on shorter skip when using a low elevation antenna.

Exactly Geert
Even a S2S on 17m to Spain in the log with good reports exchanged. I was also surprised :+1:


73 Joe

11 Sept 2018 10:30 - 11:00 UTC
Absolutely NIL on 18 MHz. I called CQ for 20 minutes but no replies.
However there was plenty of activity on 14 MHz:
UA1,I,IT9,SM,EA,CT1,OH,YO,UA9,SP,OM,G,SV,HA and 7X all heard between 10:50 and 11:00 UTC.
Mostly weak but workable. A few were as much as S8 on the meter.
So it would seem that the MUF for everything today is just above 14 MHz.

Walt (G3NYY)

There have been a few pings on 10m today. M0YSB at 28 MHz, 6 hours - DX10 table - DXplorer

A good guestimate, Walt. According to this the 3000 km MUF is running at 15.54 MHz. PROPquest | Graphs

73, Dave, G4IAR

Dr OM Walt,
I recall activating EA8/GC-003 on 17/1/16. Sending CQ on 20 m for 75 minutes before first QSO followed by eight more in the next 20 minutes.
73 de geert pa7zee

I completed a QSO with KR7RK on 10m from W7A/GI-024 over a distance of roughly 900 km on 28Aug2018. I often hear Keith on meteor scatter, but usually just pings. Hard to get a burn long enough to complete a two way QSO. He always tries 10, 12, 15 and 17m and it’s interesting to see if I can hear him here in Colorado.

E skip on 10m is often prevalent in June and December regardless of sunspots or flux.

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I agree with K0RS. Here in Colorado I often try 18 MHz if I can hear FT8 stations, and they are strong. They’re fine beacons, and often there are a few over S9. If I can’t hear them well, I don’t even bother to call CQ up there.

If I get spotted by the RBN, I usually make several contacts. These are usually long single-hop contacts to the East Coast area - and often signals are good. The noise level is often low on 18 MHz, and I copy my chasers well if there’s any propagation.

When there’s sporadic E, the contacts are often strong, and they can be all over the map around the USA. The sporadic E often extends down to 20M and 30M when it’s obvious on 17M. It also may be useful on higher frequencies as well. Stations only a few hundred KM away may be strong - even though they would not be heard normally, with the low solar flux.

Since there may be some connection between sporadic E and thunderstorms, possibly from sprites, etc., I make a point to listen to 17M if there have been storms around our area.

I have made a number of S2S contacts on 17M, often with SOTA activators in the Appalachian Mountains far to the east.

We often try 17M when things are slow on the other bands…




Yesterday the bands seemed pretty dead, but for fun went to 15 meters to spin the dial. Had a QSO with a German gentleman operating as FY from French Guyana, the only active station I found on 15! Never hurts to check the higher bands,

K index is now back down to 2 but it’ll take 2-3 days for the bands to get back to normal - especially 20m and up. Perhaps at the weekend we should see some improvement. I agree with what the others have said - give 17 & 15m a try, sometimes you’ll be surprised plus 17m has the advantage of no contest stations.

73 Ed.

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Thanks for all the comments. I will have to have a listen on the higher bands from home to get a feel for how they are currently behaving. Using the FT8 frequencies as beacons is a good idea. I don’t have a portable antenna for them at the moment but that won’t be hard to make.
73 Richard