How many HF bands do you typically operate

I know there is a breakdown by band on the database but I’ve noticed the following from my operating.

20m and 40m are the most productive bands. Which we all know and the data says.

Lately I’ve tried 17m and 60m. Contacts on them usually is small. Maybe or 2-3. For a morning, early afternoon activation.

I have an efhw that covers 10/20/40. Which works well.

If I want 17 and 60, it becomes extra wire and extra transformer etc. At this point I’m considering dropping 60 and 17 and focusing on 20/40.


In winter keep activation short and simple. Only 20m with the up.and.outer vertical.
In summer if there is no time issue (others waiting during my activation) also 17m and if I see spots pop up also 12 or 10m.
40m only if I am taking the extra weight for the dipole. Mostly to much QRM for my feeling so not my preferred band. But it made a failed to a success so it has it’s place.

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Hi AJ -
With a KX3 tuner and a random wire I have the flexibility to try anything from 80m to 6m. I usually think about which Chasers could I hand out points to - so I often check out 60m and work a few in my “neighborhood” - 40m can also work for in-region Chasers.
Sometimes I try higher band to see what’s up with propagation. A few weeks ago from a W7O summit I worked 15m just for fun - got more than I expected from VA, MI, IL, NC, NY, MS…and OR.
73, Etienne-K7ATN

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My KX1 has the built-in tuner and can tune up a 43 foot endfed wire on all three bands on which the radio can transmit, which are 40, 30 and 20m. At a minimum I try to work 20m in hopes of DX and transcontinental QSOs, and 40m for the “local” chasers (although in practice I find my 40m QSOs range almost the entire US East Coast and into the Midwest.) I try 30m if I have time after that, just to see who’s chasing on that band.

73, Scott WB8ICQ


60m is a goto band on my activations, and “the Locals” expect me there I think; after that I go 40, 30, 20 as my time schedule permits… I swap bands after 2 or 3 CQ’s have gone unanswered.
, I made 14 QSO’s on 60m during a recent Activation…

I typically use an 85ft Random Wire with a matchbox and my KX2 (with tuner)… this combo is capable of 10m-80m tune,

I have been messing with an HB1b recently and as such… 20m, 30, 40 bands only…

Richard // N2GBR

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I start on 80m to work my vk5 chasers then 40m cw/ssb to other vk states then 20m gives me vk and zl on cw sometimes. Successful vk to ja S2S has been 17m cw that band works better than 20m when activating in the morning part of the day here.
Antenna is a couple link dipoles that give me best results, KX3 or FT817 are my rigs.
vk5cz …

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I primarily activate local hills around here which are 1-2 pointers and take a maximum of maybe 3 hours of hiking up, but usually only 45-80 minutes to the top.

My rig (an HB-1B) is good for only 40-15m, but yes, 40m in the morning (9:30-11) is always my bread and butter band, followed by 20m. But I always activate 30 and 17m also, but 17m only gets me a handful at best (currently).

I do try 15m almost every session if conditions are reasonable. Here’s hoping that in a couple of years 15m SOTA will be hopping.

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I change up what I’m doing all the time depending on time. My most common config a “random” wire and 9:1 covers 5-28 Mhz. If I have the time I start on 60 and work my way shorter until I over run time or the MUF whichever comes first. Rarely do I take a second pass across HF.

Tom - KB9ENS

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I am in the comfortable situation that my KX2 makes almost everything up to the 60m band an antenna. :wink:
Most of the time I am in the air with one vertical on the telescopic pole. It has a single radial. (KISS) :slightly_smiling_face:

There is a lot of activity here in Europe around the Alps. I live in southern Germany, this is a rather awkward distance. Many qso’s then go over ground wave and are S2S - (especially to HB9). On the bands, depending on the distance and frequency, I expect the “usual suspects”.
Often I can tell in advance with whom I will have a qso on which frequency. But sometimes things turn out differently - that’s what makes it exciting.

73 Armin


Hi A. J.,
My most frequent SOTA antenna is a random wire to a 9:1 unun plus a counterpoise wire. I always go with an antenna tuner and my usual rig is FT-817ND.
The bands I mostly use are 20, 30, 40m. I have recently included 60m from time to time and rarely use 17m. During summer time I may try 15, 12, 10, 6m.
From my location in the SouthWestern part of Europe, I find 20 and 30m the most productive bands. I often find that the area of the Alps, where there are many activators everyday is in skip for me on both 20-40m and 30m is just the perfect band for that distance. The shame is that being 30m a CW only band, there are many activators not using it.
DX-wise speaking, 20m is for me the QUEEN :crown: band.


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From my the point of view of a chaser it is 40m. However it all depends on the distance to the mountains, to be more precise, what one can do depends on skip zone. The skip zone even on a certain single band depends on the solar earth interaction. My main chasing area are the European Alps.

To illustrate what I just wrote, here are 3 spots and none of these activators can be copied by me at this time.

I guess 30m would probably be good, but I’ll have to wait and see of they activate that band.



30m band is a very underestimated band, it is a very nice band but rarely used. In weekends much better a number of stations that try to evade the contests to make on 30m qso with no contest qrm.


My guess was right, as they fortunately activated on 30m and I managed to chase some of them. Sergiy SO9TA was also copiable and successfully chased on 20m a few minutes later. Gerald F6HBI at a shorter distance wisely activated on 60m and I managed to chase him, although the signals were not any good. He later QSYed to 30m and I can’t copy him. He’s too close…

Even Mikhail LB8CG wasn’t copiable on 20m and 40m, but he’s been perfectly copied and chased on 30m right now.

We are blessed with a contest on 20m, so many activators are fortunately working 30m today :v: which is really good at least for me.


When my new antenna is finished, I will be able to work every band on the KX2. Time constraints usually dictate which bands I work. If it’s a single activation, then I will try to work as many bands as possible, including 40m. If it’s a double or triple activation, I will do maybe 20 & 60m on the first peak and 20 & 40m on the second. If there’s a contest on, then I may just stick to 20, 30 & 60m. In summer I always call on 10m first and work my way down.
73 de OE6FEG

that is also my opinion…

30m is free of contests - quite quiet and allows good ranges. It is absolutely underrated!

That’s why I have now ordered a QCX Mini 30m CW Transceiver Kit: Lockdown project 2.0 :upside_down_face:

73 Armin


30m is my favourite band. I usually have spare time to activate only on weekends so I often deal with contests . When I don’t want to spend much time on the summit (bad weather conditions, other obligations) then I start there and QSY only when I don’t manage to get my 4 contacts. When I can take time (and have space for the 15-60m trapped EFHW) then my sequence is 60-30-17. By then, I got chased by most of my regular chasers and possibly some DX. After that, I work through the “classic” bands. When I’m through with that sequence, I go through the spots and try S2S on any bands.
In case there’s no space for the EFHW (or when I really want to keep summit time to a minimum), I use a vertical with one radial and ATU. When I do my sequence, this usually limits the 60m part to 0-2 QSOs, the pile-ups are smaller and the S2S attempts are less successful.

73 Jens HB9EKO


Always using my 20m long EFHW I can successfully work all bands from 80m to 10m running the atu in my KX2

After setting up the antenna, I first listen to openings at 10m and 15m.

Then I start with the S2S spots because S2S is my great passion.

Then I call on the bands with the greater challenges. 80m SSB, 80m CW (my challenge), 60m and 20m.

At the end a spot on the 40m almost always brings a lot of qsos.

73 Chris

Agreed on 30M (if you’re a CW op, anyway). I recently activated on a very busy contest weekend and only operated 30M - didn’t even bother with 40 and 20 this time - and I easily swept up 19 contacts in a short, simple activation. Wrapped up with a half dozen more on 2M and 440 and had a successful, fun activation. But, to answer the original question, for the late morning/early afternoon activations, I use 40/30/20. Perhaps as we climb out of this solar minimum I’ll consider the higher bands, but for now, these keep me comfortable busy on a typical outing. I currently take an early version HB-1B; 80M through 20M and EFHW antennas.

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Hi guys,
From a chaser point of view from Central California, here’s what I found in my log from the last 2 years:
80M = 42 QSOs, all California activators
60M = 201 QSOs, all W6,W7,W5,W0 activators
40M = 1729 QSOs, all over USA/VE activators
30M = 502 QSOs, all over USA/VE activators
20M = 2155 QSOs, everywhere including EU/Asia
17M = 76 QSOs, all over USA, few DX.
15M = 9 QSOs, mostly USA
And lastly, not HF, 2 meters 59 QSOs all Northern California activators.
So, that’s where the action is from this QTH (CM97). And thank you all for the QSOs.
John, K6YK