Is it Hard for Chasers

Is it me or is it getting hard for us chasers ? I know I haven’t got anything spectacular in regards to equipment, but I don’t think I have done bad in the past; but for the past couple of weeks I haven’t heard any of you activators which to me is a bit worrying as I hear plenty of stations calling for the activators.
I have checked everything with my analyser and it all checks out fine so I was wondering if any other chasers are going through the same kind of thing.
Sorry if I’m being a pain but am just curious…

best 73 Allen


Have a look outside your window Allen, or check out

There’s your answer :wink:


How’d you mean Tom please

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Ah methinks you mean the different pressures etc. ok will just have to be patient and hopefully it will get back to normal

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Hi Allen

Give us an idea of your antenna systems and equipment…your location?

73 Allan GW4VPX

PS…just found your page so will get back to you…

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Hi Allan
Antenna is 140 foot end fed long wire around 20 foot in air as limited to space. rig is FT991A
I heard you earlier getting into Mathias…I believe it was you anyways.

73 Allen


Sounds a sensible idea, use test equipment to see if there are any faults. However, you need to ensure what you measure and the results you see confirm what you deduce.

I’ll give you an example:

I connected my 0-1GHz 50Ohm dummy load to my MFJ259B and measured the SWR at all the amateur bands up to 2m. I did a few sanity checks on the MFJ as well. It told me the SWR was no worse than 1.1:1 across all bands and it generally looked to be a good 50Ohms with nothing too reactive.

So why when I connect my dummy load to the aerial socket on my VHF and HF radios can I not hear any stations on the radio?

So as others will be writing, a bit more detail on what you can hear and can’t hear, what exactly that analyser said etc. is needed before anyone can say in depth: it’s you, it’s conditions or whatever.

Hi again Allen

As I type this I can see others drafting replies for you. I’ll keep it short as others might have words of wisdom. Yes, the bands have been dismal and you are not alone in wondering if your equipment is faulty.

You have an excellent rig in the Yaesu FT991 for both HF and VHF/UHF…make sure that you don’t have any buttons pressed on it that might be inhibiting reception? Experimenting with you antenna system may be an idea although I understand that you have limited space. My antenna here is an 80m doublet in inverted vee configuration fed by 300ohm feeder and that hasn’t been working as well as it usually does due to the propagation so keep listening and historically conditions will improve.

Yes, annoyingly, you will hear other chasers calling the activator. Many of those will be using quite a bit of power and the signal path between them and you is good. The activators signal will be weak (QRP) and the propagation between you and him/her is not working so well or not at all…so many permutations…

No it wasn’t me you heard earlier. Hope to work you some day in the not too distant future.

73 Allan GW4VPX

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OK Andy and Allan Thanks ever so much for your replies it IS appreciated and I will take it all on-board.
Yes Allan Hopefully we will be in contact soon.

Best 73 Allen


No. He says his problem is that he can’t hear the activators that other chasers are hearing and calling. I see from the Zed that he operates both V/UHF and HF. I don’t know if the problem is on V/UHF or on HF. If the problem is V/UHF then since propagation has not been all that bad it could be that the antennas need checking, possibly a bad connection or water ingress. On the other hand it could be just a coincidence that recent activations have been from the wrong side of the summit. That may sound odd, but I find with my local summit activators with handhelds almost disappear if they set up on the side of the summit away from me, but are S9+ if on my side of the summit. There’s nothing you can do about that!

HF is a different matter. 40 metres has been consistantly long so that the UK activators that usually give me good signals have been unworkable, and propagation to EU has been very variable. 20 metres has been very patchy, activators that I can normally regard as reliable contacts have been inaudible. This is partly due to the sunspot minimum but also due to the “summer doldrums” and as we move into autumn I expect the higher bands to improve quite noticeably. My comments above about checking the antenna connections applies here, too. It is a good time of the year to do a routine check of the antennas - though not, perhaps, until storm Francis has blown over! One thing worth paying attention to - I tried out an EFHW and it was very good, but then it deteriorated. When I took it down I found water had got into the box containing the transformer. Its worth looking to see if you have that problem, and go over the sealing.

My 2p worth!


Hello Allen. Dont forget many activators cant get out and about because of lock down. It is the same in vk. Take care, stay safe.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

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Hi Brian
Alas I think your words of wisdom could be right about water ingress but at present I am unable to climb a ladder due to ill health, but saying that when I checked the SWR on the analyser it was 1:1.3 on 40m, 1:1.2 on 20m and 1:1.6 on 80m. I changed the compression plugs in the house but like I say am unable to change the ones outside at present.
It probably is just down to me being fussy Brian as I have to accept that I can’t always get stations like DL1CR for instance booming though on any band at 9+ 5. Anyways thanks mate.

best 73

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Allen, I have recently heard you chasing me (with strong signal if I recall) and suddenly you completely disappeared although there was not much QSB going on that day to the UK.
I was calling you multiple times to give you a report and complete our QSO but you did not come back. I had the feeling you gave up or a technical problem occurred.

73 Joe


Hi Geoff
Hope you’re well mate … I really miss our little natters.
Stay safe mate and take care.
Best 73

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Propagation, Propagation, Propagation and skip-distance Allen.

Welcome to my world!
Living in the south of Germany I am normally too close to hear the activators in the alps on 20 or 40m. Occasionally there is an exception and sometimes after a CME hits, skip can go short and hence I can hear and work the activators but normally I hear all the other chasers working the activator but I hear nothing from the summit.

Some may say NVIS is a solution, but that needs the Critical Frequency (Fof2) to be higher than it has been for a long time, to get NVIS on 40m - NVIS on 80m yes but it’s rare that an activator works on 80m given the size of antenna needed.

If you’ve checked and your antenna system is working fine, it’s all about propagation and beware, when you start looking into propagation, it’s a long, long worm hole that will suck you in!

73 Ed DD5LP

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Joe I always look out for you mate but alas I only heard you right in the back of the box so couldn’t really know if you were coming back to me or not…sorry. No I don’t give up mate I just sit listening to see if the audio gets stronger, sometimes it does and sometimes not.

Best 73

hi Ed
Lol hey I will never understand propogation. I’m sorry to hear you have the same probs as me though and as you say we just have to be patient.
Best 73 ED and stay safe

That doesn’t mean your antenna is working as an antenna. It means the SWR is as given. As I said, the SWR on my dummy load is 1:1 on 40m but it makes a rubbish antenna.

You can deduce that with those figures it should work. But as it’s a long wire with a matching unit you may be measuring nothing but the matching unit and the wire may not be electrically connected.

Can you hear the beacons? Can you hear Deutsch Wetter Dienst on 10MHz? Can you hear the standard time signals? Are the SW broadcast bands full of stations?

Saying I can’t hear some QRP dude up a mountain means nothing if you don’t give some info on what you can hear. Don’t forget Allen, we’re not in your shack so we don’t know what is or isn’t happening if you don’t tell us.

For what it’s worth I had a real problem a short while ago when I found I could hear stations but when I went back to them my RX sensitivity had plummeted - reason was that water had got into the antenna connector (despite a lot of waterproofing) and had arced over leaving a conductive residue :unamused:

Propagation is an evil task master, though, and you could be suffering from the effects of summer doldrums. Try living here in the NE of Scotland - everybody is DX and I can rarely hear anything of activators!!!

Wow Andy it makes so much sense what you’re saying…Sorry for being such a dunderhead !!
Ok will have to be patient for it just isn’t possible at present for me to go outside and check what needs to be checked. but I have taken what everyone of you have said on board and will check rigourously when I can Thanks to all of you.

best 73