Light at the End of the Tunnel?

Just heard a chaser in the US calling Kostas SV3GLI/P on 20m, so it does look like the bands are improving again. (I could hear both sides, unfortunately Kostas couldn’t fully copy the K station).


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HF conditions improving…Well maybe.

Due to work and other commitments, I’d been unable to undertake any
activating for almost 3 weeks. Finding myself with a little free time
Monday afternoon, I nipped up to G/SP-013 Gun, for a few hours. As
usual, I chucked the Antron-99 into the hawthorne tree and
spotted myself on the 10 Metre band. Quite frankly, I might as well have
saved the battery, it was utter pants! More than twenty minutes of
calling, produced just three contacts, all of them “G” the final one being Peter M1CNL. Despite all my efforts to qualify the summit on 10m, it was hopeless and so I was forced to QSY :frowning:

My next port of call was the 17m band, which was in much better shape. A self spot produced a run of 28 contacts, including a call from George N1GB in Vermont and Walter
NE4TN in Tennessee, for my first bit of Stateside action for ages.

Phil VE1WT, who is suffering from European withdrawal symptons was next in
my log. Not an easy copy, nevertheless, signal reports were exchanged
and he seemed to be a happy bunny. Scotty KG3W in Pennsylvania checked
in and he was followed straight away by the best DX of the day, Jerry
NG6R in Los Angeles CA. There was a steady run of EU and North America
and even a calls from Israel, just before Dow W4DOW made the trip.
It sure was a struggle Dow, but we finally made the contact, many thanks for persevering!

The 15m band was next on my list and it was in half reasonable shape.
The first taker was Kamel 7X2CK in Algeria with Rod WA1TAC in
Massachusetts, hot on his heels. There was a nice run of North American
Chasers, the final one being Dennis WA2USA in Indiana.

If anyone had offered me 5 North American contacts at the start of the activation, I
would have had their hand off, so to finish up with 20 including the West coast, was a good result.

To be perfectly honest, I think my log for this activation, flatters to deceive. The higher HF bands are still a pretty tough place to operate.

73 Mike

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Good stuff. Just when I start back at University as well. How typical.


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DX signal reports were well down and of course, there’s the dreaded deep and rapid QSB, to deal with, Jonathan. :frowning:

73 Mike

I think we are only seeing a temporary improvement as an active region of the sun with several sunspot groups rotates across, there doesn’t seem very much coming to replace those groups about to rotate out of sight. Several M-class flares over the last few days have probably despatched some rubbish our way, too!


I know, but at least its something. I had some fun on the weekend at home with 15 & 17m that pleased me. Its still climbing at the moment. 20m was good last night into NA.


17m was reasonable from 1200, and starting to hold up really well after 1300z today. 4 US chasers worked on 18MHz. Unfortunately, at that time I had to clear off to undertake other commitments. It had been an impromptu activation of The Cloud G/SP-015 using my modified 20m GP, with the Micro Z, affording operation on 40m, 30m, 20m, 17m, 12m, 10m and 6m. I can’t find a good setting to allow operation on 15m as of yet with this configuration.

Today’s results:
40m CW: 5 (DL, ON); S2S - DM/RP-464
40m SSB: 3 (G); S2S - G/SP-002
30m CW: 7 (DL, HB, OE, SM); S2S - HB/LU-007
20m CW: 3 (EA, S5, SP)
20m SSB: 6 (GW, I, OE, OK); S2S - OE/TI-430, OK/PL-005
17m CW: 13 (9A, LY, OM, RA, W, YL + /MM)
12m CW: 1 (RA)

38 QSOs, 18 DXCCs + /MM

Loads of fascinated passers-by wanting to know more!


Nice to see you were out again, Tom!


Hi Tom,
Saw the spot but couldn’t hear you unfortunately.

73 Ed.

Looks like HF conditions are still depressed then.

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They look up a bit today Steve.

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Hi Tom! Good to see you have been out and about again.

It would have been worthwhile, because 15m was quite good on Tuesday afternoon.
Between 1530 and 1700 UTC I worked W2, W3, W4, W7, VE3, YB2 and EA8.

The K index has subsided to 1 this morning, following a couple of occasions last week when it hit 7, so conditions seem quite stable at the moment.

Walt (G3NYY)

That forecast looks strange - all VHF bands closed - yet I`ve been driving round in my van all day listening to PA/ON/DL radio stations on band 2 VHF.

That’s because it is an Es forecast!


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Signs of life on 15m today. Especially pleasing to work a good batch of the regular NA chasers from Great Orme GW/NW-070, it’s been a while!

Mike 2E0YYY - you were a stonking signal on 17m SSB from Billinge Hill G/SP-017. I called you several times for a S2S but you didn’t hear me. Maybe the difference in the power levels being used?

First proper outing since being out of action for four weeks with a very unpleasant and stubborn infection in my left leg - hence the gentle walk selected to ease me back into it! The leg/foot came through the day fine, but I am absolutely exhausted (which I really shouldn’t be after NW-040 + NW-070)! No wonder my GP advised me to “do some walks to start building the energy levels back up”!

Well, the bands seem to have picked up a little more since my activation on Monday.

Anyhow, I had some work planned this morning, however, there was a change in the situation and so with a fully charged battery already in the rucksack, I decided to make my way to G/SP-017 Billinge Hill.

Over the years, this summit has been much maligned by many Activators, however, it certainly dosen’t deserve the reputation it has been dealt. For the astute activator, there’s a pot of DX gold waiting to be mined from this one.

Contrary to most opinions, Billinge Hill is also a good VHF site albiet a little noisy from the masts. However, a good 2m rig with decent filtering will reward you well. So, I chucked up the Diamond X-200 colinear to start with. The X-200 weighs in at about a Kilo less than the X-300, with very little difference in gain figures and so, I’ve taken it on a number of activations recently. Theres been some ducting on 2m for the last few days, sadly, I was too late to get amongst it. Nevertheless, I spent half an hour on 2m FM and logged 20 contacts, before taking a look at the HF bands.

15m was my first port of call and guess what, the tuner refused to work, Try as I may, it would not tune up the Antron-99 and then after 15 minutes of faffing about, it suddenly decided to work again. Another job to sort out :frowning:
My first call was from Walter NE4TN then Phil VE1WT and Gary K4MF. Some EU contacts were logged before the band dried up. A look at the 20m zoo, produced about 20 contacts including the States and a nice 4k mile hop into Alberta, courtesy of Larry VE5UA, a province that’s not heard very often on SOTA activations.

My last chuck of the dice was the 17m band and I found it in good shape. Some nice DX worked including 22 North Americans the best DX being another call from Jerry NG6R in Los Angeles and Gordon K6PT not too far from San Francisco. Nice to get Brazil and Thailand on the band also.

Clearly,17m is the band of choice at the moment, forget 10m, it’s bang out of shape.

122 contacts for the activation, 29 North Americans logged.

About 30 DXCC’s worked.

The DX is certainly there to be worked, but it has to be earned.

Thanks to all the callers…

73 Mike


17m wasn’t the band of choice today Mike. Very disappointing in fact. Just 12 QSOs on 17m CW, plus two S2S on 20m SSB. It seemed 15m was livelier, but I didn’t have an antenna for that band with me. 10m certainly sounded dead, as you have been reporting.

You had the band of choice on 2m, for sure. Some great results there. I couldn’t get through though, try as I might, either from home or /M as I was driving towards Gun G/SP-013.

Conditions from this chasers station this afternoon were awful! It seems some negative sun activity is occurring again as the guys in Australia are also reporting degraded propagation again.

I wonder when/if this will stabilise at some point? The last week was “OK”.

73 Ed.

Hi Ed,

This won’t help matters :frowning:

73 Mike

If anyone can eke out the DX, you can Mickey!