So this is a shameless plug to try to drum up a bit of chaser activity and also get some opinions on which band is best to use.
I’m planning a short SOTA trip to the South Pennines region early next week with the intention of activating several summits.
The entire trip is fairly weather dependant & the exact schedule is yet to be decided (with most of the decisions being made at the very last minute).
I’m planning on going between Monday & Wednesday, with a view to activating 5 summits (Kinder Scout, Black Hill, Shining Tor, Gun & The Cloud are the current summits in my shortlist that are destined to be activated).
Up until now I’ve activated most summits on 2m, with the occasional jolly using a 20m vertical to see what DX I can pull in. This occasionally results in a struggle to get the required 4 contacts.
This time I will have very little time on the summit. Probably 15-20 minutes on each summit maximum. I want to be sure of qualifying the summits easily & quickly, so this time I plan to take 2m (probably hand held only for any S2S which might pop up) and put together a basic dipole for either 80m, 40m or 60m (not sure which band to use though). What band do you you folks that activate more often than me think I should go for?
Basically I want to get to the summit, smash my way through any pile ups that develop (generating a pile up on each summit would be nice if I can achieve it) but as an absolute minimum get the required 4 contacts and get on to the next summit as quickly as possible. I don’t really want to be messing about switching between multiple bands. I want to get through as many summits as possible in the shortest space of time (obviously without killing myself or the dog), as three days isn’t long…
If you had to choose just one band (out of 80, 60 & 40) to activate this region, which would you choose?
Here’s my analysis:-
60m is significantly quieter without much of the silliness that you get on 40m or 80m, and is routinely used to good effect by several activators. Looking at the MUF charts, it does seem that this band might struggle at certain times of the day though. This makes me nervous about relying on this band when I’m very short of time.
40m seems to pull in a lot of European stations when I listen to other activations. On the other hand it can get very busy and often gets a little silly. It’s not unusual to hear QRO stations setting up on an adjacent channel & wiping out the QRP station, and people shouting over the top of each other (but it may mean that I will most likely get the contacts quickly & easily). It is also the smallest antenna (easiest to set up & takes up the least space on the summit)
80m seems to be a little more civilised but again can get crowded at certain times of the day. Unfortunately the antenna is also longer, taking up more space on the summit.
I’m swaying towards cutting the dipole for 80m but wanted to see what others think. I could be swayed towards 60m or possibly even 40m.
Obviously if I had the time I would work all bands.