The Magic Band

Maybe that should be the name of the oft-proposed SOTA band, if it ever happens (which I very much doubt).

Anyway, I use the phrase to refer to my fun on 50MHz on my last two activations, rather than continuing to flog the dead horse referred to above. Tuesday evening, 22nd July 2014, was the 6m UKAC. I was set up well early on The Cloud G/SP-015, so had a listen around. The CW end of the band was busy - but with G stations. Nonetheless, I took the opportunity to make a few contacts with them in testing mode ahead of the contest start time.

Once 1900z came around, I stayed with CW to kick things off. In fact my first six contest QSOs were on CW, and by the end of the contest, an unprecedented 8 of my 70 QSOs were CW. DX came through courtesy of one LA station and two SM stations. Others like OH and CT were heard, but I didn’t manage to work them.

It was all good fun, if a little noisy and frantic on several occasions. After the 2130z end time, the Tall Trees Contest Group members converged on 50.245MHz SSB for a natter net as has become custom on UKAC and 80m CC nights. In total, I finished with 73 QSOs, with 62 SSB and 11 CW (including three QSOs not in the contest).


I had a bit of time to kill on Wednesday 23rd July 2014, and the weather was stunning, so off to Gun G/SP-013 it was. The main objectives were to test some solar chargers (for smartphones and games consoles) and consider the HF antenna of choice ahead of a planned backpacking expedition with Liam this summer.

The antenna being used on this activation was a 30m end-fed halfwave, coupled to a Micro Z unit, giving me access to several bands. A summary of the QSOs made is as follows:

40m CW: 4 (including 3 S2S)
40m SSB: 6 (including 2 S2S)
30m CW: 3 (including 2 S2S)
20m CW: 14 (including 4 S2S)
20m PSK31: 1
20m SSB: 5 (including 2 S2S)
6m CW: 8
6m SSB: 1
6m FM: 2
2m FM: 6 (including 2 S2S)
SOTA activations SWLd (logged as heard but not worked): 4

Total: 50 QSOs including 16 S2S

It was towards the end of the activation when I decided to have a dabble on the “Magic Band”. Only thing was, I didn’t have the delta loop for 6m, as I had used for contesting the previous night. However, I managed to tune the Micro Z and halfwave system, and it worked.

6m brought 11 contacts, into EA, G, OE, OH, S5 and SM. But just after 5pm, I decided that it was too hot, the pollen count was too high, and I needed a beer! The End.


In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,

Spurred on by your alert I jury rigged a dipole for 6m last night but although I could hear sundry continental stations from SM to I at reasonable strengths, I could hear virtually nothing from the UK, including yourself. So more like the mysterious band than the magic one for me last night… but interesting enough to perhaps rig up something a bit better.

73 de Paul G4MD

In reply to M1EYP:
Hi Tom,
Thanks for the contact on 20m SSB yesterday. I was testing a new antenna set-up. I had taken my Diamond RHM8B whip and adapted a camera tripod with counterpoise to mount it on. The Diamond normally has to fasten directly to the BNC socket on the front of the FT-817. This will be my antenna set up that I use on Wendelstein DL/MF-079 tomorrow as the summit is often full of tourists and hence puting out a dipole set-up would be difficult.
On the question of 6m. I used to operate on the “magic band” in Australia, but now that I have moved to DL, I first have to apply for effectively an NOV and there are limited power and frequency restrictions in Germany. In any case I hope to get back onto 6m from my home station if not also from some summits in the next couple of months.
73 Ed DD5LP / VK2JI

In reply to DD5LP:

“In any case I hope to get back onto 6m from my home station if not also from some summits in the next couple of months.”

Hi Ed, hope you get back on 6m ok. I think they still have the “no mobile or portable operations & horizontal polarisation only” clause in the NOV in Germany. Ive not been on 6m for years but used to enjoy working into VK via F2. I also remember the frustration of listening to the VK6 beacon pounding in for hours every day, but no contacts because the nearest 6m op was over 1000 miles away. Too hot here for SOTA so Im making a dent in the 120 bottles of German wine I liberated from my trip to the Pfalz. 73.

In reply to G1INK:
Hi Steve, I knew about the horizontal only and power limited operation but did not realise that /P is not allowed. Given that most TV has moved away from 50 MHz hopefully all restrictions will be able to be removed soon. I have sent an enquiry to the DARC in any case, to see what I need to do to operate on both 50 & 70 MHz. Lets hope they get back to me before the 70MHz “test period” comes to an end!
73 Ed.

In contrast, 80m could hardly be described as a magic band. I know those elite DXer types get a lot of joy from it, but I’ve always found it to be some mixture of hard-work, boring and predictable. (Now where is that tin hat?).

However, those qualities are just fine for the 80m Club Contests, and it was the Data session on Thursday 24th July 2014. I headed for The Cloud G/SP-015 and set up a little short of the summit. Using my Samsung Galaxy Siii smartphone with DroidPSK (which now supports both PSK31 and PSK63), I made 14 QSOs in the contest, all on 80m PSK63. Now that doesn’t sound too good, but it at least enables Jimmy M0HGY to simultaneously enter from the home shack, and so the overall contribution to the Tall Trees CG effort is higher.

After the contest session, the Tall Trees participants had a net on 80m SSB, and then I held the frequency to work some SOTA chasers. A total of 15 QSOs on 80m SSB. Finally, just a single contact (with Aage LA1ENA) on 80m CW. So this 80m activation netted a total of thirty 80m contacts, not bad overall.


Back to the magic band, and a bit of experimenting with different antenna designs. From The Cloud G/SP-015 on Monday 28th July 2014, I found the band to be as flat as a pancake. The beacons that could be heard were GB3MCB (St Austell), GB3BAA (Tring), GB3BUX (Buxton) and EI0SIX (Enniskerry).

A couple of local contacts, one each on CW and SSB meant that a “mini” activation of just two QSOs was recorded.