Three most popular SOTA Bands (HF)?

I’d appreciate your informed opinions on which are currently the 3 most popular SOTA bands (HF)?

I tend to think that 40M and 20M are the most popular, but not sure if 30M or 17M would be the third. Perhaps because of SSB, 17M should be third?

Because of current propagation, I wouldn’t think 15M is a candidate.

Your thoughts?

Thanks & 73,
Barry N1EU

7MHZ	:	1445045
14MHz	:	763839
144MHZ	:	735147
10MHZ	:	318586
5MHZ	:	70141
24MHZ	:	63870
433MHZ	:	54191
18MHz	:	53217
21MHZ	:	43064
28MHZ	:	39834
3.5MHZ	:	38809
50MHZ	:	20457

Hi Barry,

My recent experience of 15m has been garbage. Heard virtually nothing from the summits.

A little bit on 10m, but certainly not for the SOTA DXers


73 Mike

Recently have found 15 is one of the bands like 10m is either there or not.
But for myself , when 20m is not serving me at 2000km plus say as Romanian and Greek sotas.
They can appear nicely on 15m as had nice bit of ES on 15m other day to a OE sota coming in rather loudly.

So if your in Greece or Romania or more than 2000km from me give 15m a try as i just might hear you.
But end of day most of my Sota contacts have been on 40 and 20m. But again caught USA and Australia sotas on 15m.

Nice to see sotas popping up on 15m and 10m during summer months under possible Es conditions and always have a flick to those bands if seen on the sota watch. Because you just never know due to times conditions have surprised me and contacts have been made. never write it off surprises do happen and great when they do.


1 Like

Barry, these are the logged counts by band for 1-jan-2016 to last week.

Band	Count
7MHz	102983
14MHz	84506
10MHz	21458
18MHz	5657
28MHz	5219
21MHz	4519
5MHz	2738
3.5MHz	684
24MHz	298
1.8MHz	109

That shows that 30m is more popular than 17m by a factor of approx. 4.


Thanks everyone! Andy, those statistics are VERY helpful and appreciated.

73, Barry N1EU

Barry, these statistics are instantly available from the database, click on “view results” and then “facts and figures”, I just followed this route and found that since Andy gave 7MHZ as 1445045 it has now moved on to 1445107 and by the time you check it for yourself it will probably have moved on again!


Hi Barry - and others - you need to consider the region, as well as licencing conditions in the region being observed. Something that is true for North America is likely to be different in South Africa, Australia or Japan for example.

You also need to look at who are the activators, if there is a large portion of active, activators with a Foundation Licence and you are looking at Australia, 20m won’t factor as large as the Foundation licence cannot operate on 20m - they basically have 40m, 15m and 10m - so for that group, that may be the most popular HF bands for SOTA.

73 Ed.

Indeed so here is 2016 broken down by continent:


Band	#QSO
14MHz	30413
7MHz	9690
10MHz	4496
18MHz	2234
21MHz	947
28MHz	685
24MHz	15
3.5MHz	8
5MHz	3


Band	#QSOs
7MHz	12638
14MHz	1703
28MHz	1476
21MHz	257
3.5MHz	154
10MHz	115
18MHz	56
24MHz	2
5MHz	1


Band	#QSOs
7MHz	78025
14MHz	51135
10MHz	16726
28MHz	2913
5MHz	2734
18MHz	2407
21MHz	1595
3.5MHz	519
24MHz	167
1.8MHz	109

very interesting differences between EU and USA

Thanks Andy,
The APAC table seems to suggest that Australian Foundation licensees have a big impact in that region as the top four bands are bands that those Foundation licensees have access to, while the following bands they don’t.

Hmm, I wonder which APAC country has 60m (5MHZ)? Looking at Wikipedia, there’s one amateur on Somoa but I don’t think they’re in SOTA.

I suspect that 5MHz entry should have been 50MHz perhaps?


I took Andy’s data, normalized to percentages by band and Continents, and created an Excel chart. Helps to visualize the differences for 2016.




It seems to me that 30 meters is a good compromise band between the two “money” bands. Between the three bands (and 2M FM) I can work most anyone from any summit on one band or another.



15m is still good, you just need to get onto it at the right time. As with any band. YMWV…

Then there is the 10/6m challenge which would have skewed the stats.

Ed I think you are right the reported 5mhz contact was mistyped.

Andrew vk1da/vk2uh

From SOTA Database, I noticed that 2M has 19.7% of the total QSOs in the SOTA database, i.e. 2M has a significant percentage of the total SOTA QSOs.

So Andy’s HF data list is only part of the story when looking at “the most popular SOTA bands”. It would be interesting to see the 2M QSO 2016 totals by continent to get a more complete analysis. Note also that QSOs on other bands are almost insignificant when compared to 7, 10, 14, 28, and 144 MHz bands. @MM0FMF


VHF figures for same period 1-jan-2016 to a week ago (or so)


Band	#QSOs
144MHz	4796
433MHz	207
1240MHz	65
220MHz	50
900MHz	39


Band	#QSOs
144MHz	970
50MHz	377
433MHz	195
1240MHz	12


Band	#QSOs
144MHz	30429
433MHz	2144
50MHz	1013
70MHz	183
1240MHz	67

Thanks Andy. Here’s an updated Excel chart showing QSOs by Band by Continent. I added “:All Db QSOs” (from the beginning to now…) as a statistical baseline comparison.

  1. 40m in Europe is logical because of the first hop skip zone encompasses most of Europe. Likewise 2M line-of-site 100 Km or so) encompasses a lot of 2m VHF folks. In Europe 20m is more challenging because the first hop skip zone is outside of Europe.

  2. The opposite is true in NA where 20m first hop skip zones captures a lot of chasers. 40m is a viable Activator band in the eastern NA mostly because of ham chaser density, i.e. lots of chasers in the first hop zone. I’ve not found that to be true in western NA but perhaps that’s just an awareness issue.

  3. 2m FM with a HT when used near major population centers can be a great band for SOTA activators since a lot of folks monitor 146.52 in NA. Great band to also attract a lot of new chasers!



In fact for me 20 metres is my bread-and-butter band for EU chasing. 40m is less satisfactory because of high QRM levels, the chases are there but tend to be buried under local nets so only high signal strength NVIS chasing appears in my log.


Don’t really have a fav three bands
if i can hear it, will work it on any band i cover from 80m to 6m in SSB modes

But most worked for me has to be 40m and 20m followed by 15m and 10m.

40m can be a good one when longer distance is running. Take other afternoon caught sotas in SP and OK at 1400KM and 2 hrs laters getting more localised in ON and DM with the hint of GM. Again I suppose am lucky being in my location as 40m serves me well from small distances too above 1700km.

20m again depends on time of year Es etcs one can get during summer months shorter hops from GM GW and GI and On and PA and some F have been recently added to the scores on the doors at 20m. BUT have noticed at times if am not getting less than 1000km on 20m any thing around 1700 to 2500km from RO and SV comes in but more so in winter and shorter stuff in summer months.but RO and SV does appear nicely at times on 15m during summer months

But end of day It is pot luck on how conditions are running in your favour or not

Golden rule for me keep eye on the watch if reported no matter how stupid it may look. Pop to the freq and see if the signal is riding in or not and have been surprised what i can hear and work at times.