Upper Bands on SOTA

Just want to encourage everyone to give the upper bands a try when possible. I’ve noticed that currently, very few Activators bother to try 10m, 12m, or even 15m. Yes, the current solar cycle status makes these bands far less productive these days, but there are contacts to be made for those who are willing to try.

I almost always am able to pull out a few QSO’s on 10 meters. Sometimes they are limited to stations within a hundred-mile radius or so, but other times I’ll get some nice long distance contacts and those are especially satisfying.

For example, this past Saturday Nov 3, while activating in Arizona, I worked stations on 10 meters in Quebec, New York, New Jersey, North Carolina, New Hampshire, and Florida. Some of those were with 5 watts from the KX2 internal batteries. 12 meters was hot too, and 15m was wide open with DX.

In the past year I have worked New Zealand (thanks ZL1BYZ!) several times on 10 meters. A few weeks ago he was booming in with a 599 signal on 10. Often times I can see from propagation sites that show digital mode reception reports that 10, 12, and 15 are open, yet when I call CQ there are very few chasers who respond. I suspect that everyone assumes the bands are dead. And looking at the SOTA NEWS, it appears that almost none of the Activators are even trying 10 or 12 meters.

I realize time is limited when we are on the summits, so you may only operate on a few bands. And sometimes the antennas in use are not designed for the upper bands. On the other hand, a 10 meter antenna can be much smaller than a 40 meter antenna!

Anyway, please give it a try! I’d hate to see these bands disappear from our privileges due to lack of use. And you may find, like I do, that the unpredictability of the propagation actually makes it fun :slight_smile:

73 es cu on 10/12/15 (and the rest of the bands),

Keith KR7RK


Keith, predictions suggest that 12msy work for me from here in EA8. I have brought the 12m antenna to try it.

It was good to work you S2S the other day on 15m!

I actually prefer 15m to 20m as I tend to get some big ranges out of it when it is on. That said, for me 15m is either wide open to the South Pacific or across North America or it is totally closed. I had that happen to me quite literally on Friday as I also picked up ZL1BYZ and a bunch of other contacts all over the place on one summit and then got zero’ed on 15m an hour and a half later. (It could have been the heavy sleet on the second summit was messing things up though.)

10 Metres is my favourite band but for some reason I have never tried it SOTA style. I just may have to make up a 10/20 linked dipole.

17M often is open during our afternoon, quite a few JA activators are about on this band and getting good results.

15M can be either open or dead as a door nail as already noted.

Hi Keith - I had to sort of laugh at the title of your post, as we GM SOTA-ears wile-away-the-metres on 13cms. GM13 - :grinning:

Though I must say I do enjoy a bit of 10M FM.



Hi Keith,

I’ve worked ZL1BYZ, a number of times too. However, above 20m would be extremely tough right now.

From “G”, ZL1BYZ is 11300 miles or 18300km short path and there would be little to no chance of working him on 10m from EU. Probably easier to work him on 40m.

When 10m has opened this year, working into EU was easy but DX was a real struggle. Band conditions were way down on a few years ago.

As for the 15m band, my experience over the last couple of years, is the same as Nick VK2AOH, feast or famine.


And in SOTA we need good ears!:grinning: Actually quite a few of us have adopted the term “Sotari” that our Italian participants use.

10 and 12 in the northern hemisphere will probably soon start to benefit from the winter sporadic E season. 15 seems to have sharply defined skip zones, some activations come through at a good signal level while others are inaudible.

Some years ago (2013-14) we ran a 12 metre challenge which brought a lot of activity to the band. Perhaps we could run this challenge again?

I’ll start the chant. Bring back the 12m Challenge! Bring back the 12m Challenge!

(Disclaimer: I’m fairly new to SOTA so I didn’t participate last time. But it sounds like fun.)

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All together, now…

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