Where are my chasers?

The topic could as well read “Bandplan for OH activations”.

I have been chasing summits rather actively during past winter. Many callsigns go by first name basis already. I have enjoyed a lot. Thank you for that.

So I thought it is time to higher the stakes and start planning my own activations for the next summer season. The snow is now finally melting really fast and summits become accessible within few weeks time. I am familiar with field ops, ad-hoc wire antennas and hiking in the woods.

So, I have all the equipment and basic skills to activate some summits that have never been activated before. I was pleasantly surprised when I did the initial map study today and found that the nearest “new one” is only about 40 minutes drive from my home QTH (according to google maps route planner).

I like to plan my ops beforehand. So my next question in planning was who are my chasers? Who they are and what are the bands and modes I should prefer during the activation?

In order to understand this I went to the great SOTA database and collected the data from the sample of 15 past activations from the same OH/JS region.

Results of the study:

80m : 9%
40m : 0,5% !!!
30m : 16%
20m : 45%
17m : 25%
15m : 4%
12m : 0
10m : 1%

n=372 qsos

(the rest was VHF)

So I think it is safe to assume that almos all of those 80m QSOs are local OH.
Majority of QSOs were on 20m as my gut feeling already told me. I was a bit surprised about the 30m popularity and definitely will pay attention to that band during my activations. Also 17m seems a good candidate.

But what was really striking and suprising to me was the total lack of 40m! This band seems to be very popular among activators in general. I think this is also a good reminder to all activators that 40m band during daytime is not good between OH and EU!

Just some food for thought.

73s toni oh3t

In reply to OH3T:

Your results make interesting reading Toni. I think your sample size is perhaps too small at 15 activations / 372 QSOs, and it should be feasible to repeat the study but taking all (all-time) OH SOTA activations as the sample data.

Having said that, your results above do reflect fairly well the distribution of OH chasers throughout the spectrum in my own activator log.


In reply to OH3T:

Toni I’ve heard you many times on 20m working SOTAs. I’ve never worked any OH SOTA stations since becoming active last October. I’m sure 20m would be the most reliable band for QSOs with North America.

73, Bill W4ZV

In reply to OH3T:

Hi Toni,

Thanks for the short QSO yesterday. I did not find your call sign from the database, so just as reference how to upload the logs there


So far there has not been too many activators in the OH-land. The band statistics you are showing is about 50 - 60 % due to my operating style. Usually I start from a 17 m or 20 m band and then move down to 30 m and 40 m. I did not have success in operating 80 m or 15 m bands so far. I do not know why.

Starting from 17/20 m has been a good strategy since there are many active chasers in central Europe and in UK to fill the log rapidly. Actually yesterday too many on F/JU-003 30 m band for the ATS3B, could not really copy the call signs anymore from the pile-up. The few 40 m QSOs are mostly to Sweden/Norway/Russia or there might be even some to Finland.

I recommend activations now before the mosquitoe season.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

In reply to F5VGL:

In reply to OH3T:

Starting from 17/20 m has been a good strategy since there are many
active chasers in central Europe and in UK to fill the log rapidly.

I recommend activations now before the mosquitoe season.

The 20m strategy works well in Norway also, there are few chasers here, so most of my activations has been 20m.

In Finland, you have the OFF! Mosquito repellant, whit enough deet to work. In norway, the limit is 20%, and thats 15% to little to work on the nordic mosquitos…
Last time i was i Finland, i emptied a store for the red cap OFF! :slight_smile: i still have some… And it works!

In reply to OH3T:
Hello Toni, and all of you…
For my part I activate mostly on 30 m and I’ve contact 3 OH’s stations, I thinks this is a good band for Europe and more if you stay long time… And less noisy than 40 m !!!
Have a good time and I wish to contact you soon
Best regards
"Tof" F5UBH

In reply to F5VGL:

Thanks for the short QSO yesterday. I did not find your call sign from
the database, so just as reference how to upload the logs there

I recommend activations now before the mosquitoe season.

Thanks Jaakko. Yes I know the sotadata, but have been bad citizen and not uploading until yesterday and the rest of my data today to the database. So that should be now up to date. I am eternally greatful for the batch upload feature! :slight_smile:

Regarding mosquitoes… yes they are very nasty indeed, but I am very used to them. My favourite repellent is not OFF due to its nasty smell. I prefer the new brand “Autan” that came to the Finnish market last year. Works very well, does not stain or smell and is very effective.

And final note on bands and sample size. I know my sample was small, but also the number of activations in OH/JS was reasonably small, so the data is heavily influenced by the operating practices by a small number of activators. Having said that I think my sample size was big enough to give statistical evidence from past activations on most favourable bands. Combining that with the general knowledge on how bands are behaving during daytime, I think that gives a reasonable starting point for planning the activation.

73s toni oh3t

Well… enough planning. Now it is finally time to put the theories to the test.

Tomorrow Saturday afternoon OH/JS-066.
Only a one pointer, but never activated before.
Call: OG3X

Ops: myself, Hannu OH3KW, Pekka OH3GDO.

First activation for all three of us.

Plan and some notes:

We are first timers on SOTA, so please bear with us.

Some of the equipment is first time in the field. Expect failures on the go.

We will be testing antennas, radios, operators, etc.

We hope to make some qsos as well. Rigs 2 x KX3, wire antennas, small amp to give extra boost with dedicated battery.

Unfortunately the QRPTTF is way too late for us in the north to participate, so current plan is to skip that. We try to follow the Sotawatch for s2s. If you hear us please drop us a note. If you hear a summit calling us please give them priority.

IF everything goes according to the plan AND we get my newly constructed 2 el quad beam for 17/20/30 up to the trees, with my newly constructed antenna launcer we should have reasonably good ears for s2s signals. Lots of ifs there :slight_smile:

Will post a report later.


In reply to OH3T:

That is quite close to Nokia :slight_smile: Anyway be careful on small roads if there is any ice or snow left. I had been stuck in these slippery roads sometimes in winter activations. Good luck.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL

Will post a report later.

Trees were only about 10 meters high.
Bad antenna selection. Loop was simply too low.
A doublet or vertical with fiberglass mast would have been much better.
We got to the summit way too late. The best propagation window was already gone. 17m was almost dead, 20m was full of contest qrm, and launch angle for 30m was way too high due to low trees.

And… a very nasty hailstorm surprised us in the midst of installing the antennas, so we didn’t think redoing the setup at that point. I went hiding under my survival blanket and set up the station gear. I started with ssb on 20, moved to 17 ssb, switched to cw 20->17->30. Kept on calling cq for 30 mins with no replies.

At this point the groud was already white from hails and the temperature was dropping close to zero so it was time to pack the gear.

At home I checked RBN and found a nice round number of skimmer spots, ZERO!

After that I checked radio, tuner, antenna cables, made couple of qsos with the gear with no problems.

I’ll be back :slight_smile:

73s Toni

In reply to OH3T:

Bad luck. I did not hear you on 17/20 m SSB and did not know where to listen CW. Maybe 30/40 m would have been better in those propagation conditions, but then HF QRP is never 100 % sure. Anyway try to keep it simple to avoid some basic mistakes like untuned dipole, broken wires, bad coax connections, dead batteries etc.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL