Which Band for a single-band CW SOTA TRX in Central Europe?

I’m wonder about the best band for a single-band CW QRP-TRX for activations in Central Europe.

It should be usable in all seasons on different daytimes (about 8 … 17 UTC) for a qualification.

In the last 5 years I had some activations only 40 m brought me success and in some cases only 20 m (could use only a short antenna). But all this was in SSB. What are your experiences using CW? Should I trust in 40 m, 30 m or 20 m?

Thanks for your recommendations.

73 Ludwig



If I had to choose only one band, it would be 30M. Round-the-clock possibilities, and no contests.

All Best, Ken, K6HPX


I agree 100%, 30 metres has been my favourite band for many many years and it is my preferred band for SOTA. I hope to make good use of it on my upcoming expedition to Portugal with my good friend Phil G4OBK, look out for me on 10.1195 between 4th & 14th October.

73 Victor GI4ONL (soon to be CT7/G4ONL/P)



These thoughts also led to my QCX mini for 30m.

73 Armin


30m was my go-to band for a long time. I do like 20m though, it has plenty of space. Very occasionally a major contest will see activity above 14.060, but generally the segment just above the QRP watering hole is contest free. Only on a very few occasions has propagation been so bad that QSOs could not be had.

40m is at times frustrating, on a weekend it can be difficult to find a clear frequency and during a contest; just forget it!

I tend to agree that 30m has a lot of positives in it’s favour. There’s a fair bit of space, although I have found 30m quite busy at times (contest weekends when non contesters seek refuge). 30m is generally open to somewhere, sometimes long, sometimes short.

I haven’t counted but I probably have an even split of single band rigs for 30m and 20m.

73, Colin


Totally agree with other postings. 30m is my favourite SOTA band because when I activate 1) the propagation is always fair to excellent, 2) I never have a problem getting lots of QSOs all over Europe using 5W to 10W of CW, 3) the chasers are [almost] always polite, and 4) you don’t need a large antenna (like the l.f. bands).

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You have to be careful because our experiences are based on operating from the edge of Europe. i.e. we’re at the edge (like Ireland) and so 20m from Northern England / Scotland gives lots of propagation into parts of Europe with high chaser density. I can remember back in 2015 I think operating 20m from PA/PA-004 and the skip was all wrong on 20m so my signal was weak where there were lots of SOTA chasers. The situation has improved now with many more active chasers further to the East of Europe.

I’d plump for 30m especially from Germany as it gives a nice skip zone that hits places with lots of active chasers. 30m QCX? And if you want to work shorter distances, a 40 or even 80m QCX.

Then you’ll need an antenna…


Hi Ludwig,

In CW activation you can go on 30m for sure and try also 60m, no contest too :+1:

73, Éric


30m for me, always reliable.


I would personally choose 40m myself, 30m second choice and 20m last due to the band being closed more often within Europe.

73 Phil

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Another vote for 30m from me - my go-to band on HF as it offers great opportunities around EU and further afield. The possibility of heavy QRM from contest stations on 40m would put me off making it my one and only band.


I’d pick 30m, too. For SSB I’d probably pick 40m, but on CW I often find 40m is just too busy; hard to find a clear spot, and too easy to be swamped by someone else nearby (or even on the same frequency). Second choice would probably be 60m, but that does limit possible chasers somewhat, and also requires more antenna.

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Time of day makes an appreciable difference as i’m sure you know.

Activating G/.NP-010:- one morning last weekend:-
7mhz between 0950 to 1020 = 23 QSOs, mostly UK, followed by Spain, Germany & Austria
10mhz I only got 3 QSOs including HB9 and one to Russia.

And in the afternoon of the same day I activated G/NP-017
14mhz between 1400 & 1425 I had 12 QSOs to EA. HA, F, HB( russia & Romania
10mhz between 1437 & 1519 I had 37 QSOs to F, EAlDL CT DL OZ, DLHB9 italy, Romania, russia etc.,

I only used CW at 5w or less.

I don’t think the figures are necesarily a true reflection on propogation though.

Activating 7mhz 1st meant that those 23 QSOs had on 7mhz had no need to call me on 10mhz or 14mhz. later on - assuming they’d get heard by me.

On balance I’d probably choose 14mhz first, especially as during the afternoons it probably has the biggest coverage - I’ve only ever worked USA, Canada and middle eastern stations on 14mhz and in the afternoon.

But as others have said - there’s always space on 10mhz and you won’t get jumped on by some megawatt contester. :crazy_face:

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… though I did once encounter an almost 20kHz-wide swathe of 30m full of DX-chasers all after a rare(-ish) DX who was working split and hopping around… :roll_eyes:


Thank you very much to all the readers who gave me recommendations.

10 from 12 take 30 m at first, a clear advice.

In winter I will build from a kit and test in 2022. Hope to work you.

73, Ludwig


You hit the nail. By chance I’ve got a second hand and “unused” kit.

Really? What else should I drag to the summit? :wink:

73, Ludwig


Yes, but which kind of antenna? :wink:


My advise also goes to 30m. In addition to all the things already said, I’d say it’s the band with the nicest skip for you to be able to be chased by hams in Germany and also much more distant ones like in UA9, SM, CT, EA, SV…
Regarding DX, you will have better chances on 20m, but I can’t help mentioning the USA activators I’ve chased on 30m and the VK7 who chased me early in the morning on 30m while I was activating in EA1/CR. However, from your initial post, it didn’t seem to me that working DX is a priority for you. You said your main interest is qualifying the activation.
On my own interest, I’d much prefer you to activate on 30m and have my good chances to chase you, rather than 40 or 60m, where I usually have more dificulties to hear activators from Germany.



I could use my 6 m vertical wire on my 7.5 m pole, good on 20 m and 15 m and sufficient on 40 m. On the lower side a 2nd wire goes vertical elevated. The length depends on the band. I could optimise the length for 30 m. I use this antenna with a small tuner with low losses. I will simulate this configuration and check the radiation angle.

But maybe I will use a new to built EFHW using the mentioned pole.

73, Ludwig

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Guru, that’s right. But depending on the situation (chance for DX and not a hike above my limits :wink:) I will bring my current FT-817 to the summit. The single-band CW TRX is only for some purpose. And it’s for fun - activating with a home (made) reassembled TRX.

73, Ludwig

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