Which SSB contests weekends do you avoid?

Dear all (in Europe)

Since still in professional life and not yet retired, my SOTA activities take place mostly on weekends. My antenna is made for 20 m and 40 m and I’m always working in SSB.

Which further world wide or Europe wide SSB contests beside CQ WW (end of October) or WPX (last weekend) do you avoid for SOTA activities, because all frequencies are then full of noisy or splattering QRO stations minimizing SOTA fun?

Thanks in advance for your support,
and vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

Look up the WA7BNM contest calendar.

Here is the link to contests…


The other obvious comment is to use 30m,17m or 60m while a contest is on you are trying to a avoid. Also use a different mode I.e CW during an Ssb only contest.


I agree it is a bit frustrating for the weekend only activator when the big contests are on. Really, only CQ WW and WPX are the only ones that completely swamp the bands (well, 20m anyway). The obvious solution is CW - contesters still appear to respect band plans here and 30m is great for SOTA too.

73 John EI3KA

During SSB contest weekends, your options are limited if you cannot operate CW or Digital. 60m phone may be an option in your country, and there is 17m and 12m, although the sun must cooperate for decent propagation on those bands.

Other than your aforementioned CQ contests, I’d imagine it could be difficult on the ARRL DX weekend between strong US/VE stations coming in and local stations trying to work US/VE, but your mileage may vary. I’m not sure what it’s like over there that weekend, just how nuts it is over here.

Don’t forget, if you want to activate on a big contest weekend, contacts with contest stations still count. Usually stations are begging for contacts on Sunday, especially Sunday morning and you can likely find a few stations with very good ears to get your required number of contacts.

  • Evan

More bands would help you Markus. 80/17/12 spring to mind. 80m antennas will be large and daytime D-layer absorbtion can limit its usefulness. But a band that lets you work some locals will be an improvement over 100% contest QRM on 20/40.

17/12 will be free of contest stations. But right now they’re free of all stations as there is often little to no propagation on them. They will improve and I would suggest adding 17m as a minimum.

Being SSB only limits you. CW requires learning and practice, you cannot just add it to your arsenal like a new band but it would let you escape some of the contest mayhem.

Digital modes offer an escape especially as you can go onto 30m and escape content madness. Needs a computer of some kind and you need to practice digi modes with that kit before trying it on a summt.

Don’t overlook VHF & UHF. You can do lots from a summit with a small Yagi. Just needs a bit more publicity to get people listening. You could aslo consider setting up some regular microwave activations using the cheap but very worthwhile SG Labs transverters. I’m sure the few people in DL playing on 23cms would jump at the chance to try for regular contacts into HB9.

Finally, you could admit defeat and just try and work as many contest stations as you can. At least you can go out and activate and get the QSOs even if not with normal SOTA chasers.

Dear all

Thanks for your hints, links and suggestions so far. They are all well estimated. Brushing up CW is a project for later, due to lack of personal resources at present - I’m looking forward to retirement, hi. 17 m has indeed been a place to escape provided the band is open.

Considering the mentioned limitations at present as given, my question is quite focused on avoiding contest crowds on the band. Therefore I’d invite you to name further contest days that create a difficult environment for 20/40 m SSB activity from your personal experience here in Europe. I know when contests take place and know now a good resource to look them up, but I’d like to know which are the heavy ones since I simply don’t know that.

Many thanks and vy 73 de Markus, HB9DIZ

Dear Markus,

last Sunday I was on DM/TH-832 despite the CQ WW WPX contest. I returned with 6 S2S-QSOs from 4 summits and just for fun worked a few contest stations. So even during major contests, you can have fun with SOTA.

Other contests filling up the bands:
14.-15.7.18 IARU HF World Championship
1.-2.9.18 IARU Region 1 Fieldday Contest

Edit 8.4.18:
7.4.-8.4.18 SP DX Contest - turned out to be filling up 40 m SSB completely, impact on 20 m was less due to skip zone.

73 de Michael, DB7MM