10-Meter Mayhem: Taking Advantage of the Hottest Band in Town

It’s an exciting time to be a fan of the 10-meter band as hams have been feasting on openings the likes of which haven’t been available for years. We’ll call it “10-Meter Mayhem.” If you’re a long-suffering ham who has cursed the dearth of sunspot activity, you may call it, “It’s about darn time!”

A recent Facebook Live exchange between Tim Duffy, K3LR, DX Engineering CEO, and guest Troy Blair, KE8DRR, DX Engineering customer/technical support specialist, is indicative of the DXing bonanza hams are finding on 10 meters as of late—compliments of Cycle 25:

Tim: What do you think, Troy, about 10 meters?

Troy: It’s the most open it’s been since I’ve been in the hobby. I’ve been able to make contacts all over Central America. I’ve got Great Britain and Scotland on 10 meters.

Tim: Yeah, and it was really good this past weekend in the CQ Worldwide Contest.  

When asked on DX Engineering’s Facebook page about their DXing achievements on 10 meters over the years, some folks noted that some of their most impressive contacts have been made during the current cycle, including: 

  • Central Visayas from the Oregon Coast
  • CW contact to Chad from a small station in Illinois using a vertical
  • Falkland Islands on 100 watts
  • Djibouti from Minnesota
  • Spain from New Zealand
  • Samoa, Reunion, and Banaba

10-Meter Contesting

If you missed the DARC 10-Meter Contest just held on January 8, here are a few excellent opportunities to jump on the 10-meter bandwagon with like-minded operators in the days ahead:

  • NRAU (Nordic Radio Amateur Union) 10M Activity Contest: February 2, 1800Z to 1900Z (CW); 1900Z to 2000Z (SSB); 2000Z to 2100Z (FM); and 2100Z to 2200Z (Digital) 
  • 10-10 International Winter Contest, SSB: February 4, 0001Z to February 5, 2359Z. 10-10 International also hosts a 10-meter digital contest in April, a CW contest in May, a weak-signal event in July, an SSB contest in August, all-mode and CW events in October, and another digital contest in November. From its website, “Ten-Ten International Net, or 10-10 for short, is an organization of amateur radio operators dedicated to maintaining high levels of amateur radio communications on the 10-meter amateur band (28.0-29.7 MHz).” 

Want to get involved in the 10-meter fun? DX Engineering carries antennas and other gear to enhance your 10-meter operating prowess. We’ll be highlighting some of that equipment later this month on OnAllBands. In the meantime, you’ll find transceivers, antennas, filters, cables, and more for 10M at

Some 10-Meter Operating Tips from the DX Engineering Team

Longtime ham Scott Jones, N3RA, DX Engineering sales manager, has seen the high and lows of operating on 10 meters over the years. He shared some insights on this favorite band with OnAllBands.

“Ten meters is a fun band. At this time of the sunspot cycle, we’ll have normal daytime DX propagation which is great fun. The band has HF and VHF characteristics and modes of propagation (F, Es, TE, Tropo, ground wave, MS, auroral, etc.) which makes it quite interesting. Here are a couple of interesting things I’ve noticed about the band over time.”

  • There is sometimes a neat opening in the mid-afternoon to the OH/SM/LA/TF, etc. area. The audio can sometimes have a slight fluttery sound to it. This is a little after most of the rest of EU is gone and the bulk of the opening has shifted to Central and South America and maybe even some Pacific. It helps to have directional antennas to point at, say, 20-25 degrees to listen for them.  
  • In the early AM, you can sometimes get some over-the-pole activity and the Middle East/VU is available until just after their sunset.
  • After sunset and the opening to Central/SA, JA, and the Pacific is kind of done, try for some ground wave openings and sporadic-E openings. I’ve listened at 9 pm when nothing is really normally active and heard a few stations in WPA/OH/WV/WNY/MI on ground wave and then the next level out. The opening can be very short, of course, but it’s there.  
  • As with many things, higher activity levels allow us to “hear” openings on the band that are probably always there but no one is on to experience them. Even though some people might not use the FT8 modes, one amazing thing they provide is incredible amounts of data on band openings and activity, automatically and around the clock. This can be visualized on PSK Reporter, for instance. Even if you don’t ever intend to do those modes, that site is a treasure trove of band data.  
  • One final piece of advice: If you’re not already in one, join an amateur radio club and you may find some people who have lots of experience on 10 meters. 

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