Although things have been a little quiet here on the SOTA front, 10GHz has proved to be quite viable provided one is not too far from the centres of activity (which tend to be from the Midlands down towards the South).
I have placed a copy of the presentation that I gave on lightweight 10GHz operation on the web recently. The file is quite large. In particular, the slide showing the sorts of distances one might expect may well prove useful to anyone contemplating 10GHz SOTA. The presentation was recorded and hopefully the full video will be available before long. Email me for details if you wish to see this: email@example.com
Microwavers have not really developed an interest in SOTA yet but they are interested in rare locator squares. Lightweight operators have much to contribute here as almost all the upland squares are rare on 10GHz. For example IO72 and IO73 are in demand because there are few if any good microwave sites in these squares that can be reached by vehicle. Thus they have remained rare for many years. My activations of Moel Hebog (IO72), Snowdon and Yr Aran (both IO73) were the first time these hills had been done on 10GHz for at least 10 years – and possibly more like 20 years! Their relative remoteness from 10GHz population centres makes them a challenge and although I had a few contacts, many more still need these squares (particularly in the South East of England).
Distances of up to 200km are common and occasionally one gets lucky. On Monday I managed a contact into France on 10GHz (502km) using rainscatter. That was not from a SOTA summit though.
10GHz gear tends to be heavier than equivalent equipment for the lower bands so teaming up with someone else might be a good idea as this would allow a better station to be carried up into the hills. My own 10GHz station, although heavier than I would like, is still light enough to make significant walks possible. For example my 10GHz Snowdon trip involved the Pyg Track ascent, a descent via the Snowdon Ranger path and thence a walk back into Llanberis. Quite a good walk with my 10 year old daughter and 10GHz station.
I can’t imagine that 10GHz SOTA will ever become very popular and at present even making four contacts is a significant challenge. It is however quite interesting to be doing something a little different.