Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

C4fm 4 sota


…not completely. Contacts through repeaters don’t count towards your QSO total but since sota started activators have used them as a handy way to solicit simplex contacts. There is no reason in this modern digital world that there could not be a worldwide SOTA “space” (or spaces") that could be used to co-ordinate activites.

For example, imagine arranging an HF sked with another activator on the other side of the world and then to be able to chat with them on a 2m handy as you both walk up to your respective summits ready for a try on HF. Sounds like fun to me. Our hobby is about communications after all - we should perhaps seek to fully leverage what is already there.

[I should add that SOTA has always been something of a tend setter. It’s hard to imagine now, but at one time SOTA was the only fully online award system with an infrastructure that even now, is still admired by many.]


I was about to make a similar point, but saw that CWI beat me to it! SOTA is a powerful vehicle with which to initiate momentum in any particular area of AR.

So IF there is a lack of activity/interest in simplex Fusion, then a few of us regularly activating on this mode will begin to alter that. So far, since I started on Friday night, there is already one keen and active chaser chasing me on Fusion and logging his chases in the DB.


@M1EYP I have Fusion capabilities at my QTH, so should be able to chase you (albeit 5w). My father (G4OYX) has the full 50 watts available to him, so when in G/WB, G/SP, G/CE or GW we should be able to give you a possible call from Ludlow.

Good idea to get the local repeaters in the rig, the three we are responsible for in our area are 2m FM/C4FM GB3VM, 70cm FM/C4FM GB3VN and DSTAR GB7VO, most of us sit on these 3, and the rigs are in AMS, so will switch depending on what mode you’re in. We can then of course, QSY to a simplex frequency and work you for SOTA.


In terms of my own experience with DV, I have used all 3 - Fusion has the best audio in my eyes, for internet linking DSTAR wins as it is can all be done with a Raspberry Pi (no expensive PC to power up) and DMR is good as the Chinese manufacturers offer cheap rigs for this! So they’re all good in their own way, it really depends on what you like and what is most popular in your local area.

I have an FT1D for fusion, but mine is mainly used for APRS on FM, but I like the rig as it seems fairly simple to use and seems well made.

My two pence

Matt G8XYJ


Now Matt I’m not sure if you should be visiting a doctor soon. Me-thinks your body’s wired up wrong :upside_down_face: ?


Jack " ping-pong, bing-bong, all gone - oops just lost my digital - ran out of sync :smile: "


Great info Matt! I’ll definitely put that to the test and shout into VM next time out.

Putting yours and Richard’s thoughts together, there’s probably a way of announcing an activation on one Fusion repeater, and all interested SOTA chasers being notified via their local Fusion repeater. More manual-reading required…


Something like that is certainly possible. Also it is possible to set up a cross-mode space (room/net) so users with DMR/D-Star/Fusion (and possibly even FM) can all join in. SOTA has lots of technical folks who might relish such a challenge.


I hadn’t thought of that. 10 Mar VK/EU d-Star anyone?


How about that Group ID feature Tom? (I can’t remember the official acronym- too many nowadays)


It could be taken further. It would be quite possible to set up a mobile access point in your car so that provided where you were parked had internet access, and you could reach your car with your handy, you could connect into the worldwide network. Again, not valid for SOTA QSOs but it would be brilliant for co-ordination with other activators or chasers. No need for a clumsy self-spot, just radio in with your handy. And of course the addition of location services adds even more exciting possibilities.


I’m grateful for your confidence in me :yum:. I might need a little help with that!..


…that makes two of us. But to use a phrase that occurred earlier, it might well “float someone’s boat” as an interesting technical challenge.


Lot’s of deja vu for me here. My idea buying a D-STAR handy all those years ago was to use the data feature through the repeater networks to send a spot. The problems with that were few repeaters up here, no data feature on the handy itself and a handy that was useless when in areas of strong RF such as commercial gear on a summit.

So I can understand exactly where Geoff comes from. Using a network of repeaters as the end purpose to talk to people doesn’t interest me. Using it as a tool to coordinate what I consider “proper radio” is a great use. Much like internet linked remote receivers are great for you to check out your antenna etc. leading to things like WSPR and the monitoring. The running of WSPR is less interesting than the results as you play with different antennas.

Having been involved in running packet networks (when I had hair and it wasn’t grey) it was interesting but getting hams to agree was like herding cats. I can see talk groups and paging and all the magic facilities of linked repeaters to be something worth playing with. As Val says, bridging all the differing systems is ongoing and has the great benefit of being inclusive, something we like on the SOTA MT. Whichever mode you the user adopts, you can still play. You don’t need any particular type of handheld as long as there is a repeater/gateway of the right flavour in range.

I agree with Matt that Fusion certainly has the best audio, but it should do as it is using more bits and the latest of the codecs. We had a DMR demo at our club a while back, it sounded pish compared to my memories of D-STAR. But that may have been the cheapy Chinese handheld in use. I’ve not heard a full price one and hope they sound better!

The thing to beware of with any cheap radio is how well the RF bits work. My expensive Icom suffered badly from overload. I’m waiting for Tom to report how his FT-70 fared on Cyrn-y-Brain which is now a bit of a dirty RF place. I know my VX-170 was working hard last time I was there. Whichever radio and mode used for fun ideas like SOTA groups on repeaters, you’d better make sure it works on a hill in analog or digital mode. I know of an Icom that didn’t! (Did I tell you I was pleased to convert it back into cash? :slight_smile: )

Jack is right, D-STAR, especially for mobiles, has real bongs and bings as the sync is lost. But the standard is very weak in that area, the other standards have improved on that.

Car based nodes etc. Great fun. If someone hadn’t volunteered me to run and improve the SOTA DB, I’d have more time to play on these things. I have to admit feeling guilty making my 13cms antennas and playing on 13cms on summits because that was time that could have been used on DB improvements.

The main issue I see is getting hams to agree, as I said been there, herding cats is easier. That’s why the SMS spotter is run by me. I only have to agree with me on what it should do and I can normally persuade myself to do things by bribing myself with alcohol!


GB3LH is just south of Shrewsbury, and runs Fusion on 70cm RB15 (also running in AMS mode, so automatically responds to C4FM or FM). It doesn’t have an internet connection, but you might well find someone with C4FM who is willing to try a simplex QSO.

Interesting discussion, Fusion would be the obvious choice for me at this point…


I’ll be going up The Cloud with my FT-70DE a little later, QRV probably around 1320 UTC. I’ll call into the GB3VM repeater to test out the possibility Matt @G8XYJ describes. Any other viable repeaters people may be monitoring? List them here, and if I can get into them from IO83, I’ll certainly try to call in at the start of my activation.

Andy @MM0FMF - absolutely no issues* with the FT-70DE on Cyrn-y-Brain. I was a little concerned when I first got up there as I could hear nothing on any 2m frequency, nor solicit any responses to my calls. I wondered if the rig was being heavily desensed and if that situation was happening where I was getting lots of replies but not hearing any of them.

Soon enough, I did hear Kevin M0XLT operating MX0YHA and get through to him, followed by a further five analogue FM QSOs, including two S2S, and then a Fusion contact.

*If anyone was replying but not being heard, please let me know.


I wont be around 1320 today sadly, as Adrian @G4AZS says, the best bet would be GB3LH from the Cloud for a Shropshire based Repeater!

Does the FT70 have a GPS built in??

73 and Good Luck



Sunday 19th February 2018 - Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042

I decided to be a bit more daring - or you could say lazy - or even downright foolhardy - for this expedition. I parked opposite the Ponderosa, finished the coffee in my SOTA travel mug, and set off for the slog up Moel y Faen. However, I did so without a rucksack. I was carrying my FT-70DE handheld in my coat pocket, and was confident enough in the well-known and relatively short easy walk, that I wouldn’t require food or drink.

I enjoyed the walk to Moel y Gamelin summit, and was looking forward to using my new Yaesu FT-60DE handheld with its Fusion capabilities.

I didn’t succeed in getting any response on 144.6125MHz C4FM though, not initially anyway. Activity down that part of the band had been excellent the previous night, but I suspected many of those people would have been otherwise engaged at the Nantwich rally.

I did get three QSOs on normal (analogue) 2m FM though, including S2S with Jordan M3TMX/P on Kinder Scout G/SP-001. Then my 4th and qualifying contact was on Fusion courtesy of Tony G4DEE in the Bolton area.

Four 2m analogue QSOs were added, culminating in a S2H - “SOTA to HEMA” - but as I explained to Phil GW1CJJ/P, I am banned from that programme and have had all my activator and chaser logs deleted by Rob G7LAS when he took over the running of it from Mike G4BLH.

Next it was the return walk for one of my favourite lunches of the year - the homemade steak & kidney pie, with chips, and two veg. As ever, a complete triumph! (And there was a few of those outside too…).

Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043

I usually leave this one for the “post-lunch constitutional”, it being rather shorter and easier than Moel y Gamelin. I remained with the road track all the way, easily avoiding the “tempatation” to cut across the public footpath and take in that rather scary (for me) edge!

Initially, nothing was heard on 2m, nor any replies coming back to me. I was concerned that the nearby masts might be desensing my rig, especially as I hadn’t brought any alternative - radio or aerial - with me! The rucksack was still in the car - I was having an easy day!

I then did hear MX0YHA, and managed to call in and work Kevin M0XLT who was operating. Five more analogue 2m FM contacts quickly followed, including S2S with Carl M0SER/P on The Wrekin G/WB-010 and Jordan M3TMX/P, now on Shining Tor G/SP-004.

Jordan advised that he was going to be moving on to Gun G/SP-013, and finally The Cloud G/SP-015. I figured out the timings and suggested that I may meet him on The Cloud. Jordan sounded pretty keen for this, so I made up my mind it was going to happen. On Fusion, I added George G0MIT to the log, and set off on my descent.

Back in the car, I phoned Jimmy M0HGY and tried to cajole him out to meet Jordan on The Cloud G/SP-015. It had been nine years since we had all done a SOTA day together, up on Baystones G/LD-039 and Loughrigg Fell G/LD-047. Meanwhile, Jordan was now up on Gun G/SP-013, and I managed to work him while driving back to Macclesfield. As I got closer to home, I heard Jimmy working him from our home QTH.

The Cloud G/SP-015 (some photos by M0HGY)

I picked up Jimmy from home, and drove over to Cloudside. After only a couple of minutes, Jordan arrived in his car, and we set off up the hill.

Jimmy was keen not to QRM Jordan’s 2m FM activation - but also keen to collect his activator point - so he quickly got QRV with his handheld while Jordan was setting up his SOTA Beam - an original 3 element SOTA Beam I noticed!

When Jordan was ready, Jimmy went QRT having qualified. I went on 2m Fusion, and operating on digital from around 900Hz down the band, it seemed that Jordan and I caused each other no issues at all, despite being only 80 yards or so away.

I made three QSOs on 2m C4FM, then passed the rig to Jimmy so he could record a Fusion contact for himself. Initally, I didn’t think to edit the outgoing callsign on the rig, but the lesson was soon learned and put into practice!

The joint activation closed with Jordan having a go on Fusion, then Jimmy having a second go. We walked back down and shared directions for which pub we were going to.

The Robin Hood Inn on the A54 was surprisingly closed, so we continued down towards Congleton and went in the Church House instead. We had a good natter and I was very interested to hear all about Jordan’s job working as a radio producer. I told him about Liam’s work with Upload Radio, and Canalside 102.8.

Anyway, as ever, the Ponderosa Pair made for a most enjoyable day out, and the extra summit and surprise meet-up with an old friend was a great way to end it.


It’s a pity that the HEMA MT is so ineffective. It could be quite a successful award if it was properly managed. WOTA seems to be a far more successful endeavour.


The last time that we did a joint activation with Jordan @M3TMX :



This! So much this! There’s a ton of packet potential in these digital modes and yet all of them are awful. Despite DMR, YSF/C4FM and D-STAR all having a 4800/9600bps channels none of them expose it in a reasonable way.

YSF/C4FM has it, but exposes not a single serial link into it(but you can send texts/images, woohoo :/).

DMR has full packet support(ESTI TS 102 361-3) yet the only radios that support it are Motorola and behind a dev portal + license key(as I understand it). They do have a native SPP Bluetooth support which is cool though.

D-STAR has data but it’s 1200bps(boo!) and only point-to-point. I may as well us AX.25.

I’m holding out for some of the chinese mfgrs putting pressure on other companies that build DMR radios. In theory you could run voice+data at the same time over any DMR repeater using Timeslot 1 for voice and Timeslot 2 for data.

They all use the same vocoder(AMBE2) at the same bitrate(3600bps + FEC) so it was probably just the radio.


Perhaps someone should set up a website that activators could post messages to say they were going to activate a summit. There could also be a network of radio masts and we’d all have a small device in our pocket that, for a small fee, allowed us to use these masts to access the said website while out on the hill. Just a crazy thought.