In 2007 I met HA3HK, Zoli on the bands, I told him then my family and I were going to Hungary in August for holidays. Unfortunately we did not meet then but we kept contact. August 2008 was coming up and back we went to lake Balaton, close to my hungarian friend whom I never met before but had done already several qso’s with and exchanged many, many email with.
Finally we met, we talked and talked about many things amongst them SOTA. Zoli invited us to come with him and his wife and son to a sota nearby with a good view toward other sota points and lake Balaton and make also some qso’s. So of we were, it was also the day I saw how Zoli was working sota chasers in CW. Many years followed in Hungary, together with Zoli and his family we conquered many sota hills, I worked SSB, zoli worked CW. I saw with what ease he was doing this, at speeds many can’t follow, reducing his speed when a qrs called in. I did not only see how he did it, I also saw with what he did it, some sort of paddle which had been a relay. I got interested more and more and at a certain moment I decided to learn CW. I asked Zoli to help me with hints and tips. After some time I got the hang of it and now I use CW in 95% of my time behind the radio.
I consider HA3HK my CW elmer and SOTA one of the reasons I learned CW. I only wish I had learned it earlier, I’ll never get to speeds my elmer is doing (45wpm is easy for him) but I make qso’s at home and when activating hills. It has already resulted in many nice qso’s and has made my backpack light since I can use QRP power now. An MTR3B or my KX2 is all I need, some wire and a key made out of an old relay.
Current bad CDX call for quick contacts, propagation sometimes changes in 1 minute from working statesside to working only Europe or worse on some bands, so quick qso’s are the only possibiltiy to work as many people as possible.
For those who want to make ragchew qso’s, there are many activators who like that, I’m sure, maybe wait untill the pile-up is done and then call in.
CW will always be the number one mode in SOTA. Why, look at what a cw op takes with him and then look at the backpack an ssb activator has to take to work the same distances… …