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

Improving HF Condx EU > USA


HI Don

All noted - I know where to look if I have a problem come the winter months. Early days yet, only had it in the air 3 months. I bought the wind struts and it sits well in the wind. Where I live now is higher than the last place which was down in the valley, yet it is less windy than down in the valley due to nearby trees, and properties including Pickering Castle to the west which is 200m away. I had a choke balun about a foot long from my previous Optibeam which I had at my last QTH and used that, also SO239 I didn’t request N type. That Optibeam 11-5 was a fantastic performer but would cost 3-4 times more than the Hexbeam, would weigh around 5 times as much and could not be turned by the G1000 rotator.A £1000 Prosistel was needed and I had problems with that rotator with the potentiometer burning out due to static build up in thunderstorms. It blew 3 pots in 8 years. I probably had another 3 db gain on most bands with the Optibeam over the Hexbeam but it was large and very heavy indeed.

I’m very satisfied with the Hexbeam performance for its size. its pefect for the type of house and garden where we now live. It is very broadbanded with low SWR as you have probably also found - and the impedance does not seem affected when it rains. I also found in testing that mounting a 4m/6m yagi 1 metre below the bottom of the hex does not affect the performance or matching. Being top fed helps I guess.

73 Phil


Sorry, I had assumed the Spiderbeam was simply a hexbeam built by the Spiderbeam company but it seems as you say that it is different in design but similar in effect in that it is a directional multiband wire beam in a small footprint. as opposed to the Cobweb which is non-directional.

I know I’d be happy with either, but whether I’d be able to install it here would be another question!

73 Ed.


Hi Larry, that’s an award I haven’t come across, global mountain hunter, did you perhaps mean the Gold Mountain Hunter award (15 associations and 2 continents). There’s also a Globetrotter award but that’s for activators not chasers. Here are the list of SOTA awards.


I may be wrong but I think these are new (for the activator):
Award Level No. of Associations No. of Continents

By the way, the definition of requirements for these awards is not as descibed in the shop - there it says less associations are needed (only one in each continent):

… Now there is a Global Mountain Award scheme (But we don’t talk about that here).


You are not yet a Mountain Goat with 10 points.
You are a Shack Sloth with 10072 points.
Shack Sloth achieved on 19-Mar-2017
10x Shack Sloth achieved on 03-Sep-2018
Mountain Explorer Award Status = Unqualified
Association(s) Activated
W0C - USA - Colorado

Mountain Hunter Award (all bands) Status = Global

Mountain Hunter (Global)=50 associations (2 QSOs per association) on 5 continents.


I had to go and check the source code then the shop website to see if I had a typo as I had forgotten about this level :slight_smile:



Check your awards status.

You will see you qualify for Mountain Hunter Platinum.

Awards levels:



A few days ago the qualification levels appeared at:


Now it seems the HF Mountain Hunter Award has disappeared entirely, with only the VHF version appearing. Was the page reloaded to an earlier version, perhaps during a backup?


Yes I have that award on the award here - got to that level 11th. jan 2015 but looking at the awards page that “global” award is NOT shown:

It goes platinum and then ALL associations - which I am a long, long way away from! - for that reason I haven’t been thinking about any more Mountain Hunter awards as the “ALL” option for me is unachievable. If there are two other levels before that, then may be I should consider the awards some more …

But there’s no Amethyst or Global levels shown on https://www.sota.org.uk/Joining-In/Awards.

it looks like some website updates in both the awards page and the text about the awards in the shop, are needed to be up to date.

73 Ed.


Yes Phil
Propagation USA - EU is improving slowly:
Yesterday I made an S2S QSO with Ian N9XG (on W1/DI-007) working on 20m CW, and we exchanged 339 reports. It has been quite a while since this has happened to me. In addition, today I worked AC1Z and K0RS from an OE/OO summit.
Quite often I see my spots from US-based RBN stations, but only a few American chasers answer my CQ. I hope that American SOTA chasers will listen closely for us because USA-EU propagation is indeed improving.
73 de OE/HB9BIN/P, Jürg (George)


Hi Ed,
These are my very recent NA SOTA chases:

IIRC, all of these chases were with my TH5DX yagi in the village QTH and 100w or more, except for @N9XG last Sept 3rd who was putting a very strong signal and I chased him with the endfed wire in the city appartment balcony and about 50 watts output.
(I wonder how much power and which antenna he was using)

Most of them at too late times for me to be in a mountain top, unless it’s a drive on summit.
I guess it’s the same for you.




Hi Guru,
Yes that’s true with me as well, not a drive-on summit but at least an easy one will be the only option at these times. Of course the clocks go back an hour in October, so it wont be quite as bad as if it were happening now.

73 Ed.


Quite true. I think many USA stations employ low wire antennas that are very effective for high angle domestic QSOs and only a few have beams or other high directional antennas necessary for DX QSOs. Hence many stateside stations don’t copy EU sigs. Most reporting RBN stations are DXers or contest stations with more effective DX antenna installations.

I frequently hear the US east coast working SOTA stations in EU that I can’t hear. EU is much more difficult for me (especially at QRP levels used by most SOTA activators) than for the east coast US, but I always try to listen for EU when I see the spots. I have a great deal of difficulty with New Mexico, Utah, Wyoming, and northern Colorado stations that fall within my skip zone but outside groundwave. I certainly could benefit from some high angle wires for closer in QSOs. However I can normally hear JA very well. I am beginning to hear the JAs as well after Japan being quiet this summer.

Conditions seem to have picked up markedly in the last few days. Hopefully the summer doldrums are behind us. For me, at least now, 1400~1600z seems best for EU.


Looks like you are right. But have you checked the shop site?


I finally found it.



It’s my homemade HyEndFed 20m long

and 5m high between the trees on the hill and the good old Yaesu FT-807 using a compressor mike.

The SWR is better than 1.5 on 40m, 20m, 15m and 10m.


Hi Andy,
Please take a look at the text on this page on the shop site: https://sota-shop.co.uk/proddetail.php?prod=mexplorer

It states:
"… "Tourist Award - confirmed activation of at least one summit in each of 2 continents "Frequent Traveller Award - confirmed activation of at least one summit in each of 3 continents "Business Class Award - confirmed activation of at least one summit in each of 4 continents “Globetrotter Award - confirmed activation of at least one summit in each of 5 continents …”
‘at least one summit’ that infers for (for example) for the Tourist award only two summits are needed - in fact a minimum of 5 (each in a different associations) are needed and these spread across two continents.
It might be good to simply refer to the other page that Lary K0RS gave this URL to, in the text at this page, so there’s just one place to go to.

73 Ed.

Note correction from original post - two summits not two contacts.


Ah, that explains it! I only have a 20m dipole 10m high. I have not noticed any significant improvement in conditions to NA.

Walt (G3NYY)


I have noticed an improvement, but only in the very low noise environment of quiet hilltops. A couple of chases from N1GB and an s2s with VE1PVH - 1st ever NA chase.

73 from a very pleased Rod.


At about 14:10 UTC I just heard both sides of the Stavros SV2RUJ/P on SV/MC-006 to W1OW QSO on 20m SSB with 5-5 reports given both ways - so I think it looks like conditions are improving. I realise Bill has probably got a “better than average” station but it’s some time since I’ve heard anything out of the US here on my 40m wire loop.

73 Ed.


I suggest you read what is on that link and stop assuming that the “Tourist” and other traveller awards are a step up from the normal Mountain Explorer awards - they are not!

The travel awards were instigated to give another way of gaining awards in the light of many folks travelling on vacation or for work to different continents

You require at least FOUR contacts to qualify the hill, nothing different here from the usual Activator awards.

For the sake of clarity - the definition on the shopping site takes precedence, it may be the case that the other pages have either not caught up or are waiting for one of the volunteers to find time to update the information. If there are genuine inconsistencies then rather than discussing it on the reflector (which I visit only about once per week) just send me an email or contact me via the website and explain why you think there is something wrong on the shopping website and I will try to find out where I may have goofed.

Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager