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

Light at the End of the Tunnel?


Hi Ed,

40m is probably where I should have been for the last six months for early morning DX. Jon VK7JON has been working EU regularly on 40m and was urging me to try it. About six weeks ago, I cut a 40m dipole and had some great results from the South Pennines, activating The Roaches, which is a HuMP, not a SOTA summit. There was no DX, but plenty of EU contacts. I was actually planning to do some 40m from Gun on Tuesday, however, it would have helped if I’d packed the antenna.

Okay, I’ll try and sort something out on 40m, next week…

73 Mike


Ed, there are certainly conditions between VK and EU on 40m in the late afternoon hours (VK time - so around 0600/0700Z). However it is not an easy path most of the time - I have been chased by two EU stations (1 Spanish and one French) on 40m SSB. Both were difficult contacts - I was using an OCF dipole on both cases, one at 5W (from a VK3 summit) and the other at about 40W (from a VK1 summit).

I frequently work EU on digital modes at around the same time on 40m, but of late it has been very hit and miss. Sometimes the path is there, sometimes it is not. The short path to EU at about 1400Z is usually much easier and open for longer.



Hi Matt,

This morning I saw Andrew VK1DA was out and took a listen for him on 40 metres. Nothing heard unfortunately. I also checked WSPRNet and the path was certainly not busy between VK and EU, rather between VK and US.

I believe Mike 2W0YYY will possibly be out this afternoon UK time, but that’s the early hours of the morning in VK, so it’s unlikley anyone will be there even if short path is good on 40m.

I’m guess contacts on FT-8 are going to be one possible option in the marginal conditions we have at present and even those may be difficult! Considering how to interface my Windows tablet to the 817 at the moment, so I might get out and do some FT-8 from a local summit.Just loading drivers and software at the moment…

73 Ed.


Im planning on being on Mt Bindo VK2/CT-(I forgot its number) tomorrow Sat around 00:01 UTC and will be trying FT8. PSK Reporter will help work out where I am being heard.

Set up will be the FT957D with a Signalink and an Acer Aspire D255 note book. Working on the bench so should be OK to take out SOTARing.



And I will be on VK4/NH-129 (Magnetic Island East Peak) around the same time, but will not have digital modes. Most unusually for me I will be QRP as batteries were a little bit of an issue this trip - and due to the antenna appearing to be a little short, was rather less than 2W on this afternoons quick VKFF activation. Only got 5 contacts, but that is OK as I will revisit that park due to it being maybe a 200-300m walk from the accomodation!

Some truly massive US signals on 40m observed late this afternoon as well as some rather loud but deaf VK stations as well

When I get back to Canberra I will probably try to get a Win 10 tablet for portable digital activations - unfortunately not an option for this trip.

Ed, sorry am unlikely to be on the radio when you are out this afternoon your time. I am thinking about camping out on one of my local summits when it warms up a little and that may allow for the shortpath to be tested - as well as giving 160m a bit of a push around the VK area.



Quick Report, my GW/NW-070 Great Orme, 25/08/2017.

To try and work DX from Great Orme, a 0415 alarm call, local time was required, followed by a 2 hour drive to Llandudno.

I was set up and QRV at 0625z, where I found quite a reception party waiting for me on the 20m band, with a run of 25 EU contacts. Good to hear Ed DD5LP booming in!

Then, out of the blue, a SP call from John ZL1BYZ, my first New Zealand contact for ages.

Once again, Ernie VK3DET was monitoring my QRG as was John VK6NU, I think both could just about hear me, however, I was too weak to work. Thanks also to Jonathan VK7JON, for trying too. Right now, I can’t buy a contact into VK. Due to work commitments, I had to go QRT at 0810z.

With my work finished earlier than expected, I made a return visit to Great Orme an set up the 40m dipole on 7.160, working a mixture of SOTA Chasers and Wabers. Thanks to Dave G4IAR, signing GM4LAB/m. Not forgetting Karl M3FEH. Seems, I’d missed the best of 40m… the band was suffering from QSB.

It was then, I returned to 20m. Once again, a run of EU contacts, with one single call from North America. The path to North America is a rocky one at the moment, that’s for sure. Thanks to Gerald, signing DL/M0WML/p for the s2s. My last throw of the dice was a visit to 10m before going QRT at 1500z.

Thanks to all the callers for a very enjoyable days radio, 116 contacts logged for the activation

70 contacts 20m ssb
20 contacts 40m ssb
26 contacts 10m ssb.

BTW, Llandudno council have finally got around to replacing the Great Orme car park, Pay and Display machine. This is an all sing all dancing affair, with more buttons and knobs than the space shuttle and is lit up like a Xmas tree. You even have to type your reg number into the machine, before it relieves you of £4.50, by either credit/debit card or cash. for a whole days parking during the Summer months.

73 Mike


While the propagation conditions are looking a little better at the moment, (SFI staying around 85 and K around 2) I intend to head out early tomorrow (Thursday 31st. August) to a semi-local summit and try for some long path into VK/ZL. Mike 2E0YYY is going to try to do the same Wx permitting. So please keep an ear out for him and me on 20m (I’ll self-spot of course) from about 0630 UTC for about 90 minutes, in my case.

73 Ed DD5LP.


Hi Ed and Mike,

No light seen at this end of the tunnel. Some patchy EU FT8 signals on 40, 30 and 20 m. Quite a bit of QSB. Hope you both enjoyed the day out.



John (VK6NU) sent me a message while I was on my summit saying he could hear “something” but not me. From my side there was some kind of Italy-Australia Net on 14.250, where I heard both VK2 and VK4 stations, but couldn’t get into the net. I also heard JA8COE on 14.245 but again with my 20w and a dipole I had no chance against the others calling.
I also had problems with either Rucksack Radio Tool or one of my two networks (I have a dual-SIM smartphone), but eventually was able to send and receive spots with SOTA spotter. Although Vodafone was indicated as a 4G connection, it was the Deutsche Telekom 3G connection that appeared to work best from this location.

Agreed a lot of QSB, as there has been over the last few days. Expect the CME to hit tonight and Band conditions to get worse for a few days.

Worth a trip out though, if you don’t try, you’ll never know however Irchenhausen is a forested summit which probably didn’t help my signal. Next time I’ll try for a higher, clearer summit but the problem is getting to those summits early enough for the Long Path window is a challenge.

73 Ed.


Hi Ed

I had the luxury of using the NCRG remote station this afternoon, its only about 15 kms east from here and uses a K3 and a Steppir Beam. My beam is out of action and have 2 beams on the floor of the garage due to a pending qth move in the next few months. Nothing heard on the remote station from you or any other European SOTA stations apart from Mike 2E0YYY who was a constant 52 -54 for at least an hour before signals started to fade probably from 06:45 UTC to around 08:00 UTC. I thought at one stage I heard you but not totally sure as there were some other stations and I wasn’t sure if they were working you or not, all quite low in signal strength. I could hear most of the G stations Mike worked so conditions must have favoured UK today.

Planning on heading out Sunday around 06:00 08:00 UTC to Mt.Solus.VK6/SW-030. I had 4 European stations in the log last Saturday from Mt.Randall so hopefully get a few more this week, alerts will be posted later. Pending approval from the mining company, wont know for sure until Sunday morning =, depending on if any blasting planned in the area.


John VK6NU


Hi Ron,

Many thanks for trying. Conditions to VK are still extremely tough. Good to see 10m in good shape. No DX on 10m but EU was easily workable.

73 Mike


Hi John,
I know the NCRG station as I visited it when I was over for the WIA AGM a few years back. A very impressive station indeed!

Conditions were there probably for 100w plus stations at each end to get through to each other but my little 20w and Dipole probably wasn’t enough. Greta that you could hear mike the Antron-99 of his performs really well. Of course that was also one big difference between our stations, Mike had a vertical antenna while I was using an inverted-V dipole. Mind you in a middle of a forest, I don’t fancy my chances with a vertical antenna as it is said the trees will absorb the signal.

If conditions get a bit better, I’ll try to get to a summit where I can to easily and be able to set up both vertically and horizontally polarised antennas. I might even dig out the lightweight 20m skyloop that I once built for SOTA.

73 Ed.


Talking of tunnels, I might as well be operating in the nearby A55 tunnels here. Just 2 QSOs on 20m CW. Getting picked up well by all the skimmers - but not the humans :frowning:


Yet WSPR spots from my WSPRHeavy beacon have improved significantly over the past few days.Maybe its down to a lack of humans on the band.

Give it time and mid-September should look promising, providing the sun doesn’t throw a CME in the meantime.


Activation Report G/SP-004 Shining Tor 30/08/2017

When I received a message from Ed DD5LP and Ernie VK3DET, to say there was a solar storm approaching, I lost much of my appetite for this activation. Nevertheless, I still set the alarm clock for 0415 local time.

The journey and ascent took about 90 minutes and I found myself at the trig point earlier than anticipated. This gave me all the time in the world to set the station up. A scan along the 20m band found a reasonably strong VK station working a pile-up, however, I decided not to get involved and took a look along the band to find a clear QRG.

At 0606z, I self spotted and noticed a spot for Ed at exactly the same time. I made my way to his QRG to work him s2s, however, nothing heard… So, it was back to my QRG and put out a CQ.

Once again, the chasers were waiting and a dozen contacts were in the log, when John ZL1BYZ called in. John was an easy copy. Next up was Ernie VK3DET making our first contact since since May. Jacky ZL1WA, was hot on Ernies heels, once again an easy copy. Final bit of DX was John, VK6NU, again an easy copy.

The 20m band into EU was in good shape and I stayed there until 0720z, when I chucked up the 40m dipole. I rattled off 20 contacts. There was no inter G, with the exception of a weak Karl M3FEH and a much stronger Val GM6MML.

Time was moving on and I should have called it a day, but the call of the 10m band was irresistable. We all know what the mighty Antron-99 is capable of producing on 10m when the band is open. However, with work commitments, I had to pull the plug earlier than I would have liked, although not before working amongst others, Mick M0MDA, Ken G0FEX, Dave G4IAR, Brian G8ADD and Gez M0NTC. Nice to get G6ZDB and SQ9OZM on 10m FM.

Okay, in terms of numbers of DX worked, this activation didn’t break any records, however, it did show some improvement on the higher HF bands and that must be good news for the DX’ers. A very enjoyable mornings radio.

Thanks to all the callers. Sorry, no VHF, just not enough time.

91 contacts for the activation.

37 contacts on 20m ssb.
21 contacts on 40m ssb.
31 contacts on 10m ssb
2 contacts on 10m fm.



Don’t forget your 10m antenna today…

Have fun



The SFI has just hit 182. It has jumped nearly 100 points over the last few days.

Here is a snapshot of the 20m band taken at 2230z


It is the nature of the sunspot cycle to offer pulses of high activity even as the overall cycle approaches minimum. This unpredictability adds to the fun!


20m no longer so impressive but here’s 40 metres at 0357 UTC.

(SFI now down to 144).

UPDATE radio conditions may be good but Weather has changed to pouring heavy rain (un-forecast) so I have had to call off my activation where I had hoped for some VK/ZKL contacts.

Look at this RADAR map - almost the ONLY rain in continental western Europe and where is it? HERE!!


Must be some time since conditions such as these on the 20m band, between North America and EU!
Taken about 1455z