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M(W)6ADB/P in Wales


#1

An extra meeting in Newport presented an opportunity to try and bag a couple more of the GW/SW set, and having consulted the archives (and Gerald’s notes) I decided that G/SW-019 before the meeting, and GW/SW-024 (and hopefully GW/SW-030 afterwards) would be a suitable target.

However, having failed on several prior occasions to qualify two summits on one day, the step to three was a bit ambitious, so I only alerted for the first two, but with the possibility held out.

Having set off from Farnborough at 0500bst I arrived at GW/SW-019 and called CQ on 145.500/FM at 0800gmt exactly as per my alert… and I was met by Frank G3RMD/M (my first contact with this SOTA regular) quickly followed by Jonathon M6HBS in Swindon and Tom G3XMM in Gloucester.

After a further 15 minutes of fruitless calling, I used a tidbit I’d previously noted, and called into the Cheltenham Net on 145.400 to ensure the summit was qualified (thanks all). A return to 145.500 used another ten minutes of battery life… I then switched to SSB where immediately Gavin MW0VKD in Llanelli and Mike G6OES in Coventry went into the log. A further 15 minutes of calling proved fruitless, although I note that Gerald G4OIG did spot me, but I didn’t hear him. At 0900bst I went QRT and headed to the car, arriving back at 0930bst and set off for my 1000bst meeting.

What should have been a two hour meeting turned into a four hour meeting, but having over-estimated traval and walking time, I arrived at GW/SW-024 only an hour after the alerted time… But I decided not to try to squeeze GW/SW-030 in afterwards, as timescales were tight anyway.

As it turned out, this was a good decision. I started out wasting 20 minutes on 2m/SSB with nothing to show for it, before moving over to FM. Local contacts Rob GW0WLO and Phil GW0IRT quickly showed up, but it was a further 10 minutes before Barry 2E0ZBR/M sat in his car at G/SC-008 Win Green (ie not SOTAing) made it three, and another ten minutes before Neil 2E0HOQ in Weston Super Mare made it four.

I did contemplate trying for GW/SW-030 at this point but once again decided against, so hung around for a bit longer. Tony G8CKK in Bristol made it five, before Rob GW0WLQ popped back to suggest a 70cm. Sadly I couldn’t make him out, but Tony G8CKK popped over two, to become my first ever 70cm non-repeater contact :slight_smile:

Returning to 2m, Dave M0VMC/P popped up from G/DC-002 for a Summit-To-Summit to finish off with.

GW/SW-030 will have to wait til I’m back this way…

One really disappointing aspect is the lack of APRS coverage… it was OK up to arriving at GW/SW-019 as Jonathon M6HBS noted on his contact, but thereafter, only three packets made it to the net :frowning:

Thanks to all chasers, and hope to work you all again soon

Andrew
M(W)6ADB


#2

In reply to M6ADB:

One really disappointing aspect is the lack of APRS coverage…

I’ve a fix for that! Or I should say, we’ve a fix for that. Myself and Rick M0RCP, have been playing with APRS via a phone. Nothing new there, there are APRS apps for iPhone, Android and WinCE/WinMo6 phones. They all use a data connection and we know that doesn’t work too well from hill tops. So we have a rough APRS tracker app that uses SMS to send the posits. If you pay per SMS then this is one expensive way of playing APRS. But if you get 1000’s of them free like many do, then this is a way to fill in the gaps of the APRS network.

You can type a posit in by hand and send it via SMS and I’ll insert it into the APRS-IS network. It took an afternoon or so to get the APRS extensions running on the the normal SMS spot server. But that way is error prone and tedious.

What you want is a wee program that reads the built-in GPS in your phone, does assorted magic on the signal quality and then formats the message into the correct format and squirts it by SMS. Rick has written that. He’s been doing all sorts of stress tests and filling up my disks with logs of all the APRS posits he’s sent! In fact, working out the coding needed, it’s about 85% Rick’s effort and 15% from me.

It’s still very alpha but we’re getting there. I’d expect we’ll be in position for beta testers in a few weeks or so.

Anyway, it’s not a replacement for APRS via RF. It’s an adjunct to APRS-RF when you’re in a place where there’s no amateur APRS coverage. And, if the nice people at your mobile carrier give you unlimited texts, it’s very rude not to try and use as many as you can before the phone battery gives up its last gasp and dies! :slight_smile:

Andy
MM0FMF


#3

Hi Andrew

It was good to work you again yesterday morning, a belting signal into Swindon too. In fact when I heard the CQ, I assumed it was someone local at first even though I’d been listening for you.

it was a further 10 minutes before Barry 2E0ZBR/M sat in his car at
G/SC-008 Win Green (ie not SOTAing).

I think this was probably 2E0ZVR/M rather than ZBR as I’ve worked Barry a few times now from Win Green, just a shame he doesn’t do it as a SOTA! Might be worth altering your log though to ZVR.

One really disappointing aspect is the lack of APRS coverage… it was
OK up to arriving at GW/SW-019 as Jonathon M6HBS noted on his contact,
but thereafter, only three packets made it to the net :frowning:

Must admit, I checked the APRS a few times at work and home, but having noted the last update was 08:27 or something like that, I assumed your meeting had gone on much longer and you couldn’t make any other summits. Hopefully work you on Walbury on Friday!

73
Jonathan M6HBS


#4

In reply to M6ADB:

Andrew,

I was watching your APRS on SW-019 which gave me the prompt as to when you moved over to SSB. I heard you call CQ, callsign and all, but your signals were on the noise level even with a preamp in line and it was obvious that there would be only be a slim chance of us making a QSO. I did put 70W of RF your way, but I was probably also in the noise and under someone else calling. Unfortunately I missed your later activation, probably on account of the APRS issue. Brilliant job getting both summits qualified.

Well, you have the boring summit of SW-019 behind you and some rather more pleasurable ones to do in that area. Hopefully you’ll manage to get back there soon and I’ll try to get out portable to work you.

73, Gerald G4OIG


#5

In reply to MM0FMF:

It’s still very alpha but we’re getting there. I’d expect we’ll be in position
for beta testers in a few weeks or so.

I hope to be out this weekend testing for real. If a anyone would like to follow the tests I will post a few more details closer to the time. If you’d like to try it out on your phone I’d be more than happy to send you a copy. It should run on any reasonably modern S60 phone (3rd generation FP2 or later.) though be warned it is still at an early stage of development.

73 Rick


#6

In reply to G4OIG:

Well, you have the boring summit of SW-019 behind you and some rather
more pleasurable ones to do in that area.

“Boring” hardly does that trudge justice, especially when visibility was about 50 ft all the way up, and most of the way down - thankfully lifting a bit during the activation.

I won’t be in a hurry to redo that one.

I’m likely to be back over to Newport early in july so hope to bag another summit then.

Andrew


#7

It was good to work you again yesterday morning, a belting signal into
Swindon too. In fact when I heard the CQ, I assumed it was someone
local at first even though I’d been listening for you.

I did hear a Newport local (having found his regular QSO partner, and then moved to “my” frequency 145.550) moaning that my call caused him to turn down his volume - he could have answered my call though.

But I was only running 10W…

I think this was probably 2E0ZVR/M rather than ZBR as I’ve worked
Barry a few times now from Win Green, just a shame he doesn’t do it as
a SOTA! Might be worth altering your log though to ZVR.

You are right… but I can’t type :frowning: