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M6UAW - New to SOTA


#1

Hi Everyone, I thought i’d drop you all a shout. I’m Andy Wragg, a new amateur (UK Foundation Licensee) but I’ve been signalling most of my younger adult life in the reserves. I’m going to be combining hill walking with radio so SOTA seemed like a good fit.
My only capability at present in FM on 2m and 70cm, via hand held’s and a small 25w Leixen 898s limited to 10w. Hope to carry out my first activations sometime next week in the South Pennines or Tees/Wash areas. I’ll create an alert nearer the time and we’ll go from there.

Looking forward to working you.

Cheers

Andy


#2

Greetings Andy and congratulations on the M6. I hope you get the SOTA bug, and the amateur radio bug in general - it has totally consumed and transformed my life over the past year - so much so that I am now a proud M0.

You only need 5 watts generally to activate a summit on 2m or 70cm - I would recommend getting a fishing pole and a Slim G antenna if you want to increase the possibility of contacts. Spectrum Communications do an excellent antenna - just search eBay for ‘Slim G antenna’. It is fairly resonant on 70cm too. The first seller on eBay for the search ‘7 metre fishing pole’ has been great with me too.

Best of luck. Even with a handheld if you alert the day before you’re likely to get some good contacts. Try and activate at sensible times to maximise your chances of folk responding (e.g. 11am Sunday is going to get a lot more contacts than 6am!)

Kind regards, Mark. M0NOM.


#3

Thanks Mark/M0NOM,

I have a stripped Coax antenna (bit like a Flower pot antenna without the pipe fitted) and a lightweight 4m mast made from fibreglass tent rod sections. (Copied off Bluejay Bushcraft on Youtube). This is only built/trimmed for resonance on 2m but I expect it will be useable on 70cm.

I’m looking to get a UBITX after we get Christmas out the way to enable me to use the HF bands.

73s

Andy
M6UAW


#4

Remember that as a Foundation licence holder you are not permitted to use home brewed transmitters. Incentive to get the Intermediate done?


#5

Welcome Andy. I first tried to activate on 2m with a handheld but could only manage one QSO on each summit. A slim jim made from ladder line on a fishing pole works a treat though.

But you are allowed to make a kit. Or does it have to be approved in some way?


#6

I’m in the US and this answer was easy to find.

“7(2) Where this Licence is a Foundation Licence, the Licensee shall only use commercially available Radio Equipment which satisfies IR 2028. Foundation Licence holders may also use Radio Equipment constructed using commercially available kits which satisfy IR 2028.”

wunder


#7

Best of luck Andy. I have used a VX-7R with a max of 5w since getting a licence about 6 years ago - on 2m initially and then on 70cm as well. I’ve clocked up over 2,500 different callsigns so there are quite a few people listening on these bands! A good aerial does help and I usually use an overflow waterpipe type dipole (which works for both bands) which came from Sotabeam which is very quick to put up and take down. If I want some extra height (eg high trees or other obvious obstacle) then a slim jim on a fishing pole. If a very low summit or in a rather remote location then I can use a beam but need a different one for each band which takes more time and more weight so I don’t often bother. Don’t forget a pencil and a waterproof notebook as ordinary paper can disintegrate in soggy conditions!

An alert certainly can help but most of my contacts are relatively local and tend to be operators sitting in their shack who just hear my call on 2m. However it is a good idea to avoid Sunday lunch-time as fewer people are listening then! I have to admit that I rarely get replies by calling on 433.500 and usually my 70cm contacts are with people who have heard or talked to me on 2m and then QSY to 70cm - often out of curiosity to see if a contact is possible. Certainly I find that getting 4 70cm contacts can be challenging and time-consuming - and sometimes just impossible. More and more fellow activators are getting used to my asking for a 70cm S2S and, if the radio and weather conditions are suitable, then 70cm S2S can be made over a distance of 130km or more. I look forward to talking to you before too long!
73 Viki M6BWA


#8

…and I guess those bits about IR 2028 refer to this:


#9

I did some searches that combined “ubitx” or the hfsignals site with 2028 or ir2028. Zero matches.

wunder


#10

Thanks everyone,

IR2028 just tells you what bands and power you can work for your given license. It also refers to another document to do with EU conformity (CE Mark) but this doesn’t apply to kits (I’ve checked) only ‘manufactured’ radio’s for retail sale.
The BITX40 and UBITX are both commercially available kits so under the T&C’s of the license I’m OK to build as standard, but will be unable to modify until I upgrade to Intermediate. I’ve checked this with my club already.

73’s

Andy
M6UAW


#11

Welcome Andy!

SOTA is by far the best amateur radio niche activity! You’ll learn lots about a wide range of subjects by doing SOTA.

I built an Elecraft K1 for a foundation licensee, I did as much research as I could because of the common myth that foundation licence holders cannot operate home constructed equipment. I went down all the rabbit holes and basically the rules are quite muddy, although I failed to find a single bit of text that actually says a foundation licence holder can’t operate home made gear.

I support your statement above, that as long as your equipment is constructed from a commercially available kit, then you are complying with your licence conditions.

Operating gear that you’ve made yourself is hugely satisfying and I congratulate you on your intention to go down that route.

73, Colin


#12

That document seems to be saying two things.

First, and most obvious is that the transmitter must operate within the Amateur Licence Parameters. It might be argued that a commercially available kit being built for use by a Foundation Licencee should only be able transmit within the Foundation Licence Parameters. There might be a can of worms here, because it might also be argued that a Foundation Licencee should not use a commercially-built piece of equipment that has been (say) “opened up for all bands”, because at that point the equipment no longer complies with IR 2028. Common sense says that so long as the licencee takes care not to transmit outside the appropriate Licence Parameters nobody’s going to find out.

Second, that IR 2028 in turn refers to “The Radio Equipment and Telecommunications Terminal Equipment Directive 99/5/EC (R&TTE Directive)”. I expect that’s another rabbit hole full of technical legalese, and life’s probably too short…

I guess the catch is in determining whether the commercially available kit satisfies IR 2028. The implication of the “kits which satisfy IR 2028” bit is that some commercially available kits might not satisfy IR 2028, and how can you tell. That “two (or three, or four) bands for the price of one” Pixie that lacks a low-pass filter, for instance…


#13

Hi Andy, welcome to Sota, be carefull it is very adictive! .

Very best regards hope work you S2S in the new year

Tony - G7OEM


#14

If you check 99/5/EC you’ll find it’s been updated to 2014/53/EC and that excludes amateur radio equipment that meets

“Radio equipment used by radio amateurs within the meaning of Article 1, definition 56, of the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) Radio Regulations”

Yes, it’s all very complex and doesn’t seem at all straightforward with anyone having to dig about to find the regs and then they’re all written in “regulese” and not plain English.

Anyway, to Andy welcome aboard. You can have lots of fun with just an FM handy, you may need a better antenna that just the supplied rubber duck.


#15

Hi Andy

Congrats on the license. You will definitely get hooked on Sota. Look forward to a S2S with you.

Neil