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Microwave Contacts


Just recently there has been an increase in people doing Microwave activations and chases. If you wish to claim any of our Microwave Awards then you need to enter extra information. This is because the awards are based on distance unlike all other SOTA awards.

SOTA Microwave Awards are available for SOTA contacts on 23cms or higher.

If you have a summit to summit QSO, you enter your summit and your QSO partner’s summit. The database knows exactly where both summits are located and can calculate the distance for the award. For all other QSOs, the database will only know the location of the activator, the location of the chaser needs to be entered for every QSO. This data is entered into the comment field in a special format the database will recognise. It is done like this so the database does not interpret your comments about the QSO.

There are 2 formats you can use. One format is where you enter the Maidenhead locator for the chaser and the other is latitude &longitude data. That means the activator enters this information if they want to claim a Microwave Award and also the chaser needs to enter their own location if they want to claim an award. Only the person wanting the award has to enter the location, it will not affect your claim if your QSO partner does not enter any info.

For a Maidenhead locator the format must look like this with no extra punctuation or spaces.


A QSO with someone in Edinburgh would have a locator of %QRA%IO85KW%.

If you don’t know the locator you can use the latitude & longitude of the chaser in this format.


Again someone in Edinburgh would have a lat & long of %QTH%55.94,-3.16%

There are some options on this to specify whether your latitude is North or South and your longitude is East or West. If the latitude is positive then it means North and negative means South. If the longitude is positive it means East and negative means West. Or you can use the letters N, S, E, W after the values.

All of these mean the same thing, you can use any format you like. I would suggest you adopt one format and use that in all entries.

If you add this data to your non-S2S log entries then you will be able to use the database to show the distances for your contacts and see if you can claim any of these awards. Of course, if you do not use them then do not be surprised if Barry, the Awards Manager rejects your order until you have entered the data correctly.

There are probably a million better ways the database could ask you for chaser location data but this is the way I chose as the easiest and quickest to implement that transparently overlays the existing database that has no affect on the vast majority of activators and chasers who have no interest in these SHF and above contacts.

Andy, MM0FMF
Database Manager


Hi Andy, just to prove that I’ve read your useful reminder, I spotted your deliberate typo - QTH should be QRA in this example…?

Thank you for setting it all up, I hope to log a few more 23cm contacts before too long.



Cheers Adrian. Proofchecking was never my strong point! Fixed now.


Great Info Andy .
Perhaps an FAQ section on the reflector could be created to hold this kind of technical data, that people need to refer back to from time to time. Another candidate would be the format of hand crafted SMS text for spots, the format of an alert to make RBNHole deal with it as the activators wants it to, etc. etc.

73 Ed.


Tu for Info Andy

I’ve added three of my logs from earlier, working. I will always do it in the future! I look for more 23cm FM QSOs!

By the way, is it normal that when I log the QRG 1297.5 MHz, it is listed as Microwave?

vy 73 de Matthias HB9FVF


Yes, that was done deliberately to show that the band qualifies for the Microwave Award. Because the award is jointly sponsored by the UK Microwave Group we have used this terminology here rather than leaving it as UHF.

Althought the purists would debate long and hard that 23 cm is not into microwaves it has become custom and practice in the amateur radio world to lump this band in with the higher bands which are correctly classified as microwave.

I shall now retire with my tin hat firmly in place in case I get irradiated :grinning:


I like it so much. Wait now for my first (100km 23cm) diploma that I applied for yesterday :slight_smile:
vy 73 de Matt HB9FVF


Can I get one also - please, please - for my >145Km on 13cms



Update: Did a further check on the distance an it ‘pans’ out at 136Km. Oh well :slight_smile:


No. We need something to prove the QSO was on 2320 and it wasn’t IF leakage!

Me, I’m not jealous, no, not at all!


Open your sporran and let the moths out and I will see what I can do :relaxed:


Certainly there was no ‘leakage’ with John’s ‘ears’ though it did take us over 20 minutes to complete with my 1W or thereabouts?




Jack - beam south! At least, when there is 13cm microwave activity. Here’s a map of my 10GHz contacts - might give some hints as to where to go. Basically you need to beam down one side or the other of the pennines, and get into the north of England. The path into the (populated!) north west of England is particularly good from south west Scotland.

Here’s my map:




Thanks for the ‘heads-up’ John, but I had sort of preempted you on this as I had already started looking at suitable SOTA summits with route profiles that as you said ‘skimmed’ the Lake District - in my case. And I think I have come up with a good contender?

So for this month’s 2.3GHz+ UKAC - 27th June - 2030 - 2230z ABW I’ll be heading off to try and activate the summit. However it will require an overnight camp on the summit - so very Wx dependent?

Also, hopefully will be using the new multi-element beam which is in construction. I have left the integration of the SG 4 el into a longer beam at the moment as I was observing spurious reflections at my test site? To verify as to what I was seeing I’ll use the new beam as a reference?

Thanks again and of course are you on for another S2S on the night (Cairnpapple GM/SS-254 - not too onerous in the dark - though Andy might have this one booked?)




Is the distance calculated using one of the four corners of the nominated locator, or from the centre of the ‘square’?

Or does it not matter in the scheme of things?


Yes. And yes.

OK, it’s from the corner. You can enter the lat&long variant if you want and that may and probably will give a different value. We will accept the value either give.


Shouldn’t it be “LOC” instead ?

Use of the terms QTH locator and QRA locator was initially discouraged, as it caused confusion with the older QRA locator system. The only abbreviation recommended to indicate a Maidenhead reference in Morse code and radio teleprinter transmission was “LOC”, as in “LOC KN28LH”.