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My FT8 SOTA setup


#81

Hi Tom.
When i saw your alert, i decided to go to my easier summit around QRA - F/CR-254.
I wanted you to s2s on FT8 - I failed, i got some trouble with my aerial on 40 m then i couldn’t work on this band. I tried 30 and 20 meters but nothing from you.
Next time. You are right, CW is easier for making QSO.
73 QRO
Roger


#82

We can keep trying Roger. I have 80-40-30-20 available on the linked dipole.


#83

I have started to progress my FT8 SOTA system towards something a little more sophisticated. I have installed Log4OM and JTalert on my Windows 10 tablet, and I have got these, along with WSJT-X partially talking to each other.

I’m still getting error messages that QSOs couldn’t be logged. I need to try this for real on an activation though, then I can report the detail of the error - if still present. This is because I am far from convinced that my “mocked up” QSOs are not missing essential elements and are therefore the cause of the errors!

Eventually, I want to get to the stage where QSOs are automatically logged upon completion, and I start calling CQ SO M1EYP/P IO83 (eg) again.

Comments, suggestions and advice welcome!


#84

Check out my SOTA BOX with a Raspberry PI for FT8!


#85

This last Friday I decided to try for my 4th successful FT8 activation in a row since my first two attempts were not successful. With the weather forecast for clear skies and 68 degrees my first decision was which summit to activate. With hundreds of summits in and around Phoenix Arizona I decided to do a summit in Phoenix’s South Mountain Park. This is the largest municipal park in the United States covering about 25 square miles with 3 mountain ranges each with a SOTA summit. I chose to activate W7A/MS-060 in the Ma Ha Tuak range. The picture shows the approach to the summit from the car. The summit is just above the trees and the trailhead is at the base of the mountain on the right in the picture below taken from the car.

I started my hike from outside the park since this was the shortest route to the summit. After about .3 miles on the trail I was just able to see the summit behind another peak.

After a 2.2 mile hike with an elevation gain of almost 1500 feet I was rewarded with a view of the other 2 summits in the park.

Suappoa Mount is always a problem because there are 7 high power television transmitters, many FM radio transmitters in addition to the public service repeaters. It is an RF nightmare.

This is a picture of just a few of the many towers on Suappoa Mount.

The view towards downtown Phoenix was obscured by smoke from several wildfires in the central part of the state. The high rise buildings are barely visible.

I made 4 quick 2m FM contacts on arrival with several of the locals and was informed that they were working stations on 6 meters using FT8. I quickly setup my linked dipole configured for 6m.

I tuned to the 6m SSB calling frequency to find many strong stations in California and Nevada. I delayed my FT8 activity to quickly work 15 stations on 6m SSB. Switching to FT8 I made an additional eight contacts on 6 meters before the band started to close. With my departure time approaching I switched to 20 meter SSB to work some of my usual chasers. This resulted in 8 more contacts including stations in North Carolina and New Hampshire. While I was packing my equipment I made some additional contacts on 2 meters and 222 MHz.

The wild flowers were also starting to bloom.

I was in a hurry to return to the car so the hike down only took an hour. After a great activation with 41 contacts I knew I was in for long drive home in rush hour traffic. The 25 mile return trip home took about 70 minutes with most of it on the motorway in stop and go traffic.

The only issue I had with the FT8 operation was trying to see the display in the bright sunshine on my cheap Windows 10 tablet. I am looking for recommendations for tablets with brighter displays. I am running WSJTX on my Tinker Board running Linux and the tablet is running RealVNC and acting as the display. This means the tablet could be Windows, Android or IOS.

73 Burke
KF7NP


#86

Today a GPS module was added to my SOTABOX for time sync purpose: