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Newbie asking


#1

On wednesday I will test a “SOTA”-hill (DM/TH135) as another /p-location for which I am a bit unsure about the operating practice (having done no SOTA at all). I plan to put the “activation” on sotawatch and then try short initial cqs with the SOTA-reference on 40/30/20m and later only sporadic SOTA-cqs between “normal” qsos and DXing (given that the average activation has only about 15 qsos and high bands may be fine). As I don´t know chasers by their call I then may work some of them without sending the SOTA-reference. Is this any problem as long as I submit the log, and is it necessary to send DM/TH135 really in every SOTA-qso as TH135 should be self-explaining when sent from DL?
Btw, do chasers expect a “599 DM/TH135” only or a more regular qso?

Thanks in advance for any hints.
73! Chris (DL8MBS)


#2

In reply to DL8MBS:

why dont you start with chasing? There you learn all howtos …

73, Mario dc7ccc


#3

Chris,

Announce your summit reference with your CQ call, and again periodically when you mention your callsign again.

SOTA contacts are just normal amateur radio contacts - they can be as brief or detailed, short or long as you like. As the activator, YOU determine the style of the QSOs, not the chasers.

Enjoy your activation, and good luck.

Tom MR1EYP


#4

In reply to DL8MBS:

Welcome to SOTA activating Chris.

As with most activations you tailor your procedure to existing conditions.

Initially you need to call CQ SOTA with the full reference, but once you get a pile-up of chasers you do not need to send the reference every over - just once every 5 or 6 QSO`s will be fine.

If you have put the activation on as an Alert then there will be chasers waiting, but if not then you will find a short period with few calling. Once you have been spotted then the pile up will start.

Once spotted then 95% of chasers calling with have your reference on their screen - only the non SOTA chasers will need to ask PSE REF?

With many callers you may even shorten the exchange to Call, Report, BK

Good Luck

Roy G4SSH


#5

In reply to DL8MBS:

Btw, do chasers expect a “599 DM/TH135” only or a more
regular qso?

Hi Chris,

It is all up to you and your operating style. Good luck to your first activation.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#6

Thank you all for the hints.

why dont you start with chasing? There you learn all howtos …
73, Mario dc7ccc

I don´t plan to start chasing. I simply enjoy going out and operate /p regularly as a most enjoyable alternative to contesting which is my main hobby in the hobby. I only had not had in mind that some locations could offer more for some - or even some more, will see :wink:
(only now found out, that one /p-qth from two months ago is in the SOTA-list…). Just wanted to prevent a start as a goat with too strange habits.

73 es hpe cu!
Chris (DL8MBS)


#7

In reply to DL8MBS:

I don´t plan to start chasing.

Sorry - that is like doing HAM Radio without previous SWLing …

gl, Mario


#8

In reply to G4SSH:
It gives me a bit more satisfaction to have full SOTA chaser QSOs without looking at sotawatch before and getting all the information over air. Please make sure you do give the full reference reasonably often - in a pileup ever 5 or 6 QSOs is adequate. As a chaser do not be afraid of asking for the reference. Do not assume everybody is monitoring here all the time waiting to pounce, I prefer to visit afterwards to add my chaser QSO in the database…

Good luck with SOTA Chris, I am sure you will enjoy it.

73 Dave G3YMC


#9

In reply to DL8MBS:

On wednesday I will test a “SOTA”-hill (DM/TH135)

(given that the average activation has only about 15 qsos and high bands may > be fine).

Hi Chris,

With average of only 15 qsos, Im not sure if VHF is difficult from DM/TH135?

However, I note the summit is 809m ASL and for the 2m band, this is the sort of elevation I dream of.

Maybe be worth taking a 2m hand held along, or if you are using a rig capable of VHF, a simple lightweight 2m dipole?

Looking at Google Maps, there are some big cities around the 250km range and the chance of a nice pile-up on VHF.

Good luck on Wednesday, you will have great fun.

73
Mike 2E0YYY


#10

In reply to 2E0YYY:

this is the sort of elevation I dream of…

Dream no more Mickey. Take a day out over to Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012 - superb for 2m.

Tom MR1EYP


#11

In reply to M1EYP:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

this is the sort of elevation I dream of…

Dream no more Mickey. Take a day out over to Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012

  • superb for 2m.

Hmmmmmm.

Something of a challenge with an 857, 20Ah SLAB, couple of 5ft poles,
an X-300 collinear and a box of sandwiches.

May have to take G1STQ along to carry the sandwiches :wink:

73
Mike 2E0YYY


#12

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Mike

Maybe SOTA is not for you? How about investing in one of these and taking up WFF?

73

Richard
G3CWI

PS they have one at the Tan Hill Inn


#13

PS they have one at the Tan Hill Inn

They do indeed:

http://www.tomread.co.uk/keld_to_baldersdale.htm

Mike - sounds like a bit of overkill going on there. You would make all those QSOs with an 817, 5 watts, a lightweight beam and have plenty of change left out of a “normal” size 7Ah SLAB, even if you were QRV all day.

Tom MR1EYP (currently QRV on 21.015MHz CW)


#14

In reply to G3CWI:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Mike

Maybe SOTA is not for you? How about investing in one of these and
taking up WFF?

Let me see, now… The cost of running such a vehicle may be seriously prohibative. I wonder if there`s an LPG conversion available!

73
Mike 2E0YYY


#15

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Thats interesting the choice of antenna. A colinear will produce a more squashed donut radiation pattern than a dipole, thats why it has gain over one. But the effect of the ground will be to lift the main lobe so it points upwards somewhat. This is fine for a house mounted antenna where typically you want a slightly raised angle so you can see up slightly to repeaters which are mounted in well sighted positions. But when you are higher than most of your target QSO partners, an antenna with a 0 or below zero take off angle should give better coverage. This can be achieved with a pair of vertical elements if you play about with the phasing of how you drive them.

The question would be: why? The omni directional pattern means you dont need to rotate the antenna but its just wasteful compared to a small beam. A 2x 5/8 co-linear array has a gain of about 3dB over a dipole no matter what the makers may claim. (Some claim gain figures such that they must have made with Oil of Aphrodite and the dust of The Grand Wazoo. 6.0dBd indeed for an X300… they claim itll cure your asthma too!) A 5 ele yagi will give about 9dBd or 6dB more than the X300. So for a nominal QSO just workable with the X300 and 20W youd be the same strength with 5W and the small beam. The small beam can be supported on fishing rod resulting in a substantial reduction in carried weight. You could drop the battery down from 20Ahr to something less massive and operate for a long time still at the lower power just bumping up the power now and then.

If you insist on running an omni, then clone the guts of the X300. A 7m fishing rod and a co-linear made out of wire without the casing and mounting hardware of the X300 would get the same performance for 5% of the weight and it would all roll up and be a doddle to carry. It would probably easier to set up too. Guy pole about 1.5m up, connect antenna to top of pole, unroll antenna as you push up pole, attach feeder, lock off pole. Plug in, switch on and QSO out to paraphrase a certain T. Leary Esq. :wink:

However, you could do me an invaluable favour. Next time you go out, do Cyrn-y-Brain instead of Shining Tor. Its a touch more to walk and climb but nothing major, about 30mins to the top if you slouch up the track. Wander along about 50-100m past the furthest tower and operate with the X300 setup from there. C-y-B has a much better take off from that end than Shining Tor and Id like to map out your QSO results as I did before. I used to be able to work into the Dutch/German border area from there on 2m SSB with 10W and a 10ele beam. I think it would be most enlightening to see if it is such a demonstrably better hill than Shining Tor.

Andy
MM0FMF


#16

In reply to G3CWI:
Hi Richard You can buy one of those tracked vehicles they are ex sweedish army surplus. The Diesel version is under powered and the petrol one is to greedy.The trailer is also driven with a prop shaft from the towing unit.73 Geoff


#17

In reply to MM0FMF:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Thats interesting the choice of antenna. A colinear will produce a more squashed donut radiation pattern than a dipole, thats why it has
gain over one. But the effect of the ground will be to lift the main
lobe so it points upwards somewhat. This is fine for a house mounted
antenna where typically you want a slightly raised angle so you can
see up slightly to repeaters which are mounted in well sighted
positions. But when you are higher than most of your target QSO
partners, an antenna with a 0 or below zero take off angle should give
better coverage. This can be achieved with a pair of vertical elements
if you play about with the phasing of how you drive them.

Interestingly enough Andy, after purchasing the X-300, I decided to embark
upon some experimentation. I drove to Merryton Low, not a million miles from the Winking Man pub just outside of Leek in Staffordshire, a favourite haunt for contesters and a place Im sure youre familiar with.

I assembled the X-300 alongside my home brew dipole, then listened to numerous qsos on the 2m band, switching between the collinear and dipole. Now, as you are well aware, Im a big fan of the simple dipole, however, the collinear simply blew it out of the water. The improvement on receive was between two and a staggering six S points. From then on, I was sold on the X-300. From G/SP-004, I can honestly say, with I think maybe one exception, I`ve not failed to work a single call. Last Saturday, when G1STQ turned up to Shining Tor, and I handed him the mike, he was amazed at the antennas performance.

The question would be: why? The omni directional pattern means you
dont need to rotate the antenna but its just wasteful compared to a
small beam.

You`ve more or less answered your own question. Turning a beam back and forth, drives me loopy. The collinear scores highly in that respect.

A 2x 5/8 co-linear array has a gain of about 3dB over a

dipole no matter what the makers may claim. (Some claim gain figures
such that they must have made with Oil of Aphrodite and the dust of
The Grand Wazoo. 6.0dBd indeed for an X300… they claim itll cure your asthma too!) A 5 ele yagi will give about 9dBd or 6dB more than the X300. So for a nominal QSO just workable with the X300 and 20W youd be the same strength with 5W and the small beam. The small beam
can be supported on fishing rod resulting in a substantial reduction
in carried weight.

The merits of directional and vertical antennas has been done to death since the beginning of radio. At the end of the day, I guess its a matter of personal preference and what you as the Amateur is comfortable with. For me, half the fun of radio has been experimenting and as I said before, Ive done some pretty wacky things, however, I`ve had some very interesting results.

For me, the combination of an X-300 collinear and the FT-857 are worth their weight in Myrrh.

You could drop the battery down from 20Ahr to
something less massive and operate for a long time still at the lower
power just bumping up the power now and then.

While at the Magnum Rally yesterday, I purchased a bag full of home made cakes from the lady who had the table directly behind me AND I`m ashamed to say, I scoffed the lot. The lady asked me If I would like any more? I declined, citing the fact that they were bad for my figure. As quick as a flash, she retorted that I had no problems with my figure whatsoever. I put this down to lugging a 20Ah Slab up and down summits :wink:

If you insist on running an omni, then clone the guts of the X300. A
7m fishing rod and a co-linear made out of wire without the casing and
mounting hardware of the X300 would get the same performance for 5% of
the weight and it would all roll up and be a doddle to carry. It would
probably easier to set up too. Guy pole about 1.5m up, connect antenna
to top of pole, unroll antenna as you push up pole, attach feeder,
lock off pole. Plug in, switch on and QSO out to paraphrase a certain
T. Leary Esq. :wink:

LOL.

However, you could do me an invaluable favour. Next time you go out,
do Cyrn-y-Brain instead of Shining Tor. Its a touch more to walk and climb but nothing major, about 30mins to the top if you slouch up the track. Wander along about 50-100m past the furthest tower and operate with the X300 setup from there. C-y-B has a much better take off from that end than Shining Tor and Id like to map out your QSO results as
I did before. I used to be able to work into the Dutch/German border
area from there on 2m SSB with 10W and a 10ele beam. I think it would
be most enlightening to see if it is such a demonstrably better hill
than Shining Tor.

HA!!! You tempt me with the promises of riches beyond my wildest dreams!

Ok, I`ll be delighted to sort out an activation of Cyrn-y-Brain in the next couple of weeks or so.

In fact, for such an activation, I may even take along the X-510 collinear. For the sake of another Kilo, that should prove really interesting :wink:

73
Mike 2E0YYY


#18

In reply to 2E0YYY:

Now, as you are well aware, I`m a big fan of the simple dipole, however, the
collinear simply blew it out of the water. The improvement on receive was
between two and a staggering six s points.

A 6 S point increase is nominally 36dB. We use an M2 2M18XXX Yagi for 2m talkback on our UHF contest station. That antenna is 11m long, 4 of them stacked have a gain of 21dB over a dipole and would weigh 26kg without feeders and stacking frame. Your seeing an additional 15dB improvement over that with a 2x 5/8 co-linear? Possibly you possess a magical aura that warps the laws of physics in your presence such that a 3dB or so improvement in gain becomes wonderously more so. Or perhaps you should fix the faults on your dipole. :wink:

Anyway, if you do do C-y-B make sure you go past the far tower. Up the path from The Ponderosa, past the 1st tower (Band II FM radio), past the 2 back to back dishes that are part of the secret stuff nobody talks about, past the PMR tower and out to the large BT square tower with the big building by it. It used to have eight 4-6GHz Andrew dishes on it but now only sports a few wee 22GHz dishes and looks very bare. Then go another 200m or so. It is essentially flat from the 1st tower right along the top so it`s no real effort. Check the closing time of The Ponderosa before you go up so you know when to leave to guarantee a nice cup of rosy on your descent.

Andy
MM0FMF


#19

In reply to MM0FMF:

Is the dipole horizontally polarised by any chance? I could perhaps believe a 3 or 4 S point difference between broadside and off the end radiation patterns for a horizontal dipole several wavelengths above ground. A difference in height between the two antennas of perhaps as little as a meter might just explain another couple of S points - particularly for marginal paths.

Failing these possibilities I suspect the simplest explanation of a 6 S point discrepancy must be some sort of magic.

Rick


#20

In reply to MM0FMF:

In reply to 2E0YYY:

A 6 S point increase is nominally 36dB. We use an M2 2M18XXX Yagi for
2m talkback on our UHF contest station. That antenna is 11m long, 4
of them stacked have a gain of 21dB over a dipole and would weigh 26kg
without feeders and stacking frame. Your seeing an additional 15dB
improvement over that with a 2x 5/8 co-linear? )

Signals that were right down in the noise and difficult to copy using the dipole, became perfectly audiable and easy to work on the collinear.

Possibly you possess a
magical aura that warps the laws of physics in your presence such that
a 3dB or so improvement in gain becomes wonderously more so. Or
perhaps you should fix the faults on your dipole. ;-

Oi, nowt wrong with me dipole :wink:

Can only tell it the way I saw it on the S meter. However, your point makes more sense than what is more likely down to the vagaries of that notoriously fickle piece of equipment …the S meter.

Anyway, if you do do C-y-B make sure you go past the far tower. Check the
closing
time of The Ponderosa before you go up so you know when to leave to
guarantee a nice cup of rosy on your descent.

Ok Andy, all noted. Looking forward to the activation. Thanks for the generous offer to map the contacts. This should make very interesting reading.

73
Mike 2E0YYY