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Patience pays off


Concerning radio contacts, many times it’s just a matter of being patient and waiting for the propagation conditions to build up.
I left work at 18h35 local (16h35 utc) and headed to my owned house in the village because I had to do the mowing, but I sat in the shack first, of course…
After a while, I saw @AC7P spotted on 14.062, went to the frequency and started to hear some of the usual chasers making QSO with him, but Don AC7P wasn’t copiable, yet…
Sometimes, I could barely have the feel that he was transmitting but copying his code was absolutely impossible.
I knew the propagation conditions would improve with the time, so I remained in the frequency stalking for Don, who was activating W0M/ES-003.
I can’t exactly say for how long I waited (about 10 minutes or so) but, suddenly, I started to partly copy him CQing. With an extremely weak signal and QSB but I was able to copy his CQ SOTA and his callsign.
At that point I switched my TL-922 amp ON and gave him a call with about 900 watts into my TH5-DX yagi. He returned with part of my callsign and ??, so I returned sending 3 times my callsign at a gentle speed code of about 20 WPM. Don copied me perfectly and sent me his signal report, which I fortunately copied very well because the QSB played ball and brought his signal up to a maximum in the very moment of him sending my report (some other times it’s just the other way around). I came back to him, sent my report, which he got, we exchanged 73 and greeting and the DX QSO got completed. A distance of 7495 Km.
Just about 10 minutes waiting made the difference between not copying and copying.
This is the magic of hf propagation.
Thanks Sun for that great stuff you send us to ionize those layers in our atmosphere.
Thanks Don for the QSO. You made my day.



Nice story, Guru. But I’m wondering if you had time to do your lawn after all?


Guru,Yes a very nice story.I heard you call him and he sent ??,Like you said. I was Glad you got him!
You are always very strong into New Jersey! I.am retired so I spend lots of time on radio! Hi! Hi!
Some times I can not get the close ones when they only use 20 or 30mtrs.
Have a GREAT DAY -73 -Gary N2ESE


Ha, ha, ha…
Yes, Zoran I did, although it was almost 22h local when I finished (quite exhausted) after having got up at 6h30 for work and then mowing nearly 450 squared meters of garden.

However, thanks to these garden works I need to do from time to time, I have an excuse to go to my house in the village, get in the shack, switch on my rigs and chase some SOTA with an old but still pretty good ham radio station in a low noise area.




Hi Gary,
Yes I often hear you chasing from my side of the Pond. Some times.I even hear you with my endfed wire in the balcony of the rental appartment I currently live in with my family in the city of Pamplona. It’s always nice to hear the regular chasers playing SOTA.
It’s been a bit of a long time since you last chased me back in January.
With work, duties and the very rainy weather we’ve had over here, I haven’t activated much and even less at the good times for USA chasers to be awaked.
I hope we will soon have another SOTA QSO.



Hi Guru,

Patience does indeed pay off. Very often at the tail end of a pile-up, after the 599’s have been satisfied, I’ll hear weak partial calls that often make me wonder if I’m QRMing someone just out of my propagation range. But when no one else is responding to my CQ SOTA, I’ll hear repetitive calls barely at a 229 level that I’m able to piece together into a full call. Invariably they all are DX. So when activating, be sure to listen more intently after the big guns have had their fun and if chasing the tail end of an activation, throw your call out often to cut through the QSB and propogation. Dean ~ K2JB


LOL! What hope with 5 watts from an FT817 into a low, inverted V dipole?

Walt (G3NYY)


5 watts from an 817 Walt? A GP is what you need, not a dipole.


Or a linear!


It doesn’t matter what the chasers use as long as there are chasers who can work the activator.


Interesting subject

yep those with bloody great beams and mega watts of power. :grimacing:
Here’s little old me with a wet bit of string and 10w :hushed:
And yet still managed to get through most of time even and even broken a few pile ups to boot. :face_with_raised_eyebrow:] makes it even more enjoyable.

Propagation still determines if we can make it or not no matter size of the station being used with out that path no happening.

Even at times of low propagation surprising how signals can still reach you caught bit on GM/SI-174 he;s using half what i use.

But end of day patience is name of the game and timing and praying the propagation might raise in your favor.



That is exactly the setup used at the activator end. 5 Watts from HB1B through antenna tuner and window line to inverted vee with the apex at at 6 meters. Good downhill view toward Europe from the summit. Guru’s signal was more than adequate and my guess is that I could have heard him with 100 watts. But it was really his yagi that made the contact possible.


Very interesting to know your working conditions, Don.
Since I copied your 5 watts signal, should I have transmitted QRP 5 watts back to you, you should have been able to, in theory, copy my signal, but my reception conditions were optimal at that time, and those might not be the same at your side.
There are sometimes far from perfect conditions for a clean reception of weak QRP signals during a SOTA activation such as wind, other people around, some splatters from nearby frequencies, QRN, QRM from commercial transmitters in that same summit, rush…
I have several times chased on QRP, but let me tell you that I have also lost some chases because, for some reason, I was copying them but the activators were not able to copy my QRP. That’s why, whenever possible, I chase with a bit higher power (50W) now from my rental appartment and 100w for EU or 1KW for DX from my QTH in the village.
The time a chaser can have at the summit and the technical RX features like AF filter, CW band narrowing, etc, available in a base rig like the great Kenwood TS-940S, are not usually available for a SOTA activator, who will likely have a more basic rig and far less time available as to wait for the QSB to bring up the QRP chaser’s signal, and that’s why I’ll chase DX SOTA with higher power whenever possible, just to make it easier for the activator to copy me. Strugglying to copy him is something I can and will afford.

I definitely agree with you, Don, on that the QSO was possible thanks to the 3 elements yagi up 15m above the ground in an elevated QTH which I bought in purpose for the hobby back in 1998 and according to computer calculations made by Angel @M0HDF, its location with respect to the surrounding terrain gives me over 5 additional dBs towards North-America, IIRC, but also thanks to the patience I had to wait for propagation conditions to build up, because your signal wasn’t getting through when you were first spotted, it was only after a few minutes of patient waiting… The yagi was the same all the time :wink:




My Dipole sucks, but I don’t have a tuner.

I’ve only made 10,284 Activator contacts from my inverted vee dipole with the apex at 13 feet and running my 5 watt FT817.



Very good job, Pete!
5 times I’ve chased you so far. 1 in 2014, 2 in 2015, 1 in 2016 and 1 in 2017.
I’m looking forward for our 2018 QSO.





Soon I hope…come on sunspots!



Verticals do not work at my QTH, Tom. I am shut in by high buildings on all sides. The only hope is to use a horizontal wire antenna high enough to clear the screening of all the surrounding buildings.

Walt (G3NYY)


And verticals pick up too much noise when in urban areas, which is not good for copying the usually weak QRP SOTA signals…


Solution? Don’t be at home. Be on a SOTA summit with a GP, then DX with QRP becomes pretty simple.


Oh, you mean a CB GP like Mickey’s?