Dear SOTA mates.
Today it’s been my first work day after great holidays in the beautiful Northwestern coast of Spain, the Spanish Autonomous Comunity of Galicia, which I highly recommend you to visit, despite the cooler temperatures with more cloudy and rainy weather in the area compared to the Spanish Mediterranean coast.
In Galicia, my family and I stayed, as we did last year, in a house with a certain amount of land around not far from the Atlantic Ocean shore. Nothing huge but far more than enough to be able to install a telescopic fiber pole 8m up and a random 30m Long Wire as an inverted vee.
I took my FT-817ND with me and I’ve been on air all these days, between July 17th and August 10th, using the special preffix AM0 (AM02IF), for which use, as I explained in other posts, EA hams are allowed between June and September 18th to conmemorate the arrival of our new king Felipe VI to the trone.
I can assure you that I had a lot of fun chasing, activating and even working the National CW Contest on QRP 5w.
With this little power and the simple invee LW antenna, I’ve worked great DX and have completed 393 QSOs in total, 213 of which were made during the National CW contest and other 88 were chased SOTA activators.
I also activated 4 times from 3 different summits of 1 point each in the close area, which gave me a total of 74 QSOs, some of which were DX with USA and Canada, as well as S2S with these 2 mentionned countries. On these 4 activations, the used antenna was not a LW but a home made 1.5 m diameter magnetic loop in vertical position with the help of a tripod.
While chasing, unless I had the good luck to catch an activator on some of the first CQ calls and before a spot was raised on SOTAWATCH, as you can imagine, I always or most of the times had to wait until the end of the pile up to be copied by the activators, which was not a problem most of the times because I was relaxed on holidays with time to wait and work out my patience
However, I wondered sometimes how different SOTA chasing and SOTA pile-ups would be if all the chasers were working on QRP.
I can assure you that I managed to work almost all of the activations I was able to copy, which means that using more power is indeed a bit of a waste of energy. In several occasions, the signal I was receiving from the activators was as weak and tiny as the one the activators were surely receiving from me.
Let me make you all a proposal, although I guess it’s possibly going to have very little interest in these days of rush, power amps and lots of dB over S9 signals, my proposal is to run a test for all or a volunteer group in the SOTA community consisting in the use of QRP (5w or 10 watts max. if you find 5w too little) for either activating or chasing and just for a certain period of time in these days of pretty high SFI. Then reviewing the overall numbers in such period of time in order to see whether the number of chased activations or the number of chasers worked by the activators had been significantly reduced.
Any comments/ideas will be very welcome.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF