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Something a bit different


This weekend is the one annual 2m CW contest. I am hoping to take part in the 6 hour Open section by doing 3 hours on Saturday afternoon (1400 - 1700) and another 3 on Sunday morning, from a SOTA summit (Gun G/SP-013).

I have always enjoyed 2m CW activations, as it is amazing to see what can be done on VHF with low power, and you get just as much of a thrill from gaining the 4 qualifying QSOs on 2m CW as you do getting 35 QSOs on HF CW! (Or as much of a thrill as getting the 4 QSOs on 2m FM in 2002 hi!).

Looking at last year’s results, there were only 9 entries across the 4 sections from UK stations. Unlike the popular Tuesday night VHF contests, UK activity was densely concentrated in the South East, all from IO91, IO92, JO01 and JO02. In contrast, the numbers of QSOs recorded by most of those stations indicates good activity levels on the continent - so surely a good opportunity for VHF DX.



I am looking forward to this event, I think it could be great fun.



In reply to M1EYP:

Hello Tom

Welcome back.

The contest sounds like fun. I have always intended entering this one myself but have never got round to it. I may have a go this time - especially if there is some local competition!




House rules: You have to enter from a SOTA summit - no cheating by doing it from Merryton Low.



In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,

I look forward to catching you in the 2m CW. I only worked a few stations last year and got a certificate so you should do quite well. It always clashes with an orienteering event so I usually only get on on Sat pm. With my XYL’s (2E1FKA) 60th this weekend I may not even manage that as she has various things organised and I am racing on Sunday am.

All the best, I will endeavour to work you, especially if it means getting my first chase of you on The Cloud, HI. (whoops I mean Gun in this case)

73 Mike G4DDL


Hi Mike,

Hope to work you this weekend. Sorry that it won’t be from The Cloud hi!

The SOTA Database shows that 124 activations have been conducted on 2m CW so far. Some more activity this weekend would be nice.



In reply to M1EYP:

OT: Tom, where can I find a description of the Magic Moggy antenna and what size pole are you using. Searching the reflector doesn’t satisfy!



Sean M0GIA’s website has the following:


Things have moved on a bit from there though. It was found that the large pole was too cumbersome and somewhat “uncooperative” in portable use. Using a normal size pole meant that the feed point was slightly lower and the angle of the radials to the ground was approximately 30 degrees rather than the design original of 45 degrees.

But it was found that the aerial performed better like this anyway! Sean often uses it with an ATU and as such “multibands” on 20m, 17m, 15m, 12m and 10m. I use it without the ATU as a single band resonant aerial.

I don’t seem to have much in the way of photos that show the current configuration well, but there is one that sort of does on this page:




In reply to MM0FMF:
Andy if you need any more info about the Magic Moggy just ask, Tom named it the Magic Moggy as you probably are well aware. It is as you can see a light weight portable 1/4 wave GP vertical that self guys using the GP’s that terminate in nylon tent guying line.

Once the three GP’s were introduced over the single GP the SWR stabilized over different grounds and the use of an ATU was no longer needed for 20m which it was designed for.

Does it work in the real world? Is it Magic? Compared to what DX i can work from home using 100w, 5w on a summit with the Magic Moggy tells another story … Sean M0GIA


In reply to M1EYP:

House rules: You have to enter from a SOTA summit - no cheating by
doing it from Merryton Low.

2m CW Contest entered; House rules duly ignored, Contest Rules adhered to instead. I felt no need to compete with an additional handicap!

Two SOTA summiteers noted on summits (M1EYP and G3NYY). Several others in log - thanks; G3WPF, G4OBK, G4DDL. ON4CAP heard but not worked.




House rules duly ignored…

I am therefore compelled to ask why this note has been posted on a SOTA website?!

At least my contest entry was conducted in the form of two SOTA activations!

Gun G/SP-013 was really good when I won the 5th Backpackers from there a few weeks ago, but instances of DX were only fleeting on this occasion.

In the log were G, GM, PA, ON and F. Heard, but gotaway, were DL and GW.

I was doing the 6 hour section, split into three on the afternoon of Saturday 7th November 2009 - 2pm to 5pm, and three the following morning - 6.45am to 9.45am. Results were 15 QSOs on the first session, and a further 12 in the second.

Richard G3CWI/P on Merryton Low was only a short distance from me horizontally, but higher with a considerably better take-off. I regularly heard his signal working a DL, but I couldn’t hear the DL! I will have to find a SOTA summit that can outperform Merryton Low on VHF, but know there won’t be one that is half-an-hour from Macclesfield!

I did enjoy this contest, and will have a more serious think about how to enter it next year (in full accordance with the house rules). I now declare myself the winner of this year’s SOTA-Marconi contest due to Richard’s blatant cheating … oh hang on, better check how G3NYY/P (WB-021) got on…

Many thanks to all SOTA fraternity that worked me:

G3CWI/P, G3NYY/P (S2S), G3WPF (expected another call from you this morning Reg, even though it wouldn’t have counted for the contest), G3RMD, G0VOF.



In reply to M1EYP:

It’s not 30mins from Macc but Cyrn-y-Brain is the one to use but by the BT microwave site not the windshelter most people use. You’ll be impressed. Though I think Esclusham might be better for VHF but not a SOTA.



Could be useful got next years 2m CW Marconi, but no good for Backpackers as I think G(W)8ZRE uses it for that.

So, to the activation reports then. Saturday 7th November 2009, and with the household chores completed by lunchtime, it was then the (slightly) more pleasurable ‘chore’ of preparing soup for the flask. What flavours did I have three tins of for my one litre flask? Answer - none. Only two tins were in the cupboard - one Baxter’s Lobster Bisque and one Spinnaker’s Bouillabaisse. Solution - chuck the two in together for a ‘unique’ seafood soup (and delicious it was too).

Lunch prepared and packed in the rucksack, it was off in the car to Gun G/SP-013, high in the Staffordshire Moorlands. It had been raining all morning, so I booted up, knowing that the path to the summit would be very wet. After a slow ascent, restricted by hopping between the dry - no, I mean ‘less wet’ patches of ground, I chose my operating position just past the trig point in the direction of the farmhouse.

First up went my £11 Sainsbury’s tent that I deploy for contest sessions of three hours or more, and then the SOTA Beam, mounted horizontally at a height of 4m AGL / 389m ASL. Everything went to plan, and the station was ready at 1350z with ten minutes to spare. Cue the first serving of Lobster Bouillabaisse Bisque, and a few 'QRL’s on a chosen frequency.

I began with a run of six contacts on 144.045MHz CW, after which it was slow going! 5, 15 or even 25 minutes would separate QSOs, but by the end of my three-hour window, I was on serial number 015. Poor in terms of the contest - but not at all bad for a 2m CW SOTA activation!

On the plus side, I had worked into France and the Netherlands on 5 watts, as well as S2S with Walt G3NYY/P on Ruardean Hill G/WB-021. At 5pm, it was dark, and raining hard. It was also bitingly cold. Packing everything away was an unpleasant chore that made that morning’s housework seem like a picnic. At least the descent to the car was fairly rapid, as I had decided I didn’t care where I was putting my feet!

The 25 minute drive back to Macclesfield took me not to my home QTH initially, but to the Bull pub at Broken Cross. Richard G3CWI/P met here for a pint and debrief. I was jealous of his 43 contacts including many into DL, and questioned my own insistence on combining VHF contest entries with SOTA activating!

Richard suggested that an early start on Sunday morning, taking advantage of beating the sunrise, would be advantageous. So I made sure I got a nice early night - at 1am (well I had to watch the World Heavyweight fight, BBC1 Match of the Day, ITV FA Cup highlights and check my emails…).



In reply to MM0FMF:

It’s not 30mins from Macc but Cyrn-y-Brain is the one to use


Not so sure that CyB would be the best SOTA for the Marconi 2m CW. Detling would probably be a better choice for that one. The Marconi rules and distribution of entrants favours stations in the south-east - unlike the VHFcc which tends to favour stations that are more centrally located (but not always).

More locally, Shining Tor is probably the best bet for the Marconi. A carefully chosen spot on the south eastern flanks of Kinder might also be better than Gun or the Cloud - not sure where that spot is though!

Gun gets fewer visitors than the other local SOTA-qualifying hills which I suspect is one of Tom’s reasons for using it.

Personally I choose a single objective and concentrate on that. In contests it is usually attempting to win. If that fits in with a SOTA summit I use one; if not, I don’t. I suppose Tom might have concluded that he could not win the Marconi contest anyway with low power and a small man-packable radio system.

The winner in the 6hr Open section is looking like being the Windmill CG (again) with 400W and 2 x 17 elements on a big tower located near the sea in the south-east. The bigger stations were able to exploit ionoscatter out to very great distances. I heard OM3RAL several times at a QRB > 1,500km which was well beyond what I could hope to work with my very simple system. I assume they had a lot of power and a very large aerial array.

The most equitable contests for SOTA remain the Backpackers series. There we compete on equal terms.




In reply to M1EYP:

Not SOTA, but Shutlinsloe, Mam Tor & Win Hill all have a better take off than Gun.


The self imposed 5am get-up was initially painful, but once breakfasted on microwaved jacket potatoes with cheese (leftover from Friday’s bonfire party), and in the car, I was looking forward to my early start.

Walking up the path by torchlight to Gun summit, it struck me that no-one would have been there between me leaving in darkness the previous day, and now. Could I have got away with leaving the station in situ, and would I have dared? Soon, all such impure thoughts were banished as I set about setting everything up, still before sunrise.

And so commenced another three hours of slow-going contesting. First up was Mark G0VOF, at the early hour of 0652z. In total, 12 QSOs were made, taking my contest serial number up to the dizzy heights of 027. Best DX were ON (JO20), GM (IO75), G (JO01) and F (JO00).

My actual log times showed 124 minutes of operation on the Saturday, and 160 minutes on the Sunday morning, so I could have gone on for another hour and a quarter in the contest six hour section. However, I had to be down at the town cenotaph for 11am for the Rememberance parade and service - Jimmy was marching with the Explorer Scouts. So I packed it all up again, and got myself down there.

An enjoyable contest, and one I think I will do again next year.



In reply to G3CWI:

Esclusham has the correct sloping ground to the south east which makes it better than Cyrn-y-Brain for a VHF take off. The problem with the Bryn being most people can’t get their cars far enough east to take advantage of the slope. The downside to Esclusham is that you can’t drive to the summit which we used to be able to do with ease on the Bryn. That was in the day of heavy (but small really) stations, I had enough problems carrying the 100Ah SLABs to the car and didn’t want to carry them up the hill! From a SOTA sized station point of view that problem goes away.

The other downside to Esclusham in 2m contests is the QRM that will come from the (probable) trespassers operating from Cyrn-y-Brain. :wink: