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Sota:- From the chaser


#1

Greetings one and all sota chasers and activators and SWL

I have found a lot of things on the reflector is mainly about activations reports and other items related. But little from the chasers point of view. Of course of interest to me, love the reports and pictures please keep the flowing.

But this be a report into a busy day of a chaser namely yesterday.

So up prior to the crack of dawn. Its 6am hoping to catch a nice VK sota and praying the K storm had passed away and the K index has fallen to which it had. But the morning turned to be of some interest as I chased around the 20m band after the VK1NAM and DD5LP/p. Only thing I heard was an 4X station coming in well talking to DD5LP/p barely audible pushing 7am.

But when it kicked off my god it kicked off at 08:40 with SP/BI-003 to start, 10p was the trigger. But conditions during day proved to be very changeable as when said gent reached his 2nd Summit SP/BI-002 could hear him, but could not work him.

Yet little later could hear the EA6MA-038 Sota on 40m, man that was a big pile up bloody busy. Yet got through nigh on straight away and yet when we chatted it was silence, hats off to the op for picking me out and the others waiting there turn was unreal but brill. Also worked him laters in day on 20m he busy boy.

Then caught an HB9 on 14285 working the guy. Suddenly were told to get off our freq and it went to pot across 280 to 290 from Vietnam split could not confirm me signal report, bloody annoyed by this. Hows one little station interfering you dope may be the callers. kept calling us stupid etc . So to me we were bullied off the freq.

Another event happened got through to another sota and then noted were right on the band edge of 14350 and asked him to drop down a couple by which time he was onto another station and thankfully another UK station explained to him politely to drop down 3kz.

Anyways points are rattling up so are the sotas. Tried for EA1/AT-218 in spain on 20m could not raise him found him on 40m BIG pile up. So I worked another couple sotas prior going back after 40 minutes had quietened down and bingo in there again as well DM/BM-360 on 40m. Also managed to catch 2 more 9A’s and towards end of day got bit quiet and caught the CT/DL-OO4 on 40m followed by chasing CT1/MN-019 after dark on 40m but lost him in noise. 10 minutes laters he,s on 20m and boom last one of the day.

So yesterdays results was 20 sotas, 108 points and 13 uniques made up for poor saturday and that 10k is looming nearer.

Yet forgot to mention the 50 minute break during dinner time to watch the final Moto GP race in Spain and when returned not missed much at all and resumed chasing those sotas.

Not bad going on 10w and the full wave 40m H/brew loop. they did warm me its addictive and there right. Big thanks to all activators of the day for your time and effort putting on these stations we scan the bands for and Chase 73s

Karl


#2

Hi Karl

You are right, it is interesting to get some insight into the day of a very active chaser - I’m just a dabbler by comparison!

73s and power to your elbow for the 10K
Adrian
G4AZS


#3

Yes, a pretty good day, Karl - you beat me, I only worked 15 for 82 points. Interesting that there was plenty of German activity but I couldn’t hear many of them, for me the band was a bit long. I also found 18 megs horrendously noisy, S3 on 20 and 15, S8 on 18, I’m going to have to get the whip on the 817 and start hunting for the source!

Did anybody else notice that some of the more northerly activations had a rough tone, reminiscent of aurora though the spaceweather site showed nothing out of the ordinary?

Brian

PS I looked at the UK 6 metre site yesterday PM and it looked like there was some TEP (trans-equatorial prop) from Iberia to south America. Its worth watching out for, sometimes it reaches the south of the UK.


#4

Hmmmmm… perhaps I should take a 6m antenna with me next week as well as the 12/10m antennas.


#5

Why not just fold the ends back like when tuning a new antenna, mark the spot with some tape?

Brian


#6

Hi Karl,
I thought some of the UK SOTA-ites would like to hear what we in Central Europe hear while the UK chasers are knocking off all the SSB activations in the Alpen regions - …

NOTHING!

I hear the UK, EA, PA, OH, OZ (etc.) chasers belting in here but not the activator due to the activator being too close on what appears to be the most used band recently - 20m. If some are kind enough to go over onto 40m, then sometimes I can catch them.

Well, you might say, why don’t I chase UK activators - I do when they are there - unfortunately many don’t operate voice, only CW (which I don’t) or operate on VHF or 40m - which in both cases, normally is not going to get their signal over here.

As an activator, I would agree I have a great number and vareity of summits to activate with 1-3 hours drive from here but as a chaser, it’s harder from this side of the North Sea to bag the points.

So for those activating on SSB from a G/GM/GW/GI/EI summit, could you please consider calling on 20m, so that some of the activators that you chase from Central Europe can chase you - thanks.

Oh yes and those activating Central European summits, perhaps consider 40m SSB, not just 20m (I do when I activate).

73 Ed.


#7

Good points! It varies, though, sometimes I can hear the OE activations but not the DM, sometimes I can even work G activations at one or two hundred kilometres, usually they are inaudible. That is the fun and challenge of 20 metres - you never know whether skip is going to be your friend or your foe, all you know is that some of the activations will be inaudible!

Brian


#8

When was last up kitt hill.

I like to activate all bands i have at hand 40 20 15 and 10 and if time 80 as well
trouble was last time not spot myself to well. lesson do better next time :slight_smile: Hence my antennas are designed to incorporate those bands va the Acu at hand and give these chasers a chance to get hold of me, no matter where they be. As last time managed contacts on 40 20 15 and 10m.

Karl


#9

When activating you must assume you will never please everybody. It’s just impossible.
There may always be potential for some chasers blaming you for:

  • not using enough power or
  • not using a beam antenna or
  • using bands for which the chaser country regulations don’t authorise its use or
  • using CW or
  • using DIGITALS or
  • being too little time on air or
  • not using several bands/modes
  • changing too quickly from one band to other
  • not activatiing on weekends or
    etc…

The list can be huge, almost infinite.

Each activator has his/her own preferences, wishes, constrains, etc, and we (chasers) have to live with it and respect it.

In addition, each ham owns the ham radio station that he/she wants to/can have depending on many different constrains and such station has its own limits, which a ham must know and accept with resignation.

Let’s try to always keep all this in mind.

Best 73 de Guru


#10

Hi Guru,
The rule is simple, the activator does what he or she choses - the reasons for the choices can be personal or practical (or both).

The reason for my comment was to point out that being located in Central Europe - rather than “on the edge” has it’s disadvantages as a chaser. Of course as Brian said it’s not all black and white, although over the last couple of months the situation (for me at least) from what I have been seeing (or rather hearing and not hearing) has been consistant.

Now, I wonder how 80 metres will work over Europe, during the day ???

All very interesting, but also at times annoying!

73 Ed.


#11

20m is not a good band for you in central Europe and 40m is the best band for that.
But periferic countries like EA can’t almost copy anything and have little chances to chase activators in central Europe on 40m. OK, OM, SP, DL are usually almost impossible or very difficult to copy here on 40m.
That’s why I think 30m is most of the times the best band, as it usually provides short, medium and long skip. But it’s CW only and that’s a big problem for many.

In my Saturday activations of Mt. San Cristobal I only use 20m due to time constrains and also practical reasons, i.e. small mobile whip antenna easy to set up quickly and big chances to have a big pile of chasers at almost any time. But I know that using 20m only I’m letting out without chances to work me other hams in Central or Southern France or in most areas of Spain and I’m sorry for that.

For Sunday activations I usually start on 30m, then go to 20m and finally give a try to 12m.
With the 7m long vertical antenna I take with me, these are the optimal bands for me to use and that’s why I use them.

I try to avoid 40m because it’s too noisy and I know the 5w of my FT-817 don’t get too far and also because in the morning of weekend days, the 40m band is most of the times full of strong EA stations chatting, activating/chasing castles, VG (geodesic vertex), activating/chasing municipalities of EA or working some special event station, contest or whatever, thus making even harder to a SOTA activator to get through with just 5 w.

Also, being in the periferic SouthWest of Europe makes it harder for us to achieve Eastern, Central or Northern Europe on 40m.
Likewise the activators in those areas of Central Europe have it hard to get into the SouthWest of Europe.

It’s like that and so it has to be.

Let’s keep having fun and trying to get our best from the waves and our radio stations.

Best 73 de Guru


#12

I have to disagree Ed. On 40m at least, you have a definite advantage in being in a “central” location as you can chase activators from all points of the compass. The chasers on “the edge” such as UK/GI/EI & EA/CT/F plus Scandanavia and no doubt others who have lots of empty ocean in certain directions will find their chasing opportunities restricted.
With regards to 80m, I find it a very productive band in the winter months. There may be some absorption around midday but apart from that I find it works great for NVIS with skip lengthening late afternoon.
73 from a very wet & windy UK.


#13

Currently I’m only using 20m and 40m and only SSB and work both bands when activating so I hope we can work soon.


#14

Hi Steve!

ONLY if the activators go on 40 metres, which over the last few weeks has not been that common. 20 metres seems to be the band of choice for most at the moment (at least on SSB).

There will definitely be some swings and roundabouts, but at the moment the swings are swinging away and the roundabouts are going to fast to get onto HI.

Ed.


#15

I agree, a good band except in summer when it joins the dodo! An even better one for those who have access to it is 5 MHz, needing a shorter antenna and very effective for NVIS and longer skip, I gather the PAs will be coming on the band soon, the more the merrier!

With regard to the disadvantages of any location, I can only offer the old saying: “It’s the wearer that knows where the shoe pinches!”

Brian


#16

Thanks Steve - sounds like the do the same as I do - 40 & 20m SSB. Albeit with the challenge having started up again, I’ll be adding 10m aswell and when abroad also 6m /P with any luck.

Ed.


#17

Looking at the Spots page, there have been 31 activations spotted on 7 MHz SSB in the last 72 hours,

Brian


#18

Hi Brian,
The latest I’ve heard / read is that a uniform 5MHz allocation is having difficulty getting through the WRC and the proposal has been reduced to only 15KHz and a maximum of 15W EIRP. Even with those restrictions there’s no gaurentee of it getting through and even if it does, some governments may not implement it.

My favourite band when I was in Australia was 30 Metres being a good compromise between 40m and 20m but of course one can run SSB on 30m in Oz, which is not allowed here. I wonder whether 5MHz may have the same restriction if eventually agreed upon due to the limited space? - So for SSB operators both 10MHz and 5MHz may stay unavailable?

Ed.


#19

But in comparison how many on 14MHz SSB ?? And only European activations please - there’s a lot of 7.2MHz+ activity on SOTA in the US but this is not relevant to Europe of course.

Ed.


#20

There is a possibility of my taking a 5 band cobweb portable in the foreseeable future. I’m currently building one for home but it is designed to be ultralight and to fit on a fishing pole. Current prediction according to 3D models and weighing parts already collected is I may achieve my target to make it sub 1kg. Still quite heavy as SOTA antennas go I know but could be fun to use, especially with these challenges many are doing. Although it would be instead of the dipole so no 40m. I’ll see how the base version goes first…
My personal goal is to activate as many summits as I can, but primarily just make as many QSOs as I can anywhere and everywhere. I get so much better performance portable that at my home location so that is what draws me to the hills.
I’ve been a bit quiet lately as I have had to concentrate on a photographic book project (thankfully completed now) and also planning a trip abroad next year.

But I am looking forward to some evening activations soon now the darkness will be keeping the hordes of day walkers off the tops.