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SOTA International Weekend


Just noticed that there were 100 spots just before 10:45z today (Saturday). Not sure what the record number is but 200+ looks possible for today.




I’m not a great fan of SOTA activity events myself and had not intended to be out this weekend. However since the event coincided with the 10GHz Trophy Contest I decided to go out on 10G. There are only a few 10G contests and they do offer the chance to qualify a summit relatively easily on that band. Looking at the likely distribution of stations and the scoring system for the contest I decided that Moel Famau was the best option.

The day was dry and even sunny, in fact ideal for 10G SOTA. The gear is rather heavy as I carry 10G + a 40W 2m station as well as a laptop with GPRS for accessing the ON4KST microwave chat system. Despite this, I slogged up the path at a reasonable lick. The summit was busy but as I arrived at 1520, most people were starting to leave.

It would be nice to say that contacts came thick and fast but in reality it was a rather relaxed affair. In the end, over about 2.5 hours, I logged 8 contacts in 4 countries with a best DX of 260km. SOTA notables were John MW1FGQ and Andy MM0FMF.

Another one qualified on 10G.




In reply to G3CWI:

200+ looks possible for today…

Yes indeed it has been busy Richard. 258 spots today right now (and not many dupes) and there could still be a couple more. I wonder what the record is but this must be up there

73 Marc G0AZS


And some of us couldn’t get spotted. 20 minutes of calling CQ on 3.660 resulted in 3 contacts, none of whom were regular chasers - hence no spots. I guess all the chasers were busy elsewhere. This is not meant as a criticism, I was perfectly happy to get an activation in from Ruardean Hill on the way back from an orienteering event, and the pleasure of the day was meeting other activators on the hill, putting faces to callsigns.

Richard G0IBE


The chasers can’t be everywhere at once Richard, especially not on days like today. That’s where self-spotting via SPOTlite and GPRS comes into its own. Sometimes today, it was possible to start calling CQ on a particular band/mode, and find that you were soon worked by known chasers, and spotted on SOTAwatch. At other times, that didn’t happen, and we unashamedly spotted ourselves!

We had a great day (just got in now!).



In reply to M1EYP:
Yes, Saturday was a great SOTA-day, and very busy, even if the band condx here in southwest LA were quite difficult. Many of my contacts were marginal. And I simply could not make out a lot of spotted activators. France and HB were most difficult in my QTH, and even HA and OK were weaker than normal. DL1JMS/p, normally s8 / s9, was 33, and I had to use 600 watts SSB to get a 54 from him.
I tried to spot many times, but had to delete most of my spots, simply because other chasers had spotted a minute earlier than me :-).
Keep on the good work, brave activators ;-)!


In reply to G0IBE:
It was a bit tricky, Richard. Geoff 2E0BTR and I didn’t get spotted on either Cleeve and Ruardean Hills. My Cleeve Hill log consists of S2S with other activators and me contacting special event and club stations around Europe. I’m happy with this because it’s a good performance from my 2.5W radio and dipole antenna. On Ruardean Hill I had two chasers and I even had to participate in the RSGB 70cm contest to tease the log over four entries. Equally good because it christened the UHF part of the SB270 Sotabeam. Dear Geoff even walked to the bottom of the hill for a QSO to make it five in the log. On the plus side we met one Richard Higgs and G0LGS Stuart on the way round. We were late getting on the air compared to the alert but ‘car parks in activation zones on the air’ was enjoyable none the less. I hope I converted M6TAY Tony to the cause too. Cheers, David M6WOW


399 spots in International SOTA Weekend so far. Who will be/will there be a 400th??? Well done to Sean M0GIA for a great idea that seems to have caught everyone’s imagination.

Sean, Jimmy M3EYP and I had another excellent day today, activating Kinder Scout G/SP-001. Fortunately, the weather was “Kinder” to us that the forecast had promised, although we did hunker ourselves pretty deep down in a large meandering peat grough (fairly close to the true summit) in order to escape the biting cold of the incessant wind.

I enjoyed the vast numbers of potential S2S contacts available on 40m CW. No way did I come anywhere near to getting them all, but I still got a lot. Jimmy was slightly disappointed with the relative lack of HF S2S opportunities, although this was more than made up for by all the S2S QSOs on VHF.

Sean, the originator of the International SOTA Weekend concept, was counter-intuitively inactive, relatively. Rather than avail himself of his self-created opportunity, and fill his boots, he chose to adopt deity-like status, sit back and observe his subjects (both before his eyes, and heard on the radio) as they fulfilled his vision.

More detailed reports will follow (!) but as an overview, I made 108 activator contacts over the International SOTA Weekend, on the following bands and modes: 80m CW, 40m CW, 40m SSB, 20m CW, 17m CW, 15m CW, 6m CW, 2m SSB and 2m FM. In addition, Jimmy did 80m SSB, 20m SSB and 6m SSB. I can’t remember what Sean did additionally, but think that he might have done some 17m, 15m and 10m SSB. I also tried the following band/mode combos, but failed to get any QSOs: 30m CW, 12m CW, 10m CW and 2m CW (very strange not to have any take-up on 2m CW nowadays).

It was all great fun. Heartfelt thanks to Trish (Mrs GIA) and Marianne (Mrs EYP) for stamping the all-weekend pass-outs for the three of us.



In reply to LA5SAA:

Thanks for 40m CW contact Mike. Really nice CW and easy to copy for a newbie like me.

In reply to G3CWI:

Richard, your signal strength was mighty impressive. Not a true LOS path but almost. I could hear the click as the S-meter hit the end stop on the FT290 driving the transverter! The big amp wasn’t QRV so we were running about 1W into an 80cm dish.



In reply to G0IBE:

And some of us couldn’t get spotted.

Over this weekend I was monitoring 10 different bands/modes. At times there were 10 or so concurrent activations that I could have worked. At one point there were three SOTA stations on 80m SSB 3.666, 3.660 and 3.630 at the same time. Another time every channel on 60m had a SOTA activator on it. Working through the pile ups and moving to the next one took some time. Some activators had simply moved on by the time I got to them. When it got to the mad “who do I try next?” periods it was not possible to be scanning up and down the bands looking for activations. Every keen chaser would have been in the same boat.

Over 400 spots in two days; Wow! I was not convinced this was a good idea but it seems to have been a great success. I have had a great time chasing this weekend and for every two stations I worked there was another one I missed.

Activators need to think what they want from an activation. Almost everyone has a mobile phone these days and if you cannot self spot due to either no coverage or no Internet access on your phone then call someone who can do it for you. If you cannot do that at least put an Alert up so we can look for you. If you want to be as sure as possible of getting your contacts be flexible and don’t just think you will get them on one band because if that band is dead you are stuffed. Ask your self why some activators manage 100 plus contacts and you cannot qualify a summit? What do they do differently?

Hoping you get inundated with chasers next time out.

Steve GW7AAV 73


In reply to GW7AAV:

…if you cannot self spot due
to either no coverage or no Internet access on your phone then call
someone who can do it for you.

There seems to be a flaw in your logic here Steve… (unless you are on a summit with a phone-box of course).




In reply to GW7AAV:
It was a good weekend and very relaxing for me, i worked some not lots as i never do if i hear someone calling and no one answering i always go back to them.

HF SSB was quiet yesterday i found while on Gun, things changed last night when we activated The Cloud as there was contest on and Euopean stations were worked easy. This was also the case today while on Kinder Scout so even contests which i dont really like do have there use’s after all!

Just to let everyone know i simply made the suggestion of such an activity after all Castles, lighthouse’s, Submarines in fact anything seems to be activated on an international scale so why not SOTA have its onwn day or weekend?

So well done and more credit to the MT and the use of this site’s alert and spotting facility which worked well until i couldnt get a signal on my phone! … so much for modern technology.

Hearing how other chasers and activators found the weekend will hopefully make good reading. Sean M0GIA


Maybe in the case of “no coverage” Richard - in which case I agree it would be rather difficult to “phone-a-friend”. However, when I 'phoned you today from SP-001, we had coverage (obviously), but no GPRS network. Presumably, this is what Steve meant. Thanks for the spot - Jimmy had a good little run on 3.610MHz SSB after you spotted it for him.

It has happened before where there is network coverage, but no GPRS coverage available. This is where the ‘dial-a-spot’ services offered by a couple of good friends come in very handy indeed.

(Why does this happen, ie where there is network, but no GPRS?).



In reply to G3CWI:

Not really, there is quite often phone coverage but no Internet. On TW-001 I had all the bars up on the Internet and the phone but every time I connected on the Internet it dropped the connection, the phone worked without any problem. On a lot on the Scottish summits I have done there was no Internet but good phone coverage. Having a buddy looking for you and doing the spotting is better still.



I really didn’t intend to sound put out regarding not being spotted. I was being ironic, that with so many spots and so much activity, I had crept under the radar.

My actiity was very low key; the exact oposit of many, who had put together very capable multi-band stations with whole antenna farms on hill tops. Well done to them, and I regret that prior engagements meant that I was only able to grab a quick activation as I passed within a mile of Ruardean Hill. You get what you put in and this was a “smash and grab”, to have done something over the weekend. No alert because I really didn’t know if I would have time, no multi band as I really only grabbed the twenty minutes. There were no points in it for me, as I had already activated that hill this year. But it was still worthwhile.

I have said many times, I really appreciate the work of the chasers without who SOTA would not exist, and with so much activity, of course they were busy elsewhere. What an interesting weekend. Good to hear everyone’s experiences.



In reply to GW7AAV:

I carry a corner reflector for such occasions. I could not get a GPRS connection on Moel Famau on Saturday for KST access without careful alignment of the GSM aerial. The reflector is simply a piece of cardboard folded in two and covered in tinfoil. Very Blue Peter but it is light and works.




In reply to MM0FMF:
My pleasure, Andy. I understood that you preferred qrs. Its great that you used CW, I would not have been able to read you in SSB with the condx yesterday. I spotted you (GS3PYU/p) with the remark “qrs” - and I hope you got some nice cw contacts.


Great fun today :slight_smile:

I activated G/SP-011 Freeholds Top with Scott 2E0RCS & managed 42 QSO’s on 5 different bands.

I apologise to G1KLZ who I acknowledged, but when I called you in I heard nothing.

I must also apolgise to G0TDM, who I heard twice , but both times the QSB on 60m conspired to deny us a QSO.

Otherwise, a fun day on a quite sunny, but very windy summit. I took plenty of battery power this time to avoid a repeat of completely flattenning our batteries as we had on Boulsworth Hill last weekend. This was probably why my rucksack weighed 23 Kgs. I am definitely feeling the benefit of all the excercise though!

I took a few photos & also several minutes of video, which I will post on an activation report thread once I have edited it.

A few photos are here:

With the number of spots, this looks to have been a very successful weekend, Well done to all who took part, either as activators, or chasers :slight_smile:


Mark G0VOF


In reply to G3CWI:

In reply to GW7AAV:

I carry a corner reflector for such occasions.


Nice one Richard, I might try that. Maybe half a Pringles tube might be good?

I found a design for a Moxon Rectangle for a mobile phone on PCB. That might be fun to try too.


In reply to GW7AAV:

The Pringles Tube Antenna is a classic internet meme. A shame it doesn’t have any gain on 2.4GHz. If you want an antenna for the 9cm amateur band the Pringles tube is the one!