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Sota news april 2010


#1

SOTA NEWS APRIL 2010

EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH

Welcome to the April 2010 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Les G3VQO, Roland SM1CXE, Tom M1EYP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ.

SOTA activations remained at a low level during the month of March, as the severe winter continued well into the second half of the month, ensuring that any last minute winter bonus points were well earned. It is many years since roads were still impassable due to snow at the end of the winter bonus period in the U.K. Perhaps the arrival of spring and the Easter holidays will see an increase to normal levels of activity.


FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM

TWO NEW ASSOCIATIONS

  1. YO - ROMANIA

Romania becomes the latest Association to join the SOTA family, becoming “live” on 1st April 2010. The 115 summits are distributed along the Carpathian range of mountains, and are divided fairly equally between the three Regions – West, Middle and East.

The MT would like to thank the Association Manager, Adrian YO3HJV, for his hard work in preparing the documentation. It was not an easy task, as the availability of accurate maps that we take for granted elsewhere is not so easy in Romania.

We look forward to hearing SOTA activity from Romania in due course. It is a pleasant destination for both summer and winter holidays, although the distance of the summits from the nearest SOTA neighbour, Hungary, will make casual cross-border activity infrequent. However, licensing is straight-forward as Romania is part of the CEPT T/R 61-01 process.

  1. E7 - BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA

SOTA continues to expand into the Balkans. We welcome our newest Association, from Bosnia-Herzegovina (E7) into the SOTA family, thanks to the hard work of Association Manager Anela E74EE.

This relatively new country boasts an initial haul of 130 summits, shared between two Regions, predictably called Bosnia and Herzegovina. Cross-border activation is possible for visitors under the CEPT licensing system using the format E7/homecall.

In addition to the usual considerations for any SOTA activation, additional advice and precautions should be taken to avoid unfortunate encounters with many of the land-mines still uncleared from the bitter conflicts of the early 1990s.

We look forward to hearing our YO and E7 friends on the air very soon.

Les, G3VQO
obo SOTA MT


SOTA AWARDS FOR MARCH 2009 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

The winter snows have cleared from the hills and activation levels are on the increase. The last days of the winter bonus period seems to have helped activation levels too. No trophies have been claimed this month, very unusual but I guess this just reflects the pattern of the last few months with people being a little bit more careful with their hard earned money. Hungary tops the list of activators claiming awards this month – always a challenge for me to get the accented letters correct on the certificates, and I am not always successful!

Special note must be made of husband and wife team GM0AXY and GM4YMM whose chasing has been very productive over the years – and they are no mean activators as well. Ken is well on his way to 20000 Chaser points and I would hope to see him in the honours list before long.

The following awards were claimed during March

Certificates claimed

Activator

HA4FY Kiloh Janos 500 points
G1JTD Richard 500 points
HA4GGQ Toth Gabor 250 points
HG4UK Zsolt Gruber 250 points
DF3MC Martin Rothe 100 points

Chaser

GM0AXY Ken Dons 10000 points
GM4YMM Christine Dons 5000 points
ON4UP Peter Preud’homme 1000 points
HB9BIN Jurg Regli 1000 points
2E0ZCL Barry Leeson 250 points
GI4FLG Ken Mayne 100 points
DD2TC Clemens Muller 100 points

Chaser Unique

HB9BIN Jurg Regli 250 summits
HB9BIN Jurg Regli 100 summits

Me and my big mouth; as I type this it is snowing heavily and we have about 200 mm lying right now with more forecast. The wind is blowing too, so much for the planned family activation at the weekend!

Hopefully the weather will improve, activations go from strength to strength with all the new and upcoming associations and we will see a rush of claims for SOTA awards.

Barry Horning GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager


Congratulations also to:-

M3VQE who passed the 250 chaser points milestone on the 11th March

Tom, M1EYP, who completed 900 SOTA activations, also on the 11th and followed this by passing his 10,000th SOTA activator QSO on Grayrigg Forest, G/LD-038 on the 28th March.

Rolf, HB9DGV, who has now gained 1000 activator points.


NORBRECK RALLY 11TH APRIL 2010

Don’t forget that it is the “Norbreck Rally” - the NARSA show at Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool on Sunday 11th April 2010.
Further details via http://www.g1gyc.demon.co.uk/narsa/

This is the main SOTA meet of the year, and usually sees the SOTA stand busy with many activators, chasers and prospective participants for the duration of the show. As usual, the stand will be organised and staffed by Rob G4RQJ, Audrey, Jimmy M3EYP and Tom M1EYP, although stints by other participants in SOTA T-shirts and sweatshirts are always welcomed.

The stand will host the usual range of SOTA displays, presentations, quizzes, merchandise and of course the legendary SOTA cake - but the main feature of the stand and our representation at this annual event is the social meeting opportunity for all of us involved in SOTA. We look forward to seeing you there.

Tom M1EYP


DAVID 2E0DAI

It was reported on the reflector that David Holman 2E0DAI had an operation required to remove the titanium hardware in his leg that was necessary to pin it all back together, following his tumble down GW/MW-027 Moel y Golfa last April.

The op went as planned on the 29th March and he is looking forward to resuming his activating in a few weeks time.

We wish David a rapid recovery and look forward to hearing him on the air shortly.


REPORT FROM GOTLAND ISLAND – by Roland SM1CXE

I am pleased to inform you that I have now reached one of my goals in SOTA – 10,000 chaser points.

It started in the beginning of 2008 when my friend Eric SM1TDE (probably
well-known also in UK for his DX-peditions) told me about his activity in SOTA.

Since then I more or less took over the activity (in SM1) and I really do not regret it!
I am also surprised over the high winter activity in the mountains.
Lots of CW with stiff fingers - hi.

Here on Gotland Island we have had a real winter, with up to 60 cm of snow, which happens very seldom (last time in 1987) and I believe that you have also had your share of hard winter in the UK.

However, finally here on Gotland Island the snow is melting away and all the
signs of spring are here and we certainly enjoy it.

Good luck and VY 73
de Roland SM1CXE

(Many congratulations on reaching “Super Sloth” status Roland. I know that this takes many hours of dedication and skill. – Ed)

Roland also advised me that he had problems on the 25th March with a very strong Russian Beacon RN3GW/3 that arrived on 7031 KHz and was 599 on Gotland Island.
Roland e-mailed the keeper, who replied, and ceased operation 2 hours later.

Roland would be interested to know if anyone else heard this beacon?

We all know that 7032 KHz appears to be the international tune-up spot at times, and one station appears to test SSTV on a regular basis, but it now appears to be a favourite spot for beacon testing. This is the 3rd occasion in the last few months.


CW FROM CYPRUS - by Roy G4SSH

I did manage to get on the air, as scheduled, from 0900-1100 UTC on March 25th and 0900-1230 on the 26th. Propagation was good on 20m and it was a pleasure to hear familiar calls in the pile up, such as G4OBK, HB9DGV, G4WSX, EI7CC, F5HTR, and G3WPF. In addition to these regular chasers I was delighted to be called by Andre F5UKL/p on F/PO-216 and John G4YSS/p on G/NP-009.

My apologies if I missed anyone calling. I tried to dig out as many low powered stations as possible but the pile ups were big and a beam heading of 330 degrees from Cyprus pulled in stations from Turkey, Greece, Russia, most of mainland Europe, the UK, the USA and even Japan.

It was still an enjoyable experience and special QSL cards are in the process of being printed. Cards will be dispatched via the Buro in about 3 weeks for all contacts made, or direct if required.

Security was at a heightened state at both Heathrow and Larnaca airports, with extra “face the bank of cameras” instructions; in-flight GPS screens turned off as we crossed the coast of Cyprus and on return to the UK (hard to understand this as a quick glance out of the window will tell you when you are over land) and it would also appear that I fit the profile of some 75 year old suspect because I was selected to have my hand luggage swabbed for explosives at Heathrow, or maybe I was just picked out to make up the numbers.


THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 15 - by Rob and Audrey

Sunday 28th Feb, Blake Fell.

Not a popular one which is unfortunate as it is a really nice walk and one of our favourites. Last year we left it to the closing weeks of winter bonus with the result that the weather was too bad to attempt it. We always approach from the south west as this is the easiest road approach from Walney. If you are approaching from the south via the A595 then use Corney Fell and Cold Fell roads if the weather is suitable as they take off a good few miles and have great views. Aim initially for the village of Croasdale, and then find the minor road to the north. (All the roads are pretty minor).

A few hundred yards after a road joins from the left is NY085185 with space for about four cars by the road and another four in the entrance to the gated track on the right where the walk starts. Follow the track to the gate where it enters the woods then skirt the woods on your left arriving eventually at a fence on your right which leads up the fell in a great circle to the summit. The first two grassy slopes are the real meat of the climb, the third slope can be contoured to your left if you have a head for heights, we just climb it! Today the final pull up to the summit is snow covered and a bit icy but no problem. There is a summit shelter but whenever we climb this one the wind is always blowing into it so we find shelter on the grass (snowy) slope a little to the southwest. There is plenty of room for aerials but the hill is well frequented by friendly local dog walkers. 40 odd contacts in nearly three hours are enough in the prevailing conditions. A nice alternative on the return trip is to turn right, then left up a small bank which puts you on the broad track thru the woods back to the gate. Do try this one if you’re in the area it’s a lovely fell with super views.

During the year we come into contact with quite a few amateurs from a number of clubs. While chatting to them it seems that many who drop out of SOTA do so because of the sometimes acrimonious bickering on the reflector. This is a pity as many are older amateurs who were very active chasers in the early days. Nuf said.

Talk of 10m AM makes us wonder what other sota people do when not sota-ing. Here a major interest is restoring old military wireless gear and indeed older amateur rigs. The main station rig is an FT101ZD rescued from the junk pile, likewise the back up rig an FT(DX)401. Current project is a WS19 from ww2, had one CW SOTA QSO with GX0OOO/P a while back using my other WS19. John said it had chirp! Most of them do! It’s great to hear these old ladies come back to life, often after years of cruelty. We do have a working 38 set (the FT817 of 1941) but it just misses covering 7MHz. Often think to do the small modification for 40M and try it from a summit But it’s AM only and when combined with its battery pack and the rest of its needs the weight makes you realise what the people operating them in earnest went through. Just to prove we’re not stuck in the past we also have home brew (kit) SDR running and have had a couple of QRP SOTA QSO’s into Germany on 40m.

Sunday 7th Mar, Lovely Seat.

Back on topic and a trip to the Yorkshire Dales for this one. This is one of our favourite hills, an easy walk from the cattle grid on Buttertubs Pass (room for about ten cars). The usual snag to this one is about 100m of wet, boggy ground right at the start that involves a detour from the fence that leads to the top. Today is no problem, the snow is almost over the fence and everything is frozen solid and glinting in the sun. Straight up the fence line on crunchy snow in bright sunshine and blue skies, could not be better. Managed three hours of activation in beautiful cold conditions. A perfect day. The hill would suit an active family on a nice day but be ready for a little bog hopping if it’s wet.

This week while chasing my CW got worse and worse, couldn’t understand it, fiddled with speed controls etc, all of which made it no better. Then noticed some chirp on the transmission, on the old FT101 this usually means the VFO switches need a little exercise, no effect. Eventually the penny dropped, the keyer has an internal battery and guess what, it’s flat! Apologies to any activators who suffered the results.

Sunday 14th Mar, Hard Knott Fell.

Last day of winter bonus already, we decide on Hard Knott, an easy climb from the summit of Hard Knott Pass. The pass is not for the faint hearted driver and if you’re coming in from the east you will need to come over Wrynose Pass as well. Either that or make the very long detour to approach via Dunnerdale to Cockley Beck.
There is a little off road parking at the top of the pass but you will need to be there early in the summer season. Things are changing on the approach to this one. The faithful if at times difficult electric fence that leads all the way to the summit is being removed. It was put in place after the foot and mouth disaster so that the new sheep, not from these parts would heft to the fell and know their place. They seem to have learned their lesson so it’s goodbye fence. Unfortunately there is old fence wire across the path in places which is quite a trip hazard. The nice green track to the east of the start of the fence line contours round and up, taking a lot of strain off the knees particularly on the final descent. At the now redundant stile standing proudly on its own, the fence having gone, cross the beck to your right and follow the path. Keep contouring high ground on your left until you see the true summit with its pile of stones across a flat and at times very marshy area. This is best crossed from hummock to hummock with no clear path. Look out for wet feet! Most of the usuals worked from the top which had a strong north westerly with severe wind chill even at this altitude. We hid behind rocks on the south east side which kept most of it off. This fell would suit an active family on a nice clear day.

A lot of discussion going on about the maximum number of QSO’s from a summit, sorry we’re not in that league. We average 40 to 50 contacts spread across 5MHz SSB, 7MHz CW, 10MHz CW and 2m SSB and FM. The contact spread tends to go with conditions, e.g. If 40m CW is open then there tend to be few takers on 30m CW later, similarly 2m SSB and 2m FM. We like to chat if possible, I find it a bit hard on CW so tend to speed through (sorry, can’t even remember names quickly). The whole process takes between two and a half and three hours and so far, as far as we know we’ve never left a chaser without a contact. Thanks to you all by the way it would not be the same without you. Notice that 20m seems to be picking up lately, time to get the traps fitted to the inverted V. They’re made; it’s just that the WX has not really suited a trip on to our test range (the beach) to fit them.

Sunday 21st Mar, Fountains Fell.

Still some deep patches of snow including one across the ramp approach, leading to a short difficult section across a quite steep snow slope. The summit was clear but very cold and after two hours rain was clearly approaching so we had to rush the final few contacts so sorry if you were one of them. On the descent I was just congratulating myself on crossing the snow field when I fell flat on my back in the mud. This is becoming traditional; I did the same thing here last year. The rain was a truly wetting “Scotch Mist” and we were really bedraggled when we reached the car.

See that the FT817 power jack problem is rearing its head again. The break in the track is not easy to get at to repair. Think that the problem is made worse due to leverage if you use a straight jack plug rather than the 90 degree type supplied. If you use the standard leather case on the rig the best bet is to make up a short lead with 90 degree plug and inline fuse that will go in between the back of the radio and the back of the case. Bring the other end out through the Ext DC hole in the case and fit your two pole polarised plug of choice, we use Tamiya. Our radio control battery is strapped to the side of the 817 and came with Tamiya connector fitted. Fit your FT817 charger with one, then at charging time charge the internal battery via the fitted lead while charging the external battery via its Tamiya connector. No need to disturb the 817’s fragile socket at all and your internal battery is charged and ready if you ever need it. Just be very careful with polarities while setting this lot up!

Sunday 28th Mar, Kirby Moor.

Suffering from coughs and colds this week so just our little local hill today. We used the easy route up via the Kirby Slate Road accessed from SD269819 on a minor road that can be accessed from the A5092 via the B5281. There is space for about four cars at the junction. The Slate road is driveable up to a utilities site and is much used by dog walkers etc. Our car has low ground clearance so we usually walk up from the junction. Today we noticed some repairs have been made and we probably could have driven up. There is space for odd cars on the way up but avoid the farm gates and the utilities area that are in regular use. Walk through the gate just beyond the utilities building, turn right and follow the wall up. Keep walking north on windmill tracks to the small summit cairn. Work is on going on one of the windmills and temporary paving has been put down on a good deal of the track. The dead windmills head is on the floor at the moment and we were able to have a good look at the pitch control system for the blades, very interesting. HF was quiet and reports generally were down but did manage to work a 5B contest station on 15m in spite of a very poor swr. On a nice day this is a very friendly hill and our local radio club usually have a summer evening expedition to activate it, including some of our less able members. The high moor can be unpleasant in mist and catches the wind off the sea and there is little shelter, the views are splendid in good weather.

Seeing Toms report on Tarn Crag brought the strange structure on the summit to mind. There are several of these stone towers in the area. At one time they had wooden balconies around them and were built as survey towers during the water works installations that run underground out of the Lake District to centres of population. There are still some of the big timber beams in the bog around the summit.

Easter is almost on us so we are expecting lots of visitors to the area. Following Dave G6LKBs kind offer of assistance to visitors with equipment breakdowns etc we would like to make a similar offer. If you’re in the area and need a soldering iron or route information etc do give us a call. Email robandaud at tiscali.co.uk and we can get in touch via landline. Remember however that while Walney Island is “close to the Lakes”, as G1INKy said “Every where you go it says Barrow 39 miles! “ Also Monday evenings will generally find the Furness Amateur Society at The Farmers Arms in Newton in Furness near to Barrow from around 8 o’clock. If we’re out Foxhunting etc, Tony the landlord will redirect you. You could also visit Gleaston Water Mill, a local tourist attraction. Mike, the owner G8ALE holds a permanent GB3GW call which you can give an airing if you bring your licence with you.

Take care everyone and catch you soon,

Rob and Aud.
G4RQJ


FIRST TIME SOTA HF ACTIVATION USING CW - by Roy G4SSH

It has been very refreshing and interesting to recently hear activators using CW for the first time and there are quite a few others who are considering using the mode in order to take advantage of the enhanced readability of the mode when using low power transmitters.

I have been contacted by some of these potential CW ops who have not yet ventured on air with their new found skills, asking for basic advice on the correct procedure to adopt and how to cope with a pile up. I have therefore compiled a short basic guide on how to survive your first live SOTA QSO.

Speed is not important, but I would suggest 10-12 wpm as a basic minimum. Do not worry about your sending speed, but remember to only send at the speed at which your are comfortable reading, You will be welcomed as a newcomer and CW chasers will automatically reply at your sending speed. If anybody sends too fast then ignore them or send “PSE QRS” just once. They will soon get the message.

Do not worry about sending mistakes and do not correct these unless in the callsign. Chasers will know exactly what you are trying to send and will automatically read what you INTENDED to send. Chasers are keen to work you and claim the points so as long as you get their callsign correct there is nothing else that cannot be guessed by an experienced chaser. I often receive “G4HH5 GM UR RHT 5H9 BK” and know exactly what the activator intended.

As a newcomer you will be in great demand by chasers eager to welcome you to CW, so for your first on-air SOTA I would suggest using any frequency apart from 7032 KHz. If you are using HF then choose an 80m spot such as 3558 or 3532 KHz where you will have a small pile up of about 6 chasers, mainly in your own country. Once you have gained experience then move to 10118 KHz where you will again have a relatively limited number of chasers, this time from stations outside your own country. Only move to 7032 KHz when you are confident at handling up to 20 chasers all calling at the same time. However, remember that most chasers tend to monitor only 7032 KHz so if you intend using any other HF frequency then you will need to self spot or publish an alert. Avoid weekends if possible, when the number of chasers is almost double the weekday number. Try a pre-arranged sked on 2m or 80m with a colleague for your very first CW QSO.

There is no “correct” procedure for activating SOTA on CW, but activators are creatures of habit and tend to formulate their own procedure which becomes known to chasers. Before you venture on air, spend time listening to 7032 KHz and copy the signals that you CAN read and note how they handle the chasers.

For example Walt, G3NYY calls CQ SOTA DE G3NYY, gives the reference and BK then listens for callers and always ends with “QRZ? DE G3NYY BK, so chasers know not to transmit before the last BK. Miro, OK1CYC closes a contact by sending DE OK1CYC/P QRZ? So you must wait until after the QRZ? before transmitting.

One big mistake made by newcomers is to send too much information. They often tend to behave as though they are using SSB with double calls, repeat of the reference, too much chat etc. I have heard a single contact from a newcomer last 5 minutes with 30 chasers waiting and this leads to impatience by the waiting stations who fight amongst themselves in an attempt to collect the points and move on. You must learn to tailor your procedure in order to handle a pile up.

I would therefore suggest the following procedure for your first few CW activations:-

Call “CQ SOTA de M0AAA/p” with the SOTA reference. If you have problems sending the “/” then leave it out of the reference and do not send the hyphen - “SOTA G TW004” is perfectly understood by all.

Remember that once spotted 99% of chasers waiting will have your call, SOTA reference and name on their screen in front of them, so pick out a caller and send just THEIR call once with their RST and then BK only (do NOT use double calls).

The chaser will reply with “BK RST and TNX 73”. You just acknowledge with “73 TU” and the other chasers will call (total time per contact is about 30 seconds).

Repeat the above. Resist the temptation to send your call every over. After about half a dozen contacts send “DE M0AAA/P SOTA G TW004 OP ROY QRZ?

Once you have established this procedure the callers will reply in similar manner and you will quickly reduce the pile up.

The above method is only intended as an example to get you started. Once you gain experience you can vary it as you think fit. The important point is to ensure that YOU take charge of the exchanges. The sound of dozens of CW stations all sending their call at the same time can be daunting and sounds like one long tone, Don’t panic, there is no hurry to respond, sit back and wait until you can read a call clearly then reply to that. Do not be pressurised, chasers will continue to send their calls if you do not answer.

If you receive only part of a call then send the bit you DID get, with a question mark, such as SM1? BK. You must ignore any chaser from another country who tries to lift and separate the pile up by jumping the queue. If you do answer someone else then the discipline will collapse and they will all call. If nobody answers then send QRZ? and continue.

From the above you will see that the “BK” signal (Break, or Back to you) is one of the most useful procedural signals you can employ on CW.

If you are feeling the strain of concentration then send PSE QRX, switch off and have a break. I guarantee the chasers will still be there when you return with CQ.

Finally, never just close down without warning. Courtesy demands that you send NW QRT or QSY at the end of the activity.

Good Luck. One thing is for sure, you will experience a feeling of great satisfaction on completion of your first CW activation, which cannot be matched using any other mode. This come from the pride of knowing that all your self training has paid off and you have completed a contact using your own hard earned skills.

Roy G4SSH


WORLD FLORA & FAUNA AWARDS

Regular readers of SOTA News will be aware that there is an International series of awards for contacts with stations situated in National Parks and many SOTA activations are located in such areas. The following information was e-mailed to me from the WFF Secretariat and I reproduce this for the interest of readers.


The WFF Award Service and WFF Secretariat are glad to inform you
that at present time you have satisfied a condition of following awards
and WFF Plaques in WFF (World Flora Fauna) series:

  1. WFF EU III
  2. WFF EU II

We inform that series of WFF awards is includes:

WFF Asia
WFF Africa
WFF Arctica
WFF Antarctica
WFF Europe
WFF Oceania
WFF N. America
WFF S. America
WFF Basic (100)
WFF 200, 300, 400, 500

You can see the images of awards here:
http://www.wff44.com/en/rules/awards/

The list of issued awards is here:
http://wff44.com/en/wffawards/

The images and the list of issued WFF Plaques you can see here:
http://wff44.com/en/wffawards/_plaque/

We hope that you show interest to WFF program and you will have a desire
to make applications for WFF awards or WFF Plaques, having paid services through PayPal system
on our site - http://www.wff44.com/en/ or by means of post letter with inclosed IRCs.

Cost of the WFF Awards Services:
Cost of each award is 12 IRCs or 15 Euro via PayPal.
Cost of each WFF Honour Roll Plaque is 60 Euro

You can create applications for awards in OnLine mode through
WFF LogSearch system - http://www.ew4dx.org/WFFsearch.html

We also will be glad to see you among participants of WFF Fund!
You can get full information about WFF Fund here: http://wff44.com/en/forum/

Sincerely yours,
WFF Award Service and WFF Secretariat


CW REPORT FOR MARCH 2010 – by Roy G4SSH

This report will be just a representative sample of CW activity during March due to the fact that I was on holiday in Cyprus for the last two weeks of the month.

SOTA CW activity remained at a very low level with many days without a single CW Alert posted, but there were usually at least one or two unannounced activations. Activity remained at a low level during the week following the end of winter bonus (as usual) but began to increase during the final week of the month.

A warm welcome is extended to DM3F and Jean F5EAH, heard activating SOTA’s using CW for the first time.

There were cross border expeditions heard from DL/LX1NO, DL/HB9AGO, SP/OK2QA, ON/DK1BN, F/HA3HK, OK/DJ5AA and F/HA3HK,

21 MHz:- M1EYP, Z35M,

14 MHz:-
F5UKL
HA7UL, HA5UK, HA2VR,
M1EYP,
SV1COX,
Z35M,

10 MHz:-
DL/LX1NO, DF3MC,
F5UKL, F5LKW,
G4OBK, GW4OIG, G4ERP, G4RQJ, MW0IDX, M1EYP, MM0FMF,
HA5MA, HA5LV HG4UK,
LA1ENA, LA1KHA,
S53X, S57X, S57XX,
Z35M

3.5 MHz:- M1EYP, MW0IDX, GX0OOO, GW0DSP, G3NYY, HA6QR,

1.8 MHz:- GX0OOO, G4YSS

It was most refreshing to hear the welcome return of John G4YSS, using the club call GX0OOO on the 11th. John activated three SOTA’s and delighted the top band enthusiasts by using 1.832 KHz on all three. This was followed by NP-006 on the 15th March, the last day of winter bonus. There was even more top band activity from John on the 26th.

Many thanks to Norby LX1NO who was first off the mark by activating all four new LX SOTA’s on CW. Norby operated from LX-004 & LX-002 on the 1st March and LX-001 & LX-003 on the 3rd March.

It had to happen ! The pile-up of chasers became so unmanageable that Laci HA5MA and Victor HA5LV begin working split, listening up 1 KHz, on 40m during the month. This worked well once chasers became used to the procedure, especially as there were no other SOTA stations active on the band at the time. This was followed by a similar split operation by Feri HA7UL.

Congratulations to Vlado Z35M, who continued to activate Z3/WM-046, Krstovar, on CW at regular intervals throughout the month, using less and less power. Vlado has achieved more than 2000 QSO’s from this summit alone and I am always impressed by the length of time that Vlado stays active from this summit with no points gained for himself, and his regular use of 7, 10, 14, and 21 MHz ensures that as many chasers as possible get the chance to made the contact, even though he reduces his output to 500mW at times. My vertical antenna will not pick up Vlado’s QRP signals on 7 MHz, but we usually manage a QSO on 10 or 14 MHz.

Andre F5UKL commenced operations from on 14061 KHz, followed by 10123 and finally 7032 KHz. This is a reverse of the usual order, but is the most efficient method of working. It ensures that many stations are contacted in a leisurely manner on 20 and 40m, thus reducing the number of chasers in the pile-up on 7032 KHz… Roger F5LKW did the same frequency order on the 18th. Many thanks Andre & Roger.

73 Roy


CONTESTS DURING APRIL 2010

The following scheduled contests are expected to cause severe QRM to SOTA activity, especially on the 40m band. Activators should plan accordingly with alternate spots/bands. This is not a complete list of contests.

3rd – 4th 1200-2359 QRP ARCI CW Contest
3rd – 4th 1500-1500 SP CW/SSB DX Contest
3rd – 4th 1600-1600 EA RTTY Contest
10th-11th 0700-1300 JA International CW DX Contest
10th-11th 2100-2100 Yuri Gagarin CW Contest
11th only 0001-2359 SKCC CW Contest
11th only 0900-1100 DIG 40m CW QSO Party
18th only 0900-1700 YU CW DX Contest
18th only 1100-1300 EA QRP Contest
24th-25th 1200-1200 SP RTTY Contest
24th-25th 1300-1300 Helvetia Contest CW/SSB/Digi


SOTA News is normally published around noon UTC on the last day of each month and can only be as interesting as the items submitted. If you think your particular field of interest is not being covered then please submit an article by the 25th of the month. Have you a favourite SOTA? favourite mode? favourite rig, antenna, or favourite band? How did you find your first day / month / year as an activator or chaser? Your comments and experiences will be read by SOTA enthusiasts all across Europe and beyond, and your input will be most welcome.

73
Roy G4SSH
SOTA News Editor
g4ssh@tiscali.co.uk


#2

In reply to G4SSH:

Chasers will know exactly what you are trying to send
and will automatically read what you INTENDED to send. Chasers are
keen to work you and claim the points so as long as you get their
callsign correct there is nothing else that cannot be guessed by an
experienced chaser. I often receive “G4HH5 GM UR RHT 5H9 BK” and know
exactly what the activator intended>

Brilliant advice, Roy.

Congratulations to Vlado Z34M, who continued to activate Z3/WM-036,
Krstovar, on CW at regular intervals throughout the month…<

Z34M = G4HH5; Z3/WM-036 = Z3/WM-046
The readers will know exactly what you are trying to say - hi

Thank you for the SOTA News.

                                             Vlado, Z35M

#3

In reply to G4SSH:

Hi Roy…
many thanks for the April-Edition.

73 Franz ON9CBQ


#4

In reply to Z35M:

Oops Vlado! I can send CW better than I can type ! Now corrected to WM-046.


#5

In reply to G4SSH:
Thanks for the news Roy especially the CW article regarding operating from a summit. I will make a couple of changes to my activating CW procedures on my next outing. Sean M0GIA


#6

Enjoyed it Roy - many thanks.

Tom M1EYP


#7

In reply to G4SSH:
Dear Roy.
Just saying "THANKS for news"
Roger


#8

In reply to G4SSH:

Dear Roy and news-team,

many tnx for another excellent report.

Happy Easter and vy73
Fritz DL4FDM,HB9CSA


#9

In reply to G4SSH:
FB news as usual Roy. Especially interesting to hear about 5B… where I will visit later this year. I might take the PFR-3 now.

BTW I would urge folks not to forget 5 MHz CW where it can be nice and quiet if you have the NOV and want relaxed CW activity. My one and only activation on “The Woods” last month was kicked off and qualified on that band and mode. I wonder if anyone else has used it recently.

Thanks again…

73 Marc G0AZS


#10

In reply to G4SSH:

Thank you for the news Roy & an excellent article on CW activating for beginners.

I did try a couple of CQ SOTA calls on 3.532 from Fair Snape fell on 7th March, but didn’t get any replies. I could have self spotted ,but just getting over that hurdle of calling CQ for the first time was enough pressure for one day HI!

My first CW activation is yet to come, but at least I have made a start :slight_smile:

Thanks & 73,

Mark G0VOF

PS You have given Rob’s call as G3RQJ in the contributors section at the top of the news, unless Audrey has been keeping her call secret all this time :wink:


#11

In reply to G0VOF:

TNX for the info Mark. As it was the 1st April edition I thought that I should slip in a few typo’s. Now corrected.

73 Roy


#12

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks Roy :slight_smile:

73,

Mark G0VOF


#13

In reply to G4SSH:

First time activation using CW<

Unusual tip:
In order to decrease the number of stations in the pile up, the first time CW activators may also to turn down the TX power.
The number of callers will reduce.
Now only those with good antennas and ears will be able to copy the activator.
Work them first, and then when the pile-up get cleared, turn the power up again and continue working.
This is not unfair to those with small antennas and bad ears. Clearing the pile up gives them more opportunity to be worked too.

This technique has noting to do with the chasers practicing blind calling.

                                                   Vlado, Z35M

#14

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks Roy. Great news about the new associations too. Just a pity that Italy has never joined the main SOTA scheme.

73

Richard
G3CWI


#15

In reply to Z35M:

I had not thought about that one Vlado.

I reckon that if your turn your power knob fully anti-clockwise you will remove the pile-up completely. Hi!

Tnx for the recent QSO’s on 10 and 14 MHz.

At my QTH you are typically not audible on 7132 KHz, 539 on 10118 and 599 on 14058 KHz

73 Roy


#16

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks for April news.
Congratulations for your “FIRST TIME ACTIVATION” paragraph.
Many of your advices should be used by ALL TIME ACTIVATORS…
specialy the “73 TU” :wink:

73 Alain F6ENO


#17

A great read, Roy, as always.

Thank you

Peter


#18

In reply to G4SSH:
Hello Roy
Thanks again for this SOTA news. Good info, as usual.
Best 73
Andre - f5ukl