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Sota news december 2011


#1

SOTA NEWS DECEMBER 2011

EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH

Welcome to the December 2011 edition of SOTA News and welcome to the Winter Bonus season. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Andy MM0FMF, Rob G0HRT, Fred K6DGW, Mark G0VOF, Rod M0JLA, Colwyn MM6YCJ, Nick G4OOE, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ.

What a difference a year makes! The editorial in the December 2010 SOTA News read “As I write this, Scotland and the North East coast of the UK are being battered by snowstorms and high winds. Driving snow on my Butternut vertical has produced so much precipitation static during the last week that the few chasers braving the weather have been difficult to copy at my QTH on the North Yorkshire coast”

Compare this with today when the temperature is 10C (not minus 15C) and we have yet to have a frosty night. Yes, there have been some strong winds, but the mild weather extends over most of Europe. I have just worked Rolf HB9DGV on HB/BE-142 at 2007m who told me that climbing conditions were exceptionally good with no trace of snow on the summit, which was covered in deep snow at this time last year. Rolf also mentioned that the winter ski resorts in Switzerland were getting quite concerned at the lack of snow. However, SOTA Activators and Chasers are taking advantage of 8 and 10 point summits, which are usually difficult to find at this time of year.

Another big change is the incredible improvement in propagation on the HF bands, which we mentioned last month. This has continued, with all bands up to 28 MHz wide open. Short skip is allowing SOTA contacts on the higher bands with stations in the same country and 30m is behaving like 80m in respect of local contacts. SOTA activators in Europe who are operating a band higher than usual in the mornings are being contacted by enthusiastic early-rising chasers in the USA who are delighted with this unexpected bonus and many first time s2s contacts between EU and US stations are being recorded – a task which was almost unheard of 12 months ago.


FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM

Slovakia joins SOTA.

Another new country, Slovakia will join SOTA from 1st December 2011, led by its Association Manager Juraj Veselsky, OM1DI

Roman Kudlac, OM3EI President of Slovak Amateur Radio Association told us he has been keen for Slovakia to be included in SOTA for some time and added

‘Our participation in SOTA program was announced on annual radio amateur meeting in High Tatras, with audience of about 500 hams. Also, many hams have expressed their willingness to activate first summits during the next weekend’

The club has its own website with SOTA information at http://sota.telesweb.sk/index.php?page=documents

Rob Harwood G0HRT
Association Manager
For SOTA MT


DATABASE UPDATES by Andy MM0FMF - Database Manager

There have been a fair few database updates recently, most of which have
been driven by user input.

Chasers now get to view their log either by last 12 months or by a
specific year and the order can be display either oldest first or newest
first. This vastly reduces the display time for anyone with a large log.
Another side effect of this is the confirmation marker is back.

On the activator side, individual activation logs can be viewed. This is
useful when you want to check on just one activation rather than wading
through the entire log history for an activator.

The displays have been tidied slightly, some items are now properly
centered. A number of minor bugs in chaser CSV uploads have been fixed.

From their conception, W7 and W4 call areas consisted of individual
associations mainly for each state. However, they were lumped into just
2 associations from the database’s point of view. This was really just
for simplicity at the time. The data has been massaged and these call
areas are now broken down into real independent associations. Most of
the time this change is merely cosmetic but it does level the playing
field for US chasers. The number of local as opposed to DX associations
has increased in the US and this means many US chasers will now have
qualified for Mountain Hunter awards. Also, chasers and activators who
had their home association as W7 or W4 need to ensure they have their
home association correctly set to the correct W7 or W4 state.

The return of the confirmation marker will show up many logging issues.
Many of these will be simple typos such as wrong summit or callsign etc.
Other errors will be more significant such as confusion in pileups with
some QSO’s not being logged or 2 chasers both thinking they were having
the QSO. I’m trying to think how I can help with chasers cleaning up the
simple errors and my first thought is to offer the ability to save all
the non-confirmed contacts on a year by year basis as separate CSV
files. These can then be studied at leisure to save having to flit
between your own log and searching through an activator’s log and back
again.

If you think being able to extract these non-confirmed contacts
will be useful then let me know.

Andy, MM0FMF
Database Manager
mm0fmf_sota AT intermoose.com


SOTA AWARDS FOR September 2011 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

November appears to have followed the trend of previous years with everybody holding off claiming awards until the start of the winter bonus (or the approach to Christmas?).

Congratulations to Stewart G0LGS, Gordon G4FGJ and Guy N7UN on achieving the magic 1000 points for Shack Sloth. I must make special note of the activity taking place in Korea, not only does AM Jason HL7ZFA feature in the awards this month but we now see Jo 6K5ZLH and Kim HL2OLP in the Activator tables and Jeong DS4RDY in the Chaser tables. SOTA is truly becoming worldwide as you will see from announcements elsewhere in the monthly report.

Trophies

Shack Sloth
G0LGS Stewart Wilkinson

Certificates claimed

Activator
HL7ZFA Jason Vlasak 250 points
OK1DIG Daniel Glanc 250 points
SQ9OJN Bartosz Cuber 250 points
6K5ZLH Wan-seok Jo 100 points
HL2OLP Chang-shin Kim 100 points
OK1DIG Daniel Glanc 100 points

Chaser
G0LGS Stewart Wilkinson 2500 points
G4FGJ Gordon McGowan 1000 points
G0LGS Stewart Wilkinson 1000 points
N7UN Guy Hamblen 1000 points
HL7ZFA Jason Vlasak 250 points
DS4RDY Jin-uk Jeong 100 points
SQ9OZM Marcin Bajer 100 points
SQ9OJN Bartosz Cuber 100 points
G0MZZ Tony Benson 100 points

Mountain Explorer
OK1DIG Daniel Glanc - Mountain Explorer Bronze

Mountain Hunter
SQ9OZM Marcin Bajer - Mountain Hunter Bronze
M0XRS Christopher Rowan - Mountain Hunter Bronze
KD9KC Michael Olbrisch - Mountain Hunter Bronze

Future claims for awards will soon have to be made via the SOTA shop (www.sotashop.co.uk and www.sotashop.com ) as I plan to ask Jon to redirect the links from the SOTA website to the shop pages rather than direct to Paypal. In addition a reminder of where to find the shop will be placed on the website home page. With Christmas just round the corner it might be an idea to leave a note near your nearest and dearest’s keyboard with the shop URL clearly displayed. Do remember though that the postal service goes haywire at this time of year so order early if you want to receive awards or merchandise before the end of the year.

Not much to add to my report this month except that snow now features on the Scottish hills and we had the first fall of the winter in the village this week (it has warmed up again and is quite unseasonable during the day). This will soon end once I can get back walking in the hills, so anybody in the UK who has been enjoying the quite unseasonably good weather enjoy it while you may before the weather gods get their revenge on me!

Enjoy the season of winter bonuses but remember to stay safe on the hills

73

Barry Horning GM4TOE
Awards Manager


Congratulations on an outstanding feat by Damjan Z35BY who only started activating on the 12th October and has notched up more than 60 summits already. Z3 Association Manager Zoli Z35M reports that his 61 activations in 7 weeks gives him 475 points which is almost half a Mountain Goat.

Congratulations also to Newcomer David MW6DHN who activated Snowdon in the dark for his very first activation. Welcome David, we hope to hear you on the air again before long.

Congratulations also to Phil G4OBK/p on completing activation of all 29 NP SOTA’s in the UK on the 27th November.


Best wishes for a speedy recovery to regular activator Edwin HB9ZAP who is recovering at home in Niederteufen after a spell in hospital with Pneumonia. We hope to hear you back on the air in 2012 Edwin.


CANADA/US SOTA NEWS FOR NOVEMBER 2011 by Fred K6DGW

Well, winter may have come to much of North America [not West Texas or
Northern California, however], but it doesn’t seem to have slowed down
the SOTA activity much. A number of the reports include descriptions of
the snow … we are such an intrepid crowd! :slight_smile:

As usual, the November activations include some from October that didn’t
make last month’s report. I don’t have dates for the 3 NS7P activations
which means my journalism grade for this month will be lowered. :-((

ACTIVATIONS:
10/17 W4/SH-001 N7NGO+KB7LLB
10/17 W4/SH-002 N7NGO+KB7LLB
10/18 W4/SH-009 N7NGO+KB7LLB
10/18 W4/SH-007 N7NGO+KB7LLB
10/20 W4/SH-006 N7NGO+KB7LLB
10/20 W4/BR-009 N7NGO+KB7LLB
10/22 W0/FR-004 KD9KC+WT5RZ+WG0AT
10/22 W7/NN-019 N6ZA [formerly N6VDR]
10/22 W7/NN-015 N6ZA
10/22 W7/NN-012 N6ZA
10/28 W0/FR-034 WG0AT+KD0PNK+N6UHB
10/28 W1/NL-023 W1DMH
10/29 W7/CN-008 KK7DS [49 QSO!]
10/29 W6/CT-005 AD6QF+wife
10/31 W7/CC-001 NS7P+wife
11/04 W0/FR-050 K0MOS
11/05 VE2/ML-005 VE2JCW
11/06 W2/GA-316 KC2WI
11/11 W0/FR-093 WG0AT+KD0PNK+N6UHB [28 QSO, 8 DX]
11/11 W7/AW-001 KD9KC+N4NHC+K9DOG+Daisy
11/12 W7/SK-160 N7KN
11/13 W0/FR-063 NW5W+Rachael [1st activation]
11/15 W7/IC-285 W7IMC
11/15 W7/IC-280 W7IMC [86 QSO on 3 activations]
11/15 W7/SR-136 W7IMC
11/16 W1/MV-001 W1DMH
11/20 W3/PO-001 N7UN
11/21 W0/FR-063 KD0BIK [1st activation
11/25 W4/SH-007 W1DMH
11/25 W4/SH-002 W1DMH
11/25 W7/BC-079 W7IMC
– W7/CC-065 NS7P+wife
– W7/CC-048 NS7P+wife
– W7/CC-076 NS7P

CHASER NEWS:

I made a specific plea for some chaser information for the report to Roy
since without chasers, the summits get fairly lonely. I got a few
reports, we’ll see if we can improve on that next month.

KD9KC has qualified for the MOUNTAIN HUMTER AWARD with at least two
contacts in W0, W5, W6, W7-ID, and W7-OR. Mike also reports he’s 80% of
the way to MOUNTAIN EXPLORER. Not to be overshadowed by the
Goatmeister, Mike and Moni’s activation of W7/AW-001 [Mt. Lemmon outside
Tucson AZ] included their two Great Danes, River [K9DOG] and Daisy –
and snow.

Rich, N4EX, reports no activations in the Carolina’s, however he has
over 200 new chaser points and has received the SHACK SLOTH trophy and
is also qualified for MOUNTAIN HUNTER [gold]. Congratulations Rich!

And, I chased a lot during November, but managed only one QSO. Despite
the high sunspot numbers and 10 meters being open, all the activators
were right in the noise.

SOTA PRESENTATIONS:

NS7P reports making a SOTA presentation at the Valley Radio Club in
Eugene, OR with help from Jeremy, NH6Z. And, I did likewise for the
Sierra Foothills ARC on the 19th. It seems like every group I talk to
about SOTA includes a couple of outdoors-ish folks, and they end up
getting to me at the end of the meeting and showing real interest.

NA-SOTA BUREAUCRACY:

We are closing in on getting most of North America registered in SOTA.
W4AMW has volunteered to do Kentucky so that takes care of the last W4
state containing P150 summits. We also have someone [the email seems to
have disappeared into the detritus populating this computer] working on
cataloguing the W8 summits. There aren’t a lot, but every summit counts!
Unfortunately, Florida is still flat.

JA3YBK has been calling CQ on 10 meters for the entire time I’ve been
putting this together, I guess I’ll go back to the CQ WW CW contest and
give him my very rare K6-Zone 3. Thanks to all for your inputs, given
that Christmas comes on the 25th every year, I’ll probably do December’s
report a bit early.

73,

Skip K6DGW
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Auburn CA
k6dgw@foothill.net or k6dgw@arrl.net


THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 35 Rob and Audrey G4RQJ

Llandudno Rally so it’s off to Wales for an extended weekend

Thursday 27th Oct Mynydd y Cwm

This pleasant little hill is easily accessed from the A55. Aim for SJ079768 where there is room for about five cars. The water tank on the left fork of the path is long gone but the path to the summit on the right has two large trees, one each side rather like a portal with a large fallen tree just through them on the right. The summit carries the sad memorials of the crash of a Halifax freighter here just after WW2. The aircraft was en route to Speke (now John Lennon) and hit the summit in cloud. Nothing remains now but the small memorials. Just seven contacts on 2fm including Bill MW0BLU who was to be a saviour later in the holiday. A quick call on 4m produced no response.

Must apologise to the HF fraternity for lack of activity. When we are on holiday we tend to do VHF only in order to have a few minutes for touristy things. If possible on a Sunday we try to do our usual range of frequencies.

We arrived in Llandudno ready to refuel the car, (gas not petrol, 69p a litre as opposed to £1.30 ish for petrol) to find that the garage that sold it had been demolished. This required a bit of navigation to find another source close at hand in Conway on an industrial estate. Using gas really takes you to interesting places.

Friday 28th Oct Holyhead Mountain.

Climbed as usual from the Country Park in the quarry on the inland side of the hill. Plenty of scope here for duck feeding and level sea side paths for those not attacking the hill, café (check hours) and toilets also and lots of free parking. Again a nice VHF only activation and as we were packing up a lady who had been sitting close by approached us, ”It’s amateur radio isn’t it? She said, “My late husband was an amateur and we used to have lovely times and meet so many nice people, it’s been a pleasure listening to you.”

Friday 28th Oct Mynydd Bodafon

I managed to ground the nose of the car in a huge dip and puddle at the entrance to the large parking area, not a popular move. Again there are opportunities for the disinterested to feed the ducks etc on the small pond close by. The climb to the summit takes a full five minutes. Today it was a quick vhf only activation with dusk coming on.

Saturday, and as most folk we spoke to seemed to be going to the rally today we decided to do the same. We arrived at 1030am and did not leave until 1530pm due the numbers of old friends and new to chat to. Just know that we will never be able to remember all the call signs and names when we get back on the air, sorry in advance. The rally itself was very pleasant but not as large as its fore runner in the civic centre, it more than made up for this with the nice homely local rally atmosphere. Nice to meet up with the contingent from the Isle of Man who we normally meet in July on their home turf. Soon be summer.

Saturday 29th Oct Great Orme.

It was dark and raining by the time we decided that if we were going to do this hill it would have to be now. The cloud was down with a gale blowing heavy rain across the summit so we set off with just the 817 and the smaller 2el yagi. The interference levels were staggering even for the 817 and we called desperately for some time before Bill MW0BLU in Holyhead popped up. Realizing that we were struggling for contacts he hastily rounded up three more for us which allowed us to stagger thankfully back to the car, thanks again.

Sunday 30th Oct Tal Y Fan.

The worst bit of this hill is the approach road, particularly when covered with wet leaves however on this occasion things all went to plan resulting in a great multiband activation in glorious sunshine. Before we found the start point SH729727 room for a couple of cars we used to climb from Rowen youth hostel, what a flog. The road from Rowen to SH729727 is almost impassable to normal cars nowadays. Head for Tal-y- Bont and take the minor road from there which can be hair raising enough.

Monday 31st Oct Foel Fenlli and Moel Famau.

This pair are so different, Fenlli a short steep climb to the ancient hill fortress earthworks, Famau a long flog to a Victorian ruin. Fenlli first and the repaired path is holding up really well, there are two tiny steps on the ascent that are a work of genius.
The summit is bare apart from the stone pile; we operate from a super little spot in the heather just to the right of the final approach path with the stone pile in view.

On Moel Famau we were rewarded with a mini storm on arrival at the top necessitating a quick hit activation so many thanks to the chasers for speed, several commented on the wind noise. We could see the sunshine lower down under the cloud layer! Strange how summits can impress you, Famau is a rather unfriendly dower place while Fenlli although much more wild has a pleasant homely feeling about it. We managed to be back home in time for the radio club meeting at 8pm (Farmers Arms Newton in Furness every Monday 8pm, drop in and see us)

Sunday 6th Nov. Loughrigg Fell.

First surprise, the parking between Ambleside and Grassmere is now £7 for over four hours. This might suit those able to get things done in under that time but is no good to us. Open your wallets and repeat after me Help Yourself! Just to complete the insult the toilet block in the car park is now closed. A beautiful day for this hill reflected in the number of visitors at the summit. Audrey’s photo shows sixteen people clustered around the trig, part of the steady stream. We used the eastern summit, much quieter and well inside the activation area. The view from this fell to the north over Grassmere to Dunmail Raise are truly stunning, no wonder it is full of photographers lugging tripods. Loughrigg terrace is a splendid viewpoint for those not making the full climb.

A quiet period for SOTA for us, the usual drop off of UK activations prior to the winter bonus and a blank weekend for the Armistice commemorations.

As winter draws on (pun intended) there have been quite a few suggestions for clothing etc so thought we should offer out ten penny worth. It’s a good idea to decide what level of involvement you are considering. Will you be operating all year round? Will your activations be four contacts and away or will you stay for maybe three hours? It may be a good idea if you are a beginner to get the feel of things with some good weather lower level summits in areas well covered by chasers (your new best friends) to find out what you really want to do. If you come from a walking background you will probably have most of the kit but remember that staying on a summit for some time may involve extras.

Skimping on boots is not a good idea, been there done that back in the 60’s. Try not to buy on line, visit and try taking your normal walking socks with you. Socks are another area of contention, be aware that many “walking socks” have quite sharp internal seams that fit neatly over the nail beds of your toes and will cut them to ribbons quite quickly. Make sure you have toe room in your new boots and remember to keep your toe nails short or you may find them hanging around on their own after a steep descent. Lacing boots is also a much ignored science (google it). We only learned recently that you can change the feel of boots drastically by the way you lace them. For example lace to the set of hooks that are set back from the line pull to a comfortable tightness, tie a single knot then loop round the same hooks again before continuing on to the top and tying normally. This allows a different tension on the ankle laces. There are some fifty odd lacing methods on various web sites, many are ornamental.

Base layer must be wicking, Long Johns are great in winter Try Aldi, their Ski kit is in on Thursday 1st Dec and is normally pretty good and reasonably priced. You may well pick up some suitable mid layer stuff as well.

Coats are a major consideration and quite a bit has been said on the reflector recently. Again attend in person and try kit on try a few before deciding, different shops if possible, don’t be afraid to go back. Remember you will need room inside for your layered torso. A factor often ignored is length. The current trend is to short coats which if you happen to be long in the back (Rob) can leave you uncomfortably cold on a long seated activation. In this respect German kit is often that little bit longer, often to my advantage but don’t ask Audrey about the extra 4 inches on the legs of her trousers. A tip for smaller ladies Look at youths clothing sizes often more sensible than some of the fashion related kit. Don’t be afraid to look in the sale items in the bigger outlets, last years kit is often heavily discounted though technically little different to the latest must have version. The former is often in less fashionable colours which does not matter a great deal. This brings us to camo, farming kit etc or not, personally if lying on a fell with a broken leg I prefer Prince William on high to say “There! The red lump at the base of the fell “rather than “Nothing here but heather and rocks let’s move on”. In addition having regard to the rapidly increasing number of cases of rustling in the Lakes, being dressed as a poacher may involve time in casualty having buck shot removed from your backside.
In general look on the internet but do try to pay a personal visit ideally to an area with a few shops grouped together so you can compare goods and prices. In the lakes Keswick and Ambleside are probably the best bets.

Sunday 20th Nov Lingmoor Fell

Little to say about this one because of the weather. We set off as usual from the car park close to Blea Tarn. Open your wallet to the tune of £5. At least they have a nice notice showing how they spend it on fixing the fells. Five minutes climbing saw us into cloud which persisted for the rest of the day leaving little to report but a nice new stile in the boggy bit at the top of the first steep climb.

Sunday 27th Nov Hutton Roof Crag

Been looking for someone to do a roof job for us at home for some time and eventually found someone, called him late Wednesday, came to look Thursday, lined up to start on Friday even to the extent of the lads and ladders being in place and ready to go. The sea kicked up into big waves, the rain started lashing and the wind went up to a full gale almost in an instant causing a complete stoppage of play. This continued through the weekend resulting in a no points for us activation of this one. Walked from the usual quarry car park which was unusually almost full. The paths on Hutton Roof are very slippery with mud and wet limestone at the moment.

A great activation although 7MHz was unusable due to contest QRM most of the regulars were waiting on 10MHz. As we were leaving the car park just at sunset there were still people in trainers setting off with no obvious gear at all. Wonder how they got on. We never seem to have Andy’s viewing delights in this car park .

Well that’s about it for this month and as next months opus will be after the great day it’s time for us to wish everyone a very,

Happy Christmas, Noël heureux, Glückliches Weihnachten.
Being English we’re sorry but that’s the limit of our linguistic skills,
Have a good one and take care out there,

73 Rob and Audrey
G4RQJ

PS as I write, Monday, and in the face of the weather the lads are attacking the roof with gusto.


MINI EXPEDITION NP’s-026,023, 022, 011 & 006 HF/VHF - Fri 25 - Sun 27 Nov 11
G4OBK & G4OOE

Phil G4OBK needed just 3 more NP’s to complete his set of NP activations but as a previous activation of Kisdon only brought in one 2 metre contact, Phil being a purist wanted to qualify all the NP’s. So the agenda was set to do Kisdon, Aye Gill Pike, Calf Top and Great Coum and as a bonus Nine Standards Rigg and Great Shunner Fell that he had done in previous years. I was more than happy to do them all as they were all new to me.

We left Pickering at around 0615 on Friday and arrived at the parking spot NY892006 at 0834 ready to tackle Kisdon. This was a tough little hill with a short but steep climb. We were on the air at 0935 closing down at 1020. We both tried 145-fm but as this little summit is surrounded by much bigger ones we weren’t too surprised when we had no takers. We then drove to the car park at SD693912 with a great view of the Howgills. As we ate our sandwiches the heavens opened and it didn’t look too good for the afternoon walk to Aye Gill Pike. However it did clear and we set off at 1235 arriving at the summit at 1400. We experienced a variety of weather on this summit clear and sunny and quite windy to rain, hail and very strong winds. We were sodden wet by the time we returned to the car at around 1630. We then headed for our B&B near Dent. We were greeted by our jovial hosts and their pet dog and cat in a very warm Aga fuelled kitchen. After well earned baths we went down to dinner and enthusiastically made short work of the leek soup, roast chicken, bacon and all the trimmings followed by damson crumble and custard! Then a time to relax with coffee in the lounge in front of the open fire. It felt really good to be alive!

Next day we were up pretty early having a good hearty full English breakfast at 0700. We drove to our parking spot at SD683864 ready to take on Calf Top. The wind was getting quite strong and as we progressed up the quite steep ascent we had to cling on to fence posts to stay upright. The aptly named Weather Ling Hill was covered in mist and although not too far behind Phil, I took a right turn instead of climbing over a wall and turning left! Thank goodness for my GPS and for G4YSS & G4OBK that had taught me how to use it! I soon discovered my error and eventually I reached the summit at 0955 some 20 minutes or so behind Phil!

The cold wind was now getting much worse. Whilst waiting for me Phil had erected his link dipole and very soon he was active on 7-cw while I started up on 145-fm. It being the CQ WW contest we were more than happy to QSY to 10-cw. Short skip conditions on 30m were very good giving us many UK as well as European stations, so we were very happy to stay there and work the pile up. Phil had a good session on 5-ssb and we closed down at around 1110. By this time the rain was really heavy and it was bitterly cold. Taking down the antennas was a painful job and we could barely stand. The inner of my right handed glove decided it wasn’t going back into the correct finger slots of the outer glove and for what seemed an eternity, I was messing about trying to get it sorted out. In the end I found a soaking wet woollen one in my pocket which had to do.

Because of the horrendous conditions we came back traversing over Combe Top to avoid the steep descent. We arrived back at the car at 1218. Conditions were absolutely hideous but we drove on along the gated road past High Moss, our intended start point for Great Coum and then on into Ingleton. We reluctantly decided to postpone this activation. We had no mobile phone coverage but we managed to relay a message to Mark G0VOF via another kind amateur (sorry I have forgotten the callsign) Mark, published the cancellation on SOTAwatch and notified Roy G4SSH who was coordinating our expedition. Thanks very much to everyone involved. We then proceeded on to Ingleton and found Inglesport’s Cafe which is an excellent venue for walkers, climbers and cavers. We enjoyed our hot drinks and cakes then proceeded downstairs to look at the shop which has a comprehensive stock of books and outdoor clothing. I managed to get a decent pair of gloves and a small flask ready for Sunday. Back to the B&B and again another superb dinner this time beef stewing steak cooked to perfection. There were a couple of other guests to talk to but once X Factor came on we decided to turn in for an early night!

After another early breakfast we said our goodbyes to our hosts that had really looked after us well. We now had a revised agenda of Great Coum and Great Shunner Fell. So it was back to High Moss SD723823 and our walk up to this summit was fantastic. Beautiful scenery with very good visability. After walking for well over an hour we arrived at the summit at 0945. The CQ WW CW was still in full swing so Phil opened on 10-cw and I opened on 145-fm, after a while we swapped over.

Once again short skip within the UK and Europe was very good so we had quite a pile up. Phil’s face was a picture once he had qualified this summit, his last NP. As usual he finished off on 5-ssb. We had slight showers but nothing compared to the previous day. We packed up at 1100. The descent was going well until Phil trod on some boggy ground that started behaving like quick sand! He shouted to me to stand back and he managed to get out of it without too much trouble. I was able to go round this hazard and we were back at the car for 1204. We then drove to the cattle grid parking place at SD868956, after a quick snack we headed off over Grimy Gutter Hags which was very boggy and rough and quite difficult to make good fast progress. We found bits of quad track which gave some respite. The walk took us past Shunner Fell Hags and quite near to Little Shunner Fell summit, eventually arriving at the shelter on Great Shunner Fell. This is on the Pennine Way route so we were quite surprised to find only four people there when we arrived.

Phil started off on 10-cw and I tried without success to open up on 145-fm. We did change over again and this time Phil managed a few 2m contacts with a new battery on the handheld. After a good run on 5-ssb we closed down at 1515. We quickly dismantled everything and we were heading back at 1525. The walk back was a bit of a slog but we kept our pace up to get off the fell before the onset of darkness. We paused briefly to chat to a young mountaineer who was going up to Great Shunner Fell in the failing light. He seemed to know what he was doing and he said he had a torch! We were back at the car for 1615.

We had achieved our main objective of getting Phil his last NP’s and we had the bonus of Great Shunner Fell. I am hoping to return to the area soon to do Nine Standards Rigg which is the one we missed. It was a very memorable three days of SOTA. I have almost completed my first year of activations and it has been a great thrill to be a small part of the SOTA programme. I would like to thank all the people especially HB9BAB, G4YSS, G4SSH, G0NUP, G3TJE and of course my companion on this trip G4OBK. Thanks to G4SSH, G0VOF, G1OHH, G6CRV and MW0BBU for spots.

Equipment used
HF - FT857D 50W - Link dipole antenna configured as an inverted vee on fibre glass fishing pole

VHF - TH79E 5W - SOTA Beam 2m dipole

Summary of contacts made by G4OBK & G4OOE
G/NP-026 Kisdon
7-cw - DL, EI, F, G, GM, GW, HB9, I, K0, LA, OK, OM, ON, PA - 43
5-ssb - G, GM, GW - 9
145-fm - Nil

G/NP-023 Aye Gill Pike
7-cw - DL, EA, G, GW, HA, HB9, I, LY, OE, OM, ON, S5 - 46
10-cw - DL, F, G, GM, I, OK, PA, UA - 11
5-ssb - 11
145-fm - Nil

G/NP-022 Calf Top
7-cw - DL, EA, F, G, GM, HA, HB9, LA, OK, ON - 28
10-cw -DL, EA, G, GM, GW, HA, I, LZ, OZ, SP - 21
145-fm - G, GW - 9
5-ssb - G, GM, GW - 18

G/NP-011 Great Coum
10-cw - DL, EA, F, G, GM, EU, HA, HB9, I, LA, LZ, OE, OZ, PA, SP, S5 - 51
144-fm - G, GW - 12
5-ssb - G, GM, GW - 14

G/NP-006 Great Shunner Fell
10-cw - DL, EA, G, GW, HA, HB9, I, LA, LZ, OK, OM, PA, SM, S5 , UA - 38
145-fm - G - 6
5-ssb - 17

73
Nick G4OOE


SOTA ON TOP BAND - Mark G0VOF

Hello everyone & welcome to this month’s edition of SOTA on Top Band. As we approach winter in the Northern hemisphere, conditions on the low bands typically improve. That said, although there has been some improvement in daytime conditions on the 80m band, the big improvement in the higher bands due to the much more active Sun has left the low bands in poorer shape than they would typically be at this time of year.

Despite the imminent arrival of the winter bonus season for certain associations, which usually leads to a drop in the number of activations, November was still a busy month. I am very pleased to report that there was even an activation on 160m, & a very successful one at that! There is also some good news to report on the subject of local QRM on Top Band that affected well known activator & chaser Phil G4OBK. More on that later.

Just after the deadline for submissions for last months News, I found myself on G/SP-005 Pendle Hill assisting a charity event. I had contemplated activating the hill on 160m, but due to time constraints I was only equipped for a short spell on the 60m band once the event was finished. Of course, this does give me a very good excuse to return in a few weeks time & activate the hill on Top Band, & pick up 3 winter bonus points into the bargain.

So, onto the very successful 160m activation I mentioned earlier. This took place on the evening of 5th November when Zoli HA2PP/P activated HA/KD-003 Középsö-Hajag. Zoli achieved a very respectable total of 13 QSO’s, all but one of which was using CW, with one on SSB. Analysis of Zoli’s log shows a good distribution of contacts throughout mainland Europe, with one contact with the UK. Unfortunately, I was away that evening, otherwise I too would have tried to work Zoli.

No doubt the evening conditions helped a lot, but I asked Zoli if he would share some information about his portable 160m station for this edition of SOTA news. He was more than happy to do so & here is his detailed reply:

“Hi Mark,

Thank you for your letter, just a few words on what I used for the activation:

The antenna diagram was found on the Internet at

It is an Inverted L for 160m.

This antenna has the advantage that it can be fed directly with 50 ohm coax. The vertical wire is 12.5 m long and the horizontal section is 24.5 m. The 3 x 20 metre radials are as per the diagram & spread along the ground. The dimensions are approximate & all you need to change for fine tuning is the length of the radiating wire, which I did by extending it by approximately 2 metres. Thus, the SWR was 1:1.5 on 1850 Khz. Of course, fine tuning can only be accomplished with the antenna in position.

The installation was simple, the site was an unused column, and the far end of the antenna was up a tree. It was only 8-9 feet high, & I used the small rock & piece of rope thrown over a branch to support the antenna. The installation took about 20-25 minutes. The tuning maybe 15 minutes. Unfortunately, that was enough to use quite a lot of the battery power after which it began to darken, and barely an hour later the first stations appeared on 160 metres.

I thought there may be a few stations out there with good ears & good antennas which there were – Thanks :slight_smile:

The equipment that I used was a Kenwood TS-50, running 10 or 40 watts and the battery is an SLA LP12 (9Ah/12V) - it is excellent!

For the 160-meter contacts the output power was 40 watts.
Thanks to the stations that worked me, I was able to activate HA/KD-003 on 160m!

Sorry I cannot speak English very well, but I hope you understand.

Best 73!

Zoli - ha2pp”

Thank you very much indeed for your reply Zoli, I did not need to edit very much at all, as your English is excellent!

The Inverted L is a popular antenna for 160m, with many amateurs using one very successfully at home & also several SOTA activators also making good use of one, as Zoli has done. It is a type of antenna that easily lends itself to use on Summits with tree-covered tops, although it is still possible to use on “bare” summits with the use of a decent sized fishing pole. The good geographical coverage achieved by Zoli with only 40 Watts shows how efficient this type of antenna can be.

Well done Zoli on a very successful activation!

Some readers may be aware that after a break from 160m during shack renovation work over the summer, Phil G4OBK found to his horror that while he had been away from the band, a source of very strong QRM had appeared in his locality that made Top Band virtually un-useable. This was very different from the quiet conditions he normally enjoys. The noise was very wide-band & covered not only 160m, but part of the medium wave broadcast band as well & could be picked up easily on a small portable medium wave receiver.

After eliminating everything within his own property, Phil began to look around for an external source. From the sound of the interference it appeared to be carried by, or propagated via the electrical mains & was present 24 hours a day, so armed with a small medium wave receiver his first port of call were the utility poles that pass close by his property. These were all checked & were ruled out as the source. By travelling around the area, & observing the strength of the interference it was possible to gradually narrow down a smaller target area for more detailed investigation. Simply assuming that if the interference gets weaker you are moving away from it, & the interference gets stronger you are moving towards it, is sufficient at this stage.

Once Phil had narrowed the source down to one or two properties over 400m from his own, it was time to start considering approaching the owners. It was at this point that Phil had a huge stroke of luck, as it turned out that he knew the people that happened to live at the offending property. This made any further dealings so much easier than if they had been complete strangers. Once inside the property, it was ascertained that there was no newly acquired equipment that could have caused the problem, so by switching off different items in turn it did not take long to find the source of the interference.

This turned out to be a Thompson Freeview Digital TV recorder, which although this had been functioning normally for well over 12 months, had recently started to get very warm, even when on standby, according to the owner. This would indicate a component failure, which had also lead to the unit producing QRM across the 160m band. Within a couple of days Phil had arranged for the unit to be sent to a member of the RSGB EMC committee for further investigation, which at the time of writing is still ongoing.

Of course, it goes without saying that the owners of the equipment would be completely unaware of the RFI the unit was causing, however, the potential fire risk from overheating should be obvious. As with my own case of RFI on the 80m band, which I traced to a central heating pump 110m away, the equipment had been functioning correctly until failure. In both cases, the failure still allowed the equipment to be used for its intended purpose, although the owners in both cases had noticed something different. In my case the pump was noisier than it used to be, in Phil’s case, the unit was getting unduly warm.

The noise level on 160m at Phil’s QTH is now back to normal :slight_smile:

A big thank you to Zoli & Phil for their input!

At the time of writing, Zoli’s was the only Top band activation during November that I am aware of, if I have missed any others please let me know.

On the 5th November, Zoli HA2PP/P activated HA/KD-003 Középsö-Hajag, & achieved 13 QSO’s on 160m, 12 on CW & 1 on SSB.

As always, If you do have any suggestions on things that you think should be included, or if you wish to contribute tips, ideas or anything else that you think may help others on the band please email them to me at mark@brownhill.demon.co.uk

Until next month,

Best 73,
Mark G0VOF


An Anti-pager Filter for 2m Handys by Rod M0JLA

After several unsuccessful activations and some research on the SOTA blog I decided to make a filter. (There is a lot more to tell but sticking to the actual process will be more useful to others who come to the same conclusion.) This article is aimed more at hill-walkers picking up a radio for SOTA than Advanced Amateurs putting on new boots and waterproofs. The main aim here is to list the mistakes I made and suggest ways of avoiding them. With support and guidance from Colin, G8JSM, I have completed construction and some alignment and testing. Field use will have to wait for the next activation suffering from pager blight and I will report on the results later on.

Design was easy using the Helical program [1]. Specify centre frequency, width and impedances; assign values for the analysis graph and a couple of clicks give you a sketch with dimensions and a selection of performance charts. I tinkered with the filter impedance (the only freely alterable variable) and trial and error led me to the final design:- 2MHz bandwidth centred on 145.5MHz with four loose coils of stiff wire tapped for 50ohm feed in a four compartment box.

Mistake ONE. Wire is a bit too thin at 1.25mm; the coils vibrate rather freely. Use the thickest wire the spec permits (a range is offered) and redesign if much less than 2mm.

I worked out the size of pieces required allowing for 2mm thickness and made the box from DS copper clad board which I tried to cut with a slitting saw. It jammed repeatedly and I ended up using a hacksaw. The pieces were filed to size and good fit. If you are good with sheet metal I think a tinplate box would be better.

Mistake TWO. Don’t even think of making this using lead-free solder unless you are equipped with the right sort of iron (I am not convinced that there is such an item!) and you know exactly what you are doing. The joints on mine are a disgrace and I was getting nowhere fast in a half-completed box until a contact suggested old style solder. I bought a reel of 60/40 non-corrosive flux cored solder. What a difference!

It might be worth mentioning a mistake or two that I didn’t make. The lid needs attaching with screws, so nuts need soldering inside the box (3.5mm seem OK). Don’t be so neat and tidy that the lid will fit either way around; offset at least one nut (and the corresponding screw hole). Colin suggested adding tuning screws and I soldered nuts to the outside of the lid at the compartment centres and then drilled right through the nuts tapping size to allow me to drill the lid from the inside to clear the screws.

All being completed I was ready to test and align. Previous mistakes are minor blips compared with what went wrong next. I don’t have a sweep generator; nor do I have an oscilloscope that does much above 100MHz. At the time my signal generator was broken so I decided to tune using VSWR which the Helical program shows very clearly as a mirror of the passband. Using a 2m FM transceiver through a VSWR meter into the filter and terminating with a dummy load looked like a suitable arrangement. WARNING! This could damage your radio; Colin advises a 3dB attenuator in line here to protect the PA stage. VSWR was not very responsive; no dip. I broadened the tuning range, discovering in the process that the radio had been wide-banded, and found the dip at 164MHz.

Stop and think very hard if this happens. Don’t automatically assume that your filter is totally wrong. Check, of course, that you haven’t made a silly mistake and when you find that the filter is as specified think what else might be wrong.

Mistake THREE. There were three other items involved here but I chose to concentrate on the filter, stretching and twisting the coils beyond repair. Then I made a new set more tightly wound; similar result after an epic battle getting them into the box (it’s easy when the box only has one side; once the other two are soldered on there isn’t much room). Then I did it again with the originally specified diameter but more turns; little difference. At this point I gave up. (What was actually wrong? See below.)

I mentioned this fact on the blog in passing while commenting on someone else’s problems with being heard and not hearing the reply. Richard, G3CWI, immediately came back offering to align it for me if I sent it to him and Colin also came back with more help. By then Viki, M6BWA, had experienced another difficult activation (Wentwood) so I decided to have another go. I first followed Colin’s advice and trimmed the over-long coils to the correct number of turns plus an extra half turn. Then I stretched the coils out to the correct design length.

This time I set the radio to 145.5FM and locked the dial. With all the adjusting screws removed I followed his advice again and extended an Allen key through the screw hole over the first coil. A dip was observed, causing some excitement! Unfortunately the adjusting screw was too short and so was the longest in stock, but not by much so I used it, getting a weak dip. Then I turned the filter end-for-end (which is why you need the lid fitting one way around only so the adjusting screws don’t get switched if you take the lid off) and repeated the process; bigger dip! The same again for the middle two coils and then a phenomenon I will come back to was observed. Clearly the screws being too short stopped further progress so I locked together two nuts on the end of the ineffective screws and tried again. This proved very successful and tuning was completed.

Or was it? I think that there was still a residual effect from the original problem. Certainly the local repeater,GB3ZA, suffered a seriously reduced signal (it did open this time) though nothing like as reduced as the local pager on 153.03 which was down at least 40dB on the S-meter.

Mistake FOUR. My dummy load may be OK at HF. It never occurred to me to test it but I now know that it has a resonance in the upper end of the VHF band, hence the original dip at 164MHz was actually the minimum VSWR of the dummy load. I think this effect skewed the readings even at 145.5MHz.

By this time my new (to me) and quite elaborate signal generator had arrived so I tried a different technique. My 2m analyser acts as a very sensitive tunable signal strength meter so I set the sig gen to a few microvolts at 145.500, tuned in the analyser and adjusted to fsd. Putting the filter in circuit caused a drop of several dB but a bit of careful screw turning gave me a fairly decent peak. The limited tuning range of the 2m analyser limits any attempt at producing a performance chart, so I went back to the radio for final testing. A quick retune at 145.500MHz and then tests over the range, showing 64dB down at 141MHz and 151MHz. GB3ZA opens and returns S9+60 and GB3VM returns S5 but I am told that it is not fully quiet with 10W as it used to be. With luck the filter might even reduce breakthrough when I am on 2m ssb and Viki is on 2m FM.

The peak is not tidy at all (see chart on Flickr), which brings me back to “A phenomenon I will come back to”. Three of the four coils tune fairly smoothly; the fourth behaves very oddly by comparison, with much faster meter movement and a hint of a double peak. This was easily noticeable using the VSWR method; less easy when relying on a bar graph S-meter.

Clearly, there remains some unfinished business apart, of course, from the field test. This is scheduled for the Clywdian Hills on 13th, 14th and 15th December. I think we are expecting difficulty on Cyrn-y-Brain

Rod, M0JLA with many thanks to G8JSM and G3CWI for their support.

[1] Helical program download from www.tonnesoftware.com

[2] Pictures of Colin’s (G8JSM) filter http://www.flickr.com/photos/g8jsm

[3] Pictures of my filter www.flickr.com/photos/m0jla

73
Rod M0JLA


HEAD FOR THE HILLS! - By Colwyn Jones MM6YCJ

A good forecast and a ‘free’ weekend. Time to head for the hills!

Saturday was spent in my intermediate class run by the Cockenzie and Port Seaton Amateur Radio Club, thanks to Bob GM7UYZ for his tutelage; especially as he had obviously enjoyed the club night the previous evening.

Knoydart is beautiful (when you can see it) and the west coast had the best weather forecast. The west end of Loch Arkaig at the locked gate at the end of the public road B8005 was the starting point. The outside temperature was only 2 centigrade so I expected a frosty night, although midges might not be a problem! Arriving at 21:00 I had 8 hours of glorious sleep before the alarm went off at 05:00. My quick breakfast was disturbed by two other cars arriving (confirming such madness is not unique) and I left the car park before 06:00. There was thick mist and a shallow cloud inversion as I cycled in absolute darkness for the first 5km to the old lodge at upper Glendessary. I felt that this was perhaps the most dangerous part of the day, cycling up the rough track poorly illuminated by head torch. Then onto the well trodden swamp which has been designated the Inverie footpath; wet feet all day. By 07:10 I could walk without the aid of the head torch.

At the path (swamp) junction with the 310m contour (NM912949) I was well above the cloud inversion and headed northwest up the eroded scar of a quad bike track made by stalkers. The sun was now shining on the beautiful russet coloured upper slopes and I contoured into the steep gully, to enjoy a light scramble to reach the Feadan gap between GM/WS-034 and GM/WS-048. As now found on every Munro, a good path leads to the summit (Sgurr Na Ciche, 1040m) where there were superb views over Knoydart, the shapely ridge of Ladhar Bheinn and out to Eigg and Rum.

In contrast to the breathtaking views, there was a broken champagne bottle near the summit cairn. Maybe a final Munro party? Perhaps the bottle was broken accidentally during the celebrations. They hadn’t even stopped to clear up the broken shards and now everyone had to look at their mess!

I was trying to get the peak activated before the 09:30 RSGB newsletter broadcast and from 09:07 to 09:13 had three contacts on 2m, before my hastily erected 2 element YAGI blew over; it was quite windy. After trying to transmit and receive for a few minutes I realised the 2m antennae was trashed (the only activation in 2008 was exclusively on 2m) and apologies, the commercial antenna didn’t help and I couldn’t call on 2m again that day. So up with the 40m dipole, and after calling for a few minutes I had a single contact at 09:58.

The wind had chilled me over the previous hour and with the prospect of the long day ahead, I vigorously packed and quickly headed back down to the col. From here an old stone wall and derelict iron fence snakes along the top of the ridge for miles. Probably built after the Highland Clearances, I imagined the time, effort and cost of building the wall, just to keep sheep. But then labour was cheap in those days and the landowner was making his statement. The wall would help when navigating in bad weather. Today however, the sun was out and I could choose my own route to the summit of GM/WS-048, Garbh Choich Mor (1013m) and, arriving sweating, I found a nook sheltered behind the wall and pitched the 40m dipole again. There was fresh orange peel on the ground left by hill walkers the day before; biodegradable, but rubbish nevertheless. After a slow start I was spotted on the SOTA website and 36 minutes later I had 21 QSO’s and just after noon packed up as some cloud rolled in spoiling the views over Loch Nevis. To the east the views were clear with the North East buttress of the mighty Ben Nevis in sturdy profile.

From here the ridge was a pleasure walking a tightrope in the sky, although there was some easy scrambling which might be a concern in bad weather. On GM/WS-082, Sgurr nan Coireachan (953m) cloud enclosed the summit as I arrived. There was a nice convenient iron fence post for the antenna pole. The wind speed had fallen and the air temperature had risen as I started calling at just after 13:30 with 25 contacts in about half an hour, after being spotted. I wolfed down lunch between packing and set off to my final peak of the day. Why had I bothered to tell people I had a final summit in mind? The track down in the glen below looked more attractive, but broadcasting in these circumstances is an effective motivational tool!

The ridge is more undulating in this final section and I finally reached GM/WS-160 (835m) at 15:30. I was startled by a couple who arrived on the summit just as I CQ’d. I waved and smiled at the first people I had seen all day; if you don’t count the boat motoring up Glen Nevis first thing! But they left the top without stopping; no doubt keen to get back to their car before nightfall, or maybe escape from the mad radio operator.

The sun was getting low in the sky, but the QSO’s just kept coming. In total 33 QSOs; my highest ever tally. Finally, no response to my calls; time to get out of here; it was 16:11, the sun was setting as I took one last view into Knoydart. Swiftly I descended the southwest ridge of Sgurr Cos na Breachd-laoidh, then after losing two thirds of the total height, turned directly down towards upper Glendessary. It was getting darker but I managed to reach the bike shortly after 17:00 without artificial light.

It was a genuine pleasure to take off my jacket, get the weight off my wet feet and onto the bike. I briefly stopped to chat to the couple I had seen on top of WS-160, apologising for spoiling their wilderness experience with radio traffic. I could clearly see they thought me insane! From there I freewheeled back down to the car park in bright moonlight arriving just before 18:00. There was more rubbish left beside the locked gate at the end of the public road. I marvelled that the individuals, who had driven all the way along the lochside, then thought it was reasonable to leave their bags of rubbish at the gate of the estate! Did they really believe that someone would tidy up after them, before a fox happened by and ripped the bags open? No wonder estates discourage people. While there is a legal right to roam, there is a moral responsibility not to litter. I am sure it wasn’t a SOTA member.

So, a 12 hour day, 3 hours radioing, 83 QSO’s (3 on 2m, 80 on 40m, duplicates accepted) an hour on the bike, 8 hours walking, at least 1700m of ascent, 26 SOTA points, 18 points from first activations, a need for a new pair of boots, a 2m antenna in need of repair, dismay at the rubbish and wonder at the beautiful views all day. Perfect!

73
Colwyn MM6YCJ


CW REPORT FOR NOVEMBER 2011 - by Roy G4SSH

SOTA CW chasers during November took maximum advantage of the dramatic improvement in both the weather conditions and propagation, with many activations concentrating on 14 MHz and above. It to be hoped that these conditions extend into the Winter Bonus period, where the shortage of daylight hours in Europe tends to concentrate activity mainly into the mornings, with EU activators heading off the summits by 1430 to be down before dark.

There was a steady stream of SOTA CW activations during November, in spite of the impending Winter Bonus season. As a chaser I particularly appreciated the number of “double activations” where two activators operated simultaneously on different bands (usually 40 and 30m, or SSB and CW) which doubles the chances of a contact and reduces the number of chasers calling each activator. Heard employing this double-act procedure were Jurg HB9BIN & Rolf HB9DGV, Bernd DK1DU & Harry DL2ZBO, Jurg HB9BIN & Kurt HB9AFI, Phil G4OBK & Nick G4OOE, Vlado Z35M & Damjan Z35BY, Jurg HB9BAB & Hans HB9BQU and even a triple- operation by Pepa OK1FHD, Josef OK1AXB and Stan OK1AU. We also had Jure S57XX, operating from his home country then jumping over the fence to operate as OE/S57XX which is always appreciated by chasers.

I am always delighted to welcome new SOTA activators and follow their progress as they develop into regular activators. They sometimes initially operate with a more experienced activator or start slowly on their own then increase the number of activations to become well known on the air. Their enthusiasm is infectious and I am particularly impressed by the rapid progress of Jan OK1PDT who activated his first CW SOTA on the 28th October and followed this by another 50 in November.

I operated as G4SSH/A again from 1st to 7th November during my monthly visit to my daughter in Cornwall. Regular readers will know that I have an FT-897 into an indoor vertical antenna just 1.5m high. Many thanks to all the activators who replied to my weak signals. I use /A as an optional part of my callsign and on the SOTA Watch to indicate that I am 400 miles south from my usual QTH and my signals will probably be weaker than usual. Reception is particularly poor in view of the short antenna and high background noise so I am always delighted to make contact with distant low powered stations such as LA1KHA and Z35M.

Heard active above 40m were:-

50 MHz: M1EYP.

28 MHz: EA1AER, HA5MA, HA5LV, F5UKL, F6HBI, K6TW, K4TW, G8OGI, M1EYP.

24 MHz HA6OY, F5UKL, NE1SJ,

21 MHz: F5UKL, WS0TA, KI6JP, WA3SEE, NS0TA,

18 MHz: S57X, F5UKL, WT5RZ,

14 MHz:
DL9TX,
EA1AER, EA2BD, EA2NN,
F5UKL, F5VGL, F6HBI,
MM0FMF,
HA5MA, HA5LV, HA2PP,
HB9BIN, HB9BAB, HN9BQB, HB9BRJ, HB9AGO, HB9CMI,
OK1CYC, OK1AU, OK1DSX,
K4ADV,
NS7P,
W4EON, WS0TA, WA3SEE, WB5QYT,
VE2JCW,
S57X,
Z35M

10 MHz:
DK7MG, DJ3AX, DL1RNN, DK2JK, DF3MC, DL3VTA,
EA2/F5UKL
F6AVE, F/HB9AFI, F5VGL, F6AVE, F6HBI, F5LKW, ,
G4RQJM G3CWI, G3RDQ, G4OBK, G4OOE
HA5MA. HA5LV, HA6QR, HA2PP,
HB9BQB, HB9CGA, HB9AGO, HB9CMI, HB9/F6EAH, HB9BQB, HB9DGV, HB9BIN,
IV3/S57XX,
LA1ENA, LA1KHA,
MM0ROV, MW0TUB, M0TUB,
OE5EEP, OE/S57XX,
OK1OX, OK1AU, OK1EQ, OK1CYC, OK1DIG,
S57XX, S57X, S51ZJ,
SM0HPL,
Z35M,

Also thanks to the stalwarts who enthusiastically continue to activate on 80 and 160m:-

3.5 MHz OK1HAG,
1.8 MHz HA2PP.

A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers, heard activating SOTA’s for the first time on CW during the last month:- Miro OK1OX, Pepa OK1FHD,

Heard active on expeditions outside their own countries were:

DL/OE5DIN, DL/HB9BRJ, DL/OK1DIG,
EA5/DK1IO,
F/HB9AFI,
HB9/F6EAH, HB9/FEAH,
IK/DK7MG,
OE/S57XX, OE/DL9MDI,

73
Roy G4SSH


CONTESTS DURING DECEMBER 2011

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.

10-11th 1600-1600 International Navy contest CW
11th only 0001-2359 SKCC CW Sprint.
17th only 0001-2359 OK DX RTTY contest
17th -18th 1400-1400 Croatian CW contest
25th only 0200-0959 RAEM CW contest

SOTA News is normally published at 1200 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 28th 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, the USA and beyond, in a total of 24 different countries. Your input will be most welcome.

I receive many e-mails during the month containing details of activations, milestones reached and general SOTA news. Unless advised otherwise I will use this information in the next edition of SOTA News. It is important therefore that you advise me if any information is not intended for publication.

============================================================
The next Issue of SOTA News will be the last one for the year and we welcome any “Reviews of the Year” from newcomers during 2011 or old hands who have managed to reach a personal SOTA milestone. Deadline by the 28th December please.

The SOTA News team wish all activators, chasers, SWL’s and their families a very Happy Christmas.

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

North American input to:-
Fred K6DGW [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Auburn CA
k6dgw@foothill.net or k6dgw@arrl.net


#2

In reply to G4SSH:

SLOVAKIA SOTA

Add New SOTA Activation Alert
Callsign OM0AM
Full summit reference OM/KE-005
Date of activation 01/12/2011
UTC 00 01
Freq 145,500 FM, 3760, 7100 SSB
Comments Time 00 01 aprox WX see APRS track OM0AM

73! i1


#3

Thanks Roy for the news. Yes the SOTA OM was the long awaited one, CU on Saturday from OM/ZA-018.


#4

Thanks for the news Roy.

Also active above 7MHz (on CW) was M1EYP - on 22nd November 2011 on 50MHz from The Cloud (1 contact!) and 30th November 2011 on 28MHz from Pendle Hill (24 contacts).

But with issues like a single contact out of 63 in the activation on CW, and the fact that my activator log for yesterday hasn’t been submitted yet, then it is obvious why they didn’t sneak into the News.

Thanks for the call on 10m yesterday. It was a good activation after a slow start, and interestingly the strongest and weakest stations I worked were both in Yorkshire! Roger G4OWG and yourself. Some nice DX into USA and Cuba as well.

73, Tom M1EYP


#5

In reply to M1EYP:

Now added to list Tom. 50MHz is a band I do not have and the 10m activation was after the news had been published.

I was delighted to make my first 10m SOTA contact with you. My first chaser points on 28 MHz for many years.

73 Roy


#6

In reply to G4SSH:
Hello Roy
Thank for SOTA news.
Always a pleasure to read It.
Best 73 and see you from next summit.
Andre - f5ukl


#7

In reply to G4SSH:
Thank Roy for those news and also thanks to contributors.
73’s Gérald


#8

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks for the news Roy & all contributors, another very fine read!

Congratulations to Phil G4OBK on completing all G/NP summits, although a day later than planned :wink:

I was monitoring S20 on Saturday afternoon when I heard a station answering a call from Phil, who was mobile somewhere, I assumed between Calf Top & Great Coum. I could not hear Phil at all, but followed the other station to their chosen frequency & after listening for a couple of minutes it became clear that Phil had no mobile phone reception & was requesting a spot on SOTAwatch stating that the planned activation of Great Coum was canceled.

The station that was receiving Phil did not have internet access at his location so I called in & offered to assist. After passing me the relevant details I posted the required spots & an alert for the following day, thanked the station for his help & then phoned Roy G4SSH to let him know about the change of plan.

If my memory serves my right, the station that took Phil’s call was fellow SOTA activator Keith G0OXV, who at the time was at GB5LD special event station for Lancashire day from a church in Southport.

A huge thanks to Keith for being a vital link in the chain!

It is always wise to let someone know of your plans when out on the hills, especially in poor weather, & a simple message that you are deviating from your original plan can be very valuable. It lets those who are following your progress know they need not worry about having to alert the rescue services when any scheduled communications have been missed.

Another good demonstration of Amateur radio working well, when other methods (in this case mobile phones) fail.

Thanks Nick for the 30m & 2m QSO’s, Thanks & congratulations to Phil & thanks to Keith G0OXV for his invaluable assistance.

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF


#9

In reply to G0VOF:

Thanks Mark and thanks Keith. It is certainly reassuring to know that there are good people out there to help when things don’t quite go to plan!

Both Phil and I have vodaphone mobile phones which have great gaps in coverage in the Yorkshire Dales, even from some of the higher summits.

73
Nick G4OOE


#10

In reply to G4SSH:
Roy,
Thanks for publishing my notes on the Helical filter. I can now report a successful field test on Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-042.
Viki and I took CyB and Moel-y-Gamelin separately as visibility was good. Both using VX-7s; she on 2m and me on 70cm. Before I reached the summit of CyB we had a short QSO on 2m. While activating I switched to 2m (to find how she was doing) and heard some very garbled speech which might have ended JLA. I replied suggesting QSY 444.500 and, having done so, received an immediate reply. We then switched summits. The filter was deployed and Viki activated CyB with no trouble, including a QSO with me on 2m from MyG. The only inconclusive aspect of the test is that we didn’t swap radios but as both of us had had trouble on recent activations I think both radios were affected by the pager swamping.

I will take the opportunity to offer many thanks to all those who made contact during our three day, six summit expedition. In particular, special thanks to Bob G6ODU for the full 6 QSOs with me, and, I think, the same with Viki. It was good to end the activations with a quite unexpected chat to Colin G8JSM who gave me the encouragement to continue when things went wrong; thanks again.
73,
Rod, M0JLA