SOTA NEWS – FEBRUARY 2009
EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH
Welcome to the February edition of SOTA News.
A combination of poor HF conditions, bad weather in the U.K. and heavy snowfalls throughout Europe all combined to reduce SOTA activity on the HF bands to very low levels during the month of January. Activity did peak at weekends, as expected, but there were a few days when there was not a single spot on SOTAwatch.
In 2009 the Union of Swiss Short Wave Amateurs (USKA) celebrates it’s 80th anniversary. From 1st January to 31st December 2009 Swiss amateurs can change their prefix from HB9 to HE8 and novice-calls HB3 can change to HB8.
There were also a few PH (PA) calls heard during January, reason unknown.
My thanks go to the following contributors:- Les G3VQO, Barry GM4TOE, Tom M1EYP, Iain M3WJZ, Bernd DL2DXA and Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL. A magnificent response to my request for articles.
FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM - CORSICA
The MT has great pleasure in welcoming Corsica as the latest addition to the SOTA family with an Association that becomes “live” on 1st March 2009. This has been a long time in preparation as much of the preparatory work was done when SOTA-France was being created. Indeed, at one time it was considered that Corsica might be treated as a region of the French Association, but it was considered preferable to have a resident AM if at all possible.
For many months the search was on for a suitable volunteer, and, although we thought that we had found our man at the end of 2007, the task ultimately proved fruitless.
Eventually the MT agreed that, because of the major effort undertaken by our SOTA-France colleagues, SOTA-Corsica would be launched with an AM on the French mainland. It is our intention to transfer “ownership” to a resident AM just as soon as one can be found.
SOTA-Corsica consists of a single region with the code TK, and contains 158 summits. The highest is Monte Cinto at 2706m, and, despite the southerly latitude, there is sufficient snow on the peaks each year to justify a winter bonus for all summits above 1500m.
The MT extends its thanks to Alain F6ENO and Lionel F5NEP for their diligence in preparing the documentation, and for ensuring that all summits fully comply with P150 by reference to SRTM data and detailed topographical maps.
We look forward to hearing the first Corsican SOTA activation very soon.
obo SOTA MT
FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM - INTERNATIONAL SOTA DAY
Following the proposal from Sean M0GIA to hold an International SOTA day the Management Team undertook to contact Association Managers to determine when would be a suitable date.
The proposed dates have now been posted, for the last week, on the SOTA reflector for input from activators and chasers who would be interested in participating. Although no date is convenient for all participants the majority view is that the weekend 2 – 3 May 2009 is the preferred option.
Just for the record I have had input from the Association Managers in EI, OH, GM, SM, G, SV, OE, DL/DM, HA, GW, W2 and F. Other Associations have either not responded or have email addresses which “bounce” so it has not been possible to obtain responses from some very active and some rare Associations.
There is a lot of support for another event in August and there is no reason why this should not go ahead. It is hoped that some organisation by those who proposed it will happen.
The SOTA alerts page should be used, as normal, for activators to advise which hills they propose to activate but it would be helpful, as with the very successful NP event at the beginning of this year, for activators to liaise to ensure that there is not duplication of summits unless it is a party having a joint activation.
The SOTA MT will now go ahead and publicise this event as widely as possible, raising the profile of SOTA worldwide, and hopefully encouraging other areas to join the SOTA programme.
This is a participant run event and the MT hope all associations will join in this informal mass activation weekend and that a fun time is had by all.
On behalf of SOTA Management Team
SOTA AWARDS by Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager
Happy New Year to you all. 2009 has started quite quietly, but if weather
conditions on the hills have been anything like here in the Cairngorms then
it is not surprising activators stay at home with something warming! Not
quite so busy on the awards front this month but even so congratulations to
all the activators and chasers who achieved significant milestones this time
with special mention of our two new Mountain Goats DH6RM and DL1AXB.
MOUNTAIN GOAT TROPHY
DH6RM Rolf Meinunger
DL1AXB Peter Barnikol
DL1AXB Peter Barnikol 1000 points
LA1TPA Mads Nygaard 100 points
2E0RCS Scott Marshall 5000 points
HA7UL Ferenc Horvath 2500 points
G6SFP Nigel Ramsey 1000 points
IK3GER Paulo Corsetti 250 points
M3VYD Kevin Lowcock 100 points
MM0ROV Mike Gerrard 100 points
This year offers a lot of promise with new associations joining and with
others in the pipeline so it is hoped that both activators and chasers will
take full advantage. With luck the ionosphere will repair itself and we will
be able to work DX from the summits or chase the rare ones from our shacks.
I have quite a number of blank trophies lying on the floor of my office just
waiting to be claimed; remember, it is now possible to customise your trophy
(e.g All CW) for a small additional charge. Just contact me for details.
All the best for 2009
2008 SOTABEAMS CHALLENGE
Congratulations to 14 Year old Nathen Nuttall, 2E0OCC, the winner of the 2008 SOTAbeams challenge, who completed 40 summits in 2008.
NEW SHACK SUPERSLOTH
Congratulations also to Peter EI7CC who has passed the 10,000 chaser points total, in spite of the high background noise level in Dublin.
MY FIRST YEAR AS A SOTA ACTIVATOR (well a year and a bit) by Iain M3WJZ
My first introduction to SOTA was when a new job saw me working with Keith, G0OXV. I was and still am out on the hills almost every opportunity I get, be it running over Scout Scar, walking up Helvellyn, mountain biking through Glentress or backpacking in the Cairngorm. So usual Monday morning conversations often consisted of what hills either or both of us had been on.
The first SOTA operator I saw in action however was Rob G4RQJ on Ward’s Stone (G/SP-013), walking up to Ward’s Stone from the bottom of Clougha Pike, in 50m visibility I reached the summit to find this chap “guying out wires from a pole”, I remember we exchanged a few words he went off to some shelter behind some rocks and I found some shelter and tucked into my sandwiches before making my way down. The next day Keith was able to tell me it was Rob that I’d seen.
Only a month later I was to come across another operator on Ben More (GM/SS-001) and Stob Binnein (GM/SS-002) which now looking, the database tells me was MM3NCM. Between the two summits the wind was horrendous, one of the windiest days I’ve been out, it was just being funnelled between the summits. There’s a huge boulder in the bealach and everyone was sheltering behind it for a breather when they reached it, I saw at least 3 hats fly of the side of the mountain in the wind in a very short space of time.
Anyway Keith persuaded me to take the foundation amateur radio licence which I did with Southport & District Amateur Radio Club in June 2007, I couldn’t actually make an earlier course as I was on an expedition up in Scotland.
Funnily enough I didn’t immediately go racing off to “play SOTA”. It wasn’t till September when Keith G0OXV and myself undertook a joint activation of Holyhead Mountain (GW/NW-069) that I undertook my first activation. I think from then on I was hooked.
The purchase of a VX-150 and a Sotabeam donated by Keith and I was set up to begin making some further activations. The first of these was Glyder Fawr (GW/NW-003) & Y Garn(GW/NW-004) on a beautiful October weekend camping in the Ogwen valley. I activated the summits on the Saturday and then on the Sunday climbed Glyder Fawr again this time via the climbers descent off the Idwal Slabs & Seniors ridge descending over Y Cribin, routes I’d fancied doing but didn’t at the time have the confidence climbing with a great big pole attached to my rucksack.
Since then I’ve obtained various other bits of kit and am always varying exactly what I carry up a summit. The original pole was “destroyed” in windy conditions on Grasmoor (G/LD-09) and the beam elements sheared off in the cold on Great Coum (G/NP-011). Initially with the VX-150 I was only operating on 2m FM, the acquisition of an FT-817 has whilst the majority of my QSO’s have been on 2m FM seen QSO’s on 2m SSB, 70cm FM & 6m SSB.
Looking back over my log for some highlights I’ve come up with the following.
High Stile (G/LD-012), One of my favourite summits in the Lakes, mid December, walking from Buttermere over Fleetwith Pike and Haystacks and on to High Stile Ridge, a quick activation but including a s2s with Rob G4RQJ, as I was camping the battery had to last for two days which it just did. A descent via a frozen spout force and a walk out ending in darkness.
Tryfan (GW/NW-006) Getting the fishing pole up the north ridge, sitting out on the summit on what could easily have be mistaken for a mid summers day in February. Having what seemed like a never ending pileup, 34 QSO’s in just under an hour, only ending as I’d run the battery flat.
Hellvellyn (G/LD-003) Striding Edge & Swiral Edge in winter conditions, brilliant. Two weeks after the winter bonus ended !? Ah well swings and roundabouts after that day on Tryfan.
Allermuir Hill(GM/SS-171) For the most amazing sunset seen on a summit.
High Street (G/LD-011) Walking in from Brampton Grange, camping on the summit. Operating from inside the tent whilst a rain shower past over. Some good cloud inversions.
Stob a’Choin (GM/SS-024) First activation of this summit and managing a s2s on 2m with Martyn M1MAJ and Caroline M3ZCB on Dufton Pike (G/NP-027) into the bargain.
Ben Alder (GM/WS-003) and Beinn Bheoil (GM/WS-047) For a great few days spent away from civilization and some fantastic mountains thrown into the bargain.
Cruach Ardrain (GM/SS-004) Snow all the way up. That Brocken Spectre, some stunning views of the Highlands in winter conditions, the cloud inversions, even getting my car stuck on the ice didn’t spoil it.
And recently walking off Meall Corranich (GM/CS-010) and Ben Lawers (GM/CS-001) having spent most of the day in cloud with 50m visibility at best, in a black & white world of snow, ice and rock, absolutely buzzing when I got back to the car.
I’ve found SOTA a new way in which to enjoy the hills & mountains and I think it enables me to enjoy reaching the summit a bit more rather than just reaching the top and pushing on. I’ll still do days without the radio, repeats of Tryfan and Helvellyn, days on the Langdales as well as expeditions in the Highlands will testify to that. But more and more I look to see what Sota summits I can include in a day out and I’m enjoying slowly learning more and more about what works and what doesn’t from a radio point of view.
Well in an attempt to avoid boring the reader completely senseless I’ll try and close there. However I would like to thank all the chasers I’ve worked so far, especially those who when I’ve been out on difficult summits or in “interesting” weather conditions have worked me to enable me to qualify the summit. And thanks to Keith, G0OXV for introducing me SOTA and for adding all those kg’s to my pack weight!!
Hope to hear you from a summit in the future.
EUROPEAN SOTA TOUR by Phil G4OBK
Many SOTA chasers will have noticed that I have posted an alert for a European trip travelling through Belgium, France, Germany to Austria, commencing 14th June and returning back via Ham Radio at Friedrichshafen.
The latest development is that whilst in Austria I am hoping to do a joint activation with Chris OE5HCE. Chris is a SSB operator whilst I prefer CW.
ADD ON TO LOGGING SOFTWARE by Phil G4OBK
Alain F6ENO has now uploaded V2.1 of his ADI2SOTA application and this software works perfectly when entering QSO information into the SOTA database. The software filters out non-SOTA QSO’s by reading SOTA references automatically from one of the fields in a saved ADIF file. The software can be used by chasers or activators and eliminates duplication of work. All one needs do is to enter the QSOs into Logger 32 software (for example), and then use Alain’s program to convert the file to CSV format before sending it to the SOTA Database. Hey presto! ADI2SOTA will also work with other logging programs such as DX4WIN.
Thank you very much Alain for a very useful piece of software. I recommend it to users of Logger32 and other software which allows the saving of ADIF file extracts from the log.
Details can be found on the Logging Software thread on the SOTA Reflector.
It’s a winner.
A SOTA YULE LOG by Tom M1EYP
On the last day of term, Friday 19th December 2008, I did
one of my early morning on-the-way-to-work activations of
The Cloud G/SP-015. I hadn’t done one for a while. It was
only two contacts on 70cm FM, but it would head up a very
satisfying Christmas season of SOTA activating for me.
The following morning I was out of bed early and up there
again, playing 80m and 40m CW. Late on Sunday afternoon,
Jimmy M3EYP and I did a torchlit activation on 80m CW/SSB.
When I went again, early on Monday 22nd December, I was
starting to have ideas of keeping the run going up to and
including Christmas Day!
Tuesday 23rd December 2008 was a proper Christmas outing,
with Jimmy, Liam and myself accompanying Richard G3CWI and
his daughter Mai Ling on an expedition and activation on
Black Hill G/SP-002. A visit to the classic British Rail
buffet and real ale bar at Stalybridge station rounded off a
great day - or did it?
For it was 6m contest night, and a great excuse to visit The
Cloud G/SP-015 again! Jimmy accompanied me by torchlight
again, and there was a fair amount of activity.
Christmas Eve morning proved to be the highlight of the
Christmas SOTA season. This time, my partner-in-crime was
Sean M0GIA, and we were out early and up The Cloud. We were
QRV on 40m, 30m, 20m, 17m and 2m, CW, SSB and FM. Between
us we made 87 QSO’s from the summit with Sean practising his
fledgling CW. Back home for a shower, then a Christmas Eve
lunch outing with the family, and things were starting to
feel very seasonal indeed!
On Christmas Day, the plan was to activate The Cloud in the
time window in between opening the presents, and going to
the local Indian restaurant for Christmas dinner. Jimmy and
myself undertook the expedition, which was carried out on
80m CW and SSB. Usually, I make lots of contacts on HF CW,
while Jimmy scrapes around for his requisite four on HF SSB.
Not so today. Everyone wanted to pick up the microphone to
work Jimmy and pass seasonal greetings, while I managed just
four on 80m CW. Just like last year, we had a Christmas Day
summit-to-summit contact with Dave 2W0BYA/P. This year he
was on Beacon Hill GW/MW-009.
Early on Boxing Day morning, I was alone again, and sat in
my bothy bag with my flask of coffee. The bothy bag soon
warms up inside, even in subzero temperatures, and I was
really starting to enjoy this style of operating. This was
a big activation with many contacts.
There were points in it for me, for a change, on Saturday
27th December. Together with Sean M0GIA, Liam M3ZRY, Greg
2E0RXX and Roger M0GMG (the Macclesfield gang), Jimmy, Liam
and myself headed out to the Ponderosa Cafe (via Lymm Truck
Stop of course) for a day’s activating on the two summits
that surround it. Splitting into two groups, with myself
and Jimmy assuming the roles of party leaders, we
alternately activated Moel y Gamelin GW/NW-042 and
Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043, rendezvousing halfway through for
lunch in the Ponderosa Cafe.
During the pub stop on the way home, I informed my
colleagues that I would, again, be activating The Cloud that
evening. It turned out that they assumed I was joking. Ha!
Activate it I most certainly did, and by going over the
midnight date line, I was able to get two daily activations
for my trouble, and give all the chasers double points.
Jimmy even stopped up to work me from the shack at home.
Monday 29th December was another early morning raid on The
Cloud, and another with lots of QSO’s. For the 30th
December, Jimmy and myself had been allowed out for the day,
so it was up to the far Northern Pennines for a challenging
pair - Baugh Fell G/NP-012 and Aye Gill Pike G/NP-023. That
would mean 12 activator points - 4(+3) and 2(+3)
respectively. This was a fabulous expedition, but with very
long walks involved. The temperature was stable at -5 all
day, but with suitable clothing and zero wind, we remained
comfortable. These normally boggy fells were frozen solid
which aided progress considerably, but we ran out of time at
the end and had to descend Aye Gill Pike by torchlight in
darkness. That was actually quite a treat, for there was a
clear sky. I periodically switched off my lamp, looked up,
and stared at the end of the universe.
Surely today I would have walked too far and got home too
late to do The Cloud? Not a bit of it! Out I went at about
10.45pm, much to Marianne’s annoyance: “This is getting
beyond a joke, you’re freaking me out!”.
She was neither impressed that Jimmy had stopped up to work
me either side of midnight again, and told me on the mobile
’phone, to tell him via the radio to go to bed! Just after
midnight, and in the middle of an 80m CW QSO with Roy G4SSH,
I was startled by barking dogs! Yes, a young couple and
their two dogs had walked up The Cloud, at 0005z. There are
some very very strange people out there you know!
So, that took care of the rest of the year, for after
midnight, it was New Year’s Eve UTC. Therefore, I now had a
relatively long rest break before getting out and about on
New Year’s Day morning, with Jimmy and Liam, for a local day
in the hills - with points!
Macclesfield & DRS chairman Roger M0GMG joined us for the
first Cloud activation of the year, then the lads and myself
went over to Gun G/SP-013. This one safely qualified, it
was over to Shining Tor G/SP-004, but not before a hot
chocolate and pork scratchings refuelling session at the Cat
It was a bitterly cold day, and while Jimmy did more QSO’s
than I was expecting him to do, he was soon asking for the
car keys and leading his brother on the descent. I worked
the pile-ups, and followed them down. By now, we were ready
for a second hot chocolate and mulled wine top-up at the Cat
Now my personal objective had become to do The Cloud each
day up 'til and including my first day back at work, so I
could reasonably claim to have activated the whole Christmas
holiday. Friday 2nd January 2009 saw a short 40m CW
activation, again early morning, while the 3rd saw a longer
effort with more QSO’s ahead of that day’s big Macclesfield
versus Everton FA Cup tie.
Sunday 4th January 2009 was the day of the NP Fun Day, in
which Jimmy and myself would be activating Wild Boar Fell
G/NP-007. With the pub/fish & chips meet scheduled for the
late afternoon and the long drive home, was it really wise
to be doing The Cloud at night after that? Especially as I
would need a good night’s sleep and rest before returning to
work the next day.
With Jimmy and myself ready to leave at 0645z, I went for it
then. By 0725z I was on the summit of The Cloud, but Jimmy
opted out and remained in the car at the parking spot. I
was pleased he did, for he was the only station that
responded to my CQ call at that early hour! After a few
more unanswered calls, I descended back down to Jimmy, and
we got on the M6 north to Cumbria.
Wild Boar Fell G/NP-007 was an utter delight. A beautiful
fell with stunning views, and an entertaining and enjoyable
walk to reach the summit. After qualifying on 2m CW, and a
couple of S2S contacts on 2m SSB, it was 2m FM where the
bands were alive with summits. No less than 19 S2S QSO’s
were made as part of my activation which comprised 31
contacts. The fish & chips, ale and company down in Settle
for the later social, were all excellent.
So, all I had to do was activate The Cloud G/SP-015 on
Monday 5th January 2009, and it would be mission
accomplished. I did, but only on the way home from work, as
Marianne’s night-shift prevented a 0615z getaway in the
morning. But it was not mission accomplished at all, for
this made it 18 consecutive daily activations, and my
previous record was 20. I had to keep going now!
Three pretty unremarkable activations on the Tuesday,
Wednesday and Thursday allowed me to reach my new record of
21 consecutive daily activations of SP-015. Jimmy was keen
for me to extend this, but Sean M0GIA and Andy M1BYH invited
me to the pub. And I was weak, very weak!
So it was a brilliant Christmas, not just for the SOTA
activating, but we as a family had the best one ever as
well. It was all great. Here are the stats from my
Christmas season of activating, 19/12/08 to 8/1/08 (results
including M3EYP’s QSO’s in brackets):
Uniques: 9 (3 new)
80m CW: 161
80m SSB: 5 (67)
40m CW: 118
40m SSB: 9
30m CW: 7
20m CW: 16
17m CW: 13
15m CW: 1
6m SSB: 17 (34)
2m CW: 7
2m FM: 73 (122)
2m SSB: 2
70cm FM: 3
Total: 432 (655)
Average: 14.6 (22.6)
For one last time, Merry Christmas!
NATIONAL PARKS AWARD
The following extract is from a letter to John G4YSS, from Bernd DL2DXA:-
Last week I found a very interesting website with details of a new WWF World Flora and Fauna Award . The requirements for this award are QSO’s from stations located in different National Parks.
I realised that many SOTA activations in the UK take place from summits located in National Parks and I have found info about Lake District NP, Northumberland NP, Snowdonia NP, Loch Lomond NP, Yorkshire Dales NP, Exmoor NP and so on .
I have copied GX0OOO/p from many places in different UK National Parks and I will send you QSL’s direct for some of these contacts for the new WFF award, starting with Pen-y-Ghent, Ingleborough, Helvellyn, Fairfield, Blencathra, St Sunday Crag, High Street, Stony Cove Pike, Dale Head and Cheviot.
I am sure that activators in the UK would be most interested to know that QSO s from SOTA’s in National Parks are valid for the new WFF Award.
Best regards from Dresden ,
73 s de Ben DL2DXA
Ben has raised an interesting point which is often not appreciated by newcomers to HF operating. Once you activate a SOTA station on the air you may think that only SOTA chasers will be interested in a QSO, however, there is always somebody, somewhere, who wants a QSO with you as a qualification towards some Diploma or Certificate, which may not be SOTA related.
Amateur Radio Awards collecting is a very popular and specialised field of amateur radio. There are hundreds of awards available, and although most people are aware of the more common awards such as “DXCC” “2 x QRP” “Islands on the Air” “Work-all-Britain” and “Worked all-Europe”, there are very many awards you may not have heard of, such as a “Doubles Award” for contacting stations with a double or triple letter in the callsign, “Airport Award” for cities with an International Airport, “YXL Award”, “International Traveller Award” for contact with /P stations and “Counties award” for contacting a station in every county in the UK. As an example, the Worked all Prefix Award is one of the reasons why an M3, M6 or 2E0 call is often more popular to overseas stations than the more common G0 or M0 callsign.- Ed.
TRENDS IN SOTA ACTIVITY by Tom M1EYP
Many activators (1007) and chasers (955) are registered on
the SOTA scoring database. But who is active in the
programme? The following figures show the number of
activators and chasers that have submitted logs in each year
since the start of SOTA:
Year Activators Chasers
2002 35 44
2003 94 94
2004 215 218
2005 282 307
2006 349 378
2007 485 536
2008 613 642
NOBEL PRIZE IN PHYSICS 1909 by Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL
Guglielmo Marconi (1874-1937) and Karl Ferdinand Braun (1850-1918) shared
the Nobel Prize in Physics 1909. The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences gave
the prize “in recognition of their contributions to the development of wireless
Some quotes from the Presentation Speech:
Marconi started his experiments to transmit a signal by means of Hertzian
waves in 1895. “In 1897 it was still only possible to effect a wireless
communication over a distance of 14-20 km. Today, electrical waves are
despatched between the Old and the New World, all the larger ocean-going
steamers have their own wireless telegraphy equipment on board, and every Navy
of significance uses a system of wireless telegraphy.”
“Braun made a modification in the layout of the circuit for the despatch of
electrical waves so that it was possible to produce intense waves with very
little damping. It was only through this that the so-called “long-distance
telegraphy” became possible, where the oscillations from the transmitting
station, as a result of resonance, could exert the maximum possible effect
upon the receiving station.”
73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL
CW REPORT FOR JANUARY 2009 by Roy G4SSH
As mentioned in the general news, there were very few SOTA activations during the month of January and this was especially true for CW enthusiasts. Activity did increase at weekends but there were many New Year weekend contests causing severe problems on 40m.
Fortunately, many activators moved to 30m to clear the contest QRM.
Heard on this band were: HA5CQZ, HA5MA, HA2VR, HA5TI, HE8CGL, OH7BF, LA1ENA, LA1KHA, GW0DSP, F5UKL, F5IUZ, OK1KT, S53X, S57XX and G0AZS.
A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers heard active using CW for the first time:- Zoli, HA2ERO, Henning DL6DH and club station DA0CCC
There were only two stations heard on cross border SOTA expeditions. These were Kurt F/HB9AFI and Norby DL/LX1NO.
Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL continued to include PSK transmissions after his scheduled CW activity.
John G4YSS was active as GX0OOO/p for the first expedition of 2009 when he activated no less than four NP summits in a single day. This is a considerable feat in mid-winter, involving an ascent of the first and a descent of the last in total darkness. However, he delighted the growing band of top band enthusiasts by using 160m on all four summits. The final activation, on NP-031, resulted in 19 QSO’s on 1832 KHz.
Jirka OK1DDQ continues to give good signals on 40m, which always attract a big pile-up. Unfortunately he still seems to attract many alligators who will not listen. Jirka will not be rushed and always closes a contact by sending TU 73 DE OK1DDQ/p after every QSO. You would expect any chaser with a grain of sense to realise that whilst he is transmitting this info he cannot be listening, but this does not stop a whole bunch of stations sending their call throughout this exchange. Some stations even follow this by asking PSE UR CALL? Unbelievable! Thanks for being so patient Jirka, it really is appreciated
CHRISTMAS DAY ACTIVATIONS By Tom M1EYP
The Christmas season has always been a bumper period for
SOTA activity. This is less surprising than one might
think, for holidays from work combined with entering the
winter bonus period provide many activators with both
opportunity and motivation.
Christmas Day itself is understandably not so busy for
Summits On The Air, with family events and traditional
celebrations being the priority for most. But some intrepid
activators have found the opportunity to get out there and
Here is a list of every SOTA activation that has taken place
on 25th December:
DM/RP-041 Barsberg - DO1DJJ/P
GW/NW-052 Mynydd Cwmcelli - GW4BVE/P
G/LD-047 Loughrigg Fell - M1AVV
GW/NW-012 Cadair Berwyn - 2W0BYA/P
DL/CG-057 Hinterer Rauschberg - DJ5KZ/P
DL/CG-058 Vorderer Rauschberg - DJ5KZ/P
DM/SA-001 Brocken - DL1JMS/P
HA/KM-009 Nagy-Sas-hegy - HA2VR/P
HB/GR-114 Piz Lagalp - HB9HAT/P
G/SP-009 Hail Storm Hill - M0SGB/P
G/SP-015 The Cloud - 2E0RXX/P
HB/AG-008 Geissberg - HB9CMI/P
G/SP-015 The Cloud - M1EYP/P
G/SP-015 The Cloud - M3EYP/P
G/SP-015 The Cloud - M3ZRY/P
G/WB-002 Brown Clee Hill - 2E0BYA/P
DM/NS-108 Piesberg - DL0QW/P
G/LD-050 Gummer’s How - G0HIK/P
HB/BE-110 Bantiger - HB9DGV/QRP
LA/TM-070 Brunane - LA1ENA/P
G/SP-015 The Cloud - M1EYP/P
G/SP-015 The Cloud - M3EYP/P
GW/MW-009 Beacon Hill - MW3SFN/P
GW/MW-009 Beacon Hill - 2W0BYA/P
OK/ST-104 Grybla - OK1DDQ/P
OK/ZL-041 Kelcský Javorník – OK2PIM/P
S5/KA-023 Dobrca - S53MN/P
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH By Rob and Audrey G4RJQ
The month’s activations started in cold blue frosty weather with LD-035 and LD-037. These are both family friendly hills about 20 minutes drive from J40 on the M6. We started with LD-037 Little Mell, a steep grassy climb of about 20mins from NY424236 to a trig and little else. Lots on HF but only two on 2metres. Walking party of about 50 passed through showing much interest.
LD-035 Great Mell is a nice summer walk for a family. Start from NY407247 and use the SECOND stile off the cart track, skirting the woods, about an hours walk. Again we had reasonable response on HF and 2metres. VHF can be a little difficult on these two, particularly Little Mell but we have never failed to qualify them albeit with the 4element beam
Second Sunday and a total washout. We set out to one of our local small ones LD-050 Gummers How, a very family friendly hill just half an hours walk from the start at SD389876. Nick G0HIK even activated this one on Xmas day with a family picnic. If you’re not keen on the final short scramble take the green path to the right just before the final craggy section. This leads gently round to the summit trig. Kids love this one, great views over the lake to Lakeside and the steamers and often military aircraft passing low down over the lake. Not today though! Gale, cloud and driving rain caused a hasty retreat. A good hill for both HF and VHF. Take the fell road off the A592 signed Gummers How. J36 off the M6 is about 40 minutes via the A590.
Third Sunday, another rotten forecast. We decided on Hutton Roof Crag LD-052 another nice hill for a family walk in summer. Leave the M6 at J36 and head for Kirby Lonsdale but not for long, at the roundabout take the exit for Burton in Kendal.
Just through Burton take Dalton Road on the left (opposite farmyard gate) and follow it to a small car park at SD 553762 (About 15 minutes drive from J36). The approach from the North West side can be difficult in summer with thick vegetation and deep limestone pavement fissures almost wide enough for a small child! My compass is at the bottom of one as well as something of “INKys” but I can’t remember what. Here we struggled on HF and it took 40 minutes of CQ calls to raise a response with no contacts on 5 MHz. On 7 MHz CW there was an HA summit activation and try as I might there was no breaking the pileup. This brought me back to my thought of using QSS as a special call to use in this case. It is a non allocated group and would stand out better than /QRP and S to S etc. Also less like SOS! Eventually got going and twenty five contacts later we closed and just made the car ahead of a total cloudburst.
Fourth Sunday G/LD-033 Lords Seat, a nice venue for a family outing, about 30 minutes drive from J40 M6. Leave the A66 just after Keswick at Braithwaite. Whinlatter visitors centre has a café and gift shop and there are trails through the woods for families to follow, also mountain bike trails and an assault course through the trees (check with shop). Shop is closed for one month Jan5th to Feb7th. Parking is £4 for a full day. The walk up is suitable for most people and takes about an hour mostly on woodland track, the last 15 minutes on open fell (route leaflets in shop free, well they were!). The summit has no shelter and with a cold southerly we were forced onto the north side with lying snow. 5 MHz was in good form, 7 MHz full of a contest and 10 MHz full of refugees from it! My CW was poorer than usual due to a cold hand and vhf was restricted by our poor take off to the south, normally from the top it’s good. An hour was enough in the cold but the sun came through and warmed our descent.
Look out for the road works on the Kirkstone Pass road, see the reflector thread.
Rob and Audrey
CONTESTS DURING FEBRUARY 2009
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.
8th only 0001-2359 SKCC CW Contest.
14-15th 0001-2359 WPX RTTY Contest
14-15th 1200-1200 Dutch PACC Contest CW & SSB
21-22nd 0001-2359 ARRL International CW DX contest
22nd only 0900-1100 High Speed CW Contest
27-28th 2100-2100 Russian PSK Contest
28th-1st 1300-1300 UBA CW DX Contest
SOTA News 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.
SOTA News Editor