SOTA NEWS – JANUARY 2012 (Part 2 of 2)
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 36 - by Rob and Audrey G4RQJ
This months offering looks to be short on content and mainly a report of the dismal weather in this part of the world. The first Sunday saw us waking to a very heavy storm, one of our locals who works on the rigs out in the bay recorded 100mph gusts, we can see the rig from our window, we decided to give walking a miss and do some decorating. Decorating is a bit like activating, lots of climbing up and down with poles etc but no nice radio contacts with friends!
Sunday11th Dec Pendle
Yet another wet start and off to Pendle. The best start for this one is close to the village of Barley which seems to be poorly served by roads from the north to say the least. Arriving eventually we climbed in drizzle to the mist shrouded summit with some lying snow. Climbing Pendle via the tourist path is rather like ascending the stairs of several tower blocks in a shower on full cold and a fan. Once on the summit plateau we decided to take advantage of the shelter of the wall as the area is very short on cover. A nice activation followed, all the pileups were well behaved but it was going dark as we descended the staircase back to the car.
Sunday 18th Dec Arnside Knott.
This started out as an activation of Fair Snape Fell but once again the weather intervened, this time snow and ice. The motorway south was reasonable although the third lane was unusable due to ice and snow, the lanes around the notorious Chipping were a different matter, solid ice and after some time and attempts on small ice covered hills and bends we decided that discretion was the better part of valour and decided to reverse course and climb the much smaller and snow free Arnside Knott.
As we drove back up the motorway there was the aftermath of a large accident in the lane we had travelled down a few minutes before. We must have been just ahead of it.
The Knott was its usual self but very cold and icebound and eventually it got to us in spite of all our kit, more errors than usual crept into the CW and eventually we were forced to close although there were some CW chasers still calling. Many apologies are due to them but it really was time to go.
It is noticeable lately that there seem to be a growing number of accidents on the motorway through the county, late night and early morning. The A66 seems to be similarly affected so if you’re about at these times do take extra care.
A noticeable example of customer care by Yaesu UK just before Christmas. Having checked price etc on line for a new BNC connector for the FT817 we put an order with cheque in the post last thing on Tuesday before Xmas and were surprised to receive the item on Friday. Great service with the big day just around the corner.
We were hoping to get out in this week between Xmas and New Year but the weather has been relentlessly bad, Wednesday was predicted to have hurricane force winds over the fell tops, never ever heard that before. We have had to reduce our activity to walking on the island. The winds together with 30 foot tides create spectacular seascapes but sadly no SOTA points.
Well that about brings us to the end of this month’s effort, much abbreviated by the effects of the weather. The year has been a good one for SOTA, new associations and many new activators and chasers. For us, activity has been reduced by Audrey’s long lasting chest infection but at last things seem to be returning to normal and we are really looking forward to the New Year and some points. Just remains to thank everyone, management for making it all possible, activators and chasers alike for their friendship and assistance.
Thanks to you all, and a Happy New Year
Rob and Audrey
CW REPORT FOR DECEMBER 2011 - by Roy G4SSH
The bad weather during the month of December, mentioned in the editorial, had a dramatic effect on CW activations. There were many days without a single Alert for SOTA CW stations and on most days even the most dedicated chasers had a meagre total, mainly in single figures. Activity levels were at an all time low for the year.
Propagation deteriorated at the start of the month with 40m undergoing a total fade out at times. The short skip conditions10 MHz, noted during October and early December were not so evident and I struggled to hear the QRPp 100mW stations of Ric G3CWI and Kjell LA1KHA on this band, but 7 MHz remained a good band for local contacts. Top Band SOTA activations started to become popular, with at least 14 activations by 7 enthusiasts heard using this band in CW and SSB. (See G0VOF’s report).
There were some un-announced CW activations towards the end of the month and activators did their best under very adverse conditions. The trend of starting on 14 MHz continued, with activators from France, Spain, Finland and Switzerland calling around 14060 KHz first. Chasers had a treat when long time activator Norby LX1NO was once more heard calling CQ SOTA from Germany and the Czech Republic on the 27th and 28th December – a very welcome return after not being heard on the SOTA nets for many months.
There were many (non-SOTA) USA stations heard calling CQ around 7032 KHz in the early mornings during December and the strength of their CQ’s sounded very similar to low power SOTA activators from Europe. An experienced chaser can be unconsciously reading CW signals from a rig tuned to 7032 KHz from across the room whilst working at an unrelated task and will jump at the sound of “SOTA” in CW. This reaction is often triggered by a weak station chatting and sending …”SO Tks …” (etc) causing many chasers to jump to their rigs.
On the 10th Daniel OK1DIG operated on 7 & 10 MHz whilst Jan OK1IWN was active simultaneously on 14MHz on three OK summits, so giving grateful chasers an option of choosing the optimum band.
A beacon commenced calling “QRP TEST VVV VVV TEST” on 7033 KHz for hours on end on the 20th. No calls were heard and it caused some problems for SOTA chasers and activators.
Heard active above 40m were:-
28 MHz: M1EYP, EA2NN, OH6FQI,
24 MHz F5UKL,
21 MHz: F5UKL, K6TW, EA2NN, K4QS,
18 MHz: K4QS, KI6J, F5UKL , G3RDQ,
HA2VR, HA2PP, HA3HK, HA5LV, HA5MA,
K4QS, K4ADV, KI6J, KU6J, NE1SJ, K6TW, KT6RZ,
WS0TA, WA3SEE, WT5RZ,
DL8DXL, DJ3AX, DJ5AV, DF3MC, DL/LX1NO,
F6HBI, F5LKW, F5UKL, F5UBH,
HA7UL, HA2PP, HA2VR, HA3HK, HA5CQZ,
HB9DGV, HB9BIN, HB9AGO,
M0TUB, M0CGH, M1EYP,
OK7EQ, OK1DIG, OK1DSX, OK1HAG, OK1FHD,
Also thanks to the stalwarts who enthusiastically continue to activate on 80 and 160m:-
3.5 MHz GX0OOO, OM7JN,
1.8 MHz GX0OOO, HA6OY, HA6QR, ON6UU,
A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers, heard activating SOTA’s for the first time on CW during the last month:- Igor OM3CU, Ondrej OM4DW, Erwin OM7PY, OM7JN, Rado OM2ZZ, Ian OK1IWN, Dalibor OK2PIM, Vlad OM1HI,
Heard active on expeditions outside their own countries were:
DL/OK2QA, DL/OK1DIG, DL/HB9BRJ, DL/LX1NO
OM8NO (Norby), OM/OK1HAG, OM/HA4FY,
CONTESTS DURING JANUARY 2012
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.
1st only 0800-1100 SARTG RTTY Contest
1st only 0900-1200 AGCW Happy New Year Contest CW.
7th-8th 1800-2359 ARRL RTTY Roundup
8th only 0001-2359 SKCC We3ekend Sprint
22nd only 1200-2359 Hungarian DXD contest
2nd -23rd 1200-1200 BARTG RTTY Contest
28th -29th 0600-1800 REF CW Contest
28th-20th 1200-1200 BARTG RTTY Contest
28th -29th 1300-1300 UBA SSB DX 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
Your SOTA News team wish all Activators, Chasers and SWL’s a very Happy New Year 2012.
SOTA News Editor