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SOTA NEWS JAN 2013 Part 1


#1

SOTA NEWS JANUARY 2013 (Part 1 of 2)

EDITORIAL - by Roy G4SSH

Welcome to the January 2013 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Fred K6DGW, Wayne VK3WAM, Mark G0VOF. Martin DF3MC, Phil G4OBK, Kevin G0NUP, Mike G6TUH, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Tom M1EYP,


SOTA AWARDS FOR DECEMBER 2012 - By Barry GM4TOE, SOTA Awards Manager

The end of another year approaches and SOTA goes from strength to strength. More Associations than ever before and in more countries of the World than the developers of the programme ever imagined meaning that the demand for Awards just does not diminish. Elsewhere in the monthly report are some statistics about the participants and other data and, not to be left out, I have included figures on what has been claimed in 2012. First of all let me congratulate two Shack Sloths, W0MNA and W4RK, on their achievement. This is indicative how SOTA has just grabbed the imagination of the ham radio population in North America. I must not forget Robert, DL7URB, who has managed to chase 1000 Unique summits, this is no mean feat, even with the growth in SOTA, and must be applauded. Equally deserving of mention are DL8UVG and G4OBK on reaching the Platinum level in the Mountain Hunter award; reviewing their database records just shows what a large proportion of the globe is being reached during the active Sun years, if only I had the time!

Trophies

Shack Sloth
W0MNA Gary Auchard
W4RK Bill Gerth

Certificates claimed

Activator
VK3YY Glenn Sneddon 100 points
KB3ZHX Brian A. Downs 100 points
OT6V Rene van der Wiele 100 points

Activator Unique
HB9AFI Kurt Wetter 500 summits
Chaser
W0MNA Gary Auchard 1000 points
W4RK Bill Gerth 1000 points
W0MNA Gary Auchard 500 points
W0AO Bob Kimbrell 500 points
W0MNA Gary Auchard 250 points
N1VWD Brad McKirryher 250 points
VK3ZPF Peter Fraser 250 points
K4PIC Larry A. Phillips 100 points
N1VWD Brad McKirryher 100 points
N0TU Mike Stewart 100 points

Chaser Unique
DL7URB Robert Bree 1000 summits
W4RK Bill Gerth 100 summits

Mountain Hunter
DL8UVG Volkhard Groenke Platinum
G4OBK Philip Catterall Platinum

10th Anniversary
M1MAJ Martyn Johnson G Activator All
M3ZCB Caroline Blackmun G Activator All
M1MAJ Martyn Johnson G Chaser All
M3ZCB Caroline Blackmun G Chaser All

Now for some statistics for 2012:

Activator

Mountain Goat 15
Activator 100 35
Activator 250 14
Activator 500 7
Activator 1000 6
Activator Unique 100 6
Activator Unique 250 2
Activator Unique 500 1
Mountain Explorer Bronze 6
Mountain Explorer Silver 4
Mountain Explorer Gold 1

Chaser
Shack Sloth 42
Chaser 100 48
Chaser 250 28
Chaser 500 20
Chaser 1000 29
Chaser 1500 3
Chaser 2500 9
Chaser 5000 10
Chaser 10000 6
Chaser 15000 1
Chaser 25000 1
Chaser 30000 1
Chaser 40000 1
Chaser 50000 2
Chaser 60000 1
Chaser Unique 100 8
Chaser Unique 250 11
Chaser Unique 500 8
Chaser Unique 1000 6
Chaser Unique 1500 1
Chaser Unique 2000 2
Chaser Unique 2500 2
Chaser Unique 5000 2
Mountain Hunter Bronze 29
Mountain Hunter Silver 6
Mountain Hunter Gold 15
Mountain Hunter Platinum 12

Anniversary Certificates

G 11
GW 8
GD 3
GI 1
GM 2

The trend is now for certificates to be delivered as pdf files although there is still a demand for traditionally printed ones and I see this to continue in the next twelve months. Starting in February we will introduce the Summit to Summit award with a completely new and different certificate design which I will publish on the SOTA shopping site some time in January. Next month I hope to have finalized the rules for another award which is much in demand so “watch this space”!

I have re-stocked on some of the higher demand merchandise so if you are of a more “ample” figure, or prefer your shirts on the loose side, I now have a much larger stock of the L, XL and XXL T shirts and also a wider range of colours; I will update the site once my xyl and I have had a chance to bag the shirts and organize them by size and colour. I am also finalizing the design for another item of merchandise so this should be available on the shopping site towards the end of January.

Can I please ask, once again, for some patience on the delivery of awards. The aim is 10 days for certificates but I do have a life to lead (and have had some health problems to contend with) and a living to earn so cannot guarantee this turnaround. If you have had a confirmation email from the shopping site then I do have your order, there is no need to ask; but, if you have chosen a payment method other than Paypal (the default) I will not start to process your order until payment is either in the bank or in my hands as a cheque or cash. I had, during December, twelve orders with payment shown as not Paypal; none of these orders has been paid and will not be delivered until this is made. I wonder if there is a problem following the instructions on the checkout page so will try to get a translation into the main European languages during the coming months to help understanding – any volunteers to help? (French, German & Spanish)

Thank you for your support of the Awards programme (and the purchase of merchandise) during 2012; the profits from this help fund the websites and database and without these there would probably be no SOTA. Stay safe on the hills, in the northern hemisphere it is cold but remember the poor VK’s having to protect themselves from the sun and excessive consumption of stubbies and barbequed food!!

All the best for 2013

73

Barry Horning GM4TOE
Awards Manager


SOTA News also congratulates:-

Jimmy M0HGY who has upgraded to Advanced class licence. His Intermediate callsign was 2E0EYP and his Foundation callsign was M3EYP.

Matt, 2E0MDJ who has upgraded from Novice M3WDS to Intermediate class licence.

Ambrosi HB9AGH on passing the 60,000 chaser points milestone on 5th December

Miro OK1DVM, who qualified for Mountain Goat on the 29th December


NEWS FROM SOTA DL by Martin DF3MC

There has been a fair amount of SOTA activity in the German Alps during December 2012, especially towards the end of the month, when the weather was better. We also welcomed several visitors from abroad, MØYCJ, MØYDH and HB9DST.

2012 again was a very successful year for SOTA-DL. Although we did not reach the same number of activators than in 2011, a lot of summits were activated. In the regions DL/BE, DL/MF and DL/CG now all summits have been activated at least once.

I want to say a “Thank You” to all participants in SOTA, to the activators for going out to the summits, to the chasers for their enthusiasm and their patience and to the SOTA Management Team for their continuing effort and support.

Good Luck for 2013 and VY 73
Martin DF3MC


U.S. / CANADA REPORT FOR DECEMBER 2012 by Fred K6DGW

Greetings from North America,

Looking back on SOTA at the end of 2011, 2012 has been a "Growth Year"
for Summits On The Air in the New World, and then some! Like GPS, and
as expected, the world did not end on 21 Dec and Plan B went into
effect, the Mayan Long Count calendar rolled over to cycle 14, and SOTA
continued to grow. First, the numbers. As usual, last month’s numbers
are in brackets ]:

FOR DEC 2012 [through 28 Dec]:

Total Activations: 155 [189]
Nr Unique Activators: 58 [62]
Total Chaser QSO’s: 2378 [1957]
Nr Unique Chasers: 130 [122]
Total Summits Activated: 141 [178]
Unique Summits: 119 [91]

2m: 27 (1%) [40]
6m: 0 (0%) [0]
10m: 0 (0%) [49]
12m: 6 (0%) [0]
15m: 23 (0%) [64]
17m: 67 (2%) [78]
20m: 1614 (67%) [1112]
30m: 225 (9%) [104]
40m: 374 (15%) [491]
60m: 19 (0%) [0]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 0 (0%) [0]
Unk: 23

CW: 1564 (65%) [1433]
SSB: 764 (32%) [461]
FM: 28 (1%) [40]
AM: 0 (0%) [0]
Data: 0 (0%) [0]
Other: 0 (0%) [3]
Unk: 23

(Small note: The “Unk’s” are the result of a small amount of sloppy
programming on your editor’s part which in turn is the result of
excessive laziness brought on by 12 years of retirement. My code
doesn’t handle unexpected data well, I’ll try and improve it but don’t
be holding your breath.)

Activations were down a bit … not surprising, it is winter and
mountains often have snow and it’s very cold and wet. On the chaser
side however, we continue to grow. I’ll see if I can add a count of
calls that are new to the statistics program.

AWARDS Congratulations to all of our new award winners:

Shack Sloth: Bill, W4ZV; Todd, W7TAO; Scotty, KG3W; and Bill, W4RK
Mountain Explorer [Bronze]: Doug, ND9Q W3, W4V, W4C, W4T, and W8V]

W4ZV, KG3W, and W4RK are all relatively new to SOTA [2012].
Congratulations to everyone!

NEWS: Originally, NA SOTA was organized by call areas. This worked
fine for Canada [Call Areas=Provinces, more or less], and California.
For the rest of the US with mountains … not so much. Consequently, as
NA SOTA grew, associations were divided and reorganized by state, and
that has just about reached completion. Similarly, the P-150m Rule was
applied across the board. While much of NA is definitely mountainous,
quite a bit is decidedly flatt-ish as well. So:

  1. Mike, KD9KC, who spearheaded the W5 Association in the early days
    [and who gave me the SOTA virus] announced that the W5O [Oklahoma]
    Association is now officially a P-100 Association, increasing the number
    of available summits from 57 to 182 [320%]. And, he points out that
    this success could bring Mississippi into the World of SOTA with 1
    summit, 34 miles east of I-55 at Durant. Alas, Louisiana can’t make
    even 1 under the P-100m Rule. Now, at P-50m, Mike reports 10 summits
    and 6 overpasses would qualify. :slight_smile:

Other states that could benefit:

WISCONSIN: Under P-150m, Wisconsin would have had only 3 summits.
Under P-100m, Wisconsin would have 42 available summits.

ILLINOIS: Under P-150m, Illinois had only 1 summit. Under P-100m
rules, Illinois would have 9 available summits.

INDIANA: Under P-150m, Indiana would have zero summits. Under P-100m,
Indiana would have 3 available summits.

FLORIDA: Unfortunately, no hope unless Disneyworld builds a much larger
Space Mountain.

Mike concluded:

“I hope this new opportunity will spark further growth in the NA-SOTA
arena, bringing more summits and more associations aboard. I know we
will never have a Worked All States in SOTA. But we may reach DXS-ACC
(DX SOTA-Associations Century Club).”

“I would like to thank the SOTA-MT for working on this with me, and of
course always a big ‘Thank You’ to John Kirk, whose summit data is the
base-line data used for so many of the summits we all enjoy.”

  1. Dan, W7DDM, reports:

“I’d like to announce that W7A has just been updated. The summit count
has increased from 119 to >2400. Arizona has very diverse geological
terrain from low deserts to high mountain forests. There are summits for
everyone! The new regions are organized by county except for the legacy
regions of AW and AE, which needed to be maintained “as-is” for database
integrity. I’d like to thank Mark (K7MLC) for getting Arizona started in
SOTA back in 2010. I’d also like to thank Bob (AF9W), Steve (KY7K). Guy
(N7UN) & the SOTA Management Team for helping me in expanding the W7A
region, updating the ARM and for consultation in the process. I hope the
wide range of new summits will attract more activators from both inside
and outside of Arizona. Come and enjoy.”

For the W6 Association, Eric [KU6J] reported that no California ham is
more than about 40 miles from a SOTA summit. Given the size of AZ
compared to California, that is very likely true for W7A as well.

REPORTS: There has been some discussion on the NA SOTA Yahoo Group
about the effectiveness of antennas laying on hard rock. Barry, N1EU,
filed the following report:

“I must have been getting lazy on my second activation today when I
arrived at the summit of W4C/WM-042 Whiteside Mountain. The SW face of
the mountain is an almost vertical rock wall. I attached a weight to
the end of my Par EFHW and threw it down the rock face. So the wire was
running right along the rock. Bottom line, it didn’t work very well
(although I made several 40M contacts). I reeled it back in and threw
it up in a tree and it worked much better. Just thought I’d share one
anecdote about what not to do, antenna-wise. On my earlier activation
of W4G/NG-002 Rabun Bald, I hung the EFHW from the top of the stone
observation tower in howling wind down to the trees below and it seemed
to play fine.”

It’s one data point confirming what we all thought we knew … elevated
antennas work better.

The Mayan Long Count calendar bruhaha is reminiscent of the admonitions
all over the Internet several years ago not to fly in an aircraft over a
short period in August. The GPS hi-res signal uses a psuedo-random code
that repeats every 604,800 seconds [7 days], and a week-number is kept
to count the number of repeats. Like the Mayan calendar, it was set to
roll over to zero. It did, no airplanes fell from the sky, and like the
Mayan calendar, it is dutifully counting up the new cycle.

On behalf of all the SOTA-addicted hams in North America, we wish
everyone a happy, safe, and peaceful 2013.

73,

Skip K6DGW
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude


Note from the editor

Lawmakers in the USA are considering doing away with dollar bills in a switch to coins that could save billions.

Congressional solicitors in Washington say that replacing the $1 note with a coin would be more cost effective because a coin can stay in circulation for 30 years while paper bills have to be replaced every 4 or 5 years.

A report on the plan from the U.S. mint is due shortly.


NEWS FROM VK by Wayne VK3WAM

I’m writing this report on a four day walk, and it is fortunate that I have internet access to even submit it.

It has been an amazing first year of SOTA in VK. From the first activation by myself at Mt Worth VK3/VT-066 to now, we have seen SOTA grow at a great pace. From just an activation here and there, we have grown to weekends with more than 100 points on offer. It is now highly unusual for a Vk3 activation on 40m to have any real difficulty in getting the points, with a good sized dedicated SOTA chasing bunch on hand. Even weekday activations on 40m are doing well.

Over in VK5, SOTA commenced in October. Activity has been light at this stage, due to the fire season closing access to many summits, but we look forward to the same kind of growth next year in the cooler months. Congratulations to Ian VK5CZ on his efforts to establish SOTA there.

VK1 stations should not need wait much longer for SOTA to come home, either this coming month or in February. VK1DI could not wait, with a recent SOTA adventure in the Victorian high country. I am up there too now, but I have been unable to work him at the writing of this report, given my 2m focus on this trip.

Notable activators include qtr goats Wayne VK3WAM and Peter VK3PF. Other activators over 100 points include Allen VK3HRA, and Glenn VK3YY. Peter VK3PF has also achieved half sloth as a chaser.

I would list other chasers, but I am afraid that sotadata.org.uk is too hard to use from an android phone. Hoping for an even better 2013.

Wayne VK3WAM

(There are 3 Chasers listed in VK1, 21 in VK3 and 4 in VK5.- Ed)


A walk up to Urra Moor – Round Hill G/TW-001 from Chop Gate Car Park by Phil G4OBK

December 12th 2012 - the twelfth of the twelfth of the twelfth, a quite unique date and it was time for my annual visit to the highest point of The North York Moors - Round Hill. As the SOTA Regional Manager for the TW - Tees to the Wash region I try to visit all five summits every year if possible, it is not too difficult as there are only five to monitor, although I have to admit I seldom visit the “pimple” of Normanby Wold in Lincolnshire, as I rarely go down that way.

I had dropped my wife Judy off at the Ryedale Folk Museum in thick mist where she works as a volunteer and proceeded on to Bilsdale. I left the mist below me as I passed the Hawnby junction on the Helmsley to Stokesley road (known by some as the “Yorkshire TT”).

Treacle our cross Border/Lakeland terrier accompanied me on this solo walk, and I left the car park at Chop Yat via a route I hadn’t taken before. This was a longer and more adventurous walk, rather than my usual route from Clay Bank car park up the Cleveland Way. The temperature on departure at 10.30 am was -4c, with no wind, so it was pleasant for walking.

The other benefit of this walk to the summit was that I could recce a few more footpaths and bridleways which I hadn’t walked before to assist with the planning of any future walks which I lead for the walking groups I help to run. t took me 75 minutes to walk the 3 miles to the summit, passing south of Bilsdale Hall and then taking the bridleway to pass the byre below Medd Crag. The old bridleway has become a shooters track now and today it was snow bound, but the walking was easy as I had plenty of grip. The air was clear, unlike back in Helmsley and in the Vale of Pickering where I live, which was fog bound all day. It was the shooting season and there were plenty of grouse on the moor today. The sport is big business on these moors with rich people paying well in excess of £1000 per day to bring their guns up here. I could hear shooting some distance away, but fortunately this was not taking place on either Bransdale Moor or Urra Moor today. I reached the trig point and set up my transceiver. I was running the higher power today of 30 watts (Rig - Yaesu FT-857) from an 11.1v lithium polymer battery, and it paid off with contacts as far as Lancaster (Sue G1OHH (FM)), Ulverston (Dave G6LKB (FM)) and Welshpool (John GW4BVE 144 miles (SSB)) in Wales. The only CW (Morse) contact I made was with Roy G4SSH in Scarborough. I did hear Kevin G0NUP but he wasn’t hearing me sufficiently to complete the Morse contact. The contact I had with G6LKB was made at 12:12 on 12 of the 12 in 2012!

The trig point on Round Hill has a hole in the top wide enough to take the shaft of a walking pole and this was used to support my vertical dipole, giving me a little more elevation for the antenna. I completed 22 contacts, had my lunch and then set off back to Chop Yat using the same shooters track, however when I reached Medd Crag I continued along the ridge to take the slant bridleway down into East Bank Plantation and returned to Seave Green that way, reaching the village hall car park and toilets by 2.20 pm. On account that I was on access land and that this was a prized grouse moor my dog had remained on her short lead all day.

The time was right for me to collect XYL Judy from Hutton le Hole on our way home on what was her last day of work at the Folk Museum this year.

Distance walked: 6.7 miles - 1200 feet ascent

73

Phil G4OBK


U.K.40M BAND PLAN - by Mike G6TUH

I wonder if you think it worthwhile mentioning in the next newsletter that here in the UK the 40 metre band plan ends at 7.200 MHz.

I have yet to work a USA activator and it was quite frustrating the other day to be able to hear the station but he was operating above our band. I sent him an email to at least let him know that I had heard.

He replied back and said he (and others) did not know that our band ended at 7.200 which has prompted this email!

40 is very much cluttered already but it would increase the options for chaser and activator alike

73

Mike
G6TUH


SOTA ON TOP BAND - Mark G0VOF

Hello everyone & welcome to this month’s edition of SOTA on Top Band.

Despite the winter bonus season beginning during December for some Northern hemisphere associations, there did not seem to be the usual increase in activations. This may be due to many factors or may well be down to there now being more associations whose seasonal bonus is at different times of the year. In any case three activators ventured onto 160m this month & all made successful contacts with at least one chaser.

Many amateurs will have noticed that one of the results of WRC 2012 earlier in the year was that a new amateur band was created between 472 & 479 KHz. This becomes the second MF band in addition to Top Band with a wavelength of around 600 Metres. This makes it much more challenging to establish a portable station than it is for 160 Metres, although infinitely easier than for our single LF band at 136KHz, with a wavelength of over 2 Kilometres! Different administrations have decided to implement this new band in different ways, although in the UK the band will be open to all full licence holders upon receipt of an easy to obtain Notice of Variation from 1st January 2013. This no doubt will be a bit of a niche band as far as SOTA is concerned but I wonder who will be the first to try an activation on the new band. If you do activate on 600m please let me know & I will include any reports or comments in this section of the SOTA news.

Back to Top Band & the first activator of the month was Ricky MW6GWR who again activated his local summit GW/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn on the morning of Saturday 1st December. Unfortunately I was not around to listen for Ricky that morning but he did manage a successful SSB QSO with Kevin MW3RNI in Tywyn. From originally saying he would probably not try Top Band again after his first foray onto the band, Ricky is soon becoming a regular Top Band activator. Well done again Ricky!

Next up was David G3RDQ/P who activated G/SE-001 Walbury Hill on Saturday 8th December. David has kindly sent me the following report:

You might be interested in some details of my recent top band activation from my local summit G/SE-001 on Saturday 8th December.

This was my third top band activation from Walbury Hill G/SE-001.
My first two activations involved setting up at dusk whilst there was still enough light to see what you were doing and only having to pack up in the dark.
This time it would be dark before arriving so I would need to complete the whole exercise in the dark. I decided to post an alert before leaving home that evening and to self-spot when about half way up the access track to improve my chances of getting contacts.

It was a cold frosty evening but at least it was dry. There was a stiff breeze on top of the hill. I took with me the lights off my bicycle.

The red rear light I placed on my rucksack so that when setting out the legs of the half wave dipole I could find my way back to my kit. This was just as well as at one point I let go of the wire and could not find it in the dark without going back to the centre pole and starting again. I was set up and ready to start just before 2100 UTC. I was again using QRP with 5watts from the trusty FT817. Luckily the frequency I had spotted 1832 KHz CW was clear. I was on air for about 25 minutes before getting too cold and deciding to pack up. I completed 7 QSO’s with DK5HW, M0BKV (who kindly spotted me), LA8BCA, DH2FW, S51MF, OK1CZ and LY5G. I heard UW5ZO calling but failed to QSO. I heard G4AZS a bit off frequency and was not sure if he was calling me but got no response to my reply.

I was pleased to get this many contacts on a Saturday evening with my QRP and with little advance notice. I did think that my advance spot ‘‘QRV 30 mins’’ was a bit too vague as it could have been taken as either ‘‘QRV now for 30 mins and then QRT’’ or as intended ‘‘QRV in 30 mins from now’’. In the event it took me longer than 30 mins to get on air so I may have missed a few early listeners who decided that they could not hear me.

I was surprised to have only one UK contact but very pleased that more distant stations could hear my QRP. On the way back I nearly got the car stuck in the muddy ground at the parking spot . The temperature varied between plus 1c and minus 2c on the way home, it being colder in spots that were sheltered from the prevailing wind. I hope this note will encourage others who might have been thinking about a top band activation after dark to give it a go.

Thank you very much for the detailed report David, unfortunately for me I was again away from the shack that evening so missed your activation.

The next activation on 160m came on the afternoon of Thursday 27th December when Joska HA6OY/P & Gyula HA6QR/P ended their day activating 3 summits by calling on Top Band from HA/EM-113 Pitics-hegy. Joska commenced the activation calling CQ SOTA on 1832 KHz CW. I was listening at home in Blackburn but with a high noise level & still being firmly in daylight I did not copy anything here in Blackburn.

However I was also monitoring the activation using a web based SDR & could follow the activation quite easily. After several stations had worked Joska, Gyula took over the key & made 5 successful contacts. Despite following the activation to the end, I did not copy anything on my own station & it was only after both Gyula & Joska had closed down that I heard anything at all on the band, this being a LZ station calling CQ several minutes later.

Thanks to Ricky, David, Joska & Gyula for activating on 160m this month.

Advance notice now, that there is a possibility that Colin M0CGH may try 160m CW on New Years Day from G/NP-028 Rombalds Moor. I certainly hope to be listening.

At the time of writing, those were the only Top band activations during December that I am aware of, if I have missed any others please let me know.

On the 1st December, Ricky MW6GWR/P activated GW/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn, & made 1 QSO on 160m using SSB.

On the 8th December, David G3RDQ/P activated G/SE-002 Walbury Hill & made 7 QSO’s using CW.

On the 27th December, Joska HA6OY/P activated HA/EM-113 Pitics-hegy & made several QSO’s using CW (exact number unknown at present).

On the 27th December, Gyula HA6QR/P activated HA/EM-113 Pitics-hegy & made 5 QSO’s using CW.

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


THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 48 by Rob and Audrey G4RQJ.

A poor month for us SOTA wise with just two activations and little chasing. This has been due to a number of reasons but mostly the weather through the year.

The almost constant rain (wettest year since records began so they tell us) has resulted in us having completed all of the local lower fells suitable for a walk in driving rain and mud with a two hour stop on the summit. The mud is unbelievable which does not help. It can only get better hopefully.

The first fell for us this month was Blake Fell on Sunday the 2nd. This hill is popular
as a walk with locals but little activated for SOTA being in the less accessible North West corner of the Lake District. The best start point is probably NY 086185 where a logging road leaves the minor road from Felldyke to Croasdale. There is room for about four cars at this point plus a few more on the adjacent verges. The logging road eventually enters a plantation area, skirt this on the path to the right until crossing a small muddy area on the right to reach a fence that rises over grass. At this point Blake Fell stands high to your left but the fence and path curve gently but in parts steeply to eventually reach the summit. At the start there are three steep grassy
climbs each looking as though it may be the last, it’s not! There is a summit shelter but it is not brilliant and often busy. There is quite a large grassy area that can be used. Today the entire summit appeared to be frozen solid and we wondered how we would get pegs in but unlike the path which was iron hard and slippery, the ground under the long, frozen grass was soft and easily took pegs for guys. All in all a nice activation but on the way home we elected for the longer main road route rather than the Corney Fell road that had been quite icy on the outward trip.

The second hill for us was Hutton Roof Crag on Sunday 16th, a no point repeat for us but a great little walk and close to the M6.The big deep puddle at the car park entrance is worse than ever and can be even more fun during icy spells, Do not take this little hill too lightly, it is quite easy to get lost in the woods, now lubricated by herds of cows, and the tricky limestone pavement areas.

Best advice is to approach from the south and avoid the North West corner. Lots of room on the top but little shelter and the grass/undergrowth has a great ability to snag wires and guys. Apologies to any cw chasers that we missed on 7MHz from this one. We were competing with huge contest QRM and when one arrived and called CQ on a frequency that we had occupied for some time it was the last straw. How do these people expect to win a contest when their receivers are so poor that they cannot hear that a frequency is occupied!

Nice to see the new frequencies on 5MHz but doubt if we will ever remember them all without a cheat sheet, we have quite grown to like the channel system. We found that a few calls of CQ Foxtrot Echo in an efficient accent will often disperse the spectators on the busier summits, Fear of authority? Whilst it would be nice to have a SOTA frequency on the band it would probably be an impossible dream. Lately FE has been occupied by a couple of stations chatting whenever we have been out, their right of course but hard to get started as adjacent FM is occupied with the News. Fortunately some of the regulars know that we will, under these circumstances, deviate to FL Thanks lads. We will continue in the same pattern for now and see what happens.

Cold hands, and Audrey suffers quite badly from these while logging and carries several different glove types to deal with different situations. She has found the electrically heated gloves sold by MAPLIN are very good at restoring warmth to fingers quickly and work well as a normal heavy glove when turned off. They require 3 AA batteries per glove and are not too heavy on current if used sensibly i.e. not all the time. Plus, you’ve always got the batteries as spares for torches etc if things get desperate. I received a pair as a Christmas present this year together with a heated gillet from the same range so will report back after trials.

On the same theme I picked up a pair of neoprene fishing gloves from ALDI quite cheaply. These have fold back thumb and forefinger tip covers and look suitable for antenna engineering work and cw. Again we will report after field trials if the rain ever stops, at least the fishing gloves should be waterproof. (Usual disclaimers on sources)

Looking at peoples mileages for SOTA we decided to do a quick averaging of ours. Six hundred and ninety three activations at a conservative estimate of 60 miles round trip each comes out at 41,000 + miles. Although we are theoretically close to the Lake District, as Steve G1INK once remarked “Where ever you go in the Lake District Barrow is always 37 miles”

The outlook for tomorrow Sunday is not promising so it looks as though our next outing will be in the New Year. We can only feel sorry for those who have chosen to holiday in the area and have encountered such awful conditions. Audrey was speaking to a local walk leader yesterday who said that they were not going out due to the thick mud making for endless slip falls whilst walking in the driving rain to see invisible views. We are used to rain of course but this year has been something else with scarcely a break.

Before we go back to building the ark in the garden there’s just time to wish
every one A HAPPY NEW YEAR, maybe it will be a little drier, probably a drought.

Take care out there

73 Rob and Audrey
G4RQJ

Continued in Part 2


#2

Hi Roy,

Thank you for congratulating me.

Jimmy M0GHY who has upgraded to Advanced class licence.

My callsign is M0HGY, not M0GHY.

Jimmy M0HGY


#3

In reply to M0HGY:

Happy New Year Jimmy

Typo now corrected

73
Roy G4SSH
SOTA News Editor


#4

Thank you Roy for correcting the typo.

Happy New year.

Jimmy M0HGY


#5

@Fred/K6DGW

I think I may be able to help you sort out some of those unknowns in your SOTA stats. I, along with other people did some nighttime activations this month which included some 80m contacts, however those 80m contacts don’t show up in the statistics. those activations are:
14/Dec/2012 W1/CR-004 (Mount Norwottock) K1MAZ and NT1K
20/Dec/2012 W1/CR-001 (Wachusett Mountain) K1MAZ
26/Dec/2012 W1/CR-005 (Mount Grace) K1MAZ, NT1K, and N1ELI as NE1SJ.

Hopefully this can sort out some of those bugs!
Happy New Year and 73 de Nick/K1MAZ.


#6

In reply to K1MAZ: Thanks Nick. I think I found them and possibly the problem in my processing code. Of course, the first time I say, “I think I found it,” I usually haven’t.

73,

Skip K6DGW
Canada/US Reporter Dude