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SOTA News March 2016


#1

SOTA NEWS MARCH 2016 - Part 1

Editorial - by Roy G4SSH

Welcome to the March 2016 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Skip K6DGW, Mark G0VOF, Kevin G0NUP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Geert PA7ZEE, Don M0CHU, Allen VK3ARH, Toru JH0CJH.

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The February 2016 edition of SOTA News was viewed more than 1100 times.

SOTA AWARDS FEBRUARY 2016 - from Barry GM4TOE

February saw fewer claims for awards than January but also saw a very significant milestone. OK2PDT has managed to reach the incredible score of 10000 Activator points, a figure which was considered unachievable when the programme started. Congratulations to Jan on his efforts. There are quite a number of claimants for Chaser points above 10k but I must mention our first Shack Sloth in Japan, an Association which has only been active for a few months; JM3GVH has achieved this level and mainly on 70cm (with a few 40m and 2m contacts).

Congratulations to all who have achieved significant milestones.

Certificates Issued

Activator
OK2PDT Jan Lavicka 10000 points
F8FEO Le Drezen 1000 points
CT2IUV Nuno Freitas 500 points
G4CFS Glyn Dodwell 250 points
WI2W Steven G Holly 100 points

Chaser
EA2CKX Pedro Chinchurreta 50000 points
ON6ZQ Christophe David 25000 points
VK3PF Peter Freeman 20000 points
VK2IO Gerard Hill 15000 points
EA2BD Ignacio Cascante 10000 points
VK1AD Andrew Moseley 10000 points
DL3MBE Hans J. Scharfen 5000 points
VK5FANA Adrian Addison 1500 points
JM3GVH Katuyosi Oobai 1000 points
W4ALE Ron B. Fisher 500 points
2E0EUW Martin Augustus 100 points
VE1WT Phillip Long 100 points
K6JEB Jack E Burris 100 points

Chaser Unique
EA2CKX Pedro Chinchurreta 5000 summits
VK2IO Gerard Hill 1000 summits

Summit to Summit
EC2AG Antonio Garcia Platinum
G4ISJ Peter Martin Silver

Mountain Hunter
VK3WE Rhett Donnan Platinum
G4CFS Glyn Dodwell Gold
W3AAX Jason Johnston Bronze
NP3MR Alberic J Medina Ramirez Bronze

The process of moving into a new home is always stressful but now my workshop is up and running and shortly I will have antennas in the air and be back to Chasing. Meanwhile, a long planned vacation to sunnier climes is about to happen which means that with effect from 24 February until mid March I will not be processing any Award claims or merchandise purchases.

Once I return from vacation I will be able to process claims for trophies and will update the shopping website to enable this. When I do this I will also make all merchandise available as I have now found everything that is in stock! I realise that this has been very frustrating but thank you all for your patience.

I have managed to email out all pdf files for award certificates that have been ordered despite the ridiculous state of my lack of access to broadband; perhaps the UK telephone monopoly will deign to install the copper wire between the new pole across the road and my house by the time I return (some hope!!).

If you have not received an order that was placed on or before 24 February please email me direct and I will try and sort out matters when I return; but, provided you have paid for the order, then it will have been despatched by the time you read this report

Please stay safe on the hills

73

Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

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SOTA UK

THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 98 by Rob and Audrey G4RQJ

So far this short month we have seen three decent days and February fill-dike has lived up to its name. Added to this, the effect of all Dunmail Raise traffic being rerouted over Kirkstone Pass has not helped the County recover from the damage done back in January. A recent report on the state of the footpaths which incidentally would stretch from here to Istanbul if placed end to end has found close to 300 minor bridges seriously damaged or gone so repair costs will be several million pounds and take time. As an example quite a few activators will have walked up Loughrigg Fell from the car parks at Rydal on the A591 using the pedestrian bridge over the river Rothay. The bridge is gone and the stepping stones also, the only crossing is the old packhorse road bridge about a mile south down the A591. This is the sort of thing that you may be faced with. The tourist trade is reported to be down 25 percent and Keswick is losing about a million pounds a week due to the closure of the A591, the current estimate for reopening being the end of May!

So it’s time to get on with what will turn out to be our only summit for this months effort and we decide on Hutton Roof Crag one of our nearby one pointers as once again the forecast is for strong winds at height. This little hill is a pleasant walk through woodland for the most part but it is advisable to start at the small car park on the south side, about two miles up Dalton lane at the southern end of Burton in Kendal. The approaches from the north tend to involve a lot of struggle with limestone pavement and or undergrowth. The woodland on the southern side has been heavily cut back in recent years and since our last visit a large area on the right has been fenced off for replanting. This has resulted in quite a lot of deep mud to be negotiated, slowing down progress so we were running late as we arrived at the trig point.

There is quite a lot of passing traffic on the top particularly strollers on a Sunday afternoon so operating up against the trig is not a good option. The summit is quite a plateau with not a lot of shelter and our favourite rock was no help due to the wind direction and the best we could manage was on the open ground a few yards to the south. The undergrowth has not died off as much as usual and the antenna wire is forever snagged by thorns during installation. One group on the summit was very interested in our activity and we spent some time explaining things to them, as they left a chap came over and said that he had caught some of what we had said and it sounded very interesting so we ended up running it all past him as well. We are always glad to do this but it set us back more than ever so we were quite late onto 5Mhz.

First contact was an s2s with Rod on in the Welsh Borders who seemed to be struggling for contacts. Next a solitary PA station and that was it. Since the band was thrown out to more stations the SOTA activity has dropped off markedly and we are re evaluating the time calling CQ on what used to be our most productive band. 7Mhz cw was lively but the cold was getting into my (Robs) head to such an extent that copying Z had become a real trial, odd things heads! 10 MHz was busy but found a clear spot QRL? QRL? CQ-------- Back comes an HB station 599 599 73.
Call pops up on the frequency , OM you are on top of ??? (The rarest station in the world). I cannot hear him but sure enough there is a pile up higher up all calling him oops! SRI OM QSY QSY and I slink off in disgrace to 14 MHz for a few trouble free contacts.

By this time 2m is almost devoid of chasers, just Roy M3RDZ a reliable signal from Nelson on ssb and on fm just G6LKB looking for a trig 9A new one for him and one other call and silence reigns so thoroughly cold we pack up and set of down.
We really must review our activity pattern if the present shortage of calls on the once certain bands of activity is to continue, equally well the cw pileups are becoming hard work, either feast or famine. Maybe self spotting is the answer we shall see. It is certainly nice to have long activations when the weather is warmer. Enough moaning, we hope to climb Whitfell on the 29th if the weather holds so hope to work lots of you then.

For now, Take care out there

73
Rob and Audrey
G4RQJ

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SOTA REPORT FROM THE CANARY ISLANDS by Geert EA8/PA7ZEE

Since mid January we had a wonderful vacation on Gran Canaria Island - Continent Africa. My plan was to activate SOTA Summits once a week. The reason for this limit on activations is that my budget for car rental was limited. Hiring a car including insurance here cost 30 euro a day. Gasoline on Gran Canaria cost around 80 cent per litre, hence per activation day 5 euro.

Hereunder I will give some experiences of the activations until now, while I still have a few weeks in front of me before returning home.

First my equipment:
• Rig Elecraft KX1 with build-in ATU and an external power supply of 9 or 10 AA batteries in series (no problems with airport security); output around 3 W.
• Antenna: W3EDP sometimes as a sloper with a fish pole of 10 m, sometimes tossed into a tree.

Then some words about the weather during my activations. This winter the weather in the mountains was very mild; often temperatures of around 20 C with light winds. Only during the activation of EA8/GC- 011 Montaña de Tauro, when the wind was 65 km/h with heavy gusts.

Around the 19th of February, there were high winds with snow in the mountains, hence no activations for me.

Most of the summits that I have activated were in protected natural parks. This means that the mountain walks were very beautiful with stunning views. Although we have come to Gran Canaria for many years, thanks to SOTA I have now been to places where I have not been before.

Easy accessible were EA8/GC-001, -003, -008 and -026. More difficult were EA8/GC-004,
-010, -011 and -012.

Thanks to the efforts of Roy G4SSH, Phil G4OBK, Lothar DL3HXX, Manuel EA2DT, Marko OH9XX, Frans PA0INA and Lars SA4BLM who all put a Spot after working me, and thanks to all the Chasers who worked me, I had enough QSO’s to qualify. Surprising for me were the QSO’s with George N1GB and Barry N1EU when my humble 3 W into a very basic antenna system crossed the Atlantic.

I chose to work in the 20 m band since this band in general works best to Europe and the USA during daytime. Originally it was my idea to activate two summits on one day but that was a bit too ambitious. This is because the accessibility was more difficult than I expected and in my experience the propagation around 12:00 UTC, is at best.

Although I have activated some Virgin Summits, there are still more to be activated.
In addition to my activations I was also active as Chaser out of the bungalow in Maspalomas where we are staying. My antenna there is an inverted vee 2 x 20 m held up by a 12.5 m fish pole with a 300 ohm twin lead as feeder. Other radio amateurs asked me whether the antenna was allowed by the management of the hotel. “Don’t ask” was my advice and I was only getting complaints when I took the antenna down because other hotel guests found the way to their own bungalows with the help of my antenna mast. Rig was Yaesu FT-857 with 100 W.

View from EA8/GC-010 Morro de la Hierba Huerto to El Teide on Tenenerife

On 24th February Geert EA8/PA7ZEE sent:-

Yesterday I was more than an hour later than my Alert.
The reason was that my map showed a parking place on one hour walking from the summit. However the road was closed with a chain.
I walked in total 6 hours and made over 25 km.
Big blisters under both feet.

There were still Chasers when I went QRT; sorry for them. I had to stop since I had to walk back and tried to avoid to drive in the mountains while it was dark.

It was a fantastic day!

I am in the Canary Islands until mid March

(Ed note) This is a correction to an earlier report that Geert was departing on the 28th February.
73
Geert EA8/PA7ZEE

Elecraft KX1 with Palm Mini Paddle on operating board

Shack in nature on EA8/GC-011 Montaña de Tauro (battery pack near my left foot)

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SOTA AUSTRALIA NEWS from Allen VK3ARH

Its cooled off here and we have had a full month with gathering.
Also I’ve updated my email address, so please update input to: - VK3ARH@wia.org.au

February saw the annual VK3 SOTA CONFERENCE again hosted by the
Moorabbin and District Radio Club this year with a theme of “Starting
out in SOTA”

With a intro to SOTA by Glenn VK3YY then Wayne VK3WAM ( VK3 Association
Manager) updated us as to where we have been then Glenn returned to
discuss home built linear amps and transceivers. Allen VK3ARH updated as
to web tools available, Ron VK3AFW discussed Frog Sounds and Rockmite
xtal locked tcvrs, Tony VK3CAT lead discussions as to equipment to take
on a activation and finally Andrew VK3ARR show the effort or in some
cases lack of behind the scenes as to the mapping process. Thanks to all
for their presentations which made for a very good day. The presentation
slides are available from the the VK SOTA Yahoo group.

Some interesting equipment on display including, Tony VK3CAT’s KX3 field
station used for successful chase, Peter VK3PF’s mcHF SD Tcvr, modified
Pixie and novel 40 m rx from Peter VK3YE, Glenn’s VK3YY’s homebrew PA
and transceiver.

To Ron VK3AFW who organized the entire gathering and to Ken VK3KIM for
helping run the show and cleaning up afterwards a big well done & thanks!

2016 Hotham Gathering

February also saw what may be not be the first of such a event,
definitely the reference for future events. It this case the Hotham SOTA
Gathering. Initially raised in November 2015 by Brian VK3MCD, where he
proposed a weekend of SOTA activating based at a ski lodge at Hotham out
of season.

Many jumped at a chance to spend a couple of days surrounded by SOTA
tragics and high worth summits. We had 6 Mountain Goats and 8 Shack
Sloths for the weekend including,

Tony (VK3CAT), Glenn (VK3YY), Compton (VK2HRX), Ron (VK3AFW), Adan
(VK1FJAW), Peter (VK3PF), Andrew (VK1AD), Andrew (VK1MBE), Rob (VK2QR),
Ken (VK3KIM), Adam (VK3AGD), Alan (VK3FABT), Allen (VK3ARH)
and Brian (VK3MCD).

There are over 30 summits within 30Km of Mt Hotham and Brian had
identified 14 target summits worth considering, all worth 8 or 10
points. Activators were spoilt with choices!

Many of the summits would be located in the Alpine National Park, so
qualified for WWFF activations as well as SOTA.

The density of activity on Saturday morning most of us were within line
of sight/rubber ducky range. Chasers reported poor conditions but
summits were being qualified on 2M by multiple operators just on S2S
contacts. Propagation whilst always been crucial for contacts is of
great concern for low powered remote portable operations.

Highlight was the sunset activation of Mt. Hotham VK3/VE-006 with
Champagne and cheese. Not my normal method of activations.

I enjoyed meeting many activators whom I’d worked but never meet. It was
worth the effort just for that alone. Great weekend, great food, great
people, lots of fun will definitely be up for another one!

Again, a very big thank you goes to Brian VK3MCD and Kathy for all their
efforts. Thanks also to everyone who participated whilst the troposphere
disappointed, the atmosphere was excellent all weekend.

Keep your eyes open for some announcements for the next gathering –
likely to be in southern NSW in October 2016.

Allen
VK3ARH
Forward Australian input to: - VK3ARH@wia.org.au

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NEW ZEALAND SOTA ACTIVITY REPORT for January / February 2016
from Warren ZL2AJ

List of Summits activated

Date Summit Reference Summit Name Activator
1-Jan-16 ZL1/WK-153 Pukemako ZL1PO
1-Jan-16 ZL1/WK-188 Puketarata ZL2AJ
5-Jan-16 ZL1/HB-096 Tourere ZL2AJ
5-Jan-16 ZL1/HB-135 Te Mata Peak ZL2AJ
5-Jan-16 ZL1/MW-113 Ahiweka ZL2AJ
6-Jan-16 ZL1/HB-106 Te Awaputahi ZL2AJ
6-Jan-16 ZL1/MW-113 Ahiweka ZL2AJ
7-Jan-16 ZL1/HB-098 ZL1/HB-098 ZL2AJ
8-Jan-16 ZL1/HB-001 Kaweka ZL2AJ
12-Jan-16 ZL1/HB-097 Kahuranaki ZL2AJ
16-Jan-16 ZL1/AK-023 Maungawhau / Mt Eden ZL2AJ
29-Jan-16 ZL1/WK-151 Pauanui ZL2AJ
29-Jan-16 ZL1/WK-195 Paku ZL2AJ
7-Feb-16 ZL1/AK-016 Rangitoto ZL/M0HCU/P
7-Feb-16 ZL1/WK-102 Ngautuku ZL2AJ
8-Feb-16 ZL1/WK-036 Maroanui ZL2AJ
9-Feb-16 ZL1/NL-079 Kauri Mountain ZL/M0HCU/P
11-Feb-16 ZL1/NL-076 Mount Parihaka ZL/M0HCU/P
12-Feb-16 ZL1/WK-153 Pukemako ZL2AJ
13-Feb-16 ZL1/WK-153 Pukemako ZL1PO
26-Feb-16 ZL1/WK-142 ZL1/WK-142 ZL2AJ

Some good SOTA activity for summer. John ZL1PO Activated Pukemako (Sanatorium hill near Cambridge) for New Years rollover, getting double points. He also took REG branch members for an outing following a branch meeting on the 13th of February. A good way to promote SOTA within your club.

Don Cockman ZL/M0HCU Activated a handful of summits during his visit to ZL. Rangitoto Island and 2 summits in Northland – Kauri Mountain and Mount Parihaka. He says he would have liked to have activated more but ran out of time.

I managed to get a handful of summits in over Summer. A lap around some low hanging fruit in Hawkes Bay and then a hike to the tallest summit in Hawkes Bay, Kaweka J. A trip to Corromandal added Pauanui and Paku to the log and a trip up to Taupo’s 675 repeater for maintenance added Maroanui to the log. A Friday evening picnic at Pukemako (Where John has activated) was enjoyed by the family. My activator log is now at 40 with 22 unique summits.

ZL3 is progressing – we haven’t forgotten about you mainlanders. The list of summits to verify is long so it is taking a little longer than expected. As soon as it is due to be listed I will advise via zl-sota email reflector and infoline.

ZL Chasing regulars include Neil ZL2UN, John ZL1PO, Andrew ZL3CC, and me. I often work others from summits so don’t forget to log your contacts via www.sotadata.org.uk to be eligible for awards. As an activator it is always good to have reliable chasers that you can count on to get to the magic 4 contacts (where activator points are awarded).

I am doing a SOTA talk at the Hawkes Bay ham fest in April and at the NZART conference in June, Christchurch. I hope to take a drive up to Mt Pleasant Monday morning after conference for those that wish to join in and see an activation in action. All will be welcome. Details at NZART conference.

Total Summits Activated for Period – 21
Total number of ZL summits - 1252
Total number of ZL summits activated – 26
Percentage of ZL summits activated – 2.08%

Total ZL Chaser contacts for period - 85

73
Warren ZL2AJ

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NEW ZEALAND EXPEDITION REPORT- from Don ZL/M0CHU

During a brief stay on New Zealand’s North Island, 3 Summits were successfully activated.

ZL1/AK-016 Rangitoto 7th February
ZL1/NL-079 Kauri Mountain 9th February
ZL1/NL-076 Mount Parihaka 11th February

(Brief reports are on the reflector)

Being weekday activations all were very quiet, mostly on 20m to a variety of VK chasers, although a couple of 2m chasers on Rangitoto were very welcome. Many thanks to everyone who helped me qualify the summits.

Rangitoto was VERY busy (being Waitangi Day, a public holiday… I’d recommend not doing this on a public holiday! Standing room only on the ferry, and virtually a queue up the summit track!)

Kauri Mountain had fantastic views from the top along the coast, not much to be said about Mount Parihaka, virtually a drive on summit overlooking Whangarei, with a huge metal clad monument on top… I did wonder if it would tune up at all :slight_smile:

I was hoping to attempt another couple, but time just slipped away I’m afraid.

I’m across the Tasman briefly for a few days starting 1st March, Sydney to Melbourne, I hope to be able to get at least one activation in whilst there

Don
ZL/M0CHU

****************** SOTA NEWS PART TWO IS BELOW ***************


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#3

SOTA NEWS MARCH 2016 - Part 2 of 2

SOTA NORTH AMERICA REPORT by Skip K6DGW

Greetings All:

Probably the biggest news from NA SOTA this month is the weather on the eastern half of the continent. It has been hugely fierce and damaging, and no doubt contributed to the slight decline in SOTA activity.

NORTH AMERICA TOTALS
Total Activations: 288 [351]
Nr Unique Activators: 121 [126]
Total Chaser QSOs: 4089 [5206]
Nr Unique Chasers: 239 [250]
Unique Summits: 192 [232]

2m: 168 (4%) [99]
6m: 1 (0%) [3]
10m: 89 (2%) [143]
12m: 4 (0%) [4]
15m: 261 (6%) [309]
17m: 329 (8%) [374]
20m: 2174 (53%) [2875]
30m: 382 (9%) [387]
40m: 680 (16%) [964]
60m: 0 (0%) [0]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 0 (0%) [0]
Unk: 1

CW: 2438 (59%) [2798]
SSB: 1482 (36%) [2262]
FM: 166 (4%) [134]
AM: 0 (0%) [4]
Data: 0 (0%) [1]
Other: 1 (0%) [2]
Unk: 1

I’m a little unsure of the “Last Month’s” numbers, I may have fouled up the statistics script due to a technical difficulty in my mind …

One “Busted Q” from last month: I suggested that the 4 AM QSO’s were really just typo’s while entering logs. Alas, not so … they were real, full-carrier, double sideband, amplitude modulation S2S QSO’s that took place on 70 cm [of all places] during the “Big Bend Bash,” using FT-817’s.

L-R in photo: Mike, KD5KC; Scott, AK5SD; Curtis, KC5CW; Dave, KG5EIU; and Andrew, KD5ZZK.

NEWS: I didn’t get any notifications of new awards this month.

Guy, N7UN; Elliott, K6EL; and Paul, W6PNG [new W6 Association Manager] (photo above), completed the catalog of the new W6 summits [see photo]. Elliott reports that there are now over 4,400 SOTA summits in W6. It will likely be a bit before all of the new ones appear in the database.
Eric, KU6J [SK] told me some time ago that no one in California was more than 42 miles from a SOTA summit.

Oleh, KD7WPJ reports: “Michael, KX6A, and two of his sons - Will, N6WMG, and Nick, N6NGG, activated 2 Transverse Ranges summits on February 15, 2016. If you work all 3 family members during your activation (which I did on 2 m FM from San Gabriel Peak) - you have three of the four QSO’s for your own activation. Let’s hope that Michael’s third son will be able to get his license soon and Michael and family will then provide all 4 QSO’s from one summit.”

Scott, K7ZO, has prepared an NA SOTA Summary for 2015. He writes, "I recently uploaded to the Files [NA SOTA Yahoo Group] section a document I put together reviewing SOTA activity in North America during 2015. By examining the log files of top chasers I was able to gain insight into topics such as:

  • How many summits were activated in 2015 – in total and by summit point value

  • How many total points were available for chasers.

  • What were the top months and days of the week for chasers to accumulate points

  • How many activations were there in each state – and which states had the most activations in total and as a % of their total summits.

  • Which summits were activated the most times.

If you are interested in this sort of thing, head over to the Files section and grab a copy of the PDF."

It’s always great to welcome new folk to SOTA, especially so when they’re already a friend. George, KJ6VU, and some Bay-Net friends over in Silicon Valley joined the SOTA fraternity. His report: “Bay-Net conducted a SOTA expedition to a 1 point ‘summit’ called Coyote Peak NC-399. After a brutal 1 mile hike we made it to the summit where we joked that it was a great site if only we could get Google or Amazon to drop a pizza via drone.” Let’s hope we see more of this group! There is a SOTA summit in the San Francisco Bay area with a Taco Bell inside the AZ.

The “Big Bend Bash”: A SOTA expedition took place in mid-January to the Big Bend area of Texas which included Mike, KD5KC; Scott, AK5SD; Curtis, KC5CW, Dave, KG5EIU; and Andrew, KD5ZZK. For those not familiar with Texas topography, Big Bend is a very large area in southwest Texas which is home to a number of W5T summits … and not much else except wildlife. :slight_smile: The Big Bend National Park covers more than 800,000 acres
[324,000 Ha] and is extremely rugged. The Rio Grande and Mexico form it’s western border.

Elliott, K6EL, forwarded the following URL, an article by Tim, KG7EJT, which appeared in Mountaineer Magazine. I’ll bet there are a few mountaineers thinking about a license right now!

Finally, the Report of the Month from Brad, WA6MM: “I’ve been enjoying some downhill skiing with my XYL the past month and started to feel the withdrawal symptoms from no SOTA activations. So, I decided to activate Chalk Mountain (W0C/SR-136) at 12,012 ft [3,662 m] here in Colorado. This would be my first trip with my new ‘spacepen’ following Fred’s (KT5X) advice after having issues with ink not flowing on my last chilly activation.”

"The weather on this trip was pretty good in terms of temperature – somewhere in the low 20’sF [~-7C] at the trail head. The summit was about a 2 hour, 1,600 ft snowshoe climb. Things were going good until I reached the summit ridge. The wind was blowing hard on the ridge and I needed to find some shelter. However, the relatively large flat activation zone didn’t have many trees and the leeward side to the east ended in a corniced cliff of ice and snow. A photo of the AZ is attached.

Chalk Mountain Activation Zone

I found a couple of small trees that provided some shelter and ran my EFHW antenna wire towards the corniced cliff. I stopped about 40 ft from the cliff edge to eliminate the possibility of being on the evening news ;-). I used my hiking pole to anchor the end of the wire."

“So, all was good now and I was QRV. I was able to send out a 17M SSB spot via SOTAGoat. I made five contacts but didn’t have the normal pileup I get on that band. I then started to experience some new issues I hadn’t had before (I’m learning new stuff on every activation these days!!). The blowing snow was collecting on my radio, microphone, iPhone, and paper log. This was a very fine snow that turned to water fairly quickly on my radio. I was wondering how “waterproof” the FT-817 was!! Everything continued to work fine (including my new spacepen) but I discovered my paper log was barely holding up as it was getting wet and the ink was smearing as I entered data.”

“The highlight of this activation was moving to 40M SSB and making nine more contacts. Four of these contacts were local Colorado hams. It’s great to be able to work locals on HF as this peak is not a good VHF summit. There are much higher peaks in all directions.”

“I decided to cut this activation short after only 35-40 minutes as the blowing snow was starting to take it’s toll on my equipment and body.
20 minutes later I was hundreds of feet lower and back in the treeline
– life was back to normal ;-).”

That’s it from the New World for this month.

73,

Skip K6DGW
North American SOTA Reporter Dude

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SOTA NEWS FROM JAPAN - by Toru JH0CJH

SOTA started June 2015 and gradually becoming popular in Japan. SOTA has been promoted in CQ magazine since last October but it was just 2 pages and simply explained its rules and introduced SOTA program itself. This month, we introduced SOTA program in CQ Magazine again. At this time we got 6 pages of article space and posted with collaboration of JP1QEC Akira, JS1UEH Takeshi, JJ1SWI Gou and JH0CJH Toru. This month mainly focused on the fun of HF operation from summits. After this SOTA Japan mailing list members are getting bigger and every day and night hot discussion and information are exchanged.

One of the big discussions in SOTA ML is how to find out new summits not registered in the Database. Japan is one of the countries having a huge number of mountains and summits, then up to now we have found quite a few numbers of un-registered summits by all SOTA lovers map reading. In this discussion, JL1NIE Minoru made automatic summits finding program with JAVA. This program can work with GIS data of landscape with "libtourtre"
contour tree library.

http://graphics.cs.ucdavis.edu/~sdillard/libtourtre/doc/html/

This library and Minoru’s JAVA script find and output all necessary data of summits and col such as altitude, longitude and latitude that is matching with SOTA 150m prominence rules. So far the evaluation and verification of this software is ongoing and very accurate as of current observation. Current 4 SOTA Japan associations have total 5160 summits but already this software program found 2800+ candidates on top of that. We are going to add these 2800+ summits by next SOTA ARM regular revision.

Another topic of Feb 2016, we got visitor from VK Australia. VK2IO Gerard visited Japan and he activated some JA summits. Hope he had a good time in Japan.

SOTA operation February 2016 in Japan

Total number of Expedition 58 with 701 QSO as of 27th Feb 2016. 28th and 29th Feb surely some expedition have been done then final count will be more of them.

JA: 56 expeditions with 671 QSO from Summits

JA5: 2 expeditions with 48 QSO from Summits

JA6: 1 expeditions with 1 QSO from Summits

JA8: 0 expeditions

73
Toru Kawauchi JH0CJH

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SOTA ON TOP BAND - Mark G0VOF

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

Two activators took to Top Band from four summits during February. On the 3rd February John G4YSS operating as GX0OOO/P for the first time this year dropped onto 160m at the end of an activation of G/NP-014 Rogan’s seat. This was an afternoon activation & John started on 80m where he had a very good run of 13 CW QSO’s & 23 SSB QSO’s. Once on 160m with the Sun now setting CW was tried first with 2 QSO’s completed, with Frank G3RMD & Phil G4OBK before a change of mode to SSB. Here a further 6 QSO’s were made with John’s signal reaching as far as Don G0RQL in Devon.

With the temperature dropping & after a nice chat with the gamekeeper John departed the summit, but not after a final call on CW in case I had arrived home from work. Sadly I had not, so I missed John on this summit. Thanks for thinking of me John!

A superbly detailed report can be found here:

G4YSS: NP14 Rogan's Seat, on 80m & 160m (With Dog) 03-02-16

The next activator to try 160m was Miro OK1DVM/P who started his activation of OK/ST-035 Pecný on the evening of Friday 12th February on the band. Miro made 2 QSO’s using CW before moving to 80m where he made 13 QSO’s. I was in the shack that evening but didn’t see Miro’s spot for 1828KHz until about 20 minutes later, by which time he was starting up on 3562KHz CW. Miro was a very good signal & easy copy despite a little QSB. Miro informs me that he was using a KX3 at 10 Watts into an Alex loop on 3.5MHz & a short vertical on 1.8MHz.

Thanks Miro for the information & I Hope to work you on 160m soon!

On Tuesday 23rd February, John G4YSS was out again, this time planning a three or four summit day in the G/NP region with Top Band pencilled in for the first & last summits to take advantage of the better conditions on 160m in the morning / evening. John’s first summit was G/NP-006 Great Shunner Fell & as I had seen John’s alert the night before I was listening in the shack when he first called. Although by this time the sun had not been up for long, conditions seemed poor to me with both John & Phil G4OBK not being as strong as usual, with my local noise also making things a bit of a struggle. From John’s activation report it seems that his first calls were using only 5 Watts, which explains why I struggled to hear him at first.

After first working Phil, then myself, it was nice to hear Roy G4SSH being worked to give John 3 QSO’s using CW. After this John moved up the band to 1843KHz to call on SSB again working Phil G4OBK followed by myself, although the change of mode made things a bit more challenging for me & I could only give John a 33 report. When further calls went unanswered John moved to 80m CW & was a very good signal, but as he already had a few callers & I had to depart for work I didn’t work him on that band. He managed 10 CW QSO’s & 8 SSB QSO’s on 80m.

Later the same day John had settled on G/NP-031 Birks Fell as his final summit & after a good run on 80m CW/SSB & 2m FM John started on 160m CW whilst the sun was setting. John’s first call was answered by Phil G4OBK, followed by Roy G4SSH & Frank G3RMD before more distant stations started to make it into his log, with Sake PA0SKP, Mike DJ5AV both working John. At this point I had arrived in the shack after having made myself Beans on Toast for tea thinking I would be too late for John’s final summit. As it happened I powered up the station & John was still calling so I answered him. Conditions for me were quite poor with increased noise & deep QSB making it a real struggle. I could only give John 339 at first but this improved to 559 by the end of our QSO.

Following me was Karel ON4FI then a real surprise, Dmitri RU3GF in Lipetsk at a distance of around 2700 KM. Once there were no further replies on CW John moved up the band to call on SSB, this time working me then Frank G3RMD in Cheltenham. Again this was a struggle for me with high noise & QSB meaning a report from me of 53-56. With further calls unanswered John packed up & began his descent in darkness.

Again you can find a superb report on these activations here:

G4YSS: NP6, NP15, NP16, NP31 160-80-2m on 23-02-16

Thanks for the excellent activation reports & of course for the 160m QSO’s!

Congratulations & well done John & Miro.

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

On 3 February, John GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) Activated G/NP-014 Rogan’s Seat & made 8 QSO’s (2 CW / 6 SSB)
On 12 February, Miro OK1DVM/P Activated OK/ST-035 Pecný & made 2 QSO’s (2 CW / 0 SSB)
On 23 February, John GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) Activated G/NP-006 Great Shunner Fell & made 5 QSO’s (3 CW / 2 SSB)
On 23 February, John GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) Activated G/NP-031 Birks Fell & made 11 QSO’s (9 CW / 2 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

CW REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 2016 By Roy G4SSH

The constant stream of storm force winds and rain racing across the Atlantic limited the number of European activations during the first week of February but Chris DL/ON6ZQ was off on one of his expeditions, this time to Germany using his familiar “UP” method of working.
The Canary Islands proved to be a popular location during the month with at least 4 activators operating from the various islands.
The number of activations increased dramatically as we approached the end of the month, with many, cross border expeditions to DL summits declaring that they were making the last activation before the summit was deleted at the end of the month. This resulted in many pile-up’s by chasers anxious to have these summits in their logs for the last time.
I am amazed at the number of chasers who do not listen to the activator and fail to understand that if they are calling at the same time as the activator then they are wasting their time. Activators are creatures of habit and tend to use the same procedure when they operate. One method used by many activators to end a contact is "73 TU DE DL9XXX QRZ? when many chasers send their call after the “TU” which is a waste of time because they are sending at the same time as the activator and so cannot be heard and are causing QRM to the other chasers. They also miss any operational comments by the activator such as QRX5 or UP1.
73
Roy G4SSH

SOTA ACTIVITY REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 2016 by Kevin G0NUP

SOTA activators submitting entries to the data base for 10m, 6m and 1240 MHz during February 2016. These files produced on 27th February - by Kevin G0NUP.

Mode: SOTA CW on 24MHz: activity for February

DK4RW/P, DL6FBK/P, F6HBI/P, HB9BCB/P, HB9DQM/P, JP3DGT/3, M1BUU/P, OK1MLP/P

Mode: CW on 28MHz: activity for February

AI4SV, DJ5AV/P, DK4RW/P, DL/HB9BIN/P, DL/HB9BRJ/P, DL4KCA/P, DL6FBK/P, EA2IF/P, F5LKW/P, F5UKL/P, F6HBI/P, G4TJC/P, GW4AZS/P, GW4TJC/P, HB9AGO/P, HB9BIN/P, HB9BQU/P, HB9CBR/P, HB9CGA/P, HB9DQM/P, HB9FVF/P, JP1QEC/1, K6EL, M1BUU/P, M1EYP/P, MW1EYP/P, OE/HB9FVF/P, OE5EIN/P, OK1MLP/P, OK2PDT/P, SO9TA/P, SP/OK2PDT/P, VE2DDZ, VK1DA/2, VK1DA/P, VK2IO/P, W7USA

Mode: CW on 50MHz: activity for February

DL/HB9BIN/P, F6HBI/P, JF1NDT/1, JH0CJH/1, JS1UEH/1, WW7D

Mode: CW on 1240MHz: activity for February

Mode: FM on 28MHz: activity for February

2E0YYY/P, DL3GBO, JR0GFM/0, KK6QMS, VK1DA/2

Mode: FM on 50MHz: activity for February

2W0EYT/P, GW4TJC/P, JN3PDF/3, VK1DA/2, VK3CAT/P

Mode: FM on 1240MHz: activity for February

JP1QEC/1, JR0GFM/0, JS1UEH/1, OE9TKH/P, OK1DEU/P, VK3PF/P

Mode: SSB on 28MHz: activity for February

2E0YYY/P, 9A/S57MS/P, AC1Z, AE4BL, AF7VP, CT2IUV/P, DD5LP/P, DG7ACF/P, DJ5AV/P, DL/HB9BIN/P, DL/OE5IRO/P, DL/OE5RTP/P, DL/OE9HRV/P, DL3GBO, DL8DBW/P, DO1DJJ/P, DO1JC/P, DO5TMM/P, EA2BD/P, EA6AIF, EC2AG/P, F4ESK/P, G1INK/P, G4TJC/P, GM1INK/P, GW4AZS/P, GW4TJC/P, HB9BIN/P, HB9BQU/P, HB9DQM/P, HB9FVF/P, IW2OBX/QRP, JR2YFM/1, JS1UEH/1, K6EL, K6YOA/P, KB6CIO, KI4SVM, KK4OSG, KK6YGB, M/YO9IRF/P, M1BUU/P, M1EYP/P, MW1EYP/P, N6MKW, OE/HB9FVF/P, OE9TKH/P, OK/OE5IRO/P, OK/OE5RTP/P, OK/SQ9KEK/P, OK2PDT/P, S56LXN/P, SV2CNE/P, SV2OXS/P, VK1AD/2, VK1AD/P, VK1DA/2, VK1DA/P, VK1DI/P, VK1EM/P, VK1FJAW/2, VK1MA, VK1MA/2, VK1VIC, VK2IO/P, VK2MWP, VK3BQ, VK3CAT/P, VK3PF, VK3YY, VK3ZPF, VK5NIG, W6PNG, W7USA

Mode: SSB on 50MHz: activity for February

I1WKN, IW2NHE/P, JF1NDT/1, JH0CJH/1, JH1EWV, JI1TLL/1, JM3URG/3, JR1NNL/1, JS1UEH/1, OK2PDT/P, S50DP/P, S56LXN/P, S57AX/P, S57MS/P, S57TQ/P, VK1AD/2, VK1AD/P, VK1DA/2, VK1DA/P, VK1EM/P, VK1MA, VK1MA/2, VK2IO/P, VK2MWP, VK3ANL, VK3BQ, VK3CAT/P, VK3YY, WW7D

Mode: SSB on 1240MHz: activity for February

WW7D


Regards
Kevin J Prince G0NUP

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SOTA News is normally published on the last day of each month, but there will be occasions when the Editor is not available at this time, in which case it will be published as soon as possible afterwards. It can only be as interesting as the items submitted, so 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 enthusiasts all across Europe, the USA, Australia and beyond, in a total of 114 different SOTA associations worldwide. 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.


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

U.S. and Canadian reports to:-
Fred K6DGW/7 [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Sparks NV
k6dgw@foothill.net

Australian input to:-
Allen VK3HRA
VK Reporter
VK3ARH@wia.org.au (Note the change)

New Zealand input to:-
Warren ZL2AJ
warren@zl2aj.com

Japanese reports to
Toru JH0CJH
jh0cjh@jarl.com

South African input to:-
Dennis ZS4BS
zs4bs@netactive.co.za



#4

Rob, just for information, I have had nineteen successful chases so far this month on 5 megs. For comparison I had eleven in the whole month of February last year, 22 in 2014 and 18 in 2013. I see no sign that activity has dropped off, but some of it has moved off the favourite channels (5.3175, 5.3985, 5.4035) probably because of increased useage from the continent. I suspect that your reduced success is a statistical anomaly, please don’t give up on the band too quickly!

Brian


Who else has 5.3 MHz privileges? HB9 does starting Jan 1, 2017
#5

I would like to encourage UK activators to try 5.354, as I recently learnt from you that this is one of the channel frequencies allowed to UK stations and I fear it’s the only frequency shared with Spanish hams, which are allowed to transmit with 15 W max output from 5.351.5 to 5.366.5
I hope to chase you some day on 5.354 MHz
Best 73 de Guru

P.D. 06-MAR.2016: I worked four ON stations on 5.354 in the evening of 04-MAR-2016 at about 23z with very good signals for the little power most of us were running (10-15 watts). It was a very nice surprise for me.
After these QSOs I received an e-mail from Joe W8GEX, the manager or similar of some kind of 60m DX lovers net and he informed me that USA stations have two common channels with our new frequency window: 5.357 USB and 5.358.5 CW


#6

Similar situation in ON where the 60m recommendation WRC15 has been implemented since 4 March 2016. I have made a 60m/40m link dipole and plan to activate some ON SOTA’s on 60m. It appears 5.354 is the only SSB segment in common with the UK allocation. I am looking forward to my first SOTA contact on this new band for me.
Best 73, Phil ON4TA


#7

The Big Bend Bash was soooo much fun. Here’s my flickr album with a LOT more pictures of the adventure:


#8