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Sota news may 2011


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SOTA NEWS - MAY 2011

EDITORIAL – by Roy GR4SSH

Welcome to the May 2011 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Andy MM0FMF, Fred K6DGW, Mark G0VOF, Nick G4OOE, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Mike 2E0YYY.

The month of April finally brought a welcome relief from the bitterly cold weather with a consequent increase in the number of SOTA activations heard on the bands and the number of spots began to exceed the 100 mark, especially at weekends and holidays. It was a particular pleasure to see so many EA activations during the month. The change to summer conditions also saw a change in propagation, with some of the higher bands above 10 MHz in regular SOTA use, but the hot thundery weather brought a higher noise level on 10 MHz and below. It was also a pleasure to see the number of activations spotted from the USA on 14 and 21 MHz.

There was much OK activity during Saturday 9th April during the 2nd OK SOTA Jamboree, with many OK calls from summits in the OK/ST, PL and JC regions. Thanks to the host Petr OK1CZ.


SPECIAL UK CALLSIGNS FOR ROYAL WEDDING

For the information of Chasers and Activators outside of the UK, the following optional changes to UK callsigns will be in effect from 29th April to 9th May 2011- signifying the marriage of H.R.H. Prince William and Miss Catherine Middleton.
UK Amateurs holding Advanced, Intermediate or Foundation Licences to may apply to use special temporary call signs which are linked to their existing licensed call sign.
The existing Regional Secondary Locator (GM, GW etc.) in the existing call sign may be replaced by the Letter “R” except in the case where no Secondary Locator exists (G or M) the Letter “R” may be inserted as a Secondary Locator.

Examples:-

G0ABC is amended to GR0ABC
GM0ABC is amended to GR0ABC
2E0ABC is amended to 2R0ABC
2W0ABC is amended to 2R0ABC
2J0ABC is amended to 2R0ABC
M1ABC is amended to MR1ABC
MI0ABC is amended to MR0ABC
MD6ABC is amended to MR6ABC
MU3ABC is amended to MR3ABC
It will therefore not be possible to identify the region (England, Scotland, Wales etc) from these callsigns. The use of these special calls is optional and must be authorised by Ofcom (the Govermment’s Office of Communications).

There are already many activations using the special calls, which are sure to attract many prefix collectors. However, using a special call as a chaser could cause problems if the activator does not recognise the special prefix.

SPECIAL QSL ARRANGEMENTS FOR ROYAL WEDDING CALLS

As the Royal Wedding prefix GR, MR and 2R replaces the traditional regional locator for G, M and 2 callsigns, it has been necessary for the QSL bureau to create a temporary special sub-group to handle the expected large influx of cards. Martin Coles, G0VXC has kindly accepted the challenge of handling GR, MR and 2R calls.

NOV holders wishing to receive incoming cards must deposit separate, C5 size, stamped and numbered envelopes with him, clearly showing the special callsign in the top left hand corner. Please be advised that in line with conventional GB cards, special Royal Wedding QSL’s will not be re-directed via the home callsign or QSL manager, even if it is written on the card. Contact details for Martin, G0VXC are as per the RSGB Yearbook and RSGB website.


DATABASE NEWS from Andy MM0FMF

Apologies for the short outage over the Easter period. The cause was the
database transaction log filling up. The log records all actions that
change the database. It’s an intrinsic feature that is used to ensure
that any transactions are performed correctly. It can grow large and in
our case it reached the maximum allotted size. Once full, no new
transactions can be performed. For a period of about 3 hours, the log
was full but once the log was shrunk down the database started working
again. At the rate the database is growing we will need to shrink it
again in about 9 months time. Thanks to our Emeritus Database Manager,
Gary G0HJQ, for sorting this out in such a short space of time at a no
notice.

The database software has been updated again to make it easier to check
to see if you qualify for either the Mountain Explorer or Mountain
Hunter awards. The ability to check for Mountain Explorer awards has
been part of the Activator Log feature for a few months. There’s a new
page available from either the Chaser’s Log or Activator’s Log pages or
by selecting My Awards from the dropdown menu.

This is the first version of this page and it still needs some work. It
shows Mountain Explorer, Mountain Hunter (All Bands) and Mountain Hunter
(VHF) status. This will be expanded to allow you to see if you qualify
for the 50MHz or UHF endorsements. Likewise, the page will be expanded
to show Mountain Goat and Shack Sloth status. The original Mountain
Explorer status has now been retired.

Finally, a number of people had commented that when they logged on to
the database their score shown was wrong. You must forgive me for not
noticing but as I don’t chase and only activate I didn’t realise that
only the activation points were shown. Now when you log on you will see
either your activating or chasing score or both.

VY 73
Andy MM0FMF


SOTA AWARDS FOR April 2010 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

Belated congratulations to Geoff 2E0BTR on achieving Mountain Goat; mention of his award was intentionally omitted last month as the trophy was a surprise birthday present and his XYL would have shortened my activating career if I had breathed a word of it! This has been another record month for awards and, yet again, I have run out of blanks for Shack Sloth, any claim in the last two weeks will be held up until I refresh my stocks. Congratulations to ON4CAS, M0MOL, M6NJB, S55DX and G8BVJ on achieving Shack Sloth while special mention must be made to G3VXJ who has achieved the trophy for 1000 unique summits chased – he achieved this in under 8 months, is this another record?

It is good to see claims from Associations outside of Europe as this is an indication of the growth of SOTA to a worldwide activity. W1DMH, Doug, and KD9KC, Mike, lead from the front for activating in the Americas and it is good to see DS4QBE, Byong-Cheon Choi, and husband and wife team KB1RJC, Herman, and KB1RJD, Merle, in the list of Chaser claims. Doug W1DMH wanted to present Herman and Merle with their certificates when he made a presentation on SOTA to a meeting in the USA and asked if there was anyway I could get their certificates to him before the Thursday deadline (this was Sunday!). The only possible way (other than hand carrying to the USA) was to produce the certificate as a printable PDF file which was duly done and emailed to him. I do not intend to produce certificates this way as a general move (the PDF’s were followed by printed and signed originals) but if you would like this option I am willing to do it for special circumstances, it is additional work and I am not really looking for more of that! Enquire directly if the need arises.

Trophies

Mountain Goat
2E0BTR Geoff Passey Mountain Goat

Shack Sloth
ON4CAS Egbert Hertsen Shack Sloth
M0MOL Gareth Mollard Shack Sloth
M6NJB Nick Bennett Shack Sloth
S55DX Milan Stojiljkovic Shack Sloth
G8BVJ Tony Gilchrist Shack Sloth
G3VXJ Bob Rylatt Shack Sloth (1000 Unique summits)

Certificates claimed

Activator
MW6BDV Barry Vile 250 points
W1DMH Doug Houston 250 points
SV3IEG Dinos Krassas 250 points
MM0TAI Adrian Young 100 points
OE6BHE Heiko Barber 100 points
SV3IEG Dinos Krassas 100 points
KD9KC Mike Olbrisch 100 points

Chaser
I3VAD Giancarlo Scarpa 2500 points
G0VOF Mark Walmsley 2500 points
M0MOL Gareth Mollard 1000 points
M6NJB Nick Bennett 1000 points
G8BVJ Tony Gilchrist 1000 points
M3YYK Keith Yardley 500 points
MW6BDV Barry Vile 500 points
M6HBS Jonathan Hobbs 500 points
2E0CRZ Christopher Rowan 250 points
MM0TAI Adrian Young 100 points
DS4QBE Byong-Cheon Choi 100 points
KB1RJC Herman Weber 100 points
KB1RJD Merle Weber 100 points
SV3IEG Dinos Krassas 100 points
M6MGB Rufus Binks 100 points

Chaser Unique
I3VAD Giancarlo Scarpa 500 Summits
ON4CAS Egbert Hertsen 250 Summits
M6HBS Jonathan Hobbs 100 Summits

Mountain Hunter
ON4CAS - Egbert Hertsen Mountain Hunter Bronze
G8BVJ - Tony Gilchrist Mountain Hunter Bronze
G4ASA - David Wright Mountain Hunter Bronze

Observant users of the database may have seen that Andy has introduced a “My Awards” option in the drop down menus and that their individual screens also have some additional information on their activation and chasing status. This work was done to simplify the process of applying for the Mountain Hunter and Mountain Explorer awards (and to make the checking process much easier for me). This is definitely “Work in Progress” and when Andy has time he will expand the data searches to check for the regular Activator and Chaser awards as well. This is an ongoing exercise and if you identify possible errors or inconsistencies would you please contact Andy or myself directly, rather than posting onto the reflector, as neither of us regularly monitor the reflector and we might miss any valuable input otherwise.

This work has highlighted some inconsistencies in the evaluation of, in particular, the Mountain Hunter award which I must admit I had missed as well. The higher awards (Silver and up) require contacts on other continents as well as the claimants own but the overriding condition is that for each Association claimed , wherever it is, the Chaser must have contacted two (or more) unique summits to claim that Association for this award. This does mean to claim North America (for example) it is not acceptable to claim one summit in W1 for example and VE1 to qualify North America, you need either two VE1 summits or two W1 (or other W or VE Associations) to claim North America.

The same applies for any other continent, the condition is that to claim an Association you must work at least two unique summits in that Association. This does mean that a very few certificates have been issued which do not strictly meet this condition; this is my fault and I apologise. However, the claims and approval were made in good faith and the awards will stand. Having discovered this error, and having made it public, all future claims for these awards will have to meet the conditions as outlined above. If there are any doubts please contact me and I will work with you to ensure that you meet the requirements in full.

While processing claims this month I have been horrified by the enormous rise in cost for postage imposed by Royal Mail. The cost of posting a certificate to a UK claimant has risen from 61p to 75p (to stop you all leaping for a calculator that is an increase of about 23% - how do they relate that to inflation?). Rates to the rest of the World have increased by 14% and this also applies to the cost of shipping for trophies. The MT will hold prices constant for as long as possible but we might have to review costs if other material costs rise as might be expected. Meanwhile, order your awards now while they are still a bargain!

Talking about bargains, remember we have SOTA window stickers, lapel badges and flags available. Stickers can travel postage free with certificates (up to a limit) and it is possible to combine postage on multiple items, just ask for a quote for overall cost when ordering.

This weekend includes International SOTA Weekend and a lot of activators will be out and about as it is a four day weekend in the UK. The weather seems to be holding and with luck some activators will be on hills that are either previously unactivated or are very rarely activated; this is a chance to boost your Unique totals.

Whatever you do take care on the hills and have a safe ascent and descent – both are equally important!

73

Barry Horning GM4TOE
Awards Manager


Congratulations also to:-

Karen 2E0XYL who achieved Shack Sloth despite breaking an ankle last year.

Alan MM0XXP who also now has the distinction of being only the 10th Shack Sloth from Scotland.

Dave M3XIE who reached Shack Sloth status on the 10th April

Eric F5JKK who passed the 2000 chaser points milestone & 500 uniques.
Both using QRP.

Mick MW0XMC (formerly 2E0MCV) who reached 500 activator points on the 24 April.

John G4YSS who has just become the first person in the history of SOTA to pass the 1000 point activator milestone on top band (160m).


INTERNATIONAL SOTA WEEKEND 2011

A reminder that the first weekend in May (Saturday 30th April and Sunday 1st May) has been chosen for International SOTA Weekend this year. In the UK this weekend will be extended with a national holiday on Friday 29th April for the Royal Wedding and Monday 2nd May for May Day. There are already many activations taking place as we go to press which is providing an excellent opportunity for s2s contacts, especially on VHF; with many Royal Wedding calls heard. Unfortunately the weather for the first day (Friday) caused a few cancellations in the UK and propagation on 40m was abysmal, with high background noise, especially in the morning.


ISLE OF MAN ACTIVITY - WITH A TREAT FOR 160m ENTHUSIASTS – from Phil G4OBK

I expect to be QRV with GT7OOO/p on either Saturday 14th or Sunday 15th May, from GD-001 and GD-002 on HF, including 160m CW/SSB.

I will alert my activity on SOTA Watch when I know the weather forecast/our arrangements on Friday 13th May, when we arrive on the island. This will be my 4th activation of those two summits and it will be the first time GD-002 has been activated on 160m.

I hope to cover GD-003/004/005 sometime during the week and I will alert on SOTA Watch the previous day. 160m operation from the latter three is possible, but unlikely.

73 Phil G4OBK


DAFFODILS & GOLDFINCHES - by Nick G4OOE

G/TW-001 URRA MOOR (Round Hill) 15th APRIL 2011

Recently back from the Norbreck Rally and armed with new sealed lead acid batteries, I was raring to get out for a quick test with my recently acquired FT-857.
I left home in Scarborough at 0720 travelling the 45 miles via Pickering and Helmsley through Bilsdale to Clay Bank car park by the B1257 arriving at 0830. I was the second car to enter the car park and as I got my kit sorted out, I saw about 5 goldfinches flying around, quite a sight along with the clumps of daffodils still in full bloom.

I left the car park, heading South on the road and after a few yards turning left onto the Cleveland Way footpath East (it is easy to miss this if you mistakenly take the first track on the left). The climb up to Carr Ridge is very steep over very large stones and was quite an effort for me with a heavy load on my back. I did have a little rest at the top to take in the views across to Hasty Bank and Cringle Moor, G/TW-002 beyond. The walk across the ridge was pleasant with several sightings of pheasants and grouse. I met in with a jovial couple that had caught up with me and after a chat they strode on heading for Glaisdale. I arrived at the summit trig point at 0955. Great views of Bilsdale and Roseberry Topping, with glimpses of Teesside in the distance. I estimated the distance to be around 2.5 miles from the car park.

It took me round about 45 minutes to take on refreshments, snap a few photos and set up my 40m dipole configured as an inverted vee, the apex being about 12 feet on a fibre glass pole tied to the trig point and the two ends supported by 5 ft poles. I also erected a 2m dipole only a few feet above the trig point. After a panic call to Kevin G0NUP to sort out the sockets on the back of the FT857, I quickly phoned Roy G4SSH who had kindly agreed to spot me once active. I started using 40w on 3558 kHz CW and just managed to work G0NUP and G4SSH, but although I heard other chasers my signal was obviously too poor. The SWR was high and I tried retuning with my Z-100 Plus tuner, to no avail. I briefly then tried 3724 kHz SSB without success.

A bit disgruntled, I switched bands to 7032 kHz and I worked G4SSH, GM3MXN, G3NYY, G0NUP, G3WPF, IK3DRO, G4ZIB, DL4FC, F6AKL, G4ELZ, G4OWG and OK1EQ/P S2S on OK/KA-050; much happier I then tried 10118 kHz and worked DL6FAX, G0NUP, G4SSH, DF5WA, DL0VK, OZ4RT, OK2HI, DF7TT, F5SQA, OE8SPW, OM70M, DJ5AV, OE6WIG, HB9CGE, DL8YR and OE3KAB. At 1100 my battery voltage had dropped considerably so I changed to the 10Ah battery and continued.

Then out came the VX-7R running at 5w I had 2m fm contacts with G0VWP - Terry in York, G8PWX - Alec in Tynemouth, G7FFV- Ian in Teesside, 2E0EEY-Chris in Leeds and M0MCI - Paul in Spofforth, near Harrogate.
Switching back to HF, on 7032/3kHz brought in HB9BIN/P S2S from HB/BL-010, PA0HRM, DL2HWI, DL6UNF, DL2EF, DL6UHA, OK1HCG, G4WSZ, I1ABT, GM0AXY, OE3KAB, G4DDL, F6ENO, PA1AT,G3RDQ, S51ZG, G0SIG and LA1ENA.

After almost 2 hours of operating and over 50 contacts I decided to call it a day. Time to head back to the goldfinches and daffodils. Thanks to Kevin G0NUP for remote maintenance and Roy G4SSH for spotting and all the stations worked. I arrived home at 1621 and another long soak in the bath!

73
Nick G4OOE


MY FIRST TENTATIVE STEPS AT CW AND 160m - By Mark G0VOF

For quite a while I have been interested in experimenting with 160m from a summit but until recently I had never been in a position to give it a try as the portable ATU I normally use on activations does not cover 160m. My normal HF antenna is a link dipole for 80m, 60m & 40m & while it is cut for certain frequencies in each of those bands, I use the ATU to give me wider bandwidth & also the possibility of using the antenna on bands it is not cut for.

I had been looking at the feasibility of loading up my 80m dipole to use on 160m, and although I probably have enough bits & pieces lying around in order to make suitable loading coils, I thought I would see if the very simple idea of simply making a full size dipole would work.

Several months ago I had done some tests with my existing 7m glass fibre fishing pole & soon came to the conclusion that a full size dipole for Top Band would put too much strain on it, especially in strong winds, as well leaving the antenna a little close to the ground. With that in mind I looked around for a decent length carbon fibre pole, & fortunately a couple of months ago a work colleague decided to sell a couple of carbon fibre poles for quite reasonable prices. I took an 11m pole for a bargain price, so now I had all I would need to begin experimenting with Top Band SOTA.

Although I live near a park, & there are several sports fields nearby, I like to experiment where I will not be disturbed by curious onlookers, so when it came to deciding where to put up the antenna for the first time, I came to the conclusion that one of my nearby SOTA summits, G/SP-012 Easington Fell would be ideal, as there is plenty of flat space at the summit & it is not very busy with walkers, or animals!

So on Saturday 9th April I set off on the Bus for Clitheoroe, & then caught a taxi up to the parking area near Waddington Fell quarry.

I wanted to make my dipole resonant at the bottom end of the 160m band so that if necessary I could run up to 100 Watts without needing an ATU as daytime conditions on Top Band can be a little difficult. In the UK, standard licence conditions for advanced licence holders only permit full power (400 Watts) between 1810 KHz & 1850 KHz. Between 1850KHz & 2000KHz we are restricted to just over 32 Watts as we share the band with Maritime stations. Ah well, mustn’t grumble, this is still more than the 12 Watts we used to be allowed I believe. For Intermediate & Foundation licence holder the power limits are much lower, please check your licence conditions before using the band.

Due to my need to make sure the antenna worked with medium-ish power of 100 Watts, for that reason I took my FT897D plus a 7Ah SLAB & various other bits & pieces in order that I could make alterations as necessary on the summit. This made my pack quite a bit heavier than normal & even the short walk to the summit of Easington Fell was more strenuous then usual.

In order that I could properly test the antenna, it would be useful to have other stations to work so I had posted an alert on Sotawatch the night before for the benefit of the very keen bunch of top band chasers. I had arrived the summit in good time & well before my alerted time of 12:00utc so I set about erecting what was now a 160/80/60/40 link dipole with the apex at about 9 metres AGL & each end about 1.5 metres AGL supported by fully extended walking poles.

My first test of the SWR was not good, the antenna appeared to show a resonant frequency just above 2MHz, great for working the Coastguard, but not very good for amateur use. To cut a long story short, I had made my 160m extension pieces too short!

I stood back a good distance away from my handywork, & sure enough, it did not look right, the antenna was far too short for Top Band.

I had prepared for a little experimentation & had an almost full 100m spool or insulated wire with me so I went back to basics & after laying out my 80m dipole on the ground I measured out sufficient wire to make it to be roughly twice as long, plus a bit :wink:

My first check of the SWR with this was far better, useable at the bottom end of 160m but not quite perfect, I might have been able to give Radio Lancashire a little bit further down the spectrum (who only run 1KW on MW, I believe) a run for their money, if my radio was capable of transmission in the medium wave broadcast band HI!

That was a bit of humour, & I would not recommend transmitting outside of the amateur bands unless you are authorised to do so.

So, after snipping off a few inches of wire from both ends of the antenna, it was now perfect for 1832KHz, until I heard a very sharp “Crack!”

My new (second hand) carbon fibre pole had snapped, about three inches below the centre point of my antenna.

It still gave a flat SWR reading at 1832 KHz, but I thought it prudent to drop the mast & effect a repair to avoid a failure in mid QSO. I had heard that carbon fibre poles can fail without warning & I now know that it is true!

After a hasty repair to the point where my antenna was supported by the mast, I found that the antenna’s resonant frequency had risen slightly & was now around 1850 KHz. The SWR was still reasonable at 1832 KHz so as I was already running late I decided to carry on with things as they were.

As far as SOTA is concerned, I had already qualified the summit using my Yaesu VX7-R hand-held radio on 2 metres FM so my activator point was already in the bag for this summit this year. However, that was not the purpose of my trip, so once I was happy that I was in a position to activate the summit on 160m CW I posted an alert on Sotawatch, that I would begin calling at 13:00utc on 1832 KHz CW.

This gave a me about 10 minutes for some light refreshment & at exactly 13:00utc I commenced calling CQ SOTA on 1832 KHz. I started by running 50 Watts & after a few calls at that power level brought no response I increased power to about 80 Watts. Several calls at this level also brought no response so I turned up the power to an indicated 100 Watts, although the actual output was probably a little less due to the not quite fully charged SLAB I was using.

A few more calls at 100 Watts & I was now beginning to wonder if this would work at all, when suddenly at a genuine 599 I heard Frank G3RMD. It later transpired that Frank had been working on his antennas at the time & had to rush outside to re-connect the top section of his inverted L in order to call me. Sadly, as with many stations, Frank’s local noise level was too high for him to be able to receive my transmission on his inverted L but he gave me 539 on his north facing receive loop.

So I had broken my duck & had now had a CW QSO from a summit, this boosted my confidence so I carried on calling & after a few more minutes I heard a very familiar callsign, but as yet one that did not appear in my activator log, it was Roy G4SSH, who although not as strong as Frank was a good 559, with a little QSB while Roy also gave me 559. Roy was using a short vertical that does not like 160m & only 10 Watts! As with other bands, 160m is so much quieter on a summit in the countryside than it is at home in a built up area.

So with two Top Band QSO’s in the log & no more callers I carried on with the activation on 60m SSB, 40m SSB & 2m FM then went home very happy, although quite sunburnt!

Fast forward almost two weeks, & after arriving home on the Thursday before Good Friday, I pondered over what I would do with my two extra days off. A leisurely chill out was on the cards until I saw that leading Top Band activator John G4YSS would be activating G/LD-013 Old Man of Coniston on Good Friday morning using the SSEG callsign GX0OOO/P. Great, I thought, what better way to start off the Easter break than chasing a summit on 160m. I tuned up my station ready for the morning & set my alarm for far earlier than I would normally on a day off then commenced watching TV.

At about 2AM I woke up, still in front of the TV, & after a quick play on the internet I had the idea of going out early to a local summit to attempt a Top Band summit to summit QSO with John. I knew I had an antenna that worked but spent about two hours deciding which radio to take. I could have taken the 100 Watt FT897D & virtually guaranteed the contact, or I could take the 5 Watt FT817ND & bank on John’s noise level being very low, as it usually in on most summits.

I had charged up both my 7Ah & 2.2Ah SLAB’s & at around 4AM I decided that in the interest of using Kit that I would normally have on an activation I began packing my FT817ND & my usual kit, with the addition of the 10m carbon fibre pole & what was now a 160/80/60/40 link dipole.

I had looked at different methods of carrying the longer pole safely on my motorcycle & had arrived at a very secure arrangement, so at about 5:50utc on a lovely spring morning, I set off on my trusty two-wheeled stallion for the same summit I had activated two weeks before, G/SP-012 Easington Fell. John had alerted for 07:50utc & I arrived at the parking area on fell road at about 06:15utc, this gave me over an hour & a half to get to the summit & be on the air. After a 27 minute walk I was at the summit & immediately set about erecting up the 160m dipole. John has a habit of being early on his activations & I didn’t want to run the risk of missing him.

I erect my top band dipole by first laying it out loosely on the ground & attaching both ends to fully extended walking poles, each with two short guy lines that will hold them upright once the antenna is lifted. I fix the centre of the dipole to the top of the pole along with a third guy line, & then lift the antenna up until taught, which also pulls the walking poles upright. I then walk the third guy line out & peg it to keep the whole arrangement in place. I have found this to be far easier & sturdier than other methods I have tried with large wire antennas.

I connected the radio & checked the SWR & all was as it should be, with the antennas resonant frequency around 1850 KHz. I had taken some short extension pieces for lowering its resonant frequency, but decided against fitting them.

I was set up & ready to go at around 07:25utc & while monitoring 1832 KHz I had a stroll around the summit enjoying the spring morning. While some distance away from the radio I heard some CW, & I recognised the callsign of Phil G4OBK, putting out I assume a tentative call for John. I dashed back to the radio & quickly set up my new video camera then gave Phil a call. I had missed Phil on my previous 160m activation as his he was re-arranging his shack, but knowing that he has a good 160m station I wondered if my 5 Watts would be sufficient to reach Pickering in North Yorkshire a couple of hours after sunrise.

I needn’t have worried, Phil came straight back to me with a 559 report & I had my first QSO of this activation as I hadn’t worked anyone on 2m FM beforehand this time.

About ten minutes later I heard John’s first CQ & was one of several stations to reply, but obviously, my 5 Watts was not enough to be heard above other more powerful stations. John was a very good 599 so having already worked Phil G4OBK & received 559 I was very confident that a summit to summit would be possible. I led in the early morning sunshine & listened while John worked a string of chasers. All stations John worked were clearly readable to me, although I doubt whether my 5 Watts would have been able to get through to some of the weaker stations.

After one particular QSO had finished I sent my callsign G0VOF/P & hoped for the best. After a few seconds, although it felt much longer John replied with my callsign & my first CW summit to Summit QSO was now underway. I am still improving at CW but am confident enough at 18wpm that I can copy the relevant details from a QSO, so although I missed the odd letter that John sent me, I soon pieced the passages together & had no problem copying callsign, report or summit references, the basic requirements for SOTA.

After a very pleasant QSO with 599 sent from me & 579 received from John we wished each other 73 & we had achieved a very rare thing in SOTA, a top band summit to summit. I then did what I always thought I would do if I used CW from a summit, I got up & did a little dance Hi!

I followed John’s progress & when he QSY’d to 80m CW I listened in. When he moved to SSB I gave him a call, although I thought my SWR was not right we made the QSO. It was then that I realised I was using my 60m dipole, not my 80m dipole!

I then set up my J-Pole for 70MHz on my 7m glass fibre pole & began the rest of my activation.

After a further summit to summit with John on 70MHz FM & with Karen 2W0XYL/P on GW/NW-018 Moel Llyfnant along with many very pleasant QSO’s with chasers & non-chasers alike I decided that rather than risk another case of sunburn I would pack up & return home.

With no further callers on 2m FM I did just that, very happy that with John’s help I had taken part in not the first, or the second, but possibly only the third summit to summit on 160m in the history of SOTA.

I have to say, despite the obvious problems that a large antenna poses on certain summits, as a band for summit to summit use I think 160m has great potential, even during daytime. Away from sources of noise that you may have at home, 160m is lovely & quiet & in my opinion could out perform 80m over certain relatively short paths.

The main thing I got out of my two forays onto top band was that I have got over any fear I had of using CW from a summit & I hope to include some CW in my activation from now on, although probably on the not so busy bands to start with Hi!

For those interested, I have posted videos of both activations on my Youtube channel, with the second video showing the 160m S2S from my end of the QSO.

Saturday 9th April http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-YkccnVWTVs

Friday 22nd April http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGQ4s3Y8JH0

Thanks to Frank G3RMD, Roy G4SSH, Phil G4OBK & especially John G4YSS for the top band QSO’s & may we have many more of them in the future.

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF


CANADA-US SOTA NEWS By Fred K6DGW

The weather across much of North America is heading into spring despite
some huge storms over the south eastern US, but even so, NA SOTA
activity picked up noticeably in April.

ACTIVATION REPORTS: As usual, I will summarize the longer reports here
and post the full report with any photos I get to
www.foothill.net/~andreaj/SOTA.htm

W4/SH-003 Fork Mt. Chuck [K4QS] activated this summit in the first part
of April amid great weather. At 1,174 m [3,850 ft] this an 8 point
summit in the W4 Association/VA Section. Chuck reports his new Jeep
Rubicon got a nice off-road work-out driving up a fire road. The summit
is occupied by an FAA Air Traffic Control radio site with all the
attendant antennas and microwave dishes, and he was forced to locate in
a small wooded area. Chuck got 4 in the log [W5ESE, HA7UG, F5SQA and
K3RLL] Laci, HA7UG, seems to be everywhere! See the above URL for
Chuck’s full report.

W4/SH-001 Hawksbill Mt. Chuck [K4QS] also activated W4/SH-001 about the
same time in April.

"I packed the ATS4, T1 tuner and VersaTee and headed up to the summit of
Hawksbill Mt. in Shenandoah Park. Another beautiful day, cloudless with
a high temp close to 21 C [70 F].

Twenty QSO’s went in the log today. All on 20m. QSB again and the calls
seemed to come in spurts with Europe coming in later that usual.

I wasn’t quite able to get myself out of sight of the observation deck
on the summit and entertained several curious onlookers. All were
fascinated with what I was doing, but I’m not sure if I made any
converts to the hobby.

I have worked Fred, KT5X on several of his activations this past week
including one ATS3B to ATS3B QSO. It was nice to be on the mountain for
today’s QSO. Thanks Fred."

W4/BR-014 ‘Peak 3100’ Chuck [K4QS]: “Another GREAT activation!”

"I think I want to name this no name peak ‘Thick’. No opening to be
found anywhere at the summit, just thick, thick brush and trees. With a
little work I made a hole big enough for the VersaTee to stick up from.
I spent my time working you and hoping Mr. Bear would not smell my
granola bars and come in for lunch. There was not a lot of visibility in
any direction.

The plus side of hunkering down in the brush, I was out of the 40 kt.
wind gusts. Sunny skies and temps about 20 C [70 F].

14 QSO’s in the log. NO pics, I brought a camera with no battery."

Rich, N4EX, provided a concise summary for parts of the W4 Association:

W4/EM-021: Mt Jefferson, NC. April 7th. Multi-op, multi-station by
N4EX & WA2USA. Total of 15 QSO’s made using Elecraft KX1 with Buddipole
at 2 m [6 ft] & K1 with Inv V at 3.6 m [12 ft]. “To the best of my
knowledge, this was the first SOTA activation within the Carolinas.”

W4/EP-007: Shepherd Mtn. NC. April 8th. Single-op, single station by
W4MPS. Total of 4 QSO’s made on 144Mhz simplex.

W4/CM-001: Mt. Mitchell, NC April 10th. Multi-op, multi-station by N4EX
& WA2USA. Total of 32 QSO’s made using Elecraft KX1 with dipole at 2.1
m [7 ft] & K1 with Inv V at 3.6 m [12 ft]. At 2,037 m [6,684 ft], Mt.
Mitchell is the highest summit in the U.S. east of the Mississippi River.

W4/EM-034: Paddy Mtn., NC. April 12th. Multi-op multi-station by N4EX &
WA2USA. Total of 1 QSO made using KX-1 & end fed wire. QRT necessary
due to rain & approaching thunderstorms.

W4/EM-034: Paddy Mtn., NC. April 13th. Multi-op, single station by
N4EX & WA2USA. Total of 17 QSO’s made using K1 & Inv V at 3.6 m [12
ft]. Much better wx than previous attempt.

W4/WV-001: Mt. Rogers, VA. April 14th. Multi-op, single station by
N4EX & WA2USA. Total of 27 QSO’s made using K1 & Inv V at 3.6 m [12
ft]. At 1,747 m [5,729 ft], Mt. Rogers is the highest summit in Virginia.

Thanks Rich, that’s a lot of activity for one month. And the usual
suspects continued activity in our W5 Association:

W5/PW-020 ‘Peak 9420’ Fred [KT5X] activated W5/PW-020 on 12 April. It
is north of Santa Fe, NM. Fred made 13 Q’s, one of them with me, and
was spotted by … who else? … HA7UG. Full report at the above URL

W5/PW-023 Atalaya Mt. Fred [KT5X] and Mike [KE5AKL] activated this 2,780
m [9,118 ft] peak on 5 April. He reports:

"This morning Mike, KE5AKL, and I, climbed Atalaya Peak, SOTA W5/PW-023,
which is a 548 m [1,800 ft] ascent in only 3.28 km [2 mi]. The hike
began in the cold and wind, but up top it was strangely still and warm.
Up there we were in the ponderosa pines and fir trees, with big views
to the Pecos Wilderness, east, and across the Rio Grande Valley way, way
below to the west.

The station weighs two pounds total, ATS3B, LiPO battery, Palm paddle,
KI6J tuner with EFHW on 20, 20 ft mast. Thank you to the several people
who were able to keep an ear out for us and made us feel very happy as
we came up to loud signals from friends calling us!"

Fred and Mike logged 11 Q’s from the summit. It should be noted that
KT5X makes a habit of actually running up these mountains! This was
probably an easy stroll for him.

W5/SI-010 Palomas Pk. Fred [KT5X]/Mike [KE5AKL] also activated 2,647 m
[8,682 ft] Palomas Peak in the Sandia mountains outside Albuquerque NM
in the middle of the month. The Sandia’s dominate the horizon from
Albuquerque, and Palomas is the northernmost peak.

“Setting up was a little more problematic than on other peaks because
the top of the mountain is covered by a scraggly low growing high
altitude oak tree that absolutely eats things like string and wire. Mike
set up on 40 mtrs, while I set up on 20 mtrs, probably easier with
shorter wire run.”

We have that flora here in the higher reaches of the Eastern Sierra
Nevada, and it not only eats string, rope, and wire, it also eats your
skin if you brush against it. This lends credence to the wisdom, "The
antenna will stay up better if you shed a little blood putting it up."
Their full report is at the above URL.

Look for Fred from one or more of the “Colorado Fourteeners” this
summer, they’re all mountains in excess of 4,268 m [14,000 ft] AMSL.
He’s also planning to do the Pike’s Peak run again. And from Mike,
KD9KC, we have the El Paso Gang report:

W5/SC-007 Monjeau Pk, W5/SC-011 Wofford Lookout, and W5/SC-034 Moon Mt:
In the W5 area, as the end of the winter bonus draws to a close, the
El Paso SOTA gang made a flurry of activations. 5 summits were
activated in the past 3 months. W5/SC-006 (after a record snow storm)
and W5/SC-005 were both previously reported on. For April,
W5/SC-007(Monjeau Peak) and W5/SC-011 (Wofford Lookout) were activated.
In addition, KD9KC made a double-activation. In conjunction with
W5/SC-011 he also did W5/SC-034 (Moon Mountain). This makes KD9KC the
first W5 SOTA operator to earn the 100 point certificate. Shortly
thereafter, KT5X also surpassed the 100 point mark.

Reported active W5 operators for the month of April were Mike - KD9KC,
Fred - KT5X, Ron - WT5RZ, Sean - KD6CUB, Mike - KE5AKL, Alan - NM5S,
Doug - W5DET and Uli - K5ULI. Military duty took KJ6KQB from Fort
Bliss. He is now at Fort Sill in Oklahoma. We hope he will find time
to activate some of the OK summits for us.

As the winter bonus ends and the windy season begins, there is likely to
be a pause in W5 activity. Look for it to start up again as the winds
die down and the summer bonus takes effect in the Texas mountains on 1
June. In the mean-time, think about recruiting more operators to SOTA.
Give a thought to making a presentation to a local club. Talk up your
plans with friends on the repeater. Use V/UHF from the summit or while
hiking up or down to stir up more interest in your
local areas. And, please remember to log your activations.

A good reminder, Mike, go to the SOTA site, click on Database at the
top, and log in and enter your log … activators AND chasers.

W7/SU-061 Sand Mt. Jim, K6JWV, activated Sand Mt. in So. Utah on 20
Apr. This is not a first for Jim, but first on Sand Mt this year. At
388 m [1,275 ft], it’s a one-pointer for those of us out here on the
western frontier [we have BIG mountains, you have to go into thin air to
get the big points], but Jim also used it to check out a new hiking bag.
He made 9 QSO’s including … surprise! HA7UG, and S58AL.

OTHER NEWS FROM THE NEW WORLD:

JP, VA2SG, reports no activation activity [although I have seen him in
logs and seen his chaser spots] from VE2, however they’re planning on at
least 3 VE2 summits on the air for International SOTA Weekend, 1-2 May
[UTC].

A quick study of the activations listed above suggests that "Team SOTA"
is the fun way to do it. Many summits in NA are remote, and activating
one with a buddy or two seems to add to the enjoyment.

The EFHW [end fed half-wave] antenna seems to be catching on for SOTA
activators here. Stu, KI6J, who is also the W6 Association Manager, has
designed a tuner for it that is tiny and very light. With increasing
openings on the higher frequencies, I’m going to have to give it a try.
There was a time when most antennas were end fed and a half-wave long,
I guess interest faded as low impedance coax became the transmission
line of choice. Apparently, the EFHW has resurfaced in a new niche.

Finally, as summer approaches and because SOTA is catching on as a new
way to enjoy QRP and field activities, we’re going to have an increasing
number of activations. I welcome all the stories, I’ll get them
published one way or another. Please include the date, the summit
designator, and the first names and calls of all operators. I’m an
engineer, not a journalist, but I learned "Who, What, When, Where"
somewhere along the line.

73,

Fred K6DGW [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Auburn CA


THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 28. Rob and Audrey G4RQJ

Sunday 3rd April, Kirby Moor.

As its Mothers Day, just a small local one so we can make a quick get away. We used the easy route up via the Kirby Slate Road accessed from SD269819 on a minor road that can be accessed from the A5092 via the B5281. There is space for about four cars at the junction. The Slate road is driveable up to a utilities site and is much used by dog walkers etc. Our car has low ground clearance so we usually walk up from the junction. There is space for odd cars on the way up but avoid the farm gates and the utilities area that are in regular use. Walk through the gate just beyond the utilities building, turn right and follow the wall up.

Keep walking north on windmill tracks to the small summit cairn. We were checking the road with a view to a club activation later in the year when we get some of our less able members up to the summit for an evening activation. It helps then to be able to drive up to the utilities building. The alternative route is from Gawthwaite on the A5092 just after the B5281 junction. Just over the hill crest there is a quarry road on the left with room for a few cars. Park here and take the signed path about 100yds further along the main road. Be aware that there is an unfenced disused quarry on your right just before you reach the wind farm track that climbs to the summit plateau. Today it was misty on top and the tracks on the summit plateau although wide are all very similar and can be confusing.

We worked the usual large bag of chasers and were joined by George 2E0GEO who had heard us whilst out mobile and walked up from Gawthwaite. The sea mist continued to plague the top and it was annoying to see the much larger hills to the north totally in the clear as we looked through the letterbox slit between the ground and the overcast.

Sunday 10th April Norbreck Rally,

A total pleasure as always to meet and chat with so many SOTA folk, 89 in the visitors book and not everyone signed by a long chalk Nice to see many new faces as well as most of the usual crowd. Really not a lot we can add to what has already been said. A great day out and sorry to here that many of our visitors from the south were stuck in a lot of traffic on the motorway, the Anglsey folk did not get home till 9 o’clock and after an early start at that. That’s one of the advantages of living to the north particularly on summer Sunday evenings when the M6 from the Lake District south is often stationary for mile after mile. We know of people who visit relatives up here who wait till 9 0’clock before setting off and are not much later back at home than the early starters, The moral is spend more time here.

See questions about what key to use for SOTA. Used to use a small pump action key but found it very difficult without a stable base. Now use a home brew paddle, two micro switches, a bit of junior hacksaw blade and some of the plastic sheet that plastic window frames are made from. (Plenty of off cuts free, try local builder or a skip). There are a few pics on Flickr G4RQJ. The key straps to a thigh (ooh err missus) has a nice action, costs next to nowt and if you stand on it by mistake just build another. Even have a bag full if micro switches somewhere so drop us a line if you’re stuck.

Sunday 17th Gummers How.

Unbelievably Audrey has had yet another cold and is coughing badly again (I had it the week before the rally so hope we didn’t infect anyone.) I said “No sota for you this weekend “but we ended up on Gummers How doing a VHF only activation so again sorry to the hf faithful. Half of Barrow has the cold and the rest are getting it for Easter.

See that Tom M1 EYP had a bit of an episode with the chair lift on Great Orme; they are not my (Rob) favourites either. Made the mistake of going on the little one on the Isle of Wight from the theme park (Visit the Marconi Memorial in the car park) to Alum Bay. I was quite comfortable at the start till I realised it was going over the edge and there was no way out. We walked back up! Local radio was asking recently for your most scary movie moment, definitely Sylvester Stallone on the iron ladder in Cliff Hanger. Funnily enough aircraft are no problem even to the extent of standing on the Perspex floor panel in a New Zealand Air Force Bristol freighter and watching Malaya pass under my feet several thousand feet below.

Sunday 24th April Lambrigg Fell.

The Lakes are packed to the rafters for Easter so yet another little one to keep out of the way. Parked on the quarry road, first on the left after you leave the M6 at J37. There is room here for quite a few cars but be aware that the quarry is active and needs heavy vehicle access as do farm vehicles. Cross the main road to the metal gates and follow the bridle way for about a mile to reach another gate in a cross wall. This wall leads to the summit which consists of a few lumps each of which looks larger than its neighbour until you’re standing on it. GPS suggests a long narrow rocky dune of a thing just to the north of the wall,( it can be almost an island in the wet season). We have operated from it in the past but today we elect for the high ground just to the south of the wall which is within a foot of height and has much more room for antennas. Several activators worked today who have activated this hill all said that the best policy is pick one of the bumps and go for it, they are all well in the activation area. A super three hour activation and only one visiting couple during the whole time.

Our forced visits to the local small hills have shown us just how nice they are when visited on a good day instead of as a last resort when everything else is covered in clag.

A little radio advice for Lake District visitors. 70cms is little used locally and there are not many who monitor it. For best VHF results call CQ on 2m fm where there are quite a few dedicated chasers to the south. There are a few to the west in the coastal strip but little to the east (with apologies to John in Penrith) and the north towards Carlisle seems to be a dead zone although you may catch some of the GM’s further away if you’re in the north of the area. If you’re using a hand held make sure it is fully charged, ideally just before you set off. If at all possible don’t use the rubber duck on the rig; even a simple telescopic quarter wave will give a big improvement. Use the high power setting, certainly at the beginning of the activation, you probably won’t have a lot of time on the summit so don’t waste it calling CQ on low power and getting no answers. As an example, a station on Helvellyn recently, running low power was inaudible here and David G6LKB in Ulverston was giving him 3 and 3 so he was not going to raise a lot of trade even with a spot! Initially if you have a beam, beam south unless you are very far to the north of the park. Beaming south should get you a spot which should then produce the goods. If things get desperate local repeaters are as follows

To the south GB3LD Rx145.650 Tx145.075 CTCSS H 110.9.
To the east GB3EV Rx145.700 Tx145.100 CTCSS C 77
To the north GB3AS Rx145.600 Tx145.000 CTCSS C 77
To the east GB3GD Rx145.625 Tx145.025 CTCSS H 110.9

A call on one of these should produce some willing accomplices. Please do come and visit us and if in any doubt regarding start points, parking routes etc just drop us a line before hand and we will try and help out.
All for now, take care out there.

73
Rob and Audrey
G4RQJ


MY LONGEST ACTIVATION – by Nick G4OOE

G/TW-002 - CRINGLE MOOR (Drake Howe) 19th APRIL 2011

Leaving again at 0720, I made the similar journey as to G/TW-001 except at Chop Gate I turned left and headed for the Lord Stones Cafe on the Carlton-in-Cleveland road. I arrived at 0832 to find the cafe closed and the gate locked, nothing in the car park except a peacock and a partridge like bird strutting around, a great pity as I really fancied a bacon butty! The sign said that it would be open at 0900. I waited until 0915 and then gave up and headed East along the Cleveland Way. A moderately steep stone footpath to negotiate up to Cringle Moor with some more great views of Roseberry Topping and Carlton Bank. After pausing for rest a couple of times (those SLABs are really heavy), I arrived at the summit cairn at 0955. The cairn was a big pile of stones next to a hollowed out circular bit of moorland and is about 30 yards from the Cleveland Way footpath.

I erected a 40m dipole as an inverted vee with both ends supported and guided on separate poles and I put my 2m dipole on the top of the Cairn. After taking some photographs, I gave Roy G4SSH a call and I was in business.

I started on 7032 kHz at 0938z and had quite a pile up, then I tried 40m ssb but had no luck. This was completely my fault, I had the CW narrow filter switched in and this filtered out all SSB signals received! I apologise to those SSB chasers that were trying to make contact with me. However, I did manage a few SSB contacts later in the day. I had moderate success on 10MHz CW and a first for me, I tried 2m CW and managed contacts with G4SSH and G0NUP.

Summary of contacts: 0938-1437z 94 contacts (including several dupes)

7 Mhz cw - DL, EA, EI, F, G, GM, HB9, I, OE, OK, ON, PA, S51, 9A
10 Mhz cw - DL, ES, HB9, OZ, SM,
7 Mhz ssb - G, EI
144 Mhz - cw - G
144 Mhz - ssb - nil
145 Mhz - fm - G stations from: Barnsley, Catterick, Filey, Goathland, North Shields, Pontefract, Spennymoor, Stockton-on-Tees and Thirsk

Summary of equipment used:

FT-857 20-50w
HF 40m dipole antenna with Z-100 Plus tuner,
VHF 2m dipole
MFJ 403 portable iambic keyer
1 x 10Ah and 1 x 7Ah batteries.

This was my longest activation and I closed down at 1447z

It was a great day. The weather was sunny with a heat haze and slight breeze on the summit. Lots of paragliders circling around during the day and several grouse also seen flying around and a white coloured stoat or weasel-like animal that scampered a few feet from me. Apart from one visiting couple I was left alone. I left the summit at 1630 arrived back at the car at 1700 and home eventually at 1837. I would like to thank everyone that worked me and spotters G4SSH, DL2DXA, G4JZF and OZ4RT. I just need G/TW-005 now to complete the set!

73
Nick G4OOE


A BUSY MONTH IN THE PENNINES By Mike 2E0YYY

Well, with the arrival of warmer weather, I decided to make a concerted effort on the SOTA front and maybe try some HF for a change. From my home QTH, I’ve spent too much time on the higher frequencies and almost certainly, far too much time on the rig in general.

My first ever three SOTA activations were conducted during last Autumn and Winter with G1STQ and exclusively on the higher HF frequencies, where certainly during winter months, band conditions are far from easy.

Anyway, on the 28 March, I set off for the Cloud G/SP-015, armed with an A99 CB and my home brew VHF antennas, a couple of 5ft poles, 20Ah SLAB and the trusty FT-857. Even on such a short ascent, carrying this amount of equipment was hard work. The summit was easily qualified on the 2m band with plenty of contacts on both SSB and FM. However, erecting the 18ft CB antenna attached to a 10ft pole for HF, proved somewhat more challenging but as the saying goes, no pain no gain.

The first contact was on the 15m band with US5UZ Nick who gave me a 59 report. The second contact was a S2S with G1STQ, who unbeknown to me, had decided to activate G/SP-013 Gun. This was an armchair contact which couldn’t have been easier. John informed me, there was a Japanese station further up the band and suggested I try to work him. Rather surprisingly, I got him on my first call, JS6DMT, Naoto on the Island of Okinawa. Following our QSO, I asked him if he wouldn’t mind give John G1STQ who was running a QRP station, a call? Naoto, agreed and then demonstrated remarkable patience in trying to work John, where eventually, signal reports were exchanged. John was over the moon with his new DXCC, he thanked me and we parted company. I then QSY’d up the band to find VR2PW Antonio in Hong Kong calling CQ. Once again my luck was in and I managed to net him on my second call, this being a new one for me.

By now, I was on a roll and amongst many other DXCC contacts, I found CO6LC in Cuba, LU7FSM in Argentina, VA3EBM, P40L on the Island of Aruba, A92GR Mohamed in Bahrain, HI8LAM Luis in the Dominican Republic, VA2ZZ, 7Q7HB Harry in Malawi and my good friend Bob LZ/G3LRM. On the 12m band contacts were made with YB0NFL, Arief in Jakarta, W4WRL, EA8/DL8MG on one of the Canary Islands.

The S2S on 15m with John G1STQ, was almost certainly a first for any G stations if not all SOTA. The contacts with JS6, VR2, P40L and maybe even 7Q7 were possibly firsts for G and once again, maybe SOTA

Even from my home QTH, such DX contacts as these in one day would be remarkable, however finishing with 4 new DXCC’s (JS6, VR2, P40L and 7Q) on a SOTA activation while running low power, was something very special!

VHF Activations

Having made 7 previous activations with more than 100 contacts on the 2m band, I was determined to make the magic 200 figure, This finally achieved on the 16 April when 208 contacts were made from G/SP-004 Shining Tor. Once again, I activated my favourite summit (and some say my first home) on the 23 April, finding 149 contacts. Between the 28 of March and 25 April I have made a total of ten activations, five on G/SP-015, three on G/SP-013 and two on G/SP-004 for a total of 720 contacts and 43 S2S.

A big thanks to all those who took the time and made the effort to call me, it was my pleasure to work you all.

73
Mike 2E0YYY


CW REPORT FOR APRIL 2011 - by Roy G4SSH

The level of SOTA CW activity dramatically increased during the month of April, especially at weekends, when there were more than 100 chaser points available on each day. The number of newcomers using CW for the first time during the month reached double figures and there were at least this number of new chasers heard calling.

The popular CW spot around 7032 KHz suffered badly from congestion during the month, especially on the holiday weekends, when there were often three or four activations running at any one time. Kurt F/HB9AFI had so many chasers calling him on the 19th April that he resorted to split working, listening 1 KHz up whilst activating F/JU 028, and Arne DL4OCE on NS-008 organised a huge pile-up by taking chasers by the number in their callsign on the 17th April.

The first two days of SOTA Weekend 2011 got off to a good start but there was a very high level of background static noise on 40m at my QTH in North Yorkshire, resulting in many calls being unreadable or readable only with considerable difficulty.

It was a pleasure to hear activations from long-time SOTA friends who had been missing on the bands for some time, First was of Fritz DL2FDM, last heard active in October 2010, and also Al, DJ5AA, last heard in June 2010, who was welcomed back whilst activating along with his colleague Kurt DL8DZV.

On the 19th April I had a good demonstration of how the readability of signals can increase depending on the mode in use when I attempted to copy Nick G4OOE on G/TW-002. On 145 MHz FM I could just tell that someone was speaking but he was unreadable. We then switched to CW on 144.030 MHz and had a clear contact with reports 559 each way.

Heard active above 40m were:-

28 MHz: HB9FBG, M1EYP, TK/HG4UK

24 MHz MM0FMF, M1EYP,

21 MHz: NE1SJ, HA5MA, M1EYP, DK1BN, K3NG, W6/LA1ENA.

18 MHz: DK1BN, EA2EA, G3VQO, NE1SJ, HA2VR, N7UN, F5UKL.

14 MHz:
DR44WFF, DK1BN, DL2AJB,
EA1AER, EA4/SM0HPL, EA2NN, EA2DPA. EA2EA.
F5IUZ, F5UKL, F6HBI,
G0AZS, MW1EYP, MW0IDX,
HA7UL, HA5LV, HA5MA, HA2VR, HA3HK,
HB9AFH, HB9FBG, HB9BAB,
LA1ENA, LA1KHA,
OE8GBK, OE6JTD, OE/LX1NO, OE9AMJ
OK1FFU,
SV2HRT,
S573X, S5/HG4UK
KT5X, KQ4S, KE5AKL, KI6J, K9JWV,
NE1SJ, N4EX, NM5S, N7UN,
WA2USA, WT5RZ, W7/LA1ENA, W6/LA1ENA,
Z35M

10 MHz:
DC7CCC, DL4CW,DJ3AX, DL/HB9AGO, DL4FDM, DL2AJB, DK1HW,DL/LX1NO, DJ3AX.
EA4/SM0HPL, EA2DPA, EA2EA,
F5IUZ, F8HBI, F5UKL, F5VGL, F6HBI,
G4ASA, MM0ROV, G4RQJ, G0AZS, G4OOE, MM0FMF, MW0IDX, G4OIG, G3RDQ,
HA7UL, HG4UK, HA2VR, HA3HK,
HB9BIN, HB9AFI, HB9CGA, HB9/LX1NO, HB9BAB, HB9DGV,
IZ1KSW,
LA1KHA, LA1ENA,
OE8GBK, OE5EEP, OE5DIN, OE/DL4CW,
OK1EQ, OK2SAM, OK1FFU, OK2VWB, OK1DDQ, OK1DPX, OK1XVZ, OK1CZ, OK1DDQ, OK1DXK, OK2BWB, OK2SAM,
S57X, S59UAR,
KT5X
Z35M

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

3.5 MHz GX0OOO, OK9HAG, DK1BN, MM0ROV,
1.8 MHz GX0OOO, G3RDQ, G0VOF,

A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers, heard activating SOTA’s for the first time on CW during April:- Michal OK1GHZ, Gab IZ1KSW, Tom DK5WN, Juan EA1AER, Raul EA2DPA, Moises EA4MD, Peter SV0XAW, Mark G0VOF, Martin DC8MH, Jo DJ3CQ, Peter DL6CGC, Csaba DH7KU. Andre DL2PAN, Gerd DL8UZ.

Heard active on expeditions outside their own countries were: EA4/SM0HPL, F/HB9AFI, OE/DL4CW, DL/HB9AGO, HB9/LX1NO, OE/LX1NO, DL/OK2QA, OK/DL2XL, TK/HG4UK, S5/HG4UK, DL/OE5EEP, W7/LA1ENA, W6/LA1ENA
HA/DH7KU, DL/LX1NO.


CONTESTS DURING MAY 2011

The following scheduled contests are expected to cause severe QRM to SOTA activity, especially on the 40m band. Activators should plan accordingly with alternate spots / bands. This is not a complete list of contests.

7th – 8th 2000-2000 ARI International DX Contest CW/SSB/RTTY
8th only 0001-2359 SKCC Weekend Sprint
14th only 1000-1200 EUCW CW QSO Party
14th - 15th 1200-2359 CQ-M International DX contest CW and SSB
14th - 15th 1200-1200 Volta WW RTTY contest
21 -22nd 1200-1200 EU PSK DX Contest
28 -29th 0001-2359 CQ World-Wide CW WPX contest. (Major disruption)

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.

73
Roy GR4SSH
SOTA News Editor
g4ssh@tiscali.co.uk

North American input to:-

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


#2

In reply to G4SSH:

Dear Roy,

many tnx for the fb SOTA-news and the warm welcome-back to me.
I d´like to be more often QRV, but sometimes the job takes to much time…
Today was great fun hearing you calling-me on 7035 even without calling cq SOTA. You did it like the hungry fox…hi (btw, sri for my QSD).
On Thursday-evening I was surprised to see HB9BIN/p at the cluster QRV on
the same summit like me but 2 hours later. Sri to miss him, but I QRT because of heavy rain showers. I think he had lots of QRN in the rain-clouds.

Vy73 es hpe cuagn
Fritz DL4FDM,HB9CSA


#3

In reply to DL4FDM:

It was my pleasure to come across you having an s2s with Uli on 7033 KHz, Fritz. Having noted your sending characteristics and signal strength it was then a pretty safe bet that the next person sending QRL? within a couple of KHz above or below Uli would be you, without the need for callsigns.

All part of the fun of SOTA chasing !

73
Roy


#4

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks for the news Roy, & apologies to all for the odd typo in my contribution, I hope you enjoy reading it & can appreciate how happy I was to have finally used CW on an activation & on 160m too!

I look forward to Phil G4OBK’s trip to GD, & looking at the dates I should hopefully be able to attempt another S2S with Phil. I will look out for his alerts :slight_smile:

I have to say, before I set off for my first attempted S2S on 160m I did check the database to see how often it had been done before, & was amazed at just how many 160m activations John G4YSS has done. Congratulations are indeed due to him for achieving Mountain Goat purely on Top Band!

I look forward to working many chasers & activators alike using CW in the future, now that I am no longer nervous about using the mode. I do like 160m but appreciate that chasers will struggle to hear 5 Watts from an FT817 in daytime conditions. For that reason I am thinking of building a small amplifier purely for 160m CW. You will note that I didn’t call it a “linear”, as I am thinking of using Class C, which should be much more efficient, but of course useless for SSB or AM. I am looking at an output power of between 30 - 100 Watts from a 12V supply, has anybody any design suggestions? Ideas greatfully appreciated to my email address which is correct on QRZ.com.

Thanks all & Best 73,

Mark GR0VOF


#5

In reply to G4SSH:

Hi Roy,
Thanks for your efforts with the news once again. I know it takes up quite a bit of your time but it’s much appreciated. I enjoyed reading all of it this time and I see that both 160m here and SOTA in N. America are on the up. Nick G4OOE has made a great start and is beginning to settle into a routine. Mark G0VOF has put the CW activating demon to rest. Many other good articles - Mike 2E0YYY & Andy MM0FMF. Not forgetting regulars Barry, Fred, Rob & Audrey and your own CW column.

It looks like I will miss an S2S with Phil GT7OOO as I’ll be on my way back from Wales. 73, John GR4YSS.