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SOTA NEWS MAY 2015 Part 1


#1

SOTA NEWS - MAY 2015. Part one of two

EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH

Welcome to the May 2015 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Andy MM0FMF, Barry GM4TOE, Skip K6GDW, Allen VK3HRA, Dennis ZS4BS, Mark G0VOF, Kevin G0NUP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, John G4YSS, Mikel EA2CW, Sake PA0SKP, Andre F5UKL, Tom HB9DPR, Ralf DL3JJ, Jürg HB9BIN, Marq CT1BWW, Rob G0HRT.

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ASSOCIATION NEWS - from Andy MM0FMF

No new associations this month, the April association updates will be done along with May’s updates shortly. The MT have been a little busy so these have had to wait. Apologies to AMs who are waiting to see their work appear.

SMS spotting update

I’ve had the ability to spot myself via Iridium satellite messaging for about 12months now. This guarantees the ability to self spot independent of phone signal. My spotting hardware is a homebrew hotch-potch of Raspberry Pi, Iridium Modem and a mobile phone for the control. It works for me but it’s a bit messy for non-hackers. I’m now able to offer support for spotting by owners of Delorme InReach units. This is a handheld GPS/satellite messaging unit about the size of a normal handheld GPS. You use it conjunction with an iPhone or Android phone to send and receive SMS messages anywhere in the world. In addition to messaging, they have emergency modes etc. Well now you can send self spots too. In my case, I made a satellite spotter simply to play with the technology. For people in the more remote parts of Australia, USA, Russia etc. they are truly useful. If you want to use an InReach to self spot please contact me.

Andy, MM0FMF
Database, SOTA cluster and spotting.

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MIKEL EA2CW

The EA2 Association Manager, Mikel, EA2CW has stepped down from his post.
SOTA MT seeks to appoint a replacement in due course, but first wishes to place on record its thanks and appreciation for Mikel’s work in reviewing and maintaining the active and successful EA2 association.

For now, any questions about the EA2 association should be sent to the MT."

Rob G0HRT
Associations Manager
For SOTA MT

SOTA AWARDS FOR APRIL 2015 - from Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

Award claims are well down this month reflecting the end of the winter bonus period but still waiting for more clement weather. Congratulations to new Mountain Goats VA2VL (first in Canada), VK3YY, KX0R, OE5REO and VK3HRA. Those claiming their Shack Sloth award include W2CKL, W3ATT, KX0R, VK5NIG and VK2WTY – congratulations to them too. Martha W0ERI marches on now having reached 30k Chaser points and Peter VK3PF reaching 15k points, I seem to have to process new awards for Peter every month! VK3HRA has also joined the ranks of SOTA completists, no easy matter when your home territory is so vast and the numbers of fellow amateurs thin on the ground.

Trophies

Mountain Goat

VA2VL Jean-Francois Maher
VK3YY Glenn Sneddon
KX0R George Carey Fuller
OE5REO Martin Reiter

Shack Sloth

W2CKL Robert Schertl
W3ATT Brian A Downs
KX0R George Carey Fuller

Certificates claimed

Activator

VK3HRA Allen Harvie 1000 points
IU1AUG Diego Chiari 100 points
AC1Z Bob Daniels 100 points

Chaser

W0ERI Martha Auchard 30000 points
VK3PF Peter Freeman 15000 points
AC1Z Bob Daniels 5000 points
VK3HRA Allen Harvie 5000 points
KX0R George Carey Fuller 1500 points
W3ATT Brian A Downs 1000 points
VK5NIG Nigel Freeston 1000 points
VK2WTY David White 1000 points
K6QCB Jeffrey B Widen 500 points
VK4DD Dave Clodd 500 points
G4FVK David Sewell 500 points
M6RUG David Thorpe 100 points

Activator Unique

W7JET Brian Betz 100 summits
KX0R George Carey Fuller 100 summits

Chaser Unique

VK1DI Ian Sinclair 500 summits
G4FVK David Sewell 100 summits
VK2WTY David White 100 summits

Summit to Summit

VK3HRA Allen Harvie Silver
KX0R George Carey Fuller Red

SOTA Complete
VK3HRA Allen Harvie 100 summits

First my apologies for the short hiatus during the month when all matters SOTA (apart from an activation in brilliant weather) had to take a back seat while I attended to pressing family and business commitments. My thanks to those of you who sat on your hands until I was able to return to normal activities and for the understanding about inevitable delays in dispatch of awards and merchandise.

All SOTA awards are serialised and the information stored in a secure log so that I am able to re-issue a duplicate certificate should you misplace the one you have already received. It has come to my notice that some forgery of certificates is taking place, these awards are absolutely worthless as they will not be registered in the central log and would just be a piece of meaningless wallpaper. We do not charge a lot of money for awards but by paying for them you help to maintain the availability of the data services which are such a key feature of SOTA.

The woman who does the hand engraving of our glass trophies has just started a new job and there have been inevitable delays with the throughput of engraving. I believe we have now caught up with just five trophies in process and waiting to be sent out. Hopefully we are now back to the maximum 28 day turnaround which is our objective.

The Highland Rally takes place in Aviemore on 3rd May. SOTA will have a stand there and a selection of merchandise will be available for purchase. If you are visiting the Rally please come up and say hello, I promise not to bite! It is unlikely that I will have available the food goodies which are a feature of the Norbreck Rally but there might be a biscuit or two available as well as some very toothsome goodies (test gear) on an adjacent table run by my local club.

Needless to say, after a couple of weeks of glorious Spring weather we now have about three inches of snow on the ground and the temperature is below zero. Scotland in the Spring!

73

Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

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SOTA TK EXPEDITION - from Andre F5UKL

I plan a TK SOTA tour between 3rd May and 18th May 2015. Everything will depend on the weather report but I plan to activate more than 10 summits. The first one will be TK / TK-135 Punta di Gulfidoni. I do not know the possibilities of the access to internet but I shall strain to inform you about the reference of the SOTA of the next day. Not determined schedules thus are attuned and thank you in advance to spot me.

André’s timetable:
1 - Punta di Gulfidoni - TK/TK-135
2 - Cime du Zuccarello - TK/TK-104 + FFF-1515 - Crêtes de Teghime-Poggio d’Oletta
3 - Monte San Angelo - TK/TK-082
4 - Monte Negrine TK/TK-088
5 - Punta Paglia - TK/TK-051
6 - Punta Muro - TK/TK-048 + FFF-1409 - Forêts Territoriales de Rospa Sorba
7 - Punta Alta - TK/TK-036 + FFF-1258 – Aiguilles de Bavella
8 - Punta di a Vaca Morta - TK/TK-065 + FFF-242 - Forêt de l’Ospedale
9 - Monte San Petru - TK/TK-058
10 - Punta san Sisto - TK/TK-111
11 - L’Incinosa Ou Chieragella - TK/TK-053
12 - Monte Ravu - TK/TK-125
Best 73
Andre F5UKL

SOTA EXPEDITION TO SCOTLAND

John G4YSS will be off on his travels again this month. He will be active from the GM/NS region of Scotland during the period 5th to 10th of May.

He will be using the callsign GS0OOO/p

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SOTA EXPEDITION TO THE AZORES

I will be on the Azore Islands Terceira (CU3; IOTA EU-175) and São Miguel (CU2; IOTA EU-003) from the 7th to the 14th of May and plan to activate some summits in CW with the callsign CT8/HB9DPR/P.

I will be spotting via SMS where coverage allows.

VY 73 de Tom
HB9DPR

EA2 SOTA DAY CERTIFICTAE 2015 - from Mikel EA2CW

On Sunday 2015-06-14 we will celebrate the 2nd EA2 SOTA Day “2015ko SOTA EGUNA”.

We’ll activate Mt. Atxabal EA2/VI-040, near Murgia (Araba) using the special call EG2UNA, on all bands & modes. Then we’ll have a lunch near the summit at Oroko Andra Mari Sanctuary.

On the previous weekend, (sat 6th - Sunday 7th) we will activate as many EA2 summits as possible, in order to give points for claiming the “2015 EA2 SOTA Eguna” Certificate.

To claim it, you will have to contact with at least 33% of the EA2 summits activated between Saturday 6th 00:00:00 UTC and Sunday 7th 23:59:59, plus the special call EG2UNA (at least once) which will be on the air on Sunday 14th from EA2/VI-040.
More details at: http://sotaeguna2015.blogspot.com/p/15-sota-eguna-certificate.html2
Everybody is invited to take part either activating or chasing.
73
Mikel EA2CW

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SOTA REPORT FROM THE NETHERLANDS - from Sake PA0SKP

Activations on 15th and 24th April 2015
Thanks Roy for working me all the 6 summits I activated on 15/04/2015. DM/RP-064/493/001/006/460/022.
Left home early (3.45 GMT), as I hoped to work VK! And I worked VK2IO from DM/RP-064.( 14.062 – 0658 GMT)
Most QSO’s I made that day on 7 mhz. Thanks all the chasers!
On 7Mhz:OK,G,GM,S5,DL,SP,OE,ON, HB9,EA,PA,OM,F
On 10 Mhz: EA, S5, G, HA,SP ,OZ,
On 14Mhz:VK2,UR, K4,VE2,SP,YO,AC1
Also I worked 7x S2S stations! Total + 100 stations. Thanks!

On the 24th I worked from PA/PA-002 (after a short holiday with my wife). Only 30 min.
7Mhz: DL,HB9,OK,G,ON,PA,GM,HA,OE
14Mhz: YO,SP,EA,PA,DL
21Mhz: YO
28Mhz: 4Z5
CQ on 24Mhz: no reaction
I worked 1x S2S (Jan ,OK2PDT/P)
Rig: KX3 10 Watt, Ant: EndFed 40/20/10 (12,5m)
73
Sake, PA0SKP

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SOTA CT REPORT by Marq CT1BWW

I’m sending this Report behalf of II SOTA Portugal meeting we’ve had this weekend near de Mountains in Seia City.

In April 1st 2015 marked the 4th anniversary of SOTA Portuguese Association, so I am taking this opportunity to share information on the status of the SOTA Programme in CT.

With 327 summits in 11 regions, CT is one of the smaller associations in the SOTA International. However, there is constant growth in the number of HAM’s participating in SOTA here; currently there are 18 chasers and 26 activators. Very welcomed some NEW activators with enthusiasm CT2IUV Nuno, CT7AGT Joaquim, CT2JLS Sergio. So far just 3 Portuguese chasers have achieved Shack Sloth, but we haven’t had anyone with a SOTA Mountain Goat yet. Good performance are CT1MH, Antonio and CT2IUV, Nuno.
Also just arrived with lot of “fever” are Peter CT1DBS and Paul CT7AGR(also PA0PSK).

Currently the list of Activators has 31 stations and for Chasers just 22.

It concludes that SOTA is not yet considered an interesting activity for the Portuguese “Chasers” on the contrary, there is a growing interest as an activator, maybe it’s a call of the Mountain!

As of this day, there are still over 150 summits waiting for their first activation, finally all regions were activated including Beira Alta (CT/BA)

But in Tras-os Montes CT / TR there are many Summits waiting for the first activation, so if anyone fancies taking SOTA virginity from some hills, consider Portugal as a destination for your next HAM holiday.

For visitors please look to the SOTA Mappings Tracks, a great Tool for planning a activation, please select Region and Summit and you will find a track . In case of difficulty please don’t hesitate to ask any further info.

If you are interested in receiving any info from SOTA CT, please send us e-mail and we will introduce you on our data base email for correspondence and news. There are some good Hotels with Prices bed & breakfast much regard.

Example Region Beira Litoral near Coimbra ( nice Hotel Quinta do Viso) you have 5 Near SOTAS .

April has been a busy month for Awards with claims for trophies and certificates. Particular note is Chaser award Charles CT1BQH with 8K Dave CT1DRB with 2,7K, CT1HIX Gomes with 2K and myself with 1,7K.

Activator Award: John CT1BHG getting the 1st and Receive the 250 Activator The rest Not much to add to my report. Maybe the difference from last report was on a a big change with incredible improvement in propagation on the HF bands.This has continued, with all bands up to 28 MHz wide open, which was almost unheard of 12 months ago. The Forecast in Portugal for last months help for NEW Activators, but I’m sure that next month some Activators will appear with more SUMMITS.

Since beginning of CT-SOTA only few activators still working on activation summits.

During this year we hope we had some more visitors, specially on Algarve or Baixo Alentejo some HAM tourist could spend 1 day on the beach and the another on the mountain !

We are also very grateful to the excellent work of translation and adaptation in Portuguese Language of SOTA’s Manual and Activator made by Pedro Carvalho, CT1DBS. Well done Pedro!

Good luck to all of you - and vy 73
Marq CT1BWW

73s frm SOTA Portuguese Assoc.
"Summits and Radio are Not Enough!"
visit: www.sotaportugal.com

Nós no SOTA PORTUGAL estamos comprometidos com a privacidade dos seus dados. De acordo com a Lei vigente, informamos que o endereço de e-mail figura na nossa base de dados para o envio de notícias, fazendo parte de um ficheiro automatizado do qual dispõe do direito de cancelamento ou modificação dos seus dados. Se não desejar cancelar, o seu endereço de correio electrónico continuará na nossa base de dados, entendendo que concorda com os termos e condições da subscrição expressados neste Aviso Legal. Preocupamo-nos pelo seu tempo e intimidade e reiteramos o nosso firme compromisso de utilização responsável destes dados. Se desejar cancelar esta subscrição, responda-nos por email com Ass: FAVOR CANCELAR

73s frm SOTA Portuguese Assoc.
"Summits and Radio are Not Enough!"
visit: www.sotaportugal.com

Nós no SOTA PORTUGAL estamos comprometidos com a privacidade dos seus dados. De acordo com a Lei vigente, informamos que o endereço de e-mail figura na nossa base de dados para o envio de notícias, fazendo parte de um ficheiro automatizado do qual dispõe do direito de cancelamento ou modificação dos seus dados. Se não desejar cancelar, o seu endereço de correio electrónico continuará na nossa base de dados, entendendo que concorda com os termos e condições da subscrição expressados neste Aviso Legal. Preocupamo-nos pelo seu tempo e intimidade e reiteramos o nosso firme compromisso de utilização responsável destes dados. Se desejar cancelar esta subscrição, responda-nos por email com Ass: FAVOR CANCELAR

73
Marq CT1BWW

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A GROUP SOTA EXCURSION TO EUROPE’S HIGHEST HIKING SUMMIT
from Jürg HB9BIN

Dear SOTA activators,

I propose that we mark the 10th anniversary of HB9SOTA with a 2-day mountain trip to Europe’s highest hiking summit. During our hike there and during our evening meal at the Turtmanhütte Alpine hut we can get to know each other better and exchange our knowledge and experiences about SOTA activations. Hans HB9BQU and I (president of HB9SOTA) made this wonderful mountain hike in July 2013 and thus are very familiar with the route. I would please ask any activators who are interested in joining us to reserve the dates listed below and please inform me of their interest to participate in this hiking trip. Depending on the weather forecast, we will then tell you which date we have selected. For the sake of simplicity, each person is to make his/her own overnight reservations at the Alpine hut by calling the number +41 27 932 14 55. The Turtmanhütte is small (built for 80 people), so I ask that you make your reservation as early as possible. In August on a Saturday this hotel is normally fully booked. (http://www.turtmannhuette.ch/)

Note: This is not a formal event but simply a notification that SOTA activators will be gathering together for an activation; health/accident insurance is the responsibility of every individual.

I would be delighted if as many people as possible could join us for our first group SOTA hike.

73 de HB9BIN, Jürg Regli
President, HB9SOTA
Association Manager Switzerland

Summit:
HB/VS-078

Number of SOTA points:
10 points

Height:
3610 m ASL

Coordinates:
N 4609.357 / E 744.046

Date:
22/23 August 2015

Alternate date:
29/30 August 2015 (one week later)

Meeting point / getting there
Every individual gets to the Turtmanhütte Alpine hut on their own, and we will meet as a group for the evening meal at roughly 17:30. For the hike from the parking lot to the hut, depending on your physical condition, you need 2 to 3 hours for the 4.1 km and ascent of almost 700 meters.

For those who wish to hike from the parking lot to the Alpine hut as a group, we will depart at XX.XX.

Getting to the parking lot:
By car: Rhonetal – Turtmann – Turtmanntal – Gruben (N 4612.580 / E 742.249) – Hungerli – Vorder Sänntum (parking lot)
By public transportation: Take the train to Turtmann in the Rhone Valley, then walk 15 minutes to the LTUO gondola (Seilbahn) station. This gondola takes you up to Oberems. From there you ride the Turtmanntal Taxi (+41 27 932 15 50) to Gruben. This bus runs only very sporadically, scheduled departures are at 08:13, 10:13 and 14:13, and the ride is a bit longer than 1/2 hour. You can also order the taxi-bus for a specific time (the fee is CHF 30.00 plus CHF 4.00 per person). When you get to Gruben, there is a hike of 1 hour (3.2 km, 100m ascent) to the Vorder Sänntum parking lot (but upon request the bus will drive the entire way to the parking lot at the end of the road.)

Coordinates at the starting point:
Vorder Sänntum: N 4611.135 / E 741.754

Meals/accommodations:
Evening meal, overnight stay and breakfast in the Turtmanhütte (in 2014 the price was CHF 75.00, www.turtmannhuette.ch). Beds are in bunk rooms that have between four and 12 beds that are provided with a Nordic duvet. In most Alpine huts, for hygenic reasons it is mandatory to have a sleeping bag liner (Hüttenschlafsack); this can be purchased at the hut but will be cheaper to buy ahead of time. Vegetarian meals can be provided if you provide advance notice. For the sake of simplicity, each person is to make his/her own overnight reservations at the hut by calling +41 27 932 14 55.

Hiking trail:
Gruben – Sänntum – Damm – Turtmannhütte (2519M.ü.M) – Gässi – turn left at Point 3090 – Üssers Barrhorn

Level of difficulty:
T3+, the most dangerous spot is Gässli and is partially secured with wire ropes. The ascent is almost 1100 meters.

Distance / hiking trail
Vorder Sännturm to the Turtmannhütte: 4.1 km / 700 meters ascent
Turtmannhütte to the summit at Üssers Barrhorn: 4.37 km / 1100 meters ascent

Time needed for the hike:
Round trip: 9 - 11 hours depending on your physical condition

Provisions for antennas:
There is adequate space on the summit, but there is only one metal summit cross to which you can attach a mast!

Equipment:
Sturdy hiking boots, hiking poles, plenty of water and warm clothing plus waterproof jacket in event of a sudden rainstorm or high winds. Due to weight not every person must bring along a separate station!

Mobile phone reception:
Yes

SOTA NEWCOMER - Ralf DL3JJ

Introduction
Hello

I am 47 years old and a HAM since 1983. I have several awards. Including DXCC, WAS all bands and I have worked more than 2800 bandslots.

What can I do next ? I can only work 200 Bandslots for the next 20 years. This will be lonely…

In shame I can confirm my last real /p activity is over for more than 15 years…
I normally use contest equipment and “some good power” but from time to time also test what is possible with QRP and have worked VE1ZZ with 5W on 160m SSB and ZL7 on 40m with 5W in CW.

Reading in CQDL about GMA-Triathlon woke up my interest.
250Points for summits and 2 additional groups each 50points (made with WWFF, COTA, IOTA or LH).

What would be interesting for me ?
I´m NOT interested in chasing SOTA, IOTA etc. I´m interested in ACTIVATING those !

Checking up my equipment:
TRX: I have IC7000
Antenna: can build homemade
small balun: cheap to buy
mast: cheap to buy
accu: have PB12V17Ah
some parts: in own stock
weight: 13 kg !

After having 25cm of snow with 25cm and strong winds up to 100mph on 9th April, I had time and good weather condx for building antenna I prepared a mast and dipole antenna for 20m, which should be good for testing new activity.

Saturday April 11 was my first mountain activity and first ever SOTA for me.
Nearby Steinberg DM-SX 109 would be my first one.
My physical fitness seemed to be very low, because I was panting on the top.

Never mind. Build up the station and calling CQ.
Some stations came back and all of them told me “terrible condx today ! “

I made only 9 QSO in 1hr. Really bad condx…

Never mind ! After that I went back to my shack and with beam and amp found out: Really bad condx !

New day new luck ! Sunday morning. Sun was shining and temp about 11C.
My first goal was DM-SX 109. Was only QRV 20m with my dipole. Problems from day before were solved, so now I could be QRV faster.
Found some snow there and good condx. EA-stations seemed to be very interested in SOTA
Some were asking about my next activity and so I told them I would go back to SX-093 same day. Told and done ! Was back at Steinberg and did good QSO’s on 20m again.

My weekend was perfect ! I activated 2 summits and gave some new ones to HAM´s. Have worked 40 points for my Triathlon and found out some points. But I can do better.
Today got 2 LiPo´s 14,4V/10Ah each. With this power I can reduce my rig-weight to 10kg.
You can be sure you will find me in the list´s this year again !
I will activate some summits in DM-SX and hope my physical fitness will be better, hi !
It´s really is a new experience for me after such a long time working in the shack only !
Nice to have found a new territory for activation !
73 and excuse for long mail
(I´m really happy about that !)
de
Ralf / DL3JJ/p

THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 88 from Rob and Audrey G4RQJ

April 5th and fog is the order of the day so off to little Lambrigg Fell, a hill where it would not be easy to get lost. Things had become a little better as we rolled into the road to Rowan Edge quarry. Leave the M6 at J37 and head toward Kendal and about a quarter of a mile later the quarry is signposted on your left. There is room for quite a few cars along the access road but the quarry is active and large vehicles use the entrance regularly. Once on foot cross the main road and enter the wind farm via the gate opposite. Follow the path roughly parallel with first a fence then a wall until eventually arriving at a cross wall with a gate. Here a decision is needed, for the marked summit go through the gate and follow the wall until a small outcrop comes into view alongside a very small tarn. This outcrop is the marked summit but on the other side of the wall is another large mound that actually looks marginally higher. This can be reached by following the wall up on the wind farm side and is a much more pleasant to rig antennas.

We chose the wind farm option today but as we walked up we came across a newly dead lamb and a rather distressed ewe. We were not sure quite what to do as the farm is not obvious from this point and decided to try and contact someone on our descent. Once on top the mist had cleared and we spotted the farmer in the distance on a quad bike. We managed to catch his attention by waving (another advantage of red coats) and he drove over. We told him of the lamb which seemed to upset him but he thanked us and chatted for a spell and told us there were no stiles in this top corner of the wind farm wall. We were fairly sure that this was the case so make sure which side of the wall you use before you set off. We said that this was our target for today and he was happy with that, said thanks and set off for his sheep. Later when we descended both ewe and lamb were gone, bet there’s paper work to be done nowadays.

On the top, as we set up the mist returned and we were treated to fifty shades of grey, still at least we could not see the windmills! We worked a station on Great Shunner who said he had been there sunbathing for some time and could see the Lakeland fells very clearly. Not this one.

Sunday12th and time for Norbreck Rally again so off to Blackpool fortunately avoiding both the hoards of speed cameras and road works that made many folks late arriving. The new SOTA banner is fine but much heavier than the old one and the poles struggled to hold it without bending but several miles of gaffer tape and string later things were ready for the off. The flow of visitors was never ending with little time so see the rest of the rally or even get a bite to eat which is as it should be.

Great to meet so many old friends and to make quite a few new ones as well. Just wish we could remember all the names, faces and call signs in the right order. Thanks to everyone for helping to make it a great day.

The original target for Sunday 19th was across in the North Pennines but the forecast for bad weather spreading from the east sent us instead about as far west as possible to Dent. As we drove down the back road to Black How farm from where we start the walk (room for about four cars but popular with dog walkers) we noticed a lot of excavation in progress for a new pipeline and Road Ahead Closed notices began to appear. Eventually a Road Closed appeared but there was no sign of any activity so we ventured onward to reach Black How without problems, a passing walker told us that the close point was just beyond the farm. The whole show seems to be a moveable feast so be aware if you’re planning a trip this way, there is no signed diversion.

It was unusual to see this little summit in springtime as we usually climb it in autumn when the blackberries are out, no pie today. On the summit it was sunny but a very cold wind from the north east. There is little shelter on the top but being aware of the legions of coast to coast walkers staggering to the top of their first hill we set up shop in the long grass a few yards to the south. As we set up a man with a pole on his back hove into view. This proved to be Derek 2E0MIX who lives close by the hill who had seen our alert and come out to see us. We had a joint 2m FM activation working a good number of stations, for a couple of them it was a new summit. 2M SSB was its usual almost silent self, just one contact and that into Scotland!

Today 26th April a super day out on a lovely seldom activated little Holme Fell. The forecast was poor with snow showers and cold winds but we woke to a nice looking sunny day so we decided on this one as it is well sheltered from the worst weather by nestling in the lea of the much larger Coniston range. Added to this the climb is in a sheltered gully for a good deal of its length. We started as usual from Yew Tree tarn on the Coniston to Ambleside road just a couple of miles out of Coniston. There is a small pay car park just past the Yew Tree Farm Tea Room (Miss Potter must be turbinating in her tomb) but there is a free lay by beside the Tarn just beyond. It tends to attract a lot of passing photographers who usually stay for about ten minutes.

From the northwest end of the tarn a path leads round the end of the tarn on stepping stones when wet and into the woods with some of the tallest pine trees we have ever seen. Through the gate at the rear of the wood and the path leads to your left as though to go around the tarn. This is what it did and it was joined by the steep path from up the fell side making a deep V and adding a bit of extra to the walk. Many of us would cut across the V long before that and a short steep rough climb would put you on the higher path without the long detour. This has now been formalised and a real path put down, what a good idea. The path climbs steeply through the woods which are beautiful at this time of year . The bracken and ferns have not yet got going and the ground is a mass of pale green new growth patterned with yellow and blue flowers and the bases of the trees are surrounded with tiny delicate white flowers nodding in the breeze. We climbed slowly with quite a few viewing breaks.

The path eventually enters a steep gully and climbs alongside a stream. In fact the path is rough and the stream bed is often better under dry conditions and today it is barely a trickle. At the top of the gully there is a large pile of stones, these paths were once workers routes to high quarries and such though a full day’s work and return trip must have been hard indeed’ from here there are two choices. 1) Turn left and climb steeply on grass to reach a plateau between two competing summits, the more distant one to your right is the larger and the more difficult to ascend.

  1. Contour forward and left from the pile of stones on grass and select steep rising paths that bring you eventually round and onto the summit plateau of the higher top. The route is more easily spotted on the descent; take the left hand fork of the path on the summit plateau. Not advisable in poor visibility.

The summit is a little gem with plenty of hidey holes behind small rocky outcrops. Today we found one facing into the sun on the southeast perfect for a leisurely activation. We did see the odd heavy snow storm in the far distance but all that fell on us were one or two light hail flakes out of a clear blue sky. A cold wind on the way down but once in the gully it was back to perfection. We can recommend this as a great walk for a fit well equipped family on a nice day.

A recent thread on the reflector asked what was good about SOTA and what people liked. One of our favourites is chatting to chasers who used to climb and now for a variety of reasons are unable to do so. They often ask if a particular hill still has a cairn or is there a view to so and so, It is a pleasure to be able to share the hill with them and to know that others will do the same for us when that time comes, hopefully not for a few years yet. And there we have it for another month.

Take care out there
73
Rob and Audrey
G4RQJ

********** CONTINUED IN PART 2 ***********

SOTA Top Band Report
SOTA USA Report
SOTA Australia Report
SOTA CW Report
Extracts from SOTA Data Base
SOTA News contacts



#3

Hi Roy,
Thanks for this month’s SOTA news. As the forecast two or three days of rain started this afternoon in Dornoch, I had plenty of time to read all of it (wifi in the foyer). Rob & Audrey’s meeting with Derek; Mark’s Top Band report and you on the subject of CW plus photos of your Fowie setup. Also Juerg & Han’s activation of a 3000m+ summit with 4km & 700m ascent. That should be good - hope the WX is kind. I read and enjoyed all the other articles so thanks to all contributors.

We had a good journey up the A9 yesterday with average speed cameras the whole way. The 405 miles took 8.3 hours net, putting a few WAB squares on 7.160 as we travelled. Today conditions on 40m are poor with attenuation, QSB and lightning crashes. The one square activated today, an ND coastal one on the A9 to John o Groats, was a bit of a struggle for some chasers.

Hopefully the bad WX and bad condx will pass and I can get at least one summit done before Sunday, even if it’s a short activation - me versus the WX! There was plenty of snow lying on the higher summits on the way up and it seems that it may increase in the next few days. The fenicular railway up Caingorm had to be dug out yesterday.

Thanks again,
fingers crossed,
73, John G(M)4YSS
(GS0OOO/P)


#4