SOTA NEWS NOVEMBER 2009
EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH
Welcome to the November edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Norby LX1NO, Fritz DL4FDM, Rob and Audrey G4RJQ, Kevin G0NUP, Tom N2YTF, Jean-Pierre VA2SG, Franz ON9CBQ, Peter ON4UP, Andy MM0FMF, Mike GW0DSP, Phil G4OBK.
The clocks have been re-set to UTC, the long dark evenings are back; fog and frost have returned and SOTA activating and chasing has slipped into winter mode whereby activations are limited to less than 6 hours, with activators heading off the hills by 1500. November is traditionally a light activity month as many activators prefer to wait a few weeks to gain extra winter bonus points, commencing on the 1st December.
SOTA AWARDS FOR OCTOBER 2009 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager
Congratulations this month to SM7GUY and DL3FT on becoming Shack Sloth’s. Friedrich, DL1FU, continues to work at the Chaser points and has now passed the magic 20000 threshold whilst Martyn M1MAJ, a prolific activator, has also managed to chase 500 Unique summits. Mention should also be made for our first U.S. amateur to claim an award, Ken KE3X; all of his chasing has been done in Europe but he plans to return home next year and hopefully we will see him climb up the tables with an increase to his score.
There has been a lot of positive reaction to the new Mountain Explorer Award announced last month and I hope to announce the Chaser equivalent in the next few days, unfortunately it has been delayed slightly as some of the Management Team have had the temerity to go away on holiday – and they are not activating anywhere exotic either! The new award will offer a real challenge for all chasers, and I hope it will be well received.
Congratulations to the following:
SM7GUY Ingvar Lagerholm Shack Sloth
DL3FT Oliver Kolbe Shack Sloth
G1OPV Philip Drew 500 points
HA9MCQ Istvan Nagy 250 points
OK1NF Jan Kraus 250 points
OK1NF Jan Kraus 100 points
G1FOA Peter Franklin 100 points
M1MAJ Martyn Johnson 500 Summits
DL1FU Friedrich Winzer 20000 points
IK3GER Paolo Corsetti 2500 points
ON4UP Peter Preud’homme 500 points
G3NYY Walt Davidson 250 points
G3NYY Walt Davidson 100 points
KE3X Ken Low 100 points
Once again I will make the plea to enter your scores onto the database. I have had to try to verify a claim manually and having found many discrepancies have had to refer the claim back for further verification and that is after spending several hours cross checking. Finally, can I remind you that the cost of awards will rise in January so if you would like to claim certificates or a trophy now is the time to do it to save a little money.
I have the following in-stock:
T-Shirts (£9.95 plus postage)
Red Medium (2 off)
Black Large (2 off)
Dark Blue XXXL (£11.25 plus postage)
Polo Shirts (£12.95 plus postage)
Sweatshirts (£15.95 plus postage)
It is a case of first come first served; I will be putting in another order
if there is the demand so if what you want is not available please email me
your requirements and I will start to make a list.
Barry Horning GM4TOE
Note by Editor – I received my polo shirt from Barry last month and took it to a local shop to have my name and callsign added in gold embroidery below the SOTA logo. This matches the SOTA lettering, looks fantastic and will save everybody from asking my name and callsign at the Blackpool Rally next year . – Roy.
October was also a month of the completion of many outstanding targets by individuals, such as:-
Gerald G4OIG operating as GW4OIG/P who achieved his 250th Unique when activating, Carnedd Llewelyn GW/NW-002 on the 5th
Bernhard DL4CW who became a real 100% ALPINE “Mountain Goat” in SOTA-DL, when he completed 1000 points by activating his 119th alpine summit on the 7th.
Tom M1EYP who was heard collecting his 5000th chaser point with a contact with OK1CYC Miro on OK/US-012 on the 10th.
Carolyn G6WRW, who achieved her half mountain goat on the 13th.
Richard G3CWI who became the very first person to activate all the SOTA summits in England. A sustained long haul which took seven and a half years to be fulfilled, on the 26th October.
Congratulations to all on the effort and dedication expended to reach these personal SOTA milestones.
SOTA News editor Roy, G4SSH, has now reached the magical triple super
sloth score of 30000 points. What makes this more special is that Roy
has achieved this score using CW alone. A fantastic achievement and I’m
sure all SOTA participants worldwide will join me in wishing Roy the
congratulations he richly deserves. The question remains who will be the
third chaser to hit 30000 points as the league table shows 5 keen
chasers clustered around 23500-25000 points.
Well done Roy and thanks for encouraging me to start using (and abusing)
CW on my activations.
ON ACTIVATION By Franz ON9CBQ and Peter ON4UP
Hereby we would like to thank all the chasers who have made our activation of all the ON summits this year possible.
During these activations, we already had the feeling that we had some fans. After completing all the ON summits (ON/ON-022 on 23 October 2009), we have made an analysis of our combined logs. Who was the top fan of our ON activations?
Out of our 620 contacts we created a top 5 chart:
- OE7PHI (8 contacts)
- G6WRW, GW7AAV and 9A7W (9 contacts)
- S51G (10 contacts)
- G3OHC (13 contacts)
And on number 1…
G0TDM with 15 contacts!
Once again, thanks to all chasers for this wonderful first SOTA year. We are already making plans for next year…
73, Franz ON9CBQ and Peter ON4UP
ALL CASTLES IN LUXEMBOURG ACTIVATED
Well known SOTA activator Norby LX1NO completed his target of activating every Castle in Luxembourg, on the 3rd October. Norby wishes to thank all SOTA chasers who called in and comments that “It was much appreciated not to sit alone in the field".
He continues “I am aware that some references are still missing in the some logbooks. You’ll get them in the log, just be patient. I won’t retire from activating LCA’s, but I will do far less. No more mass-activation like last week-end. My goal was to get all 57 references done by the end of the year (and the bad WX season). That has now been achieved
I will now print all QSL cards so that if you want to apply for the award, you can do so. They will be given to the bureau on 7th October, thereafter … I don’t need your card for LX1NO/p. I don’t collect them”.
Until some other time,
FIRST NORTH AMERICAN SOTA ACTIVITY DAY: NOVEMBER 14TH 2009
The W1 SOTA area manager, Tom N2YTF and VE2 area manager, Jean-Pierre VA2SG, along with the help of W2 Area Manager Andrew, KC2EUS and W6 Area Manager Stuart, KI6MWN are setting up a multi-areas multi-activation day in North America, on November 14th 2009.
For this occasion, At least 4 VE2 summits should be on the air on various frequencies and modes. At the same time, some of the W1, W2 and W6 area mountains should be activated, the number of summits in these 3 areas is not known at the moment. But there’s should be some.
More confirmation should appear in the SOTAwatch alerts section. We all hope the WX will be favourable to this late fall North American multi summits activation day.
We hope this will allow all chasers in Europe as well as in North America to get some “rare” summits confirmations. This will be a big chance for you to catch some NA summits.
Winter is getting close and, despite being adventurers, NA SOTA activators don’t like being bitten by the cold…
So stay tuned and keep ur ears opened for NA SOTA activators, this coming November 14th.
Tom and Jean-Pierre
N2YTF and VA2SG
QRP-Party of Helvetia Telegraphy Club (HTC) - by Fritz HB9CSA / DL4FDM.
The annual QRP-Party of the Helvetia Telegraphy Club (HTC) http://www.htc.ch took place by invitation of the Swiss Low Power Amateur Radio Club HB9JA, in Rothenburg, near Lucerne on the 10th October.
About 60 QRP-friends took part in the event, enjoying various technical presentations, the exchange of experiences and hearing about new ideas. QRP-technology and SOTA were the main themes of the day.
Andy, HB9TQG (formal associations-manager Switzerland) presented the history of SOTA in HB9. He explained the basic rules and the use of the SOTA-database.
In his lecture Jürg, HB9BAB, detailed some of his many activations on both small and high Alpine summits. With his excellent presentation and the beautiful pictures he fascinated the audience, from newcomers to old timers.
Encouraged by this, some HB9´ers promised to stay QRX during the next few months and be ready with a homebrew SOTA-rig to commence SOTA activations next spring. (Please be patient with SOTA-newcomers, a pile-up can sometimes be hard on an activator with a homebrew QRP rig).
In an interesting lecture, Paul HB9DST/ AA1MI, explained a history of the rig and the father of the ATS (Appalachian Trail Sprint). Paul knows KD1JV quite well and now I understand why we have to wait so long for the building-kits. That’s because he often walks somewhere around the 2178 miles long Appalachian Trail…If you want to know more about this trail look here:
When we registered for the party we had to order the lunch already with the SOTA-reference HB/FR, HB/TI or HB/ZH. The restaurant-kitchen worked hard and we were lucky with our delicious meals. I was very pleased to sit on a table together with HB9RE (Papa Fritz), HB9BAB (Mister Mountain Goat), HB9TVK (Peter) and HB9BJL (Chris, who will be QRV from /YU8, Kosovo soon),
Many hams brought their complete QRP stations which were admired in the afternoon. In conversation with interested OM’s I realized that some of them are still overwhelmed with the terminology of SOTA and the adding of the logs into the database. I often heard questions like “how do I know the SOTA-number of the mountain?” or “must I put the activation into the database?”.
Participant SOTA-friends (registered in the SOTA database) were:
HB9´s: RE, AFH, AGO, APF, BAB, BQB, BRJ, BXQ, CGA, CMI, CSA, HQX, TQG.
A report from the conference can be found on the homepage of hb9ja: http://www.hb9ja.ch/
Pictures of the QRP-Party on :
Some lectures (also the ATS of AA1MI) can be found as pdf-files from this link
More images are available on the homepage of the HTC.
It was so much fun, and perhaps this is an event that could perform at international level at some point.
Fritz HB9CSA, DL4FDM
ARGON GAS PROBLEMS ON 40m? - by Roy G4SSH
As an introduction to this subject I reproduce the following comments I made in the August 2009 SOTA News.
“Regular readers will be aware that during the summer I spend one week every month at my daughter’s QTH in Cornwall, where I have an FT-897 rig and indoor vertical antenna. This allows me to chase SOTA’s as G4SSH/A, when I have some free time.
Although the indoor antenna is relatively inefficient, it is the only option available to me at this location. During my last visit I experienced a strange and unusual effect. I discovered that every time I keyed the transmitter the background noise increased from S2 to S6 which swamped out the activator I was calling. This noise lasted for about one minute then revered to S2 .By this time the activator had replied to me a couple of times and given it up as a bad job. I must apologise for the dozen or so activators who experienced this phenomenon.
I spent a couple of hours reading through the FT-897 manual and playing around with the AGG and TX delay settings, without success. In desperation I started at the power supply and worked my way through to the antenna, checking all the leads, connections and settings in my attempt to locate a fault that, if not cured, would effectively signal an end to my amateur radio activities from this QTH.
I finally moved the position of the vertical antenna, which is normally stood in the centre of an attic dormer window, to take advantage of the low absorption afforded by the glass and wood surround. To my surprise (and considerable relief) a move of less than a metre to the side of the window instantly cured the problem and I was back in business.
I am sure there is a logical explanation, but nothing had changed in the set-up of which I was aware”……
Now read on:-
Two weeks ago, in late October 2009, I again set up my /A station in preparation for collecting some chaser points whilst in Cornwall and discovered to my horror that one touch of the key on 40m produced an S8 hash that was similar to the rasp produced by interference from a thermostat. This lasted for 55 seconds. Moving the indoor vertical antenna to the side of the window or along the wall had no effect this time.
Determined to find the cause I again checked all the rig parameters and started to take measurements. The effect only appeared on 40m; transmitting on 30 or 20m or 10m was quite normal. As the noise did not appear when I tuned on low power there appeared to be a relationship to power, so I started at 5 watts and increased the output until I reached 39 watts, which triggered the noise. If I reduced the output to 38 watts all was normal, but increasing to 39 watts produced the noise, again for exactly 55 seconds. It did not make any difference whether I used 39 or 100 watts, the hash always remained for exactly 55 seconds. It appeared that transmitting on 40m above 38w was causing something to radiate which was being picked up by my receiver.
I struggled on for the next day, using 38 watts to an indoor vertical, which needless to say was not producing many SOTA contacts. Was I getting reflected power back into my receiver? It did not appear to be, as the SWR was reading a perfect 1:1 using the tapping coils on the antenna and an auto tuner.
Next I noticed that the triggering threshold varied as the day progressed. In bright sunshine it was 39w, on dull days it was 50w and after dark it became 70w. However, the 55 second burst remained constant, to the second.
I was not until I began to discuss this effect with my daughter (M5OOO) that a possible explanation to the strange effect began to form. I mentioned in my original article that I had been using the same set up for the past 4 years and nothing had changed. I was mistaken. The radio set-up of FT897, auto-tuner, and antenna location had not changed, but my daughter had recently installed double glazing with Argon gas throughout the house. She also mentioned that since this had been installed she could no longer receive a mobile phone signal inside the house – could this be related to my problem?
I searched the internet and discovered many complaints from people who had lost mobile phone connectivity after installing Argon gas filled double glazing in their homes and I seem to recall a post on the reflector a few months ago which mentioned this effect. I could not find any references to the effects of HF transmissions on the gas.
I did a few tests. Reception of HF signals did not seem to be affected. Opening or closing the window had no effect on either reception of transmission. Could the proximity of the antenna to the glass be causing the gas to react, similar to ionisation and radiating interference for 55 seconds?
I removed the vertical antenna from its place in front of the window and carried it along the corridor to the bathroom; the only room on the top floor without the new double glazing. There was a skylight in the roof but this had been double glazed a few years ago, before Argon gas was used.
I returned to the rig and gave a test CQ on 40m with 100w – perfect! The problem was solved. No hash and I immediately worked Milos S53X in Macedonia on 40m. Wonderful! It was such a relief to be back on the air.
My measurements were in no way scientific. The effect appeared to be frequency conscious, but my antenna did not tune below 40m so I could only check HF bands of 7 MHz and above. I only use CW mode.
Perhaps other HF ops have experienced this phenomenon? Quite a few people in flats use indoor loops, and the antenna I use is sold as an “MFJ Apartment Antenna”.
Many chasers have a favourite band or a favourite mode and it is a pleasure to note the various different combinations of different modes and bands as they are spotted.
Enthusiasts of PSK were rewarded with activations of PSK by Milos S53X on 14 MHz and by Alain F6ENO on both 10 and 14 MHz during the month.
ACTIVATION REPORT - By Phil G4OBK
G/NP-006 Great Shunner Fell is a six pointer which lies on the Pennine Way National Trail and is easily reached from SE 868956 in the Buttertubs Pass north of Hawes. The walk up by the fence takes around 50 minutes. From the same parking place on the opposite side of the pass the 4 pointer of G/NP-030 Lovely Seat is also reached in less than 30 minutes. I activated these is mist on the 18th October. Both summits have fences running over them so fixing a pole to support dipoles and long wires was very easy. 160m was used on both activations on CW and SSB with some success with contacts into the south west to Frank G3RMD and Don G0RQL being completed.
My XYL and I spent last weekend in Keswick walking and activating 11 of the 214 WOTA (Wainwrights On The Air) hills. On Saturday I climbed up to High Rigg which it transpired is G/LD-044 as well as a WOTA Fell. The top was reached by a 12 minute walk from St John’s Church at grid ref NY306225. The fell is surrounded by much higher mountains and only one contact on 2m FM with M0WCR in Whitehaven was made. HF or 2m SSB with a beam antenna would be essential if this one if to be activated for SOTA to ensure the minimum 4 contacts.
The previous day we were walking in the northerly Eastern Fells area and two fellows emerged out of the mist. My rucksack special antenna captured their attention and we had a conversation. It transpired that these two guys, who had pronounced Geordie accents, had climbed up the Cheviot around two years ago and met another radio ham. They described the operator as slim, tall with a bit of a beard and coming from Scarborough. I immediately knew this to be my friend John G4YSS who uses the Scarborough Special Events callsign of GX0OOO/P! Sure enough when I got home I checked the database and John was on the Cheviot G/SB-001 on 30/08/07 and made 21 QSO’s. It’s a small world.
3 , 2 , 1 , ACTION - by Kevin G0NUP
Thanks to all the Activators who have had the time to produce short video clips of their activities, showing what they get up to, in more ways than one. The long walks and the scenery make me jealous of your travels.
To actually hear your own call on these clips is reassuring that your own station is putting out a good signal.
As a general rule from my QTH signals are weak for most of the low power
activators, and to know that my 50 watts and a Butternut Vertical is
actually being heard in the pile up is useful. With only a 90 degree arc
of coverage for the European stations, every point counts.
These video clips often show us the parking, walking, climbing and
set-up of activators stations. Along with the scenery they enjoy makes us most
grateful for their efforts.
So hopefully all the budding Spielburgs will keep up the clips as they are much appreciated.
'I wonder if we will ever see a St Nicholas (Santa Klaus / Father Christmas) on a SOTA in the snow? ’
73 de Kevin G0NUP
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 10 - by Rob and Audrey
This month starts with the view from the South, well Newark at least. No SOTA presence at the rally but we wandered round in our SOTA tops and met a few kindred spirits including one OK operator who had just started out as an activator. Sorry if you’re reading this OM but we did not get a name or call sign. Talking to the girl behind the bar in the pub close to where we were staying, “HAMFEST? “She said “the notices have been up all week, everyone wonders what it is, and one old chap said it can’t be a Hamfest ‘cos there haven’t been any pigs herded in there all week”! So much for image.
Saturday 3rd October Normanby Top.
As we’re in the area, a chance for a new unique. Unfortunately the wind is gale force, so in spite of this being basically a drive up top, activation proved difficult. HF was out of the question and we decided to do 2m from inside a paved but ungated area close to the radar site. This is bordered by a fence made of railway sleepers laid horizontally to a height of six feet which allowed us to use the mast/beam hand-held with some shelter from the wind and well away from the car. Only six contacts, all on FM and no regulars, so no spot. All accompanied by corrugated iron sheets crashing loudly in the gale.
Sunday 4th October Billinge Hill.
Hack Green Secret Nuclear Bunker Radio Rally in the morning (the bunker is well worth a visit if you have any interest in radio gear, WW2 to the end of the Cold War and can be a bit of a scary place if you have any imagination), I used to work in one (Rob). Then on to Billinge Hill on the way home. This may have been a nice place in the past, but time has not improved it. Parked on the road to the west, just over the top of the ridge. From here a dismal muddy plod round a large ploughed field to the graffiti covered monument on the RF infested summit. Just 2m and 4m with the beam handheld, RF breakthrough a real problem. Gave my knee a tweak in the slime on the way back to the car (Rob) not our favourite summit.
The Hamfest business got us to thinking of some of the strange things people say when seeing an activation in progress apart from the usual Coronation Street/football scores comments. A lady approached us and said “Are you Al Qaeda?” Despite my somewhat dark appearance and beard Audrey assured her that we were not “Oh “she said “the family were wondering so they sent me to ask”. On Snaefell a couple of years ago we were running CW sitting on the ground just in front of the path from the tram stop to the cairn Two ladies passing were heard to say “Ooh it’s just like the Cold War”
Sunday 11th October Lingmoor Fell.
A super one-pointer, much ignored by many, including us until recently. The hill is located at the eastern end of Wrynose Pass and the western end of Langdale.
There is a car park at NY295043 with room for about 20 cars. This belongs to the National Trust and is priced accordingly, £5.20 for enough time for a long activation. It is very close to Blea Tarn a popular beauty spot so any family not inclined towards a SOTA climb may enjoy a stroll around the lake instead. Hardier souls should turn right from the car park and head down the road towards Blea Tarn House. The main path ascends from in front of the farm and on the right side of the beck that descends the fell at this point in quite a deep gully. (About 200 yards back from the farm on the right of the road at some boulders a minor path leads up through bracken to join the main path and cut off quite a large corner). The main track leads up the fell, passing through a break in a wall to eventually level out at a second wall. Generally veer to your right as you ascend and avoid paths leading into the gully as they do not lead upwards. Cross the second wall and follow the stony path beside it on the right, up to the summit. Great views all round from this one and a good take off to the south. The walk would suit an active family. Lots of room for aerials and a good take off to the south.
Sunday 18th October. Pen y Ghent
No details needed for this popular, much activated summit. Up the ramp from the path from Horton where the parking is a much more reasonable, £3.20 and a toilet on site! The rain and cloud started at the top of the ramp and was continuous for the rest of the activation and right back to Horton. 7 MHz was contest infested, wall to wall, and no replies on 10 MHz meant no CW contacts at all, but still managed forty odd contacts before the rain drove us off after 2 hours.
Contests can be a real problem for the QRP operator and I often wonder why folks who would moan piteously about operation in the DX windows will happily use the QRP frequencies for contests. Enough moaning. We have noticed a trend among visitors to the Lakes not to use VHF, particularly 2m FM. This may be in part due to a lack of information on local activity levels and frequencies. There are a good number of regular chasers to the south, many of who monitor 145.500 all the time. To the west there are a couple in Whitehaven/Workington area and to the east one or two around Penrith. Carlisle and surrounds seem to be a dead zone! But there is the odd GM chaser if you are lucky. In six years of activations almost every Sunday we have never failed to make contacts on 2m fm but there are several repeaters to drum up trade if things are desperate.
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
In general, a quarter wave whip will be much better than a rubber duck and a small beam is perfect. Do give it a try, we’re a friendly crowd and all speak English. hihi.
Sunday 25th October Arnside Knott.
The forecast for high winds and rain sent us to bed on Saturday thinking a small local hill tomorrow, particularly as we are trying to keep the kit reasonably dry for our Wales expedition later in the week. Woke to find that Gerald and Paul were posted to do most of the local little ones so elected for Arnside Knott, which is about 12 miles as the crow flies, but about an hour on the road. Very windy on the little summit but we found shelter in the woods close to the trig. Fifty four contacts spread through the bands. Two problems showed up during the operation, the key jack where it enters the rig has an intermittent short resulting in strings of unwanted dots (sorry to CW chasers) and the external battery to rig lead has fractured leaving the 817 on its pitiful internal pack for some of the activation. We didn’t notice this until the rig lost interest during the 2m FM section and the h/held had to be used instead. Still, it’s better than failing next week when we are away from base repair facilities. Worryingly, we are starting to like Arnside Knott although VHF can be very strange from here; this was a no pointer for us, having done the summit earlier in the year.
Really nice to see that from where we were sitting there was no intrusion of SSB contest stations into the CW section as far as 7.032. Many thanks.
Congratulations to Richard on activating all G summits, Clifford M6LKB on his new call and first activation and US Sota as it starts to take hold. K2FR Andrews’ video really took us back to the early years in this country; soon you will have a crop of dedicated chasers who make it so much easier OM. “If you build it they will come”
By the time this is on line we should be half way thru our Welsh visit. Plans are, Rally Saturday (SOTA sweaters on, please say hello), Tal y Fan Sunday, maybe rally later. Moel Gyw, Foel Fenlli and Moel Famau on Monday. Hope to catch you on some of these.
Just heard that Hardknott Pass will be closed for two weeks from the 9th November for repair work. The diversion is long!
Take care and 73
Rob and Audrey
CW enthusiasts are encouraged to read the thread “What a shambles CW SOTA is becoming” written by experienced SOTA and top DX chaser Phil G4OBK. It illustrates how the behaviour of a few irresponsible stations can affect the enjoyment of many. There are some excellent responses by experienced chasers and activators. The danger is that dedicated and responsible chasers begin to consider that they no longer want to be associated with such undisciplined behaviour.
The following input was received from top chaser turned activator Mike GW0DSP, a few days before Phil posted his thread and illustrates how bad behaviour is also causing concern to SOTA activators:-
MESSAGE FROM MIKE - GW0DSP
Most of you will have noticed that my chasing days are almost non-existent these days, due to becoming very disillusioned with SOTA. I must rephrase that, SOTA as a scheme is as superb today as it always has been, but the behaviour of some of it’s participants leaves a lot to be desired. I see that Roy G4SSH will soon hold the mantle of top chaser and I can’t think of anyone more deserving of the “top spot”. Good luck with it Roy. I made the decision to aim for 30,000 chaser points and then call it a day as a serious chaser and concentrate more on activating.
I have recently enjoyed some of the smaller summits and as usual at this time of year, as the weather cools off making for much more enjoyable walking conditions, I get out onto the bigger hills, usually up to the 4 pointers. This is done in preparation for “monster summits” which will greet me on the annual GM trip with Steve G1INK and Mick M0PVA.
On my last 4 or 5 activations I have been the target of some prolonged deliberate QRM. I find this unacceptable after hiking up a 4 point summit, well it’s unacceptable ham behaviour period! With this in mind, in future I will alter my method of activation to suit the activation. If I am left in peace I will work every chaser in the pile up as I always have done. If the QRM persists, then I will pull the necessary 4 contacts out of the pile up, then QRT immediately.
I sincerely apologise to the chasers if the latter option has to be taken, but I am not going to put the money, time and effort into activating to be the target of continued abuse.
CW REPORT FOR OCTOBER 2009 - by Roy G4SSH
The seasonal change to Autumn/Winter conditions resulted in improved propagation, with the HF bands opening up to 28 MHz and short skip on 40m, which allowed me the rare opportunity to hear and work some UK SOTA stations on this band. It is also a sure sign of winter conditions when chasers struggle to copy activators on 7032 KHz under the CQ calls of Gerald K4IN in Alabama, during the early mornings.
On the down side, 10118 KHz was unusable on many days due to DX pile-ups, and a slow-scan TV station was causing great disruption to SOTA activities on 7032 KHz during the latter part of the month.
A warm welcome is expended to Petr OK2CQR, Tomi HA6IAY, and Antoine HB9AXG who were all heard activating SOTA CW stations for the first time during the month.,
Plenty of cross-border expeditions were aired by the following stations in October, all qualifying towards the new SOTA Mountain Explorer Award:-
F/HB9CSA, OE/DL4CW, OE/DD1LD, DL/HB9BGG, OE/DL4CW, OK/DL4UNF, OE/HA3HK, OE/HA1DRQ, M/LA1KHA, M/LA1ENA, MM/LA1KHA, MM/LA1ENA, F/G3VQO, DL/HB9CMI.
Although 40 metres continued to carry the vast majority of SOTA activations, there was activity heard on some of the higher bands, by
28 MHz: F5UKL
21 MHz: F5UKL
18 MHz: F5UKL, G3CWI,
14 MHz: F5UKL, MM0ROV,
10 MHz: OK1FFU, DL4CW, DJ5KZ, LA1ENA, LA1KHA, S51ZJ, GW4OIG, HA5MA, F5UKL, HE8AFI, OE5EEP, OE/DL4CW, OK1FFU, F5IUZ, DK1HW, G4RQJ, S51RU,DK1BN, F6ENO, F5AKL, G3NYY, OK1FFU, F5LKW, F5HTR,
G0HIO, HA6QR, OE5EEP, DL4CW, S53X, HB9AGO, HG4UK.
Most readers will be aware that 10 MHz is my favourite band, on account of the increase in signal strength from distant activators, the lack of pile-ups and the width of useable space, as compared to 40m. Thanks to many of the above stations I passed a personal milestone of 1000 CW contacts and 6000 points on this band alone during the month.
Top band enthusiasts were not forgotten when Phil G4OBK, activated two SOTA’s on 1832 CW and 1833 KHz on SSB.
I am always impressed by the lengths that some activators employ to ensure that they contact as many chasers as possible. There was an excellent simultaneous operation by Kurt HE9AFI on 10118 and Claude-Alain HB9CGL on 7032 KHz from VS-103 on the 7th. Then we had Andre F5AKL, and Alain F6ENO active on 7, 10 and 14 MHz from F/NO-007 to give saturation coverage. Not forgetting F5LKW, F5HYR and F6HBI who arranged to have 3 stations on the air at the same time from F/AM-380 on the 23rd. Finally thanks to the LA team of LA1ENA, LA1KHA, LA1TPA and LA1DNA who activated on different bands and modes from SOTA’s in the UK during the month. These efforts are greatly appreciated by chasers.
In late October Zoli HA3HK commenced a 3 day family tour, after announcing that he intended to activate 3 or 4 SOTA’s per day. In order to achieve this target he had to limit his on-air time to 30 minutes per SOTA.
He commenced on the 23rd at 0720 UTC and this early time allowed him to easily work through the small pile up of chasers within the allotted time.
However, his second and many subsequent SOTA’s produced such a pile up of chasers that when he announced a QRT 30 minutes later to proceed to the next summit there were still quite a number of stations still calling.
Zoli is an excellent CW op and rattled along at around 30 wpm with “599 BK” procedure in order to get as many chasers in the log as possible. My own estimate is that he was working a chaser every 30 seconds, so a 30 minute slot would have given him around 60 QSO’s in his log, with at least another 30 unable to make the contact. To produce a pile up of around 100 chasers on a weekday is a reflection of the increasing popularity of SOTA.
After the first day Zoli introduced a new routine whereby his colleague Tomi HA6IAY took over the pile up after 30 minutes. Congratulations to Zoli on a magnificent holiday expedition.
Our regular CW SOTA Pirate, who has access to SOTA Watch, was at it again during October. On Friday 23rd he called CQ SOTA de M1EYP/p on 7032 KHz Three chasers immediately replied and he quickly went of the air. Tom later confirmed that he was at work at the time. Then on Tuesday 27th EA6/M1EYP was heard calling S53X on 7032 KHz, just once. I am unable to verify if Tom is on the air but it did not sound like his “Fist” and I have not heard him chasing other stations. The Pirate obvious reads the reflector and knows that Tom is on holiday and his location.
On the positive side I was pleasantly surprised by the self-discipline shown by contest stations in the World-Wide SSB contest on the weekend of the 24th-25th. Most kept above 7035 KHz and did not encroach below 7025 KHz, even after dark.
CONTESTS DURING NOVEMBER 2009
The following scheduled contests are expected to cause severe QRM to SOTA activity, especially on the 40m band. Activators should plan accordingly with alternate spots/bands. This is not a complete list of contests.
1st only 0900-1100 and 1500-1700 High Speed Club CW contest
7th-8th 0001-2300 RTTY Worked all Europe contest
7th-8th 1200-1200 Ukrainian CW/SSB Contest
14th-15th 1200-1200 OK/OM CW Dx contest
21st-22nd 1200-1200 LZ DX CW/SSB contest
28th-29th 0001-2359 CQ WW CW DX Contest (major disruption to 40m)
SOTA News is published around noon on the last day of the 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 25th of the month. Have you a favourite SOTA? favourite mode? favourite rig, antenna, or favourite band? How did you find your first day / month / year as an activator or chaser? Your comments and experiences will be read by SOTA enthusiasts all across Europe and beyond, and your input will be most welcome.
SOTA News Editor