SOTA NEWS OCTOBER 2011
EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH
Welcome to the October 2011 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Peter ON4UP, Fred K6DGW, Mark G0VOF, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ.
SOTA AWARDS FOR September 2011 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager
September has been quite a busy month for awards with a new (and very deserving) Mountain Goat M1MAJ, Martyn. Martyn lives in the flatlands of England so every activation begins with a lengthy journey unlike those of us who live in the hills. Two Shack Sloths Karen 2E0XYL and Keith M3YYK joint he ranks of high achievers. Congratulations to all of you. The number of chasers claiming awards from more recently founded Associations is growing with ND0C, K4QS and KD9KC all appearing in the listings this month. Association Manager KD9KC also gains a notable first but the reason for that will be left to later in this report! SQ9APD also gains a first as I believe he is the first Polish amateur to claim a SOTA award.
M1MAJ Martyn Johnson
2E0XYL Karen Richardson
M3YYK Keith Yardley
SV2LLB Kostas Tzioros 500 points
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis 500 points
G1JPV Tony Ciathos 250 points
K4QS Chuck Stover 100 points
G4OOE Nick Langmead 100 points
2E0XYL Karen Richardson 1000 points
M3YYK Keith Yardley 1000 points
2E0XYL Karen Richardson 500 points
EB2GEV Jose Miguel Orueta Michelena 500 points
M1CNL Peter Tew 500 points
ND0C Randy Shirbroun 250 points
K4QS Chuck Stover 250 points
M6AUE Gary Carter 100 points
SQ9APD Bartosz Kuzma 100 points
KD9KC Mike Olbrisch 100 points
M3YYK Keith Yardley 100 Summits
M1CNL Peter Tew 100 Summits
G0TRB Roger Betts - Mountain Hunter Gold
2E0XYL Karen Richardson - Mountain Hunter Silver
G0TRB Roger Betts - Mountain Hunter Silver
G8TMV Colin Tuckley - Mountain Hunter Bronze
G0TRB Roger Betts - Mountain Hunter Bronze
Mountain Hunter (VHF and up)
G0TRB Roger Betts - Mountain Hunter (V) Bronze
Now some news which some may say is long overdue! SOTA now has a shopping site; this is designed to give a one-stop location to obtain both Awards and SOTA branded merchandise. The site will go active from 1 October 2011 and hopefully users will find navigation around the pages relatively easy and informative. There is much work to do on subsidiary pages which will be addressed in the coming weeks but the basics are there. Stock levels for various items are indicated but, at present, this does not indicate (in the case of shirts) whether your choice of colour or size is in-stock. Bear with me, it may mean you will have to wait for delivery but you will be kept informed of what is happening to your order.
What we have been able to do is offer a small discount on certificates where two or more travel in the same envelope; don’t go crazy, this is geared to a maximum of four or five certificates before higher postal charges kick in and you get penalized by high postage costs. For participants in the USA and Canada I can announce that stocks of badges and window stickers are now being held in the USA and will be delivered there at USPS or USPS International rate (for Canada) rather than attracting the rather high International Small Packet postal charges if they were dispatched from the UK. It is hoped to add flags to that stock in the reasonably near future.
For a short while the possibility of ordering certificates and trophies via the SOTA website will remain, but eventually the SOTA shop will form the main portal for obtaining awards as well as merchandise. Feedback and helpful suggestions would be welcome to help develop this facility.
The important point is the URL to access the shop which is
(I will introduce a dot com version as soon as I can get the URL to point to this domain).
Well, the sun is shining, it is warm here (the warmest September night on record last night) and the forecast for Saturday is OK. I am off to play, the xyl has given me a pass for the day and I will be out activating. See you there?
Oh, and the first by Mike KD9KC – he placed the first ever real order via the SOTA shop when he was helping test it! Took me completely by surprise
Barry Horning GM4TOE
Congratulations also to the following:
Martin, DF3MC who reached the 1000 points mark with his activation of Zugspitze, DL/WS-001 on September 13th. Since most of his activations have taken place in the Alps, passing this milestone demanded considerable effort.
Kevin G0NUP - 20000 chaser points & 5000 QSO’s. (All CW)
Joska HA5CW - 20000 chaser points
Aled 2W0UPH - Shack Sloth
Kurt HB9AFI - Mountain Goat x 3 !!
Mike DJ5AV - for making no less than 10,000 SOTA contacts.
Nick G4OOE for gaining his first 100 activating points whilst on Snowdon.
NEWS FROM ON ASSOCIATION – Peter ON4UP
As from the 1st of October, there are quite a lot changes for the Belgian SOTA summits:
3 new summits are added: ON/ON-025, 026 and 027
8 summits become invalid: ON/ON-009, 012, 014, 015, 018, 020, 022 and 023
1 summit becomes valid again after a period of being invalid: ON/ON-006
A lot of coordinates have been corrected in such way that the SOTA summit now correspond with the highest point of the summit. If a trig point is present, this is now used as reference.
Some summit names have been corrected also.
This update is the result of a complete fresh study of the prominence of hills in Belgium done by Mark Trengove and myself with the assistance from Jonathan de Ferranti and Andy Tomkins. It took more than 3 months to analyze digital elevation data, maps of the NGI (National Geographic Institute of Belgium), Trig point data of the NGI, personal GPS track logs and even a site trip to compile a list of the Belgian hills and their prominence.
Please check version 4 of the ON Association Reference Manual for all details: http://www.sota.org.uk/Associations/viewAssociation/prefix/ON or look at following video clip: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p5McXYrgo0k
73, Peter - ON4UP
GW/NW-001 SNOWDON - 22 September 2011 - by Nick GW0OOE/P
Whilst staying at my son’s flat in Chester I decided to have a go at my first solo attempt at a big mountain and so Snowdon was chosen. There were a few options I considered and they included the following:
Going up and down by train from Llanberis and a very quick 2m handheld activation.
Going up by train from Llanberis and using 2m handheld and/or HF and walking back.
Going up from Pen y Pass on either the Miners Track or Pyg Track and doing VHF and/or HF.
Option 1 was ruled out because on the return train trip you only get about 30 minutes at the summit, so very little time for an activation of any kind but I do know that it is possible; John G4YSS did a 2m fm activation the day after he had walked up earlier this year! It is sometimes possible to purchase another ticket down but of course there are no guarantees and I think that this option is quite expensive!
Option 2 was ruled out because I didn’t really fancy the 5 miles walking back to Llanberis.
Option 3 was preferred using 2m handheld and going up the Pyg Track from Pen y Pass and down the Miners Track back to Pen y Pass, a walk of approximately 7.5 miles.
Another very important point to highlight when using the Pyg Track, is to take the left hand fork at SH 63340 55254 to avoid going over the much more difficult and dangerous Crib Goch.
I left Chester at 0645 and within minutes was in Wales, the drive was very pleasant passing many other SOTA summits with unpronounceable names! I arrived at the Pen y Pass car park at 0810. After paying my £10 parking fee and booting up, I left from the top end of the car park along the Pyg track at 0835. John G4YSS had given me the way points for my GPS so I was quite confident of not getting lost. A few fit types in front took the Crib Goch route at the path junction but I made sure that I kept firmly on the Pyg track! I was quite surprised to find that for quite a while I seemed to be the only one on this track until I spotted two athletic types bounding down. They stopped for a brief chat and informed me that I was the only one they had seen so far on their descent and that they were just completing their 3 Peaks National Challenge, having done Ben Nevis and Scafel l Pike on the previous days! I could only marvel at such an achievement. I did see some people below coming along the Miners track and I knew that eventually they would have to climb up to join me on the Pyg Track before tackling the summit.
It was shortly after this that I lost my footing. I had put my left foot on some mossy grass which had come away and I went crashing down on my right leg hitting a stone just below my knee. The pain was instant and intense. I had visions of crawling to the summit, getting the train down to Llanberis and taxing back to Pen y Pass.
Fortunately after about 15 minutes rest and examination of the gob-stopper sized bruise, I felt able to continue. I later met in with the Miners track group and we walked together for a while stopping at a post which was full of coins. I resisted the urge to get out a coin but several others didn’t. I had already heard the train on a couple of occasions but disappointingly no sign of me being anywhere near the railway track in the mist. Then at last I saw the monolith and the railway track and I happily continued onwards and upwards to the summit. I arrived at 1128 so it had taken me almost three hours. After quickly climbing the steps to the summit to touch the trig point, I took great pleasure in being momentarily the highest person in England and Wales! However, I couldn’t see much in the clouds!
A quick phone call to Kevin G0NUP to spot me and using the Kenwood TH-79E h/h at 5 watts and SOTA dipole, I called CQ and immediately GW3NPJ/P came back to me with an S2S from GW/NW-044 - fantastic! I worked a further 14 stations from various places including County Armagh NI, Ashby de la Zouch, The Wirral, Preston and of course North Wales. The mist did clear for a few minutes while I was on the radio to reveal an awesome view but unfortunately by the time I had finished and had the camera ready it had returned! After my mini pile up I called CQ a few more times without any takers. I was getting quite cold so I was glad to get into the cafe and have a welcomed peppered steak pasty and coffee which went down a treat! Then I heard the tannoy announcement first in Welsh and then thankfully in English for those catching the 1130 train to board immediately. I supposed I must have had a smug look on my face thinking that because I had walked up I could stay as long as I pleased! I even went back to the counter for seconds, this time having a Welsh cake and another coffee before the next train load of passengers arrived.
After taking some more photographs I left the summit at 1300. For variety I descended via the Miners Track. The advantage of using this way down is that you lose height quickly and once you get down to the Glaslyn lake it is relatively flat nearly all the way back. I did stumble again but this time hurting nothing more than my pride. Two kind gents in front heard the clatter as I hit the stones and they offered their help. Thankfully, I was able to continue without any further problems. I stopped many times for photographs and to drink, the walk was full of interest passing the old copper mine workings and I did enjoy walking across the causeway over Llyn Llydaw Reservoir. Eventually I arrived back at Pen y Pass car park at 1545 and I quickly popped into the cafe for a refreshing ice cold drink. I had experienced a fantastic day with very good SOTA weather throughout, cool but no rain and I really appreciated the luxury of having a cafe at both ends of the walk!
Thanks to G4YSS for the way points and advice and thanks to G0NUP for the spot and thanks everyone for helping me get my ten points and over the line for my first hundred.
CANADA/US SOTA NEWS FOR SEPTEMBER 2011 - by Fred K6DGW
If anyone is having trouble believing that SOTA is catching on over here
in the New World, read on!
ACTIVATIONS FOR SEP 2011 [and catching up of a few recent ones]
DATE SUMMIT CALL(s) HELPERS
07/19 W7/RS-005 N7NGO KB7LLB[wife]
07/20 W7/KG-126 N7NGO KB7LLB
07/26 W7/CS-003 N7NGO KB7LLB
07/27 W7/CS-011 N7NGO KB7LLB
07/28 W7/CS-004 N7NGO KB7LLB
07/30 W7/CS-008 N7NGO KB7LLB
08/19 W7/CC-012 NS7P Christina[wife]
08/19 W7/CC-107 NS7P Christina
08/26 W7/CS-011 NS7P Christina
08/30 W7/CC-057 NS7P Christina
09/01 W7/CM-033 NS7P Christina
09/02 W1/AM-300 W1DMH
09/05 W0/FR-127 K0MOS
09/06 W7/WV-002 NS7P Christina
09/06 W7/WV-004 NS7P Christina
09/08 W7/CC-065 NS7P Christina
09/09 W4/EP-001 N4EX,W4MPS
09/10 W1/NL-010 W1DMH
09/11 W5/FR-001 KD9KC
09/11 W5/SI-003 WS0TA[KT5X]
09/16 W5/FR-003 KD9KC,KC5LAF
09/16 W5/PW-038 WS0TA[KT5X]
09/16 W7/NO-073 K7NEW
09/17 W1/CR-001 KK1W,S Jerks
09/17 W0/FR-009 K0MOS
09/17 W7/CU-062 KF7DDT,W7IMC
09/18 W1/GM-003 W1DMH Wife
09/19 W7/WV-042 NS7P Christina
09/20 W5/FR-005 KD9KC
09/22 W7/WV-077 NS7P
09/23 W1/AM-140 W1DMH
09/24 W7/NO-091 K7NEW
09/24 W7/BL-024 KF7DDT
09/25 W7/HB-021 W6HFP
09/25 W0/FR-037 K0MOS Yes but didn’t name
JP, VA2SG also reports 7 activations by VE2PBZ, VE2DRO, VE2JCW, and
VA2SG although he did not detail them. 42 separate activations/summits
by 18 unique activators, including a brand new one, W6HFP, Chris of
Buddipole fame who made the first Montana activation. When I took this
reporter job on, I was expecting 2 or 3 reports a month, which was about
the activation level then … at least as far as I knew.
I’ve also picked up some “SOTA Vibrations” on a couple of other email
lists I read including Elecraft from people with calls I haven’t heard
before. Hopefully I can make them aware of the SOTA interest and
resources for North America and they’ll start appearing in this monthly
list. Several of the month’s activators also report generating interest
through their QSO’s
We now have four Shack Sloth’s in North America: N4EX, NS7P, W7CNL, and
WA2USA. Congratulations to all of you, and thanks for chasing summits,
it sure makes the activation a lot more fun to have people waiting for you.
OTHER GENERAL NEWS:
VE2: JP, VA2SG, has resigned as the VE2 Association Manager for
personal reasons. He will stay in charge of local territories. Gilles,
VA2CG, will be the new VE2 Association Manager beginning 1 January 2012.
We, and especially me, will miss JP in the management position, but
he’s still going to be active in NA SOTA. Thanks for all your
W4: Kevin, NW4M, in Alabama and Christian, KJ4VPK in Georgia have
volunteered to assemble summit databases and ARM’s for their respective
states. With the earlier addition of Todd, N4SR, in Tennessee, that
leaves only Kentucky needing a manager volunteer in the W4 call area.
Florida won’t be represented in SOTA unfortunately. Britton Hill, the
highest point in Florida in Lakewood Park, would require enough fill
dirt to create a 45m [155ft] high mound of earth to establish a
qualifying summit for the Sunshine State. Florida is actually pretty
close to being the “Submarine State.” Let’s hope Antarctica doesn’t all
melt and raise the sea level.
W5: Mike, KD9KC, has been visiting ham clubs in his local western Texas
area with “The SOTA Story.” He also organized a fairly easy activation
in the mountains around El Paso attended by some from his audiences.
While activation reports [and posted photos] are beginning to show snow,
Mike points out that in El Paso, they have but two seasons – Summer and
I’m hoping to be able to add URL’s where you can find activation reports
and photos. Getting the flood of “stuff” I’ve been receiving organized
into a “system” has been my main effort this month. Being able to tie
the URL’s to the reports is next.
1-2 Oct is the California QSO Party [www.cqp.org] and your reporter dude
will be holding down the CW circuit at N6A in Alpine County. The county
is very sparsely populated ~2,000] with no active hams, and is all
above 1,000 meters [3,500 ft]. We often work quite a bit of DX and
solar conditions have been improving, perhaps you’ll hear us.
Unfortunately, the N6A crew will not be on a summit.
Mom and Dad of KT5X, who is a very active activator and poster to the NA
SOTA Yahoo Group, named him Fred. To avoid the confusion that was
developing, since my Mom and Dad named me Fred too, I’ll use the
nickname my troops gave me and that I’ve used on the radio for many
years. I answer to either.
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 33 - by Rob and Audrey G4RQJ
To start this month a trip to the Welsh Borders based near Telford so as to take in the rally. This got off to a great start as we were unloading the car at our accommodation and fell to discussing the radio gear with the owner. He said that he was the son of the late G3COI who older readers may remember as a contributor to radio magazines in the ‘60s, particularly cartoons and humorous articles and you may still hear his Morse at night in the buildings!
Saturday 3rd Sep, Long Myndd.
Having struggled on the WB’s before using our usual 4el Yagi we decided to resurrect a foldable 2el beam built some years ago to a design by Ric GW0VMW. (mw0idx.co.uk/2mPortPockBeamGW0VMW.html) Ours is slightly different in that the reflector is also made from an ex TV telescopic pair that allows it to fold in on the boom alongside the folded radiator resulting in a self contained package just 26cms long, A short handle section (about12cms) plugs into the rear of the reflector and allows the beam to be hand held or mounted on our walking pole/mast. We used this antenna hand held to good effect on Long Myndd but the looks from other walkers as we operated from a reasonable distance from the trig seemed to indicate that they thought it was some kind of death ray! On the short walk back to the car we came across a fell pony trying to eat a plastic energy drink bottle discarded by someone with little sense, none of us of course!! We managed to separate the pony from its prey which we disposed of safely later but it shows what creatures will attempt to eat given the chance.
Saturday 3rd Sep Stiperstones
Holding the little antenna proved to be quite wearing on the wrist so we decided on this one to mount it on our small 10ft mast/walking pole and use it un-guyed for speed and ease. This worked well and soon collected us quite a few contacts before the wind driven rain started and soon drove us back to the car.
Sunday brought the Telford Rally which although relatively small now a days is always pleasant and friendly. We were pleased to meet quite a few SOTA devotees and some long chats ensued. Two or three years ago Tom EYP put on a SOTA stall here but there was little interest and we stood like prunes most of the day (not like Blackpool!) We attended the very interesting talk by G4ROJ about kite aerials, plenty of food for thought particularly if you fancy a full size vertical for top band on a summit. We were surprised to find when we emerged that many exhibitors/sellers had already packed up and gone. There seems to be a trend towards rallies being virtually over by 2 o’clock now a days, don’t arrive late!
Monday 5th Sep Titterstone Clee.
A nice sunny day but a huge gale made it hard to open the car doors at the car park. A chap with a trailer was loading rocks and told us that they are of a type used in saunas to heat and create steam and virtually the only source. As almost everything else has been quarried, built on, ruined and left on this little hill leaving it like the set of Mad Max this seemed reasonable. The wind was really bad on the summit blowing Audrey over several times and rocking me even with my extra bulk and we were forced into the small shelter /barbecue pit/toilet. There was no hope for the mast even at just 10 ft and we were reduced to poking the little beam above the rim of the shelter on a normal walking pole. This did not result in a lot of contacts! In spite of previous comment we quite like this ravaged little summit. At one time over 2000 people worked here, a huge quarries worth has been carted away and it now hosts an air traffic radar station yet it still manages to have a proper small summit area complete with trig, a true little survivor.
Monday 5th Sep View Edge.
This was a unique for us and a truly strange summit with a minor road through the activation zone. Not a lot of parking space however and we were forced to park in a very wide gateway at the rear of the highest house being careful not to block access. Following tips we decided to follow the footpath into the field to the south immediately next to the road still well in the activation area and used the little 2el beam on the 10ft mast hand held. No real problem qualifying 0n 2m in spite of midweek and no spots but we were delighted to get an ssb summit to summit with Nick G0HIK/P. a fellow member of our local club Furness Amateur Radio Society, on Mynydd Bodafon on Anglesey. A very congested path for 5w and a 2el yagi.
Wednesday 7th Sep, Brown Clee.
Another gale force day for this little almost proper hill. We were forced to seek shelter from the wind at the summit which left us badly screened RF wise and victim to the qrm from the two masts. We struggled for VHF contacts and eventually went to the 4el beam which took to sulking at its lack of use by developing a faulty BNC connector. The wind was too high for the HF setup so we continued on 2m attracting only the local callsignless cretin, most areas have one. Eventually we broke into a local QSO where three chatting locals were happy to help us gain the points, many thanks. For the family, Acton Scott Farm, star of TV’s Victorian Farm series is close at hand and a very interesting place to visit.
Thursday 8th Sep, Callow Hill.
Another unique for us, space for several cars when you eventually find the start point. We used the track that ramps up the hill to the left, the start of the direct assault route is not obvious and after seeing the other end of it from the top we were rather glad of this. As the summit was quiet we decided to give HF a run and were delighted with the results, particularly 7MHz cw. On 2m we used the 2el hand held and Frank RMD told us that Nick G0HIK/P was on Holyhead Mountain on ssb. We tried with no success but heard a station calling us of the side if the beam that proved to be Don G0RQL Turning on to him produced 55 both ways, not bad to say the beam was hand held at waist height in trees. Fairly close to this one is Stokesay Castle, a fascinating survivor from the 1200’s, still roofed.
Home to a week of foul weather, we gave Sunday a rest as did most others. On Friday it took us well over two and a half hours to run down to Preston, usually about one and a half, due to floods and we could only feel sorry for Martyn M1MAJ mountain goating on Helvellyn in the prevailing conditions. Congratulations by the way.
Sunday 18th Sep, Pike O’ Blisco.
A half decent day in spite of the forecast so we attacked this one from the Three Shires Stone at the summit of Wrynose Pass. The obelisk marks the boundaries of the old counties of Cumberland Westmoreland and Lancashire, room for about ten cars but get there early at busy times. There was a group of about 20 National Trust work experience volunteers repairing the path from above Red Tarn to the summit and making a very nice job of it. We normally do a good deal of this section by zig zagging on the grass slopes rather than the rocky path but felt duty bound to use the path on this occasion A strong cool wind on the summit but we tucked in on one of the terraces that run around the South summit. There is usually good shelter to be had here but searching for any round the North summit is likely to be at least exciting and potentially much worse. On the descent we caught up with the last of the volunteers making his way rather painfully down to Wrynose accompanied by a national trust instructor so had a nice chat and promoted SOTA.
Club duty on Saturday (FARS) for Railways on the air and worked a few Sota regulars including one summit(GM4COX) Interesting to hear the LUF climb quite quickly through 40m then drop back a couple of times leaving us temporarily bereft of contacts, we seem to be meeting this quite a lot from hills lately.
Sunday 25th Sep Stony Cove Pike.
Started from the summit of Kirkstone Pass, a free! car park with room for 20 plus cars. Be aware however that the Kirkstone inn seems to have become a stop off for diners out so space may become a little restricted. The cloud was right down to the pass but we climbed directly by the wall on the stepped path most of the way up the first steep bit. The path up Raven Edge has been improved with large stone blocks which make things a little less of a bog hopping exercise. The mist was thick at the summit and a group of orienteers were in quite heated discussion as to which way to proceed. Eventually they departed but arrived back later and asked us the way. We like to use the same way in and out and to use a friendly wall or fence as a guide if possible. Also like to place a small marker on our approach path (stones, arrow in the mud etc) so at least we know we’ve set off down in the right direction. A quick activation of about one and a half hours and fifty odd contacts and we set of down, the mist gradually departed and we were able to use our more favourite descent on the final section into Kirkstone angling to the south on grass from the large cairn at the top of the staircase to a small visible tarn then turn right and down to rejoin the wall and the bottom reaches of the staircase. Much easier on the knees but tricky in mist.
Once again the end of the month and after a spell of winter we seem to be back into summer. The lilac in the garden has breaking new buds on it so guess it’s about as much idea as many of those doing TV weather forecasting lately.
Take care out there
Rob and Audrey
SOTA ON TOP BAND - Mark G0VOF
Hello everyone & welcome to this month’s edition of SOTA on Top Band. Almost up until the end of the month, it was looking like there would be no Top Band activations to report. That all changed when John G4YSS & Nick G4OOE activated G/LD-001 Scafell Pike on Thursday 29th September. The recent increase in solar activity has had a detrimental effect on the low bands with fade-outs observed on several occasions during the latter half of the month. Despite this, John planned to activate England’s highest peak using both 160 & 80 metres & was hoping that conditions would not be too difficult.
As this activation took place on a weekday I would be unable to chase from home, so after first hearing of the activation the night before, thanks to Roy G4SSH, I looked at what I could do to enable me to chase from work. I have a mobile whip for 160m left over from the days when I used to drive a car, which has not been used since I have been riding a motorcycle. As I wouldn’t have time to set up my full size dipole I decided to see if I could persuade the mobile whip to work, mounted on the back of my motorcycle. During testing at home on Wednesday evening I found it was possible to achieve a reasonable VSWR at 1832 KHz, John’s usual operating frequency. The usable bandwidth of the whip was very narrow, & obviously it was quite inefficient, but tests with local stations did indicate it was radiating at least some of the 90 Watts I fed into it. The addition of a counterpoise did improve the bandwidth a little, & probably helped the overall radiated signal.
The day of the activation fell during a spell of very un-seasonal warm weather, with clear skies, sunshine & high pressure over much of the UK. This would mean John & Nick would be ascending in what could be uncomfortably warm conditions, quite different to the winter conditions that John prefers. I received a phone call from Roy G4SSH indicating that John would be QRV on 160m CW in about 20 minutes so I quickly jumped on my bike & rode up to my usual weekday chasing spot, a lay-by at Belthorn, near Blackburn. I set up my FT897D & 7Ah slab & found that in the open, the VSWR characteristics of the mobile whip had changed & I could now only achieve minimum VSWR at about 1860 KHz. I added the counterpoise wire which improved the bandwidth a little & at least allowed me to call John on 1832 KHz CW.
I was listening from around 1015z & I think I heard John working someone, before calling CQ again. I called John with about 90 Watts into the mobile whip & thankfully John heard me & gave me a 559 report, a surprisingly good report under the circumstances. I gave John 599, as that was how good a signal he was at the time, although there was very deep QSB on the band & at times John almost disappeared into the noise. After confirming my report to John a couple of times just to be certain we wished each other 73 & John continued. I listened for several minutes on Top Band while also looking for Nick G4OOE who was now QRV on 145 MHz FM. Unfortunately, his chosen frequency was in use by some local stations in Blackburn so I was unable to work him, however during breaks in the local conversation Nick was a good signal on my VX7-R handheld.
I heard John call Phil G4OBK on a few occasions, but it seemed that Phil had very high noise & was unable to hear John. Phil was the strongest signal I heard at my location with the S-meter actually going over S9 at times, though even Phil’s signal was affected by the deep QSB. I heard John calling Frank G3RMD, but I was unable to hear Frank at my location. With my time being limited I then packed up & returned to work. I phoned Roy G4SSH to thank him for his help with an early warning of the activation & found that Roy had managed to work John as well, despite only running 10 Watts into a non-resonant vertical.
From observation of the spots on SOTAwatch John later moved to 80m CW & SSB & later still 4m FM, while Nick also operated on 40m CW. At the time of writing I am unaware how successful John was on 160m or 80m although I am certain that both he & Nick qualified the summit with ease.
I found conditions to be quite poor, with as well as the deep QSB, signals on 160m being much lower than I would expect, even with the limitations of my mobile whip taken into account. It did seem like the D layer absorption was more severe than usual for the time of day, which may in part have been due to the recent unusually active Sun.
On balance I think the mobile whip performed reasonably well as a quick means of getting on the air, but for future chasing during working hours I will probably look at something a little more efficient, or maybe use my full sized dipole, although this would take longer to set up & pack away which is the reason I did not use that antenna today.
I do have some video showing the mobile whip mounted on my bike, which I will post a link to when it is online. A big Thank You to John G4YSS for once again activating on 160m & to Roy G4SSH for his assistance with alerts / spotting.
At the time of writing, that was the only Top band activation during September that I am aware of, if I have missed any others please let me know:
On the 29th September, John G4YSS (operating as GX0OOO/P) activated G/LD-001 Scafell Pike, QSO total unknown at present but I would say at least 3 on 160m (all CW). (John made 9 x CW QSO’s on 160m – Ed)
As always, if you do have any suggestions on things that you think should be included, or if you wish to contribute tips, ideas or anything else that you think may help others on the band please email them to me at email@example.com
Until next month,
CW REPORT FOR SEPTEMBER 2011 – Roy G4SSH
September was the month when the children went back to school and SOTA activity began to reduce from the high levels seen in July and August to a more steady number during the week, but increasing at weekends.
Propagation continued to frustrate many activators and chasers, with strong QSB and complete fade-outs on the lower bands, especially 7 and 10 MHz. Many activators moved up a band in order to make more contacts and there was a record number of activations on 10, 14 MHz and higher. Some activators used 14 MHz only, instead of 7 MHz, such as Markus HB9HVK on 14058 KHz and Martin DC8MH on 14061 KHz, whilst Andy DK7MG provided new Uniques on 10120 KHz. Andre F5UKL continued with his efficient activating pattern by starting on 14 MHz, then to 18 and 10 MHz before finally struggling with conditions on 7 MHz. Jose EA2EA was a regular activator on 21, 18 and 14 MHz.
There were quite a few activations from more unusual SOTA countries during the month, with expeditions to EA, IK, SV5, OH9, UT and 9H.
The wide-band multi-tone transmission which has caused infrequent disruption to SOTA activations on 7032 KHz returned as from 0600 UTC on the 29th September. This was 539 at my QTH during the day, rising to 599 during darkness hours and covering 7030 to 7033 KHz. It normally remains on one spot for about 4 days before moving. As we went to press it was audible at 0600 UTC on the 30th but was inaudible at my QTH by 0700. However Joska HA5CW reports it still causing problems at his QTH.
Heard active above 40m were:-
28 MHz: OZ/LA1ENA,
24 MHz EA2/F5UKL, SV5/OK1CZ,
21 MHz: EA2EA , HA5TI, OK2QA, EA2/F5UKL, OZ/LA1ENA, EA8EY,
18 MHz: EA2EA, EA2/F5UKL, OH6FQI,
EA2EA, EA4TX, EA4MY, EA2NN, EB3EPR/2, EA2/F5UKL, EA3OR, EA8AY,
G3RDQ, MM0ROV, G4ASA.
K4QS, K4YND, KD9KC, K7NEW, KE5AKL,
NS7P, N7HQP, N6VDR, N7RR, N4EX, NS0TA, NH6Z, NM5S,
WN1E, WS0TA, WB6QYT, WB5TLA, WA7NCL, WA3SEE, WB5QYT, WG0AT, WA2USA,
VA2SG, VA2OTA, CF2SG,
DK1BN, DL5JAG, DK7MG, DL6CGC, DL/HB9AGO, DL/HB9BRJ,
EA2EA, EB3EPR/2, EA2/F5UKL, EA1/HB9AFH,
F5UKL, F6AVE, F/HB9BQB, F5LKW, F/HB9AFI, F/DK1IO,
G4RQJ, G3RDQ, MM0FMF, MM0ROV, G4ASA,
HA7UL, HA9MCQ, HA6QR,
HB9AFI, HB9DGV, HB9BAB, HB9BIN, HB9CGA,
LA1KHA, LA1ENA, LA8BCA
OE5EEP, OE/DL4CW, OE/DL8DZL,
OK1DST, OK2SAM, OK1DO, OK1HAG, OK3EQ, OK1DO,
S50AAA, S51RU, S53XX, S57X, S57XX, S51ZJ, S58MU,
Also thanks to the stalwarts who enthusiastically continue to activate on 80 and 160m:-
3.5 MHz GX0OOO, DK1BN, OK1HAG,
1.8 MHz GX0OOO
A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers, heard activating SOTA’s for the first time on CW during the last month:- Miro OK1OX, Alex OK1DST, Pablo EA4TX, Jiri OK1RI, Miguel EA4DEC, Ramon EA3OR, Martin DL2FMK, Chris F5UBH, Fried OE8GBK, Rob OK2PYA.
Heard active on expeditions outside their own countries were:
DL/OK1IN, DL/HB9BRJ, DL/HB9AGO, DL/HB9BRJ, DL/OK1EQ, DL/PA0HRM,
EA2/F5UKL, EA1/HB9AFH, EA1/HB9AFH, EA8EY, ,
F/HB9CSA, F/DL4UHA, F/DD6DO, F/HB9BQB, F/HB9AFI, F/DK1IO,
IK3/DL8DXL, I/HB9RVS, IK1/OK1DIG,
OE/DF3MC, OE/DK4OHA, OE/PA1HR, OE/DL8DZL, OE/DL8DXL,
In last months SOTA News Barry, the Awards Manager posed a question “Who will be first to 100,000 SOTA Chaser points and when”
As to whom. I would suggest that this will be a chaser in central or southern Europe with a 360 degrees arc of activators around them. They will have the capability to copy SSB and CW and be in a good location to copy 2m activations from surrounding mountains.
As to when. For the past 3 years the top chasers have recorded a total of around 13,000 points in a year, but this year Janez S51ZG has already recorded more than 16000 points in the first 9 months, which will surely become a new record for 2011, so giving a projected estimate of reaching the target in 2014 - about 3 years time.
I am a regular visitor to my daughters QTH in Cornwall, where I chase SOTA’s as G4SSH/A using an FT897 and a short indoor vertical whip antenna about 1.5m high.
When I first started these visits in 2006 I could copy most EU SOTA activators on 40 and 30m. Sadly in the past 5 years the background noise floor on 7 MHz has risen from S3 to S7 with the result that I can no longer copy any activators on this band with a report less than 589, which is very few. Fortunately the 10 and 14 MHz are still usable and I can copy most stations on these bands, but is demonstrates how the introduction of computers and other modern hi-tec gadgets are increasingly polluting the HF bands.
CONTESTS DURING OCTOBER 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.
9th only 0001-2359 UBA CW Contest
15th-16th 1200-2359 QRP ARCI CW QSO party
15th-16th 1500-1500 Worked all Germany CW and SSB contest
22nd only 0001-2359 FOC CW QSO Party
29th -30th 0001-2300 CQ World-Wide SSB DX contest (Major QRM to 40m)
SOTA News is normally published around noon 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 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, the USA, Canada South Africa, South Korea, and beyond, in a total of 24 different countries. Your input will be most welcome.
*** Advance warning that the November edition of SOTA News will be published one day earlier than normal, on Sunday the 30th. The deadline for contributions will be Saturday the 29th October.
SOTA News Editor