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The 2015/2016 official SOTA Challenge


#1

The MT are please to announce the next official SOTA challenge. This will be a challenge to make contacts on 6m and 10m.

We spent a lot of time arguing on what should and should not be included and we finally came up with the a different challenge this time. The previous challenge on 12m in 2013-2014 was simply to make as many QSOs as possible. We added in multipliers for activators to make it worth their while to activate a range of summits for the chasers. Likewise multipliers for the chasers made it well worth them listening about (and watching for spots) for every activator.

What came out of this was that a year long challenge skewed how people activated. This had an affect on those not taking part in the challenge. We also learned that QRP could be effective, but being a little QRO around 30-50W made a huge difference. We have changed the requirements so the effect on those who don’t want to take part is lessened. We also hope the rules lessen the effect of power levels. In fact the challenge will get harder the more you take part. i.e. it’s gets more challenging to score as the challenge progresses.

So here are the rules and they are similar for chasers and activators.

Chasers:
For every unique summit you chase on 10m or 6m you get a multiplier.
For every unique activator chased you get 1 chaser challenge point.
Your final score is chaser challenge points * multipliers.

Activators:
For every unique summit you activate on 10m or 6m you get a multiplier.
For every unique chaser worked you get 1 activator challenge point.
Your final score is activator challenge points * multipliers.

Duration: The challenge runs for 6months in total split into two separate 3 month periods. Each period coincides with the Sporadic E season in either the Northern or Southern Hemispheres. The first period runs from 15th May 2015 to 14th August 2015. The second period runs from 14th November 2015 to 13th February 2016. No matter where you live, you can operate in both periods but during 1 period your chances of make contacts are massively improved.

Any legal mode and power for your licence and location. We expect people to respect the band plans.

You do not have to do anything special with logging. Work everyone, log everything and any QSOs that qualify for the challenge will be automatically scored the same way the 12m challenge was scored. The challenge scoring will run in parallel with all other SOTA awards.

There will be certificates for the top chaser and activator. There will be certificates for best chaser and activator on an association by association basis as well. The final number of certificates awarded will be based on the activity levels. This is the same as 12m were we originally planned just top chaser and top activator certificates, we awarded many more certificates to reflect the very high level of activity the 12m Challenge generated.

n.b.

  1. The dates for the Southern SpE window are subject to adjustment. It will be 3 months but the start and stop date may move to ensure we align with the peak SpE period.
  2. We are aware that 6m may not be generally available in some countries. In that case you only need activate on 10m and your score will only be compared against other’s10m scores.

6m/10m challenge
#2

Nice…
This challenge exclude us here in Germany, because it`s not allowed to work on 6m /p.

73 de Tom
DL1DVE


#3

hmmm…


#4

So, as an activator, if I operate both 6m and 10m, do I get two multipliers? Or just 1 mult for the Activation?

Guy/n7un


#5

Just one multiplier for the activation whether you have contacts on only 10 or only 6 or both bands. But if you can, you want QSOs on both bands.


#6

Interesting

did not have 12m during 2014
ain’t got 6m either
never mind

still good idea thou
will be just as active chasing them if not more so :smile:
all being well run a few summits me self

Perhaps in next period of challenge perhaps 17m ought to come into play as the sun spots coming downwards by then and the MUF drops too.

Can;t see Sota dieing off to damn addictive :smile:
Karl ;-):


#7

Last challenge I added 12 m to my two linked dipoles and discovered that 12m does get used and I can make DX contacts QRP.

Next year I’ll add 6m and 10m to my antennas and see what these two bands can offer.

73
Peter
VK3ZPF
www.vk3zpf.com


#8

Good stuff Peter. That’s exactly the spirit we are trying to encourage with these challenges. Hope you enjoy it and experience much DX.


#9

Sounds like it could be fun. Time to get that antenna modified so it’ll work on 10 and 6 metres…

Are “unique activator” and “unique chaser” defined in terms of a callsign, or of an individual, whatever callsigns they may use, or some other way? (There’s a while yet, and I’m sure there’ll be some explanatory examples before it starts, so just throwing one possible cause of misunderstanding into the pot…)

73, Rick M0LEP


#10

Defined as in call sign Rick. Those with a few call signs can use them but they will only gain a few extra points.

What I didn’t say and it’s maybe less than clear is that multipliers and QSOs are separate. So if you chase me for the 1st QSO in the challenge on WS-001 you get a multiplier and QSO point. If you chase me later on WS-002 then you would get a multiplier (you worked WS-002 on 10 or6) but no QSO point as you have worked me once. So even though you have had a QSO with me and you wont get more QSO points I’m still worth chasing for multipliers.


#11

It sounds like a good motivation for me to try 6m for the first time, and have a dabble on 10m.
I’ll just activate and chase as usual, and let the magic database worry about the Challenge rules :o) Great stuff!

Adrian
G4AZS


#12

So if you wander south of the border and operate from (say) G/LD-001 as M0FMF then you’re a different unique activator as far as your chasers are concerned, and If I wander off to Kenya and do some chasing as 5Z4/M0LEP then I’m a different unique chaser as far as any activators I chase are concerned?

[quote=“G4AZS, post:11, topic:9822”]let the magic database worry[/quote]Yeah, that’ll work, hopefully… :smile:

73, Rick M0LEP


#13

The magic band will amaze you! I gave it a go twelve years ago and by the end of the sporadic E season I had worked 34 DXCC entities, and that was using just an FT-817 and a wire antenna at twenty feet off the ground. Given an HB9CV or a Moxon and five watts, and a bit of co-operation from the conditions, you will easily work into North Africa and the Middle East, and just occasionally have a chance at North America and the Caribbean. If the band is dead when you start, keep checking, it can become wide open just as if somebody has thrown a switch!

Brian


#14

[quote=“DL1DVE, post:2, topic:9822, full:true”]
Nice…
This challenge exclude us here in Germany, because it`s not allowed to work on 6m /p. [/quote]

REALLY??? I didn’t know that. I knew that 6m was now allowed in Germany, but somehow in the band plan that I read, it didn’t indicate that portable on 6m was not allowed.

I am glad I heard this. I will be there in June, and I will not bring a 6m antenna along.

How do they decide what fixed locations are allowed? I will be at my in-law’s houses, but to me that are all “portable”.

Vy73 - Mike - KD5KC.
El Paso, Texas - DM61rt.
W5-SOTA Association Manager.


#15

#16

I encourage SOTA ops to check out 6M as it can get quite interesting. Some days 6M sounds like 20 Meters. I operated the January and September ARRL VHF contests from SOTA summits in 2014. I worked SD, TX, MN, IL, NB, and IA last year from SOTA summits. The hard part on 6 meters is actually being on a SOTA summit when the band opens. My longest 6M ground wave QSO is over 180 miles on a dipole. With a small yagi the sky is the limit, and a 6m 3 element yagi is pretty light and pretty small.

I can’t speak for anyone else, but here in Arizona the 6M ES season typically runs from May 1st thru the end of July. Obviously 6M openings can occur during any month, but August ES openings are not very common and early May openings are. Some of the best 2x ES occurs in early May here in Arizona. I would recommend we shift or extend the window slightly.

Whatever MT decides I will definitely participate as I already operate both bands on my link dipole. Now I will have to take my 6M beam more often.

Pete
WA7JTM
1st 6M QSO September 28, 1965
6m WAS #168 (1978)
6m WAC 1981
6m DXCC #524 (2002)


#17

I think it’s very nice to have this challenge encouraging us to use the 6 and 10m bands.
The 6m band Yagi antennas are neither too big nor heavy, so they are something affordable for a SOTA activation, however, I’d like to ask you all to think about using vertical antennas on 6m instead of yagis in order to give all chasers and all possible propagation paths the same chances at a given time.
I haven’t spent much time on 6m band in my ham radio life, but I’ve worked several EU countries and even the Caribbean with a 5/8 wave GP and my FT-817ND at 5watts with the station in the field and it wasn’t a summit at all, so I’m pretty sure it would have been even easier from the top of a mountain.
The use of yagis will give great gain to the activator but, on the other hand, some good opennings to certain directions may rest undiscovered because of having the yagi pointing to a certain preferred (but may be wrong) direction at a given time.
I’m not very sure about being able to be in the mountains at the right time to have good propagation conditions on these two bands, but if I’ll have the chance to play this challenge next year, I’ll use my 5/8 wave GP and see how it works.
Best 73 de Guru - EA2IF


#18

Hi, Guru, I have experimented with polarisation on six, and found vertical polarisation to usually give poorer results than horizontal. Switching between a vertical and a horizontal on sporadic E signals I find that polarisation frequently changes on a signal suggesting that some rotation occurs on the path.

A characteristic of sporadic E in this country is that it has a very small footprint, you can get the frustration of hearing somebody the other side of your town reeling in the DX when you can hear nothing, conversely when working DX I might find that I am hearing nothing but Spanish stations, all in the same area, and nothing else. Half an hour later they have gone and I am hearing nothing but Italian stations, or Balkan stations, and often late in the day things turn around and it is the Scandinavian stations that are strong. The consequence of this is that a small beam with a wide beamwidth is rarely going to cause problems by missing propagation paths. I believe that things might be different for you but here we are on the edge and an HB9CV can cover most of Europe without having to turn it. Conversely, beaming at Iceland it is really good to be able to null out the strong Mediterranean stations!

The other thing that I have found by experiment is that some of the Es signals are descending at a relatively high angle and variable azimuth would be an advantage, but I haven’t acted on that yet!

Brian


#19

Hello,
I will try too on 6M when on summit for the fun with FT817.
As i am a beginner on 6M, will it be the a special frequency for SOTA/QRP or have to call
somewhere and qsy?
Will the RNB able to sort out activators that have set an alert?
Gerald


#20

A big YES for the 10m challenge! I think it’s time to un-freeze my 10/11m transceivers and antennas (smaller ones, especially the Bambi single element quad on a fishpole that works really good).
Most probable rig: Avanti Grande trx (40W on 10m) with an preamp mike, sounding BBC quality.
So, meet you next year on 10m activations! Only if the propagation allows…