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The 2015/2016 official SOTA Challenge


Well, after Google took me a silly way through the Gwydir Forest I arrived at GW/NW-040 with insufficient time to activate on 10m ahead of the 2-m contest. A few calls on 6m with the VX7 and its rubber duck were unanswered (I wonder just how inefficient that antenna is).

My QSO rate on 2m was not spectacular. I heard one F station, and worked well down south and to GM, with one GI logged in the final hour. We’ll see.

With the 2-m beam off the mast I put up my 10-m GP and straight-away worked S2S with M0OAT on G/NP-028, adding another call sign and another multiplier to my tally.

10m was well open to South America. I heard Brazil x 3, Uruguay x 2 and 1 from Argentina. My 5W, with the FT817 playing up by now, didn’t make it though.


Well today I got a surprise opportunity to nip up The Cloud G/SP-015 and do 45 minutes or so on 10m. And here I am at the Cloudside parking spot kickingmyself for leaving the LifePO4 at home!

So I will now wander up with just the VX7R and see if I have any more luck than Simon G4TJC on 6m FM. I’ll be on summit in ten minutes of anyone within range fancies having a listen on 51.510MHz FM.


Either nobody fancied that, or nobody was listening anyway - or the 6m extension for the VX7R helical antenna is little more than a dummy load!

I managed only three QSOs on 2m FM as I hunted for people that might have 6m FM capability and might be willing to QSY. But no such luck.

I did enjoy the views though, and saw a fabulous rainbow when the sun reappeared after a short shower.


Hi Tom.

I ran my 6-m Slim JIM up the pole here in Glossop, but I have computer QRM on 51.510 so nothing heard.

I now have a blog posting about my first 3 activations of the Challenge (and 144-MHz Backpackers):

2015 Challenge Starts



I hadn’t activated The Cloud G/SP-015 yet for the 10m/6m Challenge, so I put that right on the morning of Saturday 23rd May 2015. Having slept only five hours after playing a gig the previous evening, I felt tired and slow walking up the steps to the National Trust land. That out of the way, I enjoyed the Saturday morning fresh air as I wandered along the “cliff edge” path to the trig point.

Using the 10m groundplane antenna, I found the band to have some signs of life but not much! A couple of G’s on groundwave and a Kazakh contest station were all that could be eked out of the CW segment. After switching to SSB, I discovered that there was a very good opening to Spain, and in the end, seven of the 17 contacts made were into EA. This included chasers Pedro EA2CKX, Luis EA2LMI, Manuel EA2DT and Moises EA4MZ, The others were all ITU 150th Anniversary special callsign stations - AO150E, AO150R and AO150V.

The activation concluded with a hard-won S2S contact with MT colleague Csaba YO6PIB, who was on YO/EC-093. A quick call on 51.510MHz FM on the VX7R was more in hope than expectation. Thoughts were turning towards picking up some filled oatcakes on the way home.

17 QSOs: 6 CW + 11 SSB

EA: 7
G: 8
UN: 1
YO: 1


Well done Tom - a nice sum of points for the challenge. Thank you for the weak 10m QSO today. The 6m band was open to EA for me this morning briefly. I heard just one Spanish station calling CQ on SSB when I checked one of the SOTA spots but the station heard was not on a summit.

At present the best chance for me of getting a QSO on 10m is to wait until there is some F2 propagation to the south or west and look for a reflection from the EU SOTA staions to the south east of me calling CQ, signals are weak but are sometimes workable.

73 Phil


A pity that the 6 m band opening to EA/CT was so weak this morning and has faded out for the moment, but it looks like things are hopping in the eastern states of the USA. Fat chance of some F2 on ten, the SFI is down to 99 as the inactive side of the sun has rotated into view, but a good Es opening will perk ten up as well as six!



Nice opening here to Italy and the Balkans right now.



It might be ‘open’, but nothing is very strong in IO81WV.



Typical of Es! I had a pipeline to squares around JN80 and I was too busy to take advantage of it!



Nothing on 6 for me today, but I did work 2x SOTA chasers on 10m and a GM<>GW S2S on 10m. I also heard ZD7VC booming at 59+++. Sadly he was more interested in rag chewing with a 2E0 than working the enormous pack calling at the end of each over. Lots of EU beacons heard, DK0TEN for instance.


I enjoyed myself immensely on the Llŷn peninsular yesterday doing 4 summits. 10m gave me several UK S2S (thanks Andy, Tom, and Jimmy) and also on 2m/6m - thanks Jonathan. The WX soon cleared up, developing into a most beautiful evening. It was worth the late return home for the views from Garn Boduan.

Carn Fadryn from Garn Boduan

10m got quite exciting. I had QSOs into Brazil, and the got-aways included Paraguay and India.

Full write-up to follow…

Thanks everybody.

73, Simon


I’m interested in this… I gave you 219 as you were barely detectable and varying in strength, it would not have been feasible to have an SSB contact as you were too weak. Yet my log shows you gave me 449. I was running a bit more than 5W at the time though, so if you were “barefoot” it would account for the difference. Still it was a contact I didn’t expect to make. Can’t be ground wave at that distance so I’m guessing a back scatter from somewhere.


Hi Andy. Yes, FT817 running off internal pack I think, so 5W would probably be an exaggeration. You were stronger with me when you were calling on SSB a little earlier but you didn’t hear my puny signal.

Quite mizzly in Snowdonia this morning but I’m off to catch my steam train shortly to head for Moel Cynghorion. :sunny: (I wish)



I wish I had brought up my 10m vertical to catch everyone as the timing was right. Although I am not competing seriously as I don’t see the attraction of shouting/tapping into a semi dead band at present :slight_smile:

I have been fascinated with the peculiar behavior of 6m lately, but yesterday it was totally dead nothing on the band and nobody came back to my calls. A total change from last week.

40m has been awful over the past few activation’s running 40W doesn’t seem to make much difference either. More reason to keep up with the CW practice.

I had tried to listen out for Jimmy but nothing heard.

Moelfre was hard work last night my feet are very sore. I may sneak out this afternoon on something local but I am feeling pretty done in at present !

Sounds like I am moaning, the walk was epic. Radio not so epic !



My report for the weekend’s six Challenge activations is now ready at my blog:

Llŷn Tour

73, Simon


Hi Simon

Superb pictures and report. Thanks for the contacts and s2s.

73 Allan GW4VPX


Thanks Allan. The whole weekend was a lot of fun. I hope you have a good time in Scotland.


Hi Jonathan,

I have to echo your comments on 10 metres. At least from my (chaser) location, I am hearing none of the spotted 10m activators and of course 6m here is restriced (no portable operation allowed and only horizontal polarisation and 25w from a base station).

So at the moment the challenge is of limited interest to me. Perhaps if the 10m band improves it’ll be better? I guess the point of the challenge is to make the best of the band even when it appears to be in the Doldrums.

Actually the only 10m contact I had last year was an S2S down to Maderia with just 5w of SSB. So getting out on a summit (or at least portable to a high spot) may be the way to go.

73 Ed DD5LP.


I didn’t decide to use 10m or 6m on Tryfan or Glyder Fawr yesterday either. Something which I don’t regret as a quick listen to both bands didn’t reveal much activity - boring. SFI ~ 90 and not much sign of Es propagation.

40m was terrible yesterday. It was if I had a 30dB attenuator in line with the antenna. Despite using nearly 40W in the morning. A dipole on Tryfan would not have been practical yesterday with the number of people on there.

The climbing was so much fun though. Gerald MW0WML and I, went up via the North Ridge. I continued the theme onto Glyder Fach with a run up “Sinister gully” onto Bristly ridge. Hardly any wind made it a great time to perfect the technique. All with a full HF station and pole on the back !

Need some sunspots !