As is customary, I’ll have a go. Probably from G/SP-004 Shining Tor. Normally, for this event, I get quite a few emails, PM’s and a lot of questions at radio rallies about which antenna, mode, timing, etc and this year has been no exception.
Last March, this event was interesting, in as much the 20m band, Long Path, had been in poor shape for some time. However, for reasons know only to the radio gods, they showed showed some mercy. There was some reasonable LP propagation between VK/G albeit a short opening. In my case, the activation was mainly S&P. In terms of numbers (just 10 contacts,) it was a poor activation, in terms of DX it wasn’t too bad.
What mode do I use?..
Historically, IMHO, from a SOTA summit, G/VK has been pretty much dominated by ssb. No doubt, the data mode junkies will be throwing their hands up in horror, however, I make no apologies for saying that.
So which antenna do I use for the VK/ZL/EU/JA day?
Well, for about 7 years, I’ve been totally hooked on my Antron-99 CB vertical, which has proved SOTAs most successful DX antenna by a country mile.
However, about 2 months ago, I took a nasty fall and very hard landing on one of the HEMA summits, finishing up with a bad back. My enthusiasm for carrying heavy equipment suddenly waned and I changed over to my home brew inverted vee dipoles, cut for the 20, 40 and 80m bands. The weight saving was quite significant and allowed me to carry on activating.
Why not a linked dipole, you ask? Well, I have a theory that a mono band inverted vee works better than a linked dipole and I plan to keep testing them for the time being. The antenna is the one piece of equipment which will make or break any DX activation and right now, I haven’t made my mind up between vertical and horizontal for the 6 April. Twelve months ago during this event, my vertical performed well and I wouldn’t entertain the idea of changing it but of course, conditions and times change.
Bottom line, more work is required before I decide and I’m hoping the VK/ZL guys who have been brilliant helping with my experiments over the years, will continue to do so.
Right now, I’ve still got my reservations about long path between VK and G, however, due to time differences, we’re pretty much stuck with it. Having said this, April is a fair way off and there are others who are far more qualified than me to comment on such matters.