Black Combe is the red dot near the top left of centre of the image. It’s 600m high and apart from some 500m high summits located in Forest of Bowland and Yorkshire dales, it’s the highest summit overlooking a very densely populated area. Liverpool / Manchester and the satellite towns account for 7million people, the 3rd most populated part of the UK. That’s for LOS or near LOS contacts. Add a little bit of troposcatter in and there and you have a large potential amateur population within easy reach.
It’s good to know which summits are microwave-friendly before dragging up a long Yagi. It’s not obvious by staring at a topographical map where obstructions are creating a radio shadow. Suppose you could use radio coverage map software.
Oh that there were 7 million 23cm chasers in reach! I couldn’t resist estimating a very rough number in reach (assuming 23cm operators are evenly distributed). Given UK pop. ~66M, UK hams ~75k, total activator QSOs is 5.123M and total 23cm is QSOs is 5857 then would have about 6000 amateurs in reach of which about 7 would be QRV on 23cm rather than on another band.
But that’s just averaging the historical worldwide SOTA QSO data over many years. In practise, of course the 23cm activity spikes during events and by alerting/emailing chasers - so better odds.
The former method - I went to database → Summits → List of All Summits, and selected Association and Region. Then I clicked on the Info link against each of the summits in turn and picked out 23cm QSO total for that summit.
2 Andy’s and an Andrew make this thread confusing. Just as well you’re Gerald!
Well… When me and Jack decided we’d play SOTA on 13cms we knew we should always have 1x 13cms QSO each activation because we’d know we were both going out. The fact we got more people to buy in was a bonus. Then when we started we found there were quite a few people who were QRV on 13cms from their fixed QTH who waited for tropo openings or contests to use the gear. They were most chuffed to bits find there were 3 (me, Jack GM4COX and Jim MM0GLM) who were going up summits in odd squares looking for 13cms QSOs.
You should find similar on 23cms because there are many, many more people QRV on 23 than 13 and those who are QRV are only too pleased to find new stations to work. There are quite a few SOTA chasers who are QRV on 23cms FM in the NW of England. G4ZRP is one and he’d be very loud from The Wirral to Black Combe. Geaoff G(M)4WHA will make an effort to chase any 23cms QSO from home or work. Andrew G4VFL (gawd, that’s 2x Andy and 2x Andrew now) has an SG Labs box like you and is in the N. Lakes and may well be ready to have an S2S with you.
But… you need to make lots of noise on SOTAwatch alerts and with a message on here to ensure the people with gear know that you’ll be out. That’s the secret sauce for making SHF and above work…make sure people know you’ll be on the air.
As the one responsible for 58% of Black Combe 23cm QSOs they are UKAC. The advantage of Black Combe beside the take off is, it is relatively easy to find your way down in the dark and there are no bits to fall down.