2ND Failed Activation

With a failed activation last year up GM/WS-001 (ben nevis) where i didnt even take the radio gear out the bag as weather conditions were so poor, this time it was GM/ES-074 (ord ban).
The weather was fine, and i had the radio out but i called and called and called till i eventually gave up with 0 qso’s. Only using VHF up here a is gamble, this time it never paid off.



In reply to MM0TAI:

I’m not sure if you were using SSB or FM only. But there has been fairly good ‘lift’ conditions on 2m. If you go too high you can be above the duct and will get poor results. Or it’s just the lack of activity in your sparesly populated bit of Scotland. It was so bad when I started SOTA that I gave up 2m only after 4 struggles and switched to HF and haven’t looked back. Although there are quite a few more active chasers on 2m up nowadays.


In reply to MM0FMF:


But that’s why VHF and up is so much more challenging and fun!


In reply to MM0TAI:

Sorry i missed you yesterday,i tried beaming North in your direction as you posted your alert around same time as myself but nothing heard. As Andy mentions 2m activity is picking up in GM.I managed five s2s contacts yesterday on fm which was very encouraging.
Reckon you just had an off day yesterday,better luck next time Adrian.


In reply to MM0TAI:

The weather was fine, and i had the radio out but i called and called
and called till i eventually gave up with 0 qso’s. Only using VHF up
here a is gamble, this time it never paid off.


Very sorry to hear that Adrian, extremely frustrating indeed.

As Andy said, the VHF conditions have been pretty favourable. This afternoon, I popped up to the local reclaimed coal tip which is now a park here in Stoke-on-Trent, which is 701 Ft ASL and is only a Kilometer from my qth.

Put out a CQ and worked over 40 stations who were kind enough to come back to my call These included…

Robert G6ODU
Karen 2E0XYL
Dave M0TUB

also GW1MNC/M Who was out with his xyl at Crai Reservoir in the Brecon Beacons, quite a hop from S-o-T.

…and of course, a whole load of other SOTA chasers demanding to know why, I wasn’t on Shining Tor ;-)))

Working a non SOTA activation gives you time to have a good old rag-chew with some of the regular chasers.

Great fun…

Mike 2E0YYY

In reply to MM0FMF:
Not that high Andy, 400 and something metres, what height does ducting gennerally occurr? Was using FM only with a backpack 1/4 wave vertical. I think the summit is well blocked by the surrounding cairngorms, 2500ft-4400ft mountains in all directions in close proximity. Which doesnt help much, ill go back up sometime with a yagi for 2m and some hf gear to get it activated.

Looks like more snow coming this weekend.

I have failed to qualify some activations despite having some contacts at reasonable range which showed my kit was working quite well. There are simply too few stations in Scotland. When I was in the Lake District I was amazed to get an instant pileup on the handheld!

In reply to MM0TAI:

Sounds as if the Inverness / Moray Firth guys were asleep. Ord Ban has cracking access to Inverness (on 145.575 as a rule) but it is also a good HF hill. I really like it, on a good day the views are great, the access is easy (apart from getting the dog through the deer fence) and there is a pleasant walk round Loch an Eilein to finish off if you want.

Hard Luck!
Barry GM4TOE

In reply to MM0TAI:
what height does ducting gennerally occurr?

Very variable, from sea level (the beach to beach path across the North Sea for instance) to about 2 km but we are all familiar with standing on a summit and seeing other summits projecting out of the haze, that is where a duct can form - and really good ducts seem to have been much rarer in recent decades than when I started in the 60’s!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to MM0TAI:

Indeed it can be rather fustrating to lug all the kit up a hill and not qualify the summit, been there a good few times.

I like to think that at least I had a nice walk over the hills and the extra weight might get me a wee bit fitter for next time:).

Had a zero contact summit myself on saturday on Ben Macdui. Mind I wasn’t really trying, 1.5W into a rubber duck, still with a 19.5kg pack weight and others to keep up with I wasn’t adding anymore stuff and the views from the summit put it all into perspective, snow covered peaks, blue sky and cloud inversion, the sort of day you go out in dubious conditions for - so you can enjoy the really good ones, did manage to chase MM0DHY on WS-015 on the way down though.

There’s definately a lot more activity on 2m in GM though, so hopefully catch you for another s2s one of these days.


Iain, MM3WJZ

In reply to MM3WJZ & GM4TOE:

I think they must have been sleeping indeed Barry, still we had a nice day out and its a nice easy one to do again.

Im planning going back up Ben Macdui sometime soon, possibly an overnighter as well in the summer to catch a few of the summits further in, should be good fun.

Yes looking forward to another s2s soon, are you going to be out on the UHF fun day?


In reply to MM0TAI & MM3WJZ:

Bem Macdui is one of my really favourite hills but don’t fret about not qualifying it on VHF. It took me three tries to qualify it (in the early days of SOTA) on HF and, even though it is the second highest peak in the UK, I have had real difficulty getting any form of VHF contact from there even with a beam.

I hope to be out on UHF Activity Day but need to think about both location and antennas (and whether to take 23cm or not)

Barry GM4TOE

In reply to GM4TOE:
I got a couple of s2s contacts when up there last year so hope to getthe same again.

Hows the snow down your way Barry, quite a bit fell overnight here.


In reply to MM0TAI:

Sorry Adrian, I’m really unlikely to get out on the 27th, quite a popular weekend in my diary that one, I could almost do with being in 3 places.
Yeah I need to get out more with the tent too.


In reply to MM0TAI:

Hows the snow down your way Barry, quite a bit fell overnight here.

Snowin’ ‘n’ blowin’

Could be a difficult weekend!

Barry GM4TOE

In reply to MM0TAI:
Today was my first failed activation.Joan the dog and myself trudged up to the mast on GW/NW.060 and got a big nothing only took a hand held big mistake.I couldn’t see the screen on the mobile to self spot.So do I try another tomorrow or go for a walk around Welshpool with Joan and Benji.Geoff G6MZX

In reply to MM0TAI:

I know that feeling … it seems that there is a distinct lack of simplex FM activity on VHF wherever you look. The calling frequencies are deserted, and your best chance for some unsolicited QSOs is if you happen to come across a local “round”. Sometimes it might be worth fishing around for information on the radio clubs in the area you are going to visit, some even publish when they meet on what frequency. Even so, you might be able to get your four QSOs to make your activation count for yourself, but you may not reach a single chaser … there might not even be one in the area! Thus, I doubt whether announcing an activity or self-spotting will really help.

That having said, I found that the late mornings of Saturday and Sunday (10:00 to 12:00 local time) are probably best if you want to make simplex FM QSOs; at noon, people will switch off and sit down for lunch. Later they might take an afternoon nap. Maybe there are a few that will switch on the radio again once they have had their afternoon coffee, but by 18:00 you can exect to be pretty much alone on the band again, and after 20:00 most will be watching TV anyway …

73, Jan-Martin

In reply to DL2LFH:

Hi Jan

Your comments are a generalisation. Up here in the North West of England 2m FM is alive and well. There are lots of Uk activators who use only 2FM. It rarely fails !

73 Richard G3CWI

In reply to G6MZX:

In reply to MM0TAI:
Today was my first failed activation.Joan the dog and myself trudged
up to the mast on GW/NW.060 and got a big nothing only took a hand
held big mistake.

I can sympathize fully with this after a few handheld activations I’ve done have failed. I find using a handheld with a simple slimjim antenna makes the difference between 20 and 0 contacts using the hh antenna.

I’ve made one from 450 ohm ladderline and combining this with a really small roachpole seems to work very well. It’s not much extra to carry and I just hold the pole during the activation.

Simples :slight_smile:

In reply to G3CWI:

Of course I have generalized, and yes, 2 m FM is more lively in NW England, and SOTA is better known there than in many other places (which I noticed when I worked in Cheshire - I envy you!), but as they say, exceptions tend to confirm the rules. There will always be days of the week, and times of the day, when people are more likely to be QRV, and it is helpful to find out about the likely level of activity in a region you are going to visit. Be prepared that people will tell you what repeaters you may be able to “work” from the hill you have climbed :wink: