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6m FT8 tonight


This evening from 1900 to 1955 there will be plenty of activity on 6m FT8. I assume most of this will be centred around 50.313MHz but maybe it will spread a little upwards too.

I’ll be QRV - from a SOTA summit - The Cloud G/SP-015. After 2000, activity will largely switch to SSB, but there will be some CW too.

Anyone else going out to set up a possible 6m FT8 S2S?


Thanks for the heads up on this one Tom. I presume it is one of the new RSGB MGM Contests I read about - I need to read the rules. I’m not an FT8 Activator myself but I use it at home and quite enjoy it if I am in the mood… Never used it in a contest, so that should be interesting, but I have done RTTY Contesting in the past. So I will be on 50 MHz tonight then with 100 watts and a 5 element yagi pointing down your way.

73 Phil


Excellent Phil.

Yeah, it’s the RSGB MGMAC.


Note that EU VHF Contest mode should NOT be used for this. The exchange is simply the normal one you would use in a normal FT8 contact - callsign, 4-character locator (IO94) and report (-15).

If I’m worked by you, or any other recognised chaser callsign, I’ll send the SOTA ref after the 73 macro (ie in between two contacts) like I do on my normal FT8 SOTA activations.


That’s good Tom - if we do actually work I think I will know where you are so the SOTA Ref sent as a supplement to the contest exchange probably isn’t essential. I was wondering about serials, which the WSJT-X software I believe does not handle at present. So very good that we don’t need them. The locator is no bother as we send that anyway as part of the standard formatted exchange. What aerial will you use? I imagine most home stations like me will be using a horizontally polarised yagi.

73 Phil


I have a probably dumb question here - how does a CQ SOTA work on FT8? Don’t think I have any hope of chasing you from IO81, and tonight’s MGMAC is perhaps not ideal on the 14th so I may not be on the radio anyway tonight :wink:

I am a total noob with SOTA so it may be a daft question, but I don’t get that at all. I have a FT897. have managed to rig this with a fishpole in the garden and able to use it with an SLA and a HP Stream notebook. I can sync the clock using a USB GPS dongle, so no need for network connectivity. And obviously the rig is too heavy, but I am testing the principle.

But how to actually make FT8 work with SOTA, in particular how to put the summit location in the CQ beats me. FT8’s locator is only 4 characters, so that isn’t enough, it probably encompasses all of the SW region?


I think it does - if EU VHF Contest mode is enabled. Though I’m not 100% sure because I haven’t tried this yet. As you say though, no need in the MGMAC, which just requires the same exchange as a “normal” FT8 contact - shortened QRA locator and no SN.

  1. CQ M1EYP/P IO83 - or - CQ SO M1EYP/P IO83
    (rx) G4OBK IO94
  2. G4OBK M1EYP/P -5
    (rx) M1EYP/P G4OBK R-10
  3. G4OBK M1EYP/P RR73
    (rx) M1EYP/P G4OBK 73
  4. SOTA G/SP-015

…then back to 1) again.

Note that 4) is optional - I tend to stick this in, after the end of a QSO before calling CQ again. I’ll probably only do this occasionally tonight with it being a contest.

I have taken the day off work, and Mrs EYP is being taken out for lunch today. I’ll try to find the opportune moment to mention I’m out tonight…


OK Tom - Mrs OBK sings in a choir on Thursday nights so I am a free agent. We’ll have a steak dinner this evening, and Vaklentine cards have already been exchanged :couplekiss_man_woman:

It looks to be a straight forward logging process. I’ll probably submit a log to RSGB. I’ve used MINOS for logging in the past for CW/SSB VHF Contests, so I will likely just export an FT8 ADIF file from my normal logging program Logger32 into Minos. It should work and hopefully it will calculate to the centre of the grid squares for the points. I’m in IO94 and looking at the results from the 50 MHz FGM last month my square was not recorded as active in the logs submitted.

73 Phil


Thanks - makes sense now, because for a SSB SOTA CQ you wouldn’t particularly put the peak reference in the call, and I’d been trying to work out how to shoehorn it into the FT8 call, d’oh.

There’s not really any hope of picking you up from there, but I’ll leave the rig on 6m FT8, to give a datapoint for reach on that contest :wink:


Condx on 6m pretty good this afternoon on 6m FT8 mode. IO83, IO91, IO86, IO63 were worked in 20 minute session. Thats G, GM and EI. GI was heard / seen but QSB took him out and the QSO was incomplete.

Good luck in the contest Tom!

73 Phil


Couple of likely lads heard here in IO93et despite me only using my Yaesu FT817ND and Diamond V2000. The excellent station of David GI4SNA managed to hear my weak signal and he was the only one I logged.

I will be better prepared next time with a horizontal dipole. Hope others enjoyed themselves.

73 Chris M0RSF


Thanks for report Chris.

19 QSOs and no SOTA for me. I entered the restricted section with 100 watts and a 5 element yagi. I saw one exchange from Tom M1EYP/P only when Tom was working someone else. I called CQ for around 40 mins out of the 55 mins contest duration. I am thinking that I was on the same TX interval as Tom and maybe that is why we never ran into one another Tom.

The FT8 usage is still a novelty for me and great fun in this very simple contest format. The 55 mins duration is just right for me also. I’ll definately do some more.

Best DX was my friend Victor GI4ONL in IO65 at 399 Kms. If you are wondering why he lives in the middle of the sea on this map it’s because the simplified scoring method puts the locator in the middle of the grid square.

73 Phil


Thursday 14th February 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

The main walk of the day was a favourite of mine and Marianne’s. It’s a 12 mile circular via Macclesfield town centre, over the Hollins to Langley, then up over Tegg’s Nose to the cafe, before walking back down Buxton Road to town and then the remaining couple of miles home. The occasion was Valentine’s Day, and the Valentine’s afternoon tea event at Tegg’s Nose Country Park cafe.

And what a feast it was - soup, sandwiches, cakes, more cakes and even more cakes, scones with jam and cream, coffee, chocolates and shortbread - amazing! Red roses on the table, and decorated with rose petals. Add to this the fact it was a glorious sunny day with clear blue skies making hillwalking a total delight. Plenty of brownie points in my rucksack today.

But after 12 miles, and over 20,000 steps, I still hadn’t actually done any SOTA. That was to be rectified with an evening jaunt up The Cloud for the 6m MGM and UK activity contests.

I was feeling perfectly organised, and arrived punctually at the parking spot with all batteries freshly topped-up. I inserted the rechargeable battery pack into the Petzl headtorch - but it wouldn’t turn on. I tried it with normal AAA cells instead, but it was the headtorch itself that had failed. Very disappointing - and infuriating.

So my being a little ahead of time soon morphed into my running half-an-hour behind schedule, by having to drive down to Congleton, and pick up an Energiser headtorch from the big Tescos there.

I managed to get QRV on 6m FT8 just after 1930z. I had only about 40% of the full contest period to work with. As such, 11 QSOs was not too shabby, but it was annoying not to be able to do the full 55 minutes despite thorough preparations.

In the main UKAC, I made 75 contacts, all on SSB except for one (MM0CEZ) on CW. At least the RSGBCC has done away with the silly requirements to use vertical omnidirectional antennas for the short contests ahead of the main UKACs, so I didn’t have to lose even more time by changing over aerials. So all QSOs in the maps below were made using 5w from the FT-817 and SOTAbeams SB6 (Moxon).

Ponderosa tomorrow - one of my favourite SOTA outings of every year!





Phil did call you on Ft8, heard also Victor G4ONL vy well but opening to short to make the qso 73 Karel!


FB Karel - I saw your call when GI4SNA was working you in his response, so I spun my beam out towards the north sea - 120 degrees - called CQ a few times and no takers seen, so I went back to looking at south of England direction after that. I’m sure we’ll make an FT8 QSO soon on one band or other. I have you in my log 138 times so far in CW/SSB!

73 Phil


Hi Karl I saw good signals from you and called you several times but unfortunately no qso. Oh well hopefully next time.

Victor GI4ONL


The 6m MGMAC (virtually all FT8) session returns at 7pm UK time (1800z) tomorrow (Thursday) evening. This will be followed at 8 - 10.30pm (1900-2130z) by the 6m UKAC (mainly SSB with some CW).

Will I be the only SOTA station on? Hope not! With the night’s getting lighter - and warmer - maybe a few more “Magic Band” enthusiasts will venture out portable and join in the fun. I usually work a good batch of chasers in these events whatever though, so that itself will be pleasing.

Here’s hoping for good conditions, good activity levels, and good weather! (At present it looks dry, not too windy, but pretty nippy - “feels like” -2 @ 10pm - brrr!).


This SOTA Chaser station will be on the contest Tom. We made it last time.

73 Phil


Hi Tom try this, you can find many G on 6m
73 Eric F5JKK


Thanks Eric.

Yes, I am aware of KST. In fact the contest rules were changed a few years ago to allow use of KST by contesters in these events. Personally, I don’t use it that much - being portable on a cold hilltop means I tend to be fully engaged in operating on the radio, turning the beam etc, and it would slow me down significantly if I was monitoring KST, much more than it would do if I had it running on a PC in the shack.

If I get a quiet moment during the contest, I might take a quick look to see if there are spots for new squares, or maybe even send a meep to try to set up a new bonus square QSO, but generally speaking KST does not really add much when contesting /P. Outside of a contest, it no doubt useful for an activator.


No need to look at the KST screen till you hear “meep meep”.