70cms UKAC and Fun night

Last year I activated Rombalds Moor on 10/06/08 during the 70cms UKAC. I am thinking of doing it again tonight, but I’ve just been browsing the rules on the VHFCC website and it says that only RSGB members can take part. Has this been changed for 2009, because I didn’t notice that last year and my score still stands?

I am thinking that the rule may have been changed as yet another thing to ‘force’ membership of the RSGB.

I’m not bothered about getting points or being in the league table - I just want to have fun giving out points to other stations and maybe working some DX.

Do I just take part as normal and try to submit an entry (for the benefit of other stations claiming their scores), or should I not bother to upload an entry?

As I see it, the RSGB is imploding, it is shutting its doors rather than opening the doors wide and inviting people in. (I have formed this view from a number of factors not relevant here.)

73 and I hope to work lots of S2S tonight before the contest!


In reply to M0CGH:

The General Rules for RSGB contests have always required RSGB membership for UK stations, although the specific rules for certain contests waived the requirement. This is nothing new. However, your premise that RSGB is “shutting its doors” is well wide of the mark. In fact, following recent decisions by the Contest Committee, the range of contests that can be entered by operators who are members of an RSGB-affiliated society, but not RSGB members themselves, has been significantly widened.

As for uploading a log, all checklogs are welcome, even from non-members. However, the checking software will detect that you are a non-member, so any log uploaded as an entry will be automatically treated as a checklog.

Have fun on the summit.

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to G3VQO:

I haven’t been a member of RSGB for some years as I find the cost of membership is too much. I seem to recall studying the rules of the activity contests last year, as I thought that, as a non-member of the RSGB, I would not be able to take part.

I would tend to think that the whole idea of the activity contests is to encourage operation on the bands, so RSGB membership should be irrelevant!

I am now a member of an RSGB affiliated club. We recently had a talk by our RSGB regional manager and an honest statement would be that he, for most members, ‘rubbed them up the wrong way’!

I will upload a log and see what happens.

73 Col

I am a member of the RSGB, so I am guaranteed to beat you Colin hi!

I too recently noticed that rule, and it was worded in such a way as to “possibly” mean that all stations you worked must also be members. I am certain that is not the case though.

Colin, it might be worth checking today with Adam M6AXL who has been regularly doing the Tuesday night contests from NP-028 this year. Last week however, he was at a different location, so NP-028 might be clear.

Hope to work you S2S tonight.


In reply to M1EYP:

Thanks Tom, I know Adam M6AXL, he is a member of my local radio club.

You would beat me anyway Tom, as Rombalds Moor isn’t a brilliant location RF-wise, but it’s my local SOTA summit (for SOTA fun night)!

My score still stands for last years UKACs and I wasn’t an RSGB member then either.

I am not against the RSGB, I understand the importance of a unified voice, but unfortunately for me it doesn’t provide what I personally need and is far too expensive.

I hope to work you tonight Tom, we have a habit of missing each other!!

73 and GL in the contest!


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I don’t know if you were on Colin, as I didn’t work you. SOTA summits I did work were Kirkby Moor G/LD-049 (Nick G0HIK & Jordan M3TMX), Billinge Hill G/SP-017 (Stuart G0MJG & Keith G0OXV) and Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051 (Ron GW4EVX).

Up on The Cloud G/SP-015, I had a rather good time. All the other contesters were bemoaning the poor conditions and low activity, while I was compiling my greatest numbers of contacts and multipliers, and my best ever score for a 70cm actvity contest. True, there was no DX from EU (for me, the East coasters got them as per usual), nor even anything from Eire, Scotland or Devon, but I still amassed 56 QSOs in the 2.5 hours, and multiplier squares ranging from JO01 (Kent) to IO74 (Derry).

As I was setting up, two ladies passed by, and proudly informed me they would be spending the evening in the heather drinking alcohol! I enjoyed working the contest stations and SOTA activators. Many were easy 59 contacts within IO83, whereas others, certainly towards the end were from good distances away in JO01, IO91, JO02 etc.

It wasn’t at all warm on summit, and I did eventually deploy the bothy bag for a bit of respite. I was soon out of it again though, preferring the ease of turning the beam to the warmth and shelter of the bothy bag.

Aroung 9.30pm, the two ladies walked back again, informing me that they had drank all their wine, and asking questions about the beam. I had a couple of calls on 70cm FM which added three to the log, and all SOTA chasers as well. The final contact of the evening began at 2126z, and was with Linda G0AJJ in Norfolk. It was a difficult contact, but we had exchanged everything apart from my serial number (56) to her. She kept asking me if it was 16! Three minutes later, and she still hadn’t copied it and I began to worry that we wouldn’t complete before the 2130z deadline. With 30 seconds to go, I sent 56 twice in CW, to which she replied in fone that she had got it. Phew!

After packing away by torchlight and descending, I drove home arriving at 11.05pm. It was thoroughly enjoyable, and I am now looking forward to the 6m in two weeks. Thanks to everyone that called me.


In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom,

Glad to hear you had an enjoyable evening. I thought it was going to be a wet night, but in the end it was actually quite pleasant. You are correct though - it was a bit chilly, rather unlike the same time last year when I did the contest (10/06/08 I think).

I didn’t operate from a SOTA summit, I chose to save petrol and walk up onto the moors from my QTH. Adam, M6AXL, was somewhere close to me also, maybe I’ll quiz him tonight (at radio club) as to his exact location!

I purposely loaded up SOTAwatch on my mobile 'phone to see if you’d been spotted. I saw you had been spotted on 432.220 (I think it was that freq anyway). I listened very carefully for a while whilst rotating the beam, but I heard absolutely nothing from you!

I worked 4 stations in all, ODX being GM4PPT in IO75SK.

Adam, M6AXL, was running a 21 ele beam with 10watts, very close to me and it confirmed my views about running large beam antennas. Adam changed from barely readable to endstopping just by turning his beam. How many contacts are lost just because the antenna is too directional? I have certainly found that the 6 element SOTAbeam is very directional, so having an antenna with 3 times as many elements, will surely make things very difficult.

I have yet to obtain an antenna for 6m. I keep thinking about getting one!

My next radio outing will hopefully be the PW 2m QRP contest this coming Sunday. I have the choice between a 5 element yagi or a 3 element SOTAbeam. In practice I’ve found they are pretty similar in performance.

73, Col

later edit : I wasn’t entering the contest seriously and I’ve not submitted a log. I wouldn’t normally use a spotting system!

In reply to M0CGH:

How many contacts are lost just because the antenna is too directional?

It’s only a problem for operators who don’t understand how to use such an antenna to their advantage. A few moments with a sharp UHF antenna teaches you that you need to work on pointing it if you want to do well.


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In reply to MM0FMF:

Indeed, a fair point Andy, but you can’t twiddle the other guy’s antenna!

I always ‘peak the beam’ before answering CQ calls. If it’s the other way round, I’ll always peak the beam during the other station’s first over.

When I do CQ calls, I call and listen on one heading before rotating the beam and calling again. If you only call with one beam heading you’re potentially missing out. Obviously it’s worth a listen after each QSO before changing beam headings.

73, Col

It’s a “double contest” tonight, so even more appropriate for a SOTA Fun Evening, especially with this lovely weather and potential of enhanced conditions on UHF.

1800-1900z (7pm to 8pm BST) it is the FMAC - 433MHz FM event. I expect there will be a mix of vertical and horizontal polarisations in use for this.

1900-2130z (8pm to 10.30pm BST) it is the UKAC - 432MHz activity contest - mainly SSB, but maybe some CW and FM involved as well.

It all adds up to a rather long 3.5 hour activation for me, which may start to drag especially as I will need to leave the house before the family dinner is served! Still, I copped for a nasty cold yesterday - or so it seemed - so to be feeling immeasurably better 24 hours later is a bonus and I intend to make the most of it.

Any SOTA chasers working me on FM in the first hour are very welcome to work me again after 8pm on the SSB :wink: Anyone else out SOTA /P for the events tonight?

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Drat I forgot about this. 20 min drive and 1 hour walk for my nearest 1-pointer. I think I’ve left it too late. Maybe next time Tom. (And it’s turned out sunny now after a cloudy day) :pensive:

You didn’t miss much Andy. The conditions were bobbins and the temperature dropped like a stone once the sun went down.

Conditions were so poor that I thought the RX on my new FT-817 was a bit deaf. Signals were way down on usual and no GM stations were heard all night. The only squares I worked were IO74, 81, 82, 83, 84, 91, 92, 93, 95 and JO01.

In the end, I lost the will to carry on any further and pulled the plug 40 minutes early at 2050 UTC. 44 QSOs were made in the main UKAC. Earlier in the FMAC, things were similarly quiet and just 11 contacts went in the logbook. I noticed an uncomfortably high SWR indication while using the front (BNC) connector into the 817. This improved significantly after switching to the rear connector (PL259) via an adaptor. Something to check out there then.

So a total of 55 for the activation, 11 on 70cm FM, 43 on 70cm SSB and 1 on 70cm CW.

I do often wonder whether it would be worthwhile using a preamp, but probably not with the size of some signals around. Of course I do run a preamp on 2m when operating SOTA and only have problems if the activation coincides with a contest and then only if there is a big station nearby.

Last night I managed a few minutes listening in the contest just using the colinear in my roofspace. Copied around 10 stations with MM0CEZ the best around the noise level. Heard Anthony G7LRQ work you, but nothing copied of your signal.

Funny reading my old thread from years ago!

I still think RSGB membership is expensive but I am now a paid up member. Thankfully the RSGB seems to have turned the corner now, there seems to be a lot more energy and drive to get younger people interested and involved in the hobby. There are some good guys at the helm these days.

Regarding the weather last night, I was sat out in the garden waiting for the Camb Hams station GS3PYE/P on Islay to work 40m - I think the op was more interested in working the DX on 20m CW, the RBN was certainly showing some impressive hits! At around 9.30pm local, I packed up and went inside, I was very cold despite a fleece and synthetic duvet jacket!

Must get the SOTAbeams SB270 out sometime and fire up the FT817 on it’s upper ranges.

A new FT817? Your gigging must pay well in money as well as overseas jollies :wink: Is the old FT817 definitely dead then, or just too long in the tooth?

73, Colin

Tom has been using it… it’ll be very high mileage and probably the front and rear subframes will be rusted away!

Don’t forget the soup stains on the case!

We should check eBay to see if it’s there “FT817, lovingly cared for and never used portable. Intermittent antenna socket. Sold as seen, no returns or refunds.”


Tom mentioned that he had just sold his ageing 817 the day we met on Shining Tor.
He also muttered something about buying a KX3 along with doing one walk a day to get fit
Then promptly went to the local hostelry for a Pie and a Pint.
If he could let me know if that training regime is working, then i will happily follow his example !!

Yes, the old 817, which needed a few repairs, was sold for a bargain basement price to an eager enthusiast who was keen to have a go at restoring it. The KX2 and KX3 were ruled out due to offering nowhere near as much as the 817 in terms of bands. As I regular use virtually all the HF, VHF and UHF bands when activating, that was no good. So a new 817 it was.

Indeed Colin, I don’t play for pleasure (although I do enjoy my work) - it’s how I earn my living!

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You don’t have to be an RSGB member for the FMAC but you do for the UKAC (unless operating as part of an affiliated club entry).

PS. Yes, I know it’s an old thread.