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80m Operating


#1

The SOTA MT has received a polite request from participants in a long
running 80m net asking that UK SOTA activators try to avoid 3725-3727kHz
around lunch-times and in the afternoon. The participants acknowledge that
they have no rights to a specific frequency but indicate that SOTA
stations sometimes simply start operating (SSB and CW) as close as 1KHz to
their net, causing them (and presumably the SOTA stations) problems.

When SOTA started we often used 7030KHz (the QRP frequency). As SOTA grew,
we moved off to 7032 to avoid annoying QRP stations. This change was
widely acknowledge as a good thing and was simply a sensible response to a
growing problem. Hopefully 80m activators will feel able to move their
centre of activity a little in the same way.

73

Richard
G3CWI - on behalf of the SOTA MT


#2

In reply to G3CWI:
How about avoiding anywhere between 3.7 - 3.8MHz? Would it be better to use 3.660 or 3.666 for SSB and 3.560 or 3.566 for CW? An antenna (dipole) cut for 3.61 MHz should be able to cope with the 2 frequency variations should both modes be used.
73 de CRIS
GM4FAM


#3

In reply to G3CWI:
Richard,
I’m sorry I seem to have inadvertently brought some unwelcome criticism of SOTA upon the heads of the management team. I welcome your suggestion that we(I) should avoid 3725 and I certainly will in future. Humble apologies.

73
Frank
G3RMD


#4

In reply to G3RMD:

No worries Frank. On the plus side you must have a cracking good signal on 80m!

73

Richard


#5

In reply to G3CWI:

He did !!!


#6

In reply to G3RMD:

No, Frank, if 3725 is free, use it, don’t give in to the bullying tactics of the geriatric nets. I heard them start up on top of an activation a few days ago so they are not without fault, are they?

My antenna is cut to favour the DX window on 80, its efficiency drops off at the CW end and I am not inclined to re-cut it just because some guys think they have squatters rights to 3725!

73

Brian G8ADD


#7

In reply to G8ADD:

I don’t think there is any need for insults here.

Nobody is claiming squatters rights to any frequencies.

The problem is that there have been a number of instances recently of SOTA stations starting up on 3.725 when the homebrew net has already been in progress on 3.727.

Since the two frequencies are only 2kHz apart, they are going to cause each other QRM.

Of course when it happens the other way around, then they are in the wrong.

But two wrongs don’t make a right!

if 3725 is free, use it

is of course absolutely right, but if 3727 is already in use, you are going to cause, and suffer QRM.

73 Ian.


#8

In reply to G8ADD:

Re: the “bully boys” in amateur radio, it seems to be a modern trait in our hobby and is definitely on the increase.

A lot of you will have come across a certain Northern “gentleman” on 2m-fm operating on “his” frequency, whether it is already in use or not makes no difference to him, after all it’s “his” frequency, the rest of us don’t exist.

In reality ALL frequencies are only governed by “Gentleman’s agreement” and if any particular QRG is not in use, then anyone has the right to use it, even if the local XYZ net is due on in ten minutes time, BUT, at the end of the day common sense has to prevail and more importantly in our case, any bad publicity for sota should be avoided like the plague.

There are bully boys out there and yes they really do annoy everyone with their bad attitude, but let’s not forget one vital fact, IT’S ONLY A HOBBY, is it worth any arguments?

Frank is one of life’s true gentleman, and as Ian G8OGI has already stated, the second that Frank realised his mistake he immediately offered apologies to the net in question, then QSY’d, we now know that in fact he actually QRT’d.

I am so sorry to hear that Frank was “put off” and being the gentleman that he is, was probably even upset by the events and went QRT after his ACCIDENTAL incident, but I sincerely salute his gentlemanly conduct.

Mike GW0DSP


#9

…same here in Germany, on 80 and 40m run´s mostly a net somewhere.
Even if there´s not net running, some guys are keeping the frequency
free…But I enjoy SOTA and dont want a infarction on the summit, so
I prefer qsy to another frequency. hi
Vy73 es keep cool de Fritz HB9CSA,DL4FDM


#10

De G4YSS, 23-05-07.

Following the polite enquiry, sensitively relayed to us via Richard G3CWI and the ensuing discussion about the 80m channel of 3.725 MHz, the use of which, it seems I have the (now) dubious pleasure of pioneering for SOTA ops, I should respond.

I can sympathise with the net in question but like others have correctly stated, no frequency has a ‘name written on it’ and there may not be a single channel on the whole of the 80m band to which someone might lay claim for one reason or the other. The salient point to this is the initial checking of occupancy, something all other SOTA activators, and I must habitually do. This is done whatever mode is to be used and I first ‘listen wide’ if CW is to be used. As can happen on 80m, the band may appear full but if the activation is to take place, some channel must be found. If 3.725 is clear, it will get used by SOTA, because if SOTA doesn’t use it (and the net is not running at the time) someone else certainly will. If it’s busy, the QRG could be 3.728, 3.722 or as far away as 3.712 etc but skilled chasers will always find the activator. My rule of thumb for SSB is to look for a 3kHz ‘gap’ to fit into but it’s often very difficult.

The initial reaction was to try using another frequency but I fear it would only be a matter of time before that too would prove unsuitable for similar or unforeseen reasons. Basically 3.725 and every other channel on 80m (or 40m) is at times close to being ‘unsuitable for communications’ simply because we are all competing for finite band-space and there will inevitably be conflicts and frictions such as splash-over, strong stations ‘wiping out’ weak etc. Tensions are raised.

Having said that, a better frequency might be found, which could eventually become a recognised SOTA channel. I know that 3.666 is regularly used but maybe sometimes that is occupied etc. Finding a regular ‘slot’ would take a great deal of painstaking research, an intimate knowledge of the entire band on a 24/365/eleven year cycle basis and it still wouldn’t satisfy the requirements of two coincident SOTA activations. I don’t know of a document which has a comprehensive listing of all or any of these net / specialised use frequencies, so we only have a band plan to go by. It states that we can use CW, SSB or any other mode (2.7kHz or less width) from 3.6 to 3.8 (so long as we have a current and correct licence, of course.)

History: The (SOTA/G4YSS) use of 3.725. It was first used by G4YSS/GX0OOO/P on 30 May 2004, for an overnight summit-camp at a time when 80m was not supporting daylight propagation. Why 3.725? It is simply the frequency, chosen for (no particular reason except perhaps easy remembering) which has been used by the Scarborough Special Events Group (GX0OOO) for all its GB-call operations, several times a year, in sunspot-low, since 1987. Since 2004 and up to 15 March 2007, it has also carried over 1200 of my SSEG SOTA QSO’s. Apart from being ‘wiped off’ in mid activation on two occasions, I can’t remember there being any problems.

Two-mode operations were introduced as an experiment from Cross Fell on 09-Nov-06. This trial was successful and regular CW/SSB activations took place on there throughout the winter of 2006/07.

Why dual-mode/single QRG?

  1. The antenna length, so important for SOTA, is more favourable than for the CW-only section and no re-tuning is required.
  2. It’s easier for the chaser. SSB chasers can tune-in during CW ops, without fear of losing their ‘quarry’ after a messy QSY.
  3. Chasing with SSB is far more difficult in poor condx. but the chances of success can be judged by the strength of the CW signals.
  4. It’s easier for the activator, he only has to assess whether the increased bandwidth will fit in, rather than start at square-one, finding an entirely new channel, remote from the first. As prevoiusly stated, this is not an invention of mine. WAB have been doing it successfully for the past 3 decades.

A CW practice net has been heard on 3.725, early on some mornings. It’s not clear which mode is causing the most problem to the net?

The bottom line: I may well continue to use frequencies in this general proximity, bearing in mind that 3.724 (3725 minus 3) may now be more appropriate, until a better (proven) alternative becomes available. I will be extra vigilant in checking the frequency (and 3.727) especially at the times given and will continue with my past policy of politeness and tolerance. Should any conflict arise, I (like Frank G3RMD) would be quite likely to ‘give-way’ whether in the wrong or even in the right, in the interests of good relations with other groups. My apologies to Frank; I feel some responsibility here.

Fritz say’s, ‘Keep cool.’ Excellent advice!

Finally, does anyone know (for certain) of a frequency where a net or other ‘claim’ is NOT operative?

73, John G4YSS (and on behalf of SSEG.)


#11

In reply to G4YSS:
“Finally, does anyone know (for certain) of a frequency where a net or other ‘claim’ is NOT operative?”

A rhetorical question, I assume, John! Particularly in view of the way that the band becomes about 3 deep in stations in the afternoon as the skip lengthens!

I doubt that a regular SOTA channel will ever be recognised, it would merely suffer the fate of the QRP channels! I think hunting for a clear slot is the correct step to take, but on the other hand use of the IF Shift, which is on all modern rigs (I think!) would make the 2 kHz spacing quoted in the original post a reasonably viable alternative. I find operation on 40 m almost impossible without it!

73

Brian G8ADD

PS re the insults (GW8OGI), as I am retired and therefore officially an OF I feel that I can use such terms to my fellow wrinklies without being insulting!
The simple fact is that I have heard this net also start up on top of other contacts, so their moral high ground is definately not a Marilyn!


#12

For my rare 80m SSB activations I have usually favoured 3760. Why? Well, it has long been the traditional haunt of the WAB nets (remember them?), so other folks tend to keep away. In the unlikely event that an actual WAB net is running, they may actually appreciate the WAB area from the summit, so, once you’ve attracted their attention, the relatively strong signals will help to protect the QRP summit station; it should be win-win as long as you’re not planning to stay too long.

I did try 3666 with some success one evening recently, but that was purely to keep inside the non-contest window during an RSGB Club Championships event.

The bottom line is that the same problems aflict everybody who wants to be active, especially at “prime” times. I can recall operating on 40m from France (activating a windmill for the DMF award). The frequency seemed quite clear but, after a couple of CQs, an irate UK station came on to tell me I was interfering with his wish to LISTEN to the Irish Amateur news broadcast. As I could neither hear the Irish station, nor him listening, it made it rather difficult to avoid! Solution? Apologise profusely, move 250Hz LF and call CQ in French!!!

73 de Les, G3VQO


#13

In reply to G3VQO:

In “Plan de bandes HF IARU Region 1” I found from REF Union web page 3760 kHz is IARU region 1 emergency communication frequency. The other region 1 HF emergency frequency is 7060 kHz. 14300 kHz, 18160 kHz and 21360 kHz are world wide emergency frequencies.

73, Jaakko OH7BF/F5VGL


#14

In reply to F5VGL:

You are correct Jaakko, but it does not mean that 3760 must be kept clear at all times! Of course, if emergency traffic needs to be passed, we will all immediately cease our activitites, or at least move to another frequency well away. Fortunately, we in Europe do not have too many emergencies of the sort that will require use of amateur HF bands, but it was still a useful reminder to us all that there are more important things than SOTA!

73 de Les, G3VQO