A starting question

Hi All
I am new to the amature radio having just got my license last week.
I have spent a lot of time in the hills over the years and often passed SOTA teams working from summits.
I thopught it might be nice to try and make my first QSO a SOTA summit as well.
The problem is I am getting impatient!
I often run/climb in the mountains at night so i am not worried by being out in the dark and Y Wyddfa (GW/NW-001) is close and I know the routes very well.
I have a little kg uvd 1p with the stock antenna so can only work 2m or 70cm.
How long should I plan to be at the summit to make the required 4 activations ? I would probably summit at about 7pm
or is that unlikely to happen ?

In reply to MW6DHN:

I think it depends on what the locals do at that time of night!

I activated Tryfan on 2m using a VX-7 at 2.5 W into a 35cm twig on Sunday afternoon (12:15). It took only 5 minutes for the vital four and then a fifth came along. Three of the five were local and there are lots of others easily within range on the Wirral and Lancs coast.

Ross, MW0BYT replied to my first call; John, GW4ZPL joined in straight away. Then two s2s (unlikely in your scenario) followed by Barry, 2W0LYD. These three are all based within the immediate area.

Also, you are giving away 10 points here so an Alert ought to bring in a bit of a pile-up, presenting you with the problem of when to close and descend.

73 and good luck,

In reply to MW6DHN:

Try it and see what happens! You sound like someone who is pretty sure footed in the environment. All I’d say is, read the guidelines and advice on the SOTA website and let someone responsible know where you are going and your expected return time.

Take it one step at a time and remember it’s a fun thing (I all too often I forget this and start a personal battle against the ascent/conditions etc…)

Good luck (let us know how it went!!!) and all the best…


In reply to MW6DHN:

Welcome to Amateur radio and SOTA!
So long as you post the activation on SOTAWatch alerts, I’m sure you would get your four contacts. I’ll certainly look out for you.

If you are able to make a simple dipole, that would be a great signal improvement.

Good luck & 73

Roger MW0IDX

In reply to MW0IDX:
Well that went ok.
I have a lot to learn about radio technique but did get a few pointers!
it was to cold to type on my phone to log the calls so dont have any real logs.

Things to learn for next time:
Take more snacks
Take pencil and paper
Stay on one frequency and let people chase me. Is it normal to CQ on a non calling channel after finishing a contact ?
Practice radio script
bring a mat to sit on.

Thanks to everyone and apologies for poor technique.

Hi David…Firstly, Welcome to the world of ‘Sota’!..And I hope you got as much as a buzz out of the walk and activation as we get…And it is addictive!

Accurate logging is very important, as it enables you to record your contacts on the Sota database, thereby enabling you to ‘claim’ the activation points for the summit worked from…It also allows the ‘Chasers’ to claim their points for working you, so logging is a ‘must do’ part of the process for all parties involved.

Radio technique will come to you as you become more experienced at activating…I found it very daunting on our first activation as I had never put out a ‘CQ’ call up untill then!

Before you put out your first ‘CQ Sota’ call, listen around on the band firstly for a clear frequency…We usually operate around the 145.400 section…It is better to move some distance from the calling channel so that you have less chance of stations landing on your channel whilst operating…Mobile operators usually only move one or two channels either side of S20.

It is usual practice for us to stay on the selected frequency and work all of the initial batch of chasers there, calling ‘QRZ’ occasionally afterwards to ‘root out’ any of the weaker stations…Once we have worked any more chasers, we put out a general ‘CQ Sota’ call on that frequency and if there are no takers, we go back to S20 and put out another call and then move back to the previous simplex channel…So calling ‘CQ’ on a non calling channel is standard operating procedure, once you have established that you’re a Sota activator.

Radio script?..It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, or anything particularly specific…Keep it simple, whilst conveying what you are doing…The important bit is letting people know that you are an activator and where you are calling from…Something along the lines of “CQ Sota, CQ Sota, CQ summits on the air, this is MW6 DHN calling CQ Sota from (NW 001, Snowdon) in (North Wales) and standing by for any calls.”…Once you get a resonse, QSY to your pre-selected simplex channel…Alternativley, at the end of the CQ call, you could say " And QSY’ing to 145. ???" and go straight to that frequency and after ‘challenging’ the frequency, call ‘QRZ?’…Some chasers prefer to go directly to a simplex channel, as it avoids having to try to be heard through the possible pile up!

Also, if you get ‘hooked’, get to know the chasers, particularly the regular operators, some of whom spend quite a bit of time waiting for activators to arrive and set up on the summit…These are the folk that you will come to depend on when you are on the trickier summits that are not so good for radio comms.

Finally, good luck with your future activations and I hope that you enjoy this excellent aspect of the hobby as much as we do!

Best regards, Neil (And Karen, 2E0 XYL)

In reply to 2E0TDX:

Just a point Neil - it is NOT necessary that an activator submits his/her log to the SOTA Database in order for chasers to claim a contact with that activation.

However, the vast majority of participants operate on an “everybody submits everything” basis, which seems to work really well!


In reply to MW6DHN:
Hi David
Welcome to Amateur Radio and SOTA
Congratulations an your 1st Activation
The only bit of a advice i can give is -
Try listening out for a seasoned operator( like Neil , Karen or Barry to name but a few) activating a summit . It’s from these people that i’ve learnt all my bad habbits H.I.
I’t was nice to work MW6SPX (a new activator) on sunday and i’m looking forward to working you on a summit soon .

Aled 2W0UPH
Sharon 2W0OSH

In reply to MW6PZP:

It was great to be worked by you Aled and the other chasers who were very patient with my slow operating and what must have been loud wind noise, I was in the most sheltered spot I could find and was still managed to have my log blow away at one point!

In all I made eight contacts that day, ending with MW0JLA on Tryfan, it was good to hear a seasoned activator on the air :slight_smile:

One thing I noticed was that if the person I talked to selected a frequency I could hear people that they couldn’t and then I had to wait to reply and say we needed to QSY in order to not transmit over someone else. So I would suggest that the activator should be the one to suggest a QSY frequency.

Steve MW6SPX

In reply to M1EYP:

In reply to 2E0TDX:

Just a point Neil - it is NOT necessary that an activator submits
his/her log to the SOTA Database in order for chasers to claim a
contact with that activation.

However, the vast majority of participants operate on an
"everybody submits everything" basis, which seems to work
really well!


Hi Tom…When we first started activating, we took advice from someone who was already established with ‘Sotaring’ and he was quite adamant on the need to submit logs, so we took it that it was a part of the rules and procedure involved.

Thanks for setting the record straight…and the “everybody submits everything” works for us!

All the best, Neil.

…he was quite adamant…

Could have even been me - or Jimmy!

I always encourage everyone to submit full activator logs, and chasers do appreciate the opportunity to double-check that they are in the log. I no doubt said as much to you when we first met on NW-044.

But the database (nor the awards manager) does not (necessarily) require matched data for scoring the chaser points.


In reply to MW6SPX:

Many thanks, Steve, for the contact on Tryfan. Your wind noise was really loud and caught me out because on Tryfan it was almost calm. Not sure how you found me so quickly with your own activation going on, but perhaps I stole your channel; hope not. Mynydd Mawr seems to attract the wind. Viki and I were very cold activating there in mid September. I didn’t hang around long on Tryfan either. It was a walk with SOTA as an addon and I wanted to leave plenty of time for the long and rather rough going walk back to the car at Pen-y-Gwryd.
Hope for more summits to summits with you. Happy SOTAing.

In reply to MW6DHN:

Well done with so ambitious a start on amateur radio. I found trouble enough starting SOTA even after a year of operating. Only three contacts on my second summit :frowning: and I have had a good few zero point activations since then.

Good luck and hope to speak soon.


In reply to M0JLA:

Not sure how you found me so quickly with your own activation going
on, but perhaps I stole your channel; hope not.

No, I’d finished my activation and hung around near the summit to wait for you as I could see the summit and knew you planned to be there from your alert. I knew you were after a swift activation. You came through very strong with your initial call and I wondered if you turned the power down after that.


In reply to MW6SPX:
Many thanks for waiting for the S2S. As far as I know the power should have been the same throughout; when I recall memory settings the power often changes but I did none of that this time. Most likely to be down to holding the HH at an angle while writing on the log card.
Thanks for the QSO; speak to you again soon I hope.