A wild Yorkshireman appears...

Hello, everyone! I’m Richard, M0RPK from Sheffield, UK. I’ve been experimenting with a few SOTA activations over the last 18 months, and have made some contacts as a chaser too. I’ve benefited greatly from the advice posted to this reflector over that time, and I’ve been enjoying the conversations here, so I thought I should de-lurk and make myself known :slight_smile:

I started activating using a Baofeng UV-5R and progressed on to HF activations with a Xiegu X5105 last October. I’ve had mixed results so far: I think I’ve succeeded on fewer than half my trips to date. QRP life is hard at the bottom of the sun-spot cycle, especially when you’re a Morse novice so tend to stick to SSB!

Thank you for this fine resource and community. I’m looking forward to chatting with you all - and hopefully working you from the summits :+1:

73 de Richard.


Hello Richard

I used a baufeng on my first ever SOTA outing. I still marvel at the price to performance ratio.

Hope to catch you on a summit at some point.


1 Like

Welcome! Kinder Scout G/SP-001 seems your nearest summit and with the weather forecast improving I suspect you will be up there soon. :slight_smile:

1 Like

Thanks, John. I was out on Kinder today, in fact, trying to activate it. Unfortunately I was not successful. We were at the Northmost trig point, which is still within the plateau’s massive activation area, however there was no phone service so I couldn’t post a spot. I called CQ in the rain for half an hour before giving up. Next time!

1 Like

Hi Richard,
Commiserations on the lack of contacts on your activations.
Suggestions (in total ignorance of your operating experience and equipment status) to improve your chances when there is no phone service for self spotting.

  1. APRS can be used for spotting - if you have an aprs service nearby
  2. Repeaters can be used to drum up business (ie. to ask for simplex contacts) or merely ask someone to spot you.
  3. There are a few nearby summits that are frequently activated down closer to Macclesfield. Any of the activators on those summits would gladly spot you once you make contact with them. If they post alerts, time your activations to coincide with theirs.
  4. Are you using frequencies that other SOTA activators use? Looking at spots from other activators (at a time when activators are out there) will help to work out what parts of which bands will be productive.
  5. If you call CQ on cw, and you have posted an alert, the RBN monitoring stations will log your call, then the RBNHOLE service will post a spot for you with your actual frequency.
  6. Ask a friend to monitor your most likely frequency either at home or in a car, perhaps yours, even if they don’t have a licence they can wait till they hear you call cq on 2m fm, they have coverage so can spot you. This does require them to have a registered sotawatch account.
  7. Activate with another experienced activator. Using proven equipment and antennas adds confidence that it will work. And perhaps will let you see any flaws in your own setup that are making it difficult to make contacts. Your gear may be fine but sometimes small things make a large difference.

I’ve had a few fails and it does motivate you to prevent that from happening again.

Good luck
Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH


Hello and welcome!

I had the same issues when I started Didn't manage to activate G/NP-006 - advice needed. Since then I don’t think I have have failed to activate providing I could get up the hill. The thing that makes the biggest difference ( IMHO) is being spotted - and the SMS gateway makes that a bit easier (UK SMS gateway number?) - but you have to watch the syntax carefully (and in my case put the glasses on!). I usually take two radios up the hill - a 2m HH and an HF radio - on the grounds that there is a better chance that whatever item I have failed to pack or fails it should still be possible to get the other radio working. Good Luck
73 Paul

1 Like

Hi Richard and a very warm welcome from a fellow Yorkshireman

Some great a advice already given , I am also new to SOTA but not new to operating HF portable with over 40 years experience and most of the time it boils down to the antenna , am sure you will soon find what will work for you

Good luck and catch you soon from the Yorkshire dales

Craig 2e0vrx

1 Like

Hi Richard

Another Tyke called Richard (but known as Rick) here - and also new to SOTA and finding my way.

My early observation is that on 2M FM it’s very much pot luck - either it’s slow going to get contacts or else I have a pileup, and I haven’t yet worked out why there is the difference.

This week (midweek early afternoon) I had a really slow day on G/WB-017 when at the South West end of the ridge, but packing up and moving nearly a mile to the other end of the AZ produced the contacts. One thing I have watched for is other activators’ alerts, both for the S2S opportunity and also in hope that multiple activations will bring out the chasers.

Last year I gave up a couple of times on slow days but in retrospect I think I just needed to be more patient


1 Like

Hi Richard and welcome aboard. We have spoken a few times in the past. What a shame there was no one to spot for you 'cos I’m pretty sure you’d have done the activation no problem. Well in the past you were using your 2m handheld in the car while waiting for your missus and you boomed out into Dewsbury no probs. Don’t know if you remember that mate.but anyways you take care and best 73
de 2E0AGB

1 Like

Thanks for this advice, Andrew. I knew the RBN would spot me if I had posted an alert previously. Until now I hadn’t registered that I could call CQ using Morse on my intended SSB frequency. I figured that would report the mode, which would be CW, however even if that’s the case I guess chasers would figure it out from listening. I will try that next time!

Thanks for the link - some good advice there.

Indeed. Regrettably there was “no service” today, not even SMS coverage, so that wasn’t possible. I should have tried the CW RBN method mentioned above!

I’ve “retired” the Baofeng to shack-only duties. It’s fine for repeater use or testing in the shack however I’ve had many difficulties with it on the hill: poor battery life, deaf receiver and excessively strong squelch being the worst of them. I guess I need to invest in a better HT!

I’m looking forward to the summer months when patience might be rewarded by something other than increasing wetness and/or decreasing warmth!

Thanks, Allen. Sorry - I don’t remember that one. Your logs are clearly better than mine! I’ll look forward to working you again soon though.

RBN may well spot you on cw in the ssb end of the band but that may mean people expect to work you on cw. Ssb ops may ignore a cw spot and some will have filters to automate that.

I was thinking of cw contacts.
Whatever you try, better luck next time.

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

1 Like

If you use VK Portalog and have a good internet connection at your summit, you could chase other summits on CW, which is much easier than running a pile up. You might have to wait quite a bit until the pile up dies down, but it may well get you those elusive extra contacts you need. Saturday and Sunday are best as there’s more activity. Good luck!
73 de OE6FEG/M0FEU

Defeat the squelch. Consider using a busy repeater frequency but go reverse, talking on the output and listening on the input. Get serious about CW, practicing 10 minutes per day. During a CW activation, keep sending QRS until callers slow to 7 words per minute. Voila.

Elliott, K6EL

1 Like

Adding your planned activation in the SOTA watch alert tab may help too

Craig 2e0vrx

It’s possible there may be RBN skimmers listening on “all modes” parts of the bands, but generally they concentrate on the CW portions.

1 Like

Call on SSB in the CW portion and convince whatever band cop appears to QSY and make a contact. Rinse and repeat until you have the four :wink: