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Amazing 2 Metre Lift Conditions!

It goes without saying, even the most hard bitten HF junkie, will drop everthing for a bit of tropo on VHF and I’m certainly no exception. I suppose for many hams, it’s a bit like going back to their roots really.

Watching M6MGO working Germany during the lift on 2m, with 2.5 Watts on his FT-817 from the radio club last night, really whetted my appetite for for a VHF activation. Of course we all know how unpredictable tropo is…Now you see me now you don’t.

Hepburn had predicted a good morning and so, I set the alarm for 0600 local time. It was a toss up between G/SP-004 Shining Tor 1864 feet and G/SP-013 Gun 1263 feet. I’ve worked plenty of lifts from Shining Tor, however, today, I opted for the lower and safer option of Gun in order not to find myself above the ducting. My journey to Gun, was hampered by a closed road, which nobody had bothered to signpost and this caused about a 7 mile detour :frowning:
Nevertheless, I was on Gun at about 0625z and qrv at 0645z. It was a toss-up between the X-200 and X-300 colinears and in the end I opted for the X-300 combined with 15 feet of poles. Turning on the rig, found the band on fire and finding a QRG wasn’t easy. There was qrm from all over the shop.

Anyhow, I got onto 500 and put out a CQ. The Chasers were onto me like a shot. Within 15 minutes I had Sweden, Germany, Holland and Belgium in the log with calls coming in from all over the UK. PD4RC made me laugh when he called me from his crane where he was operating crane mobile, a new one for me. Northern Ireland was hammering in, as was the South coast of England. Every signal seemed to be 5/9. The amazing conditions must have been picked up by half the Hams in the country as my pile-up rumbled on. After a few hours, I noticed a change with signals dropping and it seemed as if the conditions were tailing off. At 1054z I announced that I was going QRT at which point EI2KJ called me for my only EI contact of the activation. This was undoubtedly the biggest lift I’ve experienced on VHF and what fun it was too. To sum up…

122 contacts logged, all 2m FM.
SM x 2
ON x 5
PD x 2
DO x 1
GU x 1
EI x 1
GI x 17
The rest were G and GW.
DXCC’s x 9…
0DX SA7CKN 1070 Km. What a fine job the colinear did!

Thanks to all the Chasers, for a very enjoyable morning.
73 Mike
2E0YYY

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Well done Mike!

Thats actually quite amazing that you got all those contacts on 2m FM and a colinear! Going back to my roots (I am G8GLM) I was expecting you to say you had taken an 8 element Yagi and a 10w SSB rig up for the activation. CRIKEY I wonder how much further you would have got, if you had!

I must work that Crane-mobile station some day!

73 Ed.

Looking forward to my short “jaunt” over to the UK for the last week of October, Hmm, should I pack a 2m antenna as well as the HF stuff?

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Awesome results Mickey. I was listening in envy as I struggled to raise 15 QSOs on 18MHz and 14MHz. I had the VX7R handheld monitoring your working frequency to keep me company during the long periods of unanswered CQing on 18MHz CW! I was set up approximately halfway between the summit and the road, by the “milestone”. Your pile-up on 2m FM was huge; I couldn’t get through, not even from the parking spot!

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With a multielements yagi and more power, Mike would have probably reached some further places but I guess he would not have had the fun and the pile up he had thanks to being using an omnidirectional antenna.
That’s why I think verticals are the best choice for SOTA, as the signal can travel wherever the propagation conditions want to take them to.
Using directional arrays gives priority to a certain direction over the others and having big sporadic opennings like the one described by Mike you may find yourself pointing with your yagi to some direction which may have poorer conditions and missing the real good ones.
Just my opinion.
Best 73 de Guru

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When working portable, the question of whether vertical or horizontal antennas are best for working HF and whether beams or colinears are best for working VHF, will always spark fierce debate…

However, the answer “always” lies within your log book.

73 Mike
2E0YYY

This “argument” is similar to the camera one. The best camera in the world is the one that you have with you when you get the opportunity to take a great picture. In the same way, the best antenna for an activation is the one that you have managed to “schlep” up the mountain.

Guru - I agree on the direction thing - omnidirectional and get on with the calls has great value but given its small size if it wasn’t up the mast at the moment I’d be packing my 2m Moxon for a 2m activation. Apparently that high pressure will have moved away in a couple of days, so the lift will be over before I get to the UK in any case. I might actually try some 2m FM on my UK activation (s) though in any case, if only from a 1/4 wave whip on a HT.

73 Ed.

Good little antenna I have been using is a t2lt antenna made for the 2m band with 5m of rg174 seems to work well on a 2-4m telescopic pole and even managed a qso on 70cm with it. Problem is I can’t seem to find it since cleaning my rucksack out the other day.

When I checked my barometer last night, I noticed the pressure had jumped to 1030, therefore a look at Hepburn was in order. Things looked good and so I packed the FT-857 and X-300 colinear and headed for my local summit G/SP-013 Gun

As usual, I chucked the colinear into the hawthorn tree. Didn’t bother with a SOTA spot, just went onto S20, put out a CQ then made my way to 145.425 and waited for the cavalry to arrive.

Stewart G0LGS was straight in from Cheltenham and from then on it was pretty much non-stop for about two and a half hours. Plenty of DX workek the best of it a 500km hop to Camille, F6HRO. Plenty of South and East coast logged, including the IOW, Sussex, Kent, Surrey, Cambridge, Essex, Hertfordshire, plus loads I can’t remember and one call into EI . Summit to summits with Simon GW4TJC activating Snowden on both 2m/70cm and Mike GW7HEM on GW/NW-013.

However, my contact with Adam M6JOM who was doing his first SOTA activation was sweet. He called me for his first ever 2m contact and he makes a s2s from G/SE-006 Detling Hill in Kent with 2.5 watts on an FT-817. What are the chances of that!

As lifts go, this was fairly good, but not as good as many I’ve worked. Nevertheless, a nice afternoons radio, albiet cold.

115 contacts on 2m FM
2 Contacts on 70cm FM

Thanks to all the callers
Mike
2E0YYY

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Hi Mike,

You were a massive signal here in Macclesfield, but I don’t think that was anything to do with the tropo - you are always a massive signal on 2m FM at my QTH when you are on Gun!

I answered your CQ call many times, but yet again, my 50 watts couldn’t seem to get through to make myself heard at your end. So another one for the SWL log I guess.

Well done on another superb activation nonetheless.

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Well done Mike, I wish for a day when I could make 100 QSOs on 2m, at best I can scrape up 4 to 6 chasers to qualify a summit on 2m SSB.

Happy new year Mike!

Andrew VK1AD

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Hi Andrew, I remember you telling me about 2m in VK. Next time you’re over here, I’ll see if we can arrange some tropo for you :wink:

GL and have a happy new year too.

73 Mike

Seems to be a regular occurrence, must be a problem in the setup somewhere.

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Well done mike, I called you from inside the house on the handheld with its stock antenna.
73

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Great to speak to you yesterday from GW/NW-013 … 73 de Mike G(W)7HEM

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I agree. Clearly the problem is at Tom’s end as Mike makes plenty of contacts. There must be some long-running problem with Tom’s station that prevents Mike from hearing him. I believe that the problem affects Jimmy M0HGY too.

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I suspect there is some fundamental incompatibility in their modulation!

Just off out for a play to see if there’s 'owt about. And Gerald.

I went to the gym at 0830 and band 2 commercial VHF radio was full of Dutch / Belgian commercial stations. However after the session they had all vanished, so I shelved my speculative visit to G/TW-005. Instead I opted to do a local trigpoint on HF. The bands were useless & I needed 3 bands to scrape 4 contacts. Apart from that, it was a beautiful sunny day.

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and we were wondering why you didn’t show up on 20 m… That explains it all!
You seem to have a good nose for that sort of condition!

Well done!
We’ll see what sort of conditions we’ll encounter tomorrow…

73, Sylvia

Indications were that the moderate tropo lift conditions were set to continue at least through the morning of Thursday 29th December 2016, so the promised 80m activation was postponed yet again!

After Gun G/SP-013 the previous day, this time I chose to revert to my second home, The Cloud G/SP-015. Care was needed with very icy roads throughout the outward journey. Although I had been up since 0529z, I had treated myself to a cooked breakfast (actually cooked by me at home!!!), so it wasn’t mega-early by the time I got to the summit. In fact it was well past 8am, and the scene that greeted me was utterly splendid. A thin mist hung around in the valleys and up the sides of the Peak District hills across the valley. Above that was a clear yet deep blue sky, and a very bright winter sun illuminating everything spectacularly. It was a bit cold, but not uncomfortable at just above freezing point with little or no breeze.

I set up the SOTAbeams SB5 antenna and connected to my FT-817. I had a tune around to get a feel for if the tropo was still hanging around. The very first station I found was EA1MX in IN73xk, 1093km. My 5 watts from the FT-817 got him straight into the log - a good start!

Fast forward to lunchtime, and my belly was telling me it was time to go. It had warmed up to around 7 degrees, but I was actually feeling a bit cold too. Anyway, the entirely-VHF SOTA activation had yielded 77 QSOs as follows:

2m SSB: 20
2m CW: 4
2m FM: 52
70cm FM: 1

S2S: Gerald GM4OIG/P on GM/SS-119 (2m SSB) Simon GW4TJC/P on GW/MW-018 (70cm FM)
DXCCs worked: 5 (EA, F, G, GM, GW)
Locators worked: 15 (IN73, IN78, IN88, IN99, IO70, IO80, IO81, IO82, IO83, IO84, IO85, IO90, IO91, IO92, JO02)

So there you go. My annual submission that “2m is alive and well” :open_mouth: