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European SOTA Activity Day Part 2 - Reports

Continuing from the original post…

What a DAY!! My original intention was to be on The Wrekin (G/WB-010) for 3 hours, with some flexibility if I needed it. I ended up activating for 5 hours on the summit, gaining over 50 QSOs, including 33 S2Ss (24 unique summits) across 3 bands. As a bonus, I even got to qualify on 2m SSB :grin:


At the start of the walk


Approaching the summit with the recognisable mast in the foreground


At the top!

My hope was to attain a SOTA Complete with G4OBK on G/TW-004, but it was not to be. However, this was consolidated with a Complete courtesy of MW1HAX/P on GW/SW-016. I was also thrilled to get 9 S2S contacts with activators in Romania. I don’t seem to get into the association a lot, so I got a huge buzz to hear and work so many!

To make things even more enjoyable, I had at least a dozen different people come up to me during the activation and ask what I was doing, which gave me occasional breaks from the mic and the chance to promote the hobby. The most intrigued was a 9 year old girl who kept coming back with questions, so I made sure the parent knew where to go online, should they want to take things further!


All set up for 2m SSB

IMG_4216
Snapshot from a video of me activating at the top

All in all, it was cracking day out. A MASSIVE thanks has to go to the organisers and to all the activators who made this day possible. I don’t tend to chase a lot these days, so getting over 100 points from 1 activation was simply brilliant and I can’t wait to do it again!


Cracking views as always!


Heading down after 5 hours…

73s and here’s to the next one! :+1:

Jordan M3TMX

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I was originally intending to do a full 24 hour activation in a bid for a Swiss knife. After all, I’ve nowt better to do. Mr Corona has cancelled all my gigs and now Mr Receiver has decreed that Macclesfield Town Football Club is an “ex parrot”. SOTA no longer has competing demands on my time on Saturdays…

The forecast was dry and sunny - but extremely windy. So much so that fibreglass wouldn’t stand a chance. I ascended Shining Tor G/SP-004 on Friday evening in order to have everything in place - backpacking tent, radio kit, plus four individual resonant antennas - 40m dipole, groundplanes for 30m and 20m, plus an MFD for 2m - to be housed on the same mast as used for the 40m dipole. With four bags of aerials, two fibreglass SOTA Poles and one 10m Travelmast - plus backpacking tent, sleeping bad, mat, pillow and blood pressure tablets, my rucksack weighed a ton! (So to speak).

50mph gusts greeted me at the summit. I didn’t want to camp in that, nor subject my masts and antennas to it - they would not survive. The wind direction was ENE, and perhaps fortunately, the only steep side of the hill backs into that direction. I descended below the cliffs that look out towards Macclesfield Forest and hunted for a flat, even and grassy section of land. There wasn’t one. This was all quite horrible ground. I made do with one patch but it would mean sleeping on a slant which is a pain, and putting up with some bumpy lumpy bits underneath. Which is also a pain - literally.

As I was pitching, headlamps appeared. Another guy out backpacking had come to the same conclusion as me! He was amazed that I pitched my tent and erected four antennas in the time it took him to pitch his tent - with help from his mate - who wasn’t stopping, but who was a licensed amateur!

I made some QSOs on 2m FM so that an activation could be logged for the Friday date, then some more shortly after midnight to get the Activity Day log underway. I then got 2 hours and 32 minutes of sleep according to my Fitbit tracker.

After spending most of Saturday in this cramped and uncomfortable spot, I realised around teatime that I really didn’t fancy the idea of persisting with the radio (which was now very slow-going) through to midnight UTC and enduring another night on the worst part of Shining Tor. My own bed - and a bottle of Red Rock ale that I knew was in the house - had much more appeal.

Conditions were not great and it was trying at most time to get heard by fellow activators. Normally it seems much easier. As such, I have a lot of SWL logs as well as S2S contacts. Loads I heard but just could not get through to. This was another factor the informed the “early” finish; I didn’t see any realistic prospect of making S2S contacts with the North American activations.

There was some DX - but all concentrated into the early part of the activation (0055 to 0134z) When I did have QSOs with USA, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Ecuador. After that, there seemed little prospect of DX success on any band I had at my disposal.

Hence I began the lengthy and tedious process of unpitching everything and packing up. This took a really long time as I had to move gingerly and slowly around the steep horrible ground to wind antennas in, collect pegs etc. It was dark by the time I was finished and the headtorch was required for the descent.

Anyway, here’s the numbers:

2m FM: 38
30m FT8: 12
40m FT8: 1
40m CW: 17
40m SSB: 11
30m CW: 42
20m CW: 11
20m SSB: 7

Total QSOs: 139

S2S: 37
SWL: 35

That’s an agonising reflection of the conditions - would have been 72 S2S if I’d have got through to them all! And still then there would have been scores more that I missed competely!

I fell some way short of my original target of 24 hours activating:

1st QSO: 0001z
Last QSO: 1917z

Length of activation: 19 hours 16 minutes.

I didn’t take any photos on this activation (no selfies - three hearty cheers!) but some have been received via email and messaging. The first three from Tim who was the chap also wild camping below the cliffs, and who wanted to take photos of my set up! The final one from SOTA chaser Gary M0XGS who wanted to share with me a shot of him working me from his motorbike!

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image

We peaked at 34.55 requests per second on the API at 16:10 UTC (all times on the graph are AEST), and to put that in perspective, over the past 14 days, that’s a bit more than 25% up on a normal Saturday:

image

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Despite the weird prop condx and the predictions of being a normal sota weekend, at last here, the event was an incredible explosion of activations and S2S qsos. Thanks a lot Juerg, Sylvia and the people who have made it possible.
Here more than 30 S2S and lots of HF CW Qs. The summit was not the best for V/U, but we filled all the hours up there “working”!
73, Mikel!

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Morning one and all.

Here’s a chasers report on European day.

Water water every & where not a drop to drink, comes to mind

Brilliant to watch the Sota watch change so fast even under on SSB filter set in was hell of a response of every one putting in a effort.

BUT we are at Solar Min still and for while longer and the effects were paramount here in SW UK. 20m forget it anything weak not heard, plenty of chasers.

40m Europeans again well dire very little heard but chasers. But thankfully did catch a couple of Scottish Sotas and couple Sotas on 80m

And even the inter G has gone to sleep in UK after its summer of partying for past month or two.

So hopefully people not put of by the poor lower end of the cycle and and may many more join in next years European Sota weekend. Bet the S2S scores on doors were boosted nicely

BUT on a positive front hopefully next year be as good if not better as 25 cycle kicks in and i have me two mini loaded moxons up and running 2El for 40m and 3El for 20m am current in middle of building. Feel beams would have been needed this year for sure to enhance the weak conditions.

Thank you too all that took time out to get up those summits and put so many on air in one day was unreal :slight_smile:
Karl 2E0FEH

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if you still have video material, please send me, then I’ll try to cut a small clip together. Please horizontal video material with indication of the reference.

You can upload the video here

https://wetransfer.com/ or
https://gofile.io/welcome

and send me the link to my Mail : dennobundy@gmail.com

73
DD6FM - Marco

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Wow, that was fun!

Thanks to all participants and the organizers of this event!!
I did a last minute change of the location, since I thought it might be nice, activating an alpine summit for this event. The choice fell on Weiherkopf (DL/AL-111) because the first leg is accessible by gondola. (2020: € 20,50 up and down)


The ascent from the trailhead is about 150 vertical metres and is short (but steep!)
Weiherkopf can be really crowded with hikers and paragliders on weekends.

That’s why I set up a bit aside from the summit cross with a magnificent view across the Iller valley.

I didn’t have any plans for the day other than being on the air as long as it was fun. And what fun it was! I ended up with 5:40 hrs QRV, made more than 100 QSOs and 53 S2S-QSOs (40 unique summits).
In the end, I had the feeling that I can’t just take the gondola back down to the valley but walked all the way back to the car park instead. The day ended on the terrace of the restaurant next to the Hörnerbahn.

Thanks for the QSOs and your effort, when signals were marginal!
73, Roman

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Really enjoyed EU SOTA Activity day from JA/SO-051 and 139. Two EU stations and one VK, 3ZL, 1DU QSO have been made, other than JA stations. I made a QSO with 8J0K/2 callsign.

Toru K JH0CJH

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First of all thank you very much to Juerg HB9BIN for bringing the idea which encouraged so many operators to be active and make this marvelous event so significant.

SOTA SP had group of operators active on SP summits and OM summits as well.

My activation was on Summit of Skrzyczne SP/BZ-008.

Ready to go photo:

The route had about 4,5 km, 730 meters elevation from parking to summit.
Hiking taken about 1,5 hour up and approximately the same down.

Some pictures on my way up:

Summit:

Station:

First QSO logged at UTC 06:22, then activation was continuous almost with no break.
The final QSO logged at 16:10

In log 155 QSOs, 67 S2S.

Many thanks to all participants, we did make this event prestigious and show that we can play well.

73, Jarek

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Great event. I activated Ysgyryd Fawr GW/SW-016 in very good weather conditions. Completed 66 QSOs with 21 summit to summits over about 3 hours (8400mAh used). Using a FT891 at 60w to inverted-v dipole for 20m/40m and an FTM100D for 50w 2m. I think best DX was RA1AVP (~2200km).

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My activation of GM/ES-053 Ben Newe started a bit late due to a road closure with a long diversion. Eventually got started at 1138 with a S2S to MW1HAX/P on GW/SW-006. Weather was fantastic - blue skies, sun and hardly any wind. Band conditions were average, with nothing doing on 15,10 or 6. Pleased to get a few contacts on 2m, including one to Durham and one S2S with GM7PKT/P on GM/WS-294. Lack of SSB activity on 2m is a tad disappointing though - I’m back to the hamming after 20 years and it seems FT8 has taken over.
Best S2S on HF was SV2RUJ/P; best DX AC2SR in New York and best(only) exotic EA9IB. A great day all round with 66 contacts and 23 S2S, which boosted my score to just over 200 points.Ben Newe 1-web

73 Simon

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73
Nice SOTA party, I was prepared for few hours more to stay outdoors.
35 S2S and I missed many qso.

Thanks everyone & 73
Ivica 9a6cw

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This was a very lazy activation for me in the EU/OE SOTA day. I drove down to my nearest local summit of G/TW-004 and set up my station in comfort with camping chair and table - the “final ascent” was a short walk from my car.

Bishop Wilton Wold G/TW-004 is known locally as Garrowby Hill and I operated on a public right of way around 250m from the main A166. In making 106 QSOs of which 43 were S2S I exhausted one 7 amp LiFePo, and partially exhausted a second one. Power used was 25 watts from a recently purchased secondhand Yaesu FT-991A. I used an old Heil boom mic headset I had which I recently brought back into service after repairing it.

The auto ATU in the FT-991A tuned my home brew OCF Dipole well. I mounted the OCFD on a 9m DK9SQ HD pole. The bands used were 40, 30, 20, and 17 metres - modes CW and SSB, The OCFD was an ideal antenna for the job as I did not need to leave my seat for the frequent QSYs. I operated for 3 hours out of a 3.5 hours window and broke off for 30 mins for a tea break and to make a few phone calls.

Some of the other summit stations found me from SOTAWatch, some I worked on hunt and pounce. I used SOTA Spotter on my phone thorughout my session and logged in my notebook as I usually do on a summit.

Condx to HB9 and OE were poor on 20m, the skip was longer making QSOs into EA, UA9, YO and SV more likely on 20m. 40m and 30m were more reliable bands for the HB9 and OE summit stations. These were similar band condx I had experienced from my home QTH since summer went into autumn a few weeks ago. Throughout the summer the HB9 and OE activators have been strong on the 20m band into north east England but now that is consistently not the case

Weather was mixed sunshine and cloud with a cold north east wind of around 15-20 mph throughout my session (07:32z - 11:03z).

73 Phil G4OBK

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Yeah condx were rather bobbins Phil. You were a good signal with me at times on 40m CW and SSB, but you weren’t hearing my QRP calls. So you’re in my SOTA SWL log which got a rather huge boost yesterday!

I had a similar lazy day having woken up on my summit. It would have been even lazier had I stuck to Plan A and camped for a second night. But the combination of poor condx and the discomfort of the only spot on Shining Tor I could set up, at least afforded me the exercise of a heavily-laden 30 minute walk back to my car!

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Hi Ivica,

Thanks for S2S.
You got nice equipment to stay safe, also against sun.
I did not and now one side of my face is red :smiley: :smiley: :smiley:

Cu soon again on next summmits :wink:

73, Jarek

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This was my intention as well. And I wanted to do first activation of some remote summit, furthermore. After all, my XYL had to work at a dressage tournament over the whole weekend, and I saw no chance to grab two dogs and a 12-year old for this nearly 48 h trip. My plans were finally smashed by the fact that I could not find my KX1. Believe it or not. I took it out of the tupperware box were it resided for the last three years, ready for any spontaneous activation. Unfortunately I replaced it with my QCX for some GPS tests three weeks ago. I was not able to detect the KX1 yet. The resonant antenna for the QCX was not finished yet.

Egoistically lusting after the knife (my son insists to be inherited), I was forging sinister plans:

This should end in my best prepared activity so far. I hooked up my bike on Friday 2230 UTC and ascended OE/NO-149 Hoellenstein with FT-23R, fold dipole, two torches, Garmin GPS for accurate time, gloves, two cans of Goesser Maerzen, even replacement clothes, BNC/PL adapter and freshly charged batteries! At least one essential part is missing, usually. Me be this time the missing part was my brain, hi. As I knew there will be zero stations QRV at night on 2 m FM I visited ADL-301 (Baden) club evening some hours earlier to invite the OMs for a midnight sked. I also sent invitations by e-mail. WX was fine. No clouds at all, wind 1 Bft. Resulting in 4 QSOs logged at 00:00 UTC and one at 00:01. Mni tks to OE3RDB, OM1ST, OE3KAI, OE1WBS and OE1TKW. Part one of my plan successfully done.
Just after getting onto the bike again I had a rough descent of the same. My hip and my elbow still suffering today…

I wanted to climb another summit during the day, but my son got sick and my leg was hurting badly accompanied by terrible headache.

Well, I had to finish what I’ve started. Some OM keeping up well after midnight would have been disappointed otherwise. I started again on Saturday at 2230 UTC. My condition: tired, headache, hurting leg. Best requirements for climbing a summit at night. I decided to have a walk and left the bike in the car after recent experience. Arriving on top of OE/NO-137 Peilstein there was some wind - abt 4 Bft and it was pretty cold - abt. 8° C. Moderately sweating, I pulled a pullover underneath and put up my station. Same setup as before. Last QSO logged at 23:59 - OE1XZA. Mni tks to OE1WED, OE1KBC, OE1TKW, OM1ST. Gerhard - OE1WED was up 22 hrs at the time after activation of OE/SB-003 Kitzsteinhorn 3209m/10528ft today. Mni tks!

Descend was decent - Thank God no sunburn even with my sensitive skin.

Do I deserve the Swiss knife? Well, yes and no, I guess. Intended rather as a joke it took some effort still. I’m looking forward for some outcry on the part of more diligent operators. Not a moral victory for sure compared to OE1WED’s 22 hrs activity this day. Yet, by precise interpretation of the rules " i.e. the period from the first to the last contact." my performance presents itself as hard to beat. Maybe another station was QRV 24 hrs and worked more QSO? It would end in a tie, still. I can live with a halved knife.

Thank you very much for the ufb event. Cu agn sn on the bands.

73 Martin OE3VBU


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Thanks for S2S and many others . I got yours card last week…

CU :wink:

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That was fun in the end.

If you follow me on Twitter you will know I have been struggling with a knee injury for a while and only just started to venture out on a few, very easy, hills with radio kit. My interest had waned earlier this year for one reason or another but recently the need to be out on hills had resurfaced.

In the past I have managed to miss out on any SOTA days for one reason or another but the opportunity to be involved this time was too good to miss.

With how my knee is currently long walks are really out of the question and any significant decent has been causing pain. So with trepidation I decided to walk up Titterstone Clee Hill (G/WB-004).

Many of the pictures of the activations have shown beautiful views in glorious sunshine. Not mine at the beginning. Even before I arrived anywhere near the hills it was obvious I was in for a possible unpleasant activation. I did think to myself if it’s mizzling and damp I really didn’t want to go up.

I had alerted for 08:00utc so allowed plenty of time to arrive at the parking, some 80m below the summit, and ascend well before. I had the choice of climbing the short, sharp way or the longer gentle way past the radar domes. I chose the former, in for a penny. I descended the long way.

I gingerly climbed up the steep east side of the disused quarry soon arriving at the trig-point to be met with the full force of the prevailing wind that I had been sheltered by. Visibility was way down but there was no dampness to the low clouds. It is easy to find shelter from the wind on the top and chose a place to settle.

Spot the Trig-point

Windy

From my recent activations 40m seemed to be the most productive and had already decided to use my vertical. It survives high winds better than my dipoles, didn’t want to keep getting up to re-erect a collapsed pole. I can also make the vertical operate on 20 or 17m.

40m was the band to be on. Summits to summits were sometimes difficult to pull out of the pile-ups and QRM but we got there in the end. 20m was a little more relaxed, the band really wasn’t playing nicely into Europe.

In the 4 hours, or so, I activated I did a mixture of search-and pounce and alerting. Occasionally spots were showing up so fast my self-spot frequency dropped off the page.

The time went so quickly and by the time I decided to finish, because one of my batteries was getting low, I had made 124 contacts with 45 being summit-2-summit. All ssb.

There it is!

NATS radar

Still windy

Thank you to the organisers, the chasers and activators, sorry if we didn’t make contact.

For interest equipment used;
Yaesu FT-817
Home built HF-Packer amplifier @30W
40m 1/4 wave vertical/20m 1/2 wave Zeppelin
Li-Fe batteries

The knee? Stiff with no major discomfort.

Carolyn

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I presumed the idea was the length of activation on one summit. Though I do have mixed feelings about making this a “goal”!

Otherwise I could have climbed a local summit on Friday night, made a 2m FM handheld QSO at 0000z Saturday, go home, then climb a different local summit on Saturday night and make a QSO at 2359z!

Then again Phil @G4OBK could have done two drives to G/TW-004 and done likewise and it would appear in the database as a single activation!

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On Ilkla Moor Baht ‘at. I spent just over an hour on G/NP-028 Rombalds Moor for the EU SOTA activity day. On 40M & 20M SSB using my SOTAbeams Band Hopper II and Yaesu FT817ND I logged stations in Austria, Germany, Belgium, Croatia, Spain, Czech Republic, France, Romania, Portugal and Slovakia. No Activator points as I did this Summit earlier this year though 72 Chaser points isn’t a bad return in the short time I was on the Summit. I would have stayed longer but as can be seen by the photographs my pole split. This is a pole that I have had for years and it’s served me well. Luckily I have a brand new 10M telescopic pole at home.

119884975_205218307688823_4513038680587769709_n

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