After doing a fair bit of chasing recently and my first activation a couple of weeks ago (G/SP-015 The Cloud), I decided to head to G/SP-013 Gun yesterday. I was in the area anyway for a 13km hike with a friend around The Roaches and Lud’s Church. In preparation, I posted an alert to SOTAwatch 48 hours in advance to maximise my chances.
After the hike, we moved the car and parked up in an empty lay-by, crossed the road and began the 32m ascent, arriving at the summit at 16:15 local time. I unpacked the FT70D, attached a 1/4 wave whip, found a clear frequency on 2m, self-spotted and began calling CQ SOTA on the calling channel. My unlicensed friend, in the meantime, was busy looking for an elusive geocache.
Nothing heard. I called CQ SOTA a few more times at 2 minute intervals. Still nothing.
After a quick scan through the other 2m FM simplex channels, I discovered that only one other frequency was in use - quite the contrast to the 2m actiivity I had witnessed from the summit of The Roaches, which included a GI station.
“Is the football on?” I asked my friend, not nothing anything about football. Apparently Chelsea were playing Man City. Could that be why it was so quiet? I wondered.
I continued to call CQ SOTA at 2 minute intervals for half an hour, before deciding to call it a day without a single QSO to show for my efforts.
What would I do differently next time?
- Try and time it better. Perhaps try a morning or early afternoon when more chasers are likely to be around.
- Try calling “CQ” as well as “CQ SOTA”. I’ve often wondered whether operators who don’t participate in SOTA are put off by this.
- Try and make contact on the calling channel before QSYing. Announcing my listening frequency requires more effort from chasers than simply keying up.
- Try some local repeaters. I had recently done a factory reset and haven’t yet got around to re-programming the memories.
- Try 70cm when 2m is quiet. I did consider this, but with only a single VFO handheld, didn’t want to miss any potential calls on 2m.
I welcome any advice or other suggestions.