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First CW SOTA activation W4V/BR-009!

We’ll, 16 months after starting SOTA and 18 months after getting licensed I had my first CW QSOs (For SOTA) !

Loft Mountain campground (Big Flat Mountain)

This was my 3rd mountain of the day and I was planning on driving most of the way up since I had already logged 12 miles including 2 activations last evening….But…the access road was closed!

View near Loft Mountain VA

Undeterred. I made the cold 1.4 mile hike up on the road and setup my station. I quickly picked up 7 VHF QSOs on 2/6m FM and tried a bit of 6m CW but still no luck!

Using my Venus SW3B (3w-9v) and a 10/20/40 endfed in a inverted V style I picked up 9 CW QSOs reaching out to OR, CA, WA and Idaho no problem on 20m.

I was ecstatic logging the prolific chaser W0MNA on my 2nd QSO Thx Gary!

I know for some of the OM activators this is mundane but CW activating has been the goal since first leaning about SOTA. In preparation this past summer I started activating POTAs via CW so today went super smooth minus cold-numb fingers making Tx sloppier than normal.

Anyway that’s my story!

Now a question?

I received 7 VHF QSOs for SOTA then activated HF simultaneously with POTA Shenandoah National Park. If I log the HF contacts (SOTA) will it negate my ALL VHF MG goal?

73

Erik
KE8OKM

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Congratulations Eric!

I as well did my first cw activation in September this year and I haven’t looked back it’svery addictive once the nerves and finger shaking get under control haha, I hope to chase you and get a s2s in the new year.

73 De VE6JTW, Jesse

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No. All that ALL VHF MG means is you have sufficient activations with at least 4 QSOs on VHF to get to 1000points. We can verify that simply we merely tell the award checker to only consider VHF QSOs.

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I’m in a similar situation, having started to learn CW almost exactly 12 months ago. I have done a few CW activations but my skills are still limited. I struggled with S2S contacts on the Trans-Atlantic S2S party but I am reasonably proficient at a simple SOTA QSO from a chaser. What I would like to do is get to the stage I can actually have a “rag chew” with someone in CW but a lot more effort is needed from me to get to that stage. What I have discovered is if you reply to a non-SOTA CQ call the danger is you get a long reply which probably includes the local WX, the QTH and the operator’s name but this all just goes over my head at the moment. :slight_smile:

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“SRI OM DEEP QSB NO CPI 73 ES GUD DX” and look elsewhere.

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I like it. :rofl:

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Hi Erik,

Most of us CW ops still get a kick out of it - there’s always something new to learn or experience - but probably not as exciting as the first time. Well done, your efforts learning the code have paid off.

73 Andy

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Congratulations Erik on your first activation using cw. I’ve been on a similar journey to yourself this year with trying to build up my cw skills so I could use it on SOTA activations. I can imagine your sense of satisfaction.

Good luck with it all, and hope to work you S2S one day. Using cw of course!

73 - Matthew, M0JSB

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And that’s the way to go if you want to become really proficient on using morse code communications. Being able to just send/receive callsign, RPRT and TNX 73 GL TU is far too little.

If it’s you who call CQ for a ragchewing QSO, you have the steering wheel and decide how long or short you want the QSO. If you respond to somebody else’s CQ, you are at his/her mercy having to follow his QSO structure.

The more ragchewing QSOs you have, the more proficient you’ll sooner become.

I can make a ragchewing QSO with you if you want. Tell me, QRG and QTR and I’ll let you know if it’s OK.

73,

Guru

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Congrats, Erik. Sorry I missed you. …and you picked a summit with the picnic table for your first CW spot !!! Wishing you clear skies on your travels and many more SOTA summits.
73!
Mike, WB2FUV

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Congrats on your first CW QSOs. You are not yet in my log but I’ll be looking forward to chasing you sometime soon.
73,

Guru

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Erik,
Congrats on your first CW activation of this summit. It’s always fun to work activators on a summit and hear how they become hooked on this part of the great hobby called ham radio. It was great to work you and look forward to many more contacts.

73,
Gary A. - W0MNA

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Well done Eric!
You’re hooked! Enjoy the extra 23 dB.
All Best, Ken, K6HPX

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Since I have 4 POTA spots within 30 minutes of my QTH it has been a great way to train Morse/CW. I can operate most days when home after going for a run at the park (simulate hiking up summit.)

I think I just passed 400 CW QSOs on POTA. So for this SOTA I was prepared. When you spot POTA the exchange is straight forward much like in SOTA and hams will be looking to work you! Try calling QRP on a random frequency to get practice and it will be crickets or someone might start a rag-chew ( shock!!)

I am not so bold to think above a general form style exchange I am any good but little by little more competency is comingI (Rag-chew is a goal) One example is getting the call sign on first go most times as opposed to asking them to send it 3x and them giving a RST of 599! When really between my ears it was 229.

I like the suggested response above when the QSO starts going long and I get lost. I’ll use it.

I’ll also add here!

In Jan 20’ I started studying for the ham exams and thought it would be a neat thing but not sure what direction it would take me. When studying I learned CW was one of the modes and first thoughts were….”They still do that? Not interested!” How wrong I was!

The seed for SOTA was planted reading about this Colorado guy that hikes up mountains with GOATS!!!

Of course that was no other than WG0AT Steve! In one of his writings he talked about Morse/CW mode and I saw a picture from some mountain top with snow capped mountains and a bright blue sky, on the rocks was his MTR3B or similar and a paddle At that point I said to myself. “Man I want to do that!”

I thank Steve for the inspiration and it would be a honor hiking Mt Herman with him soon!

73

Erik
KE8OKM

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Congratulations!

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That is a very kind offer. I’m not sure my 10W will reach you from my home QTH but we can give it a try. I can do 35W on 20m with my QCX+ and PA but it might be better on 30m or even 40m. There is about 1000Km between us.

I’ll contact you by email and if it is convenient we can arrange a test. :slight_smile:

73
John

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Congrats Erik! I saw your CW spot just a few minutes too late. Nice work. Looks like some well earned points!

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A very worthy aim Erik. I did mine on 144/432 MHz and Unique summits. I now add HF CW (preference 10MHz) to my 2m SSB operations which makes a great combination.

73, Gerald

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He picked a summit with a camp ground on the top (the camp ground is in the activation zone, although some of the walk in sites on the west side maybe very close to edge of the activation zone). The camp ground is closed this time of year and the gate at the bottom of the hill is shut, so it is a walk up rather than a drive up right now. There are 207 campsites, so the problem was which table to pick.

Doug, N7NGO

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Yeah it looks like a cool place to set up base-camp for a couple nights or so next spring. The area is Disneyland for a SOTA activator! I picked a table somewhat shielded from the bitter wind.

Definitely one of most plush activation zones out of the summits to date I’ve been on for SOTA and many others before SOTA life. I am glad the gate was closed and couldn’t drive-up. Although that’s cool for some on the SOTA journey. I got another 2.6 miles and 550’ vertical in for the weekend. I had planned on hitting Hightop also as I headed home but the hike up Big Flat ran me out of time.

Now a not so interesting fact! The hardest hike for SOTA I’ve done yet was my FIRST SOTA on Camelback Mountain AZ! It was 106 in the valley and super steep. I rock climbed in my younger days and was legitimately anxious on the “trail” up!!! I’ve gotten in better shape since then so that might have been part of my perceived difficulty.

Erik
KE8OKM

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