It was a long walk! Second attempt getting to this summit but I found a way! Going to wait until I activate it to detail the route I found.
I am new to the hobby and to SOTA. I bought myself an Icom 705 and a band hopper 4 from sotabeams with the 7000mast. I was hearing a lot on 40m but not much else and some very strange interference going up and down the bands. I called cq on 80 and 40 until I got too cold and had to head down. No replies! Nice view, though!
Question for the forum, as it is a tough walk: What is the best way to get an activation in the bag? Ie which modes, spotting software etc?
Thanks. Yes, I did. This region is packed to the heavens with beautiful summits. Some of them you have to work quite hard for the points. I would like to get one activated, though. I need a friendly vhf local or maybe a portable laptop for some digimodes.
Did you “spot” yourself on SOTAWatch? I have found in my very limited experience this works very well. If you are unfamiliar with the procedure it is a system to tell people you are on a specific summit, frequency and mode. Chasers see this and will listen out for you. It beats calling out blindly into the void.
If you look on the list of spots it can also give you an idea which bands might be working and the frequencies to try. For example earlier today 20m seemed very popular.
Ah … John just beat me to the comment Richard - spotting and alerting on SOTAWatch is the safest way to line up at least 4 contacts so that you can qualify the summit.It makes a world of difference.
Post an Alert with the approximate time you expect to be operational (if you’re not sure of the time say so in the comment), then when you get on the summit - as long as it has cell coverage - you can spot yourself either via a browser through SOTAWatch again, or via one of several Apps, SOTA Spotter and SOTAlas are commonly used, or you can even spot via SMS once you register your phone number with Andy.
I think conditions are not so easy these days, especially as you were in Norway. I have trouble connecting to Norwegian SOTA stations from Switzerland with my Xiegu G90.
You should have tried 20m, there you can usually get contacts, depending on the time of the day (see e.g. dr2w for a map estimating the conditions – this is calculated for a station based in Germany).
As for getting the 4 QSO in order to qualify the summit, spotting on SOTAwatch is easiest. If the mobile charges are too high, you can spot in some Apps via SMS or you can ask (in the first contact, you’ll have to get there though ) to be spotted for you.
Sometimes helpful chasers will spot you. In that case, you’ll be surprised by the pile-up that ensues: all of a sudden you’ll be flooded with calls.
If you’re hearing the station at S7 to S9, they should (in principle) hear your reply, although they will get a weaker signal (your max 10W vs them probably at 100W or even more). The problem with your QRP station is that your answer is crowded out by stronger (and probably better in terms of antenna) stations. So in my experience it is not worthwhile to answer when the station takes a lot of calls, but to come back later when everybody else has worked it. You have good chances for a contact when you happen to stumble over a station that just begins to call CQ.
What you could also do when in unknown territory: log in to sotl.as and study the summit you want to activate: at what time of day did they activate? what frequencies did they use? to where were the contacts? Additionnally, there is sometimes other useful informations such as routes, pictures etc.
Thanks for the replies. I will have to try the self spot and waiting until after stations have been worked for a while. I realised I should have accounted for more time at the summit too, and taken warmer clothes!
Hopefully I will have some more chances before the Summer is over.
Yes, body temperature can drop considerably whilst you sit around on a summit. It’s typical, I think, to need 3 or 4 layers even whilst other hikers, not stopping long, are just in their Tee-shirts. And it can be tempting to dive into the activation, e.g. if there’s a summit-to-summit calling, before getting properly togged-up. Before you know it your teeth are chattering!
Just to note that if you format the ref without the added spaces - like this: LA/SF-513 - the forum software detects it and makes a link. Then we can all easily follow this to see which beautiful part of Norway that was. Really really nice pics Richard!
Well done - very resourceful. Probably Andy has a point though and perhaps people heard you and thought “that’s not right”. I’d suggest that’s another reason to post an alert as you could note there something about your special permission.
Don’t forget to register with Andy for SMS spotting. I’d suggest also APRS, for which you’d want to register for the G0LGS APRS2SOTA gateway, but I don’t think your IC-705 does that.
What about VHF/UHF there? Perhaps even lurk on a repeater? That’s not valid as an activation QSO of course, but sometimes you can find people who will switch to simplex fo you.
Self spotting is brilliant Richard unless you are on a summit such as GW/NW-057 like I was on Thursday afternoon. There was nil mobile coverage on either EE or Vodafone network and I don’t carry satellite gear for spotting which a few do. Fortunately I do CW though and the RBN network did me proud in finding me - but I struggled to make 11 QSOs. I reckon with self spotting I would have made 30 or 40 QSOs and if I had been just using SSB QRP I would have likely struggled to qualify the summit at all without spots. Numerous CQ calls on 40m and 20m went unanswered. I was operating late afternoon - and wondered with the time difference if many chasers vacate the shack at dinner time I has so few QSO’s!
Like you I have failed to activate a couple of Norwegian summits for the same reasons.
To get started you could try a smaller local summit where you are pretty sure that you have mobile phone coverage. If there is a local radio ham who is line of sight get them involved on a nearby peak.
Best to use the Spots and Alerts as the others suggest if possible.
adding to Simons advice Richard. Get some thin “inner gloves” to go inside thicker ones, otherwise, the temptation when arriving on a summit in winter and having a fiddly system to put together (cables, antenna guys, etc. etc.) is to pull off your gloves to be able to “feel” what you are doing - before long you can’t feel your fingers anymore. Having some “inner gloves” or medical gloves gives just enough protection for that 10 minutes of fiddly work at -20°C and then get the thick gloves back on, on top of them again!