Five modes

I’ll try not to upset anyone tonight. OK, here goes:

Tuesday 11th November 2014

I walked up a hill and did an activation.

The End


OK, so the real report then!

Tuesday 11th November 2014 - The Cloud G/SP-015

RSGB 70cm UK activity contest night. One of my favourite things about the Radio Society of Great Britain is its organisation of these events. I think they promote and celebrate VHF amateur radio in the UK really effectively.

The propagation was lousy and just 49 contacts were made. The weather was very windy, and initially dry. However, there was constant drizzle from 9pm, and then heavy rain from 10pm, resulting in a bit of a soaking during packaway.

Rig, as ever was the Yaesu FT-817. What more can be said about this marvellous radio? Welcome to

Antenna was the SOTAbeams SB270, set as a 6 element beam for 70cm. (No link as this product is out of production). What really came into its own on this night was the new rotating guying system from SOTAbeams. The old systems used to anchor just above the bottom section of pole, but the new product sits much higher, just below the antenna. The arrangement of two laser-cut sections means that the whole mast and antenna can be easily rotated and remains stable in the intended direction even in strong wind. In previous years, I would have had to set up lower down in a more sheltered (and less effective for radio) position in such wind, or resign myself with a couple (or more) of collapses and subsequent reassemblies. Big thumbs up from me on this one.

The rain was absolutely hideous while packing up everything and descending, and inside ten minutes my trousers were soaked. If I had thought on a bit, I could have deployed my new set of waterproof overtrousers that were in my rucksack, but I didn’t bother. A shame, as my new Berghaus jacket ( ) and Hi-Gear boots ( Hi Gear Tents & Camping Equipment | Outdoor Clothing & Footwear | GO Outdoors ) meant that I remained dry in the areas away from my knees! Yes, I had a bit of a shopping spree at Go Outdoors in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent recently!

Of course, the ultimate product for activating in the rain has to be the waterproof logbook. Several have been tried, and many are cheaper, but nothing comes close to the Rite in the Rain All Weather Notebooks. The one I personally use is{088D1A13-AC15-439A-9FAC-A34086F993AE} and the True North Store in Macclesfield (formerly Camp Four then Adventure Outlet) stocks these nowadays.

Here is a map of my contest QSOs:

I hope the weather is kind for an intended early Saturday morning activation next.

Oh dear, poor boy. I hope the wx is good for you but I fear the propagation for VK might not be on Saturday. Sorry just could not squeeze a link in here.
Night night

Thanks or the contact in the contest on Tuesday Tom & the CW/AM/FM QSO’s on 10m last Sunday. Conditions on Tuesday were terrible & I could only manage 16 QSO’s & 9 mults, not good at all. I only managed one GM although I did hear Ray GM4CXM on CW working someone else but I couldn’t attract his attention calling a few KHz up from there.

It was interesting comparing the different modes used on Sunday & of course CW was the best although it took me a second listen to understand you were asking me if I would be around for AM later on. AM was the most difficult with the FT817 only producing around 1 Watt of carrier so it was a bit of a struggle at times but I was very pleased to be your first AM contact. FM was much better, with good clear audio & little white noise.

It’s been very windy today & is feeling more like winter so hopefully things will improve before weekend.

Thanks & best 73,

Mark G0VOF

Cheers Mark & Mike,

Epic fail on my part. All those links, and yet I forgot to include the link to the map of my contest QSOs! I have now edited that into the activation report above.

There may be different plans here for Saturday now anyway Mike, but nothing confirmed yet, so I’ll leave the VK Party alert in place for the time being.

Hi, Just finished watching Masterchef…

“There may be different plans here for Saturday now anyway Mike, but nothing confirmed yet,”

I thought I would come back here and check to see if there had been any adjustments in the alerts from VK; none. My feeling is that, in any mode, propagation will not turn up until about 0800Z plus if we are lucky. I think VK sunset is about between 0900-0930Z so if it happens there will be a limited window. Anyway see what happens. Maybe your potential different plans may turn out to be more useful. The VK alerts for Friday are inside my sleeping time zone so…

Night night

What I have been observing is that once 20m closes 15m opens up for a much longer period ~ 1.5 to 2.5 hrs to VK reliably afterwards. Suggest to make the most of the “party” most activators and chasers switch bands, although that is easier said then done with a moxon here …


Saturday 22nd November 2014’s Cloud G/SP-015 activation was again on 10m. However, twas not five modes, but just the one. And with me only having time for the one, it had to be the best one - so CW it was. Before ascending I sat in my car on Cloudside, listening to the sport on BBC Radio 5 Live, 909 kHz, and waiting for the heavy rain to pass. By the time I had climbed to the summit, it was a lovely afternoon with blue sky and sunshine all the way across.

I hadn’t been keeping an eye on the amateur radio calendar, so I wasn’t sure if it was CQWW CW weekend. 10m was certainly busy at the CW end and stations were calling “TEST”. However, when I listened to the exchanges, stations were giving their ITU zone, not their CQ zone - except that is for the Bulgarian (LZ) stations. They were giving a two letter code.

So, a Bulgarian sponsored DX contest by the sounds of it, and indeed it was:

I did a bit of searching and pouncing, then a bit of running (for the SOTA chasers) and then a bit more S+P’ing. In total I made 26 contacts, all 10m CW. DXCCs worked were 5B, CU, G, I, LZ, RA, UR, W, YO.

I quit playing radio around 2.10pm, and made the short drive to the Moss Rose Stadium to enjoy this:

…and a second half Waide Fairhurst strike, as Macclesfield beat Alfreton 2-0. Much enjoyment all through the day then.

I wish to register a complaint in that less than five modes are being used for these activations.

Indeed, a valid complaint. Though to be honest I can think of only 3: brass bashing, rabbiting into a mic and other.

Hello Tom,

Well better luck next time.

“…And with me only having time for the one, it had to be the best one - so CW it was.”

I know needs must but operating one mode/band does reduce options/chances big time I think - anyway always another day.

Night night.

There cannot be many of us who, on occasion, have not been tempted to send a contest station a two-letter code.

Well better luck next time.


The activation was a complete success Mike!

1 Like

Just two modes on the evening of Tuesday 25th November 2014. SSB and CW were employed on the 6m band in the UKAC. 64 QSOs were made in the contest, plus one just before the start, to make 65 altogether. 2 CW plus 63 SSB. So maybe SSB is the best mode after all?

Here is a map of my contest QSOs:

And back to just the one mode on Tuesday 2nd December 2014, for the 2m UK activity contest. This will be the last one with the sensible M5 rule (UK large squares count as multipliers). The RSGB Contest Committee has used its recent white paper consultation responses as justification to move to a new M7 rule. In this, all UK locator squares will count as 2 multipliers, while non UK squares count as one. So I reckon it will become less of a “UK” activity contest once again, with the East Anglian and Kent participants returning to dominance.

A shame, as I think this series of contests has been really healthy under M5. In the bad old days, you would typically have to wait until after 2200 local time before the southerly and eastern stations would point their beams “up north”. I have noticed a distinct lack of GM stations in the last few UKACs, and rumour has it that they are now boycotting the RSGB events in protest at the M7 introduction, which they expect will significantly disadvantage them. So a step back, rather than a step forward, already, if you ask me.

Anyway, on a freezing cold December evening, thankfully with little or no wind to exacerbate the discomfort, I managed 80 contacts from the summit of The Cloud G/SP-015. All were on 2m SSB, and 14 multipliers were logged, a rather disappointing tally. IO75 and JO00 were heard but missed, while the usually available IO73, IO85, IO86, JO02 and JO03 were never heard at all. It wouldn’t have helped that there were 2 contesting stations on Merryton Low (IO93AD/AE) and another on Mow Cop (IO83VC) very close to me. Hence the whole band was always very noisy, and the splatter from these stations was always 10kHz either side of their transmit frequency during their overs.

An alternative site is being considered for the contesting from January onwards. Here is a map of my contest QSOs:

I think my contesting mob made a big stink to RSGB about the multipliers. There may be some “voting with wallets” occuring when renewals come due because of this. :money_with_wings:

While those of us truly “up North” have given up all VHF contesting in complete disgust as most rotators, especially those owned by big signal contesters, do not have a “North” setting!

Barry GM4TOE

You are not the first to make that complaint, Barry, but it really doesn’t hold water. To gain points any contest team south of the Midlands would have to spend a lot of time with their beams pointing up the long axis of the country, which isn’t north but more like NNW. In the Midlands we have to spend a lot of time beaming that way, too, as there is a major centre of activity in the industrial north of England, Manchester and up. My logs often showed stations in the south of Scotland - but not many of them - and perhaps as far as Edinburgh but no further. Any further north just doesn’t cut through the QRM here. It isn’t northless rotators that is against you, its geography, QRM and the laws of physics.


Very true. The geography being that from JO02/JO00 you point SE and work PA/ON/DL/LX and then point E and work OZ and the SW and pick up F/EA. You can work most of the UK to a distance of 300km from the back of the beam. No need to turn the beam to work a big number of stations. With the old rules those stations had the advantage of mainland Europe being within peashooter range negated and had to winkle out Northern UK stations.

Is it just me, but this seems to have gone from a SOTA topic to an anti RSGB contest committee thread which shouldn’t really be discussed on this platform. Let’s keep it SOTA related folks.