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FT8 DX S2S Event Sunday 24th March 2019

I am only currently decoding VK East Coast (VK7 & VK5) on 30m. The 20, 40 & 80m bands have been in pretty poor condition today for VK SOTA and Parks chasing.

Only decoding VK and ZL on 30m currently, on 10.137

Starting to get some J and S8 DX. 40m is simlilar to 30m

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Great to work you on 30m CW today at 0748z from the park VKFF-0272, Tom. After working 22 EU stations on 30m it started raining so I packed up the full size vertical antenna. When you came on I gave the mobile whip a shot and worked you on that. Very pleased with the contact! It certainly bodes well for the S2S event in two weekends time.
BTW: Didn’t have any FT8 capability with me.

Gerard - VK2IO


Now set for 10.122 Let’s see if I see anything

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Sunday 24th March 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Well that activation was a lot of fun! It was a beautiful sunny morning on The Cloud with not too much breeze, but it was a lot colder than the mild 9-12 degrees that had been forecast!

I got up nice and early at 0425 and made myself coffee and boiled eggs, always a good start to the day. I dawdled a bit though, and by the time I was at the parking spot for The Cloud, dawn was breaking and my headtorch was not required for the ascent. As is becoming annoyingly typical, the long radials and accompanying guylines on my 30m groundplane antenna got into an awful tangle, and it took me ages on summit to sort them out.

[After getting home, and undoing another dreadful tangle, I introduced an extra wire winder to the antenna, something I should have done well before now. This will not be sufficient though, and next time out, after setting up the antenna I am going to add some coupling - probably very small cable ties - periodically along the radials, which run alongside the guylines. This is a large antenna, and this measure reduces strain on the radials at the centrepiece].

Total QSOs: 116

30m FT8: 27
30m CW: 73
2m FM: 14
2m C4FM: 2

DXCCs: 29 - 9A, CT, DL, EA, EU, F, G, GW, HA, HB, I, IS0, JA, LA, LY, OE, OH, OK, OY, OZ, S5, SM, SP, SV9, TF, UR, VE, VK, YO

S2S: 10
OK/OM6AN/P on OK/MO-024
HB9/F5HTR/P on HB/AG-010
HB9AFI/P on HB/BE-104
G7OEM/P on G/SP-014
M6BWA/P on G/WB-007
F/HB9DBM/P on FL/VO-101
HB9BIN/P on HB/BE-104
GW7WKX/P on GW/NW-053
S53OM/P on S5/BI-009
HB9DST/P on HB/SO-021

I did try PSK31 using Fldigi on the Windows 10 tablet and ZLP MiniProSC interface - exactly the same hardware as I use for FT8 via WSJT-X. I still had the problem of the PTT sticking on after transmission. I originally assumed this was due to RF, but I’m using the same set-up for WSJT-X with no issues whatsoever. I can’t work this one out at all!

A great surprise was being called by my good friend Sean M0GIA on 30m CW. Sean hasn’t done much CW for a number of years, but is getting back into it I am pleased to say, and it was great to have him call me from his canal barge about a mile away at Bosley locks! After the activation, I called in to see Sean and had a cup of tea with him on the narrowboat as he demonstrated the CBG (Cigar Box Guitar) he had built - and which sounds great!

More music to look forward to tonight with Liam doing a bit of crooning on stage at one of our local pubs! It was a heat of a karaoke competition…

…which he won!


Likewise Gerard - it was the highlight of the activation. Closely followed by getting a reply from JA to my CQ call on 30m FT8, and working a VE station on IOTA NA-071.

I’m still to make a DX S2S contact on FT8, so in that respect the activation was a failure! However, with the DX worked, the S2S QSOs and the number of contacts, I was rather pleased with it.

I expect there will be a very good chance of achieving DX S2S on FT8 in the forthcoming event in April.

Hi Tom,

Gutted I could not be there to chase on the day. But I did do some sneaky watching the spots when I was in the control room. Looking at your 116 QSO’S I’m green with envy, Well done. Switching to nights tonight.

73’ Don GW0PLP

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My boat and in the background the most activated SOTA summit in the world!
It was great to work you Tom on cw, as shocking as mine is just shows … Go for it.

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Nothing wrong with your CW Sean - you made the contact - nothing else required! By the way, that’s a fantastic photo - may I use it on my website (and my Facebook) please?

Feel free.

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And in total contrast…

Monday 25th March 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

I was supply teaching in Kidsgrove again, and when school was out at 1505z, it was a bright sunny afternoon.

As I had some private tutoring to deliver in Macclesfield at 1630z, I only had a short window of opportunity for an activation. G/SP-015 was conveniently en route though.

Very quiet, just one QSO on 2m FM from the handheld. Kind of from one extreme to the other!

And the disturbing trend continues…

Wednesday 27th March 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Gig: Liam Read Band
Venue: Swan With Two Necks, Macclesfield

Supply teaching in Newcastle-under-Lyme today. Cloud on the way home.

Called for ages. No replies.

Found a SOTA activation in progress on 145.475MHz. Andy MW0TDY/P activating Moel Famau GW/NW-044. At least I now knew my handheld was working - 59 both ways for the 2m FM S2S contact.

Andy actually credited me over the air for being the reason he got into SOTA, citing my many activation reports! That was nice to hear!

OK, time to go. The Second Harmonic is hollering tonight at a pub in town - and wants me to be in his backing band…

A 400% boost in QSO numbers and a gorgeous afternoon!

Thursday 28th March 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Teaching in Kidsgrove so activation of the usual on the way home. What a fine afternoon. 5 QSOs on the handheld, all 2m FM.

This is possibly a first for me - an activation report with photos written and posted while still on the summit!

The NT have been re-engineering the paths up here for a couple of years, and the main route is now nearly complete to the summit.

Friday 29th March 2019 - The Cloud G/SP-015

Work in Newcastle-under-Lyme. Cloud on the way home. Walked up with a man going up with his photography equipment. Said he was mainly interested in photographing UFOs. Reckoned that in Wiltshire he’s guaranteed at least one flying saucer photo per day because there’s a base there. He explained how the UFOs just go straight through the ground and don’t need an opening due to the advanced technology. Fascinating stuff.

Anyway, I made five QSOs on 2m FM with the handheld, including one with an op who though he was on the summit of GW/MW-004, but not SOTA qualifying, operating from his 4x4.

This activation report comes to you, again, from the AZ.

Did you ask him for some of his “tobacco” ?

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After telling me this he went on to tell me he thinks he’s found the three doors into the base, which is 2 miles underground. I thought about pointing out the contradiction between the need for doors, and the no need for a flying saucer entrance - but thought better of it…