Its been a while since I last activated a SOTA summit and so I nipped up to Gun G/SP-013 Wednesday evening to try some 20m. The band has been in reasonable shape for a while and right now, the solar numbers don’t tell the whole story. A couple of nights ago, I activated a HEMA summit and worked 6 continents, sadly this wasn’t to be the case last night.
It was windy at the trig point and I immediately regretted my descision to take a 12m fishing pole. In the end, I lowered it slightly and then bungeed it into the now dead hawthorn tree. My first impression of the 20m band, it was well down on the reasonable conditions of the last 3 or 4 weeks. Seems my timing couldn’t have been worse.
After establishing a QRG at 19:50utc (the first of many, I was bounced off) I was greeted by a call from Ed DD5LP who spotted me on SOTAwatch and the DX cluster. Many thanks Ed.
The fourth and qualifying contact came from N1** in Massachusetts at 19:55. There followed quite a pile up from Europe, with a couple more North Americans calling in. Sadly, for the first time in weeks, I was unable to buy a contact into South America and I had no intention of wasting my battery, getting involved with the South American pile ups.
At around 22:00utc, Ernie VK3DET gave me a call from Melbourne, he was a bit early, but workable. About 20 minutes later, he called back and I sent him a 5/6 report. Rather surprisingly, this contact was made short path, it seems I was much weaker long path. Thanks for getting up so early, Ernie, much appreciated. Just one contact into VK. Unfortunately my good friend Ian VK3YFD had messaged me to say he would be listening, however, due to very high winds, he was unable to crank his beam up and what would have been a fairly easy copy, failed to materialise.
Ernie spotted me on the DX custer and this would normally result in a DX pile up, not last night though.
I plodded my way through more EU contacts until the band finally threw me a bone into North America. However, it was like pulling teeth, the deep and rapid QSB was extremely frustrating.
Finally, fed up with 20m, I pulled the plug.
There were 87 contacts for the Activation. All 20m ssb.
28 contacts into North America. 23 were USA and 7 Canada, the best of it, a SOTA chaser from Oregon.
All in all, this was a frustrating activation, spoiled by poor, band conditions, QSB and of course the inevitable QRM from the 20m zoo. However, no FT-8 required.
Thanks to all the callers.