G4YSS: G/TW-004 on 160m & 20m, 13-03-18

SOTA G/TW-004 on 160m CW/ SSB & 20m CW on 13th of March 2018

G4YSS (using SSEG Club Callsign - GX0OOO/P)
With G0UUU/P (doing RSGB 70cm Contest Evg. (NOT valid for SOTA)
All times: UTC

IC706-2G HF-VHF-UHF QRO Multimode Transceiver.
Link Dipole for 80-60-40-(30)-20m.
Insertable loading coils with slug tuning for 160m (at 40m break points).
5-section 6.8m Home-brew CFC mast (Blue/ White colour coded)
Two 4.4 Ah Li-Po Battery (RCM) with paralleling harness (Not fully discharged)
Garden chairs x 2

This ‘summit’ is a low one of 807ft and the closest SOTA to my home QTH just south of Scarborough. It doesn’t get any easier than this and the hill doesn’t look the part. You’d be forgiven for failing to recognize this as a SOTA. There are at least four roads in the activation zone and one is the A166 road out of York.

This was done on a whim. My son Phil G0UUU takes part in the RSGB VHF contests which run weekly from 20:00 to 22:30 starting with 144MHz on the first Tuesday of the month, 423MHz on the second Tuesday etc. 50MHz is slotted in between these two on a Thursday, which results in a demanding workload.

Normally Phil’s XYL Bev and their dog Roxy go along too. I was just standing in for them on this occasion and I’m told Bev was pleased! Phil uses a different portable QTH for each of the contests. 2m is done from Irton Moor, 6m from Ravenscar and 70cm from Bishop Wilton Wold which just happens to be a one-point SOTA, G/TW-004. Because the power supply and rig are in a car, Phil cannot fulfill the SOTA requirements but I could operate independently and fully portable on an HF band of my choice, which considering the time of day, would be 160m.

Set off from Scarborough at 18:40 in Phil’s car and arrived at 19:20 inside the activation zone, on the ‘C’ road which runs SSE from the A166. There is a wide flat verge at SE 8248 5655 which is where Phil set up his mast and 70cm 18 ely parabeam. The grass verge here is stony. Using a hammer and steel tube we tried to make a hole deep enough for Phil’s 3m mast but kept hitting chalk at around six inches down. The solution was to use guy ropes.

After listening to Phil working the first ten stations on 432 MHz, I donned a headlamp and set off up the road on foot with my mast, rig, battery and two folding chairs. A likely looking section of grass verge was chosen, about 150m from the A166 junction, at SE 8238 5682. Cross-talk between 160m and 70cm was very unlikely and the 130m between the two stations should almost guarantee it.

The mast and HF dipole were erected with the feeder led down to a folding chair for the operator and another for the equipment. The 160m loading coils were fitted and the antenna tested. VSWR was terrible, the rig complaining with a pathetic squeaking sound on TX. After 15 minutes of testing other bands, I came to the conclusion that due to the headlamp and no spectacles, I hadn’t connected a coil properly. Second time lucky.

Because I didn’t have to carry it for miles, the mast used for this activation was almost 2m longer than usual. Also the ends are usually supported on 1m long sticks but in this case they were fastened to the top of a 2m high freshly flailed thorn hedge. To compensate for the extra AGL, the slug tuning slugs were adjusted from the usual 4.7 position to around 5.0 (i.e: more inductance). The station was ready to operate at 20:50 ahead of a 21:00 start time, which had been alerted that morning.

G/TW-004; BISHOP WILTON WOLD, 246m, 1 pt, 19:20 to 22:45. 7 Deg.C, zero wind. Overcast. No rain or low-cloud. WAB: SE85. LOC: IO-94-PA (Trig point TP-6078 was 300m away, therefor not valid for this activation). Good EE phone coverage.

1.833 CW - 1 QSO:
1.832 had a CQ on it so I moved up 1kHz, self spotting for the first time ever, the latter being surprisingly easy. At 21:02 OH3GD answered my 60 Watt CQ from the IC706-2G. The exchange was 589/ 579 and he gave his name as Kari. This didn’t seem like a SOTA chaser, however. Further CQ’s were not responded to but I have noticed a decrease in UK CW SOTA chasers lately.

1.832 CW - 1 QSO:
If you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em. I answered the CQ from MM0ZBH who gave his name as Paul. His QTH was Fife and the exchange was 599/ 589.

1.846 SSB - 8 QSO’s:
With such a poor showing on CW, 160m SSB was needed to qualify the summit. Using 100 Watts I logged the following stations:
GI0AZB and GI0AZA Ian & Esther in Londonderry 59 both ways; G4IPB Paul QTH Middleton-in-Teesdale 59/ 57; G4IAR Dave in Loughborough 2 x 59; MI1AIB Paul in Limavady; 2 x 59; G7LMF Graham in Telford: GW4VPX Allan in Pencader 44/ 57 and GM4WHA Geoff in Annan 33/ 31.

Power was 100 Watts (in fact significantly less than that with the voltage in use) and the session took 18 minutes.

14.057 CW – 3 QSO’s:
Top Band had dried up so where to next? Surely 20m wouldn’t be open at this time of night would it? Without even without removing the 160m coils I could hear signals on 20m. After pulling out the 20m band links they became very loud.

Maybe if I could self spot again, there would be a chance of working across the Atlantic. Looking at the phone, I noticed that there was a SOTA station KE5AKL/P on 14.061 CW but though I could hear chasers calling him, there was no sign of the activator’s signal. Time to find a clear frequency, self spot, wait a short while then cast the net.

The plan paid off. A couple of CQ’s and I had a contact. This was the wished for DX in the form of K4QS Charles in VA with an exchange of 589/ 559. A good start and just what I’d aimed for.

Next in was a 599 signal which turned out to be Phil G4OBK in Pickering. I couldn’t help but laugh at the irony of the respective distances worked for the last two contacts and I think I sent ‘HI HI.’ Phil gave me 579 in return and afterwards I continued with the CQ’s. At least Phil was in the log and all were welcome at this time of day.

Presently I was called by K3TCU Gary in Seneca PA (579/ 559). Was this too easy? However, a glancing at my watch told me that there was less than half an hour to go before Phil’s UHF contest ended. I had to pack up by then and help Phil do the same. I also wanted a last try on 160m so after a few more unanswered CQ’s on 14.057 returned to Top Band.

1.843 SSB - 1 QSO:
I thought I’d self spotted 1.846 again but when I checked, the screen said 1.843 which. This was right in the midst of FT8 signals but Phil G4OBK reworked me on here (59 both ways) and there was time for a brief chat. Further CQ’s brought nothing despite a spot from Phil and and initial self spot from me. At 22:15 it was QRT time. I had been sitting outside for an hour and a quarter and owing to a complete lack of wind, I wasn’t even slightly cold.

Last time I was here, for the solar eclipse, my mast and dipole got badly entwined in the thorny hedge and that was in daylight. Now it was black as pitch apart from my headlight, so I knew care was needed. In fact all went well and I made it back the 130 metres encumbered by the Morrisons carrier bag full of kit and the two chairs, in time to help Phil take his station down. He had logged 46 QSO’s including one into Eire and one into France. Three times as many as I’d got using HF!

We split the 18-ely into two and took down the mast. That was the easy bit. When Phil tried to get his car off the verge it moved a few yards then dug two holes. After wedging dry vegatation under the front wheels and with me pushing, we got it back onto the road but then came the three point turn. I gave him bad advice and the wheels went off the road and stuck again. More pushing and the car just made it safely back onto tarmac. Phew.

At 11:30 pm Phil dropped me off at home in Scarborough. There was a good discussion on the way home and the conclusion was ‘a good time was had by all.’

QSO’s: 14 comprising
2 on 160m CW
9 on 160m SSB
2 on 20m CW
Ascent/ Distance: 0m/ distance 2 x 130m.
One SOTA Point

This SOTA is nothing like a SOTA at all. Not a rucksack in sight and no effort needed. I felt so much like a fraud that it affected my operating routine. After being conditioned by hundreds of ‘proper’ SOTA’s, sitting on a folding chair just didn’t feel right. Add to that the unusually pleasant weather and the mind was completely fooled. One the plus side, traffic was almost non-existent. Only one car passed in the entire three and a half hours we were there.

Thanks to SOTA chasers and the other stations worked. I was grateful for every contact. Also to the spotters: GM4WHA; K4QS and G4OBK. I must not forget to thank Andy MM0FMF, who devised the phone spotting service that I signed up to years ago but never used until now. It works like a dream – when you have a phone signal that is. That’s not as often as I would like on SOTA summits with EE but this one was solid.

Thanks to Phil G0UUU for taking me along. I can honestly say I thoroughly enjoyed the evening, especially the complete lack of pain and discomfort I usually associate with winter activating.

73, John G4YSS
(Using Scarborough Special Events Group callsign; GX0OOO/P)

Photos: 5-12-13-14-15

Above: Phil G0UUU/P taking part in the RSGB 70cm SSB/ CW contest, from Bishop Wilton Wold. 2nd Tuesday in each month 20:00 to 22:30. 46 QSO’s (/M NOT - SOTA!)

Above: G4YSS - GX0OOO/P luxury setup on G/TW-004

Above: G4YSS - GX0OOO/P on G/TW-004. 6.8m CFC H/Brew mast supporting dipole. Thorn hedge that you can so easily get snagged on.

Above: G4YSS - GX0OOO/P on G/TW-004. Dipole with 160m loading coils

Above: G4YSS - GX0OOO/P on G/TW-004. IC706-2G working the USA on 20m CW. Phone for 1st time self spotting.


For reference the summit is known by the locals as Garrowby Hill Top ( or it was when I was a kid ).

73 Ed.

Hi Ed, Thanks for the reply. Like you, I have called it Garrowby Hill all my life. Never heard of Bishop Wilton Wold (what a mouthful) until SOTA came along.

Not quite in the same class as Porlock or Sutton Bank, it nevertheless had a reputation for ‘car killing’ or if not killing, boiling over the old bangers of the 1940’s and 50’s especially the ones without water pumps. With your support, I’ll maybe ask SOTA if we can have the old name back?

Thanks for your other posts and likes,
73, John.

We follow RHB, warts and all! There seems to be at least several mistakes in RHB but until they correct them it seems that we won’t change.

PS Sorry to miss you, I wasn’t in the shack that evening!

I don’t think I’m that powerful and if we start … there are a LOT of SOTA Summits with different names to what the locals (and local maps) call them, here in Germany and I supect in other countries.

My grand parents lived about 5 minutes away from Sutton Bank and the white horse. I have memories when I was very young riding in the sidecar with my brother and sister while Mum was on the back of the Norton and dad drove and slogging our way up Sutton Bank, Staxton near Scarborough used to be another car (or bike) killer.

73 Ed.

Well for a start how do we know the RHB name is wrong?

Looking on the current OS map shows Bishop WIlton Wold as the name of the wold (open high ground) and Garrowby Hill is shown in smaller letters on the steeper part of the West face of the wold.

If you look at the projections from the OS 1:50k map you can clearly see why the view from the West side is called Garrowby Hill, there’s a hill on the horizon! If you look at the same view from East there is nothing so obvious.

Looking from the West, fairly obvious hill coming up.

Hey! Where’s the hill?

So it probably is known as Garrowby Hill locally.

But sadly that doesn’t make it the right name officially. There is a road in Liverpool (near where the TV program Bread was filmed) call Cockburn Street. It was near where my mother lived till she was 10. She was taught at school the correct pronunciation (forgive me Mr. Moderator) “C-O-C-K spells cock”. However, it is a well known differentiator of social standing and class in the UK that Cockburn is pronounced “Coburn” as in “Cockburn’s Port”. So well done to the teachers of the day at my late mother’s school who ensured that their charges would go into society pointedly identifying themselves of having come from a less advantaged background and upbringing.

If you think the name is wrong, you need to contact the RHB Group and explain the why and wherefores of the RHB naming error. When they agree and change the name, Jimmy M0HGY will put a change request in. Just like the change from Romabld’s Moor to Rombalds Moor earlier this year.

Excuse my ignorance but who is RHB? Is that what Ordnance Survey is now called?

From the map, it looks like Garrowby Hill top is part of the way down from the very summit - so perhaps “Cot Nab” would be the better name to use? Anyway, as I said, lets not start as there’ll be far too many “locals names corrections” to make worldwide.

Relative Hills Group… the people who maintain the Mariyns list.

Summits on the Air section 2.1

OK, so RHB is only in the UK then.

For the Hunter (and all other regions of VK2) we used the NSW Government mapping department’s online mapping service, but if you don’t have that kind of a free (and accurate) service available, you have to use what is available and what is judged to be the “best for purpose”.


We are fortunate in the GB that we have such a well respected team of surveyors as RHB that maintain the P150 data. It’s great that it is entirely independent of SOTA, and so all arguments are resolved objectively and easily - hill names, elevations, summit coordinates etc - simply by referring to RHB.

We have absolute confidence in the information RHB provides and know that it is constantly being reviewed, and updated where necessary. Our national mapping agency OS, by the way, accepts survey results from RHB and applies them in updates of its own mapping - so we can be confident that the info is good.

Rule 1 - RHB is always right

Rule 2 - in the event that RHB is wrong, refer to rule 1


Works for me - for GB at least!

1 Like

There have been several name changes over the years, some of them rather unpopular. ISTR that Lowick High Common G/LD-049 becoming Kirkby Moor did not go down well. Then there’s Haddington Hill, The Wolds, Yr Arwydd, Edmund’s Tump - who remembers those?

Then there’s SOTA’s most popular summit The Cloud G/SP-015 That everyone round here calls Bosley Cloud.

In all cases, we defer to whatever the RHB / DoBH people are using.

Tom, I don’t understand why GJ and GU summits have been added which are not Marilyns when we are supposed to follow RHB rules.

G, GW, GM, GD and GI follow - not “RHB rules” - but P150 requirements (we use the RHB data, because that is an accurate independently maintained P150 resource). None of them, nor any part of them would qualify for P100 consideration. However, GU and GJ do - so they have joined as P100 associations. Same rules as applied anywhere else in the world.

They were already in the HuMPs scheme, so should never have been added to the SOTA DB…

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In a way, I agree Mike. My own personal opinion is that all SOTA should be P150, with no P100 concessions at all. However, that is not how SOTA has evolved, and the concession to allow P100 associations where the criteria is met, has been established for a long time (PA, ON, LX etc). I wouldn’t want to attempt to reverse that status quo now!

It is perhaps surprising that the Channel Island DXCCs haven’t come on board several years earlier.

Just a tongue in cheek remark :wink: Whatever the locals call it, what’s in the RHB reference book is good enough for me.

Yes Ed, Staxton Hill was another notorious engine boiler. Now I go up it in fourth! (in the XYL’s posh car that is).

There is no place for “should never” because the HuMPs scheme and SOTA are fully independant of each other.

Thank you for clearing that up, Brian.

As I understand it both schemes although independent of each other were designed to be complimentary to each other. Suddenly adding P100s in GU and GJ some sixteen years after the creation of the G Association seems somewhat controversial to me.

BTW, I’m reliably informed, the HEMA scheme, will be adding the Belgium and Danish P100s to their DB and I believe they’ll be available shortly… It would appear the Activators and Chasers can have two for the price of one, should they choose to do so.

…if you’re allowed in the HEMA scheme, which I’m not. After Mike G4BLH stepped down from running the programme, all my activator and chaser logs were deleted, and I am blocked from both the HEMA Database and the HEMA Facebook group. All enquiries about these things are ignored.

Good to hear that HEMA is expanding beyond these shores. P100 summits in OZ, ON etc already existing in SOTA is irrelevant, as the schemes are completely independent. Same goes for GMA, WOTA etc.