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GW/NW-062 Question


#1

Hello all, I completed an activation of NW-062 this evening and for the HF part of my activation I used an ATAS 120A mobile HF antenna with great success.
I did discuss the issue (with Tom M1EYP PRIOR to activation) of the ATAS being attached to my car for the activation and Tom seemed to think that the antenna can’t be fixed to the vehicle while activation is in progress, thanks for your advice Tom.

I’m not going against Tom’s advice, in any way shape or form, but others have told me that it is acceptable and that I should read the rules.
I have read the rules and to be honest I can’t find anything to suggest that any antenna can’t be attached to a motor vehicle.

My set up was as follows…

I drove to the summit top and as always walked a complete circuit around my car, then walked 10 feet away to the operating position, a silly routine I know, but it satisfies me that I have complied with the final ascent on foot rule. The FT857D was powered by one of my 7ah SLABs and the coax from the ATAS which was attached to the towing attachment of my car was run out to the radio at my operating position.

So to reiterate…I was not attached to the car, the radio was powered by a SLAB 10 feet from the car, but the antenna was attached to the car, which was sort of no longer a car, but part of my antenna system in the way of a counterpoise.

I have not entered the activation into the database yet, because I want a definate yes or no on wether it is a qualifying activation on HF?

There is no question regarding VHF because the 2m antenna was seperate from the vehicle.

So, please advise me if it’s a good one or not, all opinions respected.

Thanks and 73

Mike GW0DSP


#2

In reply to GW0DSP:

General rule 3.1 includes:

The Programme does not accept operation from or in the immediate
vicinity of motor vehicles.


#3

In reply to M1MAJ:

Define immediate.

If the 25m vertical rule is specific, I feel that it is appropriate for there to be a specific distance in the rules in respect of the distance one should be from a motor vehicle - for the avoidance of doubt.

73, Gerald


#4

In reply to G4OIG:

Define immediate.

Only the MT can do that. I deliberately quoted a rule without offering any opinion on whether Mike’s activation was within it or not. I just don’t know, and you can easily swing it either way depending on your attitude to what SOTA is all about. I’ve changed my mind on the matter several times already this morning.

A more precise ruling might be useful, but there is a danger of unintended consequences if you try to formulate a general rule as a reaction to a specific case. For example one would have to be careful not to adversely restrict operations at summits where the only sensible car park happens to be close to the summit.


#5

In reply to M1MAJ:

Hi Martyn,

Thanks for your input.
By MY definition, which is all I can go by, because there is no definition in the rules (that I can find) of what constitutes “in the immediate vicinity of motor vehicles”, I wasn’t operating from or in the immediate vicinity of a motor vehicle.

Going from the sublime to the cor blimey, what if all other facts remain the same but I use a piece of coax half a mile long next time out, would that be ok?

What happens in the case of those summits with a road running past and therefore motor vehicles running past all day? TW-004 is a fine example. If I am not mistaken there is a summit (poss one of the SC or CE summits) where the trig is actually on the village green, again, is this in close proximity to vehicles.

I’m not being argumentative in any way, I’m just in need of a definition before logging, what in my opinion, was a genuine activation.

Unfortunately, after reading recent debate on the reflector, it seems that most ops were in agreement that the rules were fine and no rule changes or additions are needed, so I’ll carry on regardless until I see it in print in the rules that an antenna fixed to a vehicle is taboo.

I thought it was a grey area which is why I was honest and open about my intention to use the ATAS fixed to the car PRIOR to activation and I explained to chasers during the activation.

All good food for debate Martyn.

73 Mike

P.S. What defines “from a vehicle” ? ie what if the activator is using a pole/antenna erected away from the vehicle, powers the radio from a SLAB, but sits in a vehicle to shelter from the elements, using an extension speaker and extension mic lead?


#6

In reply to G4OIG:

Define immediate.

Good point Gerald as, in my case, it is possible to have a very short “walk in” on Wendover Woods in some places within the activation zone. My shortest “walk-in” is probably about 30m but other places are longer (but not far)

However I would argue that moving away from a (motor powered) vehicle (i.e. not having equipment operating from it/touching it) is probably necessary to satisfy the requirement to not be in the immediate vicinity.

What do you think?

73 Marc GØAZS


#7

For our (on4cvl and myself) activations of mills and castles we use a piece of metal that one can slide under a wheel of the car. You can mount the mast for the antenna on the piece of metal. The mast is 6m high and the g5rv is hung in dipole or inverted V depending of the room we have.

I guess strictly this system would not be “SOTA ok”? What if you don’t operate from within the car but several feet away? ( almost same situation as Mike’s )?

Peter


#8

In reply to G4OIG:

In reply to M1MAJ:

Define immediate.

If the 25m vertical rule is specific, I feel that it is appropriate
for there to be a specific distance in the rules in respect of the
distance one should be from a motor vehicle - for the avoidance of
doubt.

73, Gerald

My point exactly Gerald and I won’t fobbed off or accept ANY “off the cuff” definition from anyone if it is NOT currently in the rules.

As I said to Martyn, would it be ok if next time I use a coax half a mile long? that will take care of the close proximity issue, but won’t answer my original question about mounting an antenna on your car and using the car as a counterpoise for your antenna.

Close proximity to a motor vehicle can’t possibly be defined, or we would have to scrap some summits and that would not be acceptable.

What it does show, is that contrary to belief, the now outdated rules for sota DO require some changes or additions.

73 Mike


#9

In reply to GW0DSP:

I believe that the following extracts from the SOTA General Rules are relevant.

3.7.1 Criteria for a valid Expedition
For an Expedition to be considered valid, the following criteria must be met:
3. The method of final access to the Summit must be “person powered”. Valid methods include hiking, skiing, mountain biking.
5. All equipment must be carried to the site by the Activator team.

You describe your method of operation as “I drove to the summit top and as always walked a complete circuit around my car, then walked 10 feet away to the operating position, a silly routine I know, but it satisfies me that I have complied with the final ascent on foot rule.” That is fine, and on some summits like G/SE-007 is all that is possible, so you have complied with sub-clause 3.

However, unless you carry all of your equipment, including the antenna, during your circumnavigation of the car, I do not believe that you have complied with sub-clause 5.

Pedantic? Perhaps, but “rules is rules”. You were obviously already uneasy about the situation, so I suspect that my view will not come as a bolt from the blue.

As regards “from a vehicle”, I’m sure you will agree that sitting in a vehicle “to shelter from the elements” is clearly operating “from a vehicle” regardless of where the equipment is!

73 de Les, G3VQO


#10

My point exactly Gerald and I won’t fobbed off or accept ANY “off
the cuff” definition from anyone if it is NOT currently in the
rules.

Hi Mike

Sorry if my response came accross as one of the “off the cuff” definitions. I agree that until it is “in the rules” one should continue to operate in good faith as you do now.

My comment was more related about how to make a new definition should the rules change.

Anyway FWIW I did listen for you yesterday evening but no copy with me at the home QTH… does your ATS antenna work on 60/80?

73 Marc GØAZS


#11

In reply to G0AZS:

In reply to G4OIG:

However I would argue that moving away from a (motor powered) vehicle
(i.e. not having equipment operating from it/touching it) is probably
necessary to satisfy the requirement to not be in the immediate
vicinity.

What do you think?

73 Marc GØAZS

Hi marc

Thanks for your input, but as you say the above statement is “what you would argue” and I sincerely respect your opinion, however, we are all governed by a common set of rules in sota and I HAVE to activate/chase according to those rules.

73 Mike


#12

I was listening on 40 yesterday Mike and I could not hear you either. Maybe it was conditions as I could read all of the usual chasers from G, F and DL

Peter


#13

In reply to G0AZS:

Hi Marc, no problem with your reply, I appreciate your input.

The ATAS won’t tune for 80/60 unfortunately, but is superb on 40m through 10m

73 Mike


#14

In reply to G3VQO:

In reply to GW0DSP:

I believe that the following extracts from the SOTA General Rules are
relevant.

3.7.1 Criteria for a valid Expedition
For an Expedition to be considered valid, the following criteria must
be met:
3. The method of final access to the Summit must be “person powered”.
Valid methods include hiking, skiing, mountain biking.

I complied 100% with that rule by walking the final approach on foot (no distance is specified in the rules)

  1. All equipment must be carried to the site by the Activator team.

You describe your method of operation as “I drove to the summit
top and as always walked a complete circuit around my car, then walked
10 feet away to the operating position, a silly routine I know, but it
satisfies me that I have complied with the final ascent on foot
rule.” That is fine, and on some summits like G/SE-007 is all
that is possible, so you have complied with sub-clause 3.

However, unless you carry all of your equipment, including the
antenna, during your circumnavigation of the car, I do not believe
that you have complied with sub-clause 5.

My ATAS 120A was inside my car on the journey to the summit and was in fact carried on my final walk in around the car and then to the operating position where it was laid on the floor while sorting my other equipment out, then it was mounted to my car just prior to HF activation. So, I DO believe that I complied with sub-clause 5.

Pedantic? Perhaps, but “rules is rules”. You were obviously
already uneasy about the situation, so I suspect that my view will not
come as a bolt from the blue.

“Rules is rules” and it seems that I complied with them all 100%.
You are correct to say that you suspect that your view would not come as a bolt from the blue.

As regards “from a vehicle”, I’m sure you will agree that
sitting in a vehicle “to shelter from the elements” is
clearly operating “from a vehicle” regardless of where the
equipment is!

Again, open to the individual’s definition and yet another rule in need of clarification. However I only stated that one as another example of the rules needing clarification.
I operated 10 feet from the car, so it’s not an issue.

To all accounts I still claim that the HF part of my activation was a good one.

Mike


#15

In reply to G0AZS:

Hi Marc et al,

I have personally set 10 metres as an absolute minimum standard for my operations, but try to go further if that is possible. It does depend on the space available.

On Hegdon Hill WB-023 I parked on the verge and walked along for around 20m carrying the kit in several loads, all this after visiting the trig (field with bullocks in it) without the equipment. I got some weird looks from passing motorists while operating. On WB-021 Ruardean, I did walk further from the car with the back pack and antennas, but still got a strange look from some of the locals who thought I was a bit short on the grey matter, especially as I ended up slightly lower down than the car! Sitting by the side of the road was probably what did it in both cases. Next time I’ll take a cap with me and see if I can beg some spare change from passers by.

73, Gerald


#16

In reply to G4OIG:

In reply to G0AZS:

Hi Marc et al,

I have personally set 10 metres as an absolute minimum standard for my
operations, but try to go further if that is possible. It does depend
on the space available.

I think most of us adopt the exact same attitude Gerald, we can only adopt our own interpretation on the final walk in being on foot.

To change the ruling on that issue could be detrimental to some summits, but a quoted minimum walk distance for summits where distance allows, could be implemented.

The rules are in definate need of upgrade, crikey if the government took the same stance as the sota MT, we would still have the slave trade and women wouldn’t have the vote.

73 Mike


#17

In reply to GW0DSP:

The issue in this case is moot Mike because you wont be claiming a point for this activation. If you aren’t claiming for the activation then it doesn’t matter from your point of view. As long as you were in the activation zone then the chasers will have had a valid contact and they can claim their point.

I haven’t come across anything in the rules before that is a little vague like this point is. We can all describe what we think is meant by immediate in this case and possibly come up with a consensus view. What I would hate to see happen is that the rules get changed to such an extent so that it precludes your regular activations.

Whenever there is an issue like this where immediate is hard to describe it’s probably worth considering the aims of SOTA. They are to encourage operation from summits of hills and mountains and you have to make the final ascent to the summit by person power. I think both of those conditions apply to you. I’d describe immediate vicinity as sitting on a chair at the back of the car and all the gear in the boot with the operator doing no more that getting out of the car, getting their chair out of the boot and then being able to operate without having to do anything else. Which doesn’t apply to you.

If you want a minimum distance for gear to be carried to not be in the immediate vicinty then I’d say 100m. Others may differ and I’m open to suggestions. If we have enough input and we can agree a minimum distance, I’ll add a note to the Scottish ARM that clarifies the minimum distance from a vehicle for an activation to count.

Andy
MM0FMF


#18

In reply to MM0FMF:

Hi Andy, yes I know that I won’t be claiming a point, however, I will be claiming an activation.

I appreciate what you are saying about a consensus view, but that’s not good enough, it needs to be a steadfast rule implemented by MT and not our opinions, the latter leaves loopholes for the more dubious activators to exploit.

Same thing applies with what you say about the minimum 100m walk in, once again, that is just your opinion and although it makes good very good sense to me, it remains that it is just your opinion and not a rule.

73 Mike


#19

In reply to GW0DSP:

it remains that it is just your opinion and not a rule.

If I add it to the Scottish ARM it becomes a rule and no longer my opinion! Oh, the power I can wield! :slight_smile:

Perhaps I didn’t make myself clear when I said I’d add a note to the Scottish ARM. We discuss the matter on here, those who have an opinion, express it, and we agree a distance. I’ll add that to the Scottish ARM so that from some date in the future anyone activating in Scotland from near to their car will have to follow that rule. By inference I just assumed other AM’s would do likewise.

Andy
MM0FMF


#20

In reply to MM0FMF:

In reply to GW0DSP:

it remains that it is just your opinion and not a rule.

If I add it to the Scottish ARM it becomes a rule and no longer my
opinion! Oh, the power I can wield! :slight_smile:

OOh, you powerful beastie, hi

Spot on Andy, that is what is required, a RULING not a grey area loophole for undesirables to exploit.

How refreshing to learn that in the GM ARM that a democratic decision and therefore a rule change is reached by a consesus of opinions among the “members”, first time I have heard of the minions being heard, hi, well done on adopting that attitude Andy.

73 Mike