After my first activation didn’t quite go to plan (see below), I found myself with some unexpected free time this afternoon and decided to set off for G/SE-003 Black Down to see if I could finally achieve my long-term ambition of a SOTA activation by CW.
I parked up at the main National Trust car park, which had plenty of spaces (I’m sure it would be a different story at weekends) and aimed for the summit, guided by the SOTA Goat app. After a pleasant 15 or 20 mins stroll through the woods I came across the trig point, and decided to operate close by. Although I could hear a few voices in the distance from time to time, I was undisturbed during my time there.
This time I had remembered all of the required cables and connectors and after spotting myself, braved a CQ call on 20m at 15WPM. After two or three repeats I was glad to be called F4WBN who was a solid signal with me, and sent at a speed that was easy for me to copy. I was off! A few more CQ calls, and I subsequently worked PA0RBA, ON7DQ, ON3MK & F6GUF. No pile-ups, which was actually a relief for my first try at a CW activation! I’m sure 5 CW QSOs may not seem that impressive to the more experienced activators on here, but I was really pleased with myself for finally making it, and for having the guts to put out a CW call! I’m sure the next one won’t seem so daunting! Time was a bit limited, so after a quick call on 17m (no replies), I got out the handheld just to see if anyone was around on 2m. One was, G3XTH down in Hassocks.
That was enough for me, so I packed up and headed for the car feeling satisfied! I want to say a big thank you to those worked, and an additional thank you for sending at a speed close to mine! For those of you who like me who might consider themselves a cw novice, then do be reassured that there are plenty of understanding ops out there who are very happy to slow down to make it as comfortable as possible for the activator. It’s a very different experience to trying to work stations in a big HF CW contest! Thank you all!
Looking forward to working many more of you in the future,
Matthew - M0JSB
Well done. To make it progressively easier and less daunting, I recommend chasing other activators from home or other suitable location. The more you use cw on air, the more familiar you are, it cuts down the stress and means there is less of a surprise when someone springs an unfamiliar abbreviation on you. There are so many possibilities due to various backgrounds among the other cw operators. If you are a more experienced cw operator, activating becomes much easier!
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH
Well done Matthew. I was reasonably proficient at morse before I started SOTA, so I cannot imagine the trepidation you felt when putting out that first CQ after making the effort to get to the summit and set up. The ice has been broken - hopefully it will be plain skating from here.
Thank you! I had done a lot of practicing with the morse runner app, but it’s definitely harder when you have to do it for real. It was interesting how much faster 15WPM felt in the field! Hope work to you from a summit one day.
Another recent first-time CW activator. The Q…R…S with fat Farnsworth pauses seems to help some of the time. I’ve occasionally had fast chasers blaze away on what sounds like a college essay, having no idea what they’re talking about at 30+ wpm before I can get a Q R S in!
Fine congrats, gut gemacht.
No stress QRS Farnsworth are also my rules.
For me important always the same scheme. So that chasers suddenly known when its free to call.
Hope soon for a s2s from here SV8 …
5 contacts is absolutely fine, it gets you the summit point(s) and gives chasers the opportunity to contact you too. Sometimes you have to do quick activations (I always do when walking with my wife - she won’t let me hang around chatting when we have more miles to hike), other times you can sit on a summit for hours and enjoy the pile ups