Some moths ago I received an email from a new ham living near my hometown.
He was interested on SOTA and had read about the program. He requested some info and we agreed on a joint activation. Chosen summit was Mt. Iguste, EA2/NV-127, an easy one and not very popular, that would give us oportunity to meet and have a practical lesson on how to initiate on SOTA activation. Activation date: 11-jun-2022.
On the walk towards the summit we had time to chat and clarified some doubts concerning the SOTA rules, alerts, spots, apps, log upload,etc.
For us, long term activators, all is easy and relatively evident, but for a newbie there are many subjects not so clear.
I receintly wrote in Spanish a FAQ document (frequently asked questions) that explains in detail, with simple languaje, most of these blank fields for new SOTA operators, both activators or chasers. It is published in my web page. Maybe an English translation would be worthwhile.
The summit trig point
We both grabbed a SOTA kit.
First we put up the aerial, this time an EFHW for HF and a vertical Flower pot for VHF. We started on VHF and after some guidance, EA2EUS started calling CQ.
The CQ routine was also new to him and perhaps I should record this summer a simple video explaining the usual procedure:
CQ → receive a call → Anwer to the call → RST interchange → QSO end & 73 → CQ again (loop this).
Mique logged 4 qso with ease and after a nervous start he calmed down and did it well. To do a promising start, can you guess who was his first ever SOTA qso? Of course, he couldn’t be other but the prolific Manuel, EA2DT, using his handheld at home. Thanks Manuel for being the baptism chaser of Mique.
Mique found a bit difficult to retain the call, anotate on the paper log, and answer: too messy, but I’m sure with more practice, as we all did, will evolve and become a natural thing.
After the VHF we moved into HF. I started running on 20m SSB for him to see the way we do in HF, similar but more variation in the callsigns.
I used his rig, a newly acquired Xiegu X6100. The rig performed great. I am aware about some bugs that some users have experienced, but this unit worked all right. It was powered by the internal batt and therefore it run with 5w.
I was happy to log some frequent chasers and worked as well a few S2S: Ralf HB9GKR/P, Paul DL6FBK/P and my friend Armin HB9/DL6GCA/P on a Swiss tour.
After a short run on 20m we did QSY to 40m where Mique was active again, dealing with a few EA chasers at an adequate pace. Hopefully no messy pile up today!
To end the activation we spend some time chasing S2S and I tried CW mode in the Xiegu as well. Again the rig performed fine, and I logged Iñaki EB2GKK/P this way.
Weather was hot and the temperature of the rig was very high, just by touching the enclosure. The black colour is perhaps not the optimum to deal with direct sun exposure.
Let me add that the screen was set to low brilliance and I could see all the info and the waterfall without any trouble. Perhaps the built in speaker is a bit small. My preference is to use earphones but we use the speaker to hear the signals together and it performed just fine.
We dismantled and get back home. A good day for a first activation and a first use of a Xiegu rig.
I hope Mique will continue doing some more SOTA and will find on it a good ham academy to get to the hobby.
73 de Ignacio