Joe Public comments on SOTA!

Comments from Joe Public today on my SOTA Activation of Zugspitze:

“Radio Luxembourg?”

“Is that radio out of your car?”

“I was in charge of six guys in the gulf war doing what your are doing”
(Said by an American tourist - I was using Morse at the time"

I find it is quite hard to respond when sending in Morse when people are talking to me and they are expecting a reply…so sorry to Chris ON6ZQ for the pregnant pause on 40m CW - you are in the log!

Forgot to mention I had a three DX contacts too today with AC1Z KA1R and K4DY, most welcome contacts on 20m CW.

I have the possibility of one more summit tomorrow if I can fit around the other members of the party’s plans.

73 Phil


Well done on fitting in as many summits as you have done this week Phil.

You mean no one came up and said “I used to do CB like you are doing”?

Actually I get more and the “my uncle, father, grandfather, was a radio ham a long time ago” approches when I am on a busy summit.

Suggestion for another summit if you can get there tomorrow (and perhaps some of your party want to come along for a nice walk) - Hinteres Hornele.


I was on Wapley Hill (G/WB-016) a couple of years ago, fairly close to Shobdon Airfield. As some planes flew over, someone asked me if I was calling in ‘air strikes’ :slight_smile:
Lost count of the number of times I’ve been asked if I’m trying to contact aliens too…


Passer-by on Moel Siabod looking at my roach pole: “Did you catch any?”

“Yes, you’re the third!”


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Approaching the summit of Slieve Gullion (GI/CA-001)
Passer-by: “What’s the fishing pole for?”
Me: “Fishing!”

Lake of Sorrows - Slieve Gullion

Usual comment “HOW FAR, with that???”.


“Have you never thought of using your mobile?”

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I’ve got Geoff G6MZX with me and we’re hoping we can bag an s2s with you tomorrow from either F/JU or DL/BW regions. We were not meant to get the car till Thu mid-morning but I managed to sweet talk the girl on the car hire desk tonight at the airport to let is have our car early and she agreed. So we’ll be mobile 2hrs earlier than we thought.

I have only good words for Enterprise Car Hire, their staff fully understand what good customer service is. I had great service from them in Avignon last December. Now here in Basel/Mulhouse, the service exceeds all known measures!

And the beer is not bad either!


Great to hear about your updated arrangements Andy and all the hams converging on the Bodensee resort! I’m looking forward to seeing Geoff G6MZX again (the late Fred Dibnah’s mate…).

I hope we can clash on the bands time and skip wise today! I’m sure there will be mucho S2S traffic done between we travellers throughout the day. I’m just hoping to activate a wee summit above Garmisch in the Wettersteins, this will be DL/WS-037 Kreuzjoch and which will be the last opportunity for an activation on this holiday.

Car hire from Munich also good. I used Inter Rent this time who turn out to the cheap arm of Eurocar who I also like, but the service was fast, the car was almost mint and clean and the price was cheaper than most but the service was not.

73 de Phil

Fishing for contacts - of course :fishing_pole_and_fish:

Tight Lines

Jack (;>J

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A few years ago there was a small pamphlet available for download, giving a short explanation of amateur radio on one side and SOTA on the other. Some individual associations produced these in their own language and some activators adapted the SOTA explanation to suit their own circumstances.

A few of these were carried by activators as a give-away to inquisitive members of the public in order to save long explanations and these were especially useful for single op. activations.


True - I wrote it. It was a useful way to pass on information to inquisitive onlookers. I seem to recall that some people came into the hobby as a direct result of seeing a SOTA activator. Whether people who see us, get interested, is probably directly related to whether we take the time to have a chat with them or push on with our activation.

I still have a copy of the 2004 version. It is at

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Very good … but before anyone starts using it to give information to onlookers, please note that the RSGB address on the pamphlet is out of date.

Walt (G3NYY)

I would suggest it needs a complete rewrite.

Ones, I forgot the summit, I could hear that somebody whispered to somebody: Terrorist?

Maybe it is my look…:slight_smile:

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Hi Phil,
It’s worse when you are listening for your report or a question (on CW) and Joe starts asking how far can you get with that and don’t the trees cause a problem?

“This guy’s in New Zealand and those trees over there (a pine forest 50 m away) are not a problem”.

Not so bad if sending - just send “QRX QRM” - “Standby, visitor” if on phone.

I always answer and engage if possible as any polite chat is good PR for AR.

Sometimes just a wave and a smile are enough to allay suspicion. Our government has been pushing the messages to be alert but not alarmed - report suspicious activity or anything strange.

Reports do get followed up.


That’s one up on me… I find it impossible! They just have to wait and if I have a pile up, then the pile up takes precedence. I just give them a pleasant smile and pretend I can’t hear through my headphones. I no longer worry about visits, not since I was “raided” by Special Branch while operating portable during a 70cm contest - complete with their hand guns. :innocent:

Nowadays, they think we are “terrorists”. Back in the 70s, we were “spies”.


Or calling in the Mother Ship!

Ha, true !

The best “confrontation” I had was ascending Snowdon when an orthodox Jew asked me which intelligence organisation I worked for, I replied MI6 :slight_smile: he took it seriously.

He was in full religious dress on a baking hot day.