This is just a brief record of my activation of Kit Hill in Cornwall this morning. I was originally planning to go to the wonderfully named Brown Willy (G/DC-002) on Bodmin Moor but I am suffering from sciatica and have tingling feet so I didn’t think a tramp across the Moor with a rucksack was wise. Kit Hill was the obvious alternative and where I headed as you can drive to the top of it.
This was the first outing with the 4.2Ah Zippy LiFePo4 battery which arrived from China recently. My Icom IC-705 will output 10W with an external battery and I wanted to see if this made a difference.
Spoiler alert: I don’t think the difference between 5W and 10W is huge. I used 5W on High Willhays, DC-001 recently and had similar results to today with twice the power.)
After spotting myself on SOTAWatch I called CQ but without result. After a few minutes I realised I still had the RF output power turned down to zero after some experiments at home yesterday. Once I had cranked this back up to 100% I started making contact. The first with 2E0FEH who was in Saltash less than 15Km away! G0FEX followed and the welcome voice of Don, G0RQL. I thought 2E0AJB was next but this callsign does not appear in QRZ so I assume I transcribed it incorrectly. Manuel, EA2DT, followed then after I changed to 20m DJ5AV and EA1AA were logged and then an S2S with HB9CRY/P on the Schwyberg HB/FR-030.
I then tried chasing a few others who were spotting on HF but although I could often hear them they couldn’t hear me. I was using a Bandspringer End Fed Wire with the AH-705 tuner. This combination works well but I might have had better results using a dipole. The Bandspringer is very convenient when it comes to changing bands but a linked dipole should perform better although I need to test this out first.
I had a final burst on 2m SSB using a 3 element Yagi but without success. I suspect 2m SSB needs to be pre-arranged.
When my back is sorted Brown Willy will be next.
Looking at the “Who chased me” in the database for your activation shows that 2E0AGB has logged a chase for your activation this morning.
Thank you - I obviously wrote down a J instead of a G. I didn’t know about the “Who chased me” button but I’ve found it now - a very useful facility. I’ve now uploaded an amended log.
Interesting, thanks. I have a 5W HF radio and seem to have no difficulty making QSOs across Europe from the UK when I can post a spot. I don’t think I have ever called CQ on HF and received a reply without a spot though. I was wondering whether twice the power would make a difference.
Thank you for this tip! I did my first CW activation today, and since I am a beginner at Morse, I was worried that I had copied various callsigns incorrectly. The “who chased me” tool has let me see whether I was correct - and so far everything seems ok What is the policy on correcting logs if I find I have made an error though? In a contest that would be considered cheating, but SOTA is not a contest…
I’m not aware of any issues about correcting logs. I just deleted the original and uploaded an amended version using a csv file.
And well done for using CW. I managed my first ham-fisted CW QSO this week from the shack but I’m going to try and get a few more in before I try it on a summit.
Twice the power is 3dB. Typically an S point increase is meant to mean 6dB increase in received signal. So 5W to 10W is 1/2 S point. Not all S meters are accurate or calibrated but the maths holds true.
To make a noticeable difference you need to quadruple the power, ie. 5W to 20W. Then the next step is 20W to 80W. It does follow that people using 50/100W on activations can work more chasers, they are simply up to 2 and a bit S points louder.
The sweet spot is somewhere around 30-35W as the gain in strength vs increase in battery consumption and increase in weight is most acceptable. Modern batteries do allow quite extended operation of radios like FT857. But FT857s are not exactly lightweight.
You’ve started using CW. The theories says to get the same SNR for 5W CW you need 85W SSB. So CW doesn’t weigh anything and gives more bang for your buck and you’re on your way with it. You should find it has a significant payback for the effort. It’s not for everyone though.
Yes John it is I… Thanks for the contact but I just can’t believe you were in Cornwall. I never manage to get down there, London yes but not Cornwall. but hey I’m not complaining. You stay safe and best 73
The same comment & calculation was made to me by John Earnshaw / G4YSS when I asked him about me getting an amplifier to increase my output from 5 w to 10w. He basically said what you said.
And with my 5w cw on a SOTA summit recently I have worked the USA, Canada and a week ago, worked YB1TIA, a female SOTA operator in Indonesia whilst I was on G/NP-019.
Allen, thank you for the QSO, and sorry for garbling your callsign. It was an enjoyable morning, a few frustrations but when it all comes together it is very rewarding. I’m not sure at 300m or so high Kit Hill is a great SOTA place, especially given the transmitter on the summit, but clearly there was a path to Yorkshire from there today.
That’s very helpful encouragement! I must re-double my CW efforts.