Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Mass Activation

From Photos of Snowdon Cafe discussion:

From Andy MM0FMF - “How about a “all the big ones” event Steve? Activators on Ben Nevis, Snowdon, Scafell Pike, Snaefell, Slieve Donard and Carrauntoohil at the same time. Might be getting a little late in the season to arrange this now though”.

This reminded me that we were going to do another Fun Day type of activation, possibly on the SC’s, but the idea went out of my mind and no doubt everyone else’s. Maybe Andy has hit on something a little more exciting. The choice of band for communication between the summits would need some thought, but that would not stop multiple band operation in order to contact chasers after the inter-summit session.

Is this something that we could progress?

73, Gerald

From a safety point of view, would it be wise to have a fixed date activation of such big serious mountains, and furthermore trying to coincide the timings for multiple S2S? I would have thought individuals would be best choosing their own time and day for an expedition on these types of hills, rather than trying to tie them in with others from all around the British Isles. We all know how compulsive and addictive SOTA can be, but these are not the mountains on which to be waiting that little bit longer for a possible S2S.

OTOH, a Fun Day, or better still, a Fun Weekend on the SC summits sounds a much more sensible idea, with much more chance of success, and arguably much more chance of fun! The boys and I might well be up for a SC weekend camp sometime next year.

And please don’t bring Carrauntoohil into it! Having done Scafell Pike, Snowdon, Ben Nevis and Slieve Donard, I will have considered it to be “mission complete” whenever I get to do Snaefell! EI is out of bounds until Jimmy progresses his licences anyway!


In reply to M1EYP:

There’s no problem with a fixed activation date as long as prospective participants don’t attempt to do more than their experience and fitness allows them to do. That’s why I thought it may be too late in the season, by the time we have agreed a theme and bands and schedules etc. a few more weeks will go by and the nights will be drawing in. I understand that arranging something that might encourage people to attempt something they shouldn’t is concerning you Tom. Of course I did Craignaw last October and it was like a Summer’s day with me in just a T-shirt on the summit as you can see: http://moosedata.com/gallery/main.php?g2_itemId=1408 Of course there’s bound to be someone who takes the hump at others thinking they may not be upto an Autumn romp up Ben Nevis! Such is life.

But here are some ideas…

Let’s consider this for next April when the weather is improving. Easter is a possibilty as it is late next year April 10th-13th but that will make Snowdown, Scafell and Ben Nevis unbelievably busy so perhaps the weekend either side. If people are prepared to flexible we can suggest April 5th/April 11th/April 18th and pick the actual weekend once the weather forecast is available, just 5 or so days in advance. I know that makes it impossible to publish info in magazines but we should accept that paper is dead and websites are the way forward! We have a website that is used anyway, so let’s use it.

Bands. Well I’d like to think that all 6 summits are inter-workable on 2m SSB using QRPish power and a small beam. If there are at least 2 participants for each summit then adding in a small amp and additional battery to what is carried shouldn’t be taxing between them. Of course I would imagine that there would be lots of interest in S2S contacts on other VHF bands such as 4m/70cm/23cm and 3cm. HF would be 80m/60m/40m. I’ve not seen any detailed reports on the 2 mass activations the other weekend but the idea there was that there would be 1 HF and 1 VHF antenna setup and people would attach their own radios. Seems sensible to me.

Scheds. Well this reminds me of the intro to The Mule from Deep Purple’s Made In Japan were Ian Gillan says to the soundman “We’d like everything louder than everything else.” Everyone on every hill is going to want to work every one else on every other summit and every chaser too at the same time. So here is a plan. Each summit has one 2m SSB and one 2m FM frequency and they only call CQ on those. That means that we can have some idea of who’ll be where. Of course local QRM&QRN will affect that but once each summit finds a QRG they stick to it for the whole operation no matter who is on the mike. Once spotted on SOTAWATCH, chasers will know where to listen for each summit. Summits work other summits by only allowing the called summit to use its frequency. e.g. WS001 on 144.250, GD001 on 144.275 and NW001 on 144.325. Now WS001 calls CQ on 144.250 and works chasers then someone on GD001 wants an S2S with them and calls them. WS001 can answer GD001 because they are being called on their own frequency of 144.250. If someone on NW001 hears GD001 on 144.250 and calls GD001 then GD001 tells them to QSY to their frequency, 144.275, and only answers calls when they QSY there. It sounds complicated but it looks like a reasonable way of making sure chasers, especially those at their home QTH know where to listen for each summit. Something similar can be used for 80m and 40m. 60m is a little more problematic with the lack of frequencies, we can’t commandeer all the channels for our own fun and games!

Summit Tsar. Don’t you just hate those modern management terms! OK, someone needs to be the boss on each summit to make sure everything at their location goes smoothly and there’s no frequency mismanagement. This can be sorted out near the time.

Equipment. Everyone should bring their normal radio gear with them. It may have been agreed that I’ll provide the HF antenna and fishing pole for WS001 for example. But if you then climb all 1300+m of it only to find I’m not there or my gear is broken, you’ll feel proper foolish if you have a perfectly good antenna sat in the car park!

That should be enough for now.


In reply to MM0FMF:

Easter on the Ben. I know that winters are not as hard now as they used to be, but at Easter I have had to use two axes and crampons to get up the zig-zags to the summit plateau, and would suggest that Easter could easily prove too early!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to MM0FMF:

Well thought out Andy. It would appear this has been sitting at the back of your mind for some time, unless you had a “eurika” moment!

By arranging ourselves in teams in order to tackle the summits, the safety aspect should be vastly improved and hopefully allay Tom’s concerns. I agree generally with the timing, though it will need to be reviewed nearer the time. We seem to have had better weather in April and May in recent years than during the traditional summer months.

It would be helpful to have some input from other regular and experienced activators to this discussion. Maybe people can put finger to keyboard while the weather does its best to keep us in our shacks.

73, Gerald

In reply to G4OIG:

Well, if this concept really takes off, I may drag myself off to activate the highest peak in the Netherlands! It’s probably closer to me than the others anyway.

73 de Les, G3VQO

It is an ambition of mine to summit Ben Nevis, as I’m sure some people will know.

Count me in to do Ben Nevis, providing the wx is ok! (Will need to make an organised effort to be able to allocate the correct funds though!(ie -save up!))

Colin M0CGH

Les - the highest peak in the Netherlands is not a SOTA summit :wink:

Colin - you’ll need to save up double if you are thinking of eating out up there!

Jimmy and I just need Snaefell GD/GD-001 to complete the five highest peaks of the UK associations. Maybe next year. Now that P100 is established as the global SOTA minimum, we may in the future need to visit GJ/GU of course, if we are to maintain the record!

I can’t remember for sure, but ISTR there are 2 or 3 P100 summits on Guernsey, one on Jersey, and one on Sark. That could be a nice (and expensive) little island-hopping holiday.

Talking of which, I am rather drawn towards the idea of a backpacking island-hopping SOTA trip in Scotland. There’s a ten-journey ferry ticket you can buy, and someday I would like to try to activate all the summits on the isles of Eigg (2), Rum (5) and Canna (1).

Off at a tangent from the topic rather, but it is the perfect weather for dreaming about SOTA way off in the future.


In reply to G4OIG:

It would appear this has been sitting at the back of your mind for
some time, unless you had a “eurika” moment!

A bit of both really.

I’ve only been thinking in a very UK centric view and that’s really as a result of seeing comments from people like Lee who wanted to see more 2m operations. I’ve had my fill of 2m from mountains in my previous contesting life so I’ve been concentrating on HF activations. But Lee’s comments made me think that there are lots of people who really enjoy 2m chasing. If this is done right then it will be possible to offer a significant chunk of points for a large number of chasers who maybe using simple equipment. Likewise by having HF active, chasers outwith the primary 2m coverage zones get to take to part aswell.

I think it’s important that events like these don’t become simply an S2S-fest for those activators taking part. Chasers and activators need each other so the operation has to be staged in such a way that everyone gets a fair chance to work as many stations as possible.


In reply to MM0FMF:
Hey Andy I just dusted off the Kenwood 751 2m multimode, its a cracking radio and will run 25w for about 4 hrs on a gel cell !! Me thinking, train up Snowdon next year sometime, done Scafell a few times (some non SOTA), so kinda narrows it down a little, count me in for the Ben !!

Brian is right, Scotlands wintery weather normally lasts well into April these days, and summer can be a slog when its warm, timing is critical accross this whole project and planning now is definately the best shout as it will take a fair amount of time to plan a project that on the outset looks quite simple, but in reality is a logistics monster !

Great idea Andy, any help, gimme a shout, but count me in for sure.