My 1st SOTA chase from my new QTH

I’m glad it worked out from DM/BW-639. A clear spot along the forest road and a well-placed tree stump allowed me to hoist the apex of my inverted-V linked dipole to the full height of the mast (ca 8 m). Since it was the end of the day and my battery was holding out, I could linger beyond the dissipation of the pile-up.
The flies were a bit vicious, but that’s another story ;>) .
73, David, DD7II/N3II

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We’ve spent the whole afternoon and evening in the flat moving pieces of furniture for setting up and preparing bedrooms, but I still found some time to look at Sotawatch on my smartphone and chase a few activators.
These are my SOTA chases today.
The first one was chased in the morning from my house QTH in the village SW of Pamplona and all the others were chased in the afternoon from the flat QTH in Pamplona on QRP 5w with the endfed in the balcony.

I found Simon GW4TJC/P sending QRL? on 30m before starting to CQ and I think I probably was his first chaser on that band and possibly in his activation, as I didn’t find any spot for him from activity on any other bands before. That’s why I raised one for him. I hope it brought a good number of chasers for you Simon @G4TJC

Good fun today with the balcony endfed antenna and QRP 5w.

Best 73,


This is my yesterday’s chaser log:

Three activators from USA, where the first 2 were chased from my house in the village at the SouthWest of Pamplona with my 5 elements tribander + linear amplifier at 500 watts.

But I chased the last one of those three from my rental apartment in Pamplona.

Over the last weeks, the configuration of my endfed random wire in the balcony has slightly evolved and, with the help of a second 3m long telescopic fishing pole I installed some few weeks ago, it is currently like this:

With this antenna, my FT-817ND at 5 watts and the invaluable help of mother propagation plus the good ears of Paul @KB9ILT, I managed to chase him yesterday on 30m.

It think it was my first USA SOTA chased on 30m ever.

The signals were very weak with lots of urban QRM. I was very much in doubt that Paul would have logged the QSO, but I did it myself, just in case. However, I wanted to check his activation log for confirmation.

I checked Paul’s activation log today and got delighted when I found my callsign in it :v:

Thank you, Paul for your extremely good ears!

Best 73 from a very happy chaser :slight_smile:


Thanks for the contact,Guru! Radio conditions were good on the summit and you were clearly heard, though QSB made it difficult to copy my signal report, 229 if I got it right. Little did I know we were both running QRP with endfed antennas. Fantastic!

Sometimes it amazes me what low power and compromised antennas can do.

Paul - KB9ILT

Yes, indeed!

Same here, although propagation is the key factor.
It’s great when conditions are in good shape.
Best 73 and HPE CUAGN SN.


Father Sun keeps sending us a bit of his good stuff and it made Mother Propagation look beautiful today, letting my QRP 5w and balcony mounted endfed antenna chase all these activations this afternoon-evening:

The icing on the cake was my second SOTA DX from this QTH :v:

Thanks all for your activations and good ears.

Best 73 from a happy chaser,



Hi Guru,

great that the qso between us (OE5REO/P on OE/OO-031) could be completed … for some minutes I heard somebody calling, but the signal was too weak to respond. but then suddenly the signal improved a bit and I was able to copy your call and signal report. it’s always good to have earphones in the backpack!

thanks for your patience … it looks like I was the only ssb-contact you made this day :slight_smile:

73 Martin, OE5REO

Hello Guru,

Nice signal from you today (57) on Viehberg OE/OO-287. Thanks for your call.

I hope to hear you again. Your setup is doing very well.

Peter (& Sylvia)

Hi Martin,
Yes, patience is a key factor to chase in these days on QRP and using a compromised antenna.
Not always, of course, but on many of my chases from my current QTH in the flat in Pamplona, signals are just above and below the copying threshold, depending on the QSB. Sometimes I copy, sometimes I don’t and it’s a question of being there waiting for the good timing.
Thanks again for the activation and the QSO.
Best 73,


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Hello Peter (and Sylvia),
Many thanks for a new activation today and also for the QSO. Yes, our signals were really good both ways today.
I made a new modification to the antenna yesterday and I immediately experienced a great reduction in QRM, thus enabling me to copy weaker signals which were not copyable before and also enhancing the overall performance of the antenna. I got a RBN spot of 20 dB from the skimmer WZ7I in Pensilvania (USA) on 20m last night and this is something I hadn’t seen before with this setup.
The change was something I had been thinking on for some time but I hadn’t yet found the chance to do it. My wife was out on a business trip yesterday and most of the day today, so I found my chance.
The change consisted on the removal of the recycled plastic cage with the 9:1 un-un in it (originally a turtles food pot) off the balcony metal fence.

It is now tied to the end of one of those 2 recycled UHF TV yagi antenna booms, which I still have around. This UHF yagi antenna boom is now attached to the balcony fence and the plastic pot with the antenna wire coming out from it are well away from the steel balcony fence.

Chasing has been a lot of fun today with this improved antenna and you can size how fun it’s been by looking at my today’s chaser log:

Some of these were easy to chase getting them on my first call, but some others were really hard to chase and I had to wait until the end of the pile-up while praying for the propagation conditions to last a bit longer and the QSB to give me a good boost.
The icing on the cake today was TF3DX/P and this was one of the hard ones for whom I had to wait to the end of the pile-up and the QSB made me fear that I would not copy him by the time the pile-up was over. It fortunately was not the case and I finally chased him.

I’ll be looking forward to chase you again soon.

Best 73,


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My still TOP chased activator George @KX0R featured last night my greatest SOTA DX ever with my endfed random wire in the balcony and 25 watts out from my IC-706.
The received signal was so absolutely weak that I was absolutely amazing when I copied George responding to my call.
So unbelievable it was that I was unsure of having really made it and I have just checked George’s activator log. See what I’ve found to my delight:

Thank you so much, George for so amazing very good ears.
This is current configuraton of my random wire antenna in the balcony:
Front view:

Street level view:

However, I believe this QSO has been possible due to a change on my PSU.
I’m now powering my IC-706 in this QTH with a tower PC recycled PSU and I have experienced a significant decrease of the QRM since I started using it just a coupe days ago.

I hope these experiences I’m sharing here end up being of some help to some of you.



Not a bad QSO today Guru. I was using a real compromise antenna on 30m and your first call was weak but you got stronger ending at 559 with me for 549 in return. Considering that my 30m vertical is about 4m long with a loading coil about 1/3rd from the base, I was surprised you could copy me. But the antenna works netting me 17 QSOs from OK,I, DL, OZ, OE, HB9, EA2, LA, S5 & HA. It may not be a DX magnet but it lets me work SOTA chasers.

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A good QSO indeed, Andy, and a total surprise to me.
I was not in the rental flat with the balcony antenna at that time, but in my owned house, where I was in to leave some stuff and pick up some other things in preparation for the Christamas season.
I was about to leave the house when I had a quick look to Sotawatch on my smartphone and found there were 2 european stations just spotted on 30m, the money band to me.
I switched ON the Kenwood TS-940S I have in that QTH and I couldn’t copy any of the 2 spotted activators e.g. SQ8JMZ/P on 10.124 and YO8AZQ/P on 10.1215.
Then I moved a bit up and down the tunning knob and found CW signals on 10.1206 from someone saying TNX ANDY 73.
Then I looked again to SOTAWATCH trying to find out who was that Andy and then I realized that MM0FMF/P was also spotted on 30m right on the frequency 10.1206 I was on.
I immediately called you because I copied you very well the last over with the station who said TNX ANDY 73 or something like that (I don’t recall exactly)
You came back to me on my first call and I copied you very well, but the QSB started to make things a bit hard while I was giving you my report, and I did copy you much, much weaker when you asked me for a repeat of my call. Fortunately the QSB brought the signals back up again and we completed successfully our QSO.
This was the rig I used in our QSO:

The antenna was this one:
Barker & Williamson BWD-90 as an inverted V

Which was not yet installed in the tower when I took this picture:

But it’s now hanging from an arm installed a bit higher than the rotator in the top section of the tower shown in the above picture.

This BWD-90 antenna is a multiband folded dipole but it performs quite poorly on the lower bands.

See the following comparison of this antenna to monoband doublets.

This is why I home brewed and installed in my tower monoband bazooka dipoles for 40 and 80m.

I’ll be looking forward to chasing you again soon.



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And the miracle took place again yesterday, when I chased Walt @W0CP on 30m with my endfed in the balcony and just 10 watts out from my IC-706 MK I.
Again I checked Walt’s activator log just in case I was dreaming… and I wasn’t. It was a true miracle.

Later, Walt QSYed to 20m and he was not copiable here at all.
30m keeps being the money band, at least for me.

Thanks Walt for your very good ears.




Dear all,
Some good news regarding propagation conditions.
After quite some time not being able to copy activations from North-America with my endfed wire in the balcony, I managed to copy and chase Bob AC1Z yesterday at 18h04 utc on 20m CW when he was activating W1/NL-022.
The good conditions remained with us and I managed to copy and chase Mark NK8Q today at 17h16 utc on 20m CW when he was activating W3/PW-006.
Mark NK8Q was spotted on 20m later at about 20h utc from another summit but I couldn’t copy any dit from him at that time.

It seems the good conditions between US East coast and the South West of Europe right now are around 17-18h utc

Best 73,


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I also worked two US stations today with 2.5 W(!) in CW and an EFHW configured as an inverted L on a 6m mast. See Activation Report DL-AL-151 Wertacher Hörnle.

73 de Martin, DK3IT

Yes, I had already seen your activation report. Very well done for you and also for the chasers who copied you with such low power.


And a new amazing SOTA DX chase has just happened on 30m, when I managed to copy and chase Keith KR7RK at 23h05 utc activating W7A/PE-088: Only 9017 Km - WOW!
Congrats Keith and thanks for the good ears!


Guru, that was the highlight of my day to hear your call sign! I could not believe it, the antenna I was using is not even supposed to do 30m and the high point of the inverted vee was only about 7m up.

It was very windy and just a few minutes after our QSO, my antenna blew down and I went QRT. So we made the QSO just in time!

Here is a photo that I took of the peak, after I hiked back down. Arizona sunsets can be quite spectacular. The name of the mountain is Safford Peak, but locally we also call it “The Sombrero” because it is shaped like a cowboy’s hat.

I would say your new QTH has been solidly established as a great place for your chasing. Hope to hear you again many more times, my friend.

Keith KR7RK


Hi dear Guru,

congratulations on your succesfull balcony antenna system, it is performing very well.
Lucky you, that has a clear audio free from annoying QRM most time and can chase with that!

Just for fun, I did a very simple simulation with Mmana, to model your antenna and balcony.
I couldn’t afford to see the nice radiattion pattern with this easy to use software, but to be honest, I think that to do it properly I should know how to model the building so that prediction is accurate.

Anyway, here you see the noce patterns you -perhaps- are producing with your cheap antenna (20 m height above ground level):

Model of the wire and fence in your balcony:

·3D in 10 MHz: main lobe at 18º

Azimuth pattern in 10 MHz:

Azimuth pattern in 14 MHz:

As said, I wouldn’t trust much on the figures, but I could draw two main conclusions:

  1. your antenna is an effective system radiating with horizontal polarization at a proper low elevation angle, and

  2. the balcony fence plays an important role in radiation, so make sure your wife is far from the balcony when chasing; otherwise, an accidental contact with the fence can produce harmful effects on your Sota scores…

VY 73 my friend, and keep on enjoying with it