My first activation - G/WB-005

We have just been spending some days with our caravan in Shropshire in the UK, and it seemed an ideal time to try activating a summit.

The summit I chose is G/WB-005 - Pole Bank on the Long Mynd near Church Stretton. The car park is about 0.5km from the summit, and about 40m below. Not such a challenge to get up (I hear you say!), but for a first activation to check out equipment and procedures, it’s enough!

I am using a recently purchased new-to-me KX3, and an EFHW antenna in inverted V format on a 7m pole. I used a carbon fibre stake to support the pole, but this will change in the future to guy lines. I wouldn’t like to have to carry the pole up a big hill, and I suspect it will be difficult to hammer it on more rugged summits.

First challenge was spotting myself. I have been using sotawatch on my desktop computer, and while I had setup and logged into sotawatch on Outd Log on my phone, when I entered the spot details it informed me that the spot was unsuccessful, but without an error message. I then went to sotawatch on firefox on my phone, but had some challenges with the password and username. Eventually I got in, and entered the spot. I then received an error - saying the frequency was invalid and needed to be entered as MHz. This was probably the reason I had failed with outd log in the first place.

After successfully placing the spot, I started making contacts - 5 in quick succession! Thanks guys! After it quietened down, I spent some more time calling CQ, then moved to 40m. I spotted the new frequency (this time on outd log), and made a further 2 QSOs.

So, happy with the first go at activating a summit, and now I will review my equipment and start to activate some of the summits local to my home in North Wales.

I do have a couple of questions from this activity:

  • On returning home, I entered the contacts into my QRZ.COM log, and then exported this with a view to importing it into the SOTA database. However, when it summarised the information for me to confirm before uploading the file, it didn’t have the summit reference field filled in. Is it possible to use logs to create ADIF files for import into the SOTA database, and if so, where do I enter the summit information? This time, I entered the 7 QSO’s manually.
  • I will try using the outd log for logging next time. I guess these can be uploaded without any issues?

Thanks again to all the chasers, and to those responsible for the infrastructure for SOTA activities.


Many congratulations on your first activation! I’ve only got into SOTA recently myself, and I fear I’ve already become an addict!

Here’s to many more successful activations and hope to work you s2s one day!

73 - Matthew, M0JSB


Great effort Paul. The first of many I’m sure. Working a SOTA pile up is an experience I never tire of!

I did a short video on various spotting techniques. Maybe you will find something of use in it.

Sorry, don’t know how to share the link without you seeing my mugshot. :grinning:

73, Fraser


Thanks Fraser! I did watch this video recently, but with the relative closeness of the Long Mynd to civilisation, I went with the phone option. The problem was not the phone, but the user!! I will be looking at the other methods in your video in more detail as I tool up for more remote summits.


Thanks Matthew! I am going to get my mountain bike out again (it’s been hidden away for a few years), and follow Fraser’s example. It seems like a good way to get closer to the summit more quickly!

I look forward to getting a S2S contact with you, and others in the not too distant future!


Congratulations! :smiley:

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Hi Fraser, a great informative video. I only knew of only one way to spot., the first way, many thanks for enlightening me.

73 de Geoff vk3sq


Thanks Geoff. I’m sure there are others, eg using RBNHole for CW but hopefully I covered the main ways for ssb.


Firstly congratulations on your first activation. In terms of logging I find Log4om (free) which runs in Windows works well and has the right input and output routines - so it will import from Otdlog and generate a csv file to upload to the database. The manual is very comprehensive. It also has a “lazy log” entry routine which - once learned allows pencil logs to be quickly entered.
I know that there are loads of logging solutions- but this one works for me! 73. Paul


Congrats on your first activation.

It might be useful investigating the windows application FLE (Fast Log Entry), which will export an ADIF file suitable for importing into the SOTA database.


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There’s lots of good advice about the many tools available here. However, I would like to suggest that you become fully conversant with using the database and SOTAwatch on their own before you start using 3rd party tools. That way you will know what the base facilities expect and require so that you can solve issues and problems with 3rd party tools yourself. Once you know the basics you can use many of the excellent additional tools etc. to manage your activation/chase data etc.

Pole Bank is a good starting summit as you say, not too far from the car park and you can check out equipment and procedures without having walked for hours. You should be aware there is (was?) an overtly keen NT Warden who would pounce on anyone activating and move them on despite the NT being aware of and happy to have SOTA activations from their lands. When you next visit if you operate from the area shown in red then you are in the AZ but not on NT land and the officious NT Warden cannot act.

©Crown copyright 2021 Ordnance Survey. Media 018/21

Best of luck with your next activation and be aware that activating can become very addictive… just ask the people on here :slight_smile:


Good point about being fully conversant with the database and SOTAwatch before resorting to thirst party tools.
Regarding the NT warden - a National Trust volunteer came over to ask what I was doing, and he was genuinely interested, as were some of the other walkers we met. If I go up there again, I will take advantage of the area you marked up!


But I don’t think the NT warden has any authority of what the users of a bridleway or footpath do provided they keep to the footpath or bridleway…


Ha, understatement of the century! Personally 15 years and counting…

Well done on getting the first one under your belt Paul. I hope you find those to come just as enjoyable. I can say I’ve enjoyed all of the ones that I’ve carried out, even with poor weather or poor radio conditions. I’m always thinking about the next activation… starting when I finish each one.

73, Gerald


Just point out that the NT actually hosts an amateur radio club in the Marconi Centre at Poldhu !