So I did my first SOTA this afternoon, with mixed results…
I set up at the trig point on Detling Hill at 1415Z (G/SE-013) using my ICOM IC-705 and PAC-12 vertical whip to find the 40 meter band overflowing! The few times I thought I found a clear frequency, I was gazumped by someone else pumping out the wattage and I couldn’t compete with my paltry 10W. After about 20-30 minutes of calling CQ with no answer I moved to 20 meters. Much more space on the band, but still no one answered me So much for SSB! I was going to try higher frequencies, but it was the first time using the PAC-12, and the instructions were in Chinese and I couldn’t remember how to reconfigure for the higher bands (time to make some notes and put them in the bag!). Next time I’ll also bring my 2m/70cm whip to try a more local approach!
The light was beginning to fade so, to make sure I made my activation count, I moved over to FT8 on 40m. Plenty of activity there too, but I made 8 contacts over the next 30 minutes from the UK and EU.
Going to try another G/SE summit on Thursday if time and weather permit. Overall I was happy with my setup (although will be getting the LC-192 rucksack for the IC-705 for longer hikes), and I’m looking forward to making some voice contacts on the next attempt! Apologies to anyone who was waiting to work me from my alert on SOTAwatch.
G7SAT - Dave.
Welcome to SOTA! It happens to us all, don’t let it put you off. 10W is perfectly adequate most of the time (says the guy who took 100W today ). Well done on qualifying though.
I hope to be on the hills on Thursday so I’ll look out for you
I saw your alert for 14:30 for your 1st SOTA activation today and made a point of checking the spots around that time but none appeared.
Not sure if you was unable to, but strongly suggest you post a spot next time (either directly via the website, APRS or via an app) when you have set-up at the summit and found a clear frequency, so chasers know where to find you.
Good luck next time!
I wasn’t aware of self-spotting. I’ll do this next time, connection permitting!
Hopefully the bands won’t be so busy, and I’ll be able to configure the PAC-12 to 15m, 10m or 6m as well.
40m was even more manic than usual today and I think anyone would have struggled to find a free frequency.
On digital 15m and 10m were the best bands for me today and FT4 was very productive. The main action is on FT8 but FT4 is worth looking at first. On some bands it draws a blank (especially 60m) but when you find activity it is entertaining because of the speed of QSOs.
Dave, you can spot on the SotaWatch3 webpage, the Sotl.as site for the summit, via APRS - requires requesting approval to be added - or via an app. I use SOTAGoat for iOS, but similar exist for Android.
Make sure you have pen and paper at the ready…
Although busy at times, I have always managed to find a space for SSB on 40m and 20m this year.
Thanks for the report and welcome to SOTA! Congratulations on making your first activation.
Looks like you had a lovely day for it! As others have said, 10W can usually be more than enough as there are lots of chasers out there who are happy to persevere to get the contact.
Hope you have fun on your next and subsequent activations, and hopefully get you in the log sometime soon.
73 and Season’s Greetings,
Regarding self-spotting; I’d also recommend registering your mobile phone with Andy MM0FMF for SMS spotting. It is more reliable when you’re in poor phone coverage areas. I’m sure a search on the reflector will give you more details
Thanks for the report and well done on your first activation Dave. You’ve had some great advice from others. That Spot makes all the difference on HF. We are very lucky to have a loyal band of chasers that appear as soon as your spot is up. Once you get some contacts, the presence of higher power chasers helps to keep your frequency. I and many others have had good results from 5w (I only have 3w on 20m) so 10w need not be a problem. An inverted V may have some advantages for UK contacts (40m and below) but it is the spot that makes the difference. Good luck with your next activation.
I use the SMS self-spotting service because SMSs seem to be able to get through in poor reception areas when high-data-rate services won’t work. The syntax [described somewhere on this reflector] is simple and quick to enter with cold fingers.
e.g. ! G SE013 7.150 SSB Calling CQ now
Happy New Year to all,
spotting is absolutely essential, especially when using SSB.
Furthermore, if you are new to SOTA your call is not known by chasers.
As such it is very hard to make QSOs.
There are some options if you have Internet. If you are offline, there is another option to post via Satellite if you have an Inreach Sat Communicator or similar.
Messages can be sent to a gateway allowing you to be always online.
Setting alerts helps always. But is more effective if you use cw as RBN will automatically spot you. … so no problems with connectivity….
Another option, once you make a qso. … ask the other station to post you.
Your 4 QSOs don’t have to be with SOTA chasers. If no one is replying to your CQs then answer someone else’s CQ.
Thanks to all for your advice.
I e-mailed Stewart G0GLS last night and he has already activated me on the APRS2SOTA system, which looks like it will give the most robust methods of self-spotting in remote areas (I plan on testing this out on my next activation), given that you can spot with both APRS (which I’ll be using APRSdroid) or through JS8Call message.
I’ve pinged Andy MM0FMF an e-mail about the SMS gateway too.
With all this info to remember, I’ve put together a cheat sheet with the info I need. I’ve also put the band plans on there, as I’ve only recently gotten back in to HAM radio (and not committed them to memory yet!). I passed my RAE at the tender age of 15 back in the 90’s but gave up the hobby in my early 20’s, when drinking beer and chasing women was more appealing! I let my licence lapse and found out earlier this year that I could get my old callsign back, and be able to operate HF with no restrictions (I stopped prior to the licence overhaul and only had a B licence).
I’ve attached the cheat sheet for anyone else to use, as a PNG file (it looks like files can’t be posted?). Modify it as you like, if you want to use GIMP or similar, but I am happy to provide the .pptx file to anyone who wants it.