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

My FT8 SOTA setup


it’s the lure of a different mode, different toys. We all have our weaknesses!

Maybe more ft8 contacts can be made in these poor conditons. But watching the computer do it is not particularly thrilling. It does tell us what would happen if we had 20 db more tx power.

Keep up the good work…

73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

It is “want” not “need” Mike. I have worked VK from a G summit many times on CW, SSB and PSK, with 5 watts from an FT-817. A good number of S2S amongst them, though not as many as yourself of course.

I’ve not yet worked VK S2S on FT8, so as that is a mode I’m currently enjoying, I’d like to do that. I have worked VK on FT8 from an activation, just not S2S yet.

Perhaps the question shouldn’t be “Why?”, but “Why not?”

I was going to ask if there was any chance of some 80m FT8.

I’ve seen spots for you when you’ve popped up on 20m FT8 over the past months, but never been able to work you (too far for your ground wave and I’m within the skip zone so the signal has gone straight over my head).

I did try to work you yesterday on 40m, but no joy unfortunately (same problem).

I had a good chat with Jimmy on 2m FM though. He was absolutely rocking into Swindon at S9 & around 15-20 db over (2.5 watts I believe he said he was using)!!!

Mikey - its so you can get up, stretch your legs, have a brew, then return to see who youve worked :wink:

1 Like

Wrong Steve.

It’s so you can partake in some exotic soup - then return to see who you’ve worked.

Thanks for the first SOTA FT8 contact today Tom.

I very nearly destroyed my antenna tuner in the process though!

I had the rig set at 100 watts from my previous SSB contact with Bill on G/SW-001 & forgot to turn the power down.

The tuner is rated at 100 watts SSB, but manufacturers reckon that I should only be putting around 30-40 watts through that tuner on digital modes, so I dropped the power quick (which is why my signal dropped the second time that my rig keyed up).


…who your computer has worked?


Unfortunately my computer missed you Tom - I left the shack too early and don’t use unattended operation. I did work those queing up for you though on FT8:

GM4WHA, GI4ONL, G0RQL many thanks for the non SOTA QSOs!

73 Phil

Thanks for the QSO this morning, Tom. A very good signal from Win Green on 80m FT8. That was my first FT8 SOTA contact!

Walt (G3NYY)

1 Like

Hi James,

It was 2.5 watts I was using yesterday when activating Walbury Hill G/SE-001. Thank you again for the QSO with you yesterday, it was nice to work you and hopefully work you again if I do anymore SOTA activations this week while I am in the area.

Jimmy M0HGY

Look on the bright side, Steve, the more FT8 operators there are, the more space that is freed up on the ssb allocation of the bands.


Everyone’s a winner Mike!

Same thing. Nice to see you are joining the increasing band of radio amateurs with an aversion to technological advancements. It’s surely the way forward.


Thursday 10th January 2019 - Win Green G/SC-010

I awoke at the apartment in Southampton at 7am and got out for the hour’s drive into Wiltshire.

Win Green is a very easy short walk, and I set up the SB BH4 again, this time set for 80m.

This time my choice of band was a good one. Nine contacts were made on 80m FT8, mostly with chasers who were waiting for me. The FT8 S2S is surely imminent.

I kept calling after the chasers dried up wondering where OBK was. But ultimately I had to break down and get back to the family in Southampton.

Thanks to all chasers. Sorry I didn’t have time for other modes.

1 Like

Sorry I had to go Tom - decorating job and needed to make a start! Missed you by minutes…Next time I hope!

Good pics of a frosty morning down south.

73 Phil

1 Like

FWIW, automated unattended operating is not occurring on my activations. The current way I have things set up requires me to re-enable the ‘Enable TX’ button at the end of a QSO in order to either send the SOTA reference or call CQ again.

I haven’t got a logging program working on my tablet, but if I had, at present I would need to manually click to log the QSO. As it is, I’m logging with a pencil in a waterproof notepad.

The closest I’m getting to the tech doing all the work is leaving it calling CQ while I stretch my legs, and returning to find I’ve made a QSO - but only one.

That’s not to say I don’t want to investigate further capabilities. If I can get a suitable logging program working on the tablet, interfacing with WSJT-X, and macros running the CQ - QSO - SOTA ref - Log - CQ cycle, then I’m keen to progress the system in that direction.

Any tips?

An admirable effort to do this on the hill, getting the technology to work in extreme winter condx - good for you Tom - these are things I am only likely to practice in the comfort of my centrally heated shack personally … I guess I’m not as tough as you or I feel the cold more than you do.

Hopefully I’ll make sure I am here in the shack the next time you go on 80m with the MGM!

73 Phil

Will be doing it again this morning and later this afternoon.

M0HGY/P G/SE-004

Jimmy thanks for my first Sota FT8 contact, Looked for you and Tom and got you at last. I wonder did you manage to work F5LKW/P F/CR-254 FT8 he was on 14mhz same time as you. I could not see him here.

73’ Don GW0PLP IO72

Yes Don - Not usually being within range of Jimmy’s activations this is the first time logged for me - M0HGY/P on FT8 on the 80m band from G/SE-004 Butser Hill.

Nice one Moggy / Jimmy!

73 Phil

Hi Phil/Don,

It was great to work you both earlier today on FT8. This was my first ever time on FT8 and managed to get 4 contacts in total on FT8. We did look for the FT8 summit to summit, but couldn’t hear anything unfortunately.

Jimmy M0HGY

Friday 11th January 2019 - Black Down G/SE-003 & Butser Hill G/SE-004

I set my alarm for 5am. In the uncomfortable bed in the noisy apartment, I was awake (again) at 0455z. So off I went.

After a leisurely breakfast stop at a petrol station on one of the main roads around Petersfield, I arrived at the Tennyson Lane parking spot just as dawn was breaking. This was good because it can be hard to erect an 80m antenna in the dark!

I followed the woodland paths in the general direction of the summit, keeping an eye out in the gloomy early light for the trig.

I was QRV at 8am on Black Down G/SE-003. Eight QSOs were made. 4 on 80m FT8, 1 on 80m CW and 3 on 80m SSB. Phil G4OBK got through on all three modes.

Partway on the journey back, I drove past Butser Hill G/SE-004 where we would head later. Back at the apartment, I regrouped and set off again, this time with Jimmy and Liam.

First though, I phoned the Queen Elizabeth II Country Park visitor centre to secure permission for the activation. Initially, the lady declined, saying “We haven’t got the licence any more”. I asked what licence. She replied “The licence for the radio”. So I said “Oh that’s OK, we’ve both got our own amateur radio licences”, to which she replied “Well that’s OK then, you can, but it’s at your own risk”. I said that was fine, and thanked her. Quite a peculiar exchange though!

Jim directed me up to the car park on Butser, and he, I and Liam made the short easy stroll the quarter of a mile or so to the trig.

Interestingly, Jimmy was challenged by a lady saying she was a staff member and asking if we had permission. All was fine when he confirmed that indeed we had. No further proof was sought.

We had a great joint activation. I made 32 QSOs - 2 on 80m FT8, 6 on 80m CW, 6 on 80m SSB, 16 on 40m CW and 2 on 40m SSB. I tried - but failed to get any contacts on 40m or 20m SSB.

Jimmy made five ragchew style QSOs on 2m FM, and just before we packed up, he decided to take the plunge on FT8. He took to the mode smoothly and enjoyed working four chasers on 80m FT8.