Plenty of excuses guys as to why you didn’t work Aaron! I can understand them from an activators viewpoint for sure. As a chaser the matter is in your own hands, make the best of your situation by improving your skill and your station - by self learning mostly.
Practice your skill in breaking through pile up situations as often as you can, not just SOTA but in DX pile ups and in contests. Improve your station, mainly in the antenna department. On HF use an antenna with some gain as high as your neighbours and pocket will allow you to. Reduce your noise level by making certain the mains power into your radio equipment is well filtered. Make sure you have no QRN inducing devices in your own home, like LED lighting, switch mode PSUs etc causing it. Use the MM0FMF SOTA Cluster and enable CAT control of your transceiver so when you see the SOTA spot come in you move your transceiver on to it in the blink of an eye. Your can of course buy yourself a big linear, but its not needed for SOTA as it won’t help you hear the weaker stations.
Chasers - please don’t take humbrage at my message - it is not directed at activators, I am both. Good luck!
Also ALL Chasers should read, understand and stick to the “DX CODE OF CONDUCT”. As used to happen with most Chasers 15 to 20 years ago when I was a DX Chaser. I hope things will improve. Best Wishes. 73 de Paul M0CQE.
(yes - and there were many crocodiles [big mouth and small ears] on the band)
Of course Phil is right about what successful chasing is all about.
I heard 4X6FB today on FL/VO-004 and then on FL/VO-168. In all, I must have listened for close to an hour and when the signal was strong, I called. There was QSB. But generally his signal was always between S3 and S7. This is a signal which normally guarantees a safe QSO.
Well others were better to hear in 4X… even from USA. This is quite normal. Nevertheless it was very interesting to listen and to find out, who all hears nothing but calls!
Calling during Aaron’s QSO, calling while Aaron himself calls CQ,… I think it must have been bad for Aaron too!
If you don’t hear anything, you don’t need to call - it won’t turn into a QSO anyway.
I’ve learned that there are times it’s not worth trying. This was one such. There were chasers who called not once or twice, but many times in succession, chasers who didn’t stop calling even when the activator was already working someone else, chasers who started calling before the previous QSO was over… I’ve heard worse, but not often, and seldom this bad with SOTA. When a pile-up gets that hideous the chase ceases to be fun.
Some folk get a kick out of those. I’ve tried both. I apply the same criteria; if the chase ceases to be enjoyable I’ll do something else. I entered a contest once, because doing so was “homework” for a CW course, and I did better than I’d expected (given most of the stations were running at least 10wpm faster than I was even half-way comfortable) but it was more stress than fun, and I doubt I’ll ever find one enjoyable. TBH, the main reason I do SOTA is because it isn’t (generally) competetive. If I make a contact, great. If I don’t, who cares, anyway.
Whilst castigating the poor operating of those stations calling 4X6FB, bear in mind that they were not necessarily all bona fide SOTA chasers, they may have been after the call as DX or a wanted prefix.
Yesterday, at 12 UTC, when I was on FL/VO-006, I had a QSO with 4X5KE/P on 10m SSB.
He was not on a SOTA summit, but doing Flora & Fauna somewhere in the desert in the south of Israel.
I heard him by chance by turning around the band (not much heard otherwise on 10m) and after my second call, he replied and the signal was 5/6 both ways. We could chat a bit without getting interrupted at all.
He used 100W into an EFHW, I used 10W into a compromised vertical (OK, not so compromised on 10m, 2.6m tall) with which I did some measurements:
Chris. Many thanks for the demonstration. Very interesting. I saw no difference in signal strength, (other than a little QSB), between the antennas. And heard no difference in the audio. I was surprised and pleased at the lack of QRN. but then I am only a chaser in an urban environment, (very noisy here). THANK YOU. Paul M0CQE.
I tried this compromised antenna (more compromised than yours) about 6 times. Two times I compared it with my EFHW that is similar to the one of Chris @DL1CR, but in inverted-L configuration with the max. height of 6m.
My conclusion (with a small sample size):
No big difference from 20m and up.
Huge difference on 40m, especially for NVIS contacts (60m is not possible).
E.g. for a distance of 40km, I was nearly not heard, with the EFHW, I got from the same ham some seconds later S9-9+. The elevation angle for this contact was about 82 degrees (assuming F2 was 300km high, arctan(300/40)=82).
At this elevation angle, a vertical is about 15dB below, compared to 25 degrees elevation. So together with the bad efficiency on this band, no surprise here. But to your region Fabio, that is maybe 300km away (so about 45 degrees elevation angle), it worked OK (I think I had at least one S2S with you using this vertical).
Your antenna is also more efficiently setup than mine, because you use elevated radials. Do you tune your base loading coil for every band, together with the radials?
@DL1CR Thanks for showing us this experiment! Of course, the distances and therefore the elevation angle to the other stations are unknown (probably sporadic-E on 10m, so pretty flat compared to F2 for the same distance) and the sample size is very small (two stations on 10m, one on 20m). But again, doing more experiments, even if they differ, leads to more samples
Yes, I tune the loading coil for 40, 30 and 60 m. Of course, in 20 is a quarter wave, for 17 and up I shorten the antenna. I use untuned radials, usually 4 of about 3 and a half meters, but I often add another 4, especially when the activity is focused from 20 meters and below.