Slow going today!

Hello Tom…
Just try an other Band also…that will bring you more Chaser :slight_smile:
No Cndx on 12m to G like most day´s.

73 de Tom

In reply to DL1DVE:
The magnetometers at Dombås and Tromsö (Norway) are both indicating a fairly high geomagnetic activity with k reaching up to 7 or 8 at present (0800UTC). The higher HF bands are totally void of signals here in Edinburgh.
Some signals on 40m from North America have a distinct auroral sound to them; maybe an aurora isn’t too far away?

Was hearing some good signals from A6 and 5B on 12m. Unfortunately I had battery problems as well which didn’t help.

Sorry, but I only had a single band 12m antenna with me today.


In reply to M1EYP:

Sorry, but I only had a single band 12m antenna with me today.

… Today? :wink:
… and what about your Excel sheet? :wink:

73 es gl,
Heinz HB9BCB

In reply to HB9BCB:

I did do an activation on 6m at the end of January. I am continuing to work on the Excel sheet!


In reply to M1EYP:
Hello Tom, I suppose it is a bit like school/college homework ~ the longer you leave it the worse it gets :wink:
Mike G6TUH

In reply to G6TUH:
Hi very true Mike!

Still got a backlog of logs to enter on the database yet here I am sat on G/SP015 calling cq sota!

I am trying to type up more qsos than I make on activations each day…


In reply to M1EYP:
Well good luck on both counts. Out part of the day but when I have been around bands don’t seem to be in good shape. Cannot even hear NA chasers…
Mike G6TUH
PS: Just listening to EA giving you 57 (24Mhz) so something is working somewhere! Nil here.

In reply to G6TUH:
12m has been bobbins these past two days. Mickey’s results yesterday were terrific considering.


In reply to M1EYP:
Yes YYY’s activation was very good and before the current major solar storm which is in progress now! I think I will now go off and do something useful!
Mike G6TUH

Well a total of 23 activator QSOs made today - and a total of none entered onto my logging spreadsheet. So all good intentions and that - but my progress has slipped back today.

That will (hopefully) be exacerbated tomorrow when I plan to activate in the Clwydians. But for now - bedtime!


In reply to M1EYP:

“Well a total of 23 activator QSOs made today - and a total of none entered onto my logging spreadsheet. So all good intentions and that - but my progress has slipped back today.”

A couple of tips to ease your logging burden Tom:-

  1. Stop working the same callsigns on different modes.
  2. Activate at the height of a solar storm when HF is pretty useless.

Seems like you`re already using method number 2.

In reply to G1INK:

Thanks for the advice Steve.

  1. When VK2DAG answers your CQ call in CW and SSB, how can you refuse?
  2. Worked a treat yesterday. 5 activations, only a total of 19 QSOs on 12m.


Talking of which - Wednesday 20th February 2014 - The Clwydian Range.

Moel Gyw GW/NW-054
Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051
Moel Famau GW/NW-044
Penycloddiau GW/NW-054
Mynydd y Cwm GW/NW-076

I had always* fancied the idea of doing all five of these in one day.

*1 - since the discovering the Summits on the Air programme]
*2 - since broadening my horizons from summits within an hour of my home]
*3 - since the addition of Mynydd y Cwm to the Welsh ARM]

Well I got a pass-out to do so from Marianne, but sadly the weather forecast was less than promising. Well it was promising actually - promising heavy rain and high winds. I still submitted my alerts though and prepared for a more “extreme” day out (by my standards).

As we got closer to the big day, the forecast was slightly more favourable, suggesting sunny spells by mid afternoon after all the rain had cleared. I got up at 5am and prepared the must-have litre flask of mulligatawny soup for such a long day out. I was still quite full from the previous evening’s meal at the Weston Balti Raj, so didn’t bother with any breakfast.

A schedule was set of 0800, 1000, 1200, 1400 and 1600 for my five activations. I arrived at the Clwyd Gate Motel car park on the A494 around 7am, so the timing was good - at least at the start of the day. The weather was light drizzle, but this abated by the time I was climbing through the field on the Offa’s Dyke Path.

As I switched back to climb to the summit of Moel Gyw GW/NW-053, I was increasingly aware of the high winds blasting across. I walked past the summit and a few metres downhill to get a more sheltered position. After setting up, I found that my Palm Cube was playing up. Basically, after pressing a button on the Cube, that seemed to lock everything up and nothing did anything - not even the keying on the Palm Paddle. I reset the Cube and replaced the battery but the same problem persisted. Oh, and I couldn’t get a data signal on my phone to spot myself.

I managed to raise Neil 2W0TDX/M on 2m FM using the handie, and then I did managed to get a spot through, for 24.947MHz SSB. One station from each of G, UR and RA took the activation into qualification. I made my way back to the car and aimed to be on Foel Fenlli GW/NW-051 by the alert time of 1000 UTC.

The scheduling was easy to stick to at this end of the day, as I was full of energy, and also easily remembered the routes involved without a Jimmy or a satnav. This would not be the case later on! I paid my pound to park at Bwlch Penbarrass and set off up Foel Fenlli.

So far so good. I was QRV by 10am as planned, but still had the problem with the Palm Cube. I realised that if I removed and reinserted the battery, the paddle would work again - just so long as I didn’t touch one of the Palm Cube buttons, which would cause the whole thing to lock up again! I had a quick look at the instruction booklet which I keep in the same Exped Drybag as my radio gear, but decided this was a job for home. For today, I would “make do” with using the Palm Paddle in traditional fashion.

It was just five QSOs on 24MHz CW for this activation, all from Russia/Eastern Europe. My set up spot was deep down between two ramparts of the iron age fort to keep out of the wind, and I had no phone coverage from there. I am afraid that rather then walk up to the summit to spot a SSB frequency, I just decided to pack up and go to the next summit! Selfishness of the Highest Order.

Walking along the wide and flat (ish) Offa’s Dyke Path track to Moel Famau GW/NW-044, I was starting to feel absolutely worn out! This was not a good sign at barely 40% of the way through the day’s schedule. I tried to quicken my stride, but it was already clear that I was getting behind time. At the summit, this was exacerbated by me having a good look round the renovated Jubilee Tower. A lot of the rubble and soil from around it had been removed and it was now possible to look inside the structure, through locked gates. Sadly the inside is still mainly rubble - and litter - but a very nice new stairway has been built to the upper level and the whole thing is a lot neater and tidier.

I chose the East facing side of the tower for maximum shelter and set up the 12m GP to allow me to huddle right in against the stonework. Nonetheless, the rain now came, for the first time in the day, and operating inside the bothy bag was required. When the first reply came in from VK2DAG on CW, I was confident of better conditions, but it was not so. The only other three contacts were all SSB into North West England - except for another call from Matt VK2DAG on that mode.

The activation of Moel Famau had taken longer than intended, and walking down, I realised that I was going to be very late on my next two summits. I altered my alert times accordingly in order to give the RBNgate the best opportunity of “getting it right”. Most of the descent from Moel Famau was in heavy stinging rain, and my jacket “wetted out” for the first time in the day. The saving grace was the wind, which dried my clothes quickly every time there was a break in the rain.

My lateness was now compunded by the tricky navigation to the parking spot for Penycloddiau GW/NW-054. No Jimmy, no Jane, how would I cope myself? Not well as it turned out, finding myself on a road crossing the Offa’s Dyke Path ridge one road south of the road I wanted! Eventually, I did manage to find the correct car park and set off up the Offa’s Dyke Path.

This was very muddy in places, and care was take as it is narrow and right on the edge of a very steep drop to the left. This steep slope is populated by trees but I wouldn’t want to chance it even so. “Nearly there” I thought as I climbed the stile onto the open hillside. It turns out it was still further than I recalled.

I was now over 90 minutes behind schedule, but at least the signals were getting out again - two CW QSOs into Eastern Europe. Then two G stations on SSB, and finally Phil G4OBK who often calls me in CW on my SSB working frequency! The return walk saw me use the grassy path down to a lower track before revisiting the narrow section above the steep wooded hillside.

Four down, one to go. I drove north on the country lanes through Bodfari, Tremeirchion and Rhuallt before looping around above the village of Cwm to the usual parkng spot for Mynydd y Cwm GW/NW-076. The sun was now low above the horizon and it was getting chilly. I double-checked that my headtorch was in my pocket and set off along the muddy forestry tracks.

I made the common mistake of being too eager to turn right on a faint path for the final summit push. This led my over tricky ground and under low branches, when there is a much better defined and wider summit path a little further along. There was just enough daylight left for setting up at the summit, but the headlamp was switched on for the operating.

The first thing I heard on 24MHz was ZP6CW calling CQ in CW from Paraguay. I answered him and he worked me first call. Bingo! However, despite that, I couldn’t get any response at all to my own CQ calls, and my attempts to answer loud CQs from FG (Guadeloupe) and PY (Brazil) failed without even a …–…

I resorted to the VX7 handheld. Without a proper antenna, this would also be tricky from a densely wooded summit, but fortunately two very local stations were in QSO. I managed to work both of them plus a MW3 XYL of one, and Dave G0BSD in Runcorn, albeit plagued by mike keyer.

It was quite spooky returning to the car through the wood at night by headlight, but I was on the road by 7.30pm and home by 9pm. It should not be a surprise to learn that I ate my tea and went to bed!

A successful day overall, doing all five of the Clwydians in a day, beating the weather, qualifying all five SOTA activations and harvesting all five multipliers in the SOTA 12m Challenge. Many thanks to all callers.


In happier news, I can report that I have successfully reset and reprogrammed with Palm Code Cube, which is now working properly once again with the Palm Paddle.


In reply to DL1DVE:
Was out today and found 17,15 and 12m VERY hard going with very little activity. Managed to work and Italian /P on Corsica (TK)on 17m and that was it.
There was a WP4 on 12m but he just hung around the noise floor most of the time. Oh well, we keep trying…

Mick G8NVX

Saturday 22nd February 2014, and it seemed that that HF spectrum was well on the way to recovery. A one hour session in the shack around lunchtime netted seven SOTA chaser contacts. The pleasing aspect was the variety - one on 60m SSB, one on 40m CW, one on 40m SSB, one on 30m CW, two on 12m SSB, one on 2m FM and one on 2m SSB.

An earlier trip to the SOTAbeams emporium (not really an emporium) at Paradise Mill, Macclesfield was half social, half business. After a convivial chat with the boss over Spearing’s meat and potato pies (iconic Macclesfield cuisine) and a mug of tea, I picked up an end-fed wire antenna system with mini-pole and stake kit, plus Micro Z ATU.

So after delivering Jimmy and Liam’s Spearing’s pies back to the home QTH for their luncheon, I headed out to The Cloud G/SP-015 to try out my new toys. Set up took a little longer than usual due to the unfamiliar kit, but it was nonetheless straightforward. Heading straight to my favoured 24MHz I soon realised that it was a LONG time since I head last used such a manual ATU, and it took me a little while to rediscover the “knack”.

First station to reply on 12m CW was TA3AX, and that was even before I had sorted the matching properly! Guy N7UN and Rich N4EX were amongst the stations that followed, so the system was clearly effective.

I began to cast a glance over the SOTAwatch Spots on my phone. A quick QSY to 40m and a retune of the ATU allowed me to work Juerg F/HB9BIN/P summit-to-summit on Le Bambois F/JU-061. I then decided to run for bit on 30m CW, adding nine activator QSOs and a couple of SOTA SWLs. The pile-ups for OE5EEP/P and OK2BDF/P were huge and I only had the patience to try for them about three times each as the afternoon was becoming very cold.

The activation total was 22 QSOs:
12m CW: 7
12m SSB: 5
30m CW: 9
40m CW: 1

I am looking forward to giving this system a real run over several different bands and modes. It will need to be a little milder than this particular afternoon though! It is somewhat amusing that this set-up has the potential to do at least 40/30/20/17/15/12/10/6 with the possibility (to be investgated) of 60 and 80, and yet be a much lighter overall weight than any of my single band resonant aerials. Interesting times ahead.


In reply to M1EYP:

Saturday 22nd February 2014, and it seemed that that HF spectrum was
well on the way to recovery.

Off to G/SP-013 Gun, to try and work a bit of DX on the 12m band this morning. After setting up the A-99 my first impression of the 12m band, it was on life support. It was dead as a door nail!

So, I made a visit to the 20m band where ran into quite a few of the regular chasers the best of them being Paul VK5PAS.

My return visit to 12m bought DX calls from Brazil, Senegal and just two North American Chasers, Chuck AE4FZ and Rich N4EX.

The wind was bitterly cold, so I packed up and went home to watch Scotland beat France and England beat Ireland at Rugby.

40 contacts on 20m ssb
42 contacts on 12m ssb
3 contacts on 2m ssb
1 contact on 40m ssb
1 contact on 17m ssb.
Seven s2s were logged

73 Mike

Well Wales were busy beating France at rugby on the telly in the pub last night where I was having a beer with 'CWI. So I presume the victims of Scotland today must have been Italy, not France.

Senegal ain’t shabby from a band in poor shape.

Still trying to get all my logs up-to-date here, but I’ve run out of time again - it’s time for Match of the Day…!


In reply to M1EYP:

You can give MOTD a miss Tom. There’s nobody good on tonight. The important matche is tomorrow (Sunday).