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SOTA 2020 Flavours Challenge - Activation Reports

I thought it as well to start a fresh thread under the Activation Reports category. Feel free to contribute.

My first report, for the January Challenge week, is on my blog:

Summary - 4 activations. All Challenge contacts on 80m bar one on Top Band.

Every time I look I have dropped down the table. Well done to Tom, M1EYP, and Juerg, HB9BIN, with their inspiring Challenge scores so far.


Well, the challenge gave me a good start to the year, with 4 activations on 80m. ‘Must try harder’ for topband!

I found that my 80 - 60 - 40 linked dipole would not tune up on 160m. The next experiment was to use loading coils. I took note of Colin @M1BUU’s inductance measurements of his adjustable loading coils (85 - 110 micro Henries).
I thought that if I wound some to the lower end of these values, eg 85 micro Henries, that would bring the dipole closer to resonance, and the Elecraft T1 tuner would then match it.
However, I wound the coils on some ferrite rod of unknown provenance, so it might just be that it is horrible at 1.8 MHz. I’ll have to investigate further, probably with an analyser to see what is going on.

Corndon GW/MW-013

Stiperstones G/WB-003

Longmynd G/WB-005

Caradoc G/WB-006 (feint rainbow to the left)

Unsuccessful loading coils

All contacts are really appreciated, so thanks to everyone who took the time to call me.

I don’t currently have a plan for the Data challenge, but I’m following other’s ideas with interest.


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Hello SOTA community.

During the Flavours Challenge in January I activated DM/BW-008 (Schauinsland) and DM/BW-009 (Kandel). Both were quick activations. Schauinsland in the evening and Kandel early in the morning.

20200103_174149 20200106_072941 20200106_075350

For the 80m band I usually use my homemade G5RV antenna. But I only had the UnUnTenna from QRPguys (for 10-40m) in my backpack. With the Elecraft T1 tuner this could also be successfully tuned for 80m. I know i was probably very quiet for chasers. Many thanks to all the chasers who worked me with patience on the 80m band.

73 de Marcel DM3FAM

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January 3rd, a nice sunny day, not too cold. A couple of easy summits for challenge purposes though excess Turkey made me slow.

Spartleton GM/SS-182

16 QSOs on 80m with a full size 80m inv-v dipole at 5m using an 817 and 5w (or so).

Dirrington Great Law GM/SS-225

The sun on it’s way down. The walk out was in the shade of the summit. The days are very short still.

Just 10 QSOs here.

Interesting as these two activations and a dry run on Benbeoch GM/SS-186 on New Year’s Eve are the first time I’ve given 80m a proper go. Signals are either 59 or very weak. I’m surprised a dipole so low works as well as it does.

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I failed on 80m from Grange Fell GM/SS-249. The dipole ends were in the wet trees and the SWR was sky high.

I swapped to 60m which fitted the summit clearing and worked quite a few stations.

Needless to say there was the usual 2m and 4m operation.

73 de
Andrew G4VFL.

GW/SW-041, SW-014 and SW-012 were all activated on 80m ssb for the Challenge and, today, SW-011 was also activated. All three were activated using my 20,40,60 dipole with the loading coils inserted in the 40/60 gaps, tuning up very easily to 1.2 SWR or better using the KX3 internal tuner (which will not bring the SWR below 4 without the coils). This has worked well over the past year or so, although I have generally favoured 60m. This let me down today with only three contacts until I QSYed to 5.4035 to bring in Michael, EI3GYB, I then reluctantly fitted the coils (not easy with the wire over the rocky East side of the Sugar Loaf) to gain a further 13 contacts, some of which I would have liked for the Challenge.

I did have a go with the 160m coils but something was not quite correct - they worked in the garden, but not on the hill.
Now I will be looking at the FT8 threads here and considering some digimode chasing in February.

73, Rod

[quote=“G4VFL, post:6, topic:21880, full:true”]
The dipole ends were in the wet trees and the SWR was sky high.

Yes, I noticed that there was not even room for the full length of the end-strings on my 20/40/60 dipole - this is where the coils come in handy.


I remember just squeezing my 60/40/30 dipole into Grange Fell.

I had been advocating in the MT an 80/160m challenge for quite some time so as a chaser I was fascinated by the results. Considering that the antennas used by activators were compromised by low height and inefficiency from the use of loading coils, the signal strengths on 80m were little short of phenomenal. I gave most of my contacts reports of S8 or 9, some were considerably over the nine - and I had a 20dB attenuator in circuit the whole time! I worked 21 summits, it would have been more but I was plagued by severe noise after the weekend. To put this into perspective, signal levels on 60m and 40m were much lower during the same period. At this time of the year and during daylight hours it seems that if you can get an antenna up 80m is a great band for SOTA.

160m was a disappointment, probably a challenge too far when 80m is also available, there was too little activity to evaluate its potential.

I have only managed to chase one activator (@OE5EEP) on 80m. My experience has been very disappointing because all central European activators I tried to copy were far too weak and buried in tons of band noise.
The only contact I could have logged with good signals was yesterday when EA2LU called CQ on 80m from EA2/NV-151, which is a summit less than 10Km LOS from my remote station antennas and despite seeing the spot on SOTAwatch, I forgot about the ongoing Flavours challenge and didn’t go to chase him because I had already chased him on 20m some few minutes earlier… :frowning:

I was wondering if we’d start a thread for this. I did a quick little overnight backpacking trip for this challenge. Here’s my report: https://www.ke6mt.us/2020/01/camping-on-a-summit-willson-peak-w6-nc-182/

And a couple of my favorite pictures from it:


Morning Brian,
Could you point me to the challenge results table please?
I had a look on the Database>>Results>>Challenges but only see the 12m and 6m results.
Good to work you from the Mells - Sunday conditions much better that the horizontal freezing rain of Saturday. I have made some improvements to the 80m dipole, so hopefully can perform a little better on the next 80/160 challenge.

You need to use the new database

Thanks Andy
I used the sotalinks in the dropdown box from Sotawatch 3 to access the database.
The direct link online service changes works well - thanks - now bookmarked