SOTA Challenge Flavour 1-7 December

A reminder that the 12th and final “Flavour” of the 2020 SOTA Challenge runs from Tuesday 1st December through Monday 7th December.

All QSOs made on the 6m, 10m and 12m bands that are logged as chaser or activator contacts on the SOTA Database will automatically count in the Challenge tables.

This session is primarily designed for the Southern Hemisphere Sporadic E season but I’ll certainly be active from this half of the planet, because “you never know”!


Watching SW3 for Spots have 7 el yagi on 12m looking short path EU on ft 8. Started listening 06.50 utc Dec 1 .
vk5cz …

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Hi Ian,

No sign of anything open yet, but the sun is approaching the Eastern horizon…

Got a vk4 really low sigs and can’t really see many
JA stns on so might be lucky to see you this time. Stopped watching around 07.40 called for tea. 73
vk5cz …

The band is only just starting to open now @ 0800. RA, BY, JA being RX’d.

Sufficient ionospheric reflection to work Tom at 0818z this morning, 24915 FT8 at -15 SNR distance 93 miles / 150 kms.

73 Phil

Yesterday was this week’s day off. Loving these 4 day weeks! That meant a bit of a hit for my Challenge aspirations as the wx forecast was good and Liam was up for a long hike. Marianne was invited too but she rejected us, preferring instead to go on a different route with her friend Wee Wah.

I was up at 0500 and went to The Cloud G/SP-015 with the 10m-12m GP antenna. I was set up by 0600, but had to be patient. Even on FT8, the 12m band was pretty dead until around 0800, and even then pickings were sparse, and pretty much restricted to G and RA. 13 contacts were made before it was time to return home and meet Liam for the day’s main walk. The note-to-self was that my original idea to activate Gun on the way to work on 12m in the Challenge this week - was a waste of time. I would stick to 2m FM for my outward commute activation, and try to rack up Challenge credit from The Cloud on the way home at dusk.

The walk with Liam was an approximately 13 mile circuit from Fools Nook, taking in Sutton Reservoir, Croker Hill, Sutton Common (site of the famous Bosley telecommunications tower), Wincle Minn, then dropping through the farm to pick up Bosley Reservoir then the Macc Canal back to the start point.

It was a fantastic walk - until just after Wincle Minn! The drop through the farm was not signed very well and had a couple of muddy slippery sections. It was only a few minutes to get past though, and will be kept in the route as it’s still the most viable line at this section.

The path around the east of Bosley Reservoir looked appealing - on the OS mapping, but turned out to be a mudbath, as did the farm that followed it. This section of the route will definitely be changed before I first walk it with Marianne!

Last night it was the 2m FMAC and UKAC, and hopefully the last ones that have the /P ban. Restricted to IO83wg, it appears that I will have been pipped at the post by G4ILI for the overall 2020 FMAC series win.

This morning then, I did Gun G/SP-013 with my handheld, making just one QSO. That was fine though, as I’d forgotten to put my suit bag in the car and need to drive back to Macc to collect it in order to be professionally attired in the classroom!

It did mean I had to forego my usual bacon cheese & mushroom double oatcake for my breakfast though! Hopefully some 12m action from G/SP-015 later, around 1700.

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Not been my day.

On summit. Left tablet in car by mistake. So no FT8. Code Cube keyer playing up. So no CW.

Somebody please disabuse me of my perception that SSB is a waste of time… :wink:

Five contacts made on 12m SSB in the end. All locals who were cajoled to QSY after being worked on 2m FM!

I am now rather concerned that the 12m band, and indeed the 10m band, are not only yet to open when I’m on my way to work, but already closed when I’m on my way home!

Well, except for the ubiquitous FT8 that is. Easily audible “plagues of locusts” on both 24.915 and 28.074 - note-to-self - don’t leave the tablet in the car - FT8 is the way to go.

6m might be a different proposition of course (but probably the same - nothing - except FT8). It’s just a matter of whether I can be mithered to set up the SB6 in these cold temperatures - the 10-12 GP is way faster!

All being well tomorrow, I’ll be on the Grumpy Old Man’s net on 145.550MHz FM around 0700-0730, and on 10m and/or 12m FT8 around 1700.

I lived in Bucknall, outskirts of Stoke on Trent in 1991-1993 and on early turns witnessed the queues outside an Oatcake shop on my way to work. I never tried them myself. Wasn’t aware they can be eaten with savoury foods such as bacon, cheese and mushroom so never bothered…

Flavours this month dissapointing so far Tom - only you in the log on 12m FT8 on your SP-015 Cloud session on Tuesday, no other SOTA stations heard or worked so far. Maybe the coming weekend the chasers may have more chance.

73 Phil

Are people expecting too much of this month’s flavour? It was put on the calendar to favour the southern hemisphere since the July event favoured the northern hemisphere, and the rather sketchy winter Es season usually occurs in January. Its nice that the sudden ramp-up of cycle 25 is giving some propagation for us in the northern hemisphere but we had no reason to expect that last year when the flavours program was set.

It’ll be alright when I manage not to forget to pack my Windows tablet with WSJT! FT8 and HF contests are not everyone’s cup of tea, and much maligned accordingly - but they do shine a spotlight on propagation possibilities that we might otherwise believe to be non-existent!

I’m confident I’ll do better than yesterday anyway. That’s not to dismiss yesterday’s activation, in which a bunch of my very regular local 2m chasers all worked me on 10m SSB, making it rather enjoyable.

Phil @G4OBK - back on the bacon, cheese & mushroom double oatcake for breakfast today. Can’t believe you lived in the Potteries for two years without realising what the locals were having on their oatcakes for breakfast! One of the options from the one I’m frequenting in Leek at present is a full breakfast double - two Staffordshire oatcakes with sausage, bacon, mushrooms, beans, egg, tomatoes, black pudding and hash browns - with brown sauce, obviously. The only thing with that is that G/SP-013 + G/SP-015 is insufficient to burn off the calories!

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My mother-in-law from Aberdeenshire made fantastic oatcakes but they tended to be eaten as a savoury snack with cheese. We sometimes buy Orkney oatcakes from our local supermarket but never ever thought of eating them for breakfast. I can see I have to be more adventurous!


That’s a completely different oatcake Nick.

Staffordshire oatcakes:

Scottish oatcakes:

Oh dear, never mind! My mother-in-law’s oatcakes were triangular in shape and a lot thinner than the ones in your second picture. It was one of the extra delights in holidaying in Aberdeenshire along with the butteries, scones and clootie dumplings!
These are the ones we buy now. (I expect other brands are available - hi hi!)


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Just seen the photos Tom and Nick. Staffordshire it is for me! Massive Oatcake. Blimey I did miss out didn’t I… Unlikely to go back though now. I got a transfer to North Yorkshire in March 1993, sold up and haven’t been back to Stoke since.

73 Phil

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I had both sorts for lunch today - Staffordshire rolled up and containing cheese melted in the microwave and a Scottish triangular type with Cambozola slices.

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Poveys oatcakes from Leek, can’t be beaten. Don’t get me started on the Staffordshire v Derbyshire oatcake argument.

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I’m getting mine from Take A Break in Leek - not sure who the supplier is - I’ll ask in the morning - they’re very good!