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SOTA in Southern Spain on 2m FM - help needed

We will be in Spain next week near EA7/MA-001, Torrecilla (1.5 hours North of Malaga)

I can’t take HF equipment but I’ll probably take the FT-817.

I was wondering if anyone has any experience attempting to activate Spanish summits on 2m FM - is it worth the effort, would three likely be enough English speaking chasers to warrant the attempt?

Many thanks, Mark.

I need to check if my sotabeams compact pole would fit in carry on luggage but I think I’d be taking a chance packing that in anything other than hold luggage even if it fits. If I took that I could do 20/40/80m.

Hello Mark,
I live on the North, in EA2/NV land but I’ll try to give my point of view.
Here in the North of Spain, it is frequent to carry out activation on 2m succesfully for SOTA.

Nevertheless I know some EA2 activators have tried activating VHF only in other areas (EA4 EA5 EA7…) with less success. They frequently ended doing it on HF because of the lack of chasers.

A quick view in the Sota Database revealed some 26 chasers so far in EA7, and only 7 Shack sloth (frequent chasers…), meanwhile for EA2 we are 135, being 48 shack sloths; you see the difference? It’s not good news!

So, how could it be improved?

You could announce the start of the activation via local repeaters there. Spain is plenty of open relays. The only trouble is to be able to announce that in Spanish, I guess not that easy for you?

Other idea if you know the activation date is to put a Spot in the DX Cluster and not only in SotaWatch. I know many spanish awards chasers read frequently standard Cluster. If they see your spot, probably will try to catch you.

Concerning english speakers for the qso, you’ll get some trouble…
What if you learn some key words to complete the exchange?

Your signal report is 59… Tu senial es cinco nueve
Mi reference is… Mi referencia es SOTA EA7/…
May I suggest using google translator with built in Speaker so that you can try and learn the sound of such key words?
I could provide some more qso standard messages in spanish for you…

Anyway, if you are able to carry your little pole (I think it does worth it) you’ll get more chances to succesfully complete your activation with less stress.

Stay tuned if you need more info.
73 de Ignacio

2 Likes

Hi Mark,

With a foundation licence, you are not allowed to operate abroad, you can only operate abroad with a full licence. I hope you have a good holiday in Spain even though you cannot activate any SOTA summits there due to you having a foundation licence.

Jimmy M0HGY

I’m an M0 now Jimmy- but given my sota activities so far this year will remain as M6VMS on the site till the end of the year.

Mark. M0NOM

Sorry about that Mark, I did not realise, congratulations on getting your full licence and good luck with activations in Spain.

Jimmy M0HGY

My fairly limited experience of activating as a UK operator in Spain would tend to indicate that 2M would be unlikely to be successful getting 4 contacts or in fact any.

Others may have more successful stories.

I could sometimes hear 2M FM ops in Spanish but no one responded to me calling in English. I don’t blame them! It’s my problem for not being able to make a basic QSO in the local language.

Gerald
MW0WML

I once failed to qualify because I only had a 2m FM HH.
I think I’ve never tried to activate again relying on a 2m FM HH only.
Having HF with you gives a lot more chances to qualify.

It’s true that I once had a connection problem in my HF antenna coax and I managed to save and qualify the activation thanks to my 2m FM HH. But this only tells that it’s always good to have a 2m FM HH, just in case…

Having a 2m FM HH only and activating in Spain, using the English language only is in my oppinion a sure fail, unless you had previously made skeds with some colleagues friends of you.

73,

Guru

Hi Mark,
I took my 10m Sotabeams compact travel mast to southern Spain last year, fits easily into a case destined for the aircraft hold.
My FT 817ND went as carry on along with wire antennas, EFHW tuners and two 7ah slabs. They took a little time to clear security.
Andy

1 Like

Thanks for all the advice and Andy - you have the M0 callsign my wife thought was the best option for me, but unfortunately it was taken!
If we had a hold bag I’d take the HF kit and give it a whirl, but this is all pretty ill-planned stuff which makes me nervous.
I may take the FT-817 with my dipole on the off chance that I’ll have somewhere to string it up where we stay - will depend on the hosts.

If anyone was DX’ing last night there were some amazing conditions from the UK into the US and Puerto Rico. In particular to SOTA activity I had a QSO with KB1VXP operating with an FT-817 on 5 watts up a mountain on the British Virgin Islands. I was using the FT-817 on Brant Fell overlooking Lake Windermere with the MiniPA50 amplifier giving me around 40 watts. Seven state-side contacts, two Puerto Rico. I could hear the US stations piling up on the strong European stations any the were all coming in around 5/7 or higher. Crazy! 40 metres was also doing extremely well, there were reports of Japanese contacts on 40m.

Kind regards, Mark. M0NOM

I have taken my 817, LiPOs and a 20m vertical in my hand luggage to Portugal a few times. The 5m travel pole was sandwiched into the hold luggage and survived the airport baggage handlers. I was very pleased that I did not rely upon 2m FM in the Algarve region as I wouldn’t have qualified the summits, indeed calls from the hills and the apartment on 2m were not answered. A knowledge of Portuguese QSO basics might have helped - it certainly did in Tuscany.

Have a good time in Spain.

73, Gerald G4OIG

I didn’t know they spoke Portuguese in Italy. :smile:

OK, so I’ve printed out all my documentation and am taking the FT-817 and Sotabeams Quad Bander dipole (minus tent pegs). Even if I’m just listening in (unlikely!) it’ll be worth it.
I think I was inspired by last nights fantastic HF conditions and was thinking I would be kicking myself if I didn’t take it with me.
SOTA is unlikely as I won’t have an antenna support, but you never know there may be somewhere I can activate low down with enough trees around.

Regards, Mark.

You made the right decision by taking HF with you.
As for the antenna, you can always buy a 7m telescopic fishing rod at any Decathlon you may see. They only cost 14 Euro.
GL in your EA activations.
73,

Guru

Good call many thanks - that will certainly be an option!

You can buy a travel pole from SOTA Beams http://www.sotabeams.co.uk/compact-light-weight-10-m-30-ft-mast/ My dad Tom M1EYP brought one of these for when we were in Tenerife back in March and they are ideal for taking on planes and are good for antenna support.

Jimmy M0HGY

Andy - a bit off topic. Did you chose your callsign? It’s certainly got ‘mileage’ - hi!

Catch you one day on the bands.

73

Jack(;>J

Hi Jack,
Aaah, my callsign. Remember when Ofcom outsourced their system update, well I passed my advanced days before it happened so was unable to get a M0 until it was back up again. I wanted a call that was a little different so I took a dictionary and looked up all the 5 letter words starting mo. And moron stood out and suited me. So I chose it and the system let me have it. Happy days.
Then I received an email from a high up person in rsgb informing me that it was on a banned list and to expect a call from Ofcom. Said email duely arrived two days later informing me that my call was banned that the system failed to check it and to send them 5 more choices and that they would change it for me.
I quite like my call and invited Ofcom to tell me what was offensive about it as I was M zero Ron not m letter O Ron. They agreed that the latter was not a valid call and let me keep it provided I accept that their will be " ribaldry and derision" associated with it.
So far everyone in UK has liked it plus it is remembered.
So that’s how it came about.
I’m not very active in sota due to disability and having problems with hf antennas at home but in my heart I’d love to be out there.
Andy.

You can’t fault Ofcom here Andy. They have something in place to deal with “awkward” calls and also have someone acting with a bit of clue advising you of possible issues but happy to let you keep it. It all looks rather well handled. And few people will forget your call.

Good one Andy! And it’s certainly distinctive - hi hi!

73

Jack (;>J