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SOTA International Weekend

In reply to DL0QW:

  • Due to the difficult conditions at the weekend, much QSB and low
    signals, are long CQ calls an ordeal. The activator calls “CQ CQ
    CQ CQ CQ CQ SOTA …” and when he finally finished, the signal
    is down. Better “CQ [CQ] SOTA DE CALL [CALL] + k” - the rest
    we will find during the qso. Or on SOTAwatch :slight_smile:

Got to agree with you here Mario. I have been listening on an ‘alerted’ frequency in advance numerous times and have head the long CQ call, been first to answer and then lost the call in the QSB and never heard a thing after that. You get the same thing with some contest stations. If they listen for as long as they call we might get to work them. I think some activators maybe flatten the batteries on the first CQ call. CQ short and often should be the rule(I must remember that too).

Another problem is we make many friends with SOTA and like to chat. This is great but others can be waiting or go off to work someone else. Short sharp is good until the pile ups die down, but sometimes we need to ‘talk the band up’ when there is low activity. Good judgement is the key, knowing when to chat and when not to.

These are not criticisms of anyone because the Activator is King and works how he/she wants to, but we should all strive to be better operators.

Steve GW7AAV who had a great chasing weekend.

In reply to MM0FMF:

I was looking at an empty tube when I typed it. I though it would be a great excuse to carry a tube up a hill. “I have ‘munch’ to eat these ‘munch’ so I can get a ‘munch’ spot on!” ;0D

I will have a go at Richards reflector for my broadband dongle. We have struggled a few times in getting a signal in holiday accommodation and ended up with the laptop on an upstairs bedroom windowsill and the dongle taped in a plastic bag on the end of three USB leads hanging out of the window, not ideal.

Andy you were a stonking signal on 2m SSB yesterday from the contest site at Gatehouse of Fleet IO74WV. You need to take that QRO gear and 16 ele beam on a few activations.

Regards Steve GW7AAV

International SOTA weekend GM/CS-024

Just a brief report as much has been said about the success of the weekend. I had decided to try to activate the last two summits in the Cairngorms National Park which remained unactivated. These involve at least a 14Km cycle ride by the shortest route and three river crossings, one very serious one. I was late leaving and meeting up with my son and daughter in law we were an hour late starting in. My son had a trailer with his bicycle which allowed us to cycle without packs – until the tow spindle broke after less than 3Km – luckily he had a spare normal spindle for the back wheel but we were delayed by another 20 minutes fixing the bike. In addition we had a strong cold head wind so it took us over 2 hours to reach Geldie Lodge. The river crossings did not present too much difficulty although the Geldie Burn was thigh deep. The ascent was timed at 1hr 50minutes but in the end took 3hours due to the wind, thick heather and the summit snow field.

The gear was set up taking full advantage of the shelter from the strong cold wind (most of you know my opinion of weather forecasts, let us be kind and say they were 12 hours out in the timing of fine weather and totally wrong on wind speed!). Once set-up I was now 2 ¾ hours behind my alerted activation time and activities were in full swing. A quick tune around on 60m identified two channels obviously in use but with terrific qsb, skip from this far North was obviously going to be a problem. I managed to work G3TJE on SC-003 and did not receive a very good report – it helps if the power is turned up from 0.5 watts! I was called by MW1MAJ on NW-011 followed by M0YHB on SW-041 for three summit to summit. Finally after a lot of calling GW4BVE called me with his usual excellent signals and at last I was spotted – thanks John. Contacts were very slow – GW7AAV, G0VOF, G0RQL, G3OHC and finally Caroline G6WRW for another summit to summit. Then the band went quiet, not just quiet but dead, not even Volmet. All I can say is that around 1309 the ionosphere changed and that was that. 40m produced no contacts, skip was very long, I could hear stations working a G on a summit but could not get the callsign at all and although I could hear continental stations I could not raise them.

My daughter in law, who had waded the rivers in her hill boots, was feeling the cold and we decided that hill number two would have to wait for another day as we still had the descent and the cycle out. Other walkers on the hill described the transit between the two hills as “a slog” so best left for a separate ascent. Once off the summit things were much more pleasant with some shelter from the wind we made good time to the ruined lodge. The cycle out was great, downhill most of the way (just four uphill sections) but not recommended for those with tender anatomy!

Not a lot of contacts but, from the activity I could hear, a great success none the less.

Many thanks for the spot and all those stations that made contact. I will be trying for the other hill shortly so I can complete my Cairngorms National Park round.

73

Barry GM4TOE

In reply to GM4TOE:

Great report Barry. Things on 5mHz have been terrible for what seems like weeks now and it seems a shame that for all that effort there were so few contacts. I was listening on the frequency and suddenly you came up from nothing to just readable. I called when you finished with John and was able to give you a reasonable report before you disappeared into the ether never to be heard from again, serious QSB. I am glad you consider it a success.

Thanks for your dedication and thanks for a new one.

Regards Steve GW7AAV

In reply to GW7AAV:

Andy you were a stonking signal on 2m SSB yesterday from the contest site at
Gatehouse of Fleet IO74WV. You need to take that QRO gear and 16 ele beam on
a few activations.

But I wasn’t QRO. That was the small uwave talkback station. Just a barefoot FT847 running 50W into a 16ele M2 long boom Yagi at 30ftAGL. If it was a 2m contest then we’d have had a small amp with us… something with at least a 4cx250 in the driver stage! :wink: The antenna is quite big, I think it’s 4.5wavelengths long. I’d certainly need the pack elephants to help me get it up a summit or two.

It’s the site more than anything. The ground is about 200m ASL but it drops quickly away in front of us and we’re only 2miles or so from the sea. It was a total sea path to you Steve. The proof is that we worked a handful of PA stations on 23cms from there with a single 55 ele Yagi in poor conditions. Move a few miles more further inland onto the higher ground and those PA stations disappear.

A quick check through the spots shows 20 countries on SOTA over the weekend. I wasn’t sure how well things would go but I think it was moderately successful. I got ticks in most of the boxes I wanted.

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

But I wasn’t QRO

It was compared to your usual FT-817 :0)

I’d certainly need the pack elephants to help me get it up a summit or two.

The elephants are allowed now under the rule change. I could have a word with my father’s circus pals if you want :0D

Please give me a heads up the next time you are operating from there. I will be delighted to get you in the log on 2m (or any other band for that matter) and give you a GW contact.

Steve

In reply to GW7AAV:

But I wasn’t QRO
It was compared to your usual FT-817 :0)

Ah, I understand now!

I see Tony gave me 51 when he was on Cadair Berwyn, the cheek of the man! Perhaps he should replace the damp carrot he was obviously using as an antenna with something better! 51 indeed. That Yagi was long enough to almost physically touch North Wales :smiley:

Certainly the next time I’m down there I’ll be happy to give your antennas a damn good seeing to on all the bands we have in common (6m,4m,2m,70cms,23cms). We can probably connect to your WIFI router from there as well. We have a big enough amp and dish for 13cms! :wink:

Andy
MM0FMF

In reply to MM0FMF:

I wonder what the record is for a router to router connection? I have a six foot satellite dish and could put a dual quad as a feed on the focal point. ;0D

Steve

In reply to GW7AAV:

Unamplified standard equipment, about 125miles using 12ft and 10ft dishes.

Andy
MM0FMF

International SOTA Weekend

Saturday 2nd May 2009 - Gun G/SP-013 - M1EYP, M3EYP and M0GIA

All day on Gun playing radio - bliss! Sean M0GIA, Jimmy M3EYP and myself set out from Macc at 8am, and first headed for the Rainbow Cafe for a gutbuster breakfast with extra black pudding and unlimited tea. Very very good, and even better than Lymm Truck Stop; I will need to find out how early they open.

We kicked off on Gun with Jimmy on 2m FM, Sean on 20m SSB and myself on 40m CW. It was soon apparent that chasing all the S2S possibilities was not feasible. There was too many of them, occurring simultaneously, and each with monster pile-ups. We would have to take our chances and grab the ones we could when we could. Even so, we all ended up with more S2S contacts than your “average” activations.

40m CW was definitely the place to be. Huge swarms of chasers quickly found me even without self-spotting a frequency wherever I was between 7.028 and 7.034MHz. Plenty of 40m CW S2S QSOs were made, and plenty were missed. That’s just how things had to be today. Half of all the SOTA activators heard were chasing another SOTA summit on the other op’s frequency, so they weren’t really “fair game”.

During the long seven-hour operation, we made about 120 QSOs between us, and used the following band-mode combos: 80m CW, 40m CW, 20m CW, 20m SSB, 17m CW, 17m SSB, 15m CW, 15m SSB, 10m SSB, 6m CW, 6m SSB, 2m SSB and 2m FM. Shortly after 5pm local we started to pack everything away and get home for some tea, ahead of that evening’s activity on The Cloud G/SP-015.

Tom M1EYP

International SOTA Weekend

Saturday 2nd May 2009 - The Cloud G/SP-015 - M1EYP, M3EYP and M0GIA

The original plan was to venture out again at about 8pm. However, we decided that it would be better to give our respective families some company while watching Britain’s Got Talent. Until, part way through tea, when I discovered the shocking news that BBT was running 20 minutes later tonight, between 2020 and 2120 BST. An emergency family discussion and 'phone call to Sean, and we were back to Plan A.

We managed to complete setting up on summit in the last of the daylight. Sean was running 20m, 17m and 15m again, while I set up just for 80m. Jimmy set up the SOTA Beam on his walking pole and WASP Special.

I enjoyed a good tun on 3.557MHz CW, as Jimmy did on 2m FM. Sean made his quota with a contact with a chaser on 20m SSB, followed by working three Italian contesters. I think he did some SWLing on the other high bands, but didn’t make any contacts.

Coming up to 10pm, and Jimmy worked Rick M0RCP/P and Thomas M3OOL/P on High Street G/LD-011. He also arranged a sked for me to work Rick at 10.30pm on 80m CW. This I did, after an interlude including a single QSO on 20m CW and one on 2m FM, representing the first time I had used the microphone all day!

The was a slightly sour note as an op in the Manchester area was unpleasant to Jimmy on S20. He wasn’t a pirate, and gave his callsign (which I won’t mention here). On a more uplifting note, Jimmy was soon taking calls from other amateurs in the Manchester area offering him support and telling him to ignore the other chap.

We packed away at about 10.45pm local, and made for the Harrington Arms at Gawsworth for some pork pies and hand-pulled bitter. But only one round; I was driving, and moreover we needed to get home, in order to get to bed, in order to have some sleep, in order to be back up at 6am, in order to do Kinder Scout G/SP-001!

Tom M1EYP

International SOTA Weekend

Sunday 3rd May 2009 - Kinder Scout G/SP-001 - M1EYP, M3EYP and M0GIA

After the exertions of the previous day and evening, Jimmy and I were somewhat sluggish “out of the pit” at 6am. Nonetheless, preparations (soup, SLAB, water etc) were complete by 7am, and we were picking Sean up soon after.

We were doing the standard Pennine Way approach to Kinder Low, so we parked at Barber Booth, just off the Edale road. The walk was pleasant and easy along to Jacob’s Ladder, but in a very stiff breeze that warned of uncomfortable summit conditions. At the foot of Jacob’s Ladder, we had a sit down by the stream and took on our first chocolate energy of the day, in my case, a Kit-Kat with peanut butter in it - yum!

Now came the pull up Jacob’s Ladder and the slog along towards Edale Rocks. Once past this unlikely looking formation, it was an easy stroll to the trig point at Kinder Low. This is well in the AZ at 633m, but Jimmy wanted to use the clear weather to further inspect the true summit at 636m - a mile or so further on.

Sean and I followed behind, but stopped when we spotted a suitable operating position. This was down in an eight-foot deep narrow peat grough. The wind was still howling through it, but it was the best shelter of anything around.

Halfway through setting up, over wandered James G7MLO, Tom M3XFG and Bryan G4UZF. It seemed they had spotted our “antenna farm” from the trig point at Kinder Low. So had some rangers! No less than three sets of rangers/wardens approached us during our five hour operation on Kinder, but they were all perfectly amiable, and quite hapy for us to continue our activity. The last ranger we met was licensed himself with a G6 callsign.

After a social natter with James, Tom and Bryan, we did a couple of group photos, then one of the two Jims and one of the two Toms. They sat a little further down the winding peat ‘canyon’ we were in and had their lunch.

It took a while to successfully erect all the antennas on the spongy peat in strong wind, but just after 11am, we were QRV on 2m, 20m and 40m. My initial run on 40m CW ended with a FB call from Roger MW0IDX/P on new summit Mynydd y Cwm GW/NW-076. A very pleasing CW S2S!

Jimmy advised of Luc ON6DSL/P on 7.130MHz SSB from La Croix du Soldat ON/ON-016. Despite another typical ISW monster pile-up, my 5 watts from Kinder got straight in for a S2S. This was followed by Jimmy M3EYP and James G7MLO for their own S2S QSOs, but Tom M3XFG, Bryan G4UZF and Sean M0GIA all declined the opportunity.

I returned to 40m CW for a S2S with Peter DL/HB9CMI/P on Eichberg DM/BW-176. After four quick contacts on 15m CW (using the 40m dipole), I had a dabble on 2m FM, including S2S with Phil G1OPV/P on Pen-y-ghent G/NP-010 and Mark G0VOF/P on Freeholds Top G/SP-011. A small number of contacts were made on 80m CW and 17m CW, plus a couple of S2S on 2m SSB - Tony 2W0LAE/P on Cadair Berwyn GW/NW-012 and Rob G4RQJ/P on Seatallan G/LD-025.

I finished with a good long run on 40m CW, including S2S with Aage LA1ENA/P on Braknesheia LA/TM-094. I glanced around behind me after working ON6NW on 40m CW at 1330z - to find that Sean and Jimmy had both nearly finished packing their stations away. This was the SOTA equivalent of “coffee anyone?”, so I took the hint and got packed up myself!

However, I was not done yet, and as we dropped off the Kinder plateau, I halted inside the AZ and tried a call on my VX-7R just with the rubber duck. Two QSOs ensued, one with Richard G3CWI in Macc, and the other with Caine M6MOF/P at Nettleton Top in the Lincolnshire Wolds.

The descent down to the foot of Jacob’s Ladder seemed to go quickly enough, but then it was a never-ending plod through Lee Farm and Upper Booth Farm to Barber Booth. We drove around to the Old Nags Head in Edale for end-of-ISW drinkies. The Nags 1577 celebration ale was very good, and went down a treat.

I didn’t even bother trying to watch Match of the Day that night. I was fast asleep by 10pm.

It was another great day and a cracking weekend. I reckon we probably did around 250 QSOs between the three of us, and it was good to spend the weekend in the company of the bloke that thought of it!

Grateful thanks to the very many chasers that called us over the weekend.

Tom M1EYP

In reply to M1EYP:

Jimmy advised of Luc ON6DSL/P on 7.130MHz SSB from La Croix du Soldat ON/ON-016. Despite another typical ISW monster pile-up, my 5 watts from Kinder got straight in for a S2S. This was followed by Jimmy M3EYP and James G7MLO for their own S2S QSOs, but Tom M3XFG, Bryan G4UZF and Sean M0GIA all declined the opportunity.

Hi Tom, Jimmy, James,

Thanks for the S2S QSO(s) hope to work you again next time S2S.
Sri for Tom M3XFG, Bryan G4UZF and Sean M0GIA but there will still be another time.
All other stations … thanks for the QSO

73
Luc ON6DSL

In reply to G3CWI:

Some frenchies got a special call for international weekend.
A short video there: http://tm5ota.fr/

Thanks to you friends !

73 Alain F6ENO

In reply to F6ENO:
Excellent video Alain and thanks for sharing, did the madness spread to all OM’s? Sean M0GIA

In reply to F6ENO:

Hi Alain,

I would like I had them in the log but … unfortunately … TM5OTA is not in the log on this side. HF-propagation was poor at my QTH on those ISW days. On Sunday is was on ON/ON-016, also there nothing to hear or to work them. ALL stations in DEEP QSB. Maybe another time … I hope so.

73
Luc ON6DSL