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SOTA LD Weekend 2021 Challenges

As we have some prizes this year I thought it would be good to set some challenges that might pique an activators’ interest to focus their efforts over the SOTA LD Weekend. Please don’t take this too seriously, and feel free to ignore this completely - the prizes generally aren’t worth going out of your way for!

As I’ve not done this before I have no idea what a PITA this might be for me, however, let’s at least try it.

Any clarifications to these categories need to be sorted before the weekend commences, otherwise it will be via my arbitrary decision.

For the purposes of these categories the weekend starts at 00:00 UTC on Saturday and ends at 00:00 UTC on Monday.

I’ve come up with five categories of challenge, and you are free to submit logs to support any number of these! They are mutually exclusive, a winner will be awarded in each of the categories.


I will require an ADIF log file for each SOTA activation and/or day covering your activity over the weekend, to be submitted in the week following the LD weekend, with results announced a week later. So if you activate two summits on Saturday and three on Sunday I will require a total of five ADIF log files. The combination of date and location need to be unique for each log file submitted (this applies to chaser categories too).

It would be great if any entries are supported by a short (or long) description of your efforts on the reflector.

Calculating the Results

Results will be computed automatically by algorithms coded into the ADIF Transformer.

The source code of these algorithms is here.


Here are the five category of awards:

Jack of All Trades

Using the following multiplier tables as a jack of all trades each QSO you make as an activator from a SOTA LD summit will gain points via multiplying the value in the band table and the value in the mode table, and all computed values added together for a total.

These tables were created by taking the inverse cube root of the total QSOs by band and modes tables on the Facts & Figures SOTA Data page then normalised so the most common entry results in one point. You must ensure that any combination of band/mode is legal in the UK and you use the correct section of the band for the mode.

So a VLF AM QSO would gain you 7 x 6 points = 42 points.

Band Multiplier
7MHZ : 1
14MHZ : 1
144MHZ : 1
10MHZ : 1
5MHZ : 2
433MHZ : 2
18MHZ : 2
3.5MHZ : 2
24MHZ : 2
21MHZ : 2
28MHZ : 3
50MHZ : 3
1240MHZ : 4
70MHZ : 4
1.8MHZ : 5
2.3GHZ : 6
10GHZ : 6
VLF : 7
5.6GHZ : 8
24GHZ : 11
3.4GHz : 11
Mode Multiplier
CW : 1
SSB : 1
FM : 1
Data : 3
DV : 6
AM : 6
Mode Points Description
AIRCRAFT_SCATTER 6 Aicraft Scatter
AURORA_E 6 Aurora-E
AURORA 6 Aurora
BACK_SCATTER 1 Backscatter
ECHOLINK 0 Echolink
EARTH_MOON_EARTH 100 Earth-Moon-Earth
SPORADIC_E 2 Sporadic E
F2_REFLECTION 1 F2 F2 Reflection
INTERNET 0 INTERNET Internet-assisted
METEOR_SCATTER 6 MS Meteor scatter
REPEATER 0 RPT Terrestrial or atmospheric repeater or transponder
RAIN_SCATTER 1 RS Rain scatter
TRANSEQUATORIAL 1 TEP Trans-equatorial
TROPOSPHERIC_DUCTING 1 TR Tropospheric ducting

Happy Camper

As a happy camper you are attempting as many S2S QSOs as possible from an LD summit. For each successful S2S QSO you will receive the SOTA points allocated to their summit, added together over the weekend. S2S points will be counted for any S2S contact, be it with an activator in LD or anywhere in the world.

Manic Tourist

As a manic tourist you attempt to activate as many LD summits as possible over the weekend. For each SOTA summit successfully activated over the weekend the points allocated to the summit will be added together for a final score.

Long Distance Relationship

As a DX hound you are trying to get as many long distance contacts from one or more LD SOTA summits as possible over the weekend. The total distance of all QSOs will be added together for a final score. Any portable stations you contact not activating a SOTA, WOTA, POTA or WWFF location must have a valid Maidenhead locator specified to count.

Lake District Lover

One for the chasers, each successful SOTA chase QSO with an activator on an LD summit, where you are not on an LD summit, will gain you the points for the LD summit being activated, all added together over the weekend. You could be located on one or more SOTA summits not in the Lake District, or at home for example.

A note on data modes: in order to be valid the QSO must require manual input from both the activator and station contacted. In this spirit, and as an example, I will accept JS8Call as a valid data mode, but not FT8.

There are bound to be other clarifications required, please ask sooner rather than later.

NOTE: the source code for the contest calculations is here.

Cheers, Mark.


Sounds great Mark, love to be there. Have a good weekend.

73 de Geoff vk3sq

Couple of comments:

  1. You have some non-valid UK bands in there
  2. “Microwave” also includes some of the listed bands so is likely to provide conflicting results! (I would claim “Microwave” not “10GHz” for example)

Good idea though

Thanks for the comments Barry, as mentioned this is a list from the SOTA database itself, so clarifications are welcome.

If you/someone can direct me to the invalid bands I’ll remove them from the list.

Thanks. Mark.

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220 and 900 MHz are region II only bands.

People used to modify the old car mount 1G phone units (Mobira et al.) for illegal use on and around 920MHz in the UK. You had to pull the TX up to the end of its range and the RX down to the bottom of its range to get a simplex unit. The best ones had parallel load synthesisers you could program with DIP switches. Most were around 10W out and into a 1/4wave on the roof of the car you got quite a potent “clandestine” radio link. This is what I heard people were doing with them back in 1992… :wink:

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Hi Mark thanks for organising this (as well as the weekend). How about adding satellite contacts to your list of multipliers (and bear in mind that some satellites operate cross band, so how would you deal with that aspect)?

I’m now off to research how to fill in an ADIF log! :wink:

If satellites are allowed I’m all for that. I’m sure we can come up with a suitable multiplier.

I use Fast Log Entry for quickly creating ADIF files and highly recommend it if you are wanting to easily convert paper logs.

Regards, Mark.

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As a die-hard pencil & paper logger I have been won over to using a plain-text editor and FLE (instead of Excel) for creating CSV or ADIF files to upload my logs to the SOTA database.

It has the added advantage that, with your ADIF file, you can use Mark’s online ADIF Transformer to generate a KML file for Google Earth so you can create fancy radio paths pictures of your contacts like you see in Mark’s activation reports.


I’ve been asked about whether Satellite contacts have a multiplier and therefore have introduced an additional table for propagation mode. I’ve come up with what I think are a sensible set of values. Obviously there may need to be some evidence provided for the more exotic modes :wink:

If anyone has any questions or concerns please raise them today. I want to make this as fair as possible.

Regards, Mark.

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At the risk of hijacking the Thread, how do you enter SOTA summits onto FLE?

By reading the manual for FLE and specifically the section on SOTA logging.

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John, here are a few examples from the plain-text file (input to FLE) of my latest activation:-

2m FM
1138 M7MCG/P sota g/np-007 <Mick, on Fountain Fell>
40 G6WBS/P sota g/np-015 <Shane, on Great Knoutberry Hill>
42 G4ZRP # IO83LH <Brian, Wirral Peninsula>
45 G4OBK <Phil, Pickering>
48 GW8NZN/P sota gw/nw-002 <Dave, on Carnedd Llewelyn>

In FLE itself, select SOTA Logging under the pull-down menu Logging

For your own SOTA summit, you declare it in the header section, e.g.

# Header

mycall g8cpz/p
mysota g/np-004

# Log

date 2021-09-07


Sorry, didn’t know there was a manual.

Thank you, that’s really helpful. I’ll have a go with any QSOs collected tomorrow. :slight_smile:

The ‘sota’ is optional, and I’ve started to get lazy and leave it off.
If you are at the pub tomorrow I’m happy to demonstrate.

Regards, Mark.

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Well, I wish I’d set the start date for the challenges from Friday, quite a nice haul from a foggy Gummer’s How G/LD-050 this evening!


As far as I know the ‘manual’ is a summary in the read-me file and similar in the online help.

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If anyone would like to take part in the challenges I need an ADIF file for each of your activations over the weekend, or in the case of chasers one large file is fine or one for each day.

If you don’t have facilities for creating an ADIF file I will accept a computer text log, which I will process with Fast Log Entry, I will need the date, your callsign, summit or location and contacts listed in date order, grouped based on the band and mode used. Frequency and signal reports are optional (if you don’t specify a signal report it will be recorded as 59 59 or 599 599), and SOTA references can be included inline.

You will automatically get a score for each of the challenges that I will publish towards the
end of the week, together with the ADIF file, a Google Earth KML file and a markdown table.

Any questions - fire away.

Regards, Mark.

20m ssb
1125 hb9bqu/p hb/ow-009 14.293 52 55
31 on/po0rwl/p onff-0039  14.210
37 9a5yy/p 14.185 9a/ph-012 51 59 9aff-0017
45 hb9bin/p hb/vd-036 14.270 55 55 hbff-0314

20m cw
50 ct/dl6uha/p ct/es-001 14.0615 559 599

20m ssb
55 tf/hb9gkr/p tf/al-108 14.320 51 55
1200 hb9dqm/p 14.320 hb/gr-117 51 55 HBFF-0240
12 i1wkn/p 14.291 f/am-153 51 57

20m cw
21 hb9bcb/p 14.0621 hb/be-118 589 539

20m ssb
27 la1ci 14.226 59+10 59
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Hi Mark,

we had a S2S SSB QSO on 20m.

DC8YZ/P on DM/BW-131 UTC: 12:04

73 Michael

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Hi Mark, afraid I won’t be entering this time as I haven’t yet had the time to master ADIF technology (I’m sure it’s easy, just hasn’t been a priority so far).

For the record though:
Activated 3 fells over 3 days
47 contacts (4; 26; 17)
20 S2S (0; 10; 10)

It would probably have been more, but my timekeeper intervened!

I think one of the standouts has got to be how many summits were on the air and the popularity of 2m FM. 2m isn’t quite dead yet :wink:

Really enjoyable, thanks again

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