SOTA NEWS APRIL 2011
EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH
Welcome to the April 2011 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Andy MM0FMF, Barry GM4TOE, Fred K6DGW, Tom M1EYP, Nick G4OOE, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ.
There was the usual increase in SOTA activity as we approached the end of the Winter Bonus period on the 15th March, but the weather across Europe was not too favourable for activations. This was followed by the usual lull for the following week, but the improvement in the weather and in propagation saw activity back to normal for this time of year, by the end of the month.
FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM
The SOTA MT is pleased to announce the appointment of two new members.
Jim G0CQK and Rob G0HRT who joined the MT earlier this month and have
already been working on a number of tasks, especially Jim.
Apart from everyday helping out on the MT, both Jim and Rob will be
dealing with handling enquiries and helping the formation of further
Jim has been fascinated by maps for a long time and has experience with
maps and mapping software. He will be applying technology where possible
to aid in the location of potentially new qualifying summits and in
verifying existing summits do indeed qualify.
Rob will help with the non-stop stream of enquiries about new
associations, guiding prospective association managers create their new
associations association reference manuals as well as helping Jim with
the ever growing summit database.
Short biographies and some photos should appear on the Management Team
section of the SOTA website in the near future. I’m sure you will all
join with me in welcoming Jim and Rob to the team.
obo SOTA MT
SOTA AWARDS FOR MARCH 2011 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager
What a month for awards, having been quiet over the last few months I was deluged with claims. Congratulations to Shack Sloths SV2KGA, EC2DM, M6MIJ and SM7NDX, a well deserved achievement. One other station achieving the magic 1000 points is I3VAD, Giancarlo. Top amongst the activators this month is well known station G4OWG, Roger, who achieved the half Goat level in this period and it is interesting how other Associations are rapidly catching up.
The Chasers are doing really well too with OK2QA rapidly climbing the tables closely followed by SM7GUY and G4OOE. I really must not miss DL1FU, Friedrich, who now holds Mountain Hunter Platinum award number 1 closely followed by OK2QA, Rudolf with the Gold award.
I have managed to get most of the awards away except for those requested in the last few days and the trophies which have just arrived back from the engraver. These should be despatched later this week.
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis Shack Sloth
EC2DM David Mekolalde Shack Sloth
M6MIJ Jennifer Nuttall Shack Sloth
SM7NDX Jan Eliasson Shack Sloth
G4OWG Roger Leighton 500 points
OK2IHH Milan Navratil 250 points
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis 250 points
HB9BIN Jurg Regli 250 points
SV2NCH George Charisiadis 250 points
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis 100 points
SV2NCH George Charisiadis 100 points
G3NYY Walt Davidson 100 points
OK2QA Rudolf Klvaoa 5000 points
SM7GUY Ingvar Lagerholm 2500 points
G4OOE Nick Langmead 2500 points
I3VAD Giancarlo Scarpa 1000 points
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis 1000 points
M6MIJ Jennifer Nuttall 1000 points
M0MOL Gareth Mollard 500 points
SV2IPF Nikolaos Kalfas 500 points
M6PEW Paul Woodburn 500 points
SV2NCH George Charisiadis 500 points
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis 500 points
G4SXR Colin Bracher 250 points
SV2NCH George Charisiadis 250 points
OH6JYH Harri Liimatainen 250 points
SV2IPF Nikolaos Kalfas 250 points
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis 250 points
EB2GEV Jose Miguel Michelena 250 points
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis 100 points
SV2NCH George Charisiadis 100 points
OH6JYH Harri Liimatainen 100 points
SV2IPF Nikolaos Kalfas 100 points
EA2CNC Lander Gomez Iraola 100 points
M6RWN Christopher Rowan 100 points
EB2DJB Rafa Martinez 100 points
EA2DJL Jagoba Atxa 100 points
G4OOE Nick Langmead 500 summits
SV2KGA Adamos Sarailidis 100 summits
DL1FU Friedrich Winzer - Mountain Hunter Platinum
OK2QA Rudolf Klvaoa - Mountain Hunter Gold
Now for a complaint – I really do not have a crystal ball and it is really difficult to issue awards when you send the payment and your name but no callsign and no indication of the award claimed. You are identified on the database by your callsign, not your name, and although Andy MM0FMF is able to interrogate the database for me with a specially generated query this is time consuming on his part and on my part. There is a facility on the Paypal page to send a message to seller, please use it or send me an email directly with the details of your claim; my life will be easier if you do this and I will have more time for activating and chasing!
Something else worth mentioning now that we have more participants worldwide claiming awards and that is the correct spelling of your name. If your name contains an accented letter it would be very helpful to make sure I know what the correct accent is; sometimes the “Alt” code for the accented letter prints differently depending on which character set is chosen so if in doubt let me know so your certificate is correctly printed.
I would like to thank G4OOE and HB9BIN for their generous donations; it does help keep the websites running.
The weather is hopefully improving now so activating will become a pleasant experience once more. Unfortunately, in Scotland, fine weather also brings out that scourge of the Highlands and Islands – the black midge – so if you hear me wanting to finish an activation very quickly then you know why.
Take care on the hills and good DX
Barry Horning GM4TOE
Our congratulations also go to:-
Joska HA5CW, who managed to chase his 2000th unique summit with EA8/G1INK Steve, from the Canary Islands during the month.
Kevin G0NUP, who reached the 15,000 points chaser milestone, all on CW, in just under 2 years, having become a SOTA chaser in April 2009
John OE7PHI who achieved Super-sloth status (10.000 chaser points) with a contact with Pavel, OK1MCS.
Chris M6RWN on his upgrade to Intermediate class, with the new call 2E0CRZ.
SOTA News was saddened to hear of the death of Bernd DL7BW, who became a silent key on the 16th March and we extend our sincere condolences to his family and friends.
NORBRECK RALLY - SUNDAY 10th APRIL 2011
Don’t forget that it is the “Norbreck Rally” - the NARSA show at Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool on Sunday 10th April 2011. Doors open at 1100.
This is the main SOTA meet of the year, and usually sees the SOTA stand busy with many activators, chasers and prospective participants for the duration of the show. As usual, the stand will be organised and staffed by Rob G4RQJ, Audrey, Jimmy M3EYP and Tom M1EYP, although stints by other participants in SOTA T-shirts and sweatshirts are always welcomed.
The stand will host the usual range of SOTA displays, presentations, quizzes, merchandise and of course the legendary SOTA cake - but the main feature of the stand and our representation at this annual event is the social meeting opportunity for all of us involved in SOTA. We look forward to seeing you there.
SOTA Publicity Officer
QSO’s MADE IN A SINGLE ACTIVATION By Tom M1EYP
A popular and interesting discussion has been the number of QSO’s made in an activation. The number required to qualify an activation for points was set, and has remained at 4. Even this can still be challenging enough - with a 2m FM handheld, in certain less populated areas in the UK. However, a taste has grown in certain individuals and areas for activations with large numbers of contacts. This seems particularly prevalent in Spain, as the following table shows:
Activations with most QSO’s in 2011 (so far):
1 ----- EA2RKG/P — EA2/SS-055 — Ollagon --------- 22/01/2011 – 370
2 ----- EA2RKG/P — EA2/SS-047 — Jaizkibel ------- 02/01/2011 – 341
3 ----- EA3EGB/P — EA3/GI-011 ---- Tossa D´alp ---- 30/01/2011 – 316
4 ----- EA3EGB/P — EA3/GI-015 ---- Puig Estela ---- 20/02/2011 — 307
5 ----- F6HBI/P ---- F/AM-564 ---- Crête de la Madonne - 25/03/2011 - 241
6 ----- F6HBI/P ---- F/AM-391 ---- Plateau Saint Jean -5/03/2011 — 225
7 ----- F6HBI/P — F/AM-386 ------ Mont Lieuche ---- 23/03/2011 — 223
8 ----- F6HBI/P — F/AM-544 ------ Pic de Baudon — 12/01/2011 — 188
9 ----- EA3EGB/P— EA3/GI-014 — Taga ------------- 02/01/2011 — 167
10 -----2E0YYY/P – G/SP-004 ----- Shining Tor ------ 12/02/2011 — 164
Let us compare this with SOTA’s birth-year of 2002:
1 ---- EI7GY ---- GI/MM-002 – Slieve Commedagh --------- 15/09/2002 — 40
2 ---- G3WGV ---- G/LD-008 — Blencathra - Hallsfell Top - 13/07/2002 - 31
3 ---- G4TSH/P – G/LD-008 – Blencathra - Hallsfell Top – 13/07/2002 - 30
4 ---- GW4EVX/P – GW/NW-051 – Foel Fenlli --------------- 08/09/2002 - 29
5 ---- G4ELZ/P ---- G/DC-005 – Christ Cross ------------ 21/04/2002 ----- 23
6 ----- GI0RQK/P – GI/AH-005 - Agnew’s Hill ------------ 14/07/2002 ----- 21
7 ----- MW0IDX ---- GW/NW-004 - Y Garn ------------------ 06/07/2002 — 17
=7 ----- G4YSS ---- G/NP-008 – Great Whernside --------- 20/12/2002 — 17
=7 ----- G4ELZ/P – G/DC-003 – Kit Hill ---------------- 07/04/2002 ----- 17
THE APPRENTICE - by Nick G4OOE
My first Lake District G/LD-003 and G/LD-022 activations, on 14 March 2011
For a comprehensive report please refer to John G4YSS’s post on the SOTA reflector on the 17 March 2011.
Having done single point activations, I really wanted to progress to some more challenging peaks. I am fortunate living quite close to England’s leading CW activator John G4YSS, so you can imagine the joy when I received an email inviting me to go on a Lake District round of four summits, having a potential total of 44 points in one day!
John was so helpful sending me kit lists and advising me of what I needed to take for such a trip. The plan was to get things organised quickly before the last day of winter bonus on the 15 March. We had planned on going on Thursday 10th or Friday 11th but after consideration of the less than favourable weather forecast we opted for Monday
Nervous excitement summed up my feelings as the day approached. The alarm went off at 0200, not that I needed it as I was already awake going over all my mental preparation. After packing up the car, I arrived at John’s house just before 0300. We had a pleasant journey over to Patterdale arriving shortly after dawn. After a bit of kit rearranging, we set off towards Helvellyn. John was wisely telling me to slow down as we had a long way to go! The views were already outstanding and the weather perfect. We passed the landmarks of Red Tarn and The Hole in the Wall and we arrived at Swirral Edge. Although, as I have read, not as challenging as Striding Edge, it was certainly a significant challenge for me! John was brilliant, advising me which was the best route over the shale and then digging out footholds in the snow for us with a stone. There were times when I just hugged the side and daren’t look down!
We slowly progressed and we finally arrived at the top at 0944. I now know how Chris Bonnington felt climbing Everest, this was my Everest! The views were absolutely stunning, after posing for photographs by the trig point I took some pictures of the surrounding fells and views to Morecambe Bay. We then headed for the shelter.
John quickly erected the home built dipole with home brew 160m coils and in what seemed no time, he was on the air on 160 metres CW, a contact on 80 metres, then he handed over the microphone, yes the microphone, to me for my go on 80 metres CW! John has a small metal switch protruding out of the hand held microphone that is used as a CW keyer. Then I sent my first CQ SOTA from G/LD-003; it felt fantastic when fellow Scarborough Special Events Group members Kevin G0NUP and Robert G0WHO came straight back. I also worked ON4CAP, G4WSX, G3KYF, G0NES, EI2CL, G0TDM, G4USW and M0COP and on 80m SSB GW4BVE, MM1MPB, G6MZX, G4ILO and G0GNW. Meanwhile, John was busy on 2m and 4m FM.
After a quick sandwich and a drink, we headed down towards Dollywagon Pike but skirting around it, tramping over clumps of tufted grass then boggy ground to the bottom of Seat Sandal. After leaving me a simple but tiring route to follow next to the old broken wall, John went ahead to set up the equipment. I struggled up, finally arriving at shortly after 1300. I once again called CQ SOTA on 80m CW, straight away G0GSY came back followed by G0WHO, G0NES, G3RMD then on 80m SSB G4ILO, GW7AAV, ON4CAP, M6HBS, MM1MPB, G0TRB, G0RQL, G3RMD, M0GQW and M6NJB. I felt great on one front, having bagged 22 points, but on another I was physically shattered and I told John I didn’t think I was up to the other two summits.
We descended off Seat Sandal going down a steep slope and directly opposite was the steep side of Fairfield, the further we went down the more intimidating Fairfield looked! John was once again great, he utilised a stick (part of his mast) for me to use as an aid to get down. Having already told John that I wasn’t up to tackling the other two summits, once we arrived at the bottom, John programmed his spare gps and gave me a map to show the check points programmed.
We parted company at 1440 and I made my way back along the path from Grisedale Tarn to Patterdale. Along the way I met some very friendly people and after stopping a few times to rest and take photographs, I edged slowly into Patterdale car park at around 1730. The comment of the day was from a rather athletic individual cantering past me just outside Patterdale saying, “those legs look like they have seen some action today”. I smiled and nodded in agreement. John arrived at the car about forty minutes later. I think that we both looked relieved to see each other again. We wasted little time and headed back to Scarborough arriving at around 2200. I was completely exhausted and elated and how I enjoyed that long soak in the bath!
I consider myself to be very fortunate, being taken around by England’s leading SOTA CW activator and I would like to thank John for being so patient and understanding throughout the day. From John I have learned a lot about meticulous planning, execution of mission and having flexibility to adapt and change original plans to meet all the challenges throughout the day. I would also like to thank Roy G4SSH for running the spotting service and keeping my XYL informed of developments. It was a fantastic day that I will never forget. Thanks to all the chasers too for helping me get 22 points!
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 27 – By Rob and Audrey G4RQJ
Sunday 27th Feb. Claife Heights.
Once again straight into action this month and a cold windy and cloudy day so just this little one. Coming from the south there are basically three routes in all, involving leaving the M6 at J36. At the first junction a major choice is needed. Either take the A590 towards Barrow until Newby Bridge then right (After the A592 roundabout) onto the minor road signed Hawkshead. At the southern end of the village (big expensive car park on your left) head towards Sawrey but only about 20yds to a minor road on the left heading to Wray Castle. Follow the narrow road to a junction and turn right signed Far Sawrey unfit for cars after 1 Mile. At the 1 mile point is a small car park Belle Grange, no charge and about 15 places. The second option is to use the Windermere ferry, a chain ferry crossing the lake a from just south of Bowness to Far Sawrey, not to be confused with the lake steamers that run the length of the lake. Best check details as it does have days off for servicing etc. I (Rob) have never used the ferry, Audrey has once, years ago but she was with a rich relative on a day trip so we’re not sure of the current charges. The third option is to drive round the north end of the lake, through Ambleside and again aiming for Hawkshead.
It is possible to do Claife Heights from Far Sawrey but parking is not easy. The route from there does pass Claife Station, the remains of a Victorian viewing station which used to have coloured windows to produce simulated views of spring summer autumn and winter and possibly moonlight. Claife Heights can be very difficult to navigate and almost every second person you meet is lost and clutching a newspaper or guide book cutting advising a round route. The paths change year by year and are dramatically changed by logging operations; even the O.S. maps are not too good on the smaller paths. Local folk lore tells of the Claife Crier. One stormy night before powered craft, a boatman in Windermere heard calls for a boat from the Claife side. When he returned he was alone, quite mad and never spoke again, the moral being if you hear the Claife Crier, lost on a stormy night best not investigate!
Fortunately the route from Belle Grange is straightforward, just past the house a track, often very slippery with leaves zigzags steeply up the fell. Follow it ignoring tracks off on the left till it levels out and you meet the logging road, turn left and follow the road, ignoring roads off on either side until you arrive at a tarn on you right. Beside the tarn on your left is a signposted path to Far Sawrey, easily missed. Enter the woods and about 200yds in take a fork to the right, head up hill to a fork on your left that takes you through a rock outcrop to the summit trig which is in a clearing in the woods. The bracken hereabouts is very deep in the summer but not today.
Unfortunately the 817 decides to act up on 2m SSB, going to full output as soon as the mic is spoken into (not when PTT is first pressed) and staying there until the PTT is released regardless of modulation. We’ve seen this once before and think it may be due to cold as we’ve never been able to reproduce the problem at home. Sorry if you missed us but we did do 2m FM using the standby h/held. Sorry also about 4m, pressed the PTT and the rig died, Battery flat and I thought it was fully charged. As the RAF safety posters used to say “Don’t think! Check”
Sunday 6th Mar Hard Knott Fell.
Great day up a great little fell. The easy route is from the summit of Hard Knott Fell where there is some limited parking (get there early). From there it is an easy 45min ascent at a steady pace. The paths have changed considerably over the last few years as have the two areas of flat land that have to be crossed on the climb. These are now mildly boggy where a few years ago they were almost small tarns. The electric fence, the line of which leads from the pass to within a few dozen yards of the summit has gone, the poles and the stiles are still there in splendid isolation, no wire. This fence was a legacy of the foot and mouth outbreak when new sheep had to heft to their new fell side homes. Nowadays we use the path that skirts the high ground to the east that has become much more trodden. Cross the beck just below the first lonely fenceless stile. The summit has a series of small grassy terraces on the west side, perfect sun traps when the wind is in the right direction. Today it was and we managed a super warm comfortable activation with about 50 contacts.
The ruined Roman fort, close to the road on the Eskdale side of the pass is worth a visit that the family would enjoy. It is reputed to be haunted by the sounds of marching legions. Take care on the pass; it is not for the faint hearted driver.
Tuesday brought sad news of a fatal helicopter crash above Borrowdale in which the owner of the Honister Slate mine was killed. The mine has become a major tourist attraction for the area and whilst attracting criticism from some for drawing tourists to a quiet place it has revived a failed industry providing work and is always walker friendly with a cheery greeting, toilets, a warm fire and cheap parking at the rear where the pretty little green Gazelle helicopter was often parked. Full details are at www.honister-slate-mine.co.uk . No connections other than satisfied customers.
Sunday 13th Mar, Great Knoutberry Hill.
The climb up the coal road from Garsdale station is regarded by road cyclists as a major hill climb and a test of ability, fortunately the car does not find it a problem. The walk up Great Knoutberry is a pleasant walk of about an hour from the parking place at SD779880 with room for about six cars. The bridleway from this point has been improved in recent years and is much easier under foot. Pick up the path for the summit on your left about half a mile in. The precarious stile in the wall is still there but abandoned in favour of a gate, actually three gates as you have to pass through a gated compound straight away. From here just follow the fence to the summit skirting lots of bog.
The first short climb puts you on Pikes Edge, protected by several large cairns, the largest is unnervingly like a tall man with folded arms who appears to watch your every move and comes as quite a surprise in mist! Viewed close up he is just a pile of stones. Just before the top of Pikes Edge there is a small patch of green which is in fact bog, like standing on a large jelly and right in the path which can be a little disconcerting. There was a strong cold wind on the summit so we operated from beside the wall just past the trig point. I (Rob) moaned piteously about how cold my back was and was much derided until I stood up to swap the antenna over when I found that there was a stone missing at the base of the wall directly behind me ushering a jet stream through onto my back. Again the FT817 took exception to the cold and refused to behave on 2m ssb so sorry if you missed us. It is perfect under normal temperatures but when very cold, on VHF SSB it seems ok until you actually press PTT whereupon it remains on full carrier regardless of modulation until the button is released. Needless to say it won’t do this in the warmth of the shack.
Sunday 20th Mar, Fountains Fell.
The forecast was for clearing skies and we made the mistake of believing it. There was driving mist at the start point where the Pennine Way meets the Stainforth to Halton Gill road (room for about four cars). The climb up the nicely graded ramp was reasonable but conditions deteriorated steadily with rising wind pushing thick very wet ”clag” across the summit plateau. We decided that staying about was not an option so elected for VHF only, sorry. The farmer appeared through the gloom on his quad bike and nodded. We managed about ten contacts hand holding the beam and mast; it was just too wet to settle anywhere. The trip back down the ramp was not a lot of fun in the face of the driving rain and we were glad to see the car. As we were getting out of rucksacks etc the farmer, now in his 4x4 stopped, “See you got down ok” he said “It’s b****y rough up there today”,
Sunday 27th Mar, Holm Fell.
What a difference a week makes, a warm sunny day and the super little Holm Fell. Probably the best point of attack for this one is Yew Tree Tarn on the A593 about two miles out of Coniston. There are two possible starting points. First the National Trust car park which nowadays serves their tea shop at Yew Tree Farm and has appropriate charges!(it used to be free) The farm belonged to Beatrix Potter and starred as Hilltop Farm in the recent film, not quite sure what she would make of its current incarnation. The alternative is a lay by beside the tarn itself. There is room for about six cars but the lay by is used as a stop and look spot by motorists so it may be empty one minute and full the next. It is free with no time limits.
There is a circular path round the man made tarn and the path up Holm Fell starts from the mid point of the opposite side so which way round you go is up to you, we prefer the circuit to the north east which can be boggy. Look for the gap (former gate) in the wall and from here the path zigzags quite steeply up the fell and eventually to the side of the beck that descends the fell in a rocky gully. Climb this gully to the grass plateau at its summit, this is a former workers path to the quarries and must have been hard going on a dark wet morning. From here climb the steep track grass on your left to the next level area that lies between the two parallel ridges both with stone cairns. The one on your right is the true summit and there are several short routes to the top, some with little scrambles. Today the hill was just a delight, sunny and warm (no coats) and lots of activity on all bands (7 CW was thin and 10 CW none existent; will have to start carrying a higher HF band). Quite a few summit to summit contacts in the fun day activity, a perfect day out. This hill would be great for a family with active youngsters on a sunny day.
Probably the wrong place to advertise this but if you know anyone, chasers in particular who would like to take part in SOTA but have genuine reasons for not being able to access the database, lack of internet, special needs etc get them in touch with us and we will happily enter things up for them and keep them informed of their position in tables, awards etc. We already do this for a couple of chasers.
Nice to have an E-mail thanking us for slowing down on CW for a slower station, always glad to QRS and must apologise if it sounds a bit ropey as it’s not easy to slow the 817 keyer on a hill in gloves so I just send the characters as slow as possible and leave bigger gaps. Remember only too well the struggle with learning the code and always glad to try and help.
Soon be the Blackpool rally and we’re really looking forward to meeting everyone, please do come and have a chat, we don’t bite honestly.
Take care out there.
Rob and Audrey
CANADA-US SOTA NEWS FOR APRIL 2011 - by Fred K6DGW
Despite some fairly pronounced winter weather over much of North
America, we actually did have a few summit activations in March.
Summiteers appear to be a hardy lot! As usual, I’ve summarized the
longer activation reports here and posted the entire report and any
photos at www.foothill.net/~andreaj/SOTA.htm [SOTA in upper case].
W4/SH-012 [Old Rag Mountain – Chuck, K4QS]: “Old Rag Mountain is
located in Shenandoah National Park and is a popular day hike
destination. There are two approaches to the summit. I chose the shorter
more direct route for the climb which has a couple of technical spots
near the summit. At two points I had to remove my pack, tie it off with
rope, wiggle up through the gaps in the rocks, then drag the pack up
behind me. The return route down the opposite slope has no tricky spots,
but adds about 3.2 Km ~2 mi] of hiking.”
“What a perfect day! Barely a cloud is the sky with a 10AM temp of 9C
~48F] at the trail head. By mid afternoon the temps at the summit
probably reached 15C ~60F]. The equipment for this trip was the ATS4a,
Elecraft T1 tuner, Buddipole VersaTee Vertical, and an A123 battery.”
“VA2SG was first in the log. Thanks to JP’s spot on SOTA Watch things
came to life right away with several European stations making the log. I
emailed Adrian, N6VDR, beforehand and we were hoping to make a S2S QSO.
I could hear him, called several times, but he did not hear me. My
disappointment in not making the S2S was offset by the mini European
pile up. When 20M slowed down, I dropped down to 40M, but didn’t scare
up a single QSO. Watching my drinking water supply dwindle, I decided it
was time to pack up and head down.”
“I could have enjoyed the same sunshine at home on the back deck, but
somehow sitting on the summit, I felt as if was stealing the suns rays
and getting away with it. Using a rig that I built vs an out of the box
store-bought rig, I felt as if I was stealing the QSO’s too!”
And while VA2SG is fresh in my mind, JP reports no March activations in
Quebec. The “Mike and Ron Team” were at it again from the W5
Association. Mike’s report always reads like an adventure story, this
is an abridged summary, be sure to visit their adventure in full at the
W5/SC-005 [Benson Ridge – Mike KD9KC/Ron WT5RZ]: "Knowing the trip was
mostly driving and the final hike was only a few hundred yards, we took
our families along and made a picnic day of it. My XYL Moni-N5NHC came,
Ron brought his wife Alma and his daughter Aileen. Unlike W5/SC-006 at
2,955 m [9,695 ft] which we did in Feb right after a heavy snowfall,
today was a much better day, about 2 1/2 hours from El Paso TX.
We arrived at the parking area at about 1100 (1700 UTC) and began
unpacking the equipment, BBQ grill, chairs, tables, coolers and other
comforts. This is a nice summit to activate as the vehicle parking area
is only a few hundred meters away from the summit which is in pine trees
with a small clearing at the top. This was the first outing we could
fly the W5-SOTA flag.
I fired up my FT-817 to start making contacts and I discovered my 5 ah
SLAB (Sealed Lead Acid Battery) was totally dead. Not even a spark when
I shorted my knife blade to it. “Huh – I took it off the
trickle-charger just before leaving El Paso.” The internal battery in
the FT-817 was also weak. I rarely use it, but I got on 10m SSB and
worked FM4NB and then the internal battery died.
Ron had a spare he hadn’t charged in awhile so I put mine on the car
battery, and managed two SSB Q’s on 20 before Ron’s died. I discovered
my SLAB was not only dead, it wouldn’t charge at all. After some
anxious trouble shooting and pondering, I finally realized the vehicle
battery would power my rig just fine. I had a good run on 17m, several
of which spotted me which was great as phone coverage from the summit
was very spotty. W8JK [FT-817] and I backed down our power and were
still Q5 at 0.5 watts – 4,082 km/watt!
No takers on 6m, but got Chile, Argentina, and Hawaii on 10m, and 9
QSO’s on 12m and now had 23 in the log. Two more followed on 15m for a
total of 25 Ron had 7 at that point, so we started looking at what
might be the problem and found he was consistently 2 to 4 S-units below
my reports. We’ve got some investigation to do there. It was a great
activation, and of course, our wives lost no time telling us how crazy
we were in Feb to have hiked through all that snow. I checked my logs
at home and found 73 activation points!"
Mike is the W5 Association Manager and for those unfamiliar with NA
geography, many of the mountains in New Mexico top 3,000 meters, so I’m
sure we’ll see more from the Mike and Ron Team.
Todd, KH2TJ, reports: “Just got back from Guam. Spent about 35 days
out there this time soaking in the sun. Did a little hiking and
climbing while out there. I’ve uploaded a few videos on my youtube
channel : http://www.youtube.com/user/KH2TJ?feature=mhsn "
"I climbed Guam’s highest peak, Mt Lam Lam, which some say is the
highest peak in the world when they include the Marianas Trench. The
Trench goes to 35K + deep and is the worlds deepest ocean trench. I had
to look all this up on google as I thought I was having my leg pulled
by one of the locals! I’ve been thinking of getting together with Steve
or Guy and getting some help in getting Guam included in SOTA Problem
is, I only go out there once every couple of years.”
Wow Todd, maybe we could get you installed as the manager for the new
Oceania Association! Chuck, K4QS, emailed me with the following:
“Besides the W4/SH-012 activation, I made a SOTA activation of another
sort. I gave a presentation to the local ham club in Fredericksburg, VA
on SOTA. I prepared a short power point presentation, borrowing a few
pictures from the web site and videos from Youtube, giving an overview
of SOTA and how to participate. I followed up with the contents of my
backpack for show and tell. Logs from my first two activations were
circulated around the room to show the capabilities of a portable QRP
station. It was well received and seemed to generate some interest and
enthusiasm. Seeing the reaction of some in the room was as much fun as
an activation itself.”
“I have some time off from work in the last half of April and first half
of May. Look for an activation or two during that time frame. I’m not
sure where yet, but with only 2 of the 542 summits in VA activated I
should be able to find something new.”
I’ve also given two presentations on SOTA to local clubs which seem to
be generating interest. Everyone seems to know about IOTA, SOTA is
still a “sleeper.”
West coast weather has been truly awful, however the snow pack in the
Sierra Nevada is close to 150% of a normal year [and we still have some
winter to go], so we’ll have plenty of water this summer. If it ever
breaks, I’ve got a few folks from the Northern California Contest Club
itching to do some W6/CC activations. It turns out that Bob, K6XX,
actually owns [and lives on] the summit of Ben Lomond Mt and Stuart said
he’d get it on the list at the regular W6 ARM update.
With the sun finally cranking up nicely, NA<–>EU QSO’s with QRP should
be increasing. OK, that’s not only “all the news that’s fit to print,”
it’s also “all the news.”
CW REPORT FOR MARCH 2011 - by Roy G4SSH
SOTA CW activity steadily increased during the month of March, assisted by the welcome sound of eight newcomers, heard activating for the first time and many CW cross-border activations, especially at weekends.
There were also many expeditions during the month where regular activators were heard from 3 or 4 different summits in one day, to the delight of chasers.
Propagation began to show the usual seasonal improvement and there were a few activators attempting the higher bands of 14 MHz and above.
My apologies if anyone is omitted from the listings below, but I was on holiday in Cyprus for the last 10 days of the month with no access to SOTA Watch.
Heard active above 40m were:-
28 MHz: HG4UK
21 MHz: F5UKL, HG4UK, EA2EA, HA5VR,
18 MHz: F5UKL, DK1BN,
GM0UDL, MM0ROV, MW0IDX, M1EYP, M0GIA,
KI6J, K4QS, NE1SJ, N6VDR
OE5EEP, OE6WIG, OE/DL4CW, OE8GBK,
DL/LX1NO, DR44WFF, DK1HW, DL/OE5DIN, DL4CW
F5UKL, F/HB9AFI, F/HA5CQZ
GM0UDL, MW0IDX, G4ASA,
HA7UL HG4UK, HA5VR,
HB9AFI, HG4UK, HB9DGV, HB9CKV, HB9BAB,
OE/DL4CW, OE5EEP, OE8GBK,
OK1EQ, OK1DPX, OK1XVZ,
S57XX, S59UAR, S53X,
Also thanks to the stalwarts who enthusiastically continue to activate on 80 and 160m:-
3.5 MHz GX0OOO, OK9HAG
1.8 MHz GX0OOO
A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers, heard activating SOTA’s for the first time on CW during July:- Sake PA0SKP, Andreas DL1DUS, HA7VY, Tom DJ5RE
Peter DL6CGC, Dan OK1DIG, Tom OK1DXD, Stefan DL9TX, Bernd DK1DU,
Heard active on expeditions outside their own countries were:
DL/LX1NO, DL/HB9BAB, DL/HB9AGO, F/HB9AFI, ON/DL8YR, EA8/DF3MC, F/HA5CQZ, OE/DL4CW, DL/OE5DIN, IV3/S53X, SP/OK1TGI, DL/HB9BAB, S5/OE6WIG
CONTESTS DURING APRIL 2011
The following scheduled contests are expected to cause severe QRM to SOTA activity, especially on the 40m band. Activators should plan accordingly with alternate spots/bands. This is not a complete list of contests.
2nd – 3rd 1500-1500 SP CW/SSB DX Contest
2nd – 3rd 1600-1600 EA RTTY Contest
10th only 0001-2359 SKCC CW Contest
11th only 0900-1100 DIG 40m CW QSO Party
23rd -24th 1200-1200 SP RTTY Contest
23rd -24th 1300-1300 Helvetia Contest CW/SSB/Digi
SOTA News is normally published around noon UTC on the last day of each month and can only be as interesting as the items submitted. If you think your particular field of interest is not being covered then please submit an article by the 25th of the month. Have you a favourite SOTA? favourite mode? favourite rig, antenna, or favourite band? How did you find your first day / month / year as an activator or chaser? Your comments and experiences will be read by SOTA enthusiasts all across Europe and beyond, in a total of 24 different countries. Your input will be most welcome.
SOTA News Editor