Sota news april 2013



Welcome to the April 2013 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Tom M1EYP, Allen VK3HRA, Paul HB9DST, Peter ON4UP, Marcin SQ9OZM, Klaus DF2GN, Skip KD6DGW, Rob & Audrey G4RQJ, Kevin G0NUP, Mark G0VOF.

SOTA AWARDS FOR MARCH 2013 - by Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

March has been another busy month for Awards with claims for trophies and certificates coming in regularly. Particular note is Chaser award 75k for Roy G4SSH who continues to lead the tables but is being pursued closely by quite a few others; will he get to 100k before being overtaken? The tradition of the last Mountain Goat in North America purchasing the trophy for the newest NA Goat continues so congratulations to Alan, NM5S, on his trophy and a warning to him to start saving because there are others close behind. The progress through the summit to summit awards continues with both Michael 2E0YYY, and Elliott, K6ILM, now holding the Bronze award but it is good to see that OK1DVM and MW0IML are now holders of the entry certificate. Finally congratulations to the various new Shack Sloths: VK3PF, VE7CV, 2E0CTW and G3WFK; you all know how addictive SOTA is!


Mountain Goat
NM5S Alan Shapiro

Shack Sloth
VK3PF Peter L. Freeman
VE7CV Peter Pel
2E0CTW Jonathan Hobbs

Certificates claimed

OK1NF Jan Kraus 500 Points
SQ9OZM Marcin Bajer 250 Points
MW0PJJ Philip Jones 100 Points
HB9TVK Peter Kohler 100 Points
G3WFK John Elliott 100 Points
S52CU Mirko Curk 100 Points

G4SSH Roy Clayton 75000 Points
IK3GER Paolo Corsetti 20000 Points
N4EX Rich Homolya 15000 Points
S52CU Mirko Curk 5000 Points
VK3PF Peter L. Freeman 1000 Points
G3WFK John Elliott 1000 Points
VK1NAM Andrew Moseley 250 Points
M6RGF Russ Gott 250 Points
SV2OXS Christos Tzioutzias 250 Points
GW4VPX Allan Jones 250 Points
KA5WRG Duane Angles 100 Points
SV2OXS Christos Tzioutzias 100 Points
SO9ARK Jakub Bajer 100 Points
M3CJC Colin Conway 100 Points
EA5HRE Jose Manuel 100 Points

Chaser Unique
G6ODU Robert Gum-Wah Leong 1500 Summits
G4ISJ Peter Martin 500 Summits
G3WFK John Elliott 250 Summits
VK3PF Peter L Freeman 100 Summits

Mountain Hunter
KA5WRG Duane Angles - Bronze
DL1ASA Thomas Marek - Bronze
G3WFK John Elliott - Bronze
GW4VPX Allan Jones - Bronze
SV2OXS Christos Tzioutzias - Bronze

Summit to Summit
2E0YYY Michael Hunter - Bronze
K6ILM Elliott Pisor - Bronze
2E0YYY Michael Hunter - Red
OK1DVM Miroslav Vohlidal - Red
MW0IML Barry Vile - Red

10th Anniversary Award
SQ9OZM Marcin Bajer - GW Chaser
SQ9OZM Marcin Bajer - G Chaser
M3ZCB Caroline Blackmun - GD Activator
M1MAJ Martyn Johnson - GD Activator

How much longer before I have to print the first “SOTA Complete” certificate? G1INK is the all time leader but Jack, GM4COX, who first suggested the idea, is really not that far behind. There is a group with over 200 “completed” summits who could easily be the holder of certificate number one. The design is done but we are going to keep it under wraps until there is a chance of a claim!

Tom, M1EYP, will be at the Norbreck rally with a selection of merchandise but if he sells out, or what you specifically want is not available, then I do hold reasonable stocks of all items now – last time I said that I had a run on flags which left me suddenly without stock and nothing on order! I can recommend the mugs as I use one every day and in manages to keep my coffee warm even when I get so engrossed in my work that I forget to drink!

Winter still has a firm grip on Northern Europe and, I believe, the ski resorts are claiming some of the best conditions ever. With many metres of snow comes the continued risk of avalanche and the Scottish peaks have been particularly bad this year. Can I suggest that, if venturing out onto snowy hills, you check the avalanche warning services for your area (they exist is most mountainous areas in Europe) and help prevent becoming another statistic. So far this year there have been 13 fatalities on the Scottish hills and many of those were “experienced” walkers, it takes a lot of courage to turn back and abandon the walk but the hills won’t be going anywhere and you can always return. Looking out from the house, the Cairngorms are well covered in snow, the sky is blue and barometric pressure is high, perfect conditions for a SOTA activation.

Finally may I thank the various individuals who have made donations towards the costs of running SOTA, you know who you are. Your assistance is much appreciated.

Please be safe,


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

SOTA News also congratulates:-

  • S52ZG Janez, on passing the 70,000 chaser points milestone.

  • M3XIE Dave on passing his 4000 chaser points milestone.

SOTA AT BLACKPOOL - Sunday 7th April 2013

As usual, Summits on the Air will be exhibiting at the NARSA amateur radio show, at Norbeck Castle, North Shore, Blackpool. The date is Sunday 7th April 2013, and the show opens at 10.30am (10.15am for those with disabilities).

The usual core team of Rob G4RQJ, Audrey, Jimmy M0HGY, Tom M1EYP, Brian G4ZRP and Andy MM0FMF will prepare and staff the stand, but as ever, there will be room for volunteer SOTA participants to ‘do a stint’ towards the middle and later stages of the show in order to allow the original team opportunity to have a look around.

The main aim of the SOTA stand is to provide a focal point for a “meet and greet” for all the SOTA activators, chasers and SWL’s, and big crowds around the display has become the norm each year in the first two hours of the exhibition. We will also have comprehensive displays of awards, photos and activating equipment, as well as a knowledgeable team able to answer questions from prospective new participants to regular activators.

There will be a running 2m station on the stand just in case the weather improves sufficiently to allow any VHF SOTA activations in the area, and we will have SOTAwatch Spots running live as well. There will of course be Audrey’s famous SOTA cakes and nibbles, Rob & Audrey’s quizzes, and of course the visitors’ book which, we urge all visitors to the stand to sign.

Finally, we will have a new stock of SOTA merchandise, including shirts, stickers, badges, flags and the fantastic new SOTA travel mugs. Please do make a point of spending a few minutes (or a lot longer if you like) at the SOTA stand. The SOTA team looks forward to seeing you there.



Older people who walk regularly are less likely to die prematurely. In a report just released, researchers from the National Institute of Health in Rome examined a group of elderly people for 10 years, during which time 63 percent died. Survival was the highest for those who regularly walked in the open air.

After taking into account other factors, such as age and weight, the walkers’ risk was cut by 47 percent.

The researchers say that walking boosts cardiovascular health and strengthens muscles which can also help to prevent falls.


On Saturday March 23, HB9SOTA – the Swiss SOTA Association – held its
2013 annual meeting. It was held at the Restaurant Traube in the town of
Kuettigen in north-central Switzerland.

The business meeting took two hours, and it included the election of
several new officers to replace some who have been in place for many
years and are ready to turn the reins over to new blood. We also got a
quick update on the upcoming minor revision to the ARM document as part
of the ongoing review process and in response to member feedback.

Sincere thanks to the existing officers – President (and webmaster)
Edwin HB9ZAP, VP/Administration Fred HB9AAQ, Mountain Manager Guido
HB9TNF, and Auditor Hansruedi HB9BHW – for all their efforts in helping
HB9SOTA thrive.

Two members (Peter HB9TVK and Paul HB9DST) had in advance discussed the
possibility of a nearby SOTA activation following lunch. As the two of
us were getting ready to leave, several other members asked if they
could join in. Our attitude was “the more the merrier!”. So addition to
the two original perpetrators, we were joined by Hugo HB9AFH, Jürg
HB9BIN and Hans HB9BQU. We car-pooled for roughly 10 or 15 minutes,
followed by a hike of roughly half an hour (nothing terribly steep but
quite muddy in spots) and set up on Wuerz, HB/AG-011. The weather was
chilly and overcast but fortunately no rain. We had four stations (three
HF, one 2m) sometimes all running at the same time using a variety of
rigs and antennas including an AlexLoop. EndFedz dipole and a vertical.
It was fun comparing notes in person about the pros and cons of our
equipment. We had good pile-ups on HF, and even though Hans had some
difficulty he finally did get 5 QSO’s on 2m – that frequency is not yet
very popular for SOTA in HB9-Land. Thus, we all managed to get our
activator point for the day. Then we walk back to the cars, said our
farewells and headed in our respective directions.

It was a very pleasant experience, and I think all would agree that we
look forward to more group activations in the future.

A selection of photos from this activation are on HB9TVK’s SOTA blog at
HB/AG-011 Würz – 801m, 1 point | HB9TVK SOTA.

Paul, HB9DST / AA1MI

On Monday 1 April, the Belgian SOTA promo team (Walter ON7PX, Franz ON9CBQ & Peter ON4UP) will be present on one of the biggest ham fairs of Belgium. We will participate with a real SOTA stand and give presentations regarding SOTA during the fair.

The Belgian association proudly announces version 5 of the ARM. The biggest change is the addition of a NEW summit!

ON/ON-028 “Noordelijke terril Waterschei” is a former slag heap which is 195m high. The location is 51 00 44 N / 5 32 32 E. Without any doubt, this is the most beautiful SOTA summit of Belgium: a magnificent 360 view is waiting for you! However, this summit should not be underestimated; good foot work is necessary during the ascent and even more while descending the summit.

Peter - ON4UP

Hello Roy,

I have been an avid reader of SOTA NEWS since I started with SOTA a year and a half ago. From day one I was secretly hoping that someone would send you some SOTA news from Poland so that I could read about happenings in my home association. Well, as it seems that there is nobody else going to step up and work as SOTA reporter in Poland, so I have decided to give it a try myself.

You will find below my first feeble attempt at journalism writing. Please have a look and decide if it is worth sharing with regular people. Note that there are at least 97 grammar and punctuation errors, but my English is far from perfect, as I do not use it much aside from occasional SOTA activation on HF.

Best regards,
Marcin SQ9OZM


April 1st 2013 marks the 5th anniversary of incorporating the SOTA SP Association, so I am taking this opportunity to share information on the status of the SOTA Programme in Poland.

With 222 summits in 15 regions, SP is one of the smaller associations in the SOTA universe. However, there is constant growth in the number of HAM’s participating in SOTA here; currently there are 69 chasers and 44 activators. So far, 11 Polish chasers have achieved Slothdom, but we haven’t domesticated a SOTA Goat yet.

The number of SOTA summits has remained stable over the years, but there’s a pending ARM update which will add one new mountain and correct the coordinates of some of the other hills, so that they can be more easily found.

As of this day, there are still 57 summits waiting for their first activator and there is even an entire region (SP/BW) without single activation. So if anyone fancies taking SOTA virginity from some hills, consider Poland as a destination for your next HAM holiday.

I do not want to bore SOTA News readers with numbers any further. Even if I wanted, I do not have any on hand, other than those I have quoted above. Instead I will share what I consider to be highlights of recent SOTA activities in my homeland:

Bartek SQ9OJN is well on his way to become first SOTA Goat in SP with over 800 activator points, all on VHF FM (which is, by the way, the most popular activation mode here). He started the quest on May 22nd 2011 so it is quite likely he might complete this goal within 2 years.

Rafal SQ9KDP and Slawek SQ9ORC specialize in joint activations under the cover of darkness, which are usually followed by a barbecue and sometimes an overnight stay on the summit. Their operations have become quite popular among the wildlife of the SP/BZ region, with wild boars trying to join the party on two summits. I was quite surprised to hear animal grunts on the air while chasing SQ9ORC on SP/BZ-042. The boar-made interference also occurred during the activation of SP/BZ-065 on June 23rd, 2012.

Tomek SP9ITP practices ski-touring as the way of travelling to and from winter activations. Back at home he publishes these short movies on Youtube, which I enjoy watching. I think you might like them too. There are no English subtitles, but the soundtracks are well chosen.

SP/BZ-006 Kudlon 2013 - YouTube
SP/BZ-003 & SP/BZ-004 Romanka i Lipowski 2013 - YouTube
SP/BZ-038 Szczebel2012 - YouTube - this one was actually on foot.

There is a bustling online community of Polish SOTA-practicing HAMs. The SOTA SP forum is at There are no English subtitles I am afraid, but if any of you foreigners want to combine your love of SOTA with learning our relatively easy language – this is the site to check out.

The youngest SOTA activator and chaser in SP is currently Jakub SO9ARK. Having started with SOTA in December 2012 he plans to gain 100 activator points before his 11th birthday in August 2013. With only a novice licence he has limited choice of bands to use, but - propagation permitting - you might hear him calling CQ SOTA on 15 or 10 meters someday. If you do, please give him a call. I might be a little biased reporting this, but - full disclosure - this is my son we are talking about.

To celebrate the 5th anniversary of SOTA in Poland, the SOTA SP Association is setting up an award programme, inspired by the 10th anniversary awards of UK associations. The start date is April 1st, 2013 (this is no April’s Fool joke) and you will have one year to fulfil the relatively easy requirements. The award managers are Tomek SQ9OZH and yours truly. The rules - for time being - at this URL:

GitHub - rrrodrigo/5y-SP-SOTA: HAM Award "5th Anniversary of SOTA in Poland" - and we will have a proper website up and running soon.

Best 73 from SP
Marcin SQ9OZM

(Note from editor) Thank you for the first News report from Poland, Marcin. Intending contributors to SOTA News should not worry about spelling or grammar; this will be corrected before publication. There was very few corrections required in your excellent report Marcin. A regular SOTA SP report from you will be most welcome - Roy


Congratulations go out to VK3PF Peter gaining ‘Shack Sloth’ status. Peter who is also an activate activator and heavily involved in the promotion of SOTA gained this award in less that 12 months. This is the first going down under. The ability to work enough activators within such a short time demonstrated the strength of VK SOTA.

Surveys are continuing of VK2, VK9 and VK7. These locations hold some of the most remote and rugged summits available. Plans of DX expeditions are forming.

Activity was reduced at the start of month due to the weather, however activators are taking advantage of the now milder weather and 4 day holiday with several making plans for activations over the Easter period.

VK3WAM Wayne is in the middle of a 10-summit trip through VK1. Barely recovered from a ‘Iron Man’ effort combining John Moyle Field Day with a SOTA activation. Checkout the blog for the list of equipment carried. It appears he took all his toys with him.

2013 John Moyle Field Day « waynemerry.

This was a 10-pointer summit in its own right
2m is gaining support within VK. Previous activation activity was around 40m. This has a lot to do with the distances involved. Recent activity in VK1 and by VK3WAM has demonstrated the capabilities of VHF. The compactness of equipment and increased chaser involvement will support the growth of 2M in VK.
Whilst S2S contacts are the norm now for 40m between associations, there are plans for 2m S2S using SSB and aircraft enhancement between VK1 and VK3. Contacts between VK1 and V3 using this method are not uncommon whoever this will be the first for SOTA.
Regional Round up:-

The VK1 activators have not rested from the launch last month. With management fires restricting access to some of the National parks, summits are being activated multiple instances after work and under the pretence of walking the dogs. The compactness of the association is pushing the use of 2m into SOTA in Australia.

The reduced fire risk and milder weather have allowed remote activations to recommence. The longest travel time award goes to VK3MCD Brian who managed to activate W7A/MN-138 and W6/NC-419 in the US. We welcome VK3ATB Trevor with his first activation.

Despite the hot weather still restricting activity we welcome VK5PAS Paul a long time chaser to the activator ranks with two activations in March. The weather eased up enough to allow VK5CZ Ian to complete a activation. Interest in VK5 is continuing with chaser participation increasing.
There is no indication activity will decreased as we move from the heat of summer to the cold of winter. Plans are already being formulated to take advantage of the seasonal bonus period. The second year of SOTA during winter will prove interesting.

Anyway activators should be up soon so back to the radio.

73 for now,
Allen VK3HRA


It is nice to be back on the SOTA bands again. My aim is to work many different bands and modes in order to work as many chasers as possible. However in the winter months I can’t always do that on every activation Yesterday (27th March) I made contacts using a 41m half wave wire (up15m) and made 77 QSO’s in the first hour, for a final total of 119, which took me more than 2 hours in the cold …brrrrr.

There are also some activations when I operate purely for an antenna test; these are mainly on the higher bands where I do not know if the antenna is working OK -
for example on 30 and 40m. Also sometimes I only want to do tests on 20, 17, and 15m.

At the moment I have no shack, so I use the nearest summits because SOTA is ideal to do antenna tests with reports from all the chasers in many different countries. Another big advantage to me is the recently introduced RBN network.

In addition to my regular activations, I will also do some short tests on higher bands and these will always be on the 3 summits which are close to me where I only have a short distance to walk. These are DM/BW 057 (this is my favourite) BW-156 and BW-228. Note that after some of my antenna tests I don’t always operate on 40m because I sometimes do not have an antenna with me for this band. However, every chaser gets a chance for a QSO because I am more often QRV on the lower bands on these 3 summits, where I often take the opportunity to tune a short whip antenna.

Finally I must apologise for my poor keying at times. If the activations take a long time I have to use gloves and sometimes even a straight key with bigger gloves.

So I have to choose, either nice clean CW with very cold fingers…or poor keying with my gloves on!!!

I hope that it will get warmer before long because I can then stay longer and I can also use two antennas.

Greetings to all

Klaus DF2GN


Hi All,

Here we are at the end of another month, and a good SOTA month it has
been here in North America. My grandparents on Mom’s side came to
Southern California at the beginning of the 30’s from Ohio, having been
sold an “olive orchard,” which didn’t really exist, of course. The
“salesman” had told them that, “Spring begins in February in
California,” and to the day she died, every February 1st, Grandma would
say, “Well, it’s Spring,” and put away her winter clothes.

For 2013, she was right. In fact Spring began here in Northern
California around the beginning of January. Elsewhere on the continent
it definitely has NOT started. The activation reports and photos are
filled with snow, cold, skis, and other not-real-hospitable
circumstances. That, however, did not deter the growing list of NA


Total Activations: 152 [175]
Nr Unique Activators: 60 [51]
Total Chaser QSOs: 2734 [2337]
Nr Unique Chasers: 133 [120]
Total Summits Activated: 151 [170]
Unique Summits: 111 [111]

2m: 36 (1%) [15]
6m: 0 (0%) [0]
10m: 13 (0%) [12]
12m: 11 (0%) [1]
15m: 107 (3%) [83]
17m: 125 (4%) [112]
20m: 1719 (62%) [1603]
30m: 290 (10%) [164]
40m: 422 (15%) [340]
60m: 9 (0%) [5]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 1 (0%) [1]
Unk: 1

CW: 2043 (74%) [1449]
SSB: 654 (23%) [869]
FM: 36 (1%) [17]
AM: 0 (0%) [1]
Data: 0 (0%) [0]
Other: 0 (0%) [1]
Unk: 1

30 and 40 meter usage is slowly climbing which is good for the closer
activations, and the CW/SSB ratio is back up a bit. Number of unique
activators is again up, as is the number of chaser QSO’s.


We’ll start with the Summit-to-Summit Honour Roll where we find Elliott,
K6ILM, at the top of all SOTA Associations!! 148 S2S QSO’s for 768
points. Way to go, Elliott!

At the #3 slot we find Dan, WO6M, and in fact, 5 of the top 10 in S2S
are North Americans … K6ILM, WO6M, NM5S, KE5AKL, and K7ATN. KT5X
occupies the 11th position and W4TZM is at #15. Congratulations all!

Alan, NM5S, achieved Mountain Goat status this month. Fred, KT5X,
summarized it fairly succinctly:

"It means that Alan has

  • ascended more than 100 peaks
  • most of which are over 10,000 ft in elevation
  • most involve bushwacking, in other words, without trails and
    certainly not roads
  • and typically vary between 1,000 feet and 2,500 feet of climbing
  • such that if you multiply 100 ascents times an average of 1,500 feet
    of climbing per ascent, we’re talking over 150,000 feet of ascents
  • in air that is typically 30% less oxygen density than below 5,000

Congratulations Alan!

Phil, NS7P, is currently chasing at the 11,000 point level and is
awaiting his Shack Sloth Unique Summits trophy.

Joe, AE7LD reports: “On March 9, I completed activating summits in five
(5) Associations by activating Kennesaw Mountain (WG4/CE-001) in
Georgia. Regrettably, I only made four contacts on Kennesaw Mountain
because I was having some technical problems with my radio. I also
needed to get to a wedding, so the four contacts were going to have to
be it. I have activated summits in Oregon, Washington, Idaho and
Nevada. Georgia makes the fifth Association.” Nice going Joe!

I hope I got everyone this time, I try and save news of new awards and
achievements as they come through my inbox, but I fear one occasionally
falls through the cracks, so please email me directly.


TSPOTA: While not directly SOTA-related, Bruce, N7RR, advises: "A
well-designed contest called “Texas State Parks On The Air” (TSPOTA)
is scheduled for the weekend of April 6 & 7. See: is for sale | HugeDomains for details. The contest encourages Texas
hams to breathe spring air from 99 State Parks, Natural Areas and
Historic Sites and play radio at the same time. The exchange does not
include any signal reports. Hams can participate from anywhere in the
world. I’ll try to climb a Washington State SOTA summit and work the
Texans from there."

With “QRP To The Field” embracing SOTA last year, we got a taste of the
variety of radio “things” you can couple up with SOTA. If I can
possibly make it, I’m planning on this year’s Flight of the Bumblebees
from a summit. It’ll also get me away from my 40 meter noise level.

SOTA Makes ARRL Contest Update: Dave, N7LKL, has a photo of himself
sitting on a tarp in the snow on Larch Mountain WA taken by Etienne,
K7ATN in the latest edition of the “ARRL Contest Update.”

W7U - Utah Association: Guy, N7UN, reports that follow-up work on the
Utah Association has been ongoing and that when completed, we will have
27 Associations in North America with 30,383 peaks. So, let’s not hear
anyone saying “I can’t find a summit to activate!”

REPORTS: The “Featured Report” this month comes from Curtis, KC5CW, and
clearly confirms what we’ve all known … SOTA is addictive! I’ve
summarized his report a little for length, and so everyone knows, this
activation takes place on a business trip from the east coast to Silicon
Valley, he and Elliott, K6ILM, activated W6/NC-209 together.

“First of all, I couldn’t have made it without the help of Elliott
K6Industrial Light & Magic who gave me directions and got my audio to
work on my KX3 after setting up.”

“Left DFW airport and lucked out with an aisle seat next to a block they
put in the middle seat so extra elbow room yeah! Not sure what that was
there for… it looked like a drink carrier? oh well.”

“I’ve got 4hrs to kill so what do I do? I pull out my KX3, my iPhone,
put an earbud from the kx3 in one ear and a headset plugged into my
iPhone over both ears and start practicing pounding out code using my
kx3 paddle while I listen to my ARRL Intro to Morse code instructor…
Do people look at me? Yes. Does the Air Steward [or whatever they’re
called now days] stare at my KX3 as he walks by with the drink cart?
Yes. Does the stewardess that offers me a drink ask, 'What is that?
Yes, and I tell her about how cool Morse code can be, in both radio and
even some hospital patients with severe limited use of their bodies can
communicate with Morse code. She was very interested.”

“Plane lands [that would be at San Francisco International], I’m near
the front and didn’t check any bags so off I go to the rental car
company. I get a free upgrade to a Prius - now I have found something
that might just be the first thing I’ve come across lately that has more
technology than my KX3… After figuring out the blast off procedure and
got used to the ‘fake engine sound’. I read Elliott’s directions and
headed out.”

“I found the turn off to the lookout parking lot. 100 yd walk to the
forest service gated road up to the summit. I round the bend and the
distinct dit dit dit dah dit dit dah dah was in full effect. K6ILM
was quickly working through a group just prior to 0000z so the chasers
could get one point on the day prior to 0000z and then work him again
after the clock chimed midnight in Zulu land for another point :)”

I tied my sinker to the end of my EFHW antenna wire, round and round it
goes and I slung it up into a large tree, coax into the 9:1 unun to
another tree I could throw the coax into… Hooked up, Elliott kindly
offered his seat… plug in - turn on - NOOOOO I’m getting
feedback/garble/trash in my ears from my monitor. Elliott tunes to my
freq and is just getting a carrier from me, no modulation. This has
happened before."

“Elliott had already spotted me so I was trying to get on quickly, he
suggested he move me to his antenna/tuner. After tuning up I quickly
got my favourite NA SOTA member KD9KC, hearing him LOUD 5x5 on his sweet
Yaesu rig and apparently I was heard fairly well with a 4x4.”

Thanks Curtis, that is REAL SOTA dedication! While still employed, I
was doing 250,000 miles a year on business travel, often to the east
coast. Activating a summit upon arrival after 4 1/2 hours on the
airplane would have been the absolute farthest thing from my mind, had
SOTA existed then.

Thanks to all of my Reporters.


Skip K6DGW
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude


How do you report a month like this one! Start at the beginning, so Sunday 3rd and off to attack The Mells. These two 2 pointers are the nearest thing in LD to the “famous five “in the Welsh Borders. Unfortunately for us they are at the wrong end of the county and involve a trip over Kirkstone Pass, often closed by bad weather. Today the snow has melted and the trip over straightforward.

Little Mell is a simple climb from the high point of a minor road at NY424235. After the initial plod through 50 odd yards of mud the climb is a relentless steep plod on grass about twenty five minutes up and ten minutes down for us. The top has a trig but very little shelter and usually windblown, today is no exception. In the interest of getting both hills done we elect to do VHF only from this one so apologies to any HF chasers. It is not an easy fell on vhf either which does not help. Back at the car, a quick “sarnie” (saves carrying them) and off to Great Mell, about ten minutes drive. Start from NY406246, room for a few cars, walk up the track to the second stile and then follow the fence on your left until an obvious steep muddy path climbs the fell on your right. Plod on up forever, keeping to the left of the woodland and across a grassy moor to reach the summit, no trig just a small pile of stones and of course little shelter, make the most of the scrubby grass and the slight slope. A full run of frequencies from this one and as usual we stay a little too long and are very cold as we set off down.

The next Sunday the forecast is for very high winds in the fells making walking impossible and we decide not to test the theory. As we get older we start to realise that one bad fall and a break and it’s goodbye hills so we have to take a little more care.
Sunday 17th and we avoid the high fells as the weather is still so poor and just climb Hutton Roof Crags a nice little low one which we will probably do several times more during the year. Today there is 4 inches of snow on the ground but it is thawing and the path is slowly turning to mud. We manage a three hour activation which is as much as is practical and descend through the thickening mud.

Friday 22nd and the county together with much of the country is hit by snow. This is very patchy but accompanied by savage cold easterly gales which piles up 15 ft drifts.

We look at the MWIS forecast for -7c with wind chill to -22 and decide to stay in the warm. The snow is particularly bad in the very west of the county and as I write a week later is still blocking several of the high passes. The farm at the northern cattle grid on the Corney Fell Road, no great height and where you usually breathe a sigh of relief that the crossing from the south is over, was cut off until yesterday Thu 28th. Worse still is the loss of stock, much of it newborn lambs and mothers, one farmer close to Kirby Moor, again no great height reporting 60 plus dead. Much of this snow is still lying on the higher tops and there is a real avalanche danger in LD over this Easter weekend. Another warning for the weekend visitor is to be very careful of your dogs behaviour on the hills as sheep worrying is a very real problem at the moment.

Farmers are finding ewes still alive with half their faces torn away still trying to suckle lambs. A dog running in a field can spread lambs from their mothers and they die trying to find them again. One farm reports finding over 60 dead this way. Enough doom and gloom, do come and enjoy yourselves but be aware of possible hazards.

There has been a big drop in chasing activities from the home QTH of late. This is due to QRM on an industrial scale from a close neighbours TV, S9+10 on most HF bands. In the absence of a cure at source we have turned to trying to eliminate it with an RF noise cancellation device. We were very sceptical about this but knocked one up for under £10, less if you don’t have to pay postage on everything and the results so far are very encouraging with signals popping up out of a band totally wiped out by noise. In use it is rather like driving an old reaction TRF and the null is really deep and sharp. Indeed a slight rebuild is in progress to put a slow motion drive on the tuning capacitor but it does look worth pursuing if you suffer from this type of problem. It is at its best when the noise is local and a lot of chasers complain of this at their QTH. The link for this device is

Last thought for this month and the local conditions. Lady walker at Audreys fitness club “we were out yesterday on a really big hill, it was really exhilarating. The snow was chest deep, we had to call Mountain Rescue to get us down, I just love the hills, and we’re off out again tomorrow”. Bet Mountain Rescue will love you for that!

Happy Easter, see you all in Blackpool.

Take care out there

73 Rob and Audrey


Hello everyone & welcome to this month’s edition of SOTA on Top Band.

Activity on Top band dropped off a little during March & with the un-seasonal weather here in the UK, activations on all bands seemed to be adversely affected.

Before I report on March activity I will return to the last day of February & Top Band activations that were still to take place when last moths report was published.

On the Thursday 28th February John G4YSS, using the Scarborough Special events group callsign GX0OOO/P planned a two or three summit trip to the Northern Pennines, with the particular three to be determined on the day from a list of six.

John had alerted for 0830z which would give me time to listen for him before heading off to work. Just after getting out of the shower I heard some V’s at around 0800z on Johns normal QRG of 1832KHz followed shortly after by CQ SOTA de GX0OOO/P. I answered him using 100 Watts into my 80m horizontal loop & received a 589 report, with John being 579 to me. After determining that he was on G/NP-009 Buckden Pike I asked him which other summits he had planned. This is not something I am used to doing on CW so I am glad John understood my clumsy long-hand way of asking him Hi!

I spotted John with the additional information that he would be activating G/NP-016 Dodd Fell Hill later. I know many users of Sotawatch now prefer the condensed view of Spots, but I still prefer the full view, as information in the comments can be very useful. Of course the comments can be viewed in the condensed view by hovering your cursor over the relevant spot, although this can sometimes be awkward, especially on mobile devices.

After 4 QSO’s on CW, John gave SSB a try & was rewarded with a good tally of 6 QSO’s despite the Sun being very much above the horizon by this time.

John’s second activation of G/NP-016 Dodd Fell Hill took place just after noon & as expected conditions on 160m were quite poor with only Phil G4OBK making it into the log.

John’s third summit was G/NP-031 Birks Fell which he activated in the late afternoon, leaving 160m until last. I was fortunate enough to be able to make it home in time to work John on Top Band, although this time I struggled with much worse local noise & only managed to work John using CW. SSB was tried though & after 8 QSO’s using CW, a further 6 QSO’s were made using SSB. By the end of the activation the Sun had set & John made his descent in total darkness.

John once again provided a detailed activation report, which can be found here:

Also out on the 28th February was Ricky MW6GWR/P activating his local summit GW/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn. Ricky made one QSO using SSB & although he did make a summit to summit with John GX0OOO/P this was made using 40m SSB.

Well done Ricky.

Into march & the first activator on the band was Carolyn G6WRW/P who tried 160m during an activation of G/CE-003 Bredon Hill on 2nd March. Despite a self spot for 1845KHz SSB no QSO’s were made on the band.

Next up, later on the 2nd was Wolf DK1HW/P during an overnight stay on DM/NS-123 Reinekensiekskopf. Wolf had a successful activation on Top Band making a total of 5 QSO’s using CW on the evening of the 2nd, although the following morning no QSO’s on the band were made despite a self spot.

The final activator to use 160m was Dan OK1DIG/P on 6th March when he made one QSO on the band using CW from OK/ST-098 Benátský vrch.

So a quiet month for Top Band & with daylight hours in the northern hemisphere getting longer, opportunities to activate on 160m with good conditions become limited.

Thanks to all activators who used Top Band this month!
At the time of writing, those were the only Top band activations during March that I am aware of, if I have missed any others please let me know.

On the 2nd March, Wolf DK1HW/P activated DM/NS-123 Reinekensiekskopf 5 QSO’s using CW.

On the 2nd March, Ricky MW6GWR/P activated GW/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn & made 1 QSO using SSB.

On the 6th March, Dan OK1DIG/P activated OK/ST-098 Benátský vrch & made 1 QSO using CW.

As always, If you do have any suggestions on things that you think should be included, or if you wish to contribute tips, ideas or anything else that you think may help others on the band please email them to me at

Until next month,

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF


For most activators Winter Bonus effectively ended on the last weekend, 9-10th March with in excess of 200 spots displayed on SOTA Watch. The following days saw gales and blizzard conditions spreading over continental Europe and the UK, resulting in the closing of the channel tunnel with widespread disruption to travel. I was caught up in this disruption myself, sitting at the end of the runway at Manchester Airport in a snowstorm on the 11th, whilst on my regular visits to see my daughter in Cornwall. Fortunately the snow only lasted about 30 minutes but the descent into Newquay airport in a 50 mph gale in a twin turbo-prop aircraft gave a whole new meaning to a white-knuckle ride.

As a result of the weather SOTA CW activity remained at a low level for the remainder of the month.

Lutz DJ3AX was on tour in the DM/TH district, during the first week in March, with Peter DK2RMP, on SSB. Lutz was heard running a test of split working on the morning of the 5th following which he carried out a very successful activation of DM/TH-832 whilst listening 1 up.

Dino I1YDT activated two summits in the Italian Piemonte region on the 28th & 29th.

It was a pleasure to hear so many activators starting on 28 MHz, then dropping down bands 24, 21, 18, 10 and finally 7 MHz which is the most efficient procedure, working chasers according to propagation, so ensuing that the majority of chasers have been worked and there is no great pile up on 7 MHz. If an activator starts on 7 MHz first then there is a pile up of chasers who cannot risk not hearing the activator on the higher bands. DL, OK and F activators in particular were using this most efficient method to ensure that all chasers were catered for.

Klaus DF2GN continued his popular every band every mode procedure and was heard working by number on BW-195 on the 8th. A unique feature of Klaus’s CW operating procedure is the fact that when he has exhausted all chasers down to noise level, he always closes on the band with a few CQ SOTA QRS calls at about 12 wpm, which is an excellent time for a CW newcomer to make a contact,

It was a great pleasure to hear my friend Fritz HB9CSA / DL4FDM returning to SOTA activating during the month. Welcome back Fritz.

Congratulations to Sake DL/PA0SKP (CW) and Hans DL/PA3FYG (SSB) who activated 13 summits in 3 days, which included 6 summits in one day, on the 29th March.

The wide band multi-tone transmission that uses 7032 KHz about once every two months commenced on the morning of the 25th. The transmission spread from 7030 to 7033 KHz and made SOTA activations (especially QRP) very difficult to read across most of Europe. This transmission normally lasts for 3 days before QSY’ing but continued until the morning of the 30th. IARU R1 monitoring reports that this transmission is located at Kaliningrad.

Extracts from the Data Base compiled by Kevin G0NUP (As of 20/03/13)


Mode: CW on 10MHz:


Mode: CW on 14MHz:


Mode: CW on 18MHz:


Mode: CW on 21MHz:


Mode: CW on 24MHz:


Mode: CW on 28MHz:



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.

6th - 7th 1500-1500 SP CW/SSB DX Contest
20th -21st 2100-2100 YU DX contest
27th -28th 1200-1200 SP RTTY Contest
27th - 28th 1300-1300 Helvita Contest

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.

I receive many e-mails during the month containing details of activations, milestones reached and general SOTA news. Unless advised otherwise I will use this information in the next edition of SOTA News. It is important therefore that you advise me if any information is not intended for publication


SOTA News Editor

U.S. and Canadian reports to:-
Fred K6DGW [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Auburn CA

Australian input to:-
Allen VK3HRA
VK Reporter


SOTA News is normally published at noon UTC on the last day of the month. The May edition would therefore be published on Tuesday 30th April.

However, some key members of the SOTA News team are away on an early May-day holiday and do not return until after the holiday weekend 5th-7th May.

The May edition of SOTA News will therefore be delayed by approximately one week. The deadline for contributions is extended until Friday 2nd May and I will publish as soon as possible after that date.

I will be unable to acknowledge receipt of contributions prior to publication for this issue.

SOTA News Editor

In reply to G4SSH:

Many tnx dear Roy and news-team for the excellent news.
Vy best wishes es 73 de Fritz HB9CSA, DL4FDM

In reply to G4SSH:
Tks Roy for the exellent way you make the SOTA-news april.
It is a lot of work!
Nice to hear you every time when i activate a summit. Tks.

73, Sake PA0SKP

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks for the FB SOTA news. ( alsways nice to see my own callsign hi hi )

By the way, we were in RP/SR region, BW is a bit to far.

73 de Hans PA3FYG

In reply to PA3FYG:

OK Hans, now corrected
73 Roy

This is for Skip, K6DGW:

Hi Skip,
I’m not sure how you pull your database statistics, but it looks like you missed two of my activations that involved 80m. On 6 MAR 2013 I was on W1/CR-005 and made 2 QSOs on 80m SSB as WA1J. On 28 MAR 2013 I was on W1/CR-006 and made 12 QSOs as K1MAZ. I just wanted to let you know in case your database extraction script is hiccuping somewhere.

Thanks for the news Roy. Due to computer problems at this QTH I have only just read it, but found it enjoyable and interesting as usual.


In reply to G4SSH:
thanks for the news Roy, hope you dont mind, ive copied and pasted it to the facebook group aswell,
Steve m0sgb

In reply to M0SGB:

Well I mind. Ask before you copy please.


In reply to G4SSH:

Time to put my hand up and admit that I goofed!

The SOTA Complete Award has an entry level of 100 Summits and then step levels of 250, 500 and 1000 as I said in my monthly report at the end of January. This means that quite a number of people do qualify already for this award as it is retrospective.

I will put the details of how to claim the award onto the SOTA shopping site in the next few days once I have had a final check of the database filters and the design of the certificate.

Thanks to Martyn, M1MAJ, for pointing out my error.
My apologies!


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

In reply to K1MAZ:

This is for Skip, K6DGW:

Hi Skip,
I’m not sure how you pull your database statistics, but it looks like
you missed two of my activations that involved 80m. On 6 MAR 2013 I
was on W1/CR-005 and made 2 QSOs on 80m SSB as WA1J. On 28 MAR 2013 I
was on W1/CR-006 and made 12 QSOs as K1MAZ. I just wanted to let you
know in case your database extraction script is hiccuping somewhere.

I’ll contact you directly, I got your email, been gone for 4 days drinking wine with my college roommate and our wives. We … uhmm … bought some too.

Skip K6DGW

In reply to G4SSH:
Thanks for the news Roy,
Only just read it. I must have had a busy month what with Blackpool Rally, an MOT and the dentists. Thanks to all contributors including Rob who ‘painted’ a great picture of the Mell Fells and Mark with good info on who’s using 160 these days.
See you when you get back fron VK,
73, John.