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SOTA News April 2016

SOTA NEWS APRIL 2016 - Part 1 of 3

Editorial - by Roy G4SSH
Welcome to the April 2016 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Skip K6DGW, Mark G0VOF, Kevin G0NUP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Geert PA7ZEE, Warren ZL2AJ, Luc ON7DQ, Allen VK3ARH, Jürg HB9BIN, Emil DL8JJ, Paul DL6FBK, Paul HB9DST, Pedro CT1DBS, Tom M1EYP.

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The March 2016 edition of SOTA News was viewed more than 1300 times.

CHALLENGE RESULTS

The confirmation of 6m/10m Challenge places has been delayed by a number of events.

We’re still waiting for Barry GM4TOE to be fully operational after his relocation. On my side, my employers have made some unreasonable demands that I actually do some work for a change! I’ve been very busy with my job and some domestic arrangements that have limited the time I have available on top of the normal SOTA tasks.

The upshot is that confirmation is running late but should be sorted in the near future.

Once the MT have scanned the logs to ensure that everything is ship-shape, the active 6m/10m Challenge pages will be replaced by the list of Activator and Chaser certificate winners.

Your understanding and patience is appreciated by the MT.

Andy
MM0FMF
Database Manager

SOTA AWARDS March 2016 from Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager.

March has seen an upsurge in claims which meant there was a considerable amount of work to do when I returned from EA8! Re-introducing trophies also led to a surge in claims for these. DL1FU has just claimed Chaser 125k, he is up there with the leaders and no doubt will progress rapidly. Congratulations to Mountain Goats HB9DPR, SV2OXS, K0JQZ, HG7WAV, W2CKL, SP9MA and G0HIO – a real achievement.

Trophies

Mountain Goat
HB9DPR Thomas Benz
SV2OXS Christos Tzioutzias
K0JQZ Frank Skinner
HG7WAV Viktor Szota
W2CKL Robert Schertl

Shack Sloth
M6RUG David Thorpe
VK7CW Steven Salvia
PA7MDJ Michael de Jong
VK3PF Peter Freeman

Certificates Issued

Activator
SP9MA Jaroslaw Surma 1000 points
HG7WAV Viktor Szota 1000 points
G0HIO Michael Warrington 1000 points
VK3ANL Nicholas Lock 500 points
G4ISJ Peter Martin 500 points
M0JCQ James Stevens 250 points
DL1TSC Thomas Schardt 100 points
DO1JC Johnny Chocholaty 100 points
K9JEP James E Pults 100 points
N2GBR Richard Jones 100 points

Chaser
DL1FU Friedrich Winzer 125000 points
K6EL Elliott M Pisor 25000 points
VK3ANL Nicholas Lock 5000 points
ON4UP Peter Preud’homme 5000 points
M6RUG David Thorpe 1500 points
M6RUG David Thorpe 1000 points
VK3PMG Mick Geraghty 1000 points
VK7CW Steven Salvia 1000 points
PA2NJC Nick Cox 1000 points
K6KNS David Sanders 1000 points
VK3PF Peter Freeman 1000 points
M6RUG David Thorpe 500 points
G1BLJ Steve Lovell 500 points
SV2RNN Apatsidis Akritas 500 points
PA7RA Rien Aarden 500 points
W0QFW Robert A Carter 500 points
G1FOA Peter Franklin 500 points
M6RUG David Thorpe 250 points
PA7RA Rien Aarden 250 points
W0QFW Robert A Carter 250 points
DL1TSC Thomas Schardt 100 points
M6RUG David Thorpe 100 points
K9JEP James E Pults 100 points
2E0JKR Ronald Whatmough 100 points
W0QFW Robert A Carter 100 points
GW4BKG Stephen Emlyn-Jones 100 points

Short Wave Listener
BRS301178 David Thorpe 500 points
BRS301178 David Thorpe 250 points
BRS301178 David Thorpe 100 points

Chaser Unique
M6RUG David Thorpe 250 summits
M6RUG David Thorpe 100 summits
VK1VIC Anthony Vickers 100 summits

Summit to Summit
VK2BJP Russ Jacob Silver
VK3AFW Ron Cook Silver
VK2BJP Russ Jacob Bronze
M0JCQ James Stevens Red
G1FOA Peter Franklin Red

Mountain Hunter

M6RUG David Thorpe Bronze
W0QFW Robert A Carter Bronze

My vacation caused a significant delay in the issuing of awards and merchandise but I eventually caught up with most of the backlog. Engraving of the glass trophies is also underway and I should have these back for infilling in about two weeks.

This has been asked before but it is worth reminding folks that combining your orders into a single submission means that SOTA receive a larger share of the payment rather than giving the money to Paypal. If you order a pdf version of the certificate (currently being charged at £1) then we receive about 70p; if you order more than one on the same order then subsequent certificates result in SOTA receiving the full amount as the 30p charged by Paypal covers up to about five certificates.

I need to re-stock on T shirts but currently hold stock of most sizes except Large. To make an order worthwhile I do need to order 50 or more so I am holding off until stocks of other sizes reduce a little (I have very limited storage space here!!). There are still good stocks of most sizes and colours of polo shirts so how about treating yourself?

I am about to have a new lifetime experience – visiting Blackpool for the first time in my life to attend the rally on 10 April. This does mean that I should have a much wider range of SOTA merchandise available than has been possible in previous years. If you would like to collect a certificate at the rally let me know in plenty of time and save yourself the postage (you can email me your order and pay & collect at Blackpool if that suits) – you might even be tempted by SOTA branded goodies!

Still hacking away without a proper broadband or telephone connection – perhaps that will change in the coming months – big hint to BT Openreach!

Please stay safe on the hills

73
Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

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From the 28th March until the 7th April Jürg, HB9BIN, will activate summits in the F/JU and F/VL regions and will do some first activations along with his wife.

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BLACKPOOL RALLY 2016

Sunday 10th April 2016 is the annual NARSA Rally, at Norbreck Castle Hotel, Blackpool.

All details via the website:

SOTA will have a stand there as usual, and as usual it will serve two main functions. One is to provide information, advice and interest to prospective new SOTA activators and chasers. The second, is to provide a focal point for existing SOTA participants to congregate and socialise. Additionally, there will be SOTA merchandise on sale, displays, quizzes and cakes.

Tom M1EYP

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PORTUGAL NATIONAL SOTA Day 2016 - from Pedro CT1DBS/CU3HF

On 1st April 2016 we celebrate five years of SOTA program in Portugal.

So, we invite all amateur radio operators to take part in those celebrations named National SOTA Day 2016, which will take place on April 2, 2016 (Saturday).

The essence of the celebrations is to have multiple summit activations all over the country on this day.

The activity aims to promote the SOTA program and allow sensitize the amateur radio community for this kind of healthy and funny activity.

Although there are certificates to the participants (activators and chasers), the National SOAT Day - 2016, as well as the SOTA program, it’s not a contest.

It will be a “SOTA party on-the-air” and therefore all amateur radio operators are invited.
All Portuguese clubs were invited to join the activity.
All amateur radio operators who are Activators are specially invited and encouraged to bring other hams or prospective hams for activation, enabling others to experience a SOTA activation.

It is suggested that the activations should be made :
• From 09.00 and 18.30 (local time) on April 2, 2016;
• Using their own call sign (/ p);
• Using the simplest possible equipment (QRP in most cases, including portable radios V / UHF);
• In SOTA summits with the highest possible score:
• In the amateur’s radio operator area;
or
• In any CT/CU/CT3 summit.

The KISS concept (simplicity, simplicity, simplicity …) will be used throughout the activity: The only rule is to comply with SOTA rules and having fun!

As explained before, there will be certificates to the participants who activate a summit (by SOTA rules) or have a QSO with one activator/summit on that day (chasers or SWL). Other than that, they should send photos or videos of their SOTA activity to CTsotaday@gmail.com

This will be a great opportunity to chasers abroad Portugal.

Please feel free to ask any questions to the above email.
In behalf of National SOTA day organization

Vy 73

Pedro, CT1DBS/CU3HF

(As we went to press 36 amateur radio stations had announced that they were to be active from CT and CU summits on the CT National SOTA Day, April 2th.) Ed.

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EXPEDITION TO POLAND from Phil G4OBK

Dave G3TQQ, Phil G4OBK, Victor GI4ONL, Nick G4OOE and Pete M0HQO will be activating SOTA from the SP/BZ Poland and OM/ZA Slovakia areas for 7 days from April 19th until April 26th on HF in CW/SSB and on 2m FM.

The team have arranged two hire cars for the tour and will be activating in two teams, with SP/G4OBK and SP/GI4ONL forming one team and SP/G3TQQ, SP/G4OOE and SP/M0HQO forming the other team. It is hoped that around fifteen summits will be activated in Poland and two summits in Slovakia over the 7 day period.

73
Phil G4OBK

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SOTA Programme at Ham Radio 2016 by Jürg HB9BIN & Emil DL8JJ

The following two SOTA-related events will take place at Ham Radio Friedrichshafen 2016 on Saturday, 25 June 2016:
• Noon to 1 p.m. An actual climbing demonstration and live radio contacts with the audience by Emil DL8JJ at the DARC stage
• 2 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. The 2nd SOTA Information Session in the “Österreich” Meeting Room with the following presentations:

The further development of the KX3 and related products by Eric WA6HHQ, CEO of Elecraft
A question and answer session about SOTA with Andy MM0FMF, member of the SOTA Management Team
An overview of SOTA peaks in North America and Japan by Guy N7UN, member of the SOTA Management Team
A comparison of recent KD1JV family rigs (ATS, Mountain Topper) by Paul HB9DST
The Hentenna – the Japanese “miracle” wire by Herbert OE9HRV
The modified Buddipole by Jürg HB9BIN
From paper to tablet logging – the VK3ZPF “VK port-a-log” Android app by Manuel HB9DQM
SOTA Chaser Station Management with Logger 32 by Phil G4OBK
Products reviews for SOTA by Jürg HB9BIN
“Extreme SOTA” First activation of Pizzo Pianca 2377m HB/TI-093 by Emil DL8JJ

Ideas for local activations
While at Ham Radio, many activators take the opportunity to visit a local summit. There are numerous possibilities:

• The Hegau volcanoes (DM/BW-086 Hohenhewen, DM/BW-101 Hohentwiel and DM/BW-850 Hochbühl: new one since first of March 2016)
• Hochberg OE/VB-511 and Hirschberg OE/VB-509

Note: Pfänder OE/VB-512 and DM/BW-085 Hohenstoffeln are no longer valid SOTA-Refs!

We hope that as many visitors to Ham Radio 2016 as possible will find time to attend this interesting session.

73 de Emil DL8JJ and Jürg HB9BIN, Association Manager of Switzerland

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ACTIVATIONS ON SUMMITS BEFORE DELETION - by Paul DL6FBK

Commencing in January 2016 I tried to activate some of the summits which were due to be deleted on 1st March 2016. I concentrated my activations in the south of Black Forest (DM/BW Region).

The WX-conditions were very different. At the end of December the temperatures were between 10 and 20 C. At the end of February we had minus 10° and over the height of 900m there was deep snow.

The summits were within reach by walking shoe or at last by ski. It was for me a great pleasure to go with ski to the top of the mountain and sometimes it was possible to ski down until the car park was reached, and the snow sometimes was best powder; for example from Bötzberg DM/BW 012 on 18.Feb or Farnberg
DM/BW-291 on 27.Febr.

For illustration I enclosed some photos of these activations.

I activated the following Summits in the DM/BW region (amongst others)

DM/BW-479 Ahornkopf
DM/BW-291 Farnberg
DM/BW- 629 Trubelsmattkopf
DM/BW-635 Breitnauer Kopf
DM/BW-012 Bötzberg
DM/BW-476 Erlenberg

Best 73
Paul DL6FBK

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2016 HB9SOTA Snowshoe Excursion –
Mother Nature 2 : HB9SOTA 0

On two successive weekends, HB9SOTA attempted a snowshoe activation of HB/GR-158 Mattjisch Horn. Each time, though, conditions were so poor we had to give up and surrender to the weather.

The weekend selected for the excursion was Saturday and Sunday March 5 - 6, 2016. We even had some DX operators accept our invitation and decide to join us. Hans PB2T and his wife Margreet K2XYL drove down from their home in Holland on Thursday and stayed with Paul HB9DST. Colwyn MM0YCJ and his partner Ann flew in from Scotland on Thursday and stayed in Arosa to enjoy some skiing before we were to meet as a group in the Skihaus Hochwang on Saturday evening.

In preparation for their first snowshoe hike ever, on Friday Hans and Margreet joined Paul for an activation of a relatively easy snowshoe summit, HB/BE-151 Selibüel. While on the summit, we saw storm clouds approaching and kept our activation short so we could avoid snow on the roads when we drove down into the valley from Gurnigel.

Plenty of times on skis, but never before on snowshoes: Margreet K2XYL and Hans PB2T on their way to HB/BE-151 Selibüel.

Friday evening it started to snow, and on Saturday we had quite a snowstorm, even bringing snow into the valleys. Newspaper reports had it as the heaviest snowfall in March since 1975, and Ticino was particularly hard hit. The weather was so bad that the road from Chur to St. Peter required chains, which were absolutely necessary to get to the chair lift base station in Fatschel. There were also predictions of high winds and drifting snow, which would make a snowshoe trip up to the summit the next day extremely dangerous. Thus, by 8 a.m. Saturday morning, most of the members of the trip cancelled their reservations at the hut.


Colwyn MM0YCJ takes a break from skiing to activate Arosa Weisshorn on Friday.

Only Colwyn and Ann, who were already in the Arosa area, made it to Hochwang. Colwyn reported, “We had a great weekend skiing but only one SOTA summit activated on Friday 4 March, HB/GR-155 Arosa Weisshorn above Arosa, and there is a lift all the way to the top. The Hochwanghuette was very noisy on Saturday night so we didn’t get a lot of sleep! (The music continued until 12:40 when I went down and asked for it to be turned off! Which they did…We did use ear plugs but the music was still disturbing.) On Sunday there was excellent powder snow but it was no use for snowshoe travel – too dangerous to go too far off piste.” By the way, the following weekend when we spoke with Marco, the manager of the Hochwang Hut, he confirmed how terrible the conditions were during that first weekend with extremely high winds and lots of snow. We made a wise choice, even if there was a CHF 30.00 cancellation fee for each person.

Well, how about the backup dates the following weekend March 12/13? On Monday and Tuesday we were all very encouraged by wonderful weather forecasts of bright sunshine all weekend long. Towards the end of the week the forecast called for partly cloudy weather. On Sunday itself there was supposed to be 6 hours of sunshine. But as you shall see…

Four of us came for the second attempt at the summit: Hugo HB9AFH, Hans HB9BQU, Peter HB9TVK and Paul HB9DST. Peter picked up Paul and Hans in Thalwil and drove to Fatschel; Hugo drove by himself. We all gathered at the chair lift station and then had an easy 30 minute hike to the hut. The skies were overcast, no sun, but visibility was reasonably good but starting to get worse.

We arrive at the hut on Saturday afternoon about 15:00. Already the fog was starting to form and visibility was dropping.

To our surprise, we were the only overnight guests at the hut – and this on a Saturday night! The manager told us the miserable weather this winter season was to blame. But for us, this meant the hut was very quiet and we avoided the “QRM” that Colwyn had the previous weekend. A few notes about the hut: The staff were always very friendly and cooperative. Despite the website saying there is no electricity, the hut had electric lights and we didn’t need our flashlights. The hut was also toasty warm; in fact, I used nothing more than my sleeping bag liner and didn’t need any blankets at all (this thanks to Marco adding insulation to the upper floor last summer.) There is a wash sink that handles two or at most three people, so if the hut is at full capacity (38 people), there would be very long lines just to use this sink. I would rate the food as OK but not exceptional. And on Saturday night, Marco entertained us with his tall tales about his past lives in Switzerland and in the Philippines.

Getting ready for dinner Saturday night, left to right: Paul HB9DST, Hugo HB9AFH, Peter HB9TVK and Hans HB9BQU.

We got up the next morning to a thick fog with visibility < 50 meters. We could have departed just after 8 a.m., but without knowing the exact route and landmarks along the way, we decided to wait to see if the fog would lift. The fog came and went – sometimes visibility beyond 1 km, sometimes not to the next hut or hillside. At about 9:30 a.m. we knew that it would be very tight getting to the summit, doing an activation and returning to the chair lift by closing at 16.00. So we decided to risk it. After getting tips from Marco about the best route to the summit (a route that deviated from the route in the SAC guide), we slapped on our snowshoes and departed. Because of the fog, we made frequent stops to check our GPS readings and compare them with the map to make sure we were on the proper route.

Typical visibility that kept us continually checking that we were still on the trail.

Not quite half way, with probably another 3 km to go, another 400 meters to ascend, and thick fog continuing to come and go – we determined that there was simply not enough time to complete the activation and we decided to turn around.

At this time we also made contact with a group of Rhinetalers who were on skis on their way to the summit: Fritz HB9BCN, Hans HB9CKV and Hansjörg HB9PFM. Our Hans HB9BQU had his 2m radio, so we stayed in touch on the HB9RW relay on the way back. We then all gathered at the Skihaus Hochwang for a drink and some pleasant conversation. In mid-afternoon those of us on snowshoes made our way to the chairlift summit station for the ride down to our cars and the trip home. As we dropped in altitude, visibility improved dramatically; at the chair lift base station we could even see across the valley.

The entire group just before departing the hut for home (left to right): Hans HB9BQU, Paul HB9DST, Hugo HB9AFH, Hans HB9CKV, Peter HB9TVK, Fritz HB9BCN and Hansjörg HB9PFM.

Despite our failed effort at an activation, we had a pleasant “boys night out” in the hut and had a chance to become better acquainted with some Rhinetaler hams. In winter, you just can’t predict the conditions. And during wintertime in the mountains you must exercise extreme caution. All things point to Mattjisch Horn being technically not difficult and not overly dangerous, but we’ll have to wait for the right weather before attacking it again.

73 Paul HB9DST

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SOTA Tour – March 2016 by Luc ON7DQ

In the second weekend of March, I made a 4-day trip to DL, to visit the Bergheim Funkflohmarkt (hamfest) and to do some SOTA activations of course. That weekend was also the last chance to get the winter bonus points on summits that are over 500m asl.
In short , I activated the following 7 summits :
ON/ON-010 (Baraque Fraiture)
ON/ON-011 (Sur Clair Fa)
ON/ON-013 (Bois de Hodinfosse)
ON/ON-001 (Signal de Botrange)
DM/NW-134 (Sophienhöhe)
PA/PA-002 (Vrouwenheide)
PA/PA-003 (Observant (Sint Pietersberg))

When I planned this trip, I expected to get some easy bonus points, who would expect the Belgian summits to be completely covered in snow. Boy, was I wrong. Well, at least the temperatures were well above zero, so it was not too bad after all …
So on Friday March 11, I set off at 05:45 local time … to get at my first summit at 8:30 local.
ON/ON-010 Baraque Fraiture
Snow as far as you could see … so setting up in the snow : FT857D operated inside the backpack + link dipole.

Tried 20m first for some VK/ZL … no luck. Then gave a shout on 7.085 (to give the ON3 stations a chance to work me too) and … boom ! The pileup that followed went on and on … filling page after page in my logbook … made exactly 100 QSO’s in 1 hour and 15 minutes. Great !
I was getting cold, so never went back to 20m, off to the next summit …

ON/ON-013 Bois de Hodinfosse
More snow … yes, you have to earn that winter bonus , hi.
This time I used the KX3 and link dipole, and took a chair and a small folding table/stool, so that nothing had to lie around in the snow. A large piece of plastic laid out on on the snow kept my backpack and other stuff dry. Made 33 QSO’s, again all on 40m.

In the above picture, you see my MIC/PTT interface box for the KX3, to use a PC-headset.
More on the Belgian summits in my full report on the reflector (see link at the end of this article).
Let’s jump ahead to one of the few German summits left in this region :

DM/NW-134 Sophienhöhe
On Sunday morning was the UBA Spring Contest 2m (Phone & CW). So I wanted to get a piece of that, combined with a SOTA activation So I decided to take my two backpacks up the summit, one with the FT857D and VHF antenna, the other with the KX3 and HF antenna.
The summit is a firm 45 minutes walk, I took the path from the North parking as suggested by Phil, ON4TA.
(Franz, ON9CBQ/DL3RBF, suggested a path from the West, I’ll try that next time).
Now how do you carry two backpacks … ? I went up this way :

Coming down I found another way to do this … so one of the backpacks is actually … um … a FRONT PACK !

Look Ma, no hands !!
For more stories and the results , read my full report here :
ON7DQ SOTA Tour – March 2016

73 de Luc - ON7DQ

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Report of Gran Canaria activations by Geert PA7ZEE

Back home after 9 weeks in Maspalomas on the island of Gran Canaria, I like to share my experiences with the SOTA community. First something general about this very interesting vulcanic island.
The shape of Gran Canaria is roughly a circle with a diameter of around 50 km. Along the coast there are motorways for about half of the island. Inland the roads are mainly good but long and winding. An average speed on that roads of more than 40 km/h is seldom.

Climate
Some information about the climate on the island. In fact you can’t speak of ‘the climate’. There are several climates who can differ very much. On the same day there can be a blizzard in the mountains while it is sunny and warm on the beaches in the south of the island. The position of the Canary Islands west of the Sahara, makes the radiation of the African sun intense. Next to sun creme on exposed body parts, I was wearing my SOTA Bush Hat all the times to prevent sun-glare; sun glases are a must. A few times per month there is the Calima when a sirocco brings fine sand dust from the Sahara in Marocco. The views in mountains are then reduced.
I used mainly two websites to get a weather forecast for my activations.
First http://www.mountain-forecast.com/peaks/Pico-de-las-Nieves/forecasts/1949 for an impression of the weather on different hights on the mountains in the centre of the island.
Furthermore I looked at the place that was most nearby my activation, for instance Artenara near Tamadaba, I visited http://www.eltiempo.es/artenara.html
The north part, for instance Parque Nacional de Tamadaba in the north west, is humid with pine forest and lots of flowers. Other parts are naked rocks with only a little vegation with its own beauty. There are some places with little waterfalls but don’t drink from that since the vulcanic rocks may contain chemicals that are not healthy.

Finding your way
Next to the information on http://www.sota.org.uk/Association/EA8/GC , I used a map of KOMPASS Gran Canaria 1:50 000 www.kompass.de . Altough I had the latest edition of this map, there were some surprizes.
Where the map showed a road with a parking place at the end, I found a chain over the road and walked two hourse to that parking place. From the parking place another hour to the summit, made in total 6 hours walking that day and big blisters under both feet. But still a succesfull activation and unforgetable views.
Since august 2015 the number of SOTA summits has expanded from 1 to 27 summits.
There is no access to EA8/GC-027 Montaña del Faro, since this area is used by the military. EA8/GC-002 Roque Nublo is for me a no-go because this is a monolith with a hight of over 60 m and I am not a mountaineer. See http://images.summitpost.org/original/962861.jpg
Apart from that there is a lot to explore, if you like the adventures part of SOTA.
In general the Canarians are happy to help and are cheerfull people. Outside the tourist areas in the south, where people speak some English and German, you have to speak Spanish.
My Spanish is very limited but with a smile and hand-and-feet, I found my way.
Sometimes the names of summits can be confusing. To give a few examples, EA8/GC-006 in the SOTA list named Tamadaba, is known as Pico la Bandera and EA8/GC-008 Roque Ventaiga is on the signs Roque Bentayga.

This picture shows EA8/GC-008 Roque Bentayga and El Teide on Tenerife in the back ground
Activations
During our 9 weeks stay, I activated ones per week.
17/1/16 EA8/GC-001 Pico de Las Nieves: a drive on summit
EA8/GC-003 Moriscos: from the parking 30 minutes walk on a good path
24/1/16 EA8/GC-026 Montaña Arucas: a drive on summit
28/1/16 EA8/GC-012 Amurga: path starts 50 m from the north border of Fátaga; 1,5 hours hiking
4/2/16 EA8/GC-008 Roque Bentayga: from parking near visitors centre 15 minutes hiking
12/2 EA8/GC- 010: Morro de la Hierba Huerto: 1,5 hours hiking
15/2/16 EA8/GC-011 Montaña de Tauro: 1 ¼ hours hiking
23/2/16 EA8/GC-004: Sándara: 3 hours hiking
3/3/16 EA8/GC-009 Altavista: 1,5 hours hiking
10/3/16 EA8/GC-006 Tamadaba: 20 minutes hiking

Activation EA8/GC-006 Tamadaba – Pico la Bandera

A happy Geert EA8/PA7ZEE/P after 10 successful activations

To all Chasers: Saludos de Las Islas de Afortunadas!

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*********** SOTA NEWS PART 2 FOLLOWS BELOW ********

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SOTA NEWS APRIL 2016 - Part 2

SOTA AUSTRALIA News - from Allen VK3ARH

“SOTA AM Day”

On the first weekend of April, in fact 1/2/3 April, VK SOTA activators will be heard calling CQ using AM - just for fun. The three days of 1st to 3rd April have been endorsed as a world wide AM activity period within the SOTA community.

Most modern radios will produce a reasonable AM signal and it is possible to make AM contacts even with the low power that most SOTA summit activators use.A few VK SOTA activators and chasers tried AM in April last year and found it was good fun, with many callers joining in just to try the mode, many having not used AM for some years.

On 80m there is often good propagation supporting contacts up to 1000km for low power stations. A SOTA activator on 80m could well make many AM contacts after sunset. A participation certificate will be made available and details will be notified on the SOTA Reflector.

For more information contact Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

“VK3 Show & Tell” Sunday April 17th.

Any one seeking to get involved in portable activities be it WWFF or SOTA is encouraged to attend and see first hand the equipment and discuss techniques for operating portable with seasoned operators.The location of this event will be to the west of Melbourne in the Brisbane Ranges National Park. Commencing at 1000hrs, followed by a free Sausage Sizzle for all attendees at 1200hrs.The structure of the morning will involve experienced amateurs who will bring along and setup various items of equipment used in portable activities as well as being on hand to answer any questions raised.
There will be many variations of radios and antenna available, covering broad interest. This will show you don’t need expensive gear or to spend all day travelling to operate portable.

For more information, please email Tony on showntell@parksnpeaks.org with your name and mobile contact details.

It has been a calm month with great weather and propagation, well not entirely. A quick review of the spots for the month shows that it was in fact hectic with nearly 300 activations successfully completed. This covers 96 WWFF parks and 195 SOTA summits.

The Easter long weekend accounted for 100 activations over four days; VK3OHM activated 9 SOTA summits VK3YY & VK2WU 5 SOTA summits each.
VK5ZPF activated 3 WWFF sites
VK5GY, VK3TST, VK1DI & VK2YK collected 2 WWFF parks each.

Whilst a review of the data for the rest of the month shows that, VK2QR collected 19 SOTA Summits VK3ANL 13 activations including 6 park, 3 Summits and four shires
VK2IO 7 summits for 3 parks VK2TWR, VK1RX & VK3CAT 10 summits each
VK1AD 9 Summits VK2CU & VK3ARH 7 summits each
VK4AAC 7 WWFF Parks VK1AT & VK5HSX for 6 WWFF Parks.
VK3VTH & VK5PAS for 5 WWFF Parks
VK3BYD & VK2WU picked up 5 SOTA summits each.

There were a couple of successful digital activations with Marcus VK3TST and Ron VK3AFW both gaining VK and ZL contacts (PSK31 or JT65) on separate activations. Creating interest within the SOTA community as the purists challenging carrying the extra equipment.

Don M0HCU picked up three associations by activating VK1/AC-040 (Mt Ainslie), VK2/IL-001 (Mount Gibraltar) & VK3/VE-237 (Huon Hill) whilst visiting Australia. There was also three ZL ZL1/AK-016 (Rangitoto),ZL1/NL-079 (Kauri Mountain)& ZL1/NL-076 (Mount Parihaka) on the way.

Brian VK3MCD (JM8ITC) qualified JA8/OM-066 (JA8/OM-066) Mt Hakodate. His first chaser was Rick VK4RF. This makes Rick the first Chaser to contact a JA8 association summit and Brian the first to activate the association. Continued to collect another three JA/TG-048 (JA/TG-048), JA/KN-006 (Ooyama) & JA/KN-022 (Shiroyama) during his visit.

Reminder that the SOTA CW net has moved to 80M for winter. We will be on air to give practice in sending and receiving for basic QSO’s suitable for SOTA exchanges. 3540Mhz +/- usage starting at 20:30 EAST.

New participants welcomed.

Allen
VK3ARH

=====================================================================

NORTH AMERICAN REPORT from Skip K6DGW

We reached the vernal equinox in our trip around the Sun and here in northwest Nevada, we were greeted by nearly 30 cm of white stuff falling from the sky. The severe weather apparently abated some across the continent because our SOTA statistics are up in all categories:

NORTH AMERICA TOTALS
Total Activations: 426 [288]
Nr Unique Activators: 145 [121]
Total Chaser QSOs: 5949 [4089]
Nr Unique Chasers: 270 [239]
Unique Summits: 304 [192]

2m: 178 (2%) [168]
6m: 1 (0%) [1]
10m: 25 (0%) [89]
12m: 1 (0%) [4]
15m: 150 (2%) [261]
17m: 393 (6%) [329]
20m: 3353 (56%) [2174]
30m: 595 (10%) [382]
40m: 1245 (20%) [680]
60m: 0 (0%) [0]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 0 (0%) [0]
Unk: 8

CW: 4064 (68%) [2438]
SSB: 1695 (28%) [1482]
FM: 183 (3%) [166]
AM: 1 (0%) [0]
Data: 1 (0%) [0]
Other: 1 (0%) [1]
Unk: 8

After having to correct my assumption last month, I’m not going to speculate on the 1 AM QSO. I have yet to modify my statistics script to include the KLA, KLF, and KLS Alaska associations, but I checked the website and there was no activity in March.

AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:

In the Group Achievement category, we owe a big round of applause to the teams who put the three Alaska associations together, and to the W6 group who updated the W6 ARM to include the new worldwide 150 meter prominence rule [NA, crawling reluctantly to metric one inch at a time, had been using 500 feet rather than the 492 feet that equals 150 meters]. This is a truly monumental task which is difficult to comprehend in one sitting. So, “Thanks folks, you did way better than good!”

Elliott, K6EL and the NA representative on the SOTA MT, commented that there are now roughly 51,000 registered SOTA peaks in North America.

With the addition of the three KL7 associations, W6 drops to 3rd place in terms of number of summits, and Honshu now holds 4th place.

With the KL7 associations coming on-line, a big welcome to Simon Methe, KL3JI, as the new Association Manager for KLA.

Doc, K7SO emailed me: “Mike, KE5AKL should hit 4000 points on his activation tomorrow. This will be a first for North American activators. Please give him a call to celebrate a new 4X Goat!”
Congratulations Mike!!

NEWS:

The final word on W6 from Guy, N7UN: “The [W6] update is complete. It
includes 572 net updates (new summits less deletes) for a total of 4290 summits for W6. This dataset also includes the new summits based on the change to p150m prominence (492 ft vs 500 ft).”

“I need to do some verification checks before the spreadsheet data is readied for upload to the SOTA database and included in the new ARM doc.
When I get a chance, I’ll produce a .kmz file of the new summits so you can see where they are. They are spread across the CT, IN, NC, ND, NE, NS, NW, SC, SD, and SS Regions.”

“Also, I intend to publish my Excel workbook so others can continue this work if need be. This update was quite complex because of the distribution of summits in Regions defined by geographic features, e.g.
the NE Region was divided by I-5 [an interstate highway from Canada to Mexico Ed.]. This is further complicated due to the requirement that a SOTA Ref Nr cannot be deleted so there are 3 data “overlays”… by Stu, KI6J, Eric, KU6J, and this recent addition.”

“FYI, it was much, much easier to build the datasets for Alaska! Once uploaded and “launched” on the SOTA website, you each will owe me a beer.”

[OK, how about every activation of one of the new summits results in a beer for Guy!]

Richard, N2GBR, reported: “I read your latest update this morning and it struck me that I had missed an opportunity to let you know of activities in the W3 association. W3 is probably the least active and under utilized association in North America … it seems.”

“I just moved here from New Jersey and have been having a blast activating peaks pretty much every weekend since December and probably 9 or 10 were first time activations! Of the ~230 peaks available about 120 of them are still to be activated. I have been adding access notes for each peak to the data-base as I do them… or find they are inaccessible for whatever reason… as I’m sure that some would-be SOTA activators may have been dissuaded from venturing out with the unknown of access.”

John, K1JD [John lives in Santa Fe, NM], writes: “This article [see URL below] recounts SOTA activation lessons learned (and a few hard knocks) experienced with my portable stations over the last three years. Not completely satisfied with earlier attempts to improve my station, I employed a more disciplined approach late last year to nail down a list of desirable station attributes. These attributes were traded off against one another and applied to a packaging design and implementation. The net result is a station that really does work better for me. Using a similar approach to describe what is most important to you might also pay dividends, whether the result is relatively minor changes to your current setup or a major overhaul.”

He notes: “This article will be published in a magazine where readers have little knowledge of SOTA, so background sections are also included.”

https://sites.google.com/site/k1jdsotastationevolution/

And from Etienne, K7ATN: “Hello to those hoping for Spring right around the corner! Here’s a link for the SOTA W7O Oregon Newsletter for March and April [see URL below]. Be sure and put April 23rd on your calendar for the W7O and W7W Summit-to-Summit Party. Post an alert to www.sotawatch.org for your intended summit.”

www.pnwsota.org/sites/pnwsota.org/files/downloads/K7ATN/W7O%20-%20SOTA%20Oregon%20Newsletter%20Mar-Apr%202016.pdf

www.pnwsota.org/content/w7o-sota-oregon-newsletters for back issues.

NA SOTA CALENDAR:

Thanks to Guy, N7UN: “Here’s the revised 2016 NA SOTA Activity calendar. Changes to the Spring event dates to correspond with the yet-unannounced QRPTTF event by NA5N which is usually the 3rd weekend in April. Likewise the ARRL June VHF Contest dates were corrected.”

“These dates are great opportunities for regional areas to have a local events. For instance, the OR-WA folks are planning a S2S Activity Event for the same dates to encourage locals to participate in SOTA.”

–Apr 23-24: North America SOTA Spring Activity Weekend + QRPTTF Spring Event

–Jun 11-12: NA SOTA Summer Activity Weekend + ARRL June VHF Contest

–Jul 16-17: SOTA optional date + CQ WW VHF Contest

–Aug 6-7: NA SOTA Rocky Mtn Rendezvous + Colorado 14er Event
W7 SOTA Activity Weekend + ARRL UHF Contest

–Sept 10-11: NA SOTA Fall Activity Weekend + ARRL Sept VHF Contest

Guy also noted that W6/NS-204 has been designated “KU6J Memorial Peak - 7559” in the new W6 ARM in memory of Eric.

Fred, KT5X, provided a photo of a Drove of Goats gathered in New Mexico.
He writes: “John, K1JD, and his wife, Betsy, hosted a gathering of New Mexico SOTA participants. Photo is of the New Mexico Mtn Goats.


Front row left to right; Mike, KE5AKL, George, WB5USB, Alan, NM5S, and Mike, AD5A. Back row: Doc, K7SO, Randy, K5RHD, John, K1JD, Fred, KT5X (WS0TA), and Dave, NN5K. Also present were Scottie, NM5SW, Phil, K5SSR, and wives. The photo represents something around 25% of all North American activations to date.”

“The gathering was to send off Doc on some journeys. Here, Doc, K7SO on the left, gets a salute traditional goat head butt from Fred, KT5X (WS0TA). Clockwise from lower left, surrounding them, are George, WB5USB, Randy, K5RHD, John, K1JD, Dave, NN5K, and Mike, AD5A.”

REPORTS OF THE MONTH: I had way more news than available space. This month’s reports come from Ryan, K7ODX, and Curtis, KC5CW. First from Ryan:

“I was able to fit in a quick activation of Mt Genesee W0C/ FR-194 during a business trip to Denver. I was hoping I’d get time between the end of my Tuesday meetings, and my flight out that evening. This would be my first summit outside of W7U. On Monday night, I met up with Brad WA6MM, and we discussed our SOTA adventures over a few good beers at CB Potts. Definitely the highlight of the trip. Thanks Brad!”

“As luck would have it, the meetings wrapped up early, and I had plenty of time to get up the hill. The weather was cool and windy, but mostly sunny. It wasn’t just a little bit windy, it was very windy … ‘flight delays at the airport’ type windy.”

“Since I was travelling light and going through the airport, I wanted to pack a minimal setup. So this was my first activation to try the random wire/binding post antenna with my KX1. This is a 26’ wire to the positive post of the BNC, and a 16’ radial to the ground side of the BNC. All held on with the nifty little adapter that I bought with the kit. The auto tuner in the KX1 takes care of the match. And no coax to carry!”

“I had tried this setup in the back yard with good results. I usually carry a 21 foot carbon fiber pole, but didn’t bring it with me on this trip, I didn’t want to pack it through the airport in my small bag. I just thought I’d hang the wire in a tree. Well, I found out what it’s like tossing a light string over a tree branch in high winds! That &%#&^!)*% string blew into the tree and got tangled on everything it could find. It took a few tosses and un-tanglings before I could pull the wire up where I wanted it. I’m glad nobody was around to hear what I was saying. Lesson: Toss WITH the wind, not cross-wind.” [the same goes when relieving oneself Ed.:-)]

“Anyway, once the wire was in the tree, and the radial was laid out on the ground, I fired it up and got going. For some reason, SOTA goat wasn’t working for me again, even with decent cell signal, so I just relied on the RBN Hole to spot me. It’s a great thing, for sure! I ended up with 24 contacts, and even worked EA2IF in Spain! All on 2.5 watts and my little random wire in a tree. Fun stuff.”

"I also learned that the wind can blow the antenna wire right out of the binding post connector if it blows hard enough. I had to stop and rearrange things a couple of times. The wind whipped the wire around enough that it actually broke the tinned end off where it went into the binding post! (26 ga. speaker wire) My ever-present pocket knife wasn’t with me, because I can’t fly with it, so I had to use my teeth like a rodent to strip a little insulation off the end so I could stick it back in the binding post! BITE. STRIP. TWIST. Thanks to thosnt.

Don M0HCU picked up thr-QSO and waited for me to get back on the air."

“I would say I don’t think this antenna performs as well as my link dipole or EFHW and I didn’t expect that it would. It’s hard to say after only one activation with it, but it’s a good option for a minimal setup if you want to travel light. It was clearly adequate for a good activation. I’m very impressed with the auto tuner in the KX1. It matches that antenna to 1.9:1 on 40 meters, 1.3:1 on 30 meters, and
1.0:1 on 20 meters. I’ll do some more experimenting with this setup, maybe trying different wire and radial lengths.”

“Thanks to all the chasers as usual, and for your patience while I stopped to nibble my antenna!”

And, HAPPY BIRTHDAY CURTIS! [belated]:

“March 14 was my birthday and what better way to celebrate than to drive over 3,300 miles (5,300km) to activate summits! I took a week off of work and my wife and I headed out on a Rocky Mountain road trip. The first activation was of Sandia Crest in New Mexico. I noticed a jeep hanging out at the entrance to the summit road and it followed me all the way up to the parking lot. It turns out that my email about my trip to the NASOTA group was watched and now I was being watched on APRS!
Randy K5RHD followed me up and we did a tandem activation of the summit then went for some BBQ on the way out of town.”

“Next up was Powell Mountain as the sun was setting and then off we went to the Grand Canyon in Arizona. National Parks On The Air, NPOTA was also part of the trip so I activated the park then drove to Grandview Benchmark, which is very near the Canyon. We then drove north heading to Draper, UT to see my brother. I had my SOTAGoat app running on my phone, as I often do while on an expedition, and noticed W7U/SU-044 (Gillies Hill) was right off the side of the highway. A quick check with the navigator and off we went to an unplanned summit!”

“Pocatello, Idaho was next on the list with a stop at Lava Hot Springs for a relaxing 120 degree dip in spring water while it was snowing. Our muscles now jello, we made it out and over the beautiful mountain passes to Grand Teton National Park and Jackson Hole, Wyoming where we saw a huge heard of elk, and had to pause as one slowly walked across the road to the other half of the herd all around us.”

“On the downward slope home, we stopped to see my original Elmer that got me into Ham Radio while I was in the USAF, Frank KF0WF, before heading to the final SOTA summit, Capulin Volcano, which is a summit and a national park. In the end, I grabbed 54 points which puts me at 960 activator points and first place in W5T for summits activated (both total and unique). A quick weekend trip to Arkansas and/or Oklahoma could put me into goat status so keep an ear out for a new BAAAA from Texas. Picture links on my blog.”

73 Curtis kc5cw.tumblr.com

Finally we have another Summit Sister who does CW only. Kay, KE7BGM, started out very recently activating from Arizona at 5 wpm and added another 2 wpm every week. She and her better half, antenna guru K6HPX, are among my few protege’s in Sota, and she has over 300 summits as a peak bagger in the past. Her metal knee doesn’t seem to have slowed her down, as two-thirds of her climbs are 10 points. Thanks to both of them for helping me go past 25,000 chaser points and for scoring second place behind OE9HRV in the number of unique chasers worked in the 6 & 10 meter activator challenge. Incidentally, K6HPX is a stealth climber. He is only 39 points short of goatdom, and few have noticed.

No activators so far from Alaska. Who will be first? There are some ski lift summits there, so it’s a little surprising no one took an HT up one of them to nail down bragging rights for the all time first QSO.

Maybe everybody is waiting for the thaw, which can be as late as May in some parts of those three associations.
73
Elliot

K6HPX with Kay, KE7BGM

In the words of Bugs Bunny, “That’s all folks!” Activate safely, and often!

73,

Skip K6DGW
North American SOTA Reporter Dude

============================================================

SOTA NEW ZEALAND REPORT from Warren ZL2AJ

Hawkes Bay Hamfest on Saturday 9 April 2016

NZART Conference. My talk will be on Sunday 5th June 2016 (conference is Saturday as well).

I will activate a summit or 2 the following Monday.

Regards,

Warren Harris ZL2AJ
021 649284

Note from Editor:-
Warren complies a report for the New Zealand national magazine after the end of the month, to allow him to collect all the statistics. This is forwarded along to me during the first few days of a new month but misses our publication deadline on the last day of the month.
News from New Zealand will be inserted here upon arrival - Roy

SOTA NEWS FROM JAPAN by Toru JH0CJH

Spring has come to Japan except JA8 regions.
SAKURA, Cherry blossoms, are start to blooming everywhere in Japan.

SOTA activity is re-activated as per the temp goes high. Number of expeditions and QSOs are doubled compare with the number of last month.

SOTA Japan introduction article that was posted to CQ magazine last month also did the good job to many ham radio stations awareness on SOTA.

Following to VK2IO, Gerard visit and activation last months VK3MCD, Brian visit Japan for 4 weeks. First half he visited northern area including JA8 region and did activation from JA8/SB-005, Nisekoannupuri JA8/OM-066, Hakodateyama JA/TG-048, Nakimushiyama JA/KN-006, Ooyama JA/KN-022, Shiroyama

SOTA operation March 2016 in Japan

Total number of Expedition 100 with 1389 QSO as of 30th Mar 2016. This number is double of February.

JA: 83 expeditions with 1338 QSO from Summits

JA5: 7 expeditions with 18 QSO from Summits

JA6: 9 expeditions with 33 QSO from Summits

JA8: 1 expeditions with 0 QSO from Summits

I believe there are some log data not uploaded on to Database.

Toru Kawauchi
toru@kawauchi.homeip.mydns.jp

======================================================

THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 98 By Rob and Audrey G4RQJ

The first activation of this period was actually on the 28th of February when we at last got out onto a summit with winter bonus for this year, Whitfell. This rarely activated summit is one of the most south westerly of the LD group and is best done from the summit of the Corney Fell Road, a single track road that leaves the A595 at Duddon Bridge and climbs high over the fell to rejoin the A595 much further north bypassing the long loop towards Millom. At the highpoint of the fell road there is parking for about six cars without blocking the passing places, from here the route is simple, aim for the gap between the two rocky outcrops visible on the horizon to the east.

The choice ahead is now to climb the hill ahead, Burnmoor or to contour it to the south, frankly it is best contoured, even Wainwright thought so, and now visible beyond is the target Whitfell. The approach is grassy but the summit itself very stony and slippery with moss and the rocky shelter can be hard to set up in. Today there is a biting wind from the south east so we set up on the north west slope just out of the stones about 15 feet down from the top. Our phone rings and announces that we are welcome on the Isle of Man. Manx friends are amused when told this as they struggle for signal on a lot of the Island which today is sharp as a pin including Douglas sea front.

We started on 5MHz and almost immediately found Frank G3RMD who spotted us which helped a lot but he queried the summit we were on LD-032 which we confirmed. Why he did so slowly dawned on us, I (Rob) had alerted for NP-032 in error. Frank posted for the right summit and also put on a brief explanation but this did not stop chasers logging us as NP-032. I stuck the info between contacts on CW but still quite a few missed it. On return to base we put a correction on the reflector but still not a great response. Whitfell is much rarer than Cracoe! Thanks to Frank for the help, all my fault1 Sorry

Sunday 6th Mar Lambrigg Fell. With a lot of snow and gales forecast on the higher hills we decided on this little hill just off the M6 at J37. There are no summits in the LD group really suitable for disabled activators but this one may be possible via the good tracks that service the windmills some of which are separated from the activation area by just a short climb on grass. Whether a wheel chair could be got onto the tracks via the access gate is another matter, we always enter through the gate opposite the quarry road (plenty of parking space) and this leads onto a field path with mud Today we are soon on top, it is dead calm and there is no movement whatsoever from the windmills, maybe they have not heard about the forecast gales. We opened on 2M, a shadow of its former self with just 6 contacts on fm and 3 on ssb where once it would have been dozens. HF on the other hand was excellent only 10MHz let us down with so many pileups we could not find a free frequency. Windmills still static as we walk down.

Sunday 13th Mar The Mells. At last a half decent day so we decide to try our luck on the roads up to this pair of two pointers which lie close to areas badly damaged in the recent storms. Kirkstone Pass is sound in spite of the extra traffic caused by the continued closure of the A591 over Dunmail Raise. The serious damage to Glenridding is still a long way from repaired but the shops etc are bravely continuing to trade amongst it all. The A592 was closed at the A5091 junction with traffic making its way round the closure via the minor road that passes the start point for Little Mell Fell. Today as we write the A592 has reopened along its full length. Little Mell is a short almost vertical climb, about 20 minutes on grass paths and today is unusually dry for the time of the year. We did 2m only in an effort to speed things up Just five on 2 FM and three on SSB, thanks to John G0TDM’s spot.

Great Mell is a different kettle of fish, a relentless slog mostly on grass and today surprisingly muddy after the dryness of its smaller neighbour. We met a lovely couple descending as we climbed They were both 78 and were geo cashing! And our family think we are the only old fools in the world! This was also a vhf only visit this time six on 2m FM and three on 2m SSB thanks again to John’s spots. As we sat on the ground hand holding the mast a loud noise announced the approach at speed of a low flying autogyro, so low that for a moment we thought it might clip the antenna but with a cheery wave from the occupants it was past and away over the next hill.

Been a bit of debate lately about intermittent keying on the FT817, Many problems on the 817 are caused by the strain of the plugs on the rear panel, both the power plug and the key socket. If you use the standard case for the rig the solution is to use plugs with right angled backs. The power plug can be joined to an in line fuse then brought out through the back of the leather case to whatever battery connectors you use and the key jack can be connected to a short cable brought out of the back and wired to an in line socket taped on the side of the case facing forward where the key can be plugged in without putting strain on the rear panel socket or the key lead. The power fuse lives happily in the small space between the back panel and the back of the leather case. This stops damage to the power socket where it meets the board and regular breaks in the key lead due to bending.

Sunday 20th March. Whitbarrow and time to go and see the wild daffodils in the woods on the climb up through the woods. We park close to the school on the minor road from the A590 to Bowland Bridge where there is room for about ten cars and walk through the woods to the bottom of Bell Rake which has no exposure unlike the route straight up from the school.

We were surprised at how dry the paths were, how little the undergrowth has died back, the lack of the usual primroses and how few daffodils there were, it has been a strange year for weather. Once on top we set out on 2m FM which produced five contacts, two regulars, two s-to-s both on the same summit and one random caller, SSB found just two callers one a repeat from FM, the other a regular… In past times we have attracted many more! 5MHz was better than it has been lately with eight callers after G0RMD Franks spot, Andy MM0FHF who we have not worked for some time and Don G0RQL amongst others. Don tells us his tower and 2m beam have been victims of the recent Windy weather. Storm Katie is in action as we write so hope you’re not having more problems Don. 7MHz was patchy, 10MHz good and 14MHz produced just three contacts in spite of much calling and a stateside spot.

That about finishes this months report which has seen our activities curtailed once again by the weather. We can only feel sorry for those who chose to holiday here in the Lake District over Easter. Things have been pretty poor and to spend money in an area that has been ravaged by weather recently only to be rained off is frustrating and we can only apologise and say please come again it really is not this bad all the time

On a brighter note the Norbreck Rally is fast approaching and as usual we are looking forward to meeting old friends and making new ones. Please come and have a chat.

For now
Take care out there.
73
Rob and Audrey G4RQJ

************ SOTA NEWS PART 3 FOLLOWS BELOW **************

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SOTA NEWS APRIL 2016 - Part 3 of 3.

SOTA ON TOP BAND - Mark G0VOF

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

Only one activator ventured onto Top Band this month, however this was from no fewer than five summits!

Regular readers can probably guess that this was John G4YSS who made two trips out this month. The first was to the Patterdale area of the English Lake District (G/LD) & the second, on Good Friday a relatively more local trip to the Northern Pennines (G/NP).

With two days left of the UK winter bonus period John embarked on his ninth Patterdale Round for SOTA, which takes in four Lake District summits in a circular walk of around 12 miles (19.3Km) & 5,000ft (1,524M) ascent. Some parts of this walk are tricky in good conditions but in winter, proper equipment & great care are needed. As John is experienced in winter conditions & was familiar with the route he didn’t experience any major problems, although a week after John’s visit a walker fell 200M from Swirral Edge, aptly demonstrating the care needed. With all four summits qualifying for 3 winter bonus points, a total of 44 points can be attained by the activator, with 32 points for chasers who manage to chase all four summits.

For this trip John would be concentrating on the low bands 80m & 160m so to give himself & chasers the best chances he took a Yaesu FT817 & 50 Watt linear. John’s first summit of the day was G/LD-003 Helvellyn & although already daylight John would be starting on Top Band. I joined fellow top band chasers listening for John’s arrival on 160m & after a delay due to difficult conditions on the ascent, at around 0900z John called Roy G4SSH on 1832KHz CW. Roy does not have a decent Top Band antenna so it was very nice to hear good reports exchanged both ways. There then followed a steady stream of callers & John qualified the summit with ease, not usually the case on 160m in daylight! After working 6 stations on CW, John moved to 1843KHz SSB & after a second QSO with me he was called by Nick G8VNW to make 8 QSO’s in total. Conditions were quite good, although there was QSB, which remained present throughout the day on both 160m & 80m. Following a band change to 80m where a further 16 QSO’s were made John departed for his second summit of the day G/LD-022 Seat Sandal.

As John was running behind schedule he began his activation of Seat Sandal approaching midday so elected to start on 80m, before moving to 160m. I had returned from a shopping trip in time to catch John on 80m CW & spot his mode change to SSB. As mentioned earlier, there was QSB on 80m but generally signals were good & on moving to 160m John was fairly easy copy with the limiting factor being my local noise rather than the QSB. As it was the middle of the day more distant stations will have struggled a little so after working myself & Roy G4SSH on CW only one QSO was made on SSB making a total of 3 Top Band QSO’s from G/LD-022. John informed me of his plan to be active from his next summit about an hour after leaving Seat Sandal.

John’s third summit would be G/LD-007 Fairfield & on the walk from Seat Sandal he bumped into fellow SOTA activator Colin M1BUU heading in the opposite direction having just activated G/LD-007. Colin has also activated on Top band using tuning coils built to Johns design & after a no doubt pleasant chat, John & Colin went their separate ways.

Following a spot from Roy, several chasers were waiting when John fired up on 80m CW from G/LD-007 Fairfield with signals being improved from earlier, although still with QSB as it was by now mid-afternoon. After a good run of 16 QSO’s (CW & SSB) on 80m John moved to 160m & was rewarded with 6 QSO’s, three each on CW & SSB. As these QSO’s were made with 4 separate chasers, John had qualified a summit on Top band for the second time that day.

John’s fourth & final summit on his way back to Patterdale would be G/LD-010 St Sunday Crag & with the earlier delay he would have to take care to avoid having to descend in darkness. After a little time away from the radio I caught Roy’s spot for John on 80m CW & after a couple of minutes called John. Again signals were good, despite the ever-present QSB but my sending left a lot to be desired after maybe a little too much beer. After very good run of 24 QSO’s on 80m (CW & SSB) when calls dried up he quickly moved to Top Band where he was soon worked by Phil G4OBK, Damian MK0BKV, Roy G4SSH, Mark G0VOF & Frank G3RMD on CW with myself & Phil also working John on SSB shortly after. With the time now around 1740z & sunset due within the hour John took Phil’s advice & decided that a further summit would be unwise. With 7 QSO’s ( 5 CW & 2 SSB) with 5 separate chasers this was the third summit qualified on Top band.

As I said to John at the time I’d had my most enjoyable day in the shack for some time & was very pleased to be able to chase him on 160m on all four summits.

As usual a superbly detailed activation report, which also contains a reply & photos from Colin M1BUU can be found on the reflector here:
G4YSS: LD3-LD22-LD7-LD10 on 80m & 160m,13-03-16

John’s second trip this month was to a more local Northern Pennine summit G/NP-009 Buckden Pike on Good Friday 25th March. This was to be a “Man & Dog” activation as John would be accompanied by his Grandson’s lurcher “Sasha”. A variety of bands would be used, including Top band, which would be saved until the end of the activation. With no mobile phone coverage, all spot requests or other information would have to be sent via radio & 3557KHz CW was chosen as main frequency for liaison with Roy G4SSH. As time was not a limiting factor John could enjoy a more leisurely activation with plenty of time spent on 80m, 40m, 4m FM & 2m FM before a final run on 160m in mid afternoon.

After a fine total of 86 QSO’s across 4 bands John called Roy on 80m to let him know he was planning to move to 160m CW at around 1500z. Phil G4OBK was worked first with good reports exchanged followed by Roy G4SSH. Rob G4RQJ on Walney Island also called, but although John could hear Rob, Rob couldn’t hear John despite several attempts. A move to SSB brought two more QSO’s, with Phil G4OBK & lastly Nick G8VNW who was only in the region of 15KM distant. This brought John;s tally on 160m to 4 QSO’s, although with only 3 separate stations worked he did not qualify the summit on Top Band. Frustratingly I was away that day as I am certain I would have been able to work John myself. Sorry John!

Again, John has provided a superb activation report with photos which can be found in the reflector here:
G4YSS: G/NP-009, Buckden Pike (GX0OOO/P) 25-03-16

Thanks again for the excellent activation reports & of course for all the 160m QSO’s!

Congratulations & well done John.

At the time of writing, these were the only Top band activations during March that I am aware of, if I have missed any others please let me know.

On 13 March, John GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) Activated G/LD-003 Helvellyn & made 8 QSO’s (6 CW / 2 SSB)
On 13 March, John GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) Activated G/LD-022 Seat Sandal & made 3 QSO’s (2 CW / 1 SSB)
On 13 March, John GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) Activated G/LD-007 Fairfield & made 6 QSO’s (3 CW / 3 SSB)
On 13 March, John GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) Activated G/LD-010 St Sunday Crag & made 7 QSO’s (5 CW / 2 SSB)
On 25 March, John GX0OOO/P (G4YSS) Activated G/NP-009 Buckden Pike & made 4 QSO’s (2 CW / 2 SSB)

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 mark@brownhill.demon.co.uk

Until next month,

Best 73,
Mark G0VOF

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CW REPORT FOR MARCH 2016 - by Roy G4SSH

Hard on the heels of the rush of activators during the last few days in February who were determined to be the last to operate from summits scheduled to be deleted, came activators on the 2nd March, equally determined to be the first to activate new summits. Shortly after midnight UTC on the 2nd March Emil DL8JJ commenced a “NEW DM SOTA ACTIVATION MARARTHON” with no less than six new summits activated before the end of the day. Also very active during the first week of the month were Sake OK/PA0SKP, from Czechia, Hans HB9/PB2T, Bob DL/F5HTR, Geert EA8/PA7ZEE and Tom DL/HB9DPR.

Chris was very active as F/ON6ZQactivating new summits during the middle of the month, using his trade-mark "UP 1 " procedure and it was a pleasure to hear Vlad RK8A on the air for the first time, with a unique summit R9U/SO-103, using QRP on the 13th and Carlos EA8AA activated another unique on the Canary Islands and was still active through to the last few days of the month. A period of bad weather across Europe, combined with poor propagation saw SOTA EU activity then fall to a very low level. Activators using 14 MHz were mainly inaudible during the mornings at my QTH and there were some days when CW activations resulted in a total of less than double points all day. The one saving grace for chasers were the regular appearance of French activators operating on all HF bands in turn, ensuring maximum opportunities for contacts.

Conditions did improve during the last few days, with appearances from Matt HB0/FB9FVF in Liechtenstein, EA8URT on Tenerife in the Canary Islands, CU3HF in the Azores, Andy DL/HB9JOE, Guru F/EA2IF, Csaba HA/DH7KU, Kurt F/HB9AFI, Bob DL/F5HTR, Tom DL/HB9DPR, Martin HA/OE1MVA, Stephan OE/DM1LE, Hans DL/HB9AGO, an expedition by Hans DL/PB2T, Weber YO/HA8BJ and Jürg F/HB9BIN in France. There was also many HA calls active from Romania on the 30th, These included YO/HA8BB, YO/HA8BJ, YO/HA8WX, YO/HA8PK and YO/HA8LLH.

73
Roy G4SSH

SOTA ACTIVITY REPORT FOR MARCH 2016 by Kevin G0NUP

SOTA activators submitting entries to the data base for 10m, 6m and 1240 MHz during March 2016. These files produced on 30th March - by Kevin G0NUP.
Mode: CW on 24MHz: activity for March

DL6FBK/P, F5UKL/P, F6HBI/P, HB9CBR/P, HB9DQM/P, JF1NDT/1, JH0CJH/1, OK1MLP/P, VK2IO/P

Mode: CW on 28MHz: activity for March

DL/F5HTR/P, DL/HB9BRJ/P, F6HBI/P, HB9AGO/P, HB9BIN/P, HB9FVF/P, JF1NDT/1, JH0CJH/1, JO3ALU/3, JP3DGT/3, KT0A, OK1MLP/P, VK3CAT

Mode: CW on 50MHz: activity for March

JH0CJH/1, JJ1SWI/1, JR1NNL/1

Mode: CW on 1240MHz: activity for March

Mode: FM on 28MHz: activity for March

Mode: FM on 50MHz: activity for March

KK4OSG, VK3CAT/P

Mode: FM on 1240MHz: activity for March

DG0JMB/P, G7HEM/P, JG6CRU, JP1QEC/1, JS1GRO/4, JS1GRO/6, K7ATN, WW7D

Mode: SSB on 28MHz: activity for March

AD0KE, DG7ACF/P, DL/HB9BIN/P, DL/HB9DQM/P, DN1LSE/P, EB3EWQ/P, HB9FVF/P, IW2OBX/QRP, JS1UEH/1, K6MBX, KD4FTN, KI4AAU/P, KI4SVM, KJ4ZFK, N6MKW, OE/HB9FVF/P, S56LXN/P, VK1VIC

Mode: SSB on 50MHz: activity for March

7K1BAE, 9A/S57MS/P, JF1NDT/1, JH0CJH/1, JH1EWV/1, JH1EWV/2, JI1IKC/1, JJ1SWI/1, JM8ITC/P1, JP3DGT/3, JR1NNL/1, JS1UEH/1, KK4OSG, S56LXN/P, S57MS/P, VK1VIC, VK2IO/P, WA7JTM

Mode: SSB on 1240 MHz: activity for March

K7ATN, WW7D

Regards
Kevin J Prince G0NUP

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SOTA News is normally published on the last day of each month, but there will be occasions when the Editor is not available at this time, in which case it will be published as soon as possible afterwards. It can only be as interesting as the items submitted, so 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 enthusiasts all across Europe, the USA, Australia and beyond, in a total of 114 different SOTA associations worldwide. 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.

For ease of processing, please submit your input by e-mail direct to the addresses below and not via the Reflector.


Roy G4SSH
SOTA News Editor
g4ssh@tiscali.co.uk

U.S. and Canadian reports to:-
Fred K6DGW/7 [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Sparks NV
k6dgw@foothill.net

Australian input to:-
Allen VK3ARH
VK Reporter
VK3ARH@wia.org.au (note the recent change)

New Zealand input to:-
Warren ZL2AJ
warren@zl2aj.com

Japanese reports to
Toru JH0CJH
jh0cjh@jarl.com

South African input to:-
Dennis ZS4BS
zs4bs@netactive.co.za


3 Likes

Wow - what a massive SOTA News and massive effort in putting it together. Enjoyed it, thanks Roy.

Indeed a bumper edition this month!

Can I just say a huge thank you to all who have submitted photos with their articles, I’m sorry that we couldn’t use them all due to space constraints, but they are very much appreciated!

Thanks & very best 73,

Mark G0VOF

Agreed with above certainly was a big one :grinning:
And just because your’s no make it this time don’t give up trying, more the better i reckon
Certainly some good fine reading there.

Karl

Nice read, Thanks to all contributors and writters
Gerald

Hello
Thanks a lot for this very complete news and to the contributors.
Best 73
André f5ukl