SOTA NEWS APRIL 2017 - Part 1 of 2
Editorial - by Mark G0VOF
Welcome to the April 2017 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Skip K6DGW, Roy G4SSH, Kevin G0NUP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Warren ZL2AJ, Toru JH0CJH, Luc ON7DQ, Andre F5UKL, Juerg HB9BIN, Peter ON4UP.
73, Mark G0VOF
The March 2017 edition of SOTA News was viewed more than 1100 times.
SOTA AWARDS March 2017 from Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager.
Congratulations this month to new Shack Sloths YO6PIB (all S2S), G4AZS, SQ9RZA, NO6E and G4YSS (all S2S). Mountain Goats this month KC0YQF (first NA YL Goat), G4AZS, and G4YSS (of whom more later). Another notable achievement (all are notable, some just higher!) to be mentioned is G0FEX as Supersloth (10k Chaser points).
I had an interesting claim from G4YSS where he requested variations on the standard certificates (always happy to oblige if you do the work to prove the validity of the claim!). He has had endorsements for 80m CW, 80m All Modes and asked if he could obtain a certificate indicating that he had achieved 1000 Winter Bonus points – job done and that option will be added to the website when I do some essential changes.
G4AZS Adrian Bayling
KC0YQF Lynn Skinner
G4YSS John Earnshaw (Winter Bonus)
YO6PIB Kertesz Csaba-Zoltan (All S2S)
G4AZS Adrian Bayling
SQ9RZA Grzegorz Bakalarczyk
NO6E Andrew Ellis
G4YSS John Earnshaw 1000 points (80m CW)
G4YSS John Earnshaw 1000 points (80m All Modes)
G4AZS Adrian Bayling 1000 points
G4YSS John Earnshaw 1000 points (Winter Bonus)
G7HEM Michael Hartley 500 points
NS7P Phil Shepard 500 points
M0PLA Paul Athersmith 100 points
HB9GHJ Urs Gredig 100 points
G0FEX Ken Porter 10000 points
WC9G Ron Burns 1500 points
G4YSS John Earnshaw 1000 points (All S2S)
G4AZS Adrian Bayling 1000 points
SQ9RZA Grzegorz Bakalarczyk 1000 points
M6HMK Helen Melhuish 250 points
K7FWH Robert H Lytle 100 points
K4VOZ Tomas Ferrer 100 points
VK3GRK Graeme Knight 100 points
NM5PS Peter Spotts 100 points
VK3PF Peter Freeman 250 summits
G4TJC Simon Melhuish 100 summits
NS7P Phil Shepard 4000 summits
Summit to Summit
NS7P Phil Shepard Gold
JP3DGT Katsushige Oiji Bronze
G4TJC Simon Melhuish Platinum
KC7ND Warren Zimmer Bronze
JP3DGT Katsushige Oiji Bronze
HB9JOE Andreas Thiemann 100 summits
Postal rates have now been increased in line with the changes introduced by Royal Mail. These changes principally affect the lighter items and rates for the larger parcels have not changed.
Last month I highlighted the fact that issuing certificates by email in pdf form was essentially a Paypal benefit and resulted in only a fraction of the certificate cost being available to SOTA. This was discussed at the recent Management Team meeting where we considered a change in the pricing to overcome this. Well changing the price of emailed certificates is something we will introduce from 1 April 2017 – all emailed certificates will now be Free of Charge. We felt that the income from other awards, merchandise and donations produced a sensible income stream that supported the costs of running SOTA and that running an aspect of the awards programme that only benefited a third party was nonsensical. Printed certificates will still be charged for and we will review the impact on revenues after running this for a trial period.
You will notice that I am able to generate special endorsements to our standard certificates, this is only because your log data is available from the database in a downloadable form. If you require a particular variant I will produce it provided you submit the supporting information. I am not going to hunt the database for the information, life is too short, but if you supply the back-up data then I will produce the variant. The first new certificate that will need verification is the Winter (and/or Summer) Bonus Activator certificate. Starting like all our certificates at 100 points and available for 250, 500, 1000, 2500 etc levels. We do not encourage taking risks in adverse conditions and expect all Activators to apply common sense when activating.
Finally, we have decided to support “Youngsters on the Air 2017” to help promote SOTA and encourage younger people into the hobby. This year the event is being held in the UK but it is our intention to provide assistance to this (or similar) events worldwide whenever we can. There is active participation by SOTA in this event with many participants taking to the hills to enjoy a SOTA activation with the assistance of experienced SOTA Activators. When their activations are announced it is up to us to give this the maximum support possible – can they handle an (orderly) pileup?
Stay safe on the hills
SOTA Awards Manager
NORTH AMERICAN REPORT from Skip K6DGW
Spring for W7N happening in NW Nevada, finally, we won’t get our final freeze until sometime late in April, and Peavine Peak [W7N/WC011] which is very prominent here in the Reno Sparks area is still snow-covered. That will be my first activation when the snow is gone this year. It’s been a hugely wet year and we’re expecting a massive wild flower bloom in the desert soon. On to the statistics:
NORTH AMERICA TOTALS
Total Activations: 464 
Nr Unique Activators: 145 
Total Chaser QSOs: 1749 
Nr Unique Chasers: 178 
Unique Summits: 581 
2m: 50 (2%) 
6m: 0 (0%) 
10m: 2 (0%) 
12m: 0 (0%) 
15m: 9 (0%) 
17m: 64 (3%) 
20m: 977 (55%) 
30m: 203 (11%) 
40m: 433 (24%) 
60m: 11 (0%) 
80m: 0 (0%) 
160m: 0 (0%) 
CW: 1309 (74%) 
SSB: 389 (22%) 
FM: 50 (2%) 
AM: 0 (0%) 
Data: 0 (0%) 
Other: 0 (0%) 
I’m becoming less and less certain that these numbers, although very precise integers, are actually truthful. I will undertake to re-write my program, I haven’t touched it in 4 or 5 years.
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:
Bob, AC1Z, up in New Hampshire reports that he began chasing at the beginning of 2014, and as of February 2017, he has exceeded 20,000 chaser points. Congratulations Bob!
Pete, WA7JTM, who is the W7A Association Manager reports:
"W7RV (Tommy) went over 75K chaser points in March. WA7JTM (Pete) went over 5000 s2s points on March 4^th (scored “43” s2s points that day). Pete also completed his 300^th SOTA activation on March 19^th. K7JFD, (Jim) completed his 100^th SOTA activation in March, and K6HPX (Ken) will complete his 200^th SOTA activation any day now.
“Future GOATS in the Hunt…these guys are moving up fast towards their GOAT award: W7USA, Ray, 946 points (should finish up next month), and N7CW, Bud, 860 points (he has only activated 87 summits to score 860 points!). Spring has sprung and u can expect lots of action from the W7A SOTA ops this summer.”
And, thanks to reporter Peter, KD0YOB, “There are two new shack sloths on the W0C roll of honor. Last week, K7PX and KD0YOB (me) passed the 1000 chaser point milestone.”
From the farther north W7M Association, Ron, AE7AP, reports: “The Montana SOTA crew is getting psyched for our short summer. We have 5 activators that have been active in 2017. While some had to go out of state to satiate their SOTA addition, we are beginning to see a few in-state activations. Summer is coming! The 2017 activators include: Vick-K7VK, Bill-N7MSI, Rob-AE7AP, Barb-AE7AQ, and John-KI7FUT”
“The W7M chasers have also been active. Wendell-N7WM passed through the 10,000 point barrier in February!!!, and Bob-K7HLN is approaching Slothdom with 953 points.”
And, breaking NEWS:
Elliot, K6EL, provided some background on perhaps the last US Association: "
Hal, N6JZT mentioned that there are two P100 summits in Iowa, the last state in the US with qualifying peaks and no association. One peak is a very mild slope, possibly leading to the first activation zone lower than 25 vertical meters in the 15 year history of SOTA. The MT can easily do the prep for a new association in that state, but first is the search for an AM there.
I could plod for hours through the list of chasers and climbers active in nearby states to see if one of them lives in Iowa, but first I’ll ask: Does anyone know an Iowa resident who either chases or activates from there? I could offer a reward, but all they get is notoriety and a hearty handclasp. Here are the summits, which will be referenced as WØI/IM-ØØ1 & 2
Also from Elliott, “The March edition of QST magazine, at page 78, lists SOTA first among programs to consider for NPOTA who wish to stay active (inset on that page). I plan to email several dozen of the top NPOTA activators with an invitation to advise us if they want to tag along with a SOTA activation in their area, or to receive advice on equipment and easy summits. Can anyone think of a downside to mentioning this Yahoo group in the process”
“Have you noticed how much free SOTA publicity QST has given us in the last year or so, including a QST cover picture… to say nothing of the cover of the ARRL handbook?”
Bob, K0NR, mentioned the "Second Randomly Scheduled W0C SOTA Dinner: "We had a great turn out last night for the W0C SOTA dinner.
Thanks to everyone that attended. It was wonderful to meet folks in person and have some lively discussion about SOTA, hiking, summits and radio. The 15 attendees were:
Steve WG0AT, Wayne AD0KE, Brad WA6MM, Caleb W4XEN, Carey KX0R, John N0TA, Curtis KC5CW, Mark N0MTN, Bob K0NR, Joyce K0JJW, Steve K7PX, Al KH7AL, James KI0KN, Walt W0CP, John N1OIE
I have a few photos of the group at dinner, shared here:"
Ken, AB4WL, mentioned the Ft. Walton Beach FL Hamfest, which unfortunately is now over. However, he also reported from Bill W4HBK: "We would like to invite you to a forum on “Portable Operations: Activating and Chasing” at the Ft. Walton Beach, FL Hamfest http://w4zbb. org/w4zbborg/index.php?page=Hamfest on Saturday March 18th at 11:30 A.M. CDT. The presentation will include chasing and activating in the various on-the-air programs including SOTA, WWFF, IOTA, U.S. Islands Award Program, WCA, VHF/UHF and OSCAR Grid Squares, County Hunting, and a review of our NPOTA experiences. We will also discuss the equipment needed to operate portable from QRP to 100 watts.
We would like to meet other activators and chasers. We look forward to seeing you at an upcoming Hamfest. If you are unable to attend Ft. Walton Beach we will also be presenting a forum on the following dates:
April 8, 201 7 noon CDT Mobile, AL Hamfest http://www.w4iax.net/hamfest.htm
August 18, 2017 11:00 A.M. CDT Huntsville, AL Hamfest http://www.hamfest.org/
November 11, 2017 Time TBA Montgomery, AL Hamfest http://w4ap.org/news/Hamfest.htm
Presenters: Ken, AB4WL and Jennifer, KF4INA
The section on SOTA was well done and informative. Ken and xyl Jennifer seem to spend every weekend activating something somewhere."
Finally, from Bruce, N7RR: "On Monday, August 21 of this year a total solar eclipse path starts in the central Pacific Ocean, then traverses portions of eleven US states: Oregon, Idaho, a sliver of Montana, Wyoming, Nebraska, Kansas, Missouri, Illinois, Kentucky, Tennesee, North Carolina, Georgia and South Carolina, and continues to the eastern Atlantic Ocean short of the coast of West Africa. During totality, the sun’s sphere is blocked from view, allowing us to see the spectacular solar corona https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Corona."
“During the lengthy partial phases and during the couple minutes of totality, skywave radio propagation changes, mimicking what we would expect in late afternoons, early evenings and early mornings. The 30 m, 40 m, 60 m, 80 m and possibly the 160 m bands are probably the best bets. Totality doesn’t last long. If we are in its path, unless we cannot see the sun, we’ll want to be watching the stupendous totally-eclipsed sun rather than operating our radios!”
“Remember that, except during totality, you MUST protect your eyes. You can watch the partial phases by constructing a simple cardboard pinhole projector https://www.timeanddate.com/eclipse/box-pinhole-projector.html or using an ISO-standard solar viewing device http://www.eclipse2017.org/glasses_order.htm http://www.eclipse2017.org/glasses_order.htm.”
Ed. Note: All sorts of interesting things happen on the radio when the ionosphere experiences a short period of darkness during a normally illuminated time. D-Layer absorption decreases rapidly since the ion density and thus recombination is much higher than for the F-layers. You may find lower bands and even 80 opening briefly, much like gray line effects. It should be interesting, lots of summits on the path. Thanks Bruce, looking for updates as the year progresses.
That’s it from the New World for this time,
Fred (“Skip”) K6DGW
Sparks NV USA
Washoe County DM09dn
NA SOTA Reporter Dude
TM10SOTA Special call for 10th Anniversay of SOTA France
On the occasion of the tenth anniversary of SOTA France, the call TM10SOTA will be activated by the team SOTA-FRANCE (15 operators).
The periods of activity are planned Weekend of April and July. Stations will not be inevitably in mobile on a summit and activate at the same time in different modes or on several bands.
There will be no qsl paper, the confirmation of the contact will be made via eQsl and LOTW. information: www.sota-france.fr
SOTA at DIRAGE Ham fair, Belgium 2017
The ON association will promote Summits On The Air at the DIRAGE ham fair on 17 April. DIRAGE is one of the biggest radio amateur fairs in Belgium.
All SOTA participants are invited to the ‘meet & greet’ at 12h at the SOTA booth.
See you there!
73, Peter ON4UP
ON Association manager
March SOTA tours & a New Invention! – Luc ON7DQ
Luc ON7DQ has been busy this month, with several SOTA tours & even had the time to come up with a brilliant new invention for activators who may not like to get their equipment wet!
He reports his exploits can be read about, with photos at the links below:
Winter tour 9th – 12th March:
On that tour Luc achieved the 10th anniversary of ON SOTA award:
5 Summits in the North:
And finally, following on from his KX3 Digimode interface featured last month:
…we have an idea that may well appeal to many activators who prefer to keep their gear dry & operate in comfort.
This idea will not suit all summits, but variations of this could suit many:
73, Luc ON7DQ
SOTA NEWS FROM JAPAN by Toru JH0CJH
In March, SOTA activators were very active. The total number of QSO’s
reported in the SOTA database is +65% compared with last month. Activations
also increased by 14.5 % compare with last months. This means the number
of chasers have drastically increased compare with last month. This could be
a good sign because in winter, normally and naturally the number of
activations is decreased because of harsh weather, then a 14.5% increase in
Spring could happen. But the large number increases of QSO’s comes from awareness of SOTA in Japan.
Off-line, there were two SOTA lovers gathering parties carried out in
1st one was carried out in Osaka JA3 area on 5 March. Total 8 SOTA freaks
gathered in Umeda, lovely down town in Osaka. In the photo from left side,
JP3DGT, JJ3AMO, JH0CJH, JM3HRC, JP3PPL, JM3GVH, JF3KLH and JM3URG. Most of
each others were first time to meet with but was really like long time
friends from beginning. This is the one, perhaps you know, that we all
felt each others amongst the members of the same hobby.
Next, we got a visit of Andrew E JI1ASG and Gina on 23 March, on their way
back to New Zealand from Korea. Andrew is one of key member to start up
SOTA Japan association and he was the big wheel to promote it into Japan.
We also got attended Arnaud JG1XMV, Hiro JG0AWE, Kaz JK1NRL and really
enjoyed the night with endless Shabu shabu and beer.
SOTA activities in March 2017 in Japan as of 30 Mar 2017.
Total 134 Activations with 1730 QSO have been made and reported.
JA: 133 activations with 1683 QSO from Summits
JA6: 1 activations with 47 QSO from Summits
Total 251 Chasing QSO have been made and reported.
JA: 237 chasing QSO
JA5: 2 chasing QSO
JA6: 12 chasing QSO
Total 136 S2S QSO have been made and reported.
JA: 134 S2S QSO
JA6: 2 S2S QSO
And finally this month from Japan, we all will welcome the visit of Eva
HB9FPM and Andy HB9JOE in Mid April and are planning another SOTA JA
gatherings and activations from JA summits. I will report this in next
month news. The SOTA gatherings will be carried out in JA1 Tokyo and JA3 Kyoto.
If you have a chance to join whichever parties, please contact me JH0CJH
Also on 22 and 23 April we are going to have JA - NA S2S party to promote
SOTA activity to match with the NA SOTA events day and QRPTTF Spring
Event. We NA, JA SOTA lovers welcome you to join it.
North America SOTA Events
QRPTTF (QRP To The Field) Spring Event
Let’s do it, Just do it, and make it into success.
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 111 By Rob and Audrey G4RQJ
This month has been another non starter mainly due to Audrey’s continuing knee problem, things are slowly improving but is a slow process She is managing a good deal of swimming (her first love) and walking in (not on) water and steadily longer little walks on the flat. Having said that the weather in the Lake District has been hardly conducive to hill walking with very low cloud most of the time although one day the rain did stop briefly Having said that as we write (Sat 25th) the wx is gorgeous and painting garden fences is no substitute for SOTA!
All this brings us to thinking about SOTA’s 15th birthday and how things have changed in that time. Our first involvement came on May 5th 2002 as we were testing a new portable antenna on Hamps Fell above Grange. We had done a fair bit of operating from hills over the years and were setting up the beam for our upcoming trip to the Isle of Man. We heard a yl calling cq on 2m FM, MW3GTE which was the early call sign of Shirley MW0YLS sadly now SK. She was on Moel Famau and needed one more QSO to qualify the summit. She passed us all the info on sota and we were hooked, next day we were on Gummers How calling CQ SOTA and its been all uphill since! Shirley went on to become first YL Mountain Goat but became ill which reduced her hill walking. On 7th Nov 2005 we were on Moel Famau and reached our 1000 points Shirley popped up on frequency to congratulate us. This was the last time we spoke to her, soon after she went SK
Another inspiration for us is Allen M1EYO who shot up the leader board in the early years and soon made Mountain Goat. We had lots of contacts in this period as many of his points came from the LD area. Allen is not in the best of health nowadays but if you read this OM best wishes and hope to see you at Norbreck.
Barbies were also popular in the early days, we missed the first because we were, guess where, the Isle of Man but the following year saw us at the Lleyn Peninsula and the next year at Bala. The lady running the campsite at Bala gave every tent a label , then came round, examined them and issued an extra label requiring an additional fee if you had an awning, this on a 2 man ridge tent with extra fly sheet on the front! Great times.
Things have changed since the early days, the 2m chasers gradually climbed from the original struggle for four but in recent times seem to have dropped away again. An element of dx chasing has arrived with new countries joining every day which is great for sota but seems to have scared many of the casual chasers away which is rather sad. We have made our points by plodding so it can be done but it is handy to live close to a source of summits!
Notice lately a trend towards very fast cw calling and wonder how many folk read it on machines and for that matter send it in the same way. At what point does it become a “data mode” rather than good old CW. In the days of teleprinters knew an old Flight Sergeant who claimed to read RTTY from the sound but never saw much evidence of it. Personally I could tell a holding mark and RY’s on a good day. I would love an old creed printer, the house would not!
That’s enough waffle for this month Sorry no activation reports. All depends on Audrey’s knee. We will be at Norbreck as usual with the usual cake etc so please come along for a chat. A call sign/ name badge helps, some people never forget a face, I rarely remember one, not for want of trying, sorry. Meanwhile
Take care out there.
Rob and Audrey
*********** SOTA NEWS PART 2 FOLLOWS BELOW ********