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Sota news december 2012



Welcome to the December 2012 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Fred K6DGW, Wayne VK3WAM, Martin DF3MC, Mark G0VOF, Dave G6DTN, Vlado Z35M, Kevin G0NUP, John G4YSS, Rob & Audrey G4RQJ.

SOTA AWARDS FOR November 2012 by Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

November was not quite so busy as October for awards and merchandise, but it was still busy! Congratulations to Mountain Goat award claimants DL3VTA, HB9CKV and HB9TNF and to slothful Chasers W4TZM, DO1GER, M6BLV, KD9KC, G6DTN, SQ0OZM and M6BLV; all very well deserved. M0BKV is to be congratulated on reaching 5000 Chaser points and 1000 chased summits – no mean achievement even if the level of activity is reaching new heights every month. I cannot miss a mention of Filip ON4TA who has not only achieved Silver as Mountain Explorer but has also managed to claim the Anniversary certificates for Activating in G, GW, GM and GI; how many UK based amateurs could claim that?


Mountain Goat
DL3VTA Michael Mueller
HB9CKV Hans Gruber

Shack Sloth
W4TZM Tommy Mitchell
DO1GER Gerhard Multerer
M6BLV John Moore
KD9KC Michael Olbrisch
G6DTN David Crake

Certificates claimed

HB9TNF Guido Zala 1500 points
HB9TNF Guido Zala 1000 points
SQ6PLD Tomasz Dominas 100 points

Activator Unique
ON4TA Filip Rogister 100 summits
HB9TNF Guido Zala 100 summits

M0BKV Damian Kamm 5000 points
SQ9OZM Marcin Bajer 1000 points
M6BLV John Moore 1000 points
W4RK Bill Gerth 500 points
HB9TNF Guido Zala 500 points
W4RK Bill Gerth 250 points
W0AO Bob Kimbrell 250 points
SQ6PLD Tomasz Dominas 250 points
HB9TNF Guido Zala 250 points
UU4JDD Max Yevsyukov 100 points
VK1DI Ian Sinclair 100 points

Chaser Unique
M0BKV Damian Kamm 1000 summits
K6ILM Elliott Pisor 500 summits
SQ9OZM Marcin Bajer 100 summits

Mountain Hunter
M0BKV Damian Kamm - Platinum
G0RQL Don Roomes - Gold
M0MOL Gareth Mollard - Gold
S52CU Mirko Curk - Gold
G0RQL Don Roomes - Silver
SQ6PLD Tomasz Dominas - Bronze
G0RQL Don Roomes - Bronze
W4RK Bill Gerth - Bronze
HB9TNF Guido Zala - Bronze

Mountain Explorer
ON4TA Filip Rogister - Silver
HB9TNF Guido Zala - Bronze

10th Anniversary
ON4TA Filip Rogister - G Activator
ON4TA Filip Rogister - GW Activator
ON4TA Filip Rogister - GM Activator
ON4TA Filip Rogister - GI Activator
G4OOE Nick Langmead - GD Activator

We appear to be in the middle of the “silly season” that short period between the clocks returning to GMT (UTC to be politically correct!) and the start of the winter bonus. I must admit some of the discussions taking place on the reflector have verged on hilarious with my particular favourite being the end of the world according to the Mayan calendar! Never mind, December 1st brings the start of the winter bonus season in many Associations and activity usually increases dramatically after this date especially if the weather is reasonably clement – some hope! Incidentally, if planning a trip to the high peaks in the Cairngorms (in particular) please check for avalanche warnings, the weather has been cold then warm then cold again and we have had snow on the high tops since September so the potential for unstable snow slopes is high.

I am planning to spend some time over the next week or two designing a certificate for the Summit to Summit award starting in February plus the MT are planning to announce another award in the coming weeks. Hopefully we can get the details for the awards onto the website so anybody interested in claiming these new awards will be able to plan ahead.

Christmas will soon be upon us, and the potential for postal delays will increase rapidly. So I would ask anybody making a claim for an award or merchandise that needs to be posted to do so earlier rather than later. I am reasonably well stocked on some merchandise and have larger size T shirts on order but I am running very low on Shack Sloth trophies and the delivery on these is usually about 3 weeks from the manufacturer; once I have a firm date I will update the stock levels so the trophy may be ordered but the delivery may be a little longer than usual (I will advise, if necessary, by email).

May I wish all SOTA participants, whether Activators or Chasers, a peaceful and pleasant holiday at the end of the month and ask everyone to take care on the hills.


Barry Horning GM4TOE
Awards Manager

SOTA News also congratulates the following:-

Dave G6DTN who achieved Sloth status on HF SSB, with all QSO’s having been ‘starred’, or a variant of his call seen on the chaser’s log.

Bill G4WSB who has logged activations of 500 unique summits

Eric KU6J with 1000 chaser points and also the Mountain Hunter Gold Award.

Todd KH2TJ who has gained Shack Sloth status

Hermann OE5HFM & Monika OE5MOM who both achieved Mountain Goat

Stephan DM1LE who passed the 1000 pts milestone to become a Mountain Goat.

Phil NS7P who passed the 100 points activated milestone.

(The above achievements have been passed to me by e-mail or have been mentioned on the reflector. If you have reached some personal target, perhaps not one for which there is an award, and would like a mention here, then just drop me an e-mail… Editor).


Despite of some snow above 1500m there was a fair amount of SOTA activity in the German Alps during November. More than 25 summits were activated and most of our regions could be reached.

In my last contribution to SOTA News I reported that the second SOTA-DL SKY WALKER Award for activators had been issued and I wondered if there was any chaser who has a QSO with each of the nine highest summits in the German Alps in his log. After some browsing in the SOTA database, I am discovered that there was one - and only one chaser, who has reached the SOTA-DL SKY CHASER Award and it is: G4SSH!

Congratulations Roy and thanks for many contacts from the summits.

There are at least two chasers, who only miss out on one summit and I plan an expedition to this peak as soon as possible. Some of our highest mountains are quite difficult to reach, so it could be some time before they are activated again.

For any details about the SOTA-DL awards, please see our web-site http://www.sota-dl-alpen.de/. Recently an English translation of the awards section was added.

On Nov 11th I demonstrated radio contacts using telegraphy to a group of visitors. As some of you might know, on and near Mt Herzogstand (DL/EW-022), a huge mountain antenna was built in the 1920, which later was used for ionospheric research. The remains of the antenna have been declared a cultural heritage recently. A friend of mine and I lead a historical-technical walk to the remains of the antenna fixation on “Großer Stein” (DL/EW-059). After a discussion of the properties of the ionosphere, how the electromagnetic waves travel to a height of several hundred kilometers, which frequency should be selected for a certain range and how information is exchanged using Morse code I started a CQ-call on 30m-band using the special club call sign DF0H in CW. Of course I had alerted beforehand, and I was glad that very soon the chasers came back to my call. There was a lot of excitement among the visitors when after each contact I told them, where the other station was located.

Thank you and VY 73
Martin DF3MC

(Thank you for the magnificent DL SKY CHASER AWARD No.1 Martin, which is hanging in pride of place on my shack wall - Roy)


Greetings from North America SOTA

It’s hard to believe another year is about to conclude. That may happen
on 21 Dec, if modern humans are interpreting the Mayans correctly, or
maybe not. One idea circulating on the NA SOTA email list is to
activate summits on that day and “look down” on and report the
conflagration to the world. N0D is going to start on 20 Dec and Plan A
is to operate for 3 days with special QSL cards. There is no Plan B. :-))

STATISTICS: SOTA activity on the NA continent continues to grow and new
calls are showing up regularly. Being a bit lazy at times, I decided to
write a program to compile the statistics instead of doing it all in
spreadsheets, the results of that effort debuts in this report. Last
month’s numbers are shown in square brackets ].

Total Activations: 149 [189]
Nr Unique Activators: 69 [62]
Total Chaser QSO’s: 2147 [1957]
Nr Unique Chasers: 118 [122]
Total Summits Activated: 142 [178]
Unique Summits: 111 [91]

2m: 12 (0%) [40]
6m: 1 (0%) [0]
10m: 45 (2%) [49]
12m: 11 (0%) [0]
15m: 105 (4%) [64]
17m: 103 (4%) [78]
20m: 1425 (66%) [1112]
30m: 187 (8%) [104]
40m: 256 (11%) [491]
60m: 0 (0%) [0]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 0 (0%) [0]
Unk: 2

CW: 1219 (56%) [1433]
SSB: 909 (42%) [461]
FM: 12 (0%) [40]
AM: 1 (0%) [0]
Data: 0 (0%) [0]
Other: 4 (0%) [3]
Unk: 2

I haven’t tracked down those 2 “Unk’s” yet. We had fewer activations in
October but we gained a few new activators. Total QSO’s were up a bit,
and while fewer summits were activated, there were some new ones in
there. I’m still trying to come up with a way to handle the /P and /M
issues, they make minor distortions in the results.

AWARDS and ACHIEVEMENTS: Wow! We have a whole bunch of new awards this month:

Tommy, W4TZM
Mike, KD9KC
Ron, WT5RZ
Eric, KU6J
Todd, KH2TJ

Phil NS7P

Bill, W4RK

Sean, KD5CUB
Martin, WB5LJO

Elliott, K6ILM

Eric, KU6J

Bill, W4RK

Mike, KE5AKL [5 summits] Mike reports, “2 states, 3 mtn ranges, 5
peaks, 44 activator points, 81 QSO’s, 818 chaser points, and 1 tarantula”

Dan, WO6M [3 summits]

Etienne, K7ATN [2 summits and then 2 more]

Multi-summit days seem to be increasing. I’ll see if I can jazz up my
little program to ferret them out of the database.

RBN-GATE: Of all the ways to create a pile up on an activation, getting
spotted on SOTAWatch tops the list. Eric, KU6J, has created a nifty
little “app” called RBN-Gate to add yet another way to get spotted.
RBN-Gate monitors the reverse beacon network, and if it finds a CQ
posted with a call that appears on the SOTAWatch Alert list, it will
post a spot on SOTAWatch. All you have to do is post an alert prior to
your trip and when you get to the top, call CQ. The RBN only works on
CW signals of course, but it is another tool in the box.

TOP BAND: I asked earlier in the month if anyone had made any North
American SOTA QSO’s on 160m as an activator. Andy, MM0FMF worked a
little DB magic and came up with 28 stations, all but 3 in Europe. Eric, KU6J, did a little research and found:

"N2YTF and W2VV both activated W1/HH-002 (Mt. Carmel) during the 2011 CQ
160-meter CW Contest on Jan 29, 2011. N2YTF made the first ever NA 160m
activation QSO at 2041z followed shortly by W2VV/P at 2043z.

N2YTF then went to W2/GC-020 (Shawangunk Mountains HP) on Feb 27, 2011
and operated as WB2JSM. He made only one 160m QSO that day, but it was
the first ever NA 160m activation QSO on SSB. On NASOTA Day back in
September (actually NASOTA Night, the next day UTC) I worked you on 160m
CW from W6/NS-223 (Pinoli Ridge)."

30 METERS: There seems to be an increasing interest in 30m to pick up
the more local stations. With the higher solar activity we’re seeing,
D-layer absorption is pretty high on 40m during daylight. The D-layer
is much weaker at 30m. QRG on 30m seems to be converging to 10.115 MHz.

That’s it for this month. Very best wishes for the holidays and for safe activations.


Skip K6DGW
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude


It’s been a record month for activity in VK. We have had first up
activations from VK3FTRV (well actually there was an activation at
Arthurs Seat VK3/VC-031 that snuck in just before the end of October),
VK3BYD, VK3CBV, and VK3UA. We welcome all of these first time activators
into the SOTA family and look forward to many more activations to come.
VK3KAB is also known to have activated for the first time as part of a
six summit trip with VK3WAM and VK3YY, but official recognition awaits
him entering his log into sotadata.

The third weekend saw the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award
activation weekend, with around 20 out of the 45 national parks across
VK3 activated. Around half of VK3’s national parks contain SOTA summits,
and many national park activators chose to activate their parks as part
of a SOTA activation. This resulted in the Keith Roget weekend being the
busiest SOTA weekend in terms of activations in VK to date, only to be
topped the following weekend by VK3KAB, VK3WAM and VK3YY on their 6 ten
pointer trip. VK3CBV was on Mt Buller VK3/VE-008 during that trip, which
also saw additional activations from VK3PF from Arthurs Seat VK3/VC-031
and Mt Worth VK3/VT-066. VK3/VT-066 also rates a mention as the site of
the first ever SOTA activation in VK, all the way back in Febuary this
year. Seems like so long ago.

With the success of the Keith Roget Memorial National Parks Award activation weekend, and the intent of Amateur Radio Victoria to hold this event on an annual basis, it would seem that a late year SOTA activity weekend has been found. We will
still need one in the first half of the weekend, and this one might need to be our very own.

It would seem that VK3FTRV’s activation of Talbot Peak VK3/VT-010 turned
out to be the first true VK chaser feeding frenzy. No less than 17
chasers recorded QSO’s from this activation into the SOTA database. In
addition VK5LA also managed to work the summit both before and after UTC
midnight. Many chasers ended up picking up 20 points from this summit,
working both before and after UTC midnight, which falls at 11am local
time in VK3 during daylight savings. Some activators are deliberately
timing their activations to take advantage of this timing, although they
do not benefit themselves, it is one for the chasers.

Activity in VK5 is still moderate at this time, and is going to be
restrained over the coming summer months due to hot conditions, access
to many summits being closed during this time and only a small number of
remaining summits. They do have winter to look forward to next year
where conditions might be more like an English summer :slight_smile:

As for VK3, summer does bring an elevated fire risk. Victoria is one of
the most fire prone regions of the world. The SOTA regions correspond
with fire danger rating/Fire Ban regions in VK3. If the fire danger
rating for the SOTA region that you wish to activate a summit for is
"Severe" or “Extreme”, you should assess whether you would be safe to
activate that summit on that day. The Country Fire Authority and the
Department of Sustainability and Environment cannot guarantee that any
fire that starts on that day can be controlled. If the fire danger
rating is “Code Red” (Catastrophic), then (as a result of reading this)
for nearly all SOTA summits that are on public land, it would be an
offence to activate that summit in that SOTA region/Fire Ban district.

On a lighter note, we look forward to VK1 joining the fray, and
hopefully it will not be too long now. Efforts are now being
co-ordinated in VK2.

Wayne VK3WAM
for the SOTA news.


The 101st activation from the summit of Vodno, Krstovar Z3/WM-046 on the 4th November also marked a total of 5000 QSO’s from this summit, all on HF during a period of 3.5 years).

This summit (1066 m) has the largest number of activator QSO’s among the summits higher than 1000 m

Vlado Z35M.

(Thanks for that information Vlado, and for the 68 QSO’s (480 chaser points) I have personally had from WM-046, Ed).

Introduction to the next item, from the editor.

John G4YSS (GX0OOO) is the UK’s second highest scoring activator, with 3621 points (of which 822 are winter bonus points) from a total of 480 summits at an average of 7.54 points per summit activated.

Readers of his detailed reports will be aware of the care that John takes to record even the most minute details for the benefit of himself and others. I have persuaded John to share some of his statistics that do not make their way into his usual reports, but will nevertheless strike a chord with other activators who are finding that the SOTA cost-per-point has shown a considerable increase in recent years……


Since starting on 5th April 2002, I have driven a total of 57,237 miles (92,000 km) to activate SOTA’s. This includes GM and GW as well as G. It is important to stress that this is a low figure minimised by a high summit average of over 7.5. I hope that just 15.8 miles (25 km) driven per SOTA point compares favourably with other ‘long distance’ activators. If not the policy (below) has failed! (Incidentally; miles walked is only 1,948 miles (3,100 km) but total ascent (car-SOTA(s)-car) is 194 km - which is well into low earth orbit!). The fuel cost alone to drive 92,000 km is about £8,000 pounds at current prices but is maybe about £5,500 pounds in real figures over 10 years, giving a fuel cost to me of around £1.50 per point activated.

In an attempt to minimise mileage, a deliberate policy was adopted from the start:

  1. Combining activations as much as possible with careful management of closest available summits.
  2. No deliberate pursuit of uniques.
  3. Maximum use of winter bonus.

The cost does not concern me in the least; on the contrary I regard it as excellent value for money. It’s more an issue of exposure to danger on icy, foggy roads and the sheer grinding boredom of driving the same two or three routes over and over again; variety being even further away. Typical mileages for a day’s walking have ranged from 200 to 370 miles (320 to 600 km) made worse by the fact that 99% of it is ‘cross country’ and not on motorways. Green concerns regarding travel to and from the mountains; a subject which has been raised several times on the reflector, must also be a consideration.

I am now at a stage where I don’t look forward to SOTA quite as much as I did, mainly because of the driving distances and typically 18 hour days. I don’t think staying overnight would improve matters that much for me either - I simply don’t want to be away from home that long anymore. Many people have it much worse (for example Gerald G4OIG) but the ‘lumpy’ part of Britain is just too far from Scarborough for my liking and there are limits as to how long I want to keep on visiting it on a regular ‘single day sortie’ basis. There are other considerations but this has perhaps as much to do with my age as anything else. Nevertheless I intend to keep the activator score ticking over for the foreseeable future.

Thanks to all the chasers who have loyally supported the G( )0OOO/P activations during 2012. It’s perhaps a little early but since this is the final news before the holiday, I and the Scarborough Special Events Group would like wish SOTA ops and their families in all countries a very happy Christmas. Hope to be on the air again soon.

73, John G4YSS (GX0OOO)


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

With the winter bonus season in Europe beginning in December, November usually sees a dip in Activations, certainly towards the end of the month. This may well be the case although three activators did give Top Band a try during November, with pleasing results.

First up was Wolf DK1HW/P who activated DM/NS-123 Reinekensiekskopf, on the evening of Saturday 3rd November. As this was an evening activation conditions on 160m were quite good & Wolf’s CQ was picked up by the RBN Gate via S50ARX & a spot appeared on SotaWatch. At first I was struggling with a high noise level but once I was certain I could hear Wolf I gave him a call using 100 Watts & my 50ft vertical. We exchanged good reports & I then spotted Wolf with the comment that he was workable in the UK. Over the next 20 minutes Wolf made another 3 contacts on the band with DL8DXL, S51ZG & G0BPU before switching to 80m CW. Later Wolf returned to 160m CW & worked DL8DX & G4OBK, bringing his total on the band to 6 contacts, a fine total indeed. Wolf was also QRV early the next morning from the same summit so no doubt had spent the night camping up there.

Next to give the band a try was Les, G3VQO/P who activated G/SE-002 Leith Hill on Saturday 10th November. Les also chose an evening to activate on the band, although this Decision was determined by Les’s desire to take part in the RSGB Club Calls contest. Les had taken several trips to carry his equipment up the hill & at one point thought he had forgotten where he had left some of it! Once set up, Les began on 80m CW working a total of 10 stations. Once his QRG had gone quiet I switched over to 160m & began looking for him. Despite the band being already busy with a European CW contest it did not take long to find Les on 1830.5 KHz & we worked with relative ease, exchanging 559/599 reports. I spotted Les on SotaWatch, which was quite fortuitous as the self-spot that Les had sent earlier had disappeared into the ether & did not appear on SotaWatch. Sadly I was his only contact on 160m CW although Roy G4SSH did try calling him without success. Later, Les was far more successful on SSB, working a further 9 stations in the contest, a superb total!

Les has posted a detailed activation report here:

Next up, the following day was Ricky MW6GWR/P who once again activated his local summit G/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn on Sunday 11th November. I was in the shack at the time & after Ricky had QSY’d from 40m SSB I monitored 1850KHz SSB for his signal. I did at times think I heard his voice but after several minutes it was apparent that we were not going to manage a two way exchange. Ricky did note my signal to him at 33, on a Carolina Windom. As Ricky was only using 5 Watts & I was using 100 Watts into my resonant 50ft vertical the chances of making a voice QSO were pretty slim but it was certainly worth a try. Ricky did make one successful Top Band contact with Kevin MW3RNI in Tywyn, & away from 160m had a very successful day indeed with a total of 76 QSO’s logged on a variety of bands.

Ricky has also provided a detailed activation report here:

Thanks to Wolf, Les & Ricky for activating on Top Band this month.

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

On the 3rd November, Wolf DK1HW/P activated DM/NS-123 & made 6 QSO’s on 160m, all using CW.

On the 10th November, Les G3VQO/P activated G/SE-002 Leith Hill & made 10 QSO’s on 160m (1 CW & 9 SSB)

On the 11th November, Ricky MW6GWR/P activated GW/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn, & made 1 QSO on 160m using 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

THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 47 by Rob and Audrey

Llandudno rally coming up so off to Wales for the week hoping to do most of our usual summits and a couple of new (to us) ones. We took in Mynydd y Cwm on the journey down .This is a lovely little wooded hill with sad personal memorials to the crew of an ex RAF Halifax, now a freighter, lost here after the war on approach to Liverpool, taking with her a crew that had escaped the hostilities unscathed. The hill is now wooded, some felling has gone on recently and the initial track is in better condition. The summit woods are unscathed but the paths seem to have been cleared a little making them rather more obvious. We used just VHF for this activation, this is fairly normal for us when on holiday as we do try and do some “normal” tourist things so apologies to our regular HF chasers.

Sunday and Llandudno rally day, this event is much shrunk from its glory days in the leisure centre, the new venue is fine but traders continue to be fairly thin on the ground, a common problem with rallies nation-wide. We met many SOTA participants, activator and chaser and we all suggested meeting up at1215 in the café area. This resulted in a gathering of some twenty odd persons having a pleasant chat for almost an hour; sadly it was machine tea and coffee only there being no café facilities this year. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed the rally and hope that it continues and grow, if people do not support rallies they will die and that would be a huge loss.

Monday and a good forecast so we set out to the Horseshoe Pass and its two popular SOTA summits. These were new uniques for us and after a slight detour at the start (wrong broad path!) we were soon on Moel y Gamelin, nowhere near as steep as it looks from the top of the first lump. Vhf only again and off to Cyrn y Brain, a straight walk up a tarmac track. Initially we were too close to the first transmitter site and the 817 was thoroughly baffled necessitating a move along the track to a slot about half way between the two sites where things were better. Our timing was perfect and we followed the sun down, entering the car park just as the orange ball set behind the hills.

Tuesday and the fair weather continued to hold so off to Talyfan. The road from Tal y Bont up to the car park is a nightmare at best. Today in the steep high narrow section
we met a man bringing half the sheep in Wales down the hill, nowhere to go but fortunately his destination was a field just in front of us so just a long wait. Spent most of the rest of the trip hoping that he was not taking the other half down on our return! Barry MW0IML/P was already in action when we arrived at the summit so after a quick chat we set up and did a full set of frequencies, treating this like a normal Sunday activation. Towards the end the weather deteriorated with quite a strong wind and we were not sorry to head down.

Thursday and we took a decision to just activate Mynydd Bodafon and not to do Holyhead Mountain thus saving quite a bit of driving and some time to visit the Llandrog Aviation Museum. There were very heavy showers as we approached the hill and although it was clear when we arrived we could not get into the car park, the usual deep hole across the entrance being even deeper and full with about 2ft deep water. We did manage to get in on the verge and a very quick activation resulted. Later the museum was well worth the visit, a strange place to reach though, but the original home of RAF Mountain Rescue. Some interesting bits of radio gear, most not identified but was able to help out with info on some of it.(ex RAF wireless fitter ’57 to’71). On return to base in Llandudno we decided that the WX was suitable for a quick evening trip up Great Orme. Wrong, on the summit the wind was a full gale and we did a fully portable activation, 817 on shoulder strap, beam (2m 4ele) on the 12ft mast hand held. Pitch black and we took some shelter in the lee of the café building. Some trouble getting going but eventually plenty of 2m contacts, some of whom did not seem to understand that we were two old fools out in the pitch black on a summit in a gale and really did not need shack details etc. Still a pleasure to work them.

Friday and we did Foel Fenlli and Moel Famau and a pleasure to complete the pair without our usual drive back to Barrow for the Radio club meeting.

The following Sunday was Remembrance Day so no summit for us, the next Sunday the 18th saw us on Loughrigg Fell. This is a fell with scenic views all round and much loved by keen photographers. The most direct route to the summit is the staircase that climbs from the North West end of Loughrigg Terrace (The track that crosses the north face of the hill, not a housing estate!), Best parking is White Moss car park off the A591 but beware the price!! At least the toilets are open again. There are plenty of nice low level walks for those not keen on the SOTA bit. The summit area is large with two main tops one with a trig. Unless it is midnight in a snowstorm this one is best avoided as a place to operate as there is more passing walking traffic than the local Mall on sales day! The top a few yards east is much quieter and the tourist hazard much reduced. The activation followed our usual pattern but must apologise for the breaks in cw activity (new excuse coming up) Have started to use the FT817 on its neck strap, saves having to find a decent place to put it down. The battery is a model aircraft type which is the same height and length as the rig and straps neatly to the side of it with black tape. On the back of the rig both the key jack and the power plug are both the right angled type which put much less strain on the printed circuit joins inside the radio. Started to get extra dots etc. found the key plug partly out of the socket, pushed it back but the same kept happening at intervals. Eventually found (cold brain) it was due to the case and battery trying to slide down and off taking the plug with them. Moral, find a better way to keep the case on the rig than the puny strap provided.

The forecast for Sunday 25thwas awful and in view of the local flooding, cut off from mainland, then Barrow cut off from the rest of the country for some time and with the added temptation of the final F1 GP of the year we stayed at home in the warm.

Lots of debate on the reflector recently about spots. We find spots to be a great help and always look when we get home to see who spotted us, too many to mention but thanks to you all. Nothing worse than trying to get going on a cold wet day with no spot, don’t self-spot or usually solicit spots but always good to get going. On occasion they can cause a lot more work, particularly toward the end of a long activation on a bad day when going home seems a nice option. We will ALWAYS try to work everyone who wants a contact but please remember we are not spring chickens and it’s like keeping your old great granddad and grandma on a cold hill in the rain! Seriously, we love it and will always try to give everyone a contact. Would hate to be that feature so popular in our local paper “Elderly couple rescued from fell” The friendship of the SOTA community is superb and you have only to look at the reflector to see examples of it in action so although it’s early we’ll take the last chance before the big day to wish you all a Happy and Peaceful Christmas.

Take care out there 73

Rob and Audrey


Welcome to Winter Bonus……

A combination of winter weather and the approach of Winter Bonus in Europe saw SOTA activity fall to a very low level during the month of November. There were many weekdays when the number of CW chaser points on offer barely reached double figures, with only a slight improvement at weekends. There were many cancelled and abandoned activations due to bad weather conditions.

It was refreshing to observe quite a few activators commencing on 28 MHz, then dropping down in sequence, 24, 21, 18 KHz etc. This is by far the most efficient method of working chasers because it reduces the pile up in turn as propagation limits the geographical area of stations calling, until finally there are only few chasers left on 7 MHz and there is no huge pile up on this spot. Compare this to a typical feeding frenzy when an activator commences an initial call here.

SOTA News has been encouraging activators and chasers to use the higher bands for many months. I recently received an e-mail from Heinz OE5EE£P on this subject:-

“SOTA on the higher bands

Thanks for coming back to my call on 18MHz while I was on Hochplettspitz
OE/OO-283 today Roy. Your signal was stronger on 18MHz than an hour earlier
on 10MHz. From the results of the reverse beacon network I can also see
that 18MHz was in good shape today. Nevertheless I made just 2 QSO’s on
18MHz, but almost 50 on 10MHz! I think that all bands higher than 10MHz
are underused. Many operators to not realize that the higher bands are
open. I think this would be a good topic for your monthly CW report. If you could make them aware of openings of the higher bands we would all profit.

On my last few activations I have always worked a few North American
Stations, mainly on 14MHz and higher. Another reasons to go higher, to
give SOTA chasers on other continents a fair chance!

On another topic I did work split on last Sunday’s activation on 10MHz
for the first time in my SOTA history. I had so many callers that I
could not pick out calls in a timely manner. I could slightly increase
my QSO rate after going split. After announcing that I would listen 1up
I finished every QSO with a “73 TU UP1”. It took me about 15 minutes to
thin out the callers. I was amazed to realize then that after 15 minutes
operating split some people were still calling on my original frequency.
They probably have not heard any of my QSO-partners, but kept calling
without listening! I have to admit that working split will also need
some more training on my side to know how to adjust VFO’s etc. It is an
option if pile-ups get too messy, if only you leave half of the callers
behind to tackle the pile-up in portions. I thought of alternatively
trying a QSY within band (eg 3 up) and work those that will follow and
then return to the original frequency to work the remaining crowd. I
will let you know how this works out.

73 Heinz

Some highlights of the month

Lutz DJ3AX completed a tour of the German HE Region over the period 22-24th November, accompanied by his faithful Mountain Mutt “Benny” and SSB op Peter DK2RMP.

Andy DK7MG 19th activated DL/MF-029 then jumped over the border fence to operate as OE/TI-520 on the way down.

Jurg F/HB9AFI continued his almost daily activations from France during the month.

Jurg HB9BIN activated 9 summits in the F/JU region between 1st- 3rd November making 251 QSO’s.

Hans PA0HRM made expeditions into Germany and Belgium during the month.

As we went to press Marek OK1HAG was on a tour of the Mourne Mountains area of Northern Ireland.

I was absolutely delighted to contact my good friend Fritz DL4FDM (HB9CSA)on DM/HE-314 on the 27th. It must be over a year since he last activated a SOTA, although I have heard him active as a chaser. Welcome back Fritz. I hope that you are fully recovered now and I look forward to hearing you on many more summits.

Extracts from the Data Base compiled by Kevin G0NUP


10 MHz


14 MHz


18 MHz

S52CU/P, S57X/P, W4ZV, W7TAO

21 MHz


24 MHz


28 MHz



The following scheduled contests are expected to cause 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.

8-9th 1600-1600 International Navy contest CW
9th only 0001-2359 SKCC CW Sprint.
15th only 0001-2359 OK DX RTTY contest
15th -16th 1400-1400 Croatian CW contest
23rd only 0200-0959 RAEM CW 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

The next Issue of SOTA News will be the last one for the year and we welcome any “Reviews of the Year” from Association Managers, newcomers during 2012 or old hands who have managed to reach a personal SOTA milestone. Deadline by the 29th December please.

The SOTA News team wish all activators, chasers, SWL’s and their families a very Happy Christmas.


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:-
Wayne VK3WAM
VK Reporter


In reply to G4SSH:
Hoi Roy. Tks for the Qso’s today (Still november!! Roy) It was cold on the first summit. (Hunau Gipfel) minus 3 deg. C. Later the weather became better.
Nice to worked N4ex !! Cond where not great!
I had a nice trip with QSO’s on 40m,30m, 20m and 17m.
Tks for the dec-news!
73 Sake Pa0skp

In reply to G4SSH:
Hi Roy,

Thanks for another good news bulletin. Sorry I did not contribute to the Top Band activity this month but thanks to the three who did. It’s certainly the right time of year for that band. I laughed at Rob’s comments about the ‘elderly couple’ but I’m sure it’s not come to that yet! At least I hope not as I’m not far behind them or maybe even ahead!

73, John G4YSS.

In reply to G4SSH:

Many thanks for another News Roy. Much appreciated, especially when I have been confined to barracks for the past month.

Thanks to John G4YSS for the stats. As I was given a mention in the article, I thought I would look at my own, so here they are -

Since starting on 11th February 2006, I have driven a total of 42,790 miles. In addition, I have sat in a passenger seat for a further 6,537 miles in the pursuit of SOTA. This totals 49,327 miles (78,920 km). Like John this covers G, GM and GW. A couple of days were also spent activating in CT this past summer to give me my first continental activations which I enjoyed immensely. GD awaits as my closest group of personally un-activated summits, with F and ON under consideration for future activations. Staying overnight definitely works for me - the alternative of driving back and forth is no longer tenable given the distances involved, though I did manage a mad 4 summit dash up to GM/SS and back (655 miles / 1048km) in a 36 hour period in June 2011.

In contrast to John, my average summit points are a lowly 3.29, partly resulting from activating a large quantity of single point summits in order to complete G and almost complete GW (GW/MW-032 awaits). All 385 summits that I have activated are Uniques with no repeats under my G4 call. I have travelled 39 miles (62km) per SOTA point – about two and a half times John’s tally.

I have not kept a record of the distance walked or ascended, so no comparisons there. However, I feel that I should get off down to the betting shop to stick a few pound notes on John’s speed of ascent if Ladbrokes are up for it. I estimate that he more than doubles my average ascent speed. :slight_smile:

The fuel cost to drive 78,920km - well you can work it out yourself, but I reckon every penny has been of much greater value to me personally than had I travelled the same distance following a Premiership football team or another spectator sport.

73, Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG and G4YSS:

Thanks for the very interesting statistics. Like Gerald we travel longish distances for few points in the quest for uniques. Using the caravan or a cottage (summer) or Travel Lodge (winter) reduces the mileage per point and allows other activities too but does little to reduce cost. Picking up the uniques is now getting more awkward through distance and obscurity (mid Wales and more distant parts of UK) or physical difficulty (north Wales) but I still hope to complete Wales (maybe not GW/MW-032 and GW/NW-072).

However, I am delighted to state that I have not the slightest idea of any of the following:-
miles driven, fuel cost, distance actually walked, height actually ascended. Nor do I know how many summits we have ascended. We do keep a walking log as well as radio ones but it doesn’t have a running total. A long time ago I did start trying to keep track of some of these figures but it was too much like work!

Thanks also to Roy for another interesting Newsletter and to the other Activators and Chasers who make SOTA such a pleasurable addiction.


Tnx fr SOTA-NEWS Roy,

by the
"Some highlights of the month"

SSB OP on the HE-Tour with DJ3AX,Lutz

Andereas DG2RSO and Me DK2RMP

73/44 Peter

In reply to G4SSH:

Another good read. Thanks Roy.