Sota news december 2013



Welcome to the December 2013 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Andy MM0FMF, Barry GM4TOE, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Andrew VK1NAM, Skip K6DGW, Mark G0VOF, Allen VK3HRA, Kevin G0NUP.

SOTA Database from Andy MM0FMF

Nothing has really changed on the database this month. Work continues on integrating SWL logging into the codebase as well as importing Tom’s SWL database he kept in Excel. Expected delivery sometime around Christmas.

Twitter feed

I ran an experimental Twitter spot feed for about 6 months. This was a learning exercise for me. When the server was rebooted recently I forgot to restart the Twitter server. Nobody commented it was silent and having asked if anyone was using it and getting no reply it has been shutdown.
The code was used as a basis for the SOTAcluster.


This is still in beta test but hasn’t crashed for well over a week. The few outages have been caused by the switch failure in the datacentre and a security patch and forced reboot to the server. If anyone wants to try it then the connection details are port 7300. There are limited connections available, so first come first served.

I’d like to thank my alpha testers for the feedback they have given me along with a lot of support in getting this working.

Andy, MM0FMF
Database Manager


November is always a quiet month for awards, it seems that everybody is waiting for the winter bonus (in the Northern hemisphere) to kick-off. This month provided a bumper bunch of trophies though, unfortunately our engraver had a short vacation and is now very busy with engraving orders for Christmas, consequently there will be some inevitable delay in despatch.

Congratulations to all who achieved a personal milestone this month but notably VK3WAM for being the first VK Mountain Goat. There was a time when somebody achieving an award level above the basic was remarkable; now Chaser points at the higher levels are common, however it is still remarkable that ON7ZQ has achieved 5000 points (way above my score!) and M0IBC has a claim at the 2500 point level. Well done everybody, long may it continue.


Mountain Goat

OE7PHI Hansjoerg Poernbacher
HB9CZF Dominik Bugmann
VK3WAM Wayne Merry

Shack Sloth

VK3ANL Nicholas Lock
VK3AZZ Malcolm Lewis
HA3LV Balazs Borbely
W5RST Michael McShan
VK3OHM Marc Hillman

Certificates claimed


VK3WAM Wayne Merry 1000 points
ZS5AYC Sid Tyler 100 points
YO2MSB Sorin Daniel Barbu 100 points
SQ9ZBK Bogdan Karas 100 points

Activator Unique
OE7PHI Hansjoerg Poernbacher 100 summits
HB9BCB Heinz Baertschi 100 summits


ON6ZQ Christophe David 5000 points
M0IBC David Lowe 2500 points
VK2JI Ed Durrant 1500 points
VK3ANL Nicholas Lock 1000 points
VK3OHM Marc Hillman 1000 points
G4JNN Paul Corrigan 1000 points
VK3WAM Wayne Merry 500 points
G4FVK David Sewell 250 points
SQ9MEP Maciej Dziedzic 250 points
YO2MSB Sorin Daniel Barbu 100 points
WB0USI Rick Loughrey 100 points

Mountain Hunter

EA2CW Mikel Berrocal Gold

Summit to Summit

K6EL Elliott M Pisor Gold
VK3WAM Wayne Merry Bronze

I seem to be making this plea every month but would people applying for awards (in particular) please check the accuracy of their application. Errors still appear every month and it does make more work – the applicant who managed to get their callsign wrong meant a database search by Andy for their details; how do you get your callsign wrong?

The website is now functional on Android tablets, a simple, but obscure, geeky error in the software caused the problem. I presume it will work on other portable systems as I haven’t had any wailing and renting of clothes over this matter!

Despite the offer of magnificent prizes for identifying the hills illustrated on the banner heading of the site I didn’t receive a single response. Because I am magnanimous, and Christmas is approaching, I will continue the offer of any item of SOTA merchandise to anybody who can correctly identify the hills and email me their solution before the end of December.

If you (or your very generous partner) would like SOTA merchandise, or awards, delivered in time for Christmas please ensure I have the order in the next two weeks, after that I cannot guarantee delivering them in a timely manner. Stock levels of certain sizes and colours of T shirt are running low and, although I have just placed a new order for stock, your choice may not be available.

My xyl and myself had a short break during the month with one objective being the chance for me to claim an activation of my first GM/SI summit. The weather gods had a different opinion and the walk turned into a marathon and a bit of a race against the clock so no activation. The views of the Arran hills were absolutely stunning though and we plan to try again in the not too distant future.

December brings the start of the winter bonus in this hemisphere and the chance to activate those lower summits which have been ignored all summer. Take great care on the hills in winter and remember that the character of even the lesser summits change dramatically under winter conditions. Please don’t become a statistic or a candidate for the Darwin Awards.


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

SOTA News also congratulates:-

  • Wayne VK3WAM on becoming the first VK Mountain Goat.
    I had the honour to make the first UK/VK SOTA chaser QSO with Wayne back on the 7th April 2012. (Ed).

  • YL Iratxe, EA2DNO. The first “Mountain Goat” in EA.

  • Dow, W4DOW on passing the 3000 chaser point milestone.


Hi all,

This month we celebrate the first VK mountain goat, VK3WAM Wayne. This achievement was completed in under 2 years. This will be no surprise to any who have meet or worked Wayne as his energy and enthusiasm appears to limitless. Wayne has been the most prolific Activator in VK following a massive effort to have VK3 becoming the first VK SOTA Association in February 2012. Once VK3 was completed he became heavily involvement with mapping VK1, VK2 and VK5 enlisting assistance to bring the rest of VK online.

Wayne set the pace and has been well out in front with his activations in VK ever since. Wayne’s activations have varied from short and sharp events on days when he has activated several summits in a day, with most requiring significant walking, to multi-day bush walks in the Victorian Alps picking up remote 10-point summits, many of which have not yet had a second activation attempt.

The first year of activity was hard work for all activators, often requiring very significant times of calling to qualify a summit, and the occasional unsuccessful activation (no points gained). The dog piles experienced today a very different experience!

A blog post of the Mountain Goat activation is available at:

With summer just around the corner activity has not abated. November hosted several field days and KRMNPA weekend. The park activators are from a common pool with several combining the park activation with a SOTA peak. This activity is showing new activators the fun involved, improving skills and will bring more into the SOTA camp.

Concerns about snakes and fires have not stopped remote activations with many taking advantage of the milder weather to activate the remote summits. VK3FTRV Ben has lead the charge with a two day 7 summit expedition into remote area.

Whilst many have been chasing SOTA DX (VK1DA/p, VK2DAG, VK1MA, VK5CZ, VK2IO, VK2JI, VK3CAT and VK5PAS) VK1NAM Andrew has been taking advantage of the longer days and the suburban summits to activate peaks seeking S2S DX contacts. With 20m open into the EU, Andrews efforts have been rewarded with S2S contacts into Germany and Hungary. Next weekend (7th December) Andrew is looking to have several activators out for a combined SOTA DX effort. More info is available on VK1NAM blog at:

Again, a big thank you to Wayne for all the work done in getting SOTA going in VK, in promoting the activity and for all the summits activated. The honour of being the first VK Mountain Goat is well deserved.

Hope to see you on the 7th for a S2S,


VK mass SOTA activation 7 December 2013 at 07:30 UTC

Hello SOTA friends

I am coordinating a mass activation of VK summits for Saturday 7 December 2013 starting at 07:30 UTC.

The activations will be subject to local WX weather conditions.

So far, I have received interest from 7 activators from VK1, VK2, VK3 and VK5.

I expect to receive more interest as we get closer to Saturday 7 December.

We hope to work as many northern hemisphere SOTA activators summit to summit (S2S) as possible.

I believe you are now in the winter bonus period.

Please advise you’re SOTA friends.

Andrew, VK1NAM


SOTA blog


Hi All,

Weather has clearly played a role in November NA SOTA activity. Much of the continent has seen serious storms, none of which encourage SOTA activations, while those of us on the western frontier have been enjoying a lingering Fall.

STATISTICS [as of 29 Nov 1800Z]:

Total Activations: 256 [288]
Nr Unique Activators: 95 [111]
Total Chaser QSOs: 5879 [3745]
Nr Unique Chasers: 202 [184]
Total Summits Activated: 255 [2055]
Unique Summits: 180 [336]

2m: 171 (2%) [197]
6m: 1 (0%) [0]
10m: 91 (1%) [3]
12m: 2041 (34%) [656]
15m: 227 (3%) [95]
17m: 236 (4%) [174]
20m: 2089 (35%) [1895]
30m: 324 (5%) [209]
40m: 689 (11%) [509]
60m: 6 (0%) [2]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 1 (0%) [0]
Unk: 3

CW: 3984 (67%) [2291]
SSB: 1718 (29%) [1260]
FM: 172 (2%) [192]
AM: 2 (0%) [1]
Data: 0 (0%) [0]
Other: 1 (0%) [1]
Unk: 3

Activity was down on the activation side but significantly up on the chaser side. Apparently, a warm shack was more inviting than a trip to some snowbound summit for many. I still can’t explain last month’s “Total Summits Activated: [2055]” but I think it’s bogus. The three “Unk’s” are summits with extra commas interspersed in the name. I modified my program a bit to extract some additional standings:

For the summits most activated in Nov, we have a tie between W6/NC-423 and W6/CT-244 at 9 each, VE2/ML-005 was activated 7 times, W0/FR-063 5 times, and W5N/CO-004 4 times. In fact, W6/NC-423 [Mt. Davidson] has been activated 152 times so far, not surprising since it is located in the mountains west of the San Francisco Bay [aka Silicon Valley], and is very accessible. Likewise for W6/CT-244 [Workman Hill] which is located just east of the very densely populated Whittier area in the Los Angeles basin and is easily accessible.

The W6 Association saw 41 unique summits activated while W7A came in second at 21 summits. We still have a way to go to equal “The Cloud” in total activations but then, Britannia started before we did.

On the chaser side, I tabulated all the chasers with reported points in 3-digits for a total of 15. To no one’s surprise I’m sure, Rich, N4EX, tops the list at 355. I looked back at my meager activation logs and Rich is in every one, 71% of the time he’s my first contact. Four were in the 200’s. The Top 16 NA chasers are:

N4EX 355
W7RV 246
AE4FZ 227
W4DOW 212
KG3W 204
W0MNA 178
KF4MH 163
NS7P 160
N7MA 140
W0ERI 136
WG8Y 135
NE4TN 125
K6EL 114
VE1WT 113
K0LAF 102
K5YA 100

AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS: Congratulations to –

Dennis, WA2USA, achieved 15,000 chaser points on 8 Nov working N6JZT.

Guy, N7UN, has surpassed the Super Sloth mark of 10,000 chaser points, also early in the month. Guy seems to be everywhere, both in terms of frequency while chasing and geographically while activating.

Phil, NS7P reports that Etienne, K7ATN, has passed the 1000 point S2S mark. I don’t know what it is about an S2S, I got one on the activation of W5N/RO-015 with Mike, KD5KC, at the end of Oct, and it just seems to add to the excitement. Elliott, K6EL, pointed out the Etienne did this the “hard way,” 70% of the time getting no activation points. I guess he climbs the mountain just for the S2S. Be sure to check out his page with a really great photo of him on the summit of Mt. St.

Mike, W5RST, has become the second W5O Association member of the Royal Order of Shack Sloths. Mike made his first SOTA QSO on 23 Feb 2013, followed by his first DX SOTA QSO on 13 Oct, and Slothdom on 16 Nov.

And Bob, AJ5C, reports that as of 24 Nov, he was at 5,172 chaser points.

NEWS: Good and Bad –

Walker, VE6MCB, and Andy, MM0FMF, have confirmed that the pending VE6 Association update has in fact happened with over 1,200 summits now available in Alberta.

And, it is with great sadness that we report the passing of Rooster, First SOTA Goat. Steve reports that Rooster died suddenly the night of 5 Nov of unknown causes. Our condolences to Rooster’s family, Steve and Peanut will be leaving some of his ashes on many of the summits he so enjoyed.

REPORT OF THE MONTH: This month comes from Kevin, K4KPK, on W4G/NG-041 [Gooch Mtn], and illustrates how “knowing the area” can be invaluable for a successful activation:

“This was my second attempt to activate Gooch. Last time, in July, I learned that I’d have a non-trivial bushwhack, regardless of my approach. Bushwhacking is much easier when cold weather has killed off the vegetation so I came back to try again in November.”

“Instead of trying to get close on the Appalachian Trail, I parked by the side of the road, bushwhacked up the side of the ridge which runs south from the summit, and followed the ridge line to the summit. The climb was short and steep. I was able to move pretty quickly along the ridge line, so I arrived early.”

“This was my second expedition with my new 36’ carbon mast. Instead of lying it flat, attaching my antenna wire, and raising it to vertical, I went straight up with it. I attached the wire as I extended it up (using zip ties), leaning it on my shoulder. Once it was fully extended, I leaned it against a tree, and then I guyed it out, to prevent a stray breeze from toppling it. It went up in about 5 minutes, so now I was running way ahead of schedule.”

"I’ve found a ‘sweet spot’ with my equipment. I’m very happy with:

 36' CF mast
 33' end-fed wire (half-wave on 20 meters, quarter-wave on 40 meters)
 EARCHI matchbox on 20m
 BNC-to-binding-post adapter and a single radial 4' AGL on 40m
 KX3 at 12 watts
 [AA power wand]("

“I can switch from 20m to 40m in about 2 minutes. Most of that time is spent in untangling from my earphones and standing up! The only thing I plan to add is an iambic paddle, once my CW is ready for prime time.”

“I was nervous about propagation. Before leaving home in the morning, the forecast was for poor propagation on 40 and fair on 20, with high noise and geomagnetic activity. G4ILO’s widget was predicting blackouts. When I activated, it might have been a little noisy, but it wasn’t bad. I made fewer QSOs than recent weekends, but since I called CQ at about 9:40 Eastern, that’s early for chasers to the west.”

“This hill will combine nicely with Sassafras Mountain (NG-040). I drove to that trailhead after activating Gooch, and it is only about 15 minutes away. I’d activated it earlier this year, so no double-header today. Some Forest Service roads in Georgia get gated from January to mid-March, but I saw no gates, so I’ll try and come back for the double-header in January/February.”

“Thank you chasers!
Kevin / K4KPK”

That’s it from the New World for November 2013. I hope everyone has a happy and safe holiday season, and we’ll see you again next year.


Skip K6DGW
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude


As a chaser, I find that making successful SOTA CW contacts on 24 MHz is particularly difficult, frustrating and challenging. It also calls for different chasing skills in order to be successful.

Unlike an activator, who can work any station worldwide to qualify on 24 MHz , the chaser is looking for one particular callsign, and in the majority of occasions and especially if the activator and the chaser are both in the same continent (such as EU) then the skip distance is often too long and the ground wave distance is too short. If propagation is good for DX then you are searching for a weak and whispery station amongst wall-to-wall W, JA and VE stations.

I follow up every spot I see for this band, but am rarely successful in even hearing the activator. The ones that I DO hear are usually about 229 - and right on the noise level, which means “very weak signals, barely readable, with only occasional words distinguishable” so if you cannot read your own callsign then it is pointless calling.

The chaser is faced with a big problem because the signals on this band are usually fading in and out similar to a sine wave and often the only chance of success is to monitor the frequency to wait to see if propagation improves sufficient to make a quick call and read the reply. However, the danger on this band is that the station you are monitoring fades out, to be replaced by a station behaving exactly similar to a SOTA activator, which later becomes readable and identifies as a UA0, or a JA or a W7.

The only answer to this is to firstly listen, listen and listen again in order to fully identify the call of the activator (do not answer the first station you hear on the frequency giving “599 BK” as many stations do). When you have made a successful contact keep listening until you hear the call once more. If still doubtful then later check the log of the activator in the data base.

One way to help you identify the activator is to use their name “BK GA HEINZ UR 229 BK” when the reply comes back with your name you have a good confirmation.

Finally, however tempting, please do not give the report 119. This means that the station is barely perceptible to you and unreadable - and if they are unreadable you should not be calling in the first place

73 and good chasing

Roy G4SSH.

THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 59 - by Rob and Audrey G4RQJ

A very fragmented month for us with not a lot in the way of activating. The beginning of the period, 26th Oct, saw us on the way to Llandudno for our yearly visit at Radio Rally time. Mynydd y Cwm close to the A55 road on the way down is the first target. The usual short ascent route, no water tank nowadays to mark where the path leaves the forest road but look for the woodland path on the right between two tall trees almost like the pillars of a gateway. Once on the path bear right at every junction until you reach the small clearing at the summit with its sad memorial to the crew of a Halifax freighter lost here just after WW2 on approach to Speke in Liverpool. To survive the hostilities and end up here is something to ponder as you pass over on the way back from your holidays. This makes for a rather sombre but pretty little hill but the close trees make for strange beam headings on 2m or maybe it’s just a little disorientation. Keep left on the descent to regain the forest road. As we descend the wind is beginning to pick up in the treetops and forecast for the next few days.

By the time we reached Llandudno it was blowing quite hard and by the following day it had become a strong gale but its rally day so off we go to find the new venue. Like most rallies this one has shrunk badly since its heydays when it was a two day event in a swish venue on the seafront. Having said that it is always a pleasure to attend and very friendly. As usual there were a fair number of SOTA people there beside us so we spent a lot of time chatting. The rally itself is now in a single hall with a good range of stalls but no big dealers. These sort of rallies suit those of us who live off the beaten track and don’t have easy access to bits and pieces but they do need support. I did manage to resist buying a wartime TCS receiver to restore (another big interest) no room for it, Audrey is most impressed. The gale outside was now even stronger and we decided to postpone our usual evening trip up Great Orme.

Monday and its blowing yet harder with rain as a bonus so touristy things until late afternoon when there is a bit of a break so off we go up the Orme. At the car park we can barely open the car doors and standing is an effort. We make the shelter in the lee of the summit centre and find a sheltered spot close to the cable car shed. Hand holding the 2m beam on the short mast with the FT817 on its round the neck strap is the most viable option with Audrey alongside logging handheld. Previous experience on this summit is that handhelds struggle with break through; the 817 can just about cope. Chaser response is good with most realizing that we are operating in less than optimum conditions Reports are very good, always find that a big metal building behind you is a definite advantage on 2m but not so good in the opposite direction! It’s still light as we descend, not usual for us as we like to watch night drawing on and the lights appearing. Not tonight though!

Tuesday and a half reasonable day so off to the Horseshoe Pass for the usual pair. Not a lot we can add to the piles of info on these two. It was windy enough on Moel y Gamelin to blow Audrey about so much that she had to hold on to heavy ballast i.e. me. That apart, a normal activation of two nice hills
Another poor day followed, so no hill, then a decent spell gave us a chance to catch a new unique in Penycloddiau. We made our way to the recommended parking place at SJ139668 where the set of gates that faces you is rather like Alice in Wonderland; not wishing to test my (Rob) famous vertigo I was anxious to make the correct choice. We picked the extreme right one and ignored the small path on the right, keeping to the forest road for about 15 minutes to a point where an obvious path on the right leads rather steeply up to the high path having avoided any exposure. Turn left at a farm gate that appears in front of you as you breast the ridge. About 20yds along the path cross the stile in front of you and walk up a succession of grassy mounds to reach the high point with a modern replica of an iron age fort with original earthworks all around. The earthworks give good shelter on windy days like today. We liked this summit very much, a nice family outing. That wrapped things up for our Wales trip for this year as the weather closed in and we missed out on several of our usual favourites, they’ll be there next year.

The weather has been a limiting factor for us this year, that or getting steadily older! This month has been no exception and on Sunday the clag was down to a couple of hundred feet over most of the Lake District but with the car newly past its MOT we decided on yet another repeat of Hutton Roof Crag, this time trying 12m on our new light dipole. This is made from the light white PTFE coated wire that can be picked up at rallies if you’re lucky. Very durable, we’ve used it for years with no problems. The section joiners are a single light weigh cable tie set as a loop of a couple inches diameter and the wires are tied with a single knot at opposite sides. This of course becomes a long narrow loop giving the separation. The connectors are the standard auto harness blade type, cheap as chips as they say. You can even get the ties in a range of colours so a different colour for each pair is rather nice. In our case the centre ends have spade terminals that connect to our standard centrepiece, the whole thing 20m to 10m will push in a pocket.

On the summit it was wet, very wet with driving mist and rain, the antenna performed well on 12m but the QRM was horrendous. We found a space above a split operation pileup but the whole show got wider and wider until we were engulfed. With 5w in a shower bath this was not fun so we retired to 2m fm that was much quieter. The descent was very slippery on the mud and grass.

Well that’s about it for this month sorry it’s so thin. This year has seen our Golden Wedding so has been quite busy with extra activities outside SOTA but we will be back to normal soon. Christmas has also arrived (round about August in the shops!) so as the great day will have been and gone by the time of the next SOTA News its time for us to wish every one

Seasons Greetings and a Very Happy Christmas
Jahreszeit-Grüße und ein sehr glückliches Weihnachten
Salutations de saisons et Noël très heureux

Take care out there,

Rob and Audrey


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

A little more to report this month, with two activators taking to the Band.

First this month was Wolf DK1HW/P who did an overnight activation of DM/NS-123 Reinekensiekskopf on Saturday 2nd November. Wolf had some success on Saturday evening working 5 stations using CW, but CQ calls very early on Sunday morning didn’t raise any chasers.

Next up, on Saturday 16th November was Klaus DF2GN/P on the first of three activations this month with successful 160m QSO’s. Klaus’s chosen summit was DM/BW-228 Hummelsberg, which he activates on a regular basis while carrying out many antenna experiments. On his first outing on 160m this month he made a colossal 31 QSO’s including 5 using SSB! That really is a superb total.

Klaus returned to DM/BW-228 on Thursday 28th November for an early evening activation & included Top Band which netted him a further 22 QSO,s including 4 using SSB!

Klaus was back again early on the morning of Friday 29th November, I don’t have any details at present but I do know he managed to work into the US on 80m & is hoping to do that on 160m next! Best of luck Klaus, your antenna experiments are certainly paying off!

You can follow Klaus’s activations with detailed reports on the following reflector thread:

Thanks & well done to Wolf & Klaus.

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 2nd November, Wolf DK1HW/P activated DM/NS-123 Reinekensiekskopf, & made 5 QSO’s using CW.

On 16th November, Klaus DF2GN/P activated DM/BW-228 Hummelsberg, & made 31 QSO’s (26 CW & 5 SSB)

On 28th November, Klaus DF2GN/P activated DM/BW-228 Hummelsberg, & made 22 QSO’s (18 CW & 4 SSB)

On 29th November, Klaus DF2GN/P activated DM/BW-228 Hummelsberg, details unknown at present.

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

Until next month,

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF


Activity fell to a very low level during November, with the onset of winter in Europe. In addition to the bad weather many activators postponed planned expeditions until the 1st of December, when they would attract additional Winter Bonus points. At 1500z on the 11th November the SOTA Watch spots page registered just 11 activations in the past 12 hours and at noon UTC on the 21st November there had been just 3 spots in the last 12 hours.

November is the peak month for expeditions and contests and there were many DX-peditions that caused disruptions on our regular SOTA spots, especially on the WARC bands, and the CQ WW CW contest on the last weekend swamped the usual HF bands.

However, Jurg F/HB9BIN completed an expedition to France, Hans completed a trip to Germany operating as DL/PA0HRM, Fred operated as OK/DL8DXL and Karl operated as ON/DL2XL.

Al, DJ5AA and Ben, DL2DXA activated the highest mountain on Gran Canaria EA8/GC-001 (Canary Islands).

Activator Sorin YO2MSB thanked all chasers for supporting their activations in 2013 and announced that they were closing down until 2014.

Juerg HB9BAB continued to activate daily on his way home from work, operating from the watch tower on the summit of Altberg HB/ZH-015. Juerg completed his 250th activation on the 15th November and I managed to make my 250th CW contact with this SOTA. (MNI TNX Juerg).

Zoli, activated as both OK/HA3HK and OM/HA3HK on the 23rd and Sake PA0SKP was active from Germany.


This file produced on 25th November 2013

Mode: SOTA CW on 10MHz: activity for November

MW0BBU/P,N6JZT,NA6MMode: CW on 10MHz: activity for November DF2GN/P,DF3MC/P,DL1GWW/P,DL4TO/P,DL6UHA/P,EA1WK,

Mode: CW on 14MHz: activity for November


Mode: CW on 18MHz: activity for November


Mode: CW on 21MHz: activity for November


Mode: CW on 24MHz: activity for November


Mode: CW on 28MHz: activity for November



The following scheduled contests are expected to cause severe QRM to SOTA activity, especially on the 40m band. Activators should plan accordingly with alternate spots / bands. This is not a complete list of contests.

7th -8th 1220-2359 SKCC CW Sprint.
14th-15th 1600-1600 International Navy Contest
21st only 0001-2359 OK DX RTTY contest
21st -22nd 1400-1400 Croatian CW contest
29th only 0200-0959 RAEM CW contest.

SOTA News is normally published around noon UTC 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 SOTA enthusiasts all across Europe, the USA, Australia 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 2013 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:-
Allen VK3HRA
VK Reporter

In reply to G4SSH:
Another excellent read - thank you. Also congrats on your 90,000 points chaser score. 73 de Mike, Ei2CL

In reply to G4SSH:
Thanks. Some interesting and informative reading there. I particularly liked your bit on CW chasing on 12 metres.

the skip distance is often too long and the ground wave distance is too short

…which is also a problem for an activator trying to find a clear frequency. Someone else could be calling CQ a few hundred miles away and you can’t hear them.

the station you are monitoring fades out, to be replaced by a station

That underlines the importance of sending callsigns frequently, I guess.

when the reply comes back with your name you have a good confirmation

…assuming, of course, that the activator recognises your callsign and can put your name to it. (I have a dreadful memory for names…) :wink:

You noted very low level of activity in November, and Skip noted a decrease in activations, but he also noted a rather larger number of CW contacts than in the previous month. I guess that means the activations that have happened have generally been busier ones.

I think the long URL in Mark’s Top Band report probably needs to be trimmed to just

or maybe

In the list of November CW activations it says “produced on 25th November 2013”. Does the next month’s file pick up from the point at which the previous one ended, or do the ones between the date the file’s prepared and the end of the month drop into the crack?

73, Rick M0LEP

In reply to M0LEP:

The reports are updated at 0617Z every day. The report generated is inclusive for the month in the date. i.e. today’s reports include all data logged between 1-NOV-2013 and 30-NOV-2013 inclusive. Tomorrow’s report will have all data for 1-DEC-2013 to 31-DEC-2013 but 30 of those days are still blank!

There is always a cutoff when the news is compiled and this month it was 25-Nov. Next month it may be a different day. You can view the reports directly if you want at:
The latest files are in the folder Latest and on the last day of each month, a month archive is created and the last file for each association and mode is copied. We have activity snap shots for the last 18months. The server that holds the files is not the database server, but one that I happened to have laying around in LA. It has a lot ( a real lot ) more diskspace than the database machine.


In reply to M0LEP:

Hi Rick, Yes I noticed that myself & informed Roy via email earlier. He is quite busy at the moment so it may be a little while before he has chance to correct it.

With regard to the 24MHz CW chasing advice, I totally agree with you, very good advice indeed, & I speak as someone who has given a 119 report (only once though).Barely perceptible, Yes, very weak, Yes.

Under normal circumstances I would not have called a station this weak, however, 24MHz was behaving more like a flat VHF band, on which such contacts do happen on a more regular basis.

I knew the band was flat, the activator was struggling to make his 4 contacts, & I could tell with certainty that he was replying to me. Maybe I should have given him a 219 report, but that to me would have been too generous at the time. Roy is an extremely good CW operator & I think it would be safe to say that he could work stations I would only give 119 to all day long, with ease :slight_smile:

I still class myself as a learner at CW, as I am still improving after almost 20 years.

Nice to hear you on 5MHz earlier BTW.

Thanks & best 73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to MM0FMF:

There is always a cutoff when the news is compiled and this month it was 25-Nov.

Fair enough. That explains why activations near the end of a month might not get included.

In reply to G0VOF:

Hi Rick, Yes I noticed that myself & informed Roy via email earlier.

I figured, having worked the links out, I might as well mention them and maybe save others the trouble. :wink:

Nice to hear you on 5MHz earlier BTW.

I really need to do something about a fixed antenna at home that’ll actually work on the band, rather than letting the ATU turn most of my RF into warmth for snails… :wink:

73, Rick M0LEP

In reply to G0VOF:

Mark:- Thank you for your revised URL which has been replaced in your report.

Rick:- Being the editor of SOTA News is a one man job. The list of extracts of SOTA activity from the data base is provided to me by Kevin G0NUP, which saves me a bit of time towards the end of the month when an empty in-tray turns into an overflowing pile. I need to get the framework of the SOTA News together before the rush, especially at the moment as I am involved in travelling to London two or three times a month.

Thank you all for the encouraging comments, which are much appreciated by myself and the regular contributors to SOTA News.


In reply to G4SSH:

Hi Roy,

Thanks for an interesting report again.
Being a SOTA newcomer in 2013, in response to your request I’ll try to put something together about my experiences in this wonderful part of our great hobby. Should I submit to yourself directly or via Allen?

73 Ed VK2JI.

In reply to G4SSH:
Hello Roy and all MT
Thanks a lot for SOTA News, very pleasant to read, as usual.
Best 73
Andre - f5ukl

In reply to VK2JI:

Hi Ed

If you submit a short account of some award gained or a milestone passed then sent it to Allen for inclusion in his VK round-up.

If it is a report of your experiences as a newcomer to date that will stand alone in the news then send it direct to me. I would appreciate it by the 24th so that I can insert it in the January news before the last minute rush at the end of the month.

SOTA News Editor

Really looking forward to the New January 2014 SOTA NEWS.
I have worked Hard this last month to improve my standings in the program
The SOTA program is Great in fills in a lot of time for me now on the air.
With COPD I cant do all the things I use to do and this is great for me as I love
DX’ing, Contest ing and CW and SOTA is like it all for me now.
thanks all for such a great Progam for us all on Amateur Radio.
Dow [W4DOW]
Chaser W4V

EX call for 53 years (WA4HMX)