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Sota news february 2008

The Sota News Team welcomes you to……….

SOTA NEWS FEBUARY 2008

Your SOTA News Team is……

Mike GW0DSP (Chief Editor) and Roy G4SSH ( Assistant Editor), with thanks this month to the following……………

Roger MW0IDX, Les G3VQO, Steve 2E0KPO, Dan DH8DX, Chris F8DZY, Derek G1ZJQ, Ron GW4EVX, Myke G6DDQ, Ian GW8OGI.

Firstly, thank you Roy

I would like to offer my thanks to Assistant Editor Roy G4SSH for stepping into the breach last month and giving you continuation of the news in my absence. I think I speak for you all when I say that Roy did a wonderful job.

(Editor)

EASY SOTA (Possible Disabled Accessible Summits)

We have decided to leave this item in the news permanently.

You are probably aware that Steve 2E0KPO has been putting together a list of SOTA summits which would possibly offer access to disabled people who are wheelchair bound. He has now completed the task and has compiled an extensive list of summits which either meet the criteria to suit wheel chair access, or very easy access on foot. Steve has included self explanatory notes for each summit, so as to give a very good description of what can be expected on arrival at the summit. Steve’s list has now been included on the Burton ARC website and can be viewed on the link below.

http://www.burtonarc.co.uk/sota_easy.htm

SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM NOTIFICATIONS

FINLAND JOINS THE SOTA FAMILY

It is with great pleasure that we can announce that Finland is the latest country to join the SOTA family.

The new Association will go “live” on 1st April 2008, the intervening time being used to publicise our activities to the amateurs in Finland. Although it is a fairly small Association, with just 127 summits throughout its four regions, Finland is of great significance for several reasons. It is the first Scandinavian country to become a
SOTA member, and is also the most northerly of our Associations, with many of its summits located within the Arctic Circle.

Whereas most countries justify their Seasonal Bonus by citing the increased likelihood of inclement weather, Finland changes the emphasis. Its extreme northerly position allows the rationale for its Seasonal Bonus to be the short hours of daylight (often none!!) during the winter months. Of course, the converse is true, and the continuous twenty-four hours of daylight available in mid-summer could be the
catalyst for some “night-time” SOTA activity.

It is unlikely that we will see a major burst of activity in the first few days of SOTA-Finland, as the summits are all located well away from the major centres of population, and there is no ready-made pool of keen activators waiting to cross the border. That all means that contacts with activators on Finnish summits will be more prized for their rarity value. Of particular interest to our VHF chasers is the increased possibility of auroral-mode propagation, and that may well increase the amount of SOTA activity on 50 MHz particularly.

Our thanks to the Association Manager for Finland, Jaakko OH7BF, who is already a keen SOTA participant with his alternative callsign of F5VGL. Good luck to everybody involved with SOTA-Finland.

73 de Les, G3VQO
obo SOTA Management Team

WELCOME TO SOTA POLAND

We are pleased to announce yet another addition to the SOTA family.

With effect from 1st April 2008, Poland will become an active member
of SOTA. The hard work by Mike SQ6JNX, the Association Manager, has
enabled the preparatory stage to be completed in record time.

Poland is divided into fifteen regions, and has a total of 222 summits
listed. The vast majority of these are spread along the southern
border, adjacent to the Czech Republic and Slovakia, although there
are a few in the flatter northern part of the country.

Welcome to all Polish activators and chasers. We look forward to
hearing you in the pile-ups!

73 de Les, G3VQO
obo SOTA Management Team

PRESIDENT OF SOTA APPOINTED

The SOTA Management Team is pleased to announce that John Linford, G3WGV has accepted its invitation to be named President of the Summits on the Air programme with effect from 2nd March 2008.

John is the inventor and founder of the SOTA programme. He and Richard, G3CWI developed the original set of rules, largely unchanged to the present day and launched SOTA on 2nd March 2002, exactly six years ago today. John has served on the SOTA Management Team throughout the intervening years but now wishes to stand down from executive duties.

The role of President is non executive and as such John will no longer be involved in the day to day running of the programme. However, he remains part of the MT and will continue to make himself available to the team for discussion of current issues and strategic direction.

John, G3WGV commented: “I am honoured to be asked to be the President of SOTA. I never dreamt that SOTA would become the enormous success that it is and I am delighted that so many people get so much fun out of it. It is especially satisfying to see so many young radio amateurs taking part in the programme. I look forward to my continued involvement in SOTA as it enters the next exciting phase of its development with many more countries joining the programme.”

Please join the Management Team in congratulating John on his new appointment.

73 de Les, G3VQO
obo SOTA Management Team

SOTA MILESTONES FOR THIS EDITION

CHASERS

100 Points

G4JNN Paul

OK1AUP Vaclav

2E0KBJ Steve

M0UKD John

G3OHC Graham

LA1ENA Aage (qrp)

250 Points

SM1TDE Eric

G2ARY George

500 Points

MX0BCQ Craven Radio Amateur Group (The Craggies)

G8HXE Keith

M0RAR Nick

2E0MTC Cathy

2E0IOG Darren

1,000 points (Shack Sloth)

M3TMX Jordan

G4ERP Richard

2E0NBR Sharon

M0VGP Shaun

G0TRB Roger

M0LMP Lee

G0ELJ Dave

M0XLT Kevin

F8DZY Chris

2,500 points

5,000 Points

10,000 points (Supersloth)

HB9AGH Ambrosi

15,000 Points ( Supersloth and a half )

ACTIVATORS

100 activator points

G6WRW Carolyn

DL3BSA Lutz

SV2KBS Victoria

M3HLD Rod

M3WJZ

MX0BCQ Craven Radio Amateur Group (The Craggies)

M3TMX Jordan

GW7AAV Steve

250 activator points

500 activator points

LX1NO Norby

M0RCP Rick

DL6AN

1,000 points (Mountain Goat)

G4ERP Richard

PERSONAL ACHIEVEMENTS

SOTA News Assistant Editor, Roy G4SSH has just passed through the 12,000 chaser points mark, all-CW. Roy quoted “It gives me great satisfaction. I always say I will have a break from SOTA when I reach XXX points, but I guess SOTA chasing becomes a habit that is difficult to break”.
Many congratulations on your amazing achievement Roy, and on behalf of all chasers, cw and SSB, a big thanks for your unbeatable spotting services.

The sota News Team would like to congratulate Eric SM1TDE on achieving his 250 points chaser award. Eric’s award is probably the first one ever awarded to a SM station. Well done Eric.
Maybe you would consider entering into talks about setting up a SM sota association? There is plenty of help and advice readily available to you for this purpose.

The SOTA News Team would like to offer our congratulations to Richard G4ERP.
On 10/2/08 Richard G4ERP achieved a magnificent 1,000 point double when he obtained his Shacksloth and his Mountain Goat award on the same day. Richard was active on Cleeve Hill G/CE-001 when he hit the magic 1,000 activator points, a fitting tribute to the hill where Richard made his Sota activating debut, making five contacts on 10/12/2005. Well done Richard.

Another double was scored, this time, by The Craven Radio Amateur Group (The Craggies) under their call sign MX0BCQ. They have been awarded the 100 activating points certificate and the 500 chaser points certificate this month. Well done lads.

Congratulations also go to Jordan M3TMX for yet another magnificent double. In February, Jordan achieved Shacksloth status then followed this up on 17/2/2008 when he activated G/LD-013 The Old Man of Coniston, which put him through the 100 activator points barrier. Jordan is having a good start to the year having already earned 3rd place in the 2007 Sotabeams Challenge. Well done.

It’s been a great month for Shacksloths, with no less than 9 new Sloths joining the Sloth club. Richard G4ERP, Jordan M3TMX, Sharon 2E0NBR, Shaun M0VGP, Roger G0TRB, Lee M0LMP, Dave G0ELJ, Kevin M0XLT and Chris F8DZY all hit the magic 1,000 chaser points. The Sota News Team congratulates all of you on a job well done.

Congratulations also go to Richard G3CWI, who has broken through the 500 activations barrier. Well done Richard.

SOTAWATCH2 PROBLEMS SORTED

You may have noticed that SOTAwatch2 has been running very slow and even dropping out in early February, this was due to a few reasons. I have been constantly in touch with Jon GM4ZFZ who, as usual, has been working hard behind the scenes to iron out these problems. Jon thinks he has now identified the problems which have been affecting the system and hopes that normal service is now restored.
On behalf of all users, the Sota News Team would like to thank you for your continued hard work Jon.

(Editor)

MOD JAMMING EXERCISES

The MoD has informed Ofcom of the following GPS jamming exercises:

Dates: 31 March to 4 April 2008
Times: between 08:00 and 18:00 hrs
Location: To sea from Bridlington - N54X 06.842’ W000X 05.045’
Contact: Trial Manager - 07766 134758

Dates: 20-21 April 2008 (26 April 2008 reserve day)
Times: between 09:00 and 17:00 hrs
Location: To sea from The Hebrides - N57X 14.4’ W007X 26.7’
Contact (during jamming exercise only) 07766 134520

(Assistant Editor)

ANOTHER GW/NW SUMMIT GOES TON UP

GW/NW-043 Cyrn-Y-Brain has reached it’s 100th activation on St. Valentines Day 14/2/2008. The 100th activation was carried out by Barry 2W0PXW/P during one of his regular “night raids” on the Horseshoe Pass summits above Llangollen. The weather wasn’t very pleasant, with drizzle and a very cold wind and visibility was down to just 3 or 4 metres in the heavy clag.
Barry also carried out the 100th activation of Cyrn-Y-Brain’s sister summit just across the road, GW/NW-042 Moel-Y-Gamlin on 1/10/2007, also on a “night raid”. He plans to get a few more 100th activations under his belt too, so keep an eye on the summits page or he will bag them all, hi.
Could this be a new sota record, two 100th activations?

(Editor)

EU News

Thuringian Summits Award (Thüringer Bergdiplom /TBD)

The German Amateur Radio Society DARC, District of Thuringia, issues the “Thüringer Bergdiplom”.
The award is available to licensed radio amateurs and short wave listeners.

All contacts made with Thuringian summits as listed in the Summits-On-The-Air SOTA list and following their rules must be dated January 1st, 2005 or later.

Award rules:

Every TH summit counts only once, regardless of band and mode.

Available categories:

Activator
Chaser
SWL

Classes:

Class 3 : 25 different TH summits
Class 2 : 50 different TH summits
Class 1 : 100 different TH summits
Trophy : 250 different TH summits
Master : 500 different TH summits

Have a look at an award sample at:
http://www.bergfunker.de/x47/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=6&Itemid=14

The current list of TBD holders can be found here:
http://www.bergfunker.de/x47/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=92&Itemid=14

Award request:

Applicants do not need to send QSL cards, you only have to send your
SOTA log as CSV-export-file from the SOTA database to the award manager
(SWLs send a list of heard activations).
Please mention the category and class you apply for.

Award manager:

Daniel Puffe, DH8DX
Email: dh8dx@gmx.de

Award Fee:

The award is free of charge and will be sent via email as JPG file.

This award was officially approved by DARC during the general meeting
2005 in Bremen.

73 Dan DH8DX

F8DZY TOURS NEW FRENCH SUMMITS

Throughout February, Chris F8DZY was on tour in the PO and SO regions of France and activated several new summit for their first time activations. The activations were a huge success and were very much appreciated as Chris gave numerous chasers the points and the uniques while on his tour.

Here is the list supplied by Chris, of the activations from his February Tour, including QSO information for each summit, they were all first time activations and included 3* new ones …….

FEB. 5th : PO-268(*) “CHUIKO MENDI” 56 QSOs (35 on 40M CW and 21 on 30M CW)

FEB. 7th : F/PO-245 “CHOLDOCOGAGNA” 36 QSOs (32 on 40M CW, 1 QSO SSB 40M and 3 on 30M CW)

FEB. 8th : F/PO-267(*) “ESTEINUMENDI” 59 QSOs (all on 40M CW)

FEB. 12th : F/PO-212 “LA RHUNE” 41 QSOs (all on 40M CW)

FEB. 18th : F/SO-003(*) “SALERES” 42 QSOs (all on 40M CW)

(Editor)

SOTA ACTIVATING ON 4m and 6m By Ron GW4EVX

January was not a good month for going out on the hills but the weather on the 16th was good so I decided to give my Clansman RT-351 an airing on Moel Famau, NW-044. I posted an alert for 4m and 6m and off I set. Unfortunately due to my own stupidity things did not work out as planned!

I set the radio up on the trig point in good time and put a few calls out on the alerted frequency of 51.55MHz – no takers. Then I tried 70.45MHz and was called by Phil, G8HDS in Rochdale. We exchanged reports and he then stated that there was very rapid QSB on my signal. I knew exactly what he meant because I was experiencing the same staccato effect on receive – the built-in indication that the battery voltage is critically low! The rig operates on a 24v, 4Ah NiCd battery and I have three of these at home. Two were fully charged and one was almost discharged – guess which one I had picked up to take with me!

At least I had the 2m handy with me so I was able to qualify the summit to save the day.

I took a few pictures of the Clansman radio if anyone is unfamiliar with this model.

My next outing was on 10th February to Foel Fenlli, NW-051 for the RSGB 4m contest. No green radios this time but the trusty FT-817, Spectrum Transverter, 7Ah SLAB and 3 element Yagi.
Great weather for the time of year and a pleasing level of activity in the contest.
I made 32 contacts in all, the only two chasers I recognised were Graham G4FUJ and Mike G4BLH. Best dx was Stuart GM4AFF at 411km.

Ian GW8OGI was sufficiently tempted by the fine weather on the 16th February to abandon work on his partially completed new kitchen and head for the hills!

Using his Nabishi 4m handheld and slim jim antenna from the summit of GW/NW-040 (Tal y Fan) Ian worked regular 4m operators Mike G4BLH in Nelson and John MW1FGQ near Holywell. These contacts were followed by Geoff GI0GDP in County Antrim and Bob GI4MNN in Belfast. Working into Northern Ireland on 4m was a first for Ian so congratulations are in order!

Ian was tempted out again on the 17th, this time to GW/NW-028 (Creigiau Gleision), and again worked G4BLH and MW1FGQ along with 4m regulars Graham G0NBD in Wallasey, Dave G6CRV in Heysham and Ross G6GVI in Bolton. His final contact was with Andy G1HBE in Dukinfield who I have worked many times on 70cm but never on 4m.

Another keen 4m activator is Myke G6DDQ who kindly sent me the following report of his experiences on this band.

‘Why 70 Megacycles one may ask ? Simply put 23cms is becoming far to crowded now but what is of more import the challenge of 23cms has now expired. So a new challenge was needed. That challenge was found to be 70 Megacycles sometimes termed the “Gentleman’s Band”.

What led me to the four meter band. An outing with G4BLH, Mike, was the impetus behind the move and after investigating the availability, and cost, of equipment the decision was made. In the first instance a converted Philips PMR set was used. Forgotten the actual model but it had one major shortcoming - the aerial connection was not standard. This prompted the exploration for a better and lighter set. Martin Lynch was selling Icom E-90 tri-bander with a mod for four meters. This came complete with a helical antenna at a price of around £240. Having employed the TH81E on many SOTA jaunts this rig had given me stalwart service, however they do have an aversion to being bathed in hot coffee. So the E-90 it was.

Now the search was on for a decent antenna, Sandpiper came to the rescue with a simple quarter-wave.

Now off onto the hills. Unable to remember the first little hill I used the Icom on but it gave quite good results. Most contacts come, as on 23 cms, via 2 meters and are normally quite successful. Take an outing on 9 April 2006. Four contacts were made on 4 meters those being: G4 BLH/M; 2E0HJD; G7WAW; 2E0CSG.
Additionally contacts were also made on 70 cms and 23 cms. Normally the same few stations are worked on four meters and they include – MW1FGQ; 2E0NHM; G1BQQ, G6CRV; G4OWG; G6GVI. Others are active but are omitted as the list would become far too long.

The E-90 has a couple of shortcomings. The first of these is the unusual voltage - an adaptor is required for use with external 12v batteries. The second is that there is a tendency for over modulation. This was easily overcome by speaking some distance from the mike. There is a hidden menu for adjusting the mod but I have not located this at present.’

For anyone contemplating giving 4m a go then the Yahoo 4m Group is a mine of information as is the 4m website:

http://www.70mhz.org/

That’s all the activity I am aware of this month and I look forward to working some 4m converts over the coming months!

73
Ron, GW4EVX

23cm NEWS By Ian GW8OGI

As you will all know, I have not been out much this month at all, and not really sure what others have been up to on 23cms.

However, I did manage……………

Date:16/Feb/2008 Summit:GW/NW-040 (Tal y Fan)

2 contacts were made on 23cms, G4BLH Mike, Nelson, Lancs and MW1FGQ John, Holywell. Both contacts were made using just with 1 Watt and a bi-quad antenna.

Date:17/Feb/2008 Summit:GW/NW-028 (Creigiau Gleision)

On this activation I forgot to pack the bi-quad ! but did manage to work MW1FGQ John, in Holywell, on the rubber duck antenna.

I’m hoping for a nice(ish) day on Saturday 1st March so that I can maybe get out somewhere.

73
Ian GW8OGI

SOTA CW REPORT By Roy G4SSH

SOTA CW activity was again quite light during the first week of February (the last full winter bonus month) due to very adverse weather conditions which saw gale force winds and torrential rain spread all across Europe. Fortunately, this changed quite dramatically when the weather turned spring-like and the number of spots exceeded the 100 mark during the remaining weekends.

Norby LX1NO activated dozens of summits in France and Germany, Juerg HB9BAB was very active both from his home country and Germany, Ben, DH0DK was operating OK/, Hannes HB9AGO and Juerg HB9BAB also operated from Germany and there were many single day multi-summit CW activations from Dan DH8DX, (122 QSO’s from a single summit), Fritz DL4FDM, Ben DH0DK, Lutz DJ3AX (& Benny), Fred DL8DXL, Miro, OK1CYC, Jirka OK2BDF, Frank DL6UNF, Dago, DJ5KZ, Dan DL8DXL, Luc DD1LD, Janos HA4FY, and John GX0OOO, in addition to a host of single summits by many others. Many of the above expeditions were first-time activations from the new German summits. (Note: This is the first time I have published a SOTA CW report with no mention of activity from Klaus DF2GN).

CW activations from unique French summits also went into overdrive during the month. In addition to Norby, Chris F8DZY did a magnificent job by activating a string of first-time SOTA’s, with additional contributions from F5UKL, F5AKL, F6ENO, F5AKL, F5IUZ, F5TIL, F5MQW, F6GCT, F8UFT and F8TMQ to the delight and appreciation of many chasers. Andy F5AKL and Alain F6ENO also activated ON-001, 002 & 003.

When SOTA first started, the majority of CW activators were using QRP rigs and so tended to use the familiar QRP spot frequencies of 3560, 7030 & 14060 KHz. As numbers across Europe increased, 7030 KHz quickly became swamped with high-power chasers every time “CQ SOTA” was sent; this led to fierce arguments with QRP stations and some deliberate jamming…

In an effort to solve this problem SOTA stations moved slightly, to 7032, 3558, 14058 etc and this has worked pretty well for the last couple of years. It is obviously useful to have spot frequencies on HF for chasers to monitor. However, it is important to realise that these spots are not mandatory and that there will be times when these frequencies will be totally swamped by contests.

The weekend of the 9th-10th February was a good example. The January Newsletter specifically mentioned that the CQ World-wide RTTY contest would cause severe disruption, especially on 40m (it was solid with RTTY stations between 7025-7050 KHz) so activators with Spotlite facilities were able to announce and use frequencies between 7002-7025 KHz, 7116 KHz, or moved to 30m, which solved the problem. Unfortunately, there were still about half a dozen QRP activators calling belatedly on 7032 KHz, whose signals were totally inaudible. It is quite painful searching through S9 RTTY signals to locate SOTA QRP activators and a lot of chasers went to bed with their ears ringing that weekend.

A warm welcome is extended to Thomas DL1DVE, Dirk DL8AXX, Mike DL3VTA, Pat F5MQW, Wolf DH1HBL and HA8LKM, all heard active in CW for the first time during February.

The number of CW activators and chasers continues to increase as more stations become interested in SOTA and more countries join the association. Some thought therefore needs to be given to considering ways of relieving the bottleneck of CW SOTA stations active between 7031-7033 KHz, mainly at weekends, when an activation from a single summit can generate more than 100 QSO’s, with dozens of chasers in a pile-up and three activations running at the same time. Discipline is already deteriorating and there are a couple of chasers who regularly send their call continuously over existing QSO’s.

Stations with Spotlite facilities can announce any frequency in the 40m band, but if the activator does not have access to this facility then they have to call on 7032 KHz in order to be spotted by a chaser. However, 7032 KHz could be used as a calling frequency only. Once a chaser has been contacted, the activator could ask them to spot a QSY to a working frequency in the 40m band. Alain, F6ENO is going to give this a trial run when he activates some French SOTA’s from the PE region next week commencing Monday 3rd March. Anyone hearing Alain’s QSY on 7032 KHz is asked to please spot the move. It will be interesting to see how this works out Alain.

There was glorious confusion on the 24th when Jirka OK2SJI operated with special call OL5COTA (“Castles on the Air”) from the Czech Republic. His big mistake was to call CQ on 7032 KHz with a reference of PA-037. At first glance this looked like a valid SOTA reference (in spite of the fact that there are only 32 summits in the OK/PA region) with the result that a feeding frenzy of chasers about 30 deep piled in on the “work first wonder later” and “what do these other chasers know that I don’t” principle. The poor chap in a remote castle must have wondered what hit him.

CW DX OF THE MONTH
DH8DX/p Dan 30m JA8NP, K1HTN
GW0DSP/p Mike 40m UA2FT, OM7OM, RN6AJ

CW CONTACTS WITH CYPRUS
I shall be active from the Larnaca District of the Republic of Cyprus in two weeks time using 5B / G0OOO and 5B / G4SSH. Although not on a SOTA, I shall be especially listening out for newcomers to CW and will be happy to reply at their speed and give them a DX contact on CW.

Thursday 13th March 14.055 MHz CW 0900-1100 UTC
Friday 14th March 14.055 MHz CW 0900-1100 UTC

A special QSL card will be available via the Buro, or direct to the home calls.
I know there are a lot of dots in 5B / G4SSH but around 10% of incoming QSL cards from last year were made out to HB / G4SSH. The problem was not my sending because I was using an autokeyer for CQ calls and I can tell the difference. It pays to listen carefully. I hope to hear you on the air.

(Please note: If John G4YSS activates a SOTA on either of these days he will use the reserve SSEG club call GX7OOO/p)

CONTEST CALENDAR - MARCH 2008
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.

1st-2nd 0000-2400 ARRL International DX contest SSB
2nd only 0800-1200 Ukraine RTTY contest
8th-9th 1000-1000 RSGB BERU Contest CW
8th only 1400-2200 AGCW QRP contest
9th only 0700-1000 Belgian UBA Spring CW contest
15th-16th 1200-1200 Russian DX Contest CW & SSB
22nd-24th 0000-0400 BARTG HF RTTY contest
29th-30th 0000-2359 CQ World-Wide WPX contest SSB

73
Roy G4SSH

SOTA USED and ABUSED

MFJ-902 MANUAL TRAVEL TUNER (ATU)

Frequency range: 3.5 - 30MHz (80-10m)
Power handling: 150W
Size: 114 x 57 x 76 (mm)
Weight: 760g

If you don’t use linked dipoles this unit is perfect for mobile and portable use.
The MFJ-902 portable ATU is based around the familiar T-match circuit, with a frequency coverage of 3.5 - 30MHz ( 80-10m) and is an ideal manual ATU for portable/mobile use. Being a manual tuner, it does not require any DC electrical connection thus saving the SLAB for the radio only. Input and output is by SO239 sockets and a banana plug is supplied with the unit for use with long wire antennas, there is also a ground connection on the rear panel, plus a switch to bypass the tuner. The tuner uses real air variable capacitors and three stacked powder iron toroids, so it will easily handle power from QRP up to 150w. The ATU fits into the palm of your hand, so it takes up very little room in your rucksack, it will even fit into your pocket. There is no VSWR meter on the tuner, but most modern portable radios have them built-in any way.

Verdict: A reasonably priced, very versatile and lightweight portable tuner.

(Editor)

SOTA Flickr GROUP
At the time of writing……………
The SOTA Flickr Group now has 109 members and has 3,173 photos.
The Summits on the Air Photo Pool now has 45 members and has 358 photos.
The above two groups are the most popular ones used within SOTA and the photo of the month will be chosen from either of the two groups.

Flickr PHOTO OF THE MONTH
Yet again we have had so many superb photos posted on the main two SOTA photo groups and many of them could have been this month’s winner, the standard of the photos gets higher each month. We have another clear winner this month.

Congratulations go to John GW4BVE for his superb photo taken on his activation of Waun Rydd GW/SW-004.

As John’s caption says, he was just in the right place at the right time. To appreciate the real quality of this shot, click this link where you can view the enlarged version of the photo.

SOTA HILL OF THE MONTH

HOUSEDON HILL, SB-010

It’s not very high but it is steep & normally difficult to qualify on VHF. (See link to photo below) I’ve been up 4 times; the first 2 were QRP & raised not one reply. Still, the view from here of the Cheviots made it on to my QSL card before the 3rd attempt - a struggle to get 4 contacts on 2m FM.

The 4th time was on Tuesday 19th Feb 2008, near the end of a prolonged high pressure system, when the valleys were in hard frost. I climbed out of the freezing mist into brilliant sunshine & blue skies. On the way up, buzzards circled, mewing to each other. At the top, a second fleece wasn’t necessary & the lack of wind made guying the pole easy but progress was halted abruptly by the sight of 3 or 4 roe deer, flashing white rumps as they ran off north by the trees. Later, 2 roe returned & stopped at the new deer fence around the trees. The larger squared up to this obstacle then launched itself, in a standing jump, so gracefully that it was like watching in slow-motion. The second deer was not so confident & spent the next hour or so pacing along the fence, stopping to look through at the point where it had been left alone (so, the new fence is only 50% effective). It had got used to my smell & CQing - this was my closest/longest encounter with these flighty animals yet & I had brought my wife’s digital camera. Modern technology: too cold for the batteries!

Back to radio: qualified with a run of 4 on 2m SSB. John (GW4BVE) was a fine signal over the Cheviots & Don (G0RQL) wasn’t bad either for N. Devon. A switch to FM brought 5 GM stations & a G7 strong in Sunderland. I was happy to sit & blether away while taking in the view above the fog & watching the deer. One operator admitted he was about to ask what was the appeal of dragging a radio up hills, until he heard about the wildlife on display. After a fruitless period on 70cm SSB/FM, I returned to 2m SSB to find signals from over the water. With time running out, I only managed OR4J before packing up: he will receive a QSL card with a fine view from SB-010!

Admittedly, the conditions certainly helped on SSB but the 2m FM signals were fairly local & would have made it any day so this shows that the main problem in getting VHF contacts is lack of activity, not poor propagation. I was lucky & got away with this unannounced activation. This is a magical place in the Secret Kingdom, where yet I have to meet another soul.

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7429709@N08/2289187653/

73, Derek
G1ZJQ

PS: during this home leave, I’ve finally cracked the SB database table! It will be many years before MG so I’ll settle for a printout of the screen-capture. My wife was getting annoyed toward the end but now I can kick back & give it a rest for a while, especially after extreme cold up Cheviot & crawling through gale-force cloud on Peel Fell. That’s each one of the set done at least twice. My VHF efforts account for 20.3% of activations & 18.4% of SB QSOs. I might hang up the boots…after 10 rounds…possibly!

LOST AND FOUND

Just another idea that crossed my mind, please let me have your thoughts on it.

A proposed section which could be used to report any equipment lost or found either on the summits, or on your ascent and descent. If anyone reports a lost item on a given summit, anyone else activating the same summit at a later date could keep a look out for the item. Likewise, any items found could be reported here.

(Editor)

INJURIES and ILLNESS

Thankfully, none to report this month.

ERRATA

Luckily, there appears to have been no errors reported in last month’s news.

That’s it for another month. As we try to expand the News, the SOTA News Team hopes that there is something of interest for everyone. As always, your feedback, whether good or bad, is always very welcome so that we can do our best to improve the news for you and include any other topics at your request.

On behalf of the SOTA News Team, thank you for your continued support.

73

Mike GW0DSP (Chief Editor)

In reply to GW0DSP:
A good read Mike - thanks.

Very good SOTA news Mike, thanks for all infos…
(you just forgot me on new ShackSloth’s list HI) :wink:
CU on new summit !
Chris F8DZY.

In reply to F8DZY:

I’ll correct that right now Chris, congratulations on Shacksloth.

73 Mike

PS I have included you in the list now Chris and in the small write up. Apologies for missing you off the original list.

In reply to GW0DSP:
Thank’s for the news Mike.

73 Barry 2E0PXW

In reply to the sota-news-team:

thank-you very much for the excellent february-report!

vy73 de fritz

Many thanks for another excellent monthly news Mike and team.

I am pleased Houseden Hill has got recognition. It is not easy to qualify the summit on VHF and Derek was very wise to make the best of conditions. HF presents no problem as there is a decent size activation zone. Access is easy and simple and although surrounded by hills, the views are nonetheless very pleasant. Highly recommended if you are in the area and have the time to spare.

73, Gerald

In reply to GW0DSP:
it’s a interesting report, thank you Mike!

73 de Lutz DL3SBA

Thanks Mike and team for another interesting news and report.73 Don.G0RQL.

thanks to the sota-news team for interesting stuff !
think the next months i be more activ as a chaser than activator.
will write a bit in the reflector to the reasons !

vy 73 klaus DF2GN

In reply to GW0DSP:

Thank you Mike and Roy,

A very interesting report!

Best 73
Alain F6ENO