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Sota news february 2012



Welcome to the February 2012 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Fred K6DGW, Mark G0VOF, Rod M0JLA, Viki M6BWA, Nick G4OOE, Dan OK1DIG, Rob & Audrey G4RQJ.

SOTA AWARDS FOR JANUARY 2012 from Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

Claims have really picked up this month and my glass engraver has been kept busy. Congratulations to Mountain Goat Adrian MM0DHY and a collection of Sloths (I wonder what the collective noun is – slumber, amble, plod…?) G3XQE, OE6MMF, UV5QQ ,K4QS and M0TUB. Ken G3XQE is forging ahead having also claimed his 2500 point certificate. Also noteworthy is Rich N4EX who has not only chased 500 summits he has also qualified for the Platinum Award Mountain Hunter.

I noticed that most of the mail leaving today was certificates for the USA – both coasts; how SOTA has taken off.

MM0DHY - Adrian Hart - Mountain Goat
G3XQE - Ken Brown - Shack Sloth
OE6MMF - Martin Fasching - Shack Sloth
UV5QQ - Alexey Budanoff - Shack Sloth
K4QS - Chuck Stover - Shack Sloth

Certificates claimed

M0TUB Dave Given 250 points
KK7DS Daniel Smith 100 points

Activator Unique
M0TUB Dave Given 100 summits

G3XQE Ken Brown 2500 points
M0TUB Dave Given 1000 points
K4QS Chuck Stover 1000 points
K6ILM Elliott Pisor 100 points
M0MDA Michael Dailey 100 points
W7IMC Scott Burgess 100 points

Chaser Unique
G3XQE Ken Brown 500 summits
N4EX Rich Homolya 500 summits

Mountain Hunter
N4EX Rich Homolya - Mountain Hunter Platinum

I am writing this report very early as I have a family problem which is going to take me away from my desk for some while. Rest assured if your claim is not listed above I will publicise it in my February report.

Working late last night printing certificates I inadvertently modified a name in the manner of Dr. Spooner, luckily I spotted my error this morning before posting them. I am not sure if K4QS would have the sense of humour if his original certificate had arrived made out to “Stove Chucker”!

Necessarily short report, off to catch a flight south and I won’t even be able to activate the hills very close to where I am going.

Take care on the hills


Barry Horning GM4TOE
Awards Manager

Our Congratulations also go to:-

  • Janez S51ZG who reached the prestigious 50,000 Chaser milestone on the 22nd January.

  • Harri, OH6JYH for reaching Shack Sloth status as the first one in Finland!

  • Terge LA8BCA, 10,000 chaser points on the 27thJanuary

  • Rod M0JLA who achieved 100 unique activations in mid-December and 100 uniques as a chaser on 23/01/2012.

  • Viki M6BWA who has also reached the 100 unique activations target


4th, 5th, 6th, 7th 8th February 2012



73 de S58R – Rado


Hi all from Sunny North America …

Well, sunny for some of us. We’re getting a little worried out here on
the Western Frontier, we’ve had very little weather and very little snow
on the Sierra summits. We’re hoping things will turn around in
February. Our January SOTA activity continued unabated however. For
the last two days of December up to 27 Jan, I count 36 activations that
I could identify. A 37th was Mt. Erie, no summit designator given, and
it’s not showing up yet in the database.

Some are by new activators, and there are several two-summit-in-one-day
activations. By all indications, SOTA is catching on over here in the
land of western longitudes.


12/30 W6/CT-011 AD6QF
12/30 W4/WP-011 WH6LE
12/31 W7/NO-171 K7NEW
12/31 W6/CD-019 K6TW
12/31 W5/SC-007 KD5ZZK
01/01 W6/CN-006 KU6J
01/01 W6/CD-015 K6TW
01/01 W7/SR-153 W7IMC
01/02 W7/BC-056 KF7DDT+Scout
01/06 W4/WP-012 WH6LE
01/07 W4/SH-001 KB3DVR+Beth
01/07 W4/SH-002 KB3DVR+Beth
01/07 W4/BR-015 W4EON
01/07 W4/SH-007 N4WDC
01/07 W5/SC-019 WT5RZ KD9KC KD6CUB
01/08 W7/BC-064 KF7DDT+Scout
01/08 W4/SH-001 N4WDC
01/09 W7/WC-011 K6MTT KU6J
01/10 W0/FR-068 K0MOS
01/10 W0/FR-058 K0MOS
01/10 W7/BL-145 W7IMC
01/10 W4/WP-010 WH6LE
01/12 W7/BL-146 W7IMC
01/14 W7/CU-220 KF7DDT+Scout
01/14 W6/CT-019 KJ6PLK
01/15 W0/FR-155 K0MOS
01/16 VE2/QC-027 VA2IEI+Johanne
01/16 W4/EM-049 W4TZM+Dad
01/16 W4/CM-199 WH6LE
01/19 W0/FR-140 N6UHB KD0PNK
01/24 W4/EM-093 WH6LE
01.24 W4/EP-007 W4MPS/P
01/24 W4/EP-007 N4EX/P
01/25 W4/SH-012 K4QS
01/25 W4/SH-008 W4EON
01/26 W5/SM-001 KE5AKL

From Rich, N4EX, Master Chief Chaser - “Carolinas:”

“A belated welcome to N4LA & AE4FZ as new chasers in the Carolinas and a
welcome to W4TZM as a new chaser and activator. Pete(WH6LE) has caught
the SOTA bug in a big way with 4 activations right out of the gate.”
[So far, Rich has been first QSO on each of my activations]


There has been an ongoing effort to add summits in several of the NA

Cap, W4AMW, and Alan, K4FYI, report:

“K4FYI and I are working on forming a SOTA association for Kentucky.
According to the Lists of John there are 223 qualifying peaks in KY. I
am going to guess very very roughly that about half of them will be
accessible. Many of our peaks are near the Virginia and Tennessee state
lines; some are on those state lines.”

“Right now our biggest question is whether there will be bonuses for
winter or summer operation. In the winter the access highways and roads
can get slippery but the 4WD and foot trails may be frozen and easier to
travel. In the winter there are no ticks, chiggers, rattlesnakes,
copperheads, water moccasins or marijuana growers. With that perspective
the bonus may be for the summer contacts!”

“If you have any input or suggestions please contact one of us.”


There has been significant discussion on the NA SOTA Group regarding
summit accessibility as a criterion for listing. While possibly not an
issue in other parts of the world, here in NA, we have more than a few
desirable summits that are not accessible for man-caused reasons. A
few are on Native American land and are not open to non-tribal members.
A number, particularly in the west, are on restricted land [e.g.
military reservations] and protected wildlife refuges with prohibited
access. One here in N. California is classified as a toxic waste dump.

The discussion has raised a number of considerations in the construction
of an ARM, I don’t think the matter is yet completely resolved and may
never be, but a general consensus seems to be developing that access
issues can change over time, and the final decision should be up to a
potential activator. Notes can be posted to the SOTA Summits database
which may be the place to leave a comment such as, “This summit is
restricted and is in the middle of a military bombing range.” It may
not always be so, but, given all the great other choices, I’d look
elsewhere myself.


I get a lot of great activation stories, I can’t include all of them,
but I thought I might pick one each month for awhile that is
interesting. This one is from W6 [that’s my association :-)], we’ll
move them around the continent each month.

From KU6J W6/CN-006 [Dixie Mtn CA]

“Wow, what a day! I had some great luck and some not-so-good luck, but
it all ended with 15 QSO’s in the log. Logbook shots and the whole story
are in the photos and captions here:”


"A few highlights:

  1. I erected an antenna tower up on top. Seriously, not a portable one,
    but a real one!

  2. Made my first ever summit-to-summit QSO with K6TW on W6/CD-019 (Kelso

  3. Had a banana peel moment while hiking back down. Both feet suddenly
    went out from under me and I smacked down hard on my pack and rear end.
    I wasn’t hurt, but when I got back down to the ATV I discovered that my
    SPOT satellite messenger was no longer on my pack. I had to hike back up
    to the summit AGAIN to search for it. Yup, it was right there where I
    had fallen.

  4. Set my personal best for vertical feet climbed on an ATV through
    continuous snow and ice (virtually the entire 7-8 miles and 2700
    vertical feet of “road” going up the mountain). I didn’t even have to
    winch at all, although a long uphill ice slab almost put me over the edge.

  5. Had a “Dukes of Hazzard” moment when I crashed my ATV up, over and
    through a snow and ice-covered tree that had fallen across the road.
    It’s not like I had a choice: if I had come off the gas to stop and saw
    it out of the way, I would have surely sunk into the snow and been dead
    in the water."

“Anyhoo, thanks to all who worked me and Happy New Year!”

[The “Dukes of Hazzard” was a TV show in the early 80’s, set in
fictional Hazzard County GA. It featured a number of activities similar
to Eric’s, many of which began with, “Watch this!”]

That’s it for January in the New World. Sunspots are up and rising.


Skip K6DGW
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Auburn CA
k6dgw@foothill.net or k6dgw@arrl.net


I knew we had been busy as activators, but I was a bit taken aback to find
M0JLA in the top 20 in Tom’s stats for 2011 (SOTA News Jan 2012). I
think I might also merit a place in the bottom 20 for the small number
of QSO’s at most summits, the best being Burton Hill with 17 on 40m.
This reflects the fact that our SOTA is mostly a walk with radios, rather
than the walk being mainly for the purpose of reaching the AZ.

At the time the results were published, having passed the 100 unique
activations in mid-December, I was more interested in reaching the target
of 100 uniques as a chaser. I was very pleased to reach that milestone
(with Barry, 2W0LYD on Rhialgwm GW/NW-046) on 23/01/2012.

If I add the final activations of 2011 to Tom’s total I can claim 100
activations for 2011. After Tom’s cut-off date we activated a further
five summits (Mynydd Llangorse, Mynydd Troed, Titterstone Clee, Moel
Eilio and Gyrn Ddu) with varying degrees of success. Aerial problems
and pig-headedness meant that I failed to qualify either Mynydd
Llangorse or Mynydd Troed and the number of QSO’s on the others was even
smaller than usual.

Viki has also reached the 100 unique activations target. She doesn’t
really chase but does seek summit to summit contacts and was very
pleased to have five S2S (including Snowdon) out of six contacts from
Fan Gyhirych on 28 January 2012.

So, 100 unique activations each, 100 unique chases, 100 summits in 2011;
what next? Weather and fitness permitting it will be the Half-Goat,
(possibly in February for M0JLA and March for M6BWA) followed by the
Shack Sloth which will take a little longer unless I have to spend a LOT
of time indoors.

Very many thanks to all our chasers and, although I don’t suppose many
of them will see this, an extra warm thank-you to those who respond to
our calls without being chasers.

73 to all,

Rod, M0JLA


Hello everyone & welcome to this month’s edition of SOTA on Top Band. After the record number of 160m activations during December, this month things have dropped back to more normal levels. Winter conditions have meant that the band should have in good shape for those activators who gave 160m a try.

So, a somewhat shorter top band report this month.

Firstly I will start with an activation that came too late for inclusion in last months report. This took place on 31st December & was carried out by Joska HA6OY/P & Gyula HA6QR/P who activated HA/EM-003 Istállós-kő. This was another early evening activation & Joska & Gyula achived a fine total of 19 QSO’s on 160m across Europe. Once again Joska has posted a superb video on Youtube which can be found below.

On the 8th January Gyula HA6QR/P was active again from OM/BB-034 Šiator, where he achieved 7 QSO’s during the late afternoon.

On 14th January Joska HA6OY/P activated HA/EM-015 Szederjes-tetö again during the late afternoon & he achieved a stunning total of 28 QSO’s all using CW. That really is a remarkable figure!

Also on the afternoon of the 14th January, Peter ON4UP activated ON/ON-027 using his 6m base loaded vertical. This time, he added 3 x 20m radials in addition to the 4 x 10m radials he had aleady fitted & this allowed him to run 100 Watts. With this set up he worked 3 stations, all using SSB!. As Peter says in his email “Using CW would be too easy, but not for me!” Well done Peter!

On the afternoon of the 17th January John G4YSS decided to try a Hump activation on one of his local hills G/HTW-008 Seamer Beacon in Scarborough, using various bands, including 160m. Unfortunately I was at work so I was unable to listen for John from this 100m prominence summit. (John made 2 CW QSO’s on 1.832 MHz - Ed).

Thank you too all contributors this month, your input is very much appreciated!

At the time of writing, the following are all the Top band activations during January that I am aware of, if I have missed any others please let me know.

On the 8th January, Gyula OM/HA6QR/P activated OM/BB-034 Šiator, & achieved 7 QSO’s on 160m, all CW.

On the 14th January, Joska HA6OY/P activated HA/EM-015 Szederjes-tetö , & achieved 28 QSO’s on 160m, all CW.

On the 14th January, Peter ON4UP/P activated ON/ON-027 Pottelberg, & achieved 3 QSO’s on 160m, all 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,


Mark G0VOF

GW/SW-041 BLACK MOUNTAIN - 26 January 2012 - GW4OOE/P

I had a few days with my daughter and family down in Gloucester so I planned a few SOTA’s and my first HUMP activation. On Monday 23rd Jan I set off and managed, despite horrendous delays on the M1, to squeeze in G/WB-009 Worcestershire Beacon, G/HWB-022 Herefordshire Beacon and G/CE-001 Cleeve Hill on the way down. Unfortunately I dropped my mobile phone in the Wyche Car Park near G/WB-009 so I was unable to keep everyone informed of the delay except via HF and G4SSH. Later in the week my old laptop failed as well.

On Thursday 26th January, armed with a new mobile handset, I set off for GW/SW-041 Black Mountain. It took me around two hours from Gloucester going via Ross-on-Wye, Hereford and Hay-on-Wye. At Whitney-on-Wye I crossed the River Wye over a quaint toll bridge that cost 80p and only takes one car at a time. The toll bridge keeper then gave me a 3 figure code and said that I could now cross as many times as I wanted during the day! However, I only used this facility once more on the way back!

I was quite confident that this activation would be an easy 9 points as the last weather forecast I saw, a few days previous, said no precipitation and only 5 mph winds. I arrived at the Stone Circle car park at 0900 and there was only one other car there and the driver soon left when another vehicle picked him up, so I was very much alone.

There were some ominous looking black clouds from the west as I booted up and quickly checked all my HF and VHF gear and set off at 0925. I chose the SE path that later turns south that takes you on to the summit plateau. To the west is the spectacular Lord Hereford’s Knob which you feel should be a SOTA but I don’t think that it is even a HUMP! I soon passed the Hay Bluff trig point; unlike my last visit, there were no ponies around it this time. I headed SE along Offa’s Dyke Path to get within the activation zone with the wind getting stronger with each stride, then hail, sleet and snow. My face was stinging with the almost horizontal hale/snow.

At 1018 I stopped at SO 25366 35790 where there was a little shelter from a grassy bank. I tried desperately to get the fibre glass pole up but had to abandon it due to the wind.

Soon my hands had lost all feeling and I quickly erected my 2m SOTA beam and in desperation called CQ on 145.500 at 1036 and thankfully G3LVP came right back. After a QSY to a clear channel I was grateful to work him followed by G4TCU, 2E0FLP, G3RMD, M0NTC and GW4ZPL. At least I had qualified the summit. There was a brief lull in the storm so I tried again to get the pole up again but it soon returned with vengeance and I reluctantly I had to abandon HF. I kept thinking that G4YSS and G4OBK would probably have succeeded but I was just too cold and I had nothing really to protect the FT857 from the wet.

I had all these plans to work 7-cw, 10-cw, 5-ssb etc., so I can only apologise to any chasers hoping to get GW/SW-041 on HF. In over 40 activations it was the first time I had less than double figures, so it was a huge disappointment. I headed back along the same route, this time the Hay Bluff trig point had a covering of snow and Lord Hereford’s Knob looked even more spectacular with a white coating. Climbing gingerly down on to a steep grassy slope covered in mud and slush, my left foot slid away and the rest of me followed causing me to fall and slide on my left side. I then had to roll over to get upright again and I was covered in mud and slush. Now I know why the XYL insisted I had a separate coat for SOTA! I finally arrived back at the car at 1220.

After a quick snack I headed back to Gloucester having decided against walking around Hay-on-Wye in my muddy state! It was quite an experience for me and all part of the SOTA activators learning curve. The following day before driving back to Scarborough I activated G/WB-019 May Hill and G/WB-022 Ruardean Hill, having 52 QSO’s on each, so all in all it was a good week. The journey home was a complete nightmare with long delays on the M1 and M18. I would like to thank G4SSH, G0BPU, GW0DSP and G4BLH for the spots and everyone that worked me from the five SOTA summits and my first HUMP!


Nick G4OOE

From Dan OK1DIG

I am really enjoying the winter SOTA and I hope to activate more summits whilst
the short OK winter season lasts.

Here is a link to photos of my activations which may be of interest to the SOTA community.


Thanks to all chasers for the numerous contacts from my SOTA activations,

73’s and CU soon again.

Dan / OK1DIG


Father Christmas brought me a Kindle book-reader last month, which was very welcome because I read a lot on my monthly flights from Manchester to Newquay.

The journey involves an hour on the train to get to the airport, then an hour hanging around the terminal and a one hour flight, so up to now I have carried a couple of books in my flight bag.

The benefit of being able to carry a selection of e-books at a fraction of the size and weight of a paperback is the biggest advantage, but whilst trawling through the “Users Guide” I discovered to my delight that it had an “Experimental” setting which allowed me to “Launch Browser” so giving access to SOTA Watch on the screen instead of a book. In addition, just like a book page, the display can be configured to whatever size, orientation or zoom I so desire.

On the morning of the 13th January (Friday, of course) whilst at home, my main Internet Service Provider crashed leaving me with a blank computer screen for 6 hours. I turned to the Kindle, more in hope than anticipation, and found to my amazement that it was cheerfully displaying SOTA Watch without a care in the world, although I had no connection to my ISP. How? Well, according to the Users Guide, it usually takes a feed from my local Wi-Fi network (now crashed) but when this failed it instantly switched to the 3G cellular network, or failing that, the slower EDGE or GPRS networks.

Access to Broadband in remote parts of Cornwall is a bit hit-and-miss and the connection drops out at times. I now have a most unexpected and invaluable back-up device on my travels, allowing access to SOTA Watch, with or without any local Wi-Fi.

My dog-eared paper back never did THAT !!



So off we go into the New Year after a couple of late night disturbances due to fire alarms blipping that they need new batteries. Do any of the PP3 experts know why this always happens at 3am on a windy cold night? Solved the problem by replacing all four. They’re only down to 8.6V so have enough for about ten years QRPp activities by Richard and Kjell’s standards.

Sunday 1st Jan, Lords Seat.

The poor weather that ruined our plans for Christmas activations continued so we decided on Lords Seat which is uncomplicated once you know the way through the woods and only really exposed to the weather over the final hundred feet or so. Start as usual from the Whinlatter Forest Park Centre a couple of miles out of Braithwaite on the Whinlatter Pass road. Plenty of expensive parking available: Expect to pay £5+ for four hours, £6+ all day. If you are a quick activator you could get away with four hours, the climb takes us a leisurely one and a bit hours but we usually need the time on the summit. The centre has increased its attractions for youngsters and mountain bikers, seems very popular and would probably amuse the rest of the family not keen on the climb to the summit. There are short themed forest walks for the young and less able.

The first viewpoint looks out to Little and Great Mell fells in the distance and has log seating. A route map of the trails is available in the centre and probably a good idea for those new to the forest park as navigation can be a little bewildering and the OS map is very out of date. From the summit you can watch the lost legions far below struggling and wishing they had one. The centre does take its Xmas holidays round about late Jan, early Feb so best check. Parking is by meter and not affected.

The summit has no shelter at all and hiding in its lee was not successful today and the wind was biting, strong with frequent squalls of hail rain and cloud. We decided to attempt HF with a reduced centre height due to the wind which worked well but I had managed to get my pullover gloves very wet and the wind was trying to freeze them so had to resort to my orthodox gloves (not easy when your hands are wet) which made my cw worse than usual, sorry. The take off to the south is not great for VHF but we managed a good few regulars but 4m fell victim to the weather, sorry again.

See Tom having feeder problems on the hill. We always have a spare length of light coax with a BNC on one end and croc clips on the other. Always use the light stuff for /P much lighter and more manoeuvrable, ok for QRP and loss not a problem. In the event of problems with the main system just hack it off (Swiss army knife) Strip where appropriate (the wire!!) clip on and service is restored.

Sunday 8th Jan, The Mells.

The day turned out to be an almost complete wash out but at least we managed to qualify both tops. Little Mell first and a very muddy, slippery climb. We decided on VHF only from this one due to deteriorating weather hoping that it would have cleared by the time we summited in the second one. This did not happen and once we emerged onto the weather exposed plateau of Great Mell the wind was fierce with driving rain. Like its partner there is no shelter on the summit and once again we were forced into VHF only, even this was difficult as it was hard to keep the beam on target. We were happy to slither down the muddy grass slopes to the car. Once again sorry for any disappointment for chasers, it really was too bad to linger.

Sunday 15th Jan Black Combe.

We had decided that we would get this one done under winter bonus as soon as there was a suitable day and as the forecast was favourable we set off to climb from our usual start point at Whicham church on the A595, plenty of room but best avoid Sundays (not every one) when there is a service as it’s their car park. The entrance on the right can be hard to spot if you’re westbound. Look for a T junction sign to a narrow lane on the right, that’s NOT it, continue round the bend about 100yds signed CRAFTS is the entrance. If you reach a T junction ahead you’ve gone too far.

Once we began to gain height it became obvious that the forecast seemed to have ignored the icy constant 40 odd mph wind out of the east that was bitter in spite of multiple layering and the exertions of the walk which Wainwright describes as unremitting. The most reliable route is to follow the good track all the way to a point where there is a large arrow made of stones on the ground which points you across the summit plateau to the large but busy and ineffective shelter. The Summit area is a large plateau with superb views but absolutely no shelter and is very exposed to the weather which usually comes from the wet west but today is from the north east and is arctic. The whole area is frozen solid with no chance of pegging and no one but us is stopping any length of time! VHF only yet again sorry. Even between the two of us holding the antenna mast is difficult due to the constant gale and the sheer cold striking the hands even through heavy gloves. We managed about an hour before the sheer cold drove us off.

In this part of the world the main problem with activations this year so far has been the sheer strength of the almost constant gales which have made keeping an HF antenna up and staying on the summit long enough for HF activation next to impossible. On Saturday we had a good example of this whilst helping with the club station GB5LBC from the lifeboat station on Roa Island. This is a sponsored event in support of the Lifeboat Service and we were pleased to work quite a few SOTA chasers taking time out to give us a call. The lifeboat station itself is on stilts about 20 yards out from the shore and is reached by a metal walkway also on stilts. The wind was so strong that it proved impossible to erect our normal doublet and we were reduced to a long wire rigged to the handy flagpole. As we proceeded back down the walkway at close of play we were advised to remove glasses as the wind was liable to take them. Audrey being only small was caught by the wind and forced onto the fortunately high-ish side rail unable to keep her feet. We walked across in a tight group giving her some shelter; I knew I should have given her the power supply to carry!

Sunday 22nd Jan Gummers How

Yesterday’s gale was still in evidence and reluctantly we were forced into a VHF only activation of this little hill. There is a good, often busy free car park at the start of this walk at the high point of the Gummers How Fell Road. There are forest walks and picnic area close by. The fell climb itself can be managed by most children but some revolt is sometimes evident on the stepped section; the final approach is quite rocky and exciting for them. Older hands may prefer to take the path to the right from the top of the staircase which leads on grass round the fell to the summit. The paths have become much less pleasant recently due to the incorporation of cows which has carved things up quite badly not to mention the droppings. This seems to be the latest form of fell management, intent on returning them to the conditions in a time before sheep desecrated them? One can only sympathise with the SOTA activators of the middle ages, what next, wild boar, wolves? The activation in the lea of the immediate summit went well with lots of interest from passers by.

If you use an FT 817 don’t ignore the standby capabilities of the internal battery pack. Our main battery is a model aircraft battery pack which is the same height and depth as the radio and lives strapped to the side of it. This means that the leather case is not easy to remove so in order to make things easy and to protect the known fragile power input jack we use a right angled jack with a very short lead to a line fuse which lives in the back of the case. There is just enough space for this and another short lead comes out of the case with a suitable connector, ours is Tamiya. This allows the battery to be disconnected for transit and charging from its own charger. In addition, instead of being left to die or removed, the internal battery can be charged at the some time by fitting a suitable Tamiya connector to the original charger, you just need two mains outlets. All this means that you have a standby with you and ready to go in the event of a failure of the external battery albeit not one that will support you for long.

Sunday 29th Jan, Holme Fell.

A beautiful winter’s day on Saturday saw us at the Lifeboat station again and the forecast for today was broadly similar with the ground frozen down as low as 150 ft. With this in mind and the fact that we had neglected HF chasers for several weeks made us decide on a smaller target which should allow us a full frequency span of activation, wrong! The path up this fell leads north up from Yew Tree Tarn. Park free beside the tarn if you are lucky otherwise it’s the pay and display job a little closer to Coniston. Pass the tarn on the road and take the path that leads round the north end of it signed for Holme Fell. At the gate in the wall the days problem became obvious, cows and their activities. The mud is deep and soft and this is true all the way up the climb with the path almost obliterated in places. It was not frozen hard above 150 ft either! In some spots the beck is preferable to the path.
Just before the summit we encountered the first group of burger filling, camped on the path but managed to quietly pass among them and carry on to the summit that was just below the snow line and free of the cold wind.

We picked a little depression we have used before, very close to the cairn and were soon up and running on HF at last. As we shifted to VHF the fun began, we appeared to be one small welding rod short of a beam. As we always count six out, six in when storing them in the boom this was a mystery, made more difficult by the fact that it was one of the two short elements that make up the radiator. We searched but could not find it and in desperation I tried to cut a replacement from the 4 m element, Swiss army knives may be good for removing your arm in an emergency but they fail on stainless steel welding rods. Eventually I bent the rod double, secured the ends with a tie wrap and was preparing to raise the beam when we noticed the baleful eyes of the “burger boys” watching us from close up, we were clearly sitting on supper! We hastily decamped to the less palatable, to them, rocky cairn and whilst checking that the site was clear Audrey found the missing element! We hand held the mast for the VHF activation but had to miss out 4m as I had wrecked the 4m antenna. The decent took almost as long as the climb due to the state of the path. Please bring back the sheep that ruined the fell side. For these hills best pack a clown outfit and when confronted say” Hello, I’m Ronald and looking for volunteers”

See someone on the reflector looking for a cheap paddle key. Take a look at the G4RQJ stream on Flickr. Details are as follows,
Materials used
Piece of plastic window sill
Piece of copper clad board
Two micro switches
Piece of junior hacksaw blade
Trouser belt
A few nuts and bolts

About 2 hours to build
Weight negligible
Value Zero (You can loose it on a hill;-))
Can even do you a couple of free micro switches if you drop us an Email, got a bag full in the garage somewhere.
This month seems to have been a long one with five weekends and the New Year activations are a distant memory. We can only apologise again to the HF chasers for the lack of activity totally due to the conditions. With January out of the way we are hopefully on the way to better weather and lighter evenings (ever the optimists).
Take care out there
73 Rob and Audrey


The month of January started slowly for SOTA CW activators and chasers. In Europe the weather was much milder than last year but driving rain and severe gales kept the number of activations down to single points on most days. There was a brief rise in activations over the weekend of the 14th & 15th January when the number of spots reached more then 100 on both days for the first time this year, but cold weather arrived from the West during the latter half of the month, limiting activations once more.

There was a surge in the number of new CW chasers heard calling during the month and Fred DLX8DXL on DM/SX-128 on the 25th was heard working split, transmitting on 7033 KHz and listening 1 KHz DOWN, which confused many chasers.

The move to the higher bands continued and it was a pleasure hearing some of the more active SOTA stations calling on 10m and 20m for the first time. Many of these were as a result of many contest weekends swamping 40m during the month.

Heard active above 40m were:-


24 MHz F5UKL,

21 MHz: F5UKL,

18 MHz: F5UKL, KU6J, S57X,

14 MHz:
S57X, S57ZJ,

10 MHz:
S57X, S57XX, S51ZJ,

Thanks to the stalwarts who enthusiastically continued to activate on 80 and 160m:-

3.5 MHz OK1HAG,

A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers, heard activating SOTA’s for the first time on CW during the last month:- Jozef OM6CT, Robo OM1LD, Mike OM6AZ, Manuel CT1EZ, Pedro CT1AEZ, Ian MM0GYX.

Heard active on expeditions outside their own countries were:


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.

4th-5th 1200-1200 Black Sea DX Contest
11-12th 0001-2359 CQ WW RTTY WPX contest
11-12th 1200-1200 Dutch PACC Contest CW & SSB
12th only 0001-2359 SKCC weekend Contest
18-19th 0001-2359 ARRL International CW DX contest
25-26th 1300-1300 UBA CW DX 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


SOTA News Editor

U.S. and Canadian reports to:-
Fred K6DGW [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Auburn CA

In reply to G4SSH:
Hello Roy and MT
Thank for news and I was glad to read It.
Best 73 and see you soon on the air
Yours Andre - f5ukl

In reply to G4SSH:
Thank you for a job well done again Roy & keeping interest up. Good to see that whilst I skive, the HA’s are setting about 160m. I thought I just might find G4OOE’s Black Mountain report here. Thanks to all contributors, I read it all from start to finish. 73, John G4YSS.

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks Roy & all contributors for this months SOTA news!

I haven’t had time for a proper read yet, but purposely looked in tonight for a look at the View from the North. Rob, I did wonder what had happenned on the 29th from Holme Fell.

Conditions on 60m were very poor that day but due to my (thankfully) relatively low noise level on that band I could read you prefectly, although you were not as strong as usual. Other chasers weren’t so fortunate, but your reputation is good enough for chasers to bank on working you on one of the other bands you invariably work during your activations.

After finding you on 40m CW I spotted your frequency & carried on chasing with the intention of catching you on 144MHz SSB later to make sure my SB5 was still working after being laid up for most of the winter. Of course, I assumed all was well with your station, so thinking you would have a busy time on 40m CW I only kept an occasional ear on 144.300 MHz. I must have missed your calls on 2m SSB & as I did not see a spot, I didn’t get to try my SB5 with you.

I can truly empathise with your predicament, as I also “lose” things, only for them to turn up again once I have made or procured a replacement. It is even more frustrating when you know everything has been packed in it’s proper place, only for it not to be there when you next come to need it.

As it happenned, I did get to try my SB5 out later when Rick M0RCP appeared on G/NP-009 & all seems to be OK :slight_smile:

I will have a proper read at the weekend :slight_smile:

Thanks again & best 73,

Mark G0VOF

In reply to G4SSH:
Roy, thank you for the welcome.

I want to thank you for the contact, too. At the same time I want to apologize for my lack of experience with CW, but try. CW and HF is a big challenge for me in SOTA.
I would also like to apologize to everybody who was unable to connect with me and I prematurely radio off. The hills are mostly terrible cold and the wind now. It’s not easy to work a long time. :frowning:

Thank you.
73! Robo OM1LD