Sota news february 2013



Welcome to the February 2013 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Jim G0CQK, Skip K6DGW, Kevin G0NUP, Rado S58R, Nick G4OOE, Jack GM4COX, Mark G0VOF, Victor GI4ONL, Victor MI0JST, Rob & Audrey G4RQJ.

FROM THE MANAGEMENT TEAM. - 1st February Updates

This month end sees the launch of 3 new associations:

W0M Missouri is a P100 association with 57 summits. The Association Manager is Bill Gerth W4RK who hopes to be out on 1st Feb.

W5M Mississippi is a P100 association with just 1 summit. The Association Manager is Mike Olbrisch KD9KC

VK1 Australia Capital Territory with 43 summits. The Association Manager is Bruce Brown VK1HBB - there is a lot of work going on in VK2 so we can expect to see that soon.

There are also a good number of updates happening, so although everything will be effective in the database from 1st Feb, it may take a day or so for everything to get to the website and to SOTAwatch.

Regards & 73
Summits Manager

SOTA AWARDS FOR January 2013 - By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

Happy New Year to all associated with SOTA; let us hope that the programme goes from strength to strength. The pattern of award and trophy claims is rather unusual this month; for a start we have four Mountain Goat trophies claimed (GW0VMW, G4OBK, 2E0XYL and MW0IML) plus an Activator 1000 certificate (KE5AKI – who is in line to pay for his trophy?). Unusually there is only one Shack Sloth trophy – K0JQZ. Although the, so called, Supersloth certificate is not unusual, this month we have three claimed, two from Europe I3VAD and G3XQE plus a prolific North American Chaser NS7P. Congratulations to all of you.


Mountain Goat
GW0VMW - Richard Price
G4OBK - Philip Catterall
2E0XYL - Karen Richardson
MW0IML - Barry Vile

Shack Sloth
K0JQZ - Franklin E. Skinner

Certificates claimed

KE5AKI Michael Walsh 1000 points
2E0XYL Karen Richardson 1000 points
MW0IML Barry Vile 1000 points
KD5ZZK Andrew Norman 500 points
VK3WAM Wayne Merry 500 points
M0YDH David Holman 500 points
VK3PF Peter L. Freeman 250 points
HL2IYQ Ho-gyeong Kwon 250 points
6K5XZE Cheoi-hwa Jeong 250 points
MM0PHT Craig Moir 100 points
NS7P Phillip Shepard 100 points

Activator Unique
M0YDH David Holman 100 summits

I3VAD Giancarlo Scarpa 10000 points
G3XQE Ken Brown 10000 points
NS7P Phillip Shepard 10000 points
G6TUH Michael Morrissey 2500 points
W0MNA Gary Auchard 1500 points
G0SLR Roy Lisle 1500 points
W4RK Bill Gerth 1500 points
KE5AKI Michael Walsh 1000 points
VK3ZPF Peter Fraser 500 points
VK3PF Peter L. Freeman 500 points
HB9EXF Caminada Oliver 250 points
N0ZH Michael Dobson 100 points
ON3JMV J-M Vancauwenberghe 100 points
2W0WDS Wayne David Sargeant 100 points
M0SCU Stewart Culshaw 100 points
VK3WAM Wayne Merry 100 points
VK1NAM Andrew Moseley 100 points
M0VFR Steve Tomlinson 100 points

Chaser Unique
G3XQE Ken Brown 1500 summits
G6TUH Michael Morrissey 500 summits

Mountain Hunter
G3XQE Ken Brown - Platinum
NS7P Phillip Shepard - Platinum
HB9EXF Caminada Oliver - Bronze

February 1st is the start date for the new Summit to Summit award. This award is not retrospective; everybody starts from scratch for this award, so it is time to start building up you claims. The detailed rules will be posted on the reflector and I will also get these duplicated on the website. In a nutshell this award is in addition to claims for Activator and Chaser but does mean that, as well as activating a summit, you can now claim for any summit to summit (S2S) contacts you make as well. The scoring is not complex but you must be aware that the rules for Activating and Chasing apply equally to this award (you can only claim the points for the activated summit once per year, and can only claim the chased summit once per day from any single summit) there are a number of small details which you should note and these are:
a) Seasonal bonus does not apply for the S2S award
b) You can activate a summit as often as you like for the S2S award BUT you will only be able to claim the activated summit points once per year but you can claim the chased summit points once per day.
c) A slight variance on (b) is that you may claim the same chased summit on the same day if you chase that summit from a different activated summit that day. So if you activate three summits in one day and chase the same summit from each of those locations those aggregate scores may be counted for the S2S award.
A worked example will be shown on the relevant award rules page on the website.

(inserted later)

It appears I failed to post the following summary of the rules for the new S2S award. This will be loaded onto the SOTA website when time is found!! Meanwhile you can find them at

The rules are as follows:

  1. The award will be scored by taking the sum of the points value of the activated summit and the chased summit
  2. The rules for activators will apply to the activated summit score i.e. the summit may be scored only once per calendar year. If subsequent activations take place from the same summit in the calendar year only the chased summit score will count for the award
  3. Only the points value of the activated summit will be counted, summer or winter bonuses will not be included as they are already used for activator awards.
  4. The rules for chasers will apply to the chased summit i.e. the summit may only be counted for the award once per day.
  5. Commencement date 1 February 2013 to allow for modifications to the database to collect the relevant information. S2S prior to this date will not be counted
  6. Only cross-matched entries will count for the award. If an activator does not enter their activation into the database, or your S2S contact does not match then it will not be included in the scoring
  7. The database will be revised so that summit to summit contacts can be indicated
  8. Award qualifying points values are 250, 500, 1000, 2500 and 5000. Additional endorsements will be available for 10000 and upwards.

M0FMF is on Shining Tor in winter (2+3pts) and Tom M1EYP, Jimmy M0HGY and Richard G3CWI are on Gun (1pt)

M0FMF Scores:
M0FMF → M1EYP 5 Activator, 1 Chaser, 3 S2S
M0FMF → M0HGY 0,0,0
M0FMF → G3CWI 0,0,0

repeat activation 1 day later, same scenario:

M0FMF → M1EYP 0 Activator, 1 Chaser, 1 S2S
M0FMF → M0HGY 0,0,0
M0FMF → G3CWI 0,0,0

For the other party on Day 1
M1EYP → M0FMF 1 Activator, 2 Chaser, 3 S2S
M0HGY → M0FMF 1 Activator, 2 Chaser, 3 S2S
G3CWI → M0FMF 1 Activator, 2 Chaser, 3 S2S

Day 2
M1EYP → M0FMF 0 Activator, 2 Chaser, 2 S2S
M0HGY → M0FMF 0 Activator, 2 Chaser, 2 S2S
G3CWI → M0FMF 0 Activator, 2 Chaser, 2 S2S

So M0FMF S2S score for Day 1 is 3 points and for Day 2 is 1 point

If M0FMF were to move from Shining Tor onto The Cloud (1 point) on Day 1 he would score as follows:

M0FMF → M1EYP 1 Activator, 0 Chaser, 2 S2S
M0FMF → M0HGY 0,0,0
M0FMF → G3CWI 0,0,0

For the other party on Day 1
M1EYP → M0FMF 0 Activator, 1 Chaser, 1 S2S
M0HGY → M0FMF 0Activator, 1Chaser, 1 S2S
G3CWI → M0FMF 0 Activator, 1 Chaser, 1 S2S


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

The certificate which goes with this award is also a break from tradition; it is not only a unique design showing a view of a well known mountain but it also has embossed award stickers featured on it. The certificate will be available as a pdf file but we cannot reproduce the quality of the printed version with the embossed seals. Upgrade stickers can be posted out for the claimant to attach to their certificate or you may claim another original certificate – the choice will be yours!

I promised information on another award that would be made available this year. There has been a lot of interest expressed for the concept of a “SOTA Complete” award – no, not a kind of dog food but recognition that activators are also chasers. Essentially you “complete” a summit by not only activating it but also chasing it; this is probably going to be one of the most challenging awards to claim. It is a combination of a Unique Summit Chased and a Unique Summit Activated and any particular summit may only be claimed once for this award. Scoring is simple, each summit just counts once (as with the “Unique” awards). Award levels start at 100 summits and progress in steps of 250, 500 and 1000 (then multiples); considering there have been less than about 600 Unique summits activated by any one individual in the 10 years of SOTA the higher levels of award are going to be challenging! This award is retrospective and will be available as soon as MM0FMF has had a chance to manage the data collection from the database and I have had a chance to design the award certificate. Is there demand for a trophy, let me know?

Along with this work it has also been possible to add a new item of merchandise to the SOTA shop – an insulated travel mug in stainless steel and plastic. This will be available immediately at a cost of £6.50 plus postage. The income from merchandise is becoming an important revenue stream to keep the programme running and so I hope you will continue to support SOTA in this way.

I would also like to thank a number of SOTA participants who have made some very generous donations towards the running costs; I am not going to name you but you know who you are and your generosity is very much appreciated. If you feel this is something you would like to do there is a “Donate” button on the SOTA shop site which takes you directly to our Paypal page.

The SOTA Anniversary Awards are still available but the time in which to claim the G and GW versions is rapidly coming to an end. You have until the end of February to claim these and then they will become consigned to history. GM, GI and GD will remain available until the 11th birthday of these Associations but that is not long now.

Well there is a lot in this report this month; perhaps it is something to do with the rather poor weather conditions most of the UK has been experiencing – but not here! There has been more snow in the South of the UK than here in the Cairngorm National Park although there is plenty on the High Tops. A point was made the other day by a very well respected mountaineer that, in Scotland, hill walking is a summer pastime, in winter it is always mountaineering. There have been a number of tragic deaths here this winter (and a very serious injury from falling ice - 15 tons of it) so if you do venture out in winter please be aware of the potential hazards. I am sure activators in the mountainous areas of mainland Europe and North America will also echo these sentiments.

Stay safe and keep enjoying the hills


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

SOTA News also congratulates:-

Steve G1INK on the amazing achievement of finally activating every G-SOTA.


A reminder that SOTA Slovenia Winter Activity Days will be Friday, Saturday and Sunday 8/9/10th of February 2013


73 de S58R – Rado


Happy 2013 to all! SOTA activity in Canada and the US continues
unabated despite some very frigid weather in parts of North America.

STATISTICS [as of 28 Jan 2013]:

Total Activations: 171 [155]
Nr Unique Activators: 59 [58]
Total Chaser QSO’s: 2903 [2378]
Nr Unique Chasers: 111 [130]
Total Summits Activated: 158 [141]
Unique Summits: 122 [119]

2m: 19 (0%) [27]
6m: 1 (0%) [0]
10m: 25 (0%) [0]
12m: 7 (0%) [6]
15m: 120 (4%) [23]
17m: 37 (1%) [67]
20m: 2047 (70%) [1614]
30m: 273 (9%) [225]
40m: 330 (11%) [374]
60m: 0 (0%) [19]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 1 (0%) [0]
Unk: 43

CW: 1812 (62%) [1564]
SSB: 1026 (35%) [764]
FM: 18 (0%) [28]
AM: 1 (0%) [0]
Data: 0 (0%) [0]
Other: 1 (0%) [0]
Unk: 43

SSB activations were up some, most of the rest held fairly constant.
20m is still the band of choice although 30m has been growing. 30m is
probably a better choice than 40m [if your radio/antenna gives you the
choice] since your QRP signal has less D-layer absorption to wade
through there than on 40, especially with the higher solar flux values
we’re seeing.

And, I’ve found the reason for the Unk’s in band and mode statistics
above, in this month, 43 summit names had an extra comma in them in the
.csv files which confuses my little Perl script. They mainly seem to be
summit names entered as “{summitname}, South” or “{summitname}, Mt”.
I’ll figure out something and they’re not upsetting the statistics very
much anyway.


Mike, KE5AKL, achieved Mountain Goat status, he’s the third Goat on the
Continent. He actually achieved it in December and I somehow managed to
miss it.

Nick, WB5BKL, “Meanest Man on Emeralds Drive” in Lake Buchanan TX made
Shack Sloth in the W5T Association. Nick has not been in SOTA all that
long so maybe he the most SOTA-focused man on Emeralds Drive too.

And Phil, NS7P, must be running up quite an electric bill with his radio
equipment on 24/7, he made Super Sloth with 10,000 chaser points on 18 Jan!!

Frank, K0JQZ, also made Shack Sloth, his last contact was with the
two-legged WG0AT on Mt. Herman.

And Bill, W4RK, in Jefferson City MO is now at 1,500 chaser points.


W0M: We have yet another new Association, W0M for Missouri. W4RK reports:

“Thanks to the great cooperation and support of the SOTA Management Team
and several of the existing SOTA-USA Association Managers, SOTA
USA-W0M-Missouri will come into being on 1 FEB 2013. Special thanks to
Jim, G0CQK, and Rob, G0HRT, of the SOTA Management Team plus Steve,
WG0AT; Guy, N7UN; and Mike, KD9KC; Association Managers of W0, W7, and
W5 respectively.”

He also points out that while any QSO’s with W0M summits after 0000Z on
1 Feb will be valid and will appear as the database gets updated,
getting the database and SOTAWatch updated and synchronized will take a
little time, so be patient. Bill suggests using for
spotting in the interim. The W0M website is

Congratulations Bill and to everyone involved!! Enough “Association
Experts” have ploughed the bare ground now that lots of help is available
for new associations.

W7I: Guy, N7UN, originally began in W7-land. In time, Bruce, N6RR,
picked up W7W in Washington state. Now, Guy writes:

“In keeping with that commitment, I’d like to now turn over W7I-Idaho to
Scott Burgess/W7IMC. Scott has been one of our more engaged Activators,
has gained a lot of SOTA experience over the past 18 months and
certainly appears to not be stopping as he is an avid outdoorsman and
hiker. He is a frequent contributor to the NA SOTA reflector,
level-headed in his comments, etc. Scott said it best in one of our
emails: ‘You know when you have the SOTA fever when you are negotiating
with your co-workers for new sales territories so you can activate some
new ones!’”

Congratulations Scott, and a big thanks to everyone. W7 comprises WA,
OR, ID, MT, WY, UT, NV, and AZ, all in the western and very mountainous
US. I haven’t added up the summits, I think I will, but together, those
8 State associations together probably host more summits than any others.


I’m running out of space and time but can’t quit without mentioning the
“Travels of Andrew,” KD5ZZK. Andrew lives in Louisiana [Baton Rouge, I
think] and is the W5A [Arkansas] manager. I don’t have all the details,
however Andrew made a trek over New Years to El Paso to an activation
frenzy with Mike, KD9KC, and Ron, WT5RZ in far west Texas and southeast
New Mexico [it’s as far from Baton Rouge LA to El Paso TX as it is from
El Paso to the Pacific Ocean at Los Angeles]. From his extensive trip
reports, he and they activated:

W5T/GU-001 [highest point in TX]

The DE-003 activation was unplanned, Andrew says the “SOTA urge just
came over him” as he was heading home to Louisiana. That’s dedication
… or possibly addiction? I wish I had time and space for all the
activation report I get but that’s going to finish up this issue.

Stay safe,


Skip K6DGW
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude


Hi all from Wayne VK3WAM,

After the high-water mark from December, activity softened a little in VK in the first month of 2013, but this was not before a frantic level of activating around the UTC midnight change over. In VK1,2,3 & 7, this is at 11am in the morning, so a trip out to a summit and activating before UTC midnight could be quite convenient. My own activation at that time was on a very remote mountain, and I only started operating at 2350z. I felt like a contest station at one point, doing SSB QSO’s in around 20 seconds or so. Much more relaxed on the other side of midnight.

Allen VK3HRA tried to get Triple Peak VK3/VW-005 before it passed out of the SOTA family, but it was not to be. Instead, he activated Mt Lang VK3/VS-007, which itself is no small feat. He did get injured during the process of activating the mountain: these mountains do not yield their points easily.

Perhaps we need a VK3 award, maybe called “The tough guy/gal award” for any SOTA activator who can activate all the mountains on the Sierra range in the Grampians. Allen’s boots did not survive the activation, and when I went there, there were considerable repairs to clothes necessary. Perhaps for those of us that are married or in long term relationships and these are still intact when we claim “The tough guy/gal award” there would have to be an endorsement of this amazing achievement, worth far more than “QRP” or even “QRPp”, or even VK3YE’s 1E-99 watt operating :slight_smile: who may one day leave the beach for the summit.

Activity did quieten down over the month, with myself over in Papua New Guinea, Allen injured but more recently back out activating. VK5 is still in the fire season that closes access to most summits, but VK5CZ managed to get out there for one activation.

This is likely to change, and quite quickly. Next month sees the start of VK1 in SOTA, and a number of activators are counting down the hours. VK1DI has already had a taste, with a recent trip to VK3. We warmly welcome them into our family, and look forward to many activations to come.

Wayne Merry VK3WAM
for the SOTA news

COMPLETION OF ALL GM/SS SUMMITS South of Forth and Clyde canal.

The 27th of December last year saw Jack GM4COX accompanied by his XYL Anne GM4UXX complete all the GM/SS summits south of the Forth & Clyde canal, with the activation of Arthur’s Seat GM/SS-272.

This man-made waterway effectively divides the natural south of Scotland with the more highland north, with most Scot’s considering land lying to the south of the main conurbations of Edinburgh and Glasgow inter-linked by this water-way (and the Union Canal) as the ‘South of Scotland’. (a bit at odds with the SOTA and the Marilyn’s listings?)

Ranging between 4 and 1 points, including one island - Ailsa Craig GM/SS-246, a substantial number of the 119 summits were just one pointers, however the access and topography made for no ‘walk-overs – so to speak’ including a summit totally surrounded by and opencast coal mine, Benbeoch GM/SS-186, with the issues of trespassing and access permits, whilst others where in the middle of forests (standing and harvested) and the final summit requiring permission from Historic Scotland as Arthur’s Seat is an extinct volcano overlooking Edinburgh and as such is a scheduled monument in terms of the Ancient Monuments and there are certain restrictions operating and erecting radio equipment.

Jack considered the challenge as personal one as there is no specific award (similar to having activated all England - 176 & Welsh - 156 summits) and just for the fun of being the first. Now all he has to do is complete the remaining 163 in the GM/SS range, which he is well on the way to doing.

Check-out his page over the next couple of weeks where he will provide a pictorial map of these South-of-Scotland listings, and some statistics which you might find interesting.

Info from Jack GM4COX


Thursday the 24th January had been a quiet day on the HF bands, with deep snow covering most of Europe; resulting in no SOTA CW activations and not even an Alert. It was just after noon and I had left the rig tuned to 7032 KHz on the speaker whilst I started to prepare my lunch. I was not expecting any SOTA, apart from perhaps the two Juerg’s HB9BIN or HB9BAB, who regularly call around 1500.

I had just switched on the kettle in the kitchen when floating down the stairs from my shack came the familiar sound of G4SSH, G4SSH, G4SSH. As an experienced CW man I am well aware that if you turn up the volume under adverse conditions your brain can persuade you that you can hear your callsign in the noise, but this was about 559. Was it my mobile phone, which sends my callsign as a ring tone and QTC for a text message? No - I am of the age when I do not use a mobile unless I am travelling. It must be on 7032 KHz.

A quick dash up to the shack enabled me to catch the rest of the call G4SSH DE 4U1ITU HW? K What the devil….? The plot thickens - why was ITU HQ in Geneva, Switzerland calling me - blind??? Time to find out….

I quickly grabbed the keyer and replied “HR G4SSH G4SSH ur 559 559 BK”

All was now revealed - `FB GM ROY UR 5NN IN GENEVA OP ROLF HW?’

Wow! It was my good friend and prolific SOTA activator Rolf HB9DGV on a visit to ITU HQ, taking advantage of the well-appointed shack to give me a call. We had a chat and he closed by saying that he was about to QSY but it was a pleasure to make the QSO.

It just goes to show that you never know where the next QSO is coming from.

As a final comment, the band of eager chasers on 7032 were a bit puzzled by this exchange and threw in a few Jug handle’s ??? followed by the favourite question SOTA?


G/LD-004 Skiddaw, LDW-015 Skiddaw Little Man and G/LD-037 Great Mell Fell
9th January 2013 - by Nick G4OOE

I had planned on doing a couple of NPs on this day but the weather forecast was unusually good for the Lake District in January so I changed by plans to take full advantage. Last year I went up Skiddaw and didn’t see much at all from about the half way point due to heavy mist and wintry conditions.

The alarm went off at 0420 and after the usual preparations I was on the road for 0500. The journey was very pleasant with none of the predicted fog around on my route. After a quick stop at Rheged I was at the Latrigg / Skiddaw car park NY 280254 at 0809. I forced down quite a bit of water in true G4YSS style and I was walking at 0833. The journey up was a long slog but the views were more than great compensation. I was overtaken by a young couple near the junction for Skiddaw Little Man. I was listening to my handheld hoping to hear G4YSS and G0VWP both activating NPs and any others around. Unfortunately I didn’t hear John or Terry but much to my delight my first contact, within the activation zone was with David G0EVV/P active on the Wainwright LDW-189 Catbells on my handheld with rubber duck - brilliant! I went on to the summit shelter, arriving at 1029 and after donning an additional fleece began setting up.

I had a few problems with the wind but was on the air at 1039. I managed 16 contacts and I was particularly pleased to work Colin G4UXH/P, Heather M6UXH/P and George M0SSD/P, they were on their way to Great Crag LDW-192. Another highlight was to get Colin M0XSD/P on GW/NW-075 Yr Eifl. Just as I was thinking of taking some more photographs the mist descended! Time to leave and off to the Wainwright, Skiddaw Little Man, the path up from the Skiddaw direction was very slippery on the frost covered stones. On the way up I worked Colin, Heather and George again for some WOTA chaser points as they were now on the summit of Great Crag.

I arrived on Skiddaw Little Man summit at 1137 and once again worked Colin, Heather and George, this time for s2s Wainwright contacts! It was also good to catch Mike 2E0YYY on G/SP-004 Shining Tor. I made 12 contacts altogether and left the summit at 1156. The walk back to the car was very pleasurable indeed, I met several people on their way up and a couple that had caught me on the way down. I arrived at the car at 1259 and I was very tempted to have a leisurely lunch and make my way down to Latrigg for another WOTA activation with a fantastic view over Derwent Water. However, the thought of some Winter Bonus points drove me on to activate Little Mell Fell.

I arrived at the parking spot NY 423236 at 1350, After repacking the rucksack for a QRO HF activation, I set off up the steep track following the route used by Liz M6EPW at 1405, arriving at the summit at 1430. A short but rather steep walk, this summit blessed with a handy trig point to fix the fibre glass pole for the HF and 2m dipoles. I set up on 2m fm, this time using the FT857 running at 50w, I soon made 5 contacts including another Wainwright s2s with David G0EVV/P, this time on LDW-073 Hindscarth. Then switching to 7.032-cw I had a further 22 contacts using the 80m dipole and 66w. At 1540 I left the summit and arrived back at the car at 1556.

The car journey home was interesting as I had taken a wrong turning somewhere near Little Mell Fell and I drove down a very narrow road with a caravan site on either side, one was advertising itself as the quiet site and the other the peaceful park, I wondered how you would choose! Then after what seemed an age I did eventually find the A66. A quick fuel stop at Rheged and a very pleasant journey back to Scarborough with a minor delay at Sutton Bank for yet another broken down HGV just below the penultimate steep bend. I arrived home at 1955 having travelled 295 miles. Thanks to G4SSH, G0TDM and G4WHA for spots.

G/LD-004 / LDW-004 Skiddaw
145-FM 5w FT-290E 2m rubber duck - 1 (G)
2m dipole - 15 (G, GM, GW)
LDW-015 Skiddaw Little Man
145-FM 5w FT290E 2m dipole - 12 (G, GM)
G/LD-037 / LDW- 173 Little Mell Fell
145-FM 50w FT-857D 2m dipole - 5 - 11.1V 5A lipo battery (G, GM)
7.032-CW 66w FT-857D 40m dipole - 22 - 11.1V 5A lipo battery (DL, F, G, GM, GW, OE, OK, OM, SP)

Nick G4OOE


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

January 2013 saw what could be a record month for SOTA Top Band activations with six activators enjoying successful contacts from no fewer than ten different summits! So with a lot to report I will keep things brief.

The first activator up this month was Colin M0CGH/P who activated G/NP-028 Rombalds Moor early on New Years Day. This was Colin’s first try at 160m SOTA operation & he has opted to use a BHIV link dipole with home constructed G4YSS slug tuned loading coils at the end of the 40m section of each leg. After a late night on New Year’s Eve, I sadly missed Colin on 160m but managed to catch him on 80m a short time later. This did not matter, as Colin had no trouble making 4 contacts to qualify the summit on Top Band. Colin has added a very interesting report to the topic below in which he indicated he would be likely to try the band again, which he did later in the month, more details of which follow later.

Next up was Ricky MW6GWR/P again activating his local summit GW/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn later on New Years Day & this time making two contacts on 160m using SSB. Ricky is fast becoming a most prolific Top Band activator featuring in these reports on a very regular basis. Well done Ricky!

The third 160m activator this month was Dan OK1DIG/P who not only was the first to activate OK/ST-100 Vidrholec using Top Band, but also becomes the first ever OK activator to use 160m. This took place on 5th January in constant rain with Dan being very pleased how his 52m inverted L with a 10m radial performed, making 13 contacts on the band. Dan was also active later in the month, activating a further two summits on Top Band. Dan has provided a brief report on this first historic activation below, congratulations & well done Dan

Next up was Peter ON4UP/P who activated ON/ON-011 Sur Clair Fa on the 6th January using Top Band only. Peter writes:
“I activated ON/ON-011 using 160m only. I managed to make 14 SSB contacts: ON, DL, HB, G and PA. The equipment I used was an FT-857, a 17Ah slab, a 40-80m link dipole with loading coils at the link (see attached pictures). The feed point of the antenna was about 8m high. Output power was 100 watts.”

Well done on the very successful activation Peter & thank you for the report. Peter has also sent in a couple of photos of his antenna on the summit, which can be found below:

Next up, on 9th January was John G4YSS who activated G/NP-001 Cross Fell using the Scarborough Special Events Group callsign GX0OOO/P as the first summit of two he was to activate that day. I was fortunate enough to be in the shack getting ready for work when John first called on 1832KHz CW, in fact John was so far ahead of his alerted time I had just got out of the shower! I had to work John using my 80m horizontal loop instead of my usual 15m loaded vertical as I had not had time to put that up. In the event that wasn’t a problem with good reports both ways & John going on to work a further 6 chasers including two in EI. After 160m John continued on 80m & 2m FM before heading back to the car for the trip to his next summit G/NP-018 Nine Standards Rigg.

This activation took place in the afternoon when conditions are far from ideal, & 160m was left until last for this reason. Despite the time of day John managed 7 QSO’s using CW with a further 3 using SSB.

Thanks for the points from Cross Fell John, & sorry I couldn’t be around in the afternoon to chase you on Nine Standards Rigg.

John has provided a very detailed activation report which can be found here:
Less than 30 minutes after John had finished his activation, David G3RDQ/P began calling on 1836KHz CW from G/SE-004 Butser Hill. David had a very successful activation, making 7 contacts with G, GI, DL & F. Well done David!

On the 10th January, Dan OK1DIG/P was again on a summit, this time OK/ST-040 Dzban where he was attempting to activate using all bands from 160m to 10m. Dan was very successful with no fewer than 22 QSO’s on 160m, all using CW. He then went on to make QSO’s on all bands, a fine achievement indeed.

Dan has posted a more detailed report here:
Dan was also QRV on 160m on 12th January from OK/US-027 Naklerovska vysina when he made two QSO’s on the band at the end of his activation.
Congratulations & well done Dan!

The last Top Band activation of January came on 13th January when Colin MoCGH/P activated G/SP-005 Pendle Hill. This was Colin’s second 160m activation & only the second time Pendle Hill had been activated on the band. As this was a Sunday morning I was fortunate enough to be around to chase Colin, unfortunately he missed out on that elusive fourth contact so had to use 40m CW to qualify the summit.

Thanks for the contact Colin, I look forward to our next QSO.
Colin has provided a detailed report & photos here:

So, a bumper month for SOTA on Top Band, many thanks to all activators that gave the band a try this month!

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

On the 1st January, Colin M0CGH/P activated G/NP-028 Romblads Moor & made 4 QSO’s using CW.

On the 1st January, Ricky MW6GWR/P activated GW/NW-063 Ffridd Cocyn, & made 2 QSO’s on 160m using SSB.

On 5th January, Dan OK1DIG/P activated OK/ST-100 Vidrholec, & made 13 QSO’s using CW.

On the 6th January, Peter ON4UP/P activated ON-ON-011 Sur Clair Fa, & made 14 QSO’s using SSB.

On the 9th January, John G4YSS (using GX0OOO/P) activated G/NP-001 Cross Fell, & made 7 QSO’s using CW.

On the 9th January, John G4YSS (using GX0OOO/P) activated G/NP-018 Nine Standards Rigg, & made 10 QSO’s ( 7 CW & 3 SSB).

On the 9th January, David G3RDQ/P activated G/SE-004 Butser Hill, & made 7 QSO’s using CW.

On the 10th January, Dan OK1DIG/P activated OK/ST-040 Džbán, & made 22 QSO’s using CW.

On the 12th January, Dan OK1DIG/P activated OK/US-027 Naklerovska vysina, & made 2 QSO’s using CW.

On the 13th January, Colin M0CGH/P activated G/SP-005 Pendle Hill, & made 3 QSO’s using CW.

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


When I was in the Merchant Navy they were called “Radar Assisted Collisions” indicating that a disaster had been caused by the incorrect use of high-tech instruments designed to eliminate just such an event.

We have had a few of these during the month by CW chasers wrongly interpreting SOTA reports from the automatic spotting system, which was doing exactly what it was designed to do. The most obvious problem has occurred when an activator alerts more than one SOTA then changes the running order and the chaser takes the SOTA Reference that is automatically spotted, instead of listening to the activator.

The latest disaster occurred on the 30th January when Andre F5UKL was automatically spotted on 28.059 KHz at 1125z on F/PE-145, which was in accordance with Andre’s Alert.

Over the next 2 hours he was automatically spotted as being on PE-145 on 24, 21, and 18 MHz as he came down the bands, none of which were audible to me. He finally arrived on 14061 KHz at 1320z and I was first to answer his CQ SOTA. We exchanged reports before Andre said “SRI ROY SOTA CANCELLED HR FFF 1142 ONLY”. I immediately posted the information on SOTA Watch.

So Andre had been active for almost TWO HOURS repeatedly being alerted as on a valid SOTA and in all that time not a single chaser had either listened to the exchange or bothered to spot the information. At a rough estimate that must have been close to 100 chasers not listening or reacting to vital information from the chaser. The moral is simple; chasers should take the automatic spotting system only as a guide that a station is active on a given frequency; the remaining information must be confirmed by listening to the activator.

Many thanks to Andre for operating as FFF only when exhausted with a heavy rucksack and snow shoes.

There will be a few more entries in the data base minus a star this month.


THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 49 - by Rob and Audrey

The New Year is with us but the weather remains the same, this time high winds, so just a little leg stretcher for the holiday and off to Gummers How. This little hill is fairly local to us and is located on the southeast corner of Windermere. (Mere is the local term for a lake, radio and TV reporters commonly refer to it as Lake Windermere which is like saying Lake Winderlake. In fact only one of the major “Lakes” is entitled to the title, the rest being Meres or Waters, which one?)

There is ample parking for Gummers How in the car park off the fell road at SD 391878 although, like today, it can be busy. Cross the road to a gate and a clear path to the summit, note however that the area has suffered badly from the modern farming practice of using cows to regenerate the fells. Expect industrial quantities of mud and what cows do best. When you arrive at the top of the staircase there are two possibilities, a short scramble up the rocks to the summit or a deviation to the right which contours and climbs on grass (now mud) to the summit trig. The latter route was very little used apart from us but we noticed that many tourists climbed the rocky face clutching a piece of paper, then descended via the grassy path so guess that someone is passing out route maps. On the air, 5Mhz was quite busy with new occupants testing their wings,40m was busy, 30m less so and no response on 20m.
Initial report on the Aldi fishing gloves is that they are fine for setting up the station, cold poles etc and for CW but not for walking in. If you use a pole the thumb cover exposes part of the thumb when the hand is griping resulting in a very chilly thumb end.

A quick turn round due to the New Years Day activation and off to one of our favourite two pointers Lords Seat. Best start for this one is probably the Whinlatter visitors centre off the pass of the same name with ample expensive parking but a nice shop, café and toilets and plenty for active families to do. Note:- The shop is shut for a period just into the new year to recover from the festivities. The walk is in the main on forest tracks and roads and probably the best guide are the little leaflets from the shop which while being good on the forest tracks are not much good for the areas outside it. On a clear day that is not a problem as the hilltop sticks quite markedly out of the upper rim but we have seen people in slight difficulties on the summit in cloud.

The whole thing can be completed within the 4 hour parking ticket if you are a quick walker and operator, no hope for us then, just pay up the extra. The summit today was windswept but to begin with cloud free but there is little shelter to be had except to find the most sheltered spot on a quite conical top, there isn’t one! We ended up on the northern side, lousy for VHF but just a little more calm. We do have a bothy bag but Audrey finds it seriously claustrophobic and I am worse than a wet collie dog, even on a dry day and in a breathable hat my hair is soaking wet after an ascent, not the best person for a confined space except in real emergency. As a result our activations are always sitting on a groundsheet in the open and today I am testing my electrically heated waistcoat, a Christmas gift. Usually I can tell when the cold is beginning to get to me as my CW becomes much worse than normal and sometimes I fail to recognise characters. Today as I reach this point I turn on the waistcoat and although the heating pads are higher up than I would expect (almost shoulder high) within a few minutes my CW is restored to normal. The waistcoat is a nice padded gillet on its own, powered by 6 AA batteries in two small contained boxes and seems a fine idea if you don’t run it full time; use it as a top up when necessary. In addition you have the batteries available as torch spares if required. Later we are informed that we were posted on a reflector as /MM, cw must be worse than we thought. We manage almost three hours of activation by which time the summit is in cloud but by the time we reach the tree line things are clear and we get back to the car having needed the extra time on the parking meter.

The next Sunday 13 Jan has a bad forecast for the higher fells with snow expected down to low levels so we decide on little Arnside Knott which requires us to drive right around the bay. Follow the main road (Silverdale Road) through the little Victorian resort of Arnside and up the hill. Turn right onto Red Hill Road then turn left onto High Knott Road ignoring the Knott sign at the junction. Turn at the top of
High Knott Road (an unadopted road with no parking) and park on High Knott Road, tuck right in, room for three or four cars. Walk back up the hill to the unadopted road and follow it about 200yds to a kissing gate on the right leading into the woods

Through the gate and just keep on up via the woods to a steep field with an obvious long path to the summit. Large activation area but much wooded and a popular dog walking spot. About 50 yds to the south east of the trig there is a fallen tree which provides a pleasant temporary seat. In summer this is a nettle patch so best kept for the cooler months. Today there is no risk in that direction and as we operate snow starts to fall and after the usual long stay we find everything including us has a thick covering. We must be predictable as when we qsy to 40m cw 7032 is vacant, hoping to corner it I send just QRL? and DL3HXX comes back with my call and a report. I have no pen or log to hand and a frantic struggle ensues to get every thing in order as the pileup starts. Sorry for the momentary chaos. The field is quite slippery on the descent and is a popular sledging area for kids so it could be a lot worse.

Next weekend and we are without transport so no hill. The local roads are so potholed these days that you really have to take care, we find that we have two buckled alloy rims which have been causing us steering vibration, probably caused by a huge hole disguised by water on the main road beside Thirlmere so take care in these parts generally as it can be expensive! The lad at the garage says it is now a common event!
Next weekend and car restored but now the weather takes a hand with the Furness area cut off for a time by sudden heavy snowfall so we elect to help out at our radio clubs SOS Lifeboat charity weekend sponsored station. In this country the Lifeboat Service is a voluntary organisation and receives little if any government support so this is a very popular charity. During our spells of operation we meet several SOTA friends including some from CW that we’ve never actually “spoken” to.

Well that’s about all for now, sorry for the reduction in activity, normal service will be resumed as soon as possible, meanwhile

Take care out there


Rob and Audrey


Thankfully January has seen a few outings despite, firstly, torrential rain and, secondly, snow and frost. The WX on the 8th was dry for the first time in a week so I (GI4ONL) decided to activate GI/AH-003. I had a non amateur friend with me who said he would have no problem waiting at the top until I finished the activation, however I was very aware that after 15 minutes of listening to CW he was starting to get slightly impatient so I only subjected him to a further 15 mins before going QRT. What a pity because 10M was open and I could have stayed quite a time longer – drat!

On Sunday 20th we decided to activate GI/AH-002. Thankfully we did not have the same snowfall as other parts of the UK, however there was a significant accumulation and coupled with a strong easterly wind made the summit rather chilly. We got set up quickly I was on 40 metres CW and MI0JST/P was on 60 SSB. 40 had the usual initial pile-up but it was relatively civilised unlike 60 where, unfortunately, Victor had his first experience of some rather unruly operators, but he eventually worked his way through them, on what we believe was the first GI activation on 5 MHz.

After a hearty lunch back at the Land Rover we made our way towards GI/AH-003 and were very thankful of the 4 wheel drive capabilities of the old Landy, because the road to Slieveanorra was “interesting” in places. The track to the summit had quite a lot of snow which, in places, was covering sheets of ice, sometimes this made us look more like ballet dancers than hill walkers! Just as we were setting up it began to snow, thankfully it didn’t last long but there was a vicious easterly wind, which made it a bit arduous getting the antennae in the air. This time we both were on 40 metres with GI4ONL/P on CW and MI0JST/P on SSB. I believe this was the first time on an activation that I had the thoughts to go QRT on more than one occasion due to the persistence of some chasers to continue calling regardless of what I was sending.

It is difficult to understand how anyone could mistake e.g. GM? or DL? for anything else, but some operators, who shall remain un-named, were really annoying by their conduct. On a couple of occasions I, (&others), sent LISTEN which was again ignored. I became quite irate and to add insult to injury the snow came back and the contacts on my key got wet and my CW was, just let’s say, less than perfect. Eventually I sent AS and took a break for a few minutes to restore calm and resumed for a further 30 minutes before another snowstorm persuaded me to go QRT. Apologies to all the stations who were calling me but I was cold, wet and it was getting dark so it was time to stop. During the melee on CW I was unaware that Victor was experiencing difficulty getting his fishing pole set up due to the wind strength however he eventually succeeded and enjoyed working the chasers on 40 SSB. The descent to the Land Rover was in total darkness but there is a well-defined path on this hill so apart from the ice it was pretty straightforward.

By Sunday 27th most of the snow has disappeared making GI/SM-001 look like the summit for our activation. After an easy drive we arrived at our parking place with about 50% blue sky and sunshine illuminating the summit, which still had a white crown. Due to the aftermath of melting snow and ice, initially the going was very soft and wet but after 30 minutes we were on harder ground, which still had a light covering of snow making it more pleasant underfoot. We had just remarked that the sky had become very dark when it began to snow and within a few minutes we were in a total whiteout. A large boulder provided slight shelter and we decided to put the waterproof covers on the rucksacks, being the lazy type and not wanting to take them off, I got Victor to fit mine and I reciprocated. The snowfall lessened and we continued to the summit. On arrival at the trig point we picked our operating positions and as we were discussing tactics re getting the aerials erected in the strong wind, an obvious snowstorm was approaching hastily from the west. We decided to deploy our bothy bags and what a good decision that was. As I was lowering my rucksack to the ground a gust caught my rain cover and it departed the scene post-haste never to be seen again, ironically Victor’s cover befell the same fate. In under an hour about 4” of snow fell on the summit and with the gusts reaching an estimated 70 MPH, I feel we would have been very cold & wet without our shelters and JST’s junior op Mark (11) may have suffered as a consequence. For those who have never used a bothy bag, or storm shelter, it is amazing how much shelter and heat they actually provide.

When I was waiting for the storm to abate I thought I may as well put out a call on 2 FM so I got the 817 and helical fired up and lo & behold got an immediate answer. Victor (JST) must have had a similar thought because he was hot on my heels after each contact, and we managed 7 contacts each before deciding to look outside to consider the viability of getting QRV on HF. We had placed our operating positions approx. 200 metres apart and used 2 FM to communicate and both stations agreed it was not a good idea to stay on the summit so we quickly packed up and began our descent. Another good decision! As we were tucking into our soup and sandwiches in the comfort of the Land Rover yet another snowstorm arrived. Despite the fact we were some 1800 feet below the summit, this was by far the worst storm of the day so we decided to quit when we were ahead and head for home, once again glad to be travelling in the product from Solihull.

That’s it for this month, hopefully the WX will be kind to us during February and we will get a few more activations and should be QRV on 60 metres again.

73, Victor GI4ONL & Victor MI0JST


SOTA CW activity was fast and furious during the first half of January, with a great many activations, to the delight of chasers. This came to a rapid halt around the 15th when bad weather again covered most of Europe. From this time until the end of the month CW chaser points from European stations were measured in single figures and there were many days when the total points barely reached double figures, with some days completely blank.

It was a pleasure to see Adrian spotted active as ZS/N6ZA from South Africa on the 3rd. He appeared to be in contact with various U.S. stations but was inaudible at my QTH in the U.K. This was followed by Andre ZS1JEN using bpsk on 7 And 21 MHz on the 6th.

On 4th Phil G4OBK and Nick G4OOE were both active on 2m CW from G/TW-002 and G/TW-004 respectively

It was also a pleasure to hear Marek OK1HAG active from the 5th with his new callsign EI7KH, now that he is a resident in Ireland.

A warm welcome back is extended to Kjell LA1KHA who was heard with his 100mw QRPp Tx on 10 MHz on the 6th, for the first time in many months.

HB9BIN was active from multi summits in DL during the first week of the month. Then from his home country for the remainder of the month and Miro OK1DVM was again active on multi-summits daily, as was Jan OK1PDT.

Dan OK1DIG activated on all HF CW bands from 28 down to 1.8 MHz whilst on OK/ST-040 on the 20th. Many thanks Dan, this gives all chasers a chance to get into your log, whatever their location. Also thanks to Andre F5UKL who (as always) did the same on the 25th and the 30th.

The number of chasers willing to spot an activator is decreasing; it is the same half dozen regulars whose callsign appears time after time on the spots. Quite often CW activators will not be spotted for an entire activation if the automatic spotter has not posted on SOTA Watch. On the same subject some chasers (myself included) will post a spot with incomplete information in order to alert fellow spotters and pose a question in the remarks space such as VERY QSB, UNSURE OF REF. At one time this would be shortly answered as “Ref is OK” or “Correct Ref is…” now these spots are frequently left unanswered, as though nobody can be bothered so long as they have the correct reference in their own log.

Extracts from the Data Base compiled by Kevin G0NUP (As of 28/01/13)


Mode: SOTA CW on 10MHz:
OM6TC/P, ON/PB2T/P, S52CU/P, S53AAN/P, S57X/P, S57XX/P, W6AH,

Mode: SOTA CW on 14MHz:

Mode: SOTA CW on 18MHz:
S57X/P, S57XX/P, W6AH, WO6M,

Mode: SOTA CW on 21MHz:

Mode: SOTA CW on 24MHz:

Mode: SOTA CW on 28MHz:


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

2nd-3rd 1200-1200 Black Sea DX Contest
9th-10th 0001-2359 CQ WW RTTY WPX contest
9th-10th 1200-1200 Dutch PACC Contest CW & SSB
16-17th 0001-2359 ARRL International CW DX contest
23-24th 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

Australian input to:-
Wayne VK3WAM
VK Reporter

In reply to G4SSH:
Thanks, Roy, for another interesting read. What a batch of awards this month!

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks for the Newsletter Roy.

And to ‘the Victors’ ~~

“…the summit had quite a lot of snow which, in places, was covering sheets of ice, sometimes this made us look more like ballet dancers than hill walkers! Just as we were setting up it began to snow, thankfully it didnt last long but there was a vicious easterly wind, which made it a bit arduous getting the antennae in the air. This time we both were on 40 metres with GI4ONL/P on CW and MI0JST/P on SSB. …”

Made me shiver to read this account! Glad to have worked Victor (MI0JST)but with a twinge of guilt now knowing what you had to deal with!

Best wishes
Mike G6TUH

In reply to G4SSH:

An excellent read, thanks!

A point was made the other day by a very well respected mountaineer that, in >Scotland, hill walking is a summer pastime, in winter it is always >mountaineering.

Very VERY true!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:
As experienced unfortunately by the three deaths in Glencoe two weekends ago and the unfortunate ice climber on Ben Nevis last weekend. All with years of experience. ‘But for the grace of God go I’ (and I’m not religious - but it makes you think!)

Jack (;>(

300 new summits for LA/ST, thanks MT & Aage, LA1ENA for the work done for adding “my” summits.
Seems like both Nigeria, and the North Sea is a part of the ST region. This has nothing to do, with me adding summits while sick with fever…
Will have a look at this, and send the coordinates the right way. Its too wet in the North Sea, way to far to Nigeria…

In reply to G4SSH:
Hello Roy and MT
Thanks for this news, very interresting, as usual.
You wrote :
F5UKL who (as always) did the same on the 25th and the 30th.
You can erase “and the 30th.” because SOTA F/PE-145 was cancelled. Thanks again for your call.
Best 73
Andre - f5ukl

In reply to F5UKL:

Hi Andre

Yes. I was well aware of the difficulties and problems that you had on the expedition, so I worded that comment very carefully to say that you activated on all HF bands. The fact that you were forced by the long distance, heavy rucksack and snow shoes to abandon the SOTA summit and substitute an FFF reference, where you stayed for many hours in order to salvage something for the FFF chasers, is all to your credit and deserves recognition.

CU on the bands

Roy G4SSH, Editor

In reply to G4SSH:
Dear Roy
Than you very much!
Best 73

In reply to G4SSH:
Tnx Roy for the "News"
73 Gerald