SOTA NEWS JANUARY 2010
EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH
Welcome to the January 2010 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Les G3VQO, Barry GM4TOE, Ed. WA3WSJ, David G3RDQ, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ.
A combination of severe winter weather across Europe and the demands of the Christmas festive season resulted in a marked reduction in SOTA activations during the month of December. There were days with just one or two activations spotted on SOTA watch.
Activations did increase after the 25th and it is to be hoped that weather conditions improve for the SOTA VHF Fun Day, scheduled for Sunday 3rd January, when there should be activations from more than 25 summits and the opportunity for many s2s contacts.
FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM – W3
Another new Association goes live on 1st January 2010 with the arrival of SOTA-W3. Due to the hard work of Association Manager Ed WA3WSJ, and Marc G0AZS, it has been a relatively rapid path to fruition.
The new Association lists 206 summits in Pennsylvania, and a further 17 in Maryland. The topography of neighbouring Delaware does not provide any SOTA opportunities there.
With further prospects in various stages of development, the SOTA presence in North America grows apace, and we expect 2010 to be as productive as 2009 has been.
73 de Les, G3VQO
obo SOTA MT
SOTA W3 ASSOCIATION GOES “LIVE” JANUARY 1ST, 2010 - From Ed WA3WSJ.
The Great Outdoors Club or GORC pronounced (GORK) is very pleased to sponsor the SOTA W3 Association.
The SOTA W3 Association encompasses the states of Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware.
Pennsylvania has over 200 SOTA Summits and Maryland has fourteen summits. The State of Delaware has no summits that qualify as SOTA Summits.
We hope to activate many of the summits soon and have a few S2S QSO’s.
For additional information about the SOTA W3 Association, just click on the link below.
SOTA W3 Association Manager
FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM – VP8
2010 promises to be an exciting year for SOTA. Our very first South American Association, Falkland Islands (VP8), also goes live on 1st January, although the first activity will be sometime later in the year. The Association Manager is our very own Robert G0PEB, albeit under his new disguise of VP8DMM. He, together with a small group of colleagues, has been quietly preparing the data for several months, ever since he heard that he would be working there sometime in 2010.
The new Association has just two Regions - East Falkland, where the main airport and capital are situated, with 17 summits, and the more rugged and remote West Falkland with 59 summits.
Robert has set himself quite a challenge, as distances are deceptively large, and the transport infrastructure is best described as basic. Add to that the areas out-of-bounds due to uncleared ordnance from the 1982 conflict, the generally inclement weather, and the distance that the RF will have to travel to reach the waiting chasers, and you have probably the most difficult SOTA Association to date. The winter bonus period runs from 1st June until 31st August.
We wish Robert the very best of luck, and are sure that he will have lots of fun during
his stay there.
73 de Les, G3VQO
obo SOTA MT
SOTA AWARDS DECEMBER 2009 - Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager.
Several people took advantage of claiming awards before the price rise in January. Congratulations to Dzianis DD1LD on his Mountain Goat Award; it is notable that he achieved this working just CW, possibly a first. Congratulation also to OE7PHI, G0VOF and PA0WLB on their Shack Sloth trophies.
The additional award scheme for the Hunter and the Explorer certificates commences on 1 January 2010 and claims may be made from that date. These awards are retrospective so summits already activated or chased may be claimed for these new awards. Details of how to qualify for one of the new activator or chaser awards will be published on the website and filters to aid with your claim will be introduced onto the database. The revised pricing for the existing awards and these new awards will be published on the SOTA website and take effect from 1 January 2010.
The following awards were claimed during December:
DD1LD Dzianis Lukashevich Mountain Goat
OE7PHI Hansjoerg Poernbacher Shack Sloth
G0VOF Mark Walmsley Shack Sloth
PA0WLB William Dekker Shack Sloth
OE7PHI Hansjoerg Poernbacher 100 points
OE7PHI Hansjoerg Poernbacher 500 summits
PA0WLB William Dekker 250 summits
2E0DAI David Holman 100 summits
OE7PHI Hansjoerg Poernbacher 2500 points
G7OEM Tony Hulme 1000 points
PA0WLB William Dekker 1000 points
2E0DAI David Holman 500 points
HB9BIN Jurg Regli 500 points
The winter bonus is in full swing and here, in the Cairngorms, we finally got a heavy snowfall (long after Kent!). The fun day on the 3rd January should provide opportunities to increase the scores of lots of activators and chasers but I am still waiting on a hardy activator to post for a local summit so I can join in the fun – hint!
May I wish all participants a very safe and prosperous 2010
Barry Horning GM4TOE
Congratulations also to Rick M0RCP on qualifying for Mountain Goat on the 5th December, whilst activating the Old Man of Coniston and Walt G3NYY who made both Shack Sloth and 250 Uniques on the morning of the 31st December.
HB9RE SILENT KEY
SOTA participants were very saddened to hear the news that “Papa” Fritz, HB9RE, became a Silent Key on the 19th December, at the age of 81.
Fritz Snr, was a well respected and much loved activator and chaser, and there were more than 60 entries on the reflector from amateurs from many countries who all wished to send comments and condolences to his son, Fritz Jnr, HB9CSA / DL4FDM and the family.
RIP Papa Fritz, you will remain in our memories and your experienced CW fist will be especially missed on the air.
END OF YEAR STATISTICS
SOTA - All Associations - All-Time - Number of activations
(Data captured 30/12/2009, qualification = 300 activations)
- M1EYP ---- 886
- DL2HSC — 754
- G1INK ----- 731
- GM7PKT — 681
- G3CWI ---- 616
- G4RQJ ---- 509
- DH0DK ---- 480
- DJ3AX ---- 477
- DM2KL ---- 432
- DJ2AY — 408
- DG0OCZ - 402
- M1AVV – 402
- G4YSS – 395
- GW4BVE - 395
- G4ERP — 378
- DL3AWK - 375
- HB9BAB – 367
- DG0JMB – 357
- HB9AFI – 356
- DH3ZK — 351
- M3EYP — 322
- G0PZO — 318
- LX1NO — 316
- M1EYO — 316
- M1YAM — 312
SOTA All Associations All-Time - Number of activator QSO’s
(Data captured 30/12/2009, qualification = 4500 activator QSO’s)
- G1INK ---- 23702
- LX1NO — 12378
- GM7PKT – 10653
- G4RQJ ---- 10040
- DJ3AX ---- 10004
- M1EYP ---- 9479
- HB9AFI ---- 9281
- G4YSS ---- 8834
- DH0DK ---- 7761
- DL2HSC – 7121
- G4ERP — 6654
- GW4BVE - 6518
- S53X ---- 6483
- G3CWI — 6149
- DL4FDM – 6077
- HB9BAB – 6037
- OK1CYC – 5953
- DM2KL — 5746
- G3TJE ---- 5580
- OK1DDQ – 5543
- DL3SBA — 5514
- DJ5AA ---- 5159
- G0PZO — 4968
- S57XX — 4826
- F6ENO — 4679
- HA7UL — 4594
- G4OIG — 4559
- DK1BN — 4547
- M1YAM – 4535
- DL3VTL – 4522
- HB9IAB – 4502
On behalf of the 1,200 chasers listed in the SOTA data base I would like to thank all activators for their contribution to the programme. The foremost aim of these tables is to recognise the effort and dedication that all activators have put into the SOTA programme. The abandonment of many attempted activations in blizzard conditions during the last week in December has served to highlight the difficulties that can be encountered by activators. (Ed - G4SSH)
END OF YEAR, ALL ASSOCIATIONS, ALL TIME HONOUR ROLL
As of noon UTC 31st December 2009.
ALL MODES…GM7PKT 4233
END OF YEAR CHASER TOP SCORES FOR THE LAST 4 YEARS
The CW total continues to increase and this is the first time that 10,000 Chaser points in a calendar year has been achieved by a single mode.
The FM CHASER table for 2009 shows a remarkable effort by Slovenian stations, with 17 out of the top 20 places held by S5 callsigns.
REVIEW OF 2009 - By Andy MM0FMF
I’d like to thank all the chasers for their dedication in 2009 and for making it another enjoyable year for me. I managed to break past 500 points by early summer and I’m now on the easy run in to Goatdom!
Well, perhaps not…………
It was not a high scoring year for me, partly due to periods working abroad, an awfully wet Autumn and far too much snow for the start of the Winter Bonus. Still I managed 46 activations, 26 uniques and even managed to put 4 summits on the air for the first time (GM/SS-035, GM/SS-088, GM/SS-099 & W6/CT-037).
The year also saw the start of 23cms operation and me (ab)using CW. It was a real pleasure to qualify a summit on 23cms on the first attempt.
A special thank you to all the chasers who have gone nicely QRS for my terrible CW abilities.
Finally a big thank you to Don G0RQL, Mark G0VOF and Steve GW7AAV who on numerous occasions have acted as net controller and helped me get clear frequencies and spots out when changing band/mode/frequency.
Happy New Year 2010 to everyone involved in SOTA.
2009 - MY SECOND YEAR AS AN ACTVATOR – by David G3RDQ.
I started my SOTA activations in June 2008.
At the end of 2008 I had made 11 activations counting for a grand total of 10 points.
It is difficult to score many points living in the south of England without traveling large distances to and from summits. My nearest 2 point summit is in South Wales over 134km away. My own transport is limited to a scooter or a bicycle and to go by car I must borrow one from my XYL or son.
In 2009 I made a further 22 activations from 17 different summits, increasing my points total to 30. I was out every month except November when it just seemed to rain and rain.
At the end of 2008 I bought a Yaesu FT817.
I used this at full power (5 watts) with either a 2.1ah or 7.0ah SLAB throughout 2009 for all my activations.
I replaced my heavy Bencher paddle with a little aluminium paddle made by American Morse Equipment; this fixes to the top of the FT817 by a special Velcro type gripper fixed to the FT817 and the underneath of the paddle. This paddle worked well until water got into the bearings. The contacts are made through these bearings which became high resistance through the ingress of water, so to avoid a repeat of this problem I connected a thin piece of wire across each bearing on the paddle.
At the start of the year my antenna was a 40m inverted V dipole supported by a 4 section aluminium pole. Operation on 60m was achieved by extending the dipole by a length of wire attached to the guy with a clothes peg. I also carried other lengths of wire which made the dipole three half wavelengths on 15m (only a few inches required) and 17m (with a longer length of wire). This gave me good VSWR on 4 bands, 40m and 60m/17m/15m with suitable extensions.
A simple alternative to the linked dipole.
My 4 section aluminium pole was not very suitable for carrying on my bicycle so I purchased an 8 section fibreglass fishing pole. I use the bottom 5 sections and have drilled out a tennis ball which slides over the top end and has 3 guys attached.
I made up a linked dipole for 60m,40m and 30m for use with the fibreglass pole, which I am now using for all my activations .
This year’s activations.
I made 4 activations by scooter. The furthest being Long Knoll, G/SC-007 which is 60.4km away. After this trip in June my scooter failed to start and now sits in the garage unused. I made 1 activation by bus, Win Green, G/SC-008, walking up the hill from the village of Ludwell.
I made 4 visits to my nearest summit ,Walbury Hill , G/SE-001 by bicycle, 21.6km away. One of these visits was on the UK VHF field day providing an easy opportunity to make the first SOTA contacts on 6m and 70cm from this hill using just a rubber duck on the FT817. My other activations were by car, including 3 on one day, G/SC-011,G/SC-012 and G/SC-013.
My only multi-point summit was Pen-y-Garn ,GW/MW-004 (4 points) which despite 15 previous activations had no recorded contacts on 40m.This must have been the very last summit in Wales to get a 40m activation.
Most often I would operate on 40m CW and 60m CW and SSB. I would also try the higher bands on CW, 17m /15m and more recently 30m and sometimes this would result in a few additional contacts.
Finally a big THANK YOU to all who called me in 2009 and to those who helped by spotting my activations . Spots on the higher frequency bands were particularly useful.
73’s and hope to see you all in 2010.
David / G3RDQ
(Any more “Reviews of 2009”, especially by new activators or chasers, will be welcome for publication in the February edition of SOTA News – Ed)
GOOD DX ?
Are you searching for a special New Year present for your children? How about sending their name on a microchip to be carried on the Mars Science Laboratory Rover, heading to Mars in 2011 ?
Follow the link below and you can submit their name (and yours) and print out a magnificent Certificate of Participation. If you search the NASA site you can also fill out an application for Martian Citizenship.
I am still searching for the callsign allocation.
73 Good DX
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 12. By Rob and Audrey
Sunday 29th November
Woke up this morning (not a blues but almost) to rain lashing on the windows driven by a gale. We decided that we had been soaked enough on nil point summits and decided to give it a miss. (Even CW in the pouring rain ceases to be fun after the first twenty minutes or so!)A very quiet week chasing also, poor conditions onto this part of the world.
Sunday 6th November Loughrigg Fell
This little fell is very popular with visitors to the lakes, being very close to Ambleside. It also collects folk hiding from bad conditions on the higher summits, in this case us. We were concerned about the amount of water still on the ground particularly as very heavy showers including hail kept adding to it.
Still a lot of water on the roads in places but all passable. Parked in one of the two car parks (£5 for the day, often busy in the season but almost empty today) off the A591 between Rydal Water and Grasmere. The clue here is “between”; the two lakes are joined by the river Brathay which bursts its banks in times of heavy rainfall (today) flooding neighbouring fields. I have heard it said that in times past the two lakes would effectively join into one; they were doing a fair impression today. The footbridge had to be reached by some knee deep wading through the flooded fields but once there, plain sailing round Loughrigg Terrace to the foot of the steep path/steps/stream that leads to the summit.
The views from here are superb in all but thick mist. An active family would love it on a nice day, beware, the steps can be a little odd in slippery weather. We lost a lot of time in the initial stages of the walk and the light was already poor so sorry no HF today. Not a lot of VHF either barely enough to qualify in spite of a lot of calling, where is everyone?
Most of the week taken up with changing the car, we’ve gone dual fuel in an attempt to reduce our carbon footprint. Actually it’s more to reduce our contribution to the government/petrol industry grab your cash scheme (fuel tax).
Sunday 13th December Fair Snape Fell.
A couple of firsts for us on this one. Our first gas powered drive-in was the first.
We circled Parlick to the east instead of the climb right over the top. The path leaves the main path at the head of the deep gully that is the feature of the ascent from Startifants Lane (a good name that!). The track is much more used than a few years ago and is now well defined. The summit shelter on Fair Snape is adequate but often busy. We were conscious that Gordon G0EWN had posted for this hill before us but only for 2M so we decided to do HF first. The wind was very cold and my CW was awful, sorry. We did not know what to do about VHF as we did not want to grab all the chasers before Gordon arrived but we also did not want to leave them disappointed.
The problem was resolved as Gordon and Jenni arrived as we were taking down the HF antenna. As they set up for 2m they found that they had left their microphone on Longridge Fell. Fortunately they use an FT817 like us, so our mike was pressed into service and they quickly satisfied chaser demand before setting off at pace for Longridge to recover the missing item. (It was still there) The second first, we have never qualified a hill on HF only before, normal service should resume next week. A real pleasure to meet Gordon and Jenni, loosing things seems to be infectious though as we found when we got home that we had left one of our “posh” new pegs on the summit. Does anyone happen to know the German stall holder who was at Newark Rally selling ex government masts etc as we would really like to buy three more of them? Pegs that is.
Gordon asked for a bit of detail on our HF antenna so here goes. We use a trap dipole for 5MHz, 7MHz and 10 MHz. The traps are thin coax wound on 15mm plastic water pipe. The centre piece brings the coax from the rig, again the thin type, out to two binding post type terminals. The dipole ends have spade terminals, the ones that are a hook rather than an open blade. This allows the legs to be detached and wound up for storage separately and stops the twisting problems we used to have when we had them permanently attached. All this saves having to get up and drop the mast to change bands (I’m old and lazy Rob) and we can connect a single band dipole to the centre instead if we fancy more DX working though so far time and WX have never allowed this hi hi.
For a mast, we are one of the few outfits that do not use a fishing pole. We use a home built mast that folds down into a walking staff. The heart of this is a telescopic clothes pole fitted with a long overlapping handle section and containing a boom for a 4element two metre beam. The boom doubles as the top section of the mast when on HF and the 2m elements (stainless steel welding rod) live inside it. With the pole extended and the handle and boom in place the total height is about 20 feet for HF and is easily held with 3 thin wire guys. As a walking pole it is excellent and I’ve even taken it as just that when we’re on a none SOTA walk. As a bonus, on VHF the system can be hand held, beam and all, just in case anyone objects to guys. We had an article in Practical Wireless about it a few years ago entitled “The Propagator” and have been using the system ever since the start of SOTA. Having said that with apologies to friends in EI and GI it’s a bit like Paddies shovel (had it for 30years only had three new blades and four new shafts). The metalwork is all ali tube now but the prop fittings are still original. If anyone would like details just drop us an E mail and you’re welcome to a copy.
Sunday 27th December Hutton Roof Crag.
Although very close to the Lakes we live in a micro climate on the Furness Peninsular and it is often difficult to know what the weather is like just a few miles away. Radio was reporting all high passes closed and black ice everywhere but absolutely nothing here on Walney Island. We opted for Hutton Roof again as many side roads were reported as bad. The car park at the Quarry is not accessible due to piled up snow but we did manage to get in on the ice just off the road by the entrance. Plenty of snow in the woods on the way up and a nice if cold activation. For such a small hill the woods can be very confusing and on the way down in gathering gloom we met a couple with dogs totally lost and heading up rather than down looking for the car park. We guided them back to the car park but their feet must have been half frozen.
We may get out on New Years Eve afternoon to activate Black Combe as is traditional but all will depend on conditions. The year has been quite disappointing for us as far as SOTA is concerned with many repeats of the lower fells due to poor weather of one sort or another. A multiband activation does need about a two hour window on the top and these have been distinctly hard to find in 09. Poor HF conditions at times have not helped either. With luck 2010 will be better, thanks to everyone who has supported us through the year, have a good New Year celebration and we’ll catch you again in 2010
Rob and Audrey
CW REPORT FOR DECEMBER by Roy G4SSH
SOTA CW activity was at a very low level during December, with many blank days, but activity improved with the weather after Christmas day.
The snow, which blanketed most of Europe, curtailed many activations and there were only 5 cross-border expeditions heard, by DL/HB9BAB, EI/LA1ENA, OE/HA9MCQ, DL/LX1NO and OK8NO (LX1NO).
Activators using frequencies above 7 MHZ included
18 MHz: F5VGL ,
14 MHz: F5VGL, F5UKL, HA7UL, KI6J,
DC7CCC, DL/LX1NO, DF3MC,
G3RDQ, GW0DSP, M1EYP, G4RQJ,
HA7UL, HA5MA, HA5LV, HA2VR, HG4UK, HA7UL, HA6OY, HA6QR, HA5CQZ, HG4UK, HA2VR, HA5CW,
The mid-winter month also saw the welcome return of CW activity on top band by HA6OY on 1.834 MHz, and on 3.5 MHz by G3CWI, M1EYP, G0AZS and HA5OY,
A warm welcome is extended to Martin DF3MC heard activating SOTA using CW for the first time in December.
On Thursday 10th Dec two man team of HA5MA Laci and his colleague Viktor HA5LV activated HA/KM-032. I have never heard such a pile up of chasers. This was well above normal as the pair changed places on the key to work the huge pile-up’s. They went from 40 to 30m, CW and SSB to satisfy the never ending stream of callers. The Pile up was of such intensity that at one time Laci, on 10118, had to resort to calling for DX ONLY EU QRX” something I have never heard a SOTA activator have to do before. I do not know the final total was but it must qualify them for entry in the “Highest totals of QSO’s” table.
Laci and Viktor were also located in HAFF-004 a Hungarian National Park (Nature Reserve) which also qualified chasers for the World Flora and Fauna Awards, issued by various countries for the purpose of promoting and improve the interest in Regional Natural Parks and Reserves. Similarly, Joska, HA5CW, activated HA/KM-028 on the 27th, in commemoration of Papa Fritz, HB9RE. He logged 245 complete QSO’s, including 8 S2S and gained second spot in the Highest QSO table. This activation also qualified for HAFF-018.
Ric G3CWI spent a night camped out in a Bivvy bag at the summit of SP-013 on Friday night 11th December, giving points on 80m CW well into the early hours of Saturday and also the following morning, before departing.
It was refreshing to see the welcome return to SOTA by Norby LX1NO on the 27th.
Using 25W from a traditional light weight bag-pack (8Ah) he activated DM/SX-001, SX-004, SX-008 SX-011 and OK/KA-001 before the end of the year, whilst on a skiing holiday. Maybe more SOTA’s on the 1st January.
CONTESTS DURING JANUARY 2010
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.
1st only 0800-1100 SARTG RTTY Contest
1st only 0900-1200 AGCW Happy New Year Contest CW.
16th-17th 1200-1200 HA DX Contest CW & SSB
16th-17th 1200-1200 UK DX RTTY Contest
23rd -24th 1200-1200 BARTG RTTY Contest
30th-31st 0600-1800 REF CW Contest
SOTA News is published around noon UTC on the last day of the 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 28th 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, and your input will be most welcome.
A very happy 2010 to all Activators, Chasers and SWL’s
SOTA News Editor