SOTA NEWS JUNE 2017 - Part 1 of 2
Editorial - by Mark G0VOF
Welcome to the June 2017 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Skip K6DGW, Roy G4SSH, Kevin G0NUP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Warren ZL2AJ, Toru JH0CJH, Luc ON7DQ, Paulo CT2IWW, Gerald G4OIG, Jörg DL3LUM, Colwyn MM0YCJ, Paul DL6FBK.
73, Mark G0VOF
The May 2017 edition of SOTA News was viewed more than 1100 times.
SOTA AWARDS May 2017 from Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager.
Demand for certificates continues unabated and the numbers ordered this month look likely to become normal. Congratulations are due to Don, G0RQL, who has now exceeded 100k Chaser points, I doubt there is an Activator whose log does not feature Don somewhere. We have a new Mountain Goat in HB9FVF and Shack Sloths K7HLN and K3TCU; once again, congratulations.
Behind Don, but not that far behind, is Gary W0MNA on 75k points and four new “Supersloths” DD5LP, N7WM, W6JMP and M3FEH
HB9FVF Matthias Senn
K7HLN Robert L. Solomon
K3TCU Gary Kulling
VK3PF Peter Freeman 2500 points
M0JCQ James Stevens 500 points
DL4TO Gerhard Sedlak 500 points
VK3IL David Giddy 500 points
GW8NZN David F. Roberts 250 points
DF9GU Bernd Kohler 100 points
SQ8JMZ Robert Szura 100 points
G0RQL Don Roomes 100000 points
W0MNA Gary Auchard 75000 points
DD5LP Ed Durrant 10000 points
N7WM Wendell Morrill 10000 points
W6JMP Gene Trasti 10000 points
M3FEH Karl Kruger 10000 points
M3ZCB Caroline Blackmun 5000 points
VK3ZPF Peter Fraser 2500 points
GI0AZA Esther Harper 2500 points
GI0AZB Ian Evans 2500 points
WC9G Ron Burns 2500 points
GI0AZB Ian Evans 1500 points
K7HLN Robert L. Solomon 1000 points
VK5PL David Poole 1000 points
M3FEH Karl Kruger 1000 points
SQ8JMZ Robert Szura 1000 points
K5QR Andrew Bonnot 1000 points
SP6NVB Bogdan Morawski 500 points
VE2GT Pierre Jolin 500 points
K5QR Andrew Bonnot 500 points
W2SE Bruce Babcock 500 points
VE2GT Pierre Jolin 250 points
YO8SSB Damian Lucian 250 points
ZL3JD Phil van Kuilenburg 100 points
W6SAE Steven Ewald 100 points
K5QR Andrew Bonnot 100 points
KN4BKS Elizabeth Burns 100 points
YO8SSB Damian Lucian 100 points
VK2JDL Phil Clancy 100 summits
ON4FI Karel Naessens 6000 summits
M3FEH Karl Kruger 2000 summits
M3FEH Karl Kruger 1000 summits
GI0AZB Ian Evans 250 summits
GI0AZB Ian Evans 100 summits
VE2GT Pierre Jolin 100 summits
LZ2OQ Georgi Aleksov 100 summits
Summit to Summit
VK2IO Gerard Hill Platinum
VK3ZPF Peter Fraser Silver
M1MAJ Martyn Johnson Silver
M3ZCB Caroline Blackmun Silver
M1MAJ Martyn Johnson Bronze
M3ZCB Caroline Blackmun Bronze
GI0AZB Ian Evans Red
ND9Q Douglas Quamme Red
VK3IL David Giddy Red
WC9G Ron Burns Red
SQ8JMZ Robert Szura Red
GI0AZB Ian Evans Platinum
GI0AZB Ian Evans Gold
M3FEH Karl Kruger Gold
GI0AZB Ian Evans Silver
M3FEH Karl Kruger Silver
VK3ZPF Peter Fraser Bronze
M3FEH Karl Kruger Bronze
YO8SSB Damian Lucian Bronze
VK3PF Peter Freeman 250 summits
VK2IO Gerard Hill 100 summits
M0DDC Alan Copperwaite 50 km 23 cm
The increase in the number of certificate orders brings with it increased problems. There is a growing tendency to order a certificate without first checking your entry on the database, I have had certificates ordered for which the person involved has not qualified (e.g. Activator certificates where they have not made any Activations!) and, more commonly, inaccurate dates for the award qualification. I have to check every claim manually and it appears people are relying on me to do the checking for them. There are notable exceptions, where claimants are precise and I know I can process their claims with just a cursory check, the others take a very long time.
In future, I will reject claims which are inaccurate, have the wrong claim date, require me to process the log to verify the claim information (e.g. filter the log to find just CW when it contains a mix of modes) or where the database has not been used correctly – a classic example is failure to enter information in the format required (Microwave and Summit to Summit awards in particular). There is, in process, an update to the awards claim procedure which will enable your claim to be checked prior to submission; this is several months away from implementation so the responsibility to check the accuracy of your award claim is yours – not mine!
The volume of claims have resulted in problems with my email server where it just refuses to send the pdf files (or takes forever to do so). An interim solution has been put into place where the pdf of your certificate will be placed on a central server and I will send you a link (by email) so that you may download it. I will leave certificates on the server for about one week before removing them in order to keep the numbers at a manageable size; please download the file before it is removed.
Finally, I am on vacation with immediate effect until about 20 June. No orders will be processed between now and when I return so that means orders placed between 30 May and 20 June may not be shipped or otherwise processed until the end of June. There is absolutely no point chasing your order as I will not be checking my SOTA email server or the shopping site.
I plan to make a couple of activations from CT3 during the next two weeks and would be happy to work any SOTA participant (if you can put up with my poor CW!), probably 20m and 17m CW & SSB. Alerts will be posted on SOTAwatch
Stay safe on the hills
SOTA Awards Manager
NORTH AMERICAN REPORT from Skip K6DGW
Hello again to all. May saw a wild mix of weather across the continent, but SOTA activity was fairly robust in spite of the thunderstorms, snow hanging around from the bumper snowfall year, and even tornadoes.
I finally decided I needed to rewrite the statistics summary program, and the first month’s results are below. This version includes some double-entry audit trails so I can verify the results, and capitalizes on the recent ARM updates which removed extraneous commas from some of the summit names. The Last Month values are all zero because I couldn’t run statistics for April. While I doubt we’ll see any activations on VLF or 24 GHz, I also never thought we’d see 433 MHz AM activations and we have, so we’ll leave all of them in for now. I don’t know what the two “Other” QSO’s were but that’s how they were logged to the SOTA Database… SSTV?
NA Statistics for May
Produced: 05/29/2017 at: 20:18:50 UTC
Total Activations: 639 
Total Activators: 178 
Total Chaser QSO’s: 5995 
Total Chasers: 270 
Unique Summits: 430 
BAND # LAST MONTH
VLF: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
1.8MHZ: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
3.5MHz: 12 ( 0.2%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
5MHz: 95 ( 1.6%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
7MHz: 1243 ( 20.9%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
10MHz: 765 ( 12.9%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
14MHz: 3447 ( 58.1%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
18MHz: 125 ( 2.1%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
21MHz: 19 ( 0.3%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
28MHz: 9 ( 0.1%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
50MHz: 11 ( 0.1%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
70MHz: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
144MHz: 182 ( 3.0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
220MHz: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
433MHz: 13 ( 0.2%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
900MHz: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
1240MHz: 8 ( 0.1%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
2.3GHz: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
3.4GHz: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
5.6GHz: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
10GHz: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
24GHz: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
uwave: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
MODE # LAST MONTH:
AM: 0 ( 0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
CW: 4287 ( 72.3%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
Data: 5 ( 0.0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
FM: 202 ( 3.4%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
Other: 2 ( 0.0%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
SSB: 1432 ( 24.1%) [ 0 ( 0%)]
AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS: None claimed this month.
Wayne, N6KR, of Elecraft fame announced on the NA SOTA Group: “The latest KX2 firmware provides built-in logging capability in CW/PSK/RTTY modes, when using the internal keyer. This is really convenient if you’re operating the rig hand-held, or whenever you can’t stop to do logging.”
“The log stores up to 2048 characters in EEPROM, along with time stamps and band/mode data. Text can be reviewed in the rig itself or dumped to a terminal application, allowing you to transfer the contacts to a paper or PC log later. If you’d like to try this feature, send me an email (n6kr at elecraft dot com).”
Wayne [and his young son Griffen] are fairly ardent campers and hikers. This will likely end up in a firmware release soon if it hasn’t already.
HAPPENINGS OF INTEREST:
From Etienne, K7ATN: “A great article on all the SOTA fun to be had in Mount Rainier National Park by Darryl-WW7D and an invitation to all to join us in Seaside on Friday, June 2 for the annual SOTA Gathering. Here’s the latest Pacific Northwest SOTA Newsletter for May and June 2017:”
Bob, K0NR, reports: “Announcing the 2017 Colorado 14er Event, now with 1805 SOTA summits”
“Amateur Radio operators from around Colorado will be climbing many of Colorado’s 14,000-foot mountains and Summits On The Air (SOTA) peaks to set up amateur radio stations in an effort to communicate with other radio amateurs across the state and around the world. Well, last year we celebrated the 25^th annual event so this year it must be the 26th. We are continuing the all weekend approach on August 5 and 6.”
More here: http://www.k0nr.com/wordpress/2017/05/08/colorado14er2017/
and here: http://www.ham14er.org
There was a discussion thread about all of the lingering snow in the Western mountains and high country which prompted a definition from Etienne, K7ATN:
whumpf [wuhh-UMp-fffn.] The noise made when the fracture of a lower snow layer causes an upper layer to fall or collapse making a whumpfing sound. An obvious sign of instability. For backcountry skiers, a whumpf is a sign not to go there.
John, K1JD, and Fred, KT5X [aka WS0TA] sent a photo: “May 23rd on Barillas Peak in the Pecos Wilderness, New Mexico. TNX QSO’s folks! Appreciated! T’was uhhh, ‘chilly’.”
And our report of the Month comes from Brad, WA6MM, and is the source of the above definition: “I had a fun but tough first activation of Galena Mountain, W0C/SR-110, in Colorado last weekend.Galena Mtn is a 2.75 mile (5.5 m RT) climb with 2900 ft of elevation gain up to 12,893 ft. The road around Turquoise Lake was free of snow but the trail head parking lot was closed.I ended up parking at the entrance to the parking area, keeping my truck just off the main road.The snow was firm when I left the trail head at 7am and I didn’t yet need snowshoes. – I put those on after the first hour of climbing. There is still a lot of snow here and I underestimated how long it would take me to summit.”
“Part of the issue was trying to follow the Colorado Trail for the first 1.5 miles and 1300 ft of climbing through the snow filled forest.I saw no evidence of other hikers so I had to break trail. Following the trail markings on trees started out rather straightforward but got more difficult to follow higher up.I needed to navigate with my iPhone GPS app to help keep me close to the actual trail and most efficient path up the mountain.I only got temporarily /lost/ a few times ;-).This slowed down my progress until I got above the tree line and navigation became much easier.”
“I left the Colorado Trail at 11,300 ft and headed directly north towards Galena over continuous snowfields.I was startled many times hearing the infamous ‘whumpfs’ beneath me.There where no signs of surface cracks but it always gets my adrenaline going when I hear that sound! It appeared the recent snowfall had not bonded well to the deeper layers in this area.So, I decided to stay away from the steeper sections of these slopes and take a safer route.I was able to take my snowshoes off around 12,000 ft as I entered more mixed rock/snow terrain for the final push to the summit.”
“I finally reached the summit after over 3.75 hours of climbing.I was about an hour behind schedule.The weather was great with little wind and blue sky above me.The forecast called for showers after 12 noon and I could see the clouds in the distance.I set up my antenna and operating position just to the south of the summit proper.I was not able to spot myself via SotaGoat even though I had bars on my phone.In fact, I was able to call my XYL to let her know I summitted.Not sure what the problem was.In any event, since I posted an alert on Sotawatch I was confident I would get spotted via RBNhole.”
Operating position on Galena Mountain
“I started on 40M CW but the band seemed really dead.I gave up after several minutes and went to 20M CW.I quickly made 15 contacts.It was now 11:45am and the clouds were moving in around me – weather changes fast up high!It was time to pack up and descend.I was back to the trail head in under 2 hrs and it didn’t start raining until I was driving home.”
“Many thanks to all the chasers looking out for me!Until the next time …”
That’s it for this time, summer weather [well … warm springlike weather] has made it to NW Nevada. Time to charge the batteries with the solar panel.
Fred (“Skip”) K6DGW
Sparks NV USA
Washoe County DM09dn
NA SOTA Reporter Dude
First non-American KH6 SOTA Activation – Jörg KH6/DL3LUM
I just wanted to highlight to you that on 5th May 2017 I have activated KH6/OH-025 (Diamond Head) with 16 QSO’s (W’s, ZL, JA) on 20 mtr cw. According to the database it seems I am the first non American to have activated a KH6 SOTA.
vy 73 Jörg DL3LUM PA1MUC
Second NA<>EU S2S Event- Gerald G4OIG
A total of 36 European summits and 18 North American summits were activated during a 4 hour period on Saturday 13th May 2017. Despite abysmal conditions with deep QSB and high QRN levels, several trans-Atlantic QSOs were made, including a number of summit to summit contacts.
Feedback indicates that most people enjoyed the event despite the conditions. The next event has already been planned for 18th November when it is hoped that radio conditions will be much better. These events provide an opportunity to experience a longer than normal stay on a summit which in itself adds to the challenge of activating.
73 for now,
Creag Mhor (GM/NS-065) The final Scottish ‘Graham’ receives a first SOTA activation – Colwyn MM0YCJ
Creag Mhor (GM/NS-065), an anonymous and remote hill in the County of Sutherland was the only Scottish 4 point summit that had not been activated. This was successfully performed on Sunday 7th May 2017. Creag Mhor (big crag, big rock or big cliff) is the highest point of the range of remote hills to the southeast of the Munro Ben Klibreck. The range is usually known by the name of Creag Mhor’s lower neighbour, Ben Armine, which is also a Graham.
Graham, was the maiden name of the late Helen Torbet (Nee Graham) who provided the list of Scottish hills between 2000 feet and 2500 feet, separated by a drop of at least 150 metres. Corbetts are Scottish peaks from 2500 feet to 3000 feet first listed by John Rooke Corbett, a Scottish Mountaineering Club member. Our imperial past meant that the Corbett’s originally had a drop of 500 feet (152.4 metres). The current metric list uses the same 150 metre drop for classification as the Grahams. Most will know that those peaks above 3000 feet are the Scottish Munros. The final Munro to be activated was GM/WS-006, Sgurr nan Ceathreamhnan (Rocky peak of the quarters - 1151m, 3776ft) on 22/04/2012. This was after I failed to activate it, despite broadcasting from the summit, two months earlier on 16/02/2012; missing the winter bonus but surviving to fight another day. The final Corbett activated was GM/NS-028, the remote Beinn a’ Chaisgein Mor (Large forbidding mountain, 857m, 2812ft) on 04/10/2015.
The points allocated to each peak are decided by each Association Reference Manual. The points are 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 and 1 points and the Scotland (GM) Association parameters are; Band 1, score 1 point for summits less than 500m above sea level (ASL). Band 2, scores 2 points, from 500m to just below 700m ASL. Band 3, scores 4 points (This is the Creag Mhor banding) from 700m to just below 900m ASL. Band 4, scores 6 points from 900m to just less than 1000m ASL, Band 5, scores 8 points from 1000m to just below 1100m ASL and Band 6 peaks above 1100m score 10 points. The current reflector has interesting comments by GM4COX speculating on a Nepalese/Tibetan association, the likely points bandings and winter bonus dates.
Back in Scotland driving up to Creag Mhor through Inverness my approach followed the interminable A9(T) to the village of Helmsdale clinging to the east coast. There is a more direct minor road passing through Glen Loth but I chose to stay on the A9(T) as an east coast seaview was a pleasing novelty. There was a gold rush in Helmsdale during the 19th century, but as I drove north, there was no rush to arrive then turn left (west) on the single track A897 to turn left again to the railway station at Kinbrace. After crossing the railway line the B871 continues to reach Badanloch lodge and there is a large area for parking on the south side of the public road (Grid reference; NC801330) close to the river Helmsdale at its outflow from Loch Badanloch.
I got my size 9 walking boots laced up but the start of the day involves a cycle along a very well maintained track with an excellent surface, small racing bike tyres would not have survived, but care and a hybrid should have been OK. On the full fat mountain bike the 13.5km into the stalkers path will take you some time and effort, as I discovered. The track goes past a loch with fishing boats, a picnic table and a no unauthorised vehicles sign. It will take you over an hour to reach a trackside quarry (NC685310) on the left just past the start of the stalker path, where you can stash your metal steed. There is a well-defined stalker path which starts at NC 686310 heading SE and later south. The surface is mainly grass with evidence of recent quad bike and historic Land Rover activity.
I read on Sotawatch that GM/NS-065 was activated for a second time 3 days after me and the operator (G4YSS) had permission from the Badanloch and Loch Choire estate managers to drive down the track from the public B871, saving a walking or cycling distance of 27km (2 x 13.5 km).
Low cloud covered the hilltops but the gentle east wind didn’t move the vegetation cropped by the many herds of red deer. There was some light drizzle on the approach - rain looked likely.
The stalkers track climbs alongside the fence of a deciduous plantation of mainly birch trees and rising to GR NC696296 then traverses the side of Meall nan Aighean. It loses 60 metres in height then continues uphill again south below Ben Armine; although I couldn’t see the summit; Gorm loch beag is a useful feature for navigation.
About a kilometre past the lochan a smaller stalkers track branches right (GR NC702261) to a vague bealach between Ben Armine and Creag Mhor. This well-defined track must soon be abandoned after a generous kilometre for a cross country trek south through peat hags and rough ground. You soon start climbing again after crossing a burn and you then follow your nose to the summit going slightly east of south. The summit of Creag Mhor has a triangulation station and a diminutive surrounding wall offering a lee shelter if there is any wind 713 metres ASL (Band 3, 4 points). The drizzle had stopped soon after setting off but the cloud still obscured any views on arriving at the summit.
The brass screw cap had already been plundered from the trig pillar, which made it ideal for a fishing pole mast. The gently rounded summit consists of a lovely blanket of springy moss and alpine plants so there was ample space for the lengthy 40m inverted-V dipole.
Once all of the civil engineering was completed I retired under my orange coloured bivouac shelter, connected the LiFePO4 battery, aerial and microphone to my FT817 and started calling CQ, SSB. There were good Orange and Vodaphone phone network signals so I spotted myself on the SOTA website. The first 40m QSO was at 08:49 UTC; M3FEX followed quickly by G3VXJ and G4IAR. A regular Spanish station EA2CKX was the fourth contact so a successful activation completed. Then G3RDQ, next a Belgian station ON5SWA, and Don G0RQL at 08:57, contributing a modest 4 points to his 100,000 point chaser total and adding another unique summit; well done Don and many, many thanks for all of our contacts and your Spots.
My intention had been to try 20m and 2m but my feet were wet and I had a hectic timetable collecting the boss that afternoon in Aviemore; I really couldn’t be late for that! So I packed up and headed off to the nearby Graham Ben Armine. I retraced my steps back to the stalkers track and despite roughly following a compass bearing, arrived exactly where my earlier footprints had started. From there it was easier than I thought to climb north the 250 vertical metres to the summit of GM/NS-069, Ben Armine - Creag a’Choire Ghlais. It was almost on my way back to the bike parking.
The peak had a first and only activation by G4YSS on 08/05/2015 and the summit is a large flat area with some very small cairns at the summit. There is no trig point and it has the same soft springy moss covering as the earlier peak. Despite there being no shelter from the cairns I set up next to them and started calling on 40 metres. Again there was a good phone signal. At 10:42 UTC I spoke with G0VWP, EA2CKX again, G4OSB/P (but not on a summit), G0RQL again (another 4 points for Dons’ chaser total), G0GWY, and at 10:48 G7BGA.
Despite the time pressure, the weather had improved and my feet were warm again after the second ascent so I strung up the 20m antenna and at 11:01 EA2DR (Pola), DL3HXX, OK2PDT, a transatlantic QSO, 9A7W and OE6GND. Quite a good spread from an output of 4.7 watts. Despite continuing to call there were no further contacts and again I packed up and reluctantly started for home.
Taking care to avoid the crags of Coire na Saidhe Duibhe, and helped by the clearing weather, I took a more or less direct, and initially very steep descent back to the stalkers track. Once there it was a swift return to the estate road with the only track in the dust was the one caused by my approach tyres. A return bike ride is always somewhat slower than the approach and stopping to look back at the now clear summits didn’t help.
Two Golden Eagles were quartering the sky on my return, but they moved away being wary of humans. Unusual to see two eagles together. During the day I had also seen Red Deer, Hares up top, Rabbits near the track, Ptarmigan, Golden Plover, Green Plover (Peewits), Curlews and Ravens but no humans. I had contact with plenty of humans, but had also been charmed by the calls of Green Plover (Peewits), Curlews and Snipe drumming! A long way for 8 activator points, but on a day such as that, well worth the effort.
Note: all grid references were derived from the 1:50,000 ordnance survey landranger map, they are not GPS results.
73, Colwyn MM0YCJ
SOTA NEWS FROM JAPAN by Toru JH0CJH
May is the best season in Japan and has a long holiday at the beginning, also there were very few rainy days this May. This pushed up the number of SOTA activations. The total number of QSO’s reported on the SOTA database is up by 50% compared with last month.
SOTA activities in May 2017 in Japan as of 31 May 2017.
Total 245 Activations with 2899 QSO have been made and reported.
JA: 240 activations with 2873 QSO from Summits
JA5: 2 activations with 7 QSO from Summits
JA6: 3 activations with 19 QSO from Summits
Total 545 Chasing QSO have been made and reported.
JA: 495 chasing QSO
JA5: 3 chasing QSO
JA6: 47 chasing QSO
Total 248 S2S QSO have been made and reported.
JA: 241 S2S QSO
JA5: 2 S2S QSO
JA6: 5 S2S QSO
Japan local FM radio station FM Palulun broadcasts a ham radio program
every Sunday night. On 28 May, the interview with Eva HB9FPM and Andy HB9JOE that
was recorded last month, was broadcast.
Please listen at this web site.
Eva and Andy
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 113 By Rob and Audrey G4RQJ
Sorry to say this months effort is going to be short due to a number of circumstances. My (Audrey 's) knee continues to be troublesome although improving whilst Rob has recently had an eye operation in Manchester this has left him with one working eye for the present which makes typing difficult and driving impossible. Hence me being roped in to type. This has reduced our activations to zero and even chasing is quite a chore as he has to write everything on his pad three inches high. He is sorry to have missed John YSS in his Scottish trip as he enjoys top band activity. In fact as John performed his first top band activation Rob was lying on his back having his right eye re -bored.
The race is now on to get the whole show back on the road for our usual trip to the Isle of Man in July. We don’t know how we will be but Mull Hill GD-005 will be a permanent roost. The trams will be running on Snaefell GD-01 and we can always hobble to the trig. So sorry that’s all for now .
Take care out there,
73’s Rob and Audrey
*********** SOTA NEWS PART 2 FOLLOWS BELOW ********