SOTA NEWS MAR 2015 Part 1



Welcome to the March 2015 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Skip K6GDW, Allen VK3HRA, Dennis ZS4BS, Mark G0VOF, Kevin G0NUP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Geert PA7ZEE, Peter ON4UP, Jürg HB9BIN, Etienne K7ATN, Martin DF3MC, Sake PA0SKP, Hans PA3FYG.

The February edition of SOTA News was viewed 770 times.

SOTA AWARDS FOR FEBRUARY 2015 - By Barry GM4TOE, SOTA Awards Manager

Quite a busy month for awards with some people playing catch-up with their award claims; no problem with that and it does make my job a little easier when all I have to do on the certificate is change a date and the award level! Congratulations to Mountain Goats EA1IEH and VK2QR and Shack Sloths VK2QR, VK2HRX and SM5MEK. NE4TN goes from strength to strength with his 20k Chaser award while Summit to Summit certificate number 1 holder K6EL has now reached Platinum.

This month saw two Mountain Goats from one of the flattest countries on Earth, the Netherlands, the details of these achievements appearing elsewhere in this news.


Mountain Goat
EA1IEH Eloy Perez Lopez
VK2QR Robert Mackie

Shack Sloth
VK2QR Robert Mackie
VK2HRX Compton Allen
SM5MEK Jenny Ostlund

Certificates claimed

EA1IEH Eloy Perez Lopez 1000 points
VK2QR Robert Mackie 1000 points
VK2QR Robert Mackie 500 points
G4TJC Simon Melhuish 250 points
VK2QR Robert Mackie 250 points
VK2JDL Philip Clancy 250 points
VK2QR Robert Mackie 100 points

NE4TN Walter Beaton 20000 points
CU3BL Manuel Simoes de Oliveira 2500 points
AE5B John Dyer 2500 points
G1PIE Mark Procter 2500 points
VK3DAC Fred Swainston 1500 points
VK2QR Robert Mackie 1000 points
VK2QR Robert Mackie 500 points
VK2HFS Frank Scott 250 points
VK2QR Robert Mackie 250 points
VK5FANA Adrian Addison 100 points
VK3CRG Craig Meddings 100 points

Chaser Unique
ON6ZQ Christophe David 2500 summits
VK2QR Robert Mackie 100 summits

Summit to Summit
K6EL Elliott M Pisor Platinum
WA7JTM Pete Scola Gold
VK2QR Robert Mackie Silver
G4TJC Simon Melhuish Bronze

Mountain Hunter
AE5B John Dyer Gold
SM5MEK Jenny Ostlund Gold
VK3FLCS Brett McAliece Bronze

I never anticipated a time arriving when I would order trophy blanks in numbers greater than ten. My latest order was for 35 which is a significant financial outlay and yet these will probably be used before the summer solstice.

The hats with an embroidered SOTA logo have been selling extremely well, the back order for the Outback hats has now arrived so we can offer two colours of these while the order for Baseball caps to be held as stock in the USA have now been delivered and, with a bit of luck, will be available from the shop for USA and Canada deliveries at a slightly reduced carriage cost. These may be combined with stickers and other badges for postage by US Mail but there is no facility for combining with any other merchandise as that is held here in Scotland.

Not much else to report this month. I managed to get out and about to do a little activating but, quite honestly, it is too cold for me especially with the strong winds we have been experiencing so roll on summer and the warmer days. But then there is the Highland midge…!

Take care on the hills


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager



In 2015 there are six activators worldwide that have reported using microwave bands. Three of those six have entered the additional QTH data as required by the Microwave Challenge, to count contacts above 1.2GHz for these new award certificates.

The number of undocumented microwave contacts is even more significant for 2014 when the Microwave Challenge started on 1 July. But they are more difficult to tally since that covered only part of the year. This might be an small assignment for Andy-MM0FMF sometime to draw out the level of participation on these bands.

Suffice to say that a well placed note in the SOTA News to encourage those that have 1.2GHz and up gear to get out and use it, and then to enter their contacts as required, may be newsworthy.

Something that may be confusing is where to find the Microwave Challenge rules - they can be found at the very bottom of the SOTA Shop page ( and not with other award information (Summits on the Air).

W7O Association Manager




EA6 seems to be an “Eldorado” for SOTA activators.

EA6 came to SOTA only recently. Since April 2014, only a few activations were reported. We - Andreas, DG7MGN and Martin, DF3MC flew to EA6-MA (Island of Mallorca) for a “long weekend” for some activations.

There are 66 summits on the island of Mallorca, with altitudes from 224m to 1436m. Number one - Puig Major - is in a military zone with restricted access, so the highest summit for amateur radio seems to be EA6/MA-002 at 1365m. There are summits with very easy access, where a short walk from the car park is all you need to reach the top, while others require a long walk and a lot of mountaineering experience.

We found summits with a restaurant near the top, and rugged landscapes with steep slopes.

The Balearic Islands have been a touristic destination for a long time and infrastructure is perfect. Many mountain tracks are well marked and maintained, hiking seems to be quite popular among visitors. And there is a public transport system.

As for amateur radio, EA6 is a CEPT country with no licensing issues, and it is quite close to central Europe. The majority of European chasers are within easy reach, compared to the Canary Islands, which are quite remote, SOTA-wise.The SOTA activator should expect and be able to handle pile-ups and should be willing to stay on the summit for some time to make all chasers happy.

Within four days, we activated 5 summits, 3 of them were “first activations”. We made two longer walks and three summits were within short walking distance from the car park.

We were greeted by great pile-ups on CW, while QSO’s on SSB were a bit more difficult. DG7MGN was also active in PSK31. For the first time ever, I was able to make more than 100 contacts in a single activation.

There were some problems, mainly because of the weather, which was not “all sunshine”, but also cold rain, storm, and even snow on the higher mountains. Therefore sometimes we had to limit our time on the summit, or had to stop our activity.

Thanks a lot to all patient Chasers, who made our “expedition” a success.

vy 73

Martin DF3MC



EA8 Activation Plan and my XYL - A Win Win idea - by Geert EA8/PA7ZEE

After the activation on 31/1/15 of EA8/GC-001 Pico de Las Nieves, my SOTA Fever was even higher than before. From Gran Canaria, where we stayed for our vacation, El Teide, on Tenerife was visible, but during the winter was often closed due to snow and ice. But close to El Teide was EA8/TF-002 Guajara, at 2715 asl.

I discovered that it would be possible to rent a car, go over with the car on the ferry from Agaete to Santa Cruz de Tenerife and after a good hour’s drive be ready to go up to the top of Guajara. To do this trip on my own was no problem for me, but I had to come up with something that could bring my Good Lady with me.

Looking on the Internet I found the Parador hotel, which was located just where the route starts to go up, and I also found a Special Offer. This was two Romantic Nights with a Romantic Dinner, Champagne and strawberries in the room.

By coincidence, the week before was my birthday, which marked us together for 150 years. When I suggested that we could make a trip to celebrate this, my XYL was delighted. She was not surprised when I said: ‘By the way I will activate the summit next to the hotel’ since she has known me for more than 50 years.

The activation was the hardest one ever for me. The low temperature, combined with high winds with heavy gusts made it very difficult to put up an antenna. Since I was suffering from hypothermia my Morse code sending was far from perfect. Many thanks to HB9AFI/P and HB9BCB/P for their efforts to make S2S QSO’s, and all the other chasers who were catching the weak signals from my KX1 with just 3w output. Back in the hotel my Good Lady was very happy that I was back in one piece after seven hours. We opened the champagne to celebrate this and our 150 years.

No details about the Romantic Nights, since I fell asleep as soon as my head was on my pillow.

The next day the northerly road back to Santa Cruz was closed due to ice and snow. I was very lucky the day before although it was very cold up there.

Geert EA8/PA7ZEE


SOTA Belgium


As from the 1st of March version 5.2 of the ON ARM is applicable.

There are 3 ‘nice’ changes:

  1. The score of ON/ON-011 is corrected: this summit has now 8 points instead of 6. The database will be rescored (maybe it’s already done by now) to reflect this change in your activator/chaser score. Thanks Jimmy M0HGY for finding this error!
  2. ON/ON-018 ‘A la Plate’ is valid again: the latest NGI maps ( ) prove the prominence of 102m.
  3. A brand new summit ON/ON-029 is added: ‘Terril Ste-Barde et Tonne’ is a 230m high formal slag heap located in the neighborhood of Liège. The ‘Completed all ON summit award’ for those among us who activated and chased all the ON summits, has become one step harder …

73, Peter - ON4UP
ON association manager



We made a 5 day trip to DM/BW during the last week of February.

We were able to activate 15 summits where most of them were difficult to reach, with up to 25 cm of snow. We often walked one hour or more up and down, but we had beautiful sunny weather. It was amazing that nearly all the small roads were clear of snow.

We both used the KX3 ( 10W ) of Sake and a 10-40m end-fed antenna. Hans erected the antenna and Sake installed the transceiver, so we did not lose much time.

Sake (CW ) made a lot of contacts to W and VE, Hans ( SSB ) reached NA only a few times.

Sorry that we sometimes did not work all chasers, but we wanted to activate several summits in a day and we had a lot of walking to do.

Hans reports that the KX3 worked very well, I carried my FT897D around but did not need the power, so left it in the backpack.

Thanks to all chasers and spotters,

73 de Sake DL/PA0SKP/P and DL/PA3FYG/P


CONGRATULATIONS - from Mark G0VOF - SOTA Associate Press Officer.

One of the latest amateurs to attain Mountain Goat will be a familiar figure to many in the amateur radio world. This is because he managed to combine his interest in SOTA whilst at the same time holding the post of IARU Region 1 President. Hans Blondeel Timmerman PB2T who was President up to October last year, activated summits in no fewer than 15 different countries, spanning the globe. Being from one of the low countries does present some challenges to a SOTA activator but the opportunity to travel obviously came in useful for Hans.

He says “ In October 2012 Paul HB9DST introduced K2XYL and me to the wonderful world of Summits on the Air. In that same month I retired, which meant a bit more free time for hiking, one of my wife’s favourites, and amateur radio. I have always tried to combine amateur radio with travel. So far I have been active from 80 DXCC entities. SOTA gave me a new start. When there is a chance to operate from another SOTA association I’ll give it a try. Of course I am not unique in that respect and there are others who have an even higher association score.”

”A great opportunity to learn more about a country is to go & activate a SOTA with a local amateur. I have fond memories of my SOTA activities in South Africa, Ireland, Macedonia, Lebanon, Romania, Poland and Australia. In all these countries I had the pleasure of having the company of a local amateur with whom I could discuss the scenery, antenna’s, radios etc. Experiencing the local cuisine during or after the SOTA activity is highly recommended.

The past months I got too focussed on reaching 1000 activator points. It’s now time for 1, 2, 4 and 6 point summits who must be as beautiful as their higher brothers.”

No sooner had Hans achieved Mountain Goat than another activator from the Netherlands joined him. Sake PA0SKP became a Mountain Goat on 11th February, a remarkable achievement.

A photo of Hans PB2T operating from HB/VD-022 Berneuse is below. Sunshine and some luxury on the summit are highly appreciated!

Congratulations Hans & Sake!



It is planned that Jim, G0CQK, will upload the new ARM (Version 10.0) list for Switzerland in March. So I will try to work the new ones which are possible to make during the remainder of the Winter Bonus period.

73 on a trip with OE/HB9DST/p




A new month and off up little Gummers How to complete last month’s unfinished business. A nice sunny day but a wicked north wind and a wind chill of -14 forecast made us decide on this little one. Ice and a lot of tourists on the path did not help the climb and on the little summit there was a few inches of lying snow and true to forecast the wind over the top was untenable for more than a couple of minutes. This hill is a popular short walk for Sunday afternoon visitors ensuring a steady flow over the top but we found a reasonably sheltered spot in the sun and out of the wind. The ground under the snow was firm without being solid and one of the two large pegs that we normally use to support the ends of the inverted V, with the help of a couple of cable ties was able to support the mast and 2m beam un-guyed, handy with passing traffic.

Two Metres FM was slow, as it has been locally in recent times and rather like it was in the early days of SOTA but we persevered and reached ten chatty qso’s before things dried up. As usual we turned over the beam and had a try on SSB and as usual there was little response, just three contacts and one of them a dupe from FM. By now the summit was beginning to harden up for the night and was quite slippery down to the top of the staircase section at which the endless footfalls had turned the whole show to mud, happy days. Route wise, as always we used the more relaxed route from the top of the staircase which veers to the right and contours round to the back of the summit on grass, a tree has fallen across the path at a narrow muddy section and has caused a messy though short diversion.

The rest of the month to date has been a SOTA free zone due to a combination of bad weather and a bout of flu for Audrey neither of which has been appreciated. all of which got us to thinking about the recent discussions about the activity levels in the Lake District since the beginning of SOTA. We first joined into SOTA in the summer of 2002 having worked the odd SOTA station when we were out portable as we used to do something pretty similar off our own bat prior to its inception. We had only 2m FM and the trusty four element beam that we still use today (with apologies to our Irish friends it’s like Paddy’s shovel, he’s had it 30 years, it’s only had two new blades and three handles). There were no regular chasers and every QSO involved an explanation of exactly what we were doing. We went to the Isle of Man on our usual visit and managed to activate all five of the summits on VHF only, which was quite a struggle. Things rolled on at a steady pace and the number of callers grew and included many familiar voices.

Retirement in 2003 produced an FT817, a retirement present to ourselves and we began to branch out, Two SSB resulted in lots of contacts but 40 M ssb was disappointing, contacts were hard to come by and qso partners often pinched the frequency at the end of a QSO. We continued mainly on 2m where the returns were excellent with the odd outing on 70cms and 4m with an old converted “Talking Brick”. During all this period 2m FM remained the go to mode to guarantee a contact, then along came 5MHz and lots of SSB. Eventually this band became our go to mode at the start to be sure of a spot but 2m FM continued to be very productive.

Eventually we decided to give HF CW a try and this went well and we continued with it. Relatively recently things in general have changed, The higher HF bands became active, 5MHz activity and the use 0f 2m dropped off hugely (not Just SOTA). The CW pile ups and three hour activations in winter have become serious hard work. Advancing years have not helped (Not Audrey who gets younger every day) and the response levels in the LD area are not what they once were, particularly from the smaller summits and we carry HF as a backup. This will change as the weather improves. Noticeably the number of activations in LD seems to have fallen probably reflecting the effects of the recession on travel expenses, GW is a much shorter trip from the large areas of population. So be aware that some of the smaller hills in LD may not quite the pushover for a rubber duck and h/held that they once were.

The sale of Stickle Tarn came up on the reflector recently, not too keen on the idea of selling it all off but local word is that it may be killed off by the fact that if you buy it you buy responsibility for the dam that stops it from heading off down Dungeon Ghyll. Last time it required servicing the many sacks of material required were carried up by volunteer walkers on their way up to other places!

Enough gloom and doom, spring is just around the corner, IOM is booked. We will try to get back to a more regular pattern of longer activations. The coming weekend advanced forecast is seriously poor yet again. Just one activator point out of February, unbelievable. Only 35 points needed for the 2500 certificate, we were hoping to have made a big dent in that, never mind, onwards and upwards.

Take care out there

Rob and Audrey


Greetings to all from the New World –

North American weather has been SOTA-friendly only in the West and Southwest, which likely cut into potential activations. Bitterly cold temperatures and huge amounts of snowfall in the Midwest, East, and Southeast can make climbing a mountain not only unattractive but truly dangerous. Nonetheless, our numbers held up very well given the rotten conditions over much of the continent.


Total Activations: 325 [374]
Nr Unique Activators: 115 [108]
Total Chaser QSOs: 4967 [6165]
Nr Unique Chasers: 215 [227]
Unique Summits: 303 [277]

2m: 126 (2%) [116]
6m: 1 (0%) [2]
10m: 240 (4%) [145]
12m: 92 (1%) [90]
15m: 312 (6%) [244]
17m: 290 (5%) [405]
20m: 2969 (59%) [3834]
30m: 325 (6%) [341]
40m: 605 (12%) [988]
60m: 6 (0%) [0]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 0 (0%) [0]
Unk: 1

CW: 2604 (52%) [4161]
SSB: 2231 (44%) [1872]
FM: 129 (2%) [113]
AM: 1 (0%) [2]
Data: 0 (0%) [4]
Other: 1 (0%) [2]
Unk: 1


Congratulations to Andrew, KD5ZZK, who made Double Mountain Goat on the 11th of February. Andrew has gotten “SOTA Expeditioning” down to a real science. Baa! Baa! … Baa! Baa!

And Elliott, K6EL, joined HB9CB and OK8PKM in the Platinum S2S arena with over 5,000 S2S points. That makes Elliott the third to achieve this status on the planet and the first in North America.
Congratulations Elliott!

Phil, NS7P, the “NA SOTA Energizer Bunny**” just keeps going, passing
45,000 chaser points in Feb. I don’t know how many summits that involved, or how many hours on the air, but it’s a real achievement.


Winter S2S: The big NA news for February was the Winter NA S2S Weekend which turned into a huge success despite “winter” in its name and over most of the continent. The event started at dawn on the east coast on Saturday morning and concluded at west coast sunset … roughly 1200 UTC Saturday to 0100 UTC on Monday. Over 15 activations were scheduled, and I think a couple more may have been added at the last minute. There was some concern as to how the summits would fair in the pile-ups with higher powered chasers, but it seems to have worked out just fine, and I suspect that the weekend contributed a lot to our activity statistics.

VHF/UHF: There has been an on-going discussion on the NA SOTA Yahoo Group about increasing the VHF and even UHF activity on activations.
Various ideas have been presented and discussed, including designating VHF/UHF SOTA weekends, and pairing up with existing VHF/UHF contest weekends. While the discussion is still active, the consensus appears to be developing that re-inventing the wheel with a whole new weekend is not needed and pairing up with existing contest weekends would be the best idea.

XE: No word has been received on reported efforts in the United States of Mexico [official name] to initiate SOTA activities, but rumor and informal contacts [mainly Mike, KD5KC, who has several contacts] suggests that something is afoot south of the USA. In anticipation of increasing the scope of NA SOTA, I’ve renamed this report “NA SOTA News,” and removed Canada/USA from my signature line. It will be a great day when our friends to the south have registered summits to climb. They also have active volcanoes too. Lava bonus?

REPORT OF THE MONTH: Interest in S2S is rising [catching Elliott is going to be hard though], this month’s report of “accidental S2S” comes from Bruce, N7RR:

“Yesterday Margaret K7MWP and I were visiting Sumas Mtn W7W/WH-185.
After arriving at the summit area, we walked down a back road well below the required 25 m vertical before we returned to the activation zone and enjoyed a leisurely lunch. We were visited by a parade of 4-wheeled backroad vehicles.”

“Sumas is one of those places which has been devastated by many decades of clear-cut logging.” Except for nice summit views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan, Sumas Mtn doesn’t have much to offer climbers. It hosts many radio facilities, including a couple of Amateur Radio repeaters.
Margaret was willing to wait around while I erected an HF antenna to activate it, but she wasn’t interested in operating herself, so I decided to give it a miss for this trip. I loaded up two plastic bags full of beer cans and spent shotgun shells, making a small dent in the summit mess. I left many more shotgun shells and shards of glass."

“We packed up and had just barely started our return when, still in the activation zone, we heard a station on 146.52 MHz FM mentioning that he was on a SOTA summit. I stopped the Jeep, jumped out and gave him a call with my handi-talkie. That was Mark Newbold K7NEW on Round Mtn W7W/NO-147 on the Olympic Peninsula. After our exchange, Mark asked if I might have time to give S2S contacts to other operators. So, Ben Woodard KE7ITL, Bob Metz KF7JQV and Lloyd Hensrude W7LRH chimed in. They were carrying out the first SOTA expedition to Round Mtn. Low and behold, I had four contacts, so W7W/WH-185 was activated for 2015 just like that!”

“How different the first activation had been in December 2014, when I pioneered Sumas Mtn after a long bushwhack before discovering that the road to the summit was not blocked by closed gates. I’d camped on the summit overnight in my mountaineering tent and winter sleeping bag on icy ground in heavy winds. The snow had hidden the summit garbage. This SOTA project of ours is an invitation to experience the outdoors in many unexpected ways.”

**For our non-NA readers: The Energizer Bunny is the animated star of a TV commercial for Energizer batteries who just keeps going and going and …


Skip K6DGW
North American SOTA Reporter Dude



Congratulations go out to Brian VK3MCD for qualifying as Mountain Goat.

Brian is our latest and the Sixth Aussie to achieve Mountain Goat statue. Brian is a quite regular activator who has achieved GoatHood in just on two years. Brian predominantly activates the summits from Gippsland through to Alpine areas and has included a trip to VK2, VK7 as well as taking three US summits whilst overseas. Well done Brian on achieving GoatHood on and we are looking forward to more contacts as you work up the activator list.

The weather has kept all players on edge. From fires all over WA and in around Mt.Dale and Mt.Randell, keeping VK6 quiet, to rain in VK2 and VK3 cancelling activations. Activations were still with VK3YY Glenn, VK3KAB Kevin activating 6 summits in the high country in a single day. The answer to the unsettled weather appears to be to go down to VK7 with Peter VK3PF and Brian VK3MCD leading the charge. Chasers were also busy with Compton VK2HRX and Rob VK2QR gaining sloth status. Rob VK2QR has kept his pace to gain 1100 points in 12 months.

Sunday the 1st of February saw VK1 celebrating its second year of SOTA.
The SOTA group meet on Mt Stromlo (VK1/AC-043) aiming to raise its QSO count above 1000. Plans were modified to suit the changing weather conditions. All bands were worked and included DX contacts but whilst thunderstorms threaded to wash the day out, conditions held and with the assistance of some tarps allowed Andrew VK1DA to qualify Mt Stromlo (VK1/AC-043) on 23cm.

The Annual VK3 SOTA conference was held at the Club Rooms of the Moorabbin and District Radio Club. This celebrates 3 Years of SOTA in Australia.Thirty people attended for the day.

Here we have some interesting statistics from Wayne (VK3WAM) demonstrating the interest and growth in SOTA for VK3.
In the last years we achieved;
11473 activator points across 126 activators
2323 activations averaging 18.4 activators per activator
2854 CW activator points from 272 CW activations
193 chasers registered in SOTA database with 160877 chaser points

Compare with the first year,
1,249 activator points across 19 activators
212 activations averaging 11.16 activators per activator
169 CW activator points with 28 CW activations
40 chasers registered in SOTA database with 4,155 chaser points

SOTA was come a long way in short time. Other topics presented on the day included; Ron VK3AFW with Chinese rigs for SOTA, Andrew VK3JBL on setting uo a CW Skimmer, A Forum on establishing a VK RBNGate NETWORK hosted by Tony VK3CAT & and Ron VK3AFW, Allen VK3HRA described SOTA Applications, Ron VK3AFW Compared LiPo, LiFePo and Pb SLA batteries, Glenn VK3YY covering how brew SOTA with a 40/20/10m end fed antenna, a Arduino based antenna Sweeper and touch keyer and finally Tony VK3CAT explained the SOTA 10 and 6m challenge.

It was judged a success by attendants and I would like to thank Ron VK3AFW and Tony VK3CAT for organising as well as the presenters for their professional level of presentations. A file containing all the PPT presentations from the conference is available now in PDF format from the the VK SOTA Yahoo site.

SOTA was represented at the Wyong Field Day on the 22nd with Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH and Andrew VK1NAM manning a stand. Non Andrews present who helped on the day included John VK2YW and Paul VK1ATP. Rain kept the number of visitors down but interest in the antennas and batteries kept the site hot. A video of the event is available that captured some of the interaction at the SOTA stand.

Upcoming Dates

VK Autumn SOTA Party on the weekend Saturday/Sunday 7 and 8 March 2015.
This is a Long weekend for VK7, VK6 and VK3 with several activators planning to take advantage of milder weather to hike into the bush and activate remote SOTA summits. Watch the alerts for DX opportunities.


Allen VK3HRA


********************** Continued in Part 2 ******************

Top Band Report (Solar flare experiment)
SOTA CW Report
SOTA Database statistics for February 2015
SOTA News contacts