Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Sota news march 2012

SOTA NEWS MARCH 2012

EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH

Welcome to the March 2012 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Andy MM0FMF, Fred K6DGW, Mark G0VOF, Rob G4RQJ, Nick G4OOE.


DATABASE UPDATES – from Andy MM0FMF

After some attempts at fixing an intermittent yet persistent problem I
think I finally have it licked. Many of you will have seen the message
about the Viewstate MAC being corrupt. I had followed suggested fixes
for this problem in the past but they never worked. This time I applied
the fixes differently and it looks like this issue may be sorted once
and for all. I’d asked for reports of any occurrences and have received
none so far. If you do get such a message do let me know.

Also there has been a minor update to help chasers enter their logs.
Before after you had entered all the chase details and hit OK you were
taken back to the database home page. If you had another chase to enter
you had to navigate to the entry page again. Now there is an “add
another” button which lets you continue adding chases without a whole
load of kerfuffle.

Andy, MM0FMF


SOTA AWARDS FOR FEBRUARY 2011 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager

Welcome to the Awards report for February 2012. First my apologies for the delays in shipping awards and merchandise. I had to drop everything to be with my father during his last days so this put a three week delay into any processing. Hopefully all claims have now been settled and all envelopes are on their way to you.

The only trophy this month is a Shack Sloth for DL1DVE. Thomas is actually at the 10000 point level so he considers his trophy as being an award for “Super Sloth”; congratulations. 2E0NHM, Nigel, has achieved the lofty target of Platinum Mountain Hunter; even though the Mountain Hunter was designed to be a different (and some might consider easier) first award level to achieve, these higher levels need much more dedication and skill as a chaser to achieve especially with the requirements at these levels to have contacts onto different continents. Time to take advantage of the enhanced propagation levels while you can?
.
Trophies

DL1DVE Thomas Franke - Shack Sloth (Super)

Certificates claimed

Activator
KD5ZZK Andrew Norman 100 points
DL1DSR Gerald Eichler 100 points
OM7SM Miro Skunda 100 points

Chaser
DL7URB Robert Bree 500 points
SQ9OZM Marcin Bajer 250 points
M0MDA Michael Dailey 250 points
GI4ONL Victor Mitchell 100 points
AJ5C Robert Herrell 100 points

Chaser Unique
2E0NHM Nigel Meakin 500 summits
GM4WHA Geoff Harper 500 summits

Mountain Hunter
2E0NHM Nigel Meakin - Mountain Hunter Platinum
DB7MM Michael Multerer - Mountain Hunter Gold
DB7MM Michael Multerer - Mountain Hunter Silver
GI4ONL Victor Mitchell - Mountain Hunter Bronze
G7NIB Ian Clark - Mountain Hunter Bronze

The 10th Anniversary of SOTA in the United Kingdom (& the Isle of Man) is to be marked by the issue of special certificates to all activators and chasers who wish to claim, based on the following criteria:

  1. The start date for G and GW will be 2 March 2012, for GD it will be 1 June 2012, GM 1 July 2012 and GI 13 July 2012 and each will run for a qualifying period of 12 months.

  2. No contacts prior to the qualifying date will be included - everyone starts with a clean slate on the anniversary date (this will not affect any other claims, just for this award. All points gained for this award may also be used for all other awards as normal)

  3. A certificate will be issued for any qualifying activation or chase for any Region, (or multiple Regions) in any UK Association after the appropriate start date (so a certificate can be claimed for one Region in G up to all Regions in G for example). Each certificate will be annotated with the Regions claimed.

  4. There will be different certificates awarded for each Association and each certificate will feature a different design.

  5. The ultimate claim is “Activated all Regions” or “Chased all Regions” in any one (or more) Associations.

  6. The cost of any certificate will be a donation of £1 and the certificate will be delivered as a pdf file to the claimant’s computer. There will be the option of having a hard copy sent by mail but then the cost will be the same as a regular Award certificate (£3 plus postage).

  7. All claims should be made via the SOTA shop on www.sota-shop.co.uk or www.sota-shop.com

  8. The rules for a valid contact will be identical to existing SOTA rules

  9. Any Activator or Chaser may claim as many certificates as they wish during the celebration period

Not much to report from the sunny Cairngorms, except that the definitely unseasonable weather is a relief from the last couple of winters. Even so, there are walkers and climbers still taking unacceptable risks and paying for it with either serious injury or their lives. In the last month the Mountain Rescue have had to go out to find lost walkers in the local hills some ten times and one is still missing.
I must admit I enjoyed being in Surrey, temperatures hovering around the -10C figure while, at home, the temperatures were closer to +10C and as for the locals’ driving abilities in snow…………!!!

As always, take care in the hills we need you to be around to activate!

73

Barry Horning GM4TOE
Awards Manager


Congratulations from the SOTA News team to:-

  • M0TYM, Al, who passed the Advanced exam on 31st January (Ex: 2E0SCZ & M6ALR)

  • 2E0FGQ, Nick who has upgraded to Intermediate licence, Ex M6NJB

  • Dean MW0TMI on getting his Full Licence

  • Bob G6ODU on getting 10,000 Chaser points

  • Steve G1INK –on becoming the first British station to break the 500 uniques activated milestone, as a result of his recent trip to Scotland.


CW FROM CYPRUS by Roy G4SSH

I shall again be active from the Larnaca District of the Republic of Cyprus using the call 5B / G4SSH on Thursday 22nd March (and possibly Friday 23rd March) around 14055 KHz, 0900-1100 UTC

Although not on a SOTA, I shall be especially listening out for newcomers to CW and will be happy to reply at their speed and give them perhaps a first DX contact on CW.

In previous years I have generated quite a pile-up of callers and I am happy to call you if you want a contact, in which case please e-mail me before the 14th March, but the above times are the only ones when I shall be on the air, being convenient to my host 5B4AHA. In previous years I have been contacted by many chasers seeking a 5B call.

A special QSL card will be available via the Buro, or direct.

73
Roy 5B/G4SSH

UPDATE Monday 19th March

Thursday sked now re-scheduled to TUESDAY 20th. FRIDAY 23rd remains OK

73
Roy 5B/G4SSH
Larnaca, Cyprus


SOTA ON TOP BAND - Mark G0VOF

Hello everyone & welcome to this month’s edition of SOTA on Top Band. February was a very quiet month for Top Band activations with, to my knowledge, only one activator venturing onto the band from SOTA summits.

That said, Peter ON4UP was active on the band from no less than three of the four separate summits he visited this month, & he has once again kindly sent me details of these activations.

On the 10th February Peter activated ON/ON-001 Signal de Botrange, & after contacts on 40m & 20m SSB, set up his 6m vertical for 160m SSB. Peter received some reports of poor modulation, which appeared to be due to high SWR, however he managed successful QSO’s with PA0SKP & G4OBK so the antenna was certainly radiating. On testing the antenna back at home everything seemed OK, however he did note that the SWR was adversely affected when the loading coil was near to the fibre-glass mast.

This was Peters second summit of the day as he had earlier activated ON/ON-011 Sur Clair Fa. He did not use 160m from this summit although he did have a very successful activation using both 40m & 20m SSB.

On the 25th February Peter activated ON/ON-013 Bois de Hodinfosse, & after a summit to summit with Lutz DL3SBA/P on DM/NW-262 Wülpker Egge using 40m SSB, followed by 8 contacts on 20m SSB a sked had been arranged with ON4LN. This was Peters only 160m contact from this summit.

Later, on the 25th February Peter activated ON/ON-010 Baraque Fraiture. This activation took place during a 160m SSB contest so the band was full of high powered stations which made things quite difficult. I listened for Peter myself, but all I could hear at my location in North West England was contest QRM. Phil G4OBK was also listening for Peter, but did not manage to find his signal amongst the contest stations.

That said, Peter made the most of the opportunity to see what he could work with his 6m vertical & 100 Watts & he managed a fine total of 5 contacts, with S52, OK, DL, OL, & IZ, despite the band being full of stations running high power & large antennas.

A photo of Peters’ shack on ON/ON-010 is here:

Well done Peter!

On a different note, one announcement that came out of the WRC-2012 that caught my eye is that approval has been granted for a permanent worldwide amateur allocation between 472KHz & 479KHz (or 635 to 626 metres). Various countries have permitted experimental use of frequencies in this part of the spectrum since the vacation of 500 KHz by the maritime service, but this announcement paves the way for more general use by amateurs of what is an even more challenging part of the spectrum than 160m!

As the number of stations with 635m capability increases, it will make activating on this band more likely to be successful, although any equipment used will almost certainly need to be home-brewed. It will be interesting to see exactly what the licence conditions will be for this new amateur band.

Thank you very much to Peter ON4UP for your contribution this month, your input is very much appreciated!

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

On the 10th February, Peter ON4UP/P activated ON/ON-001 Signal de Botrange, & achieved 2 QSO’s on 160m, both SSB.

On the 25th February, Peter ON4UP/P activated ON/ON-013 Bois de Hodinfosse, & achieved 1 QSO on 160m using SSB.

On the 25th February, Peter ON4UP/P activated ON/ON-010 Baraque Fraiture, & achieved 5 QSO’s, all using SSB.

As always, If you do have any suggestions on things that you think should be included, or if you wish to contribute tips, ideas or anything else that you think may help others on the band please email them to me at mark@brownhill.demon.co.uk

Until next month,

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF

Note from Ed- As we went to press on the 29th February, John GX0OOO was active on top band on G/NP-006, NP-015 and NP-016. Mark will report on these next month.


CANADA / US SOTA REPORT – February 2012 - Skip K6DGW

The 20 meter CW pile-up on 3C6A is now 15 KHz wide so I decided not to
run up our electric bill for a futile cause and compile the “SOTA News
From North America” for February instead. And, SOTA activity continues
to mount here in the New World with all the usual suspects and some new
converts to “Radio With Altitude.”

First off, the Activation Report. I got some reports for previous
months which have not been reported so they’re here also:

12/30 W1/HA-025 W1DMH
1/09 W1/HA-010 W1DMH
1/22 W1/MV-002 W1DMH
1/22 W1/NL-013 W1DMH
1/23 W1/AM-381 W1DMH
1/25 W1/NL-005 W1DMH
1/25 W1/NL-026 W1DMH
1/26 W1/NL-016 W1DMH
1/30 W1/NL-020 W1DMH
1/30 W1/NL-022 W1DMH
2/01 W1/HA-179 W1DMH
2/02 W1/HA-113 W1DMH
2/03 W7/WV-088 NS7P
2/06 W7/CC-043 NS7P+Christina [Wife]
2/06 W1/HA-195 W1DMH
2/07 W7/CN-074 K7ATN
2/08 W1/HA-003 W1DMH
2/11 W7/NU-057 KD7WPJ
2/11 W5/RO-020 WT5RZ+Cinderella, Ariel [Dogs]
2/11 W7/NC-043 K7ATN
2/12 W7/WV-090 K7ATN
2/16 W7/PA-192 KF7DDT+KF7DDV [Wife]
2/16 W7/PA-230 KF7DDT+KF7DDV
2/16 W1/HA-070 W1DMH
2/18 W7/NU-061 KD7WPJ
2/18 W7/SR-157 W7IMC+Daughter
2/19 W1/HA-068 W1DMH
2/19 W7/SO-067 K7ATN
2/20 W7/NU-067 KD7WPJ
2/20 W1/HA-015 W1DMH
2/21 VE7/??-??? VA2SG
2/22 W1/HA-179 W1DMH
2/23 W7/CC-038 W7RIS
2/23 W4/WM-023 W4TZM+Dad
2/24 W7/WV-062 K7ATN
2/25 W7/WV-091 K7ATN
2/25 W4/WM-109 W4TZM+Dad
2/26 W4/WM-024 W4TZM+Dad
2/26 W7/SR-141 W7IMC+Debbie [Wife]
2/26 W7/SU-061 KD7WPJ
2/26 W1/NL-024 W1DMH
2/26 W7/WV-062 K7ATN

34 activations in the middle of winter … a pretty hardy bunch, it
would seem. Welcome to our new folks. Tommy, W4TZM, and his Dad [Tom]
started up with a bang, we expect to see more from Mike, W7RIS, and
Oleh, KD7WPJ came on strong. Oleh is also the source for our activation
story this month [see below]. And welcome also to Etienne, K7ATH who
managed six activations in the W7 Association this month.

SOTA Presentations:

2/28 Salem OR ARC NS7P

I am sure there have been a couple of others, just no input.

Trailhead Checklist: Oleh, KD7WPJ, does the honours for activation
stories this month.

“I activated Iron Mountain (W7/NU-057) on February 11, 2012. It was my
second attempt. First attempt failed because my partner was in bad shape
and asked me to return back. Today I went by myself. Route description,
posted on the Internet, misinformed me. It mentioned that the trail is
very popular among locals, and it is well packed trail if no recent
snowfall and does not require snowshoes. I found a well packed trail to
the pass only. After this, I found just a few traces to the summit in
the deep snow. People who hiked before me did not make it to the summit,
and returned back from the slope, so I needed to make my own trail to
the top of Iron Mountain.”

“My effort was rewarded by big pile up when I first called on advertised
frequency. At least 5 different stations called me at the same time.
Thank you, chasers! I operated for more than one hour from the summit
and made more than 20 QSO’s. One QSO was DX - CT1BQH. All others were
from US and Canada. Some of them used 5W and even less. I used FT-857D
(10W at the beginning, then 5 W), dipole antenna, and two 6V lead-acid
batteries for kids cars.”

“Disaster happened when I returned to my car. In my haste, I forgot to
load my backpack into my car. It may be also be EMS (elevation
sickness). When I returned to the parking place 3 hours later, my
backpack with radio, activation log and everything else was gone. I
filed a police report and will search for the missing staff.”

At this point, Oleh listed the serial numbers of his equipment and
offered to confirm QSO’s from his missing log. None of that matters
now. Some people found his pack, turned it into the police, they called
Oleh, and he’s back in business with all his radio gear. :slight_smile: There
apparently some very honest folks in Utah. I am still wondering about
climbing a mountain in snow with 2 lead-acid batteries?

Having done a couple of similar things, I’ve reverted to our procedures
in combat with a checklist for everything and especially one for the
trailhead, both ways. Mine includes both “Lock the truck,” and “Final
departure check – on ground and cab roof --” for any forgotten gear.
And, make sure all your gear is marked with your name, call, address,
and phone number. There are probably nice folks all over, and that will
assure you get it back and it doesn’t end up in some police department’s
lost and found locker.

73

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


THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 38 - by Rob and Audrey

The month set off with a Failure to Launch due to weather conditions. We woke to the local radio announcing over 100 road accidents in the county over night, mainly due to black ice so we decided to wait and review the situation later. It is very difficult to judge conditions in the Lake District from here on the coast as although very close we live in our own weather bubble. People retire here in hoards, see Grange over Sands!
Later in the morning we were beginning to think of a quick local one pointer when a phone call from the daughter in law told us that they were on the road out and had been turned back by the police due to road conditions, black ice, freezing fog and snow. As they were on a shopping trip and Sue had turned back we knew it must be serious so decided to abandon the expedition. When we told her we would put this bit in the news she said “We were only going for your birthday presents!”

Sunday 12th Feb Lambrigg Fell.

Not a lot to say about an activation of this little fell in the mist with some snow still on the ground. The windmills, stationary of course appeared spasmodically from the murk and later we were blessed with a brief visit from the sun. It’s perhaps worth mentioning that Lambrigg is a very convenient summit for travellers on the M6. Leave at J37 and drive west towards Kendal for about one and a half miles to a side road on the left signed Roan Quarry. There is room for many cars along the side of the minor road but avoid the short stretch at the beginning to the quarry entrance as there are large vehicle movements in and out. The track for walking starts on the main road almost opposite at an entrance gate to the wind farm. Easiest bet is to follow the path to a cross wall then the wall to the summit (about the third blip along on the wind farm side) The actual summit is on the other side of the wall (a nature reserve) and is a small rocky outcrop that looks like a sand dune to the side of a very small tarn/bog. The rise by the wall on the windmill side is well inside the activation area, looks to be higher and is much less contentious. Allow about half an hour each way.

Sunday 19th Feb Great Knoutberry Hill.

A freezing cold blue day perfect for hill walking. Great Knoutberry is an easy climb from the old coal road but is normally quite boggy. This was not a problem today as everything was frozen. Lots of sheet ice in the grass to watch out for but a great walk past the lifelike stone pillars that guard the edge of the hill. From the distance they look like people and sometimes even seem to move, up close they are piles of stones with no real shape. On top everything was frozen solid so we decided to operate from the sunny southern side of the wall. This meant that we could use the wall to support the antenna and not have to get pegs into the frozen ground. Bungee rubbers are a godsend in this situation and there are always a couple in the walking bag. We always use a plastic groundsheet and lately have added a plastic “Tarp” These are available from the local pound shop, are light and compact and have a myriad of uses on the hill even an extra safety blanket if desperate. Today we rig it (two or three stones on top) on the face of the wall behind us which stops the icy draughts that blow through from reaching our backs. The activation is very good on all bands which is more than can be said for my CW which can be badly upset by the cold. It seems to dull the brain and I start not recognising some characters particularly numbers which is very disconcerting both for me and I suspect our contacts, cold fingers don’t help the send side either, sorry.

Talk of doh moments, and we’ve had a few, reminds us that our best friend is a Swiss army knife which I (Rob) always carry. Go for a good middle order model, the really elaborate versions may have a full toolkit but they weigh like one and are often not easy to use. Ours can cut and strip feeders and handle most screwdriver jobs with ease. The leather man type tools are another option although ours proved to get very little use and is quite heavy. It now lives in the car where Audrey uses it to peel fruit!

A disastrous week in the shack as the home PC (this one) proudly proclaimed on boot that it was unable to find an operating system. Two days later we managed to get it back in business and recover the data, I’m much better with 807’s etc, my era! Then the long wire antenna fell down! This proved to be a nylon halyard that had snapped in the wind so the flagpole had to come down, more fun. All this did little for chaser activity.

Sunday 26th Feb Longridge Fell.

On Saturday the decision was to go for Hard Knott as the pass was clear of ice. The forecast was for low cloud on Sunday and they certainly got that right so rather than deal with thick cloud for the whole activation we took their advice and went south aiming for Fair Snape Fell. At the start point, the wonderfully named Startifants Lane, a group of hang glider fliers stood in the murk moaning quietly. They had been up almost to their start point about halfway up Parlick, an outlier of Fair Snape which has to be climbed en route; they said that you could not see your hand in front of your face there. Whilst happy to attack a summit whose top is in cloud we were not over keen on a day in it so reluctantly decided for the opt out of Longridge Fell. At this point the Chipping triangle struck but eventually we found our way to Jeffery Hill car park, the take off point for this one, with room for ten or so cars.

The track through the gate and up the fell for the first few hundred yards seems to have been used by very large vehicles on balloon tyres resulting in Olympic standard ruts and mud. After this things revert to the usual National standard, gaiters are a good idea! On the top HF went well but the rig started to act up on 2m. We suspect that this is due to an antenna /feeder problem and ended by using the backup handheld and quarter wave whip so sorry if we missed anyone. Four Metres was of course affected as we use the same feeder system but we did try with just the rubber duck, just two contacts.

So ended a fraught month, technically at least, think everything is wearing out including us! Fortunately we can repair the kit and should be back to normal next week. A bit short on content this month (it’s a short one) still summers coming, but all for now.

Take care on the hills and catch you soon

73 Rob and Audrey
G4RQJ


RECENT SUMMIT ACTIVATIONS - from Nick G4OOE

GW/NW-044 Moel Famau - Thursday 23 February 2012

A great little hill this one. After paying a pound in the car park it was just a 40 mins walk along a good path. This was the second time I had done this one. A very convenient fence close to the summit which I used for strapping on the HF and VHF dipoles. Like last time very misty so I didn’t really get the good views.

7.032-cw - 40 DL, EI, F, G, GI, GW, HB9, I, OE, OK, OM, PA, S5, SM
7.084-ssb - 9 G
145-fm - 5 G (1 x S2S)

Back to the car again in about 40 mins a quick bite to eat and drink and then off to the second one that I had also done last year.

GW/NW-051 Foel Fenlli

This one is a steeper path but much shorter and took me 27 mins to walk up and that was carrying my 10Ah SLAB. Like last time quite windy on the summit and misty. During the activation the mist cleared and there were superb views of Moel Famau and I could at last see why it had a nickname.

7.032-cw - 33 DL, F, G, GW, HB9, I, OE, OK, ON, PA
7.088-ssb - 11 F, G, GW, ON
145-fm - 6 (3 x S2S)

After a very quick descent it was back to the car park and a quick drink.

GW/HNW-041 Moel Arthur

I drove from the car park to the village of Cilcain and the roads around there are quite horrendous, very narrow with high hedges very similar to those seen in Devon and Cornwall. On top of all this some roads were closed for resurfacing so I was getting a bit tetchy! Eventually a kind lady at one of the farms gave me very accurate directions to get to Moel Arthur car park. It took me 23 mins to reach the summit from the car, again it was very windy and I was still carrying the 10Ah SLAB. Fortunately I met in with an elderly couple that claimed to be ex hams, although they wouldn’t give me their callsigns. However, they did hold the fibre glass pole erect while I put in the guys, saving me a lot of aggro.

7.034-cw - 5 G, GW
7.085-ssb - 0
145-fm - 4

My battery died on CW but fortunately after I had qualified! I forlornly attempted a call on 7.085-ssb but I could see it was hopeless. The problem was that I only had 2 x 7Ah and 1 x 10Ah SLABs and only one charger. I took 1 x 7Ah up NW-044 and I thought that the 10Ah SLAB would easily do NW-051 and HTW-041 but I had quite an unexpected ssb pile up on the second one which drained the battery somewhat. I kept one 7Ah SLAB for the next day and I was able to charge the other 7Ah one that evening in Chester. Well as it turned out I didn’t use any SLABs on Friday.

Friday 24 February 2012

This was another easy pair. I drove to the Ponderosa cafe / gift shop and arrived there at about 8 o’clock. This is quite close to the picturesque Horseshoe Pass although because of the mist I could have been anywhere. The cafe didn’t open until 9 and it was extremely damp and I made the decision to do 2m fm only.
GW/NW-043 Moel Y Gamelin

The walk took me about 70 mins, there were a few track junctions that I had to check with my GPS as I certainly couldn’t see the summit cairn until I was almost on top of it.

145-fm 11 G, GW

The walk back to the Ponderosa took about 30 mins. I took off my boots quickly put my shoes on and went into the cafe for a full English or perhaps that should be a full Welsh breakfast!

GW/NW Cyrn Y Brain

Another easy walk up a well defined track / road used by engineers to service the communications towers at the summit. This took me around 40 mins. I was considering HF but by this time it was raining quite heavily so I left the FT-857 and HF stuff in the car. I could just about see the microwave antennas opposite the stone shelter at the summit but I couldn’t see the top of the masts.

145-fm 17 G, GW (2 x S2S but just missing out on an S2S with NW-001, he had just left the activation area. I should have claimed that I couldn’t hear him and he needed to get some more height - hi hi!)

Back to the Ponderosa for a quick coffee and then about an hour drive back to Chester. As I was leaving the clouds cleared and I could at last see the mast tops where I had just been.

Anyway while chatting to 2W0LYD/P descending Snowdon, I asked him if there was any snow about and he said that it was very mild and it had all melted. This sowed the seeds in my brain for Snowdon next weekend. Phil and I are off on Friday 2nd March for a weekend of SOTA’ing in GW/NW and G/SP so I am hoping the wx holds out. We are only doing 2m fm and Phil has put our plans on the SOTA alerts.

73

Nick G4OOE


CW REPORT FOR FEBRUARY 2012 - by Roy G4SSH

The bad weather that extended across Europe during the first three weeks of February had a dramatic effect on SOTA activations, especially on CW, where chaser points remained in single figures on most days. This all changed during the last week when the spring-like weather arrived, which galvanised the activators onto action, resulting in SOTA spots during the last weekend exceeding the 100 mark. For some reason many CW activators are reluctant to alert in advance and for most of the month the first CW activation posted was HB9BIN on Christmas Day 2012.

SOTA CW activators in Europe are beginning to realise that a move to 14 MHz after 1100 UTC will allow contacts with the ever-vigilant Rich N4EX and fellow chasers in the USA and Canada and this became a regular feature during the latter half of February.

It was a pleasure to hear veteran activator Norby LX1NO on the air again, this time from Belgium, with 2 “ON” SOTA’s, on the 26th February.

Early rising chasers were in luck on the 11th February when HL2IYQ was spotted at 0047 and VK3WAM was spotted at 0111. Rare SOTA DX indeed.

The 30m band around 10.118 MHz was unusable for many days during the month as a result of the many DX-peditions active around 10,115 and listening up.

HA6QR Gyula attracted such huge pile-up’s on the 19th and the 27th that he resorted to working split, listening 1 up, on 10118 KHz. On each occasion he managed the pile-up successfully, but it turned out to be a nightmare for chasers due to the fact that on each occasion someone placed the spot on the DX cluster with the result that the majority of the callers in the zoo that resulted were not SOTA chasers at all, but just joining in, in case it was a rare station. WFWL (Work First, Wonder Later syndrome).

Sad to say, but the behaviour of stations in the SOTA CW pile up’s reached a new low during February. Perhaps it was as a result of the bad weather reducing the ratio of activators to chasers, perhaps it was as a result of an influx of new chasers (as mentioned in last month’s SOTA News) perhaps it was as a result of someone deciding to spot SOTA activations on the WFF (World Flora and Fauna) net, perhaps it was someone placing the activator on the DX cluster, or perhaps it was a combination of all these events, but I have never heard such a feeding frenzy of Alligators who were all demonstrating that they were all mouth and no ears. To be fair, the majority of callers were not regular SOTA chasers

The basic rule for chasers, which is that you never send when the activator is sending. went out of the window as tail enders were tail-ending the tail enders, until no one could hear the activator and it all degenerated into a hopeless noise. I heard at least three activators asking “PSE LSN” before closing down early.

I cannot understand why some stations do not listen to enhance their chances of being heard. Every SOTA activator has his own style of sending; for example, Marek OK1HAG always closes a contact with “73 DE OK1HAG QRZ? K” but the howling pack started sending their calls immediately after the chaser sent 73, thus reducing their chances of being heard by Marek to zero. Sadly, the main culprits will not read this, or change their ways but there are still a few regular SOTA chasers who call without listening, stamp over a QSO in progress and have selective deafness when a partial call is requested by the activator. Fortunately these are small in number.

Just a couple of weeks to go to the end of winter bonus in Europe, which usually brings about an increase in activations during the first 15 days in March as activators make a final effort to claim extra points, with a corresponding lull in activations for a week or so afterwards.

Heard active above 40m were:-

28 MHz: F6HBI, EA2EA,

24 MHz F6HBI

21 MHz:
EA2EA,
F5UKL, F6HBI, F5LKW,
HA2VR,
K4ADV
M0CGH
OE9AMJ,
WA7NCL,

18 MHz:
EA2EA,
F5UKL, F6HBI, F5LKW,
HA2VR
M0CGH
S57X,

14 MHz:
DF3MC,
EA2EA
F8FEO, F6HBI, F5LKW
HB9DIG, HB9BIN, HB9AFI,
MM0GYX, MM0FMF, G4ISJ, G4ASA,
K4ADV, K7NEW, K7ATN, KD7WPJ,
W2VV, WH6LE,
NS7P, NM5TW, NE1SJ,
WT5RZ,
OE9AMJ
OK1DIG
ON/LX1NO,
OM1LD, OM3CUG
VA2SG,
Z35M

10 MHz:
DJ3AX, DL/OK1DIG, DF3MC,
EA4MY, EA2EA,
F5LKW, F8HBI, F5UBH,
G4RQJ, G0HIO, GM4OIG, G4ISJ, G3CWI, M0CGH, G3VQO,
HA6QR, HA7UL,
HB9DGV, HB9RVS, HB9BQU, HB9AFH,
LA1KHA, LA1ENA,
MM0FMF,
OK1DIG, OK7EQ,
S57X

Also thanks to the stalwarts who enthusiastically continue to activate on 80 and 160m:-

3.5 MHz OK1HAG, OK1DWF, GX0OOO.
1.8 MHz ON4UP, GX0OOO.

A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers, heard activating SOTA’s for the first time on CW during the last month:- Jozef OM6TC & Peter G4ISJ,

Heard active on expeditions outside their own countries were:

DL/OK1DIG
F/DL8DXL,
F/HB9BIN,
HB9/DF3MC,
LX/DL8DXL
ON/DL8DXL, ON/LX1NO
S5/OE6RDD, S5/OE6KYG,

CONTESTS DURING MARCH 2012

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.

3rd-4th ARRL International DX SSB Contest
3rd only 0800-1200 Ukraine RTTY Championship
10th only 1400-2000 AGCW QRP contest
10-11th 1600-1600 EA PSK31 contest
11th only 0001-2300 SKCC Weekend sprint
13th only 0700-1100 UBA CW Spring contest
17-19th 0200-0200 BARTG HF RTTY contest
17-18th 1200-1200 Russian CW and SSB contest
24th-25th 0001-2359 CQ World-wide WPX SSB contest (severe disruption)

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

73

Roy G4SSH
SOTA News Editor
g4ssh@tiscali.co.uk

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

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks for the report.

I would like to mention the first activation in the VE7 zone made by intrepid Denis VA2IEI on feb 21st. Seems Denis’s trip to VE7 brought interest and some British Columbia ham hikers colleagues are close to GOTA.

73

In reply to G4SSH:

Thanks for the news Roy.

I’d like to point out that I was active on 18MHz CW from Helvellyn on the 25th and I logged the first contacts on this band from there. John, G0TDM was the first in the log and becomes the first chaser to log G/LD-003 on 17m.

73
Colin
M0CGH

In reply to M0CGH:

I have inserted your call in the 18 MHz activator slot Colin.
Sometimes I miss the odd call if I am away from home for a couple of days, so rely on activators to inform me afterwards.

73
Roy G4SSH
SOTA News Editor

Thanks Roy for the news.

Yes I have my own slow style with repeating reference at every QSO, 73 DE OK1HAG/P, and QSO rate 0.5-1 per minute - it helps me to relax between the bursts of the pileup, hi.

73 Marek

In reply to G4SSH:
Hello Roy, thanks for the (excellent) news of the month.
I just want to tell about chasers, Alligators are not so many.
When i was on a summit last week, on 14mhz, FFF and Sota chasers were doing a tremendous pile-up! 3 Qso/minute.
Suddenly i had a think that i could Qso North America, i just said once, “now EU pse qrx, USA only”.
Then every body stopped calling, in a minute i had a Qso with N4EX and VE1…
After that i just send QRZ EU and the pile-up started again.
So Alligators are not so many.
73’s Gerald F6HBI

In reply to F6HBI:

Hi Gerald

Yes - I agree that a SOTA pile-up with regular chasers is usually well behaved and considerate towards the activator.

The problems start when the pile up gets Hi-Jacked by DX’ers who are not interested in chasing SOTA stations, or WFF enthusiasts gate-crashing over the top of everyone else.

Hope to work you again soon

73
Roy G4SSH/A
In Cornwall for a week, chasing with an indoor vertical antenna !

In reply to G4SSH:
Thanks for this news Roy,

Read it right though, enjoyed it and learned a few things on the way. Thanks to all who contributed. Hope the indoor is working well for you. A bit quiet on .4!

73, John.

In reply to G4YSS:

In response to the CW report: Hopefully my CW is getting to the point where a SOTA QSO will be viable. Two weekends this month I’m planning activations which will involve overnighting on the summit, so activation will be in the middle of the day Europe time, and many of you have an opportunity to put a VK3 summit in your log.

Regards,
Wayne VK3WAM

In reply to F6HBI:

So Alligators are not so many.

Maybe CW gets a better breed of chaser than SSB… :wink:

73, Rick M0LEP (still slowly plugging away at trying to learn enough morse…)

In reply to G4SSH:
Hello Roy
Thanks for SOTA news report.
In February I was really busy with my grand-daughters at home. Then no SOTA.
Best 73 and I hope we’ll meet soon again.
Andre - f5ukl

In reply to F5UKL:

RE CW FROM CYPRUS

Due to circumstances beyond my control, the Thursday sked (22nd March) has had to be cancelled.

However, I SHALL NOW be active on TUESDAY 20th and Friday 23rd ,
around 0900-1100z.

73
Roy 5B/G4SSH
Larnaca Cyprus