SOTA NEWS MAY 2010
EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH
Welcome to the May 2010 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Les G3VQO, Barry GM4TOE, Vlado Z35M, Andy MM0FMF, Phil G4OBK, Rob and Audrey G4RJQ.
The month of April was a tale of two halves as far as HF propagation was concerned. Conditions were good for the first half of the month, with plenty of activity and SOTA Watch Spots even exceeded the 100 mark for the first time on the 9th. However the 80 and 40m band then appeared to fall into a black hole with signals at my QTH being a good 1 to 2 S-points down on their normal strength, with a high noise floor and entire days when there were no signals audible on the entire 40m band. HF conditions have started a slow recovery, but were still below average by the 30th.
FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM
The first of May is going to be an exciting day for SOTA. In addition to the previously-announced arrival of Bosnia-Herzegovina (E7), there are three further new Associations going “live” on the same day.
Starting in the west, we add yet another Association from the USA. This time it’s the W0 call area, pretty well in the centre of the country. In fact, this is just a partial Association at its birth, merely covering the state of Colorado. Nevertheless, it has quite an impressive list of summits with 221 spread across six Regions. These are not trivial summits either, as a significant number reach well above 14000 feet. However, Association Manager Steve wG0AT, together with his famous four-footed companions Rooster and Peanut, is no stranger to these peaks, and we anticipate significant activity from Colorado. It is anticipated that the remaining W0 states (Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota and South Dakota) will be added in stages sometime in the future.
Moving to the Atlantic coast of North America, we welcome our second Canadian Association in the form of Nova Scotia (VE1). This, relatively small, province lays claim to twenty-eight SOTA summits, neatly divided into two Regions – NS mainland and Cape Breton Island. The two Regions are joined by a causeway, of sufficient length that the island has its own reference for the Islands-on-the-Air (IOTA) award. Despite the apparently short distances between some of the summits, and the lack of height when compared with Colorado, the summits offer their own challenges in terms of access and adjacent infrastructure. Jeff VE1ZAC is the Association Manager.
The latest addition to our family of SOTA Associations is another new European country as we continue to spread interest eastwards. Ukraine (UT) is our first Association within the former-USSR, which is a significant step forwards. Association Manager Alex UT4FJ has been busy compiling a list of 429 summits divided in to two Regions – Carpathians and Crimea. Hopefully the first Ukrainian summit activation will take place during the SOTA activity weekend.
Our thanks to all three AM’s, and their support teams and we look forward to hearing lots of activity on the bands.
obo SOTA Management Team
SOTA AWARDS FOR APRIL 2010 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager
The number of awards claimed has picked up this month but then they were delayed by the closure of aircraft movements within Europe. Hopefully all are with their claimants by now. Congratulations to Wolfgang, DG5DBT and Petr OK1CZ on reaching Shack Sloth.
Rudolf OK2QA is proud possessor of Mountain Explorer Silver number 1 after activating summits in the following associations: OK, DM, HB0, LA , PA, HA , OE, EI , SM and SP. Surely there other activators and chasers who can claim these new awards!
G4OWG has reached the magnificent total of 10000 chaser points – I was really confused because I had written 1000 in my notes and it was only when checking I thought Roger had had a senior moment – unfortunately it was me!
The following awards were claimed during March
DG5DBT Wolfgang Schob
M3ZCB Caroline Blackmun 500 points
OK1CZ Peter Doudera 100 points
OK2QA Rudolf Klvana Silver
G4OWG Roger Leighton 10000 points
ON3WAB Peter Destoop 5000 points
OK1CZ Petr Doudera 1000 points
M3LIU Iain Cartmell 500 points
G4ILI Grant Cratchley 100 points
M3ZCB Caroline Blackmun 250 summits
This coming weekend is the SOTA International Activity Weekend and I hope that many more Chasers and Activators will exceed significant milestones and be able to collect one of our awards – Certificates or Trophies. It would be really pleasing to be worked off my feet with issuing awards!
One final note; the new T shirts, Sweatshirts and Polo shirts have finally been delivered – we had real problems with the original supplier and I was forced to find alternatives. The result is possibly better than the previous ones. Anyway, I am holding stock in a range of sizes and colours; all are a generous size and are available for immediate delivery if you would like one. Prices as follows: T Shirts £9.95, Sweatshirts £15.95 and Polo Shirts £12.95 (£16 for XXL); all plus postage. The small profit we make on these shirts helps to pay the fees for SOTAwatch and the database so help us to keep these excellent facilities alive. If you are coming to the Irvine Rally on 9th May then I will have stock with me, so please come along and say hello to some of the most regular Scottish activators.
Here’s hoping to work many of you this weekend
Barry Horning GM4TOE
Congratulations also to Robert G0PEB on his recent elevation to Mountain Goat!
Z3 - FIRST YEAR ACTIVITY REPORT by Vlado Z35M
The last International SOTA Weekend in May 2009 saw the first Z3 SOTA activation from the summit of Topolchanski Rid, Z3/WM-048.
The first QSO was with Al, DJ5AA on 7 MHz CW and since then a total of 2800 HF QSO’s have been made. In a period of one year 44 activations from 9 summits have been achieved.
Most of the activations (33 so far) have been from summit of Krstovar, Z3/WM-046, at 1066m a.s.l. resulting in a total of 2300 QSO’s, all on HF, single activator. This summit has the largest number of activator QSO’s outside the UK, ranking around 13th place, world wide.
The highlight was the HF activation of the highest summit in Macedonia, Golem Korab, 2764m a.s.l. Two diplomas: 25 S2S and 50 S2S were achieved (now heading towards 100 S2S).
Some activations resulted in a record number of QSO’s (337).
I am trying to attract new activators from Macedonia and I hope that they will appear during this years International SOTA Weekend.
I am pleased to report that we already have few Z3 SOTA chasers.
SOTA - Z3
SMS INFO - from Andy MM0FMF
My SMS to Spotlite server is running 24hrs/day to allow activators to
spot themselves by sending an SMS rather than using a mobile internet
connection. Getting an SMS sent often seems to be more reliable than
getting a working internet connection when on a summit and many mobile
terms of service now include many free SMS making this much cheaper than
some mobile internet packages. Currently there are 44 registered users.
Use of the service is completely free and available to anyone no matter
which country they are from. If you want to use the server send me an
email including your name, callsign and mobile phone number and I’ll add
you to the users.
emails to mm0fmf AT hotmail.com
SOTA AND WOTA REPORT By Phil G4OBK
Combining SOTA with WOTA and an interest in Alfred Wainwright’s work
A year or so ago pressure was placed on the SOTA Management team via the SOTA reflector by several SOTA participants who wanted the lesser summits in the UK, known to some as HUMPS, to be included within the English Association. These are the hills with 100m prominence. The current Marilyn list, as we know, uses 150m prominence. I chose not to get involved in this debate, which came to nothing in the end. My personal view being that the programme was best left as it was. What arose out of this debate though was a regional scheme called Wainwrights On The Air (WOTA) which was created by Julian Moss G4ILO. The programme is based on activating and chasing Alfred Wainwright’s 214 Lake District Fells. As a keen walker who started bagging Wainwrights anyway in 2008 this programme interested me. So now when I am walking in the Lake District the two interests of SOTA and WOTA activation have been combined.
The commonality between the two programmes lies in the fact that 41 out of the 214 Wainwrights also count for SOTA.
Most of the Walks I have covered so far have included at least one SOTA Summit; for instance in April I did two walks in the Far Eastern Area. The first took in Tarn Crag LD-026 (14 QSO’s on 2m FM) and four other Wainwrights, and the second walk High Street LD-011 (13 QSO’s on 2m FM) and eight other Wainwrights. Due to the length of these walks, which are done with either my wife, a friend or a walking group which I lead, I spend as little time as possible on summits, needing to make progress on the walk, so I use 2m FM from a handheld carried in my pocket and a G3CWI Rucksack special antenna for a fast setup. Considering the working conditions this equipment works surprisingly well. Most activations are completed within 10-15 minutes and on the last walk, which was the Kentmere Horseshoe, High Street was activated for SOTA and I made 75 QSO’s in the day.
You can read my blog of these SOTA / WOTA Walks at
Over the coming months I plan to move over to the Southern and Western LD Fells which of course include several 8 and 10 point summits such as Blencathra, Skiddaw, Scafell Pike, Great Gable etc., and these will again be included for SOTA as part of the plan to complete all the Wainwrights. In addition, I am taking part in two other projects this month. With four other walkers I am doing Wainwright’s Coast to Coast walk from St. Bees through to Reeth, and then completing the last Yorkshire section in September. This will take in the SOTAs of Dent LD-045, St Sunday Crag LD-010 and Nine Standards Rigg NP-018 and several other Wainwrights whilst in Cumbria.
The other project is a charity fundraiser for the Fix The Fells Charity http://www.fixthefells.co.uk/
I’m not asking for sponsorship having already “sponsored myself”. This “Best of the Rest 2010 Challenge” event will take place between the 1st and 23rd May, where 125 members of the Wainwright Society http://www.wainwright.org.uk/ have nominated for themselves one of Wainwright’s walks from either the Outlying Fells, Walks in Limestone Country or from the Walks on The Howgill Fells book.
The walk I have chosen takes in one of the NP summits that I have yet to activate - the 4 point NP-012 Baugh Fell – Tarn Rigg Hill. This is walk No.31 from the Walks on the Howgill Fells book and is a 7 mile circular walk. I will be carrying HF equipment and hope to contact plenty of stations on CW and SSB from the summit on Sunday 2nd May (see alerts). Because this is during International SOTA Weekend my 40m CW spot will be around 7015 KHz, to avoid the expected congestion around 7032 KHz.
It is expected that the Wainwright Society will raise £1000’s of pounds for Fix the Fells and this can only benefit SOTA by improving the routes we use in the Lake District to reach our summits.
WE LIVE IN INTERESTING TIMES by Roy G4SSH
I am a creature of habit. I like to plan ahead and anticipate potential problems so that I am in control of events and I feel content when my plans follow a familiar and reassuring pattern. This is, I am sure, partly to do with my age and reluctance to change things that are working well.
It was therefore quite a shock to the system when all my carefully arranged plans turned pear-shaped during my monthly visit to my daughter in Cornwall, on the 14th April, where I operate /A as a chaser.
I have done the 400 mile journey more than 50 times in the past few years and I know all the details by heart. I know the train times, the flight times, how long each leg of the journey will take, the names of the taxi drivers, the check-in staff, aircraft pilots and the cabin crew. I look upon it as meeting up with old friends once a month and look forward to the journey with great anticipation.
Things started well. The train from Scarborough to Leeds was on time and the bus from the station to airport was also on time. I arrived, as anticipated, just as the check-in desk opened and was so able to secure my usual seat 3A, which is forward of the wings, so allowing excellent photographs to be taken of the British countryside from 17,000 feet on the flight from Leeds Bradford Airport to Bristol and 7,000 feet from Bristol to Newquay. There was to be a scheduled change of aircraft at Bristol but this was normal and entails a walk of no more than 20 yards to board an aircraft on an adjoining stand. Hold luggage is transferred for you.
I was taking some amateur radio spares in my hand luggage, in the form of a Palm Paddle key and some connectors, which easily fitted inside a camera bag along with my camera, mobile phone, travel documents, keys etc. I deposited my hold luggage at the check-in and to my delight my hand luggage passed through the X-ray machine without question so after retrieving my shoes and belt I had my usual evening meal in the airport before the flight was called. The aircraft was G-WOWA, the usual comfortable De-Havilland Dash-8-300 twin turboprop aircraft, one of five owned by Air Southwest.
It was a beautiful warm and sunny spring evening and the view was magnificent as we took the usual route West to Liverpool, then a sharp turn to port, down over Wales (where I view all the GW SOTA’s with interest and am sorely tempted to try my luck as a chaser/AM with a 2m hand-held one day) and finally the descent over Cardiff and into Bristol International Airport, where Newquay passengers were asked collect their hand luggage and walk to the aircraft on the adjoining stand. This I confidently expected to be G-WOWB, an identical Dash-8 aircraft of the same company.
Not today! To my dismay, as I walked across the tarmac I realised that the Newquay aircraft was G-MAJU, a British Aerospace Jetstream 41, charted from a different airline. Companies do this when an aircraft “Goes Tech”. I knew exactly what was about to happen and I was not mistaken. Whoever designed the Jetstream 41 appears to have forgotten to fit overhead lockers, with the result that ground staff relieve passengers of all hand luggage at the bottom of the gangway and stow this in the hold. This usually causes great concern amongst the passengers because most hand luggage is not secure and contains small valuable items such as cameras, mobile phones, i-pod’s, keys and travel documents. Lap-tops have to go the same way.
The 30 minute flight down the coast of Somerset, Devon and Cornwall to my destination at Newquay is magnificent and went smoothly enough (except that my camera was now in the hold) however we were on time and I knew that my taxi would be waiting in the West car park with driver Kevin.
After landing we were asked to remain in our seats until our hand luggage was deposited on a flatbed truck and driven to the foot of the gangway. We then reclaimed our hand luggage but some of the bags, including mine had fallen over and the Velcro fastenings had opened with the result that I had to retrieve my mobile phone and a couple of PL-259’s from between other bags.
Not an encouraging start to the week.
After that things went rapidly downhill. Next morning I discovered that we were the last flight into Newquay Airport before all British airspace had been closed due to the cloud of ash from the Icelandic Volcano. Stranded !
There are much worse places to be marooned than the beautiful coast of Cornwall, so it was only mildly inconvenient, not a disaster. Sadly, propagation on 40m was abysmal with the result that my /A set up of FT-897 rig and indoor vertical antenna, which normally results in an average of 145 chaser points in a week, was only capable of hearing the strongest SOTA stations on 40m and I had to make do with the majority of contacts on 10 MHz only, for a grand total of just 36 points!
Fortunately, Air Southwest were very efficient, posting updates of flight status on their web site at regular intervals. My return flight date came and went with no sign of any change in the “No-Fly” rule
Now another problem became a crisis. In common with other people my age I take daily medication to stay healthy, which was rapidly running out. This involved a visit to the local G.P. who registered me as a temporary resident of Cornwall, so allowing me to collect an emergency supply of tablets from the local chemist. Unfortunately one particular tablet was unavailable locally in Fowey and frantic phone calls around Cornwall ensued before a supply was located in the next village. This involved me in a ferry trip along the south coast, an enjoyable day out and a successful outcome.
As the days continued without a lifting of the flight ban I began to wonder if I would be home to publish the SOTA News and had already started to make tentative enquiries about returning by train (an unwelcome 9 hour journey). Fortunately the ban was lifted as quickly as it was imposed and a quick call to the airline secured me a seat on the first 1600 departure from Newquay. All of a sudden the tables were turned; in direct contrast to the uncomfortable flight down I found myself as the only passenger on 50 seat Dash-8 aircraft G-WOWC, with a Pilot, First Officer and 2 cabin crew. Luxury !
A quick transfer to G-WOWD at Bristol saw another dozen passengers join us for the trip to Yorkshire and I arrived home to discover that HF propagation was slightly improved, just in time for the 2nd International SOTA Weekend.
In hindsight it had been an interesting experience. Yes, events had moved outside the comfort zone but to quote a famous explorer “How much better this was than lounging about in too great comfort at home” (but perhaps he was not a chaser).
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 16 By Rob and Audrey.
A quiet week all round, lots of photos etc to prepare for Norbreck rally. Lots of visitors expected in the Lake District for the Easter weekend so we decided to try and keep out of the way.
Sunday 4th Apr, Whitbarrow.
Parked at the usual spot by the school, room for about 5five cars in the space and a few more in the approach lane to it if you tuck in well to the right. Straight up through the woods is the easy option but there is some exposure and the track can be very slippery with roots etc in wet weather. On top it was quite hard work with many regulars possibly on Easter duties but we worked about 30 in just under three hours.
We decided to make it a round walk and descend via Bell Rake a much more stable route. At the base of the hill take the track, white diamond marked south along the base of the escarpment which leads eventually to the school football pitch close to the car park. At the moment the track is heavily rutted from logging and would not be a lot of fun in the wet.
The hill had a sting in its tail when we found that Audrey had suffered a severe sheep tick attack necessitating a trip via the chemist and local doctors to Casualty at the local hospital for removal and big dose of antibiotics. The ticks were very small, having dealt with these sort of things in both Cyprus and Singapore in the 60’s we were expecting things the size of a large ladybird, these were the size of a pin point but she’d collected about twenty, too small for the hospitals tick remover so a couple had to dug out. Rumour has it that they are on the increase in the Lakes. Don’t know how true it is but have heard that sheep dipping is not compulsory any more due to EU rules, making things worse. Have we any farmers that might know?
Subsequently discovered that G0HIK’s XYL had a similar experience on Whitbarrow a couple of years ago and is still suffering the after effects. The summit is a bird reserve so perhaps this has some bearing on the problem; the moral is be aware and take care to check thoroughly when you reach home that you do not have any unwelcome passengers.
Sunday 11th Apr Norbreck Rally.
Always a huge treat to meet everyone, to chat and to put faces to voices, so many in fact that it is hard to remember quite who we did meet but it was all a total pleasure. Often think we should put call signs and names on a board and photograph people against it but guess that’s a bit too much like being arrested hihi. Seriously why don’t we have a rogue’s gallery where chasers can post a picture of themselves and the shack? Just a thought. We are awful at names and faces so sorry if we missed anyone, thanks again for coming and for all the support on the hills.
This Tuesday local radio warns of ticks in the Lake District and of the possibility of Limes Disease so please do take care.
It’s always a little sad to see UK operators complaining of poor behaviour by “continental operators”. We have plenty of our own but are protected from them much of the time by skip. Also there are many more mainland Europe amateurs than British which worsens the problems. No doubt that on the European mainland there are folks complaining about UK operators!
Sunday 18th Apr. Stony Cove Pike.
Start from the summit car park on Kirkstone Pass (still free!) and first climb Ravens Edge. There is just a slight exposure at the very top of the stony stepped path. The worst of the steps can be avoided by crossing the wall just before the steps really start and ascending via a succession of grassy slopes away from the wall and then back towards it skirting a small tarn and arriving eventually at the large cairn at the top of the staircase. From here it’s just a matter of following the wall, down at first then up the broad face of Stony Cove Pike. Pass the cairn on your left with the small cross on the summit of John Bells Banner This commemorates a former landlord of the Kirkstone Pass Inn who would run up to this point daily, well into old age. Follow the wall till it meets a cross wall, just beyond this is the true summit.
The path is in the process of improvement with helicoptered stone bags much in evidence but the resultant stepping stones through the many very muddy patches are a great job. 5 MHz worked well but 7 and 10 CW were dire. During the HF activation we were joined by a Lake District ranger leading a small party. They were very interested and stayed to listen whilst eating their lunch. On 30m we could hear Jirka OK1DDQ calling cq many times but just could not raise him so we went to 2m FM to provide (hopefully) something for our visitors to listen to. This worked a treat but put us out of step in our normal routine but we did try 2m SSB next so hope we caught everyone. 4m worked well but the old PRP76 seems to have an intermittent fault after about 5minutes of use. This will be investigated!
A very quiet week chaser wise due to domestic QRM. Decoration of the computer/spare bedroom necessitated the removal of most of its contents into the shack which is small and full normally. Scrambling was now required to reach the radios so sorry if anyone who needed us was missed. Things are now back on line but HF seems very down again at the moment. Found time to take a look at the 4m rig and hopefully sorted the problems out but there is a distinct lack of local activity to test it on. Saturday and 2E0RNX on Great Knoutberry burst out of the rig as it lay in the shack with its homebrew whip onboard and was successfully worked. Alec was running a fair bit of power but still not bad for an indoor whip at this end.
Sunday 25th Apr Pike O’ Blisco
We made the mistake of believing a weather forecast for improvement and set off into cloud from the Three Shires Stone at the top of Wrynose Pass. This marks the spot where Lancashire, Westmoreland and Cumberland came together before they were re organised into Cumbria. There is room for about a dozen cars in the various spaces but please be careful not to block the passing places on this single track road. The space fills up quickly at busy times as several hill routes start here. We trudged up to the junction of the tracks to the north of Red Tarn without seeing much of it and commenced the real climb up the much improved staircase/track. Normally most of the rocky steps can be avoided by gentle zig zags on grass but today was not the day for this sort of thing and the improved path lead us directly up to the south summit with bonus wear and tear on the knees.
Summit conditions were horrid with thick mist, rain and wind and we were forced to abandon HF completely and hand hold the beam for 2m so apologies to anyone waiting on HF. First and only contact on 2ssb was into Scotland and took 20 minutes to complete, after which 2fm produced the usual faithful crop in spite of a previous activation of the summit earlier in the day. A quick run on 4fm produced nine contacts and the old PRP76 behaved well. Either it’s fixed or it likes wet, cold, cloudy, windy miserable weather. Apologies to Mike G4BLH who asked for a photo of the 4m activation, we totally forgot in the pleasure of packing up. The descent was a repeat of the climb with added knee wear and the cloud was now down to the head of the pass. No wonder Ian 2E0EDX cancelled his other two summits in the area!
Great night on Monday when we had a trip up to Workington to give the radio club our little presentation on SOTA and a demo of our home brew antenna system for the hills. It’s real pleasure to meet new people, put faces to voices and hopefully gain some new recruits. Thanks for a grand evening lads.
Lots of sympathy for Garry as he battles to restore data base service. It really is a great system at the heart of SOTA. As one who spent a lot of my working life on emergency servicing, if there’s anything worse than the awful fault it’s the user poking at you with a stick at frequent intervals and all for free in his case. Thanks Garry.
SOTA weekend looms ahead in the predicted heavy weather. The pattern seems to be set with poor weekends at the moment hopefully it will change. We will be out on something all being well, decision nearer the day but looking forward to hooking up with everyone.
For now, take it steady,
Rob and Audrey
CW REPORT FOR APRIL 2010 by Roy G4SSH
A combination of a decline in SOTA CW activity and poor propagation on the lower bands resulted in the month of April being a difficult month for chasers. A rough comparison of the level of activity of the various modes can be gauged by the alerts posted on SOTA Watch. On the last weekend in April (24-25th) there were 18 activations forecast for SSB, 13 for FM and 2 for CW, whilst on the 30th the alerts for the International SOTA weekend showed 46 for SSB, 32 for FM and 18 for CW.
Turning to the propagation; most chasers know the signal strength of regular CW activators and whether they will be easily workable, just audible, or usually too weak to read. I have about a half a dozen “just audible” activators on 40m who are typically 529 at my QTH, due to long distance, low power, or a mixture of both. These stations became totally inaudible from the middle of the month and just one or two were starting to become audible again by the end of the month. The use of 10 MHz and above by activators is a really appreciated by chasers struggling in these conditions.
The good news was that there were at least 10 newcomers heard activating SOTA’s on CW for the first time and a warm welcome is extended to the following stations:-
Tom, OK6YW, OK1DSX, OK2HIJ, Jiri OK2BVW, Jens DL2AJB, Eddy DM5JBN, DD6DO, HB9AA, F6EAH, Lajos HA5MO, Pierre F8FHN and Mauro HB9FBG.
There were also many cross border expeditions active during April. Of special mention must be the many OZ summits activated by Kjell OZ/LA1KHA, who experienced much heavy rain but often continued operating until well after dark.
Others heard were:-
HB9/LX1NO, F/LX1NO, DL/LX1NO, OE/DL4CW, OK/DJ5AA/P, HA/SM0HPL, HB9/F4CMC, OE/HB9AGO, DL/HB9BAB and F/HB9AFI.
The higher bands did not appear to suffer so much from deteriorating propagation, so the following stations heard were very welcome:
OE5EEP, G3NYY, F5UKL, F5LKW£, Z35M, HA7UL, HB/LX1NO, LA1ENA, HA5TI, DJ3AX, OK/DJ5AA, G4COX, MM0ROV, HA5SOTA, KI6J, SV1COX, Z35M, F5LKW, W2VV, S51ZJ,
10 MHz in particular is beginning to be used on a regular basis, so taking pressure off 7032 KHz and giving a much better signal to noise ratio on a wider and quieter band, especially for QRP activators. Heard active here were:
DF3MC, DJ3AX, DM5JBN, DL4CW, DF2DR, DL/LX1NO,
F/LX1NO, F5HTR, F5UKL,
G3NYY, G4ERP, MM0ROV, G3RDQ,
HA6QR, HA2VR, HG4UK, HA5LV, HA5MA, HA5SOTA, HA/SM0HPL,
HB9/LX1NO, HB9DGV, HB9FBG
OE5EEP, OE/DL4CW, OK1CZ, OK/DJ5AA, OZ/LA1KHA, OK2QA,
S53X , S57X, S57XX, S51ZJ, S58MU,
Heard struggling with conditions on 3.5 MHz were HA6OY, HA6QR, GX0OOO, GC0OOO, M1EYP and M0GIA, whilst 1.8 brought in John, using the club call GC0OOO.
There was the usual light relief on the 1st April when annual regulars AP1RL and F0OL were heard calling in amongst the pile up’s, to the puzzlement of some activators.
During the month of March CW ops were plagued with beacons arriving on 7032 KHz, and during April there were many days when a carrier would appear on the frequency for hours without sending any information. I missed a couple of activations due to this QRM.
I look forward to working many CW activators during the annual International SOTA weekend on the 1st and 2nd May. Last year was particularly hectic with well over 150 CW points available on both days. Unfortunately 7030-7034 KHz became a bottleneck, being swamped by 4 or 5 SOTA activators all juggling for space at the same time. This caused great problems, especially when activators began moving up and down to clear the QRM, resulting in chasers mistakenly working the same station twice. Under these conditions it is advisable for activators to send their call and reference at shorter intervals than usual. It would also be appreciated by chasers if CW activators could alert for other bands or self-spot away from this congested centre of activity.
Good Luck !
CONTESTS DURING MAY 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 - 2nd 0001-2359 MARAC CW/SSB QSO Party
1st - 2nd 2000-2000 ARI International DX Contest CW/SSB/RTTY
8th only 1000-1200 EUCW CW QSO Party
8th-9th 1200-1200 CQ-M International DX contest CW and SSB
22 -23rd 1200-1200 EU PSK DX Contest
29 -30th 0001-2359 CQ World-Wide CW WPX contest (Major 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, and your input will be most welcome.
SOTA News Editor