SOTA NEWS NOV 2014 part 1



Welcome to the November 2014 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Andy, MM0FMF, Barry GM4TOE, Skip K6GDW, Allen VK3HRA, Dennis ZS4BS Mark G0VOF, Kevin G0NUP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Phil G4OBK.

The October SOTA News was viewed 740 times with a high “like this post” ratio.


Some of you will have noticed the thread about foreign (non-Latin) character support. This has been something we should have addressed earlier but was always pushed down the list due to other pressures.

However, we now do have proper non-Latin support for summit names and summit searches on the database.

To test this, the Ukrainian association summits have been reloaded. The data provided by the UT AM was in Cyrillic and English but the old software displayed Cyrillic names as a string of question marks (???). If you look now you should correctly formed Cyrillic names and English names. To date this is the only association that had broken names that has been fixed.

Over the coming months, all associations with non-Latin characters will be reloaded to correct the displays.

Some tests have been carried out and Korean characters will display correctly though it is a bigger job to get the data into the correct form. I want to try a few further ideas before I ask the HL AM to do any work on this as I want to minimise the work involved.

So for everyone who uses characters outside of the standard Latin characters, support is coming for your association.

The Vintage Electric Handbag Event:

This was a silly idea to take older, yet perfectly serviceable gear out onto a summit. Quite a few people thought it well worth a bash but in the end the weather spoilt things for many.

Here in Scotland it was too miserable to attempt anything despite having checked out my 1985 vintage FT290Mk1 and prepared cables etc. My 290 sits forlornly waiting for its first SOTA activation although it has been used from some non-SOTA summits in North Wales during the mid-1990s. Still a few did take part and had some fun. Not to be outdone, Jonathon 2W0KGQ took everything to new heights by running an immaculate looking Wireless Set #19 + ancillaries from Hope Mountain, ably assisted by his Dad 2W0KGP. A number of people were able to complete 80m or 40m AM contacts despite the WX and a solar flare during the morning. Jonathon is to my mind the first person to use a valved (tubed) transceiver from a SOTA summit.

A few people have said they’re interested in another vintage event in the future with better WX. I’ll be happy to try again on a less wet and windy day. With Jonathon’s 19 Set setting the bar for oldest set used, heaviest set used and probably a few other records the challenge will be to see who can go further? Will we see a Murphy B40 being used from a Munro? :slight_smile:



SOTA AWARDS - OCTOBER 2014 - by Barry GM4TOE, SOTA Awards Manager

The current level of award claims seems to be normal, an indication of the worldwide growth of SOTA. Congratulations this month to our four new Mountain Goats ON4UP, W7IMC, AC4M and KJ6NHF and Shack Sloths VK3BQ, AE5B, VK3FOWL, VK2IO, EI7GEB and VK3PI. A special mention of K4PIC who is a “Ten Times” Sloth. Chaser scores continue to rocket but none of this would be possible without the sterling effort by the Activators whose scores may not be so stratospheric but are hard won none the less.

Now a grovelling apology to Miro OK1DVM and Rich N4EX who were lead worldwide Activator and Chaser respectively in the 12m Challenge. I completely forgot to send them their award certificates (now sorted). My error and, hopefully, will not happen again (age related amnesia excepted!)


Mountain Goat
ON4UP Peter Preudhomme
W7IMC Scott A. Burgess
AC4M J. Craig Wallen
KJ6NHF Jordan Heichman

Shack Sloth
K4PIC Larry A. Phillips (10k points)
VK3BQ Andrew Scott
AE5B John Dyer
VK3FOWL Julie Gonzales
VK3PI Mark J. Stephenson

Certificates claimed

W7IMC Scott A. Burgess 1000 points
KJ6NHF Jordan Heichman 1000 points
VK1DI Ian Sinclair 500 points
SQ5Z Adrian Markowski 100 points
ZS5APT Adele Tyler 100 points
VK2IO Gerard Hill 100 points

Activator Unique
HB9BCB Heinz Baertschi 250 summits
KJ6NHF Jordan Heichman 100 summits

NS7P Phillip Shepard 40000 points
ON6ZQ Christophe David 15000 points
K4PIC Larry A. Phillips 10000 points
HB9CLT Thomas Rapold 5000 points
VK1DI Ian Sinclair 5000 points
VK2MWP Andrew Geddes 2500 points
DD0VE Ralf Mantyk 2500 points
DL2YBG Klaus-Peter Dreessen 2500 points
VK6MB Mike Beall 1500 points
AE5B John Dyer 1000 points
VK3FOWL Julie Gonzales 1000 points
VK2IO Gerard Hill 1000 points
VK3PI Mark J. Stephenson 1000 points
EI7GEB David Morgan 1000 points
VK1ATP Paul Warren 500 points
YO2MSB Sorin Daniel Barbu 500 points
ON3JMV Jean-Michel Vancauwenberghe 250 points

Chaser Unique
DL7URB Robert Bree 2500 summits
VK3FPSR Peter Rentsch 500 summits
DL2YBG Klaus-Peter Dreessen 500 summits
VK5PAS Paul Simmonds 500 summits
VK2MWP Andrew Geddes 250 summits
DD0VE Ralf Mantyk 250 summits
HA3LV Borbely Balazs 250 summits

Summit to Summit
VK2JDL Philip Clancy Red
W7IMC Scott A. Burgess Red
VK2BJP Russ Jacob Red
ON6ZQ Christophe David Red
HA3LV Borbely Balazs Red
W7IMC Scott A. Burgess Bronze
VK5PAS Paul Simmonds Bronze
VK2IO Gerard Hill Bronze
EA2CW Mikel Berrocal Silver
EC2AG Antonio Garcia Gold
VK1NAM Andrew Moseley Gold
NA6MG Daniel Ducey Gold

Mountain Hunter
DO1DJJ Joerg Pellenz Bronze
VK6MB Mike Beall Silver
VK1DI Ian Sinclair Silver
ON6ZQ Christophe David Platinum
VK2IO Gerard Hill Platinum

Mountain Explorer
VK1DI Ian Sinclair Bronze
DO1DJJ Joerg Pellenz Bronze
VK2IO Gerard Hill Bronze
W7IMC Scott A. Burgess Gold

12m Challenge
W0MNA Gary Auchard
EC2AG Antonio Garcia
NA6MG Daniel Ducey
ON5SWA Francois Gorremans

Perhaps things will quieten down for the next month until the Northern hemisphere winter bonus season starts. I am finding the sheer volume of work with these awards overwhelming at times which results in extended delivery times. There is no real solution to the workload but I hope people realise that my delivery timescales are targets not promises and that my real job has to come first. Getting on the air is just a pipe dream right now!

The Microwave Award certificate is now finalised and I hope to get the final agreement of the UK Microwave Group this weekend at the round table in Burntisland. I have had invaluable assistance from K6EL who has applied his legal mind, and artistic taste, to the design of the certificate and the final wording of the rules for the award – many thanks.

I have removed the 10th Anniversary certificates from the awards website, however if you still would like to claim one they are still available, just email me direct.

Taking payment for awards and merchandise using Paypal is the easiest solution for international purchases as they handle the currency conversion. It is also possible to pay direct into the SOTA bank account, the details are available at checkout. However, for small amounts, you are effectively subsidising the bank and SOTA receives little or no benefit unless you also agree to pay all fees for the transaction. A recent example was for payment for a pdf certificate which we charge £1 for; with Paypal we receive £0.68 but with a bank transfer we are billed £1.50 so a nett loss of £0.50. Needless to say this does not make any sort of sense!

Winter is here - it is raining – but there is little evidence of snow on the high Cairngorms. It is to be hoped that the current southerly airflow turns and winter comes properly this year. Last winter the weather came from the West and some mountain areas had the greatest snowfall they had ever seen. Not us, I didn’t have to dig the car out once during the winter and the village (which normally measures snowfall in feet) saw only an inch or two over one week. Activating hills round here after heavy snow is a real treat so please, weather gods, bring it on. (If I come to regret this I will let you know!)

Be safe on the hills


Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager


PORTUGAL EXPOSITION - November 30th 2014

The A.R.V.M. is organizing this Exposition for Radio Amateurs in Lisbon.
Come to one of the biggest events of Ham radio in Portugal
Our goal is , beyond the good deals in new and second hand ham radio equipment, to proportionate a nice get together to all OMs.
Mais Inf.em: + Inf. em: Feira da Rádio da ARVM
A.R.V. M.


Eva M0HJV & Angel M0HDF / EA2ECG are on holiday in Tenerife from 1st-5th November and will attempt to activate the two summits on the island, TF-001 El Teide and/or TF-002 El Guajara.
As we went to press they were investigating the requirements for access and are hoping to activate on 20m. Equipment will be an HB1B and EFHW, 5m pole.
They may only have limited access time so it could be a quick activation.


Phil G4OBK, Nick G4OOE, Dave G3TQQ and Geoff 2E0NON will be staying in Northumbria on the 5th and 6th of November with the intention of activating summits in the GM/SS region.

Activity will be on 2m FM, 40m CW and 40m SSB.



Are you one of the many activators who usually have a sleepless night before an activation, or during a multi-summit activation whilst staying in an hotel? And do you sometimes charge your cell phone or your batteries in the same room? If so, read on…

Scientists have discovered that having a glowing smart phone or charger in your bedroom at night can not only interrupt your sleep but can also make you fat.

They report that our bodies need pitch-black darkness to produce the right levels of a hormone involved in regulating the conversation of food and drink into energy and even small amounts of light emitted by some charging devices can disrupt your sleep and also prevent your body from burning up fuel effectively.

The report goes on to say that blue light, even though not bright enough to light up a room, is the most damaging because it also keeps the mind buzzing and can make you feel drowsy the following day.


THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 71 - From Rob and Audrey G4RQJ

Sunday October 5th and a nasty forecast for the northern hills forces us yet again on to one of our lower local hills, Hutton Roof Crag. The hill has suffered even more at the hands of loggers with a large swathe of woodland gone, making the climb from the car park at the south a rather tiresome affair. Band conditions were strange with no responses at all on 5MHz, good results on 7 and 10MHz but 14MHz produced just three contacts. 2m SSB had deep QSB and we lost Don G0RQL down in Devon to it and a QSO that set up on our frequency. Sorry Don. 2m fm just two contacts the faithfull’s M6ANX and G6ODU.

Sunday October 12th Yet more cloud and mist on the tops so we decide on Claife Heights, one of our few local bad weather bolt holes that we have not already activated this year. We start as usual from Red Nab on the western shore of Windermere to the north of Claife Heights itself. The small car park can manage eight or so cars but is often quite busy with canoeists and mountain bikers. Today the mist starts almost at lake level and thickens as we climb but the bad news is the appearance of notices warning of logging activities ahead on the main track close to the main logging road. Things get worse as we continue upward, the road degenerates into mud and to the right some huge machine seems to have literally pulled the woodland apart leaving a torn up track as wide as a main road up and over the higher ground and out of sight, rather like a scene from “Lost”

After this, things improve until we reach the point where the route leaves the logging road on the left up a small stone ridge and into the woods, The path has been torn apart for about a hundred yards in, the mud is knee deep or worse and the woodland either side almost impossible to traverse. We made it eventually, meeting a party coming the other way half way through. They were less than happy too! All this was of course in mist which did not help but at the summit the bracken was head high and wet even across the path. At this point we decided that this was going to be a vhf only activation so apologies to any chasers waiting for us on HF.

VHF was very unproductive with only five on fm and one on SSB but at least two were s2s. The whole show was reminiscent of the early days of SOTA but at least we did not have to explain what SOTA was to every caller. The trip down was as pleasant as the climb and it might be an idea to avoid the route in from the north in the short term although judging by the size of the logging operation the southern approaches may well have had some treatment as well. We just hope that things are restored to a decent state when logging is over.

Sunday October 19th and fell top conditions are dreadful. A QSO with Phil G4OBK/P on High Raise confirms 60 mph+ gale and thick fog, they can barely stand. This makes staying at home seem an excellent decision; incidentally, while planning weekend trips it can be useful to look at web cams in the target area, trouble is this will probably give you a good idea of conditions about two years ago when most of them stopped working. Why set up a cam and then not bother to keep it going? Please if you’ve lost interest take it down, they can be misleading.

We were very sorry to hear of G4UXH Colins’ illness and hospitalization latest news as we write is that things are improving. Colin is a very active chaser and activator and is much missed on the bands. Sure that everyone will join us in wishing him a speedy recovery.

Well that’s about all for now, the weather by and large has been good but the bad days have been saved up for Sundays reducing our activities. We hope for better but meanwhile,

Take care out there

Rob and Audrey


Hello everyone & welcome to this month’s edition of SOTA on Top Band.

October was a quiet month for Top Band chasers with only one activator offering a summit on the band. That was on Friday 17th October when Miro OK1DVM/P activated OK/ST-099 Drínovský vrch.

Miro initially announced his activation using a pre-formatted self-spot via the Rucksack Radio Tool & the first spot was formatted as a test spot, however Miro quickly amended this. This activation took place just after sunset & Miro was rewarded with 5 QSO’s across Europe, all using CW.

Thanks & well done Miro!

At the time of writing, that was the only Top band activation during October that I am aware of, if I have missed any others please let me know.

On 17 October, Miro OK1DVM/P Activated OK/ST-099 Drínovský vrch & made 5 QSO’s (5 CW / 0 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

Until next month,

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF



ZS-SOTA is concerned about the length of time it takes to update the SOTA database with regard to new summits and corrections to existing summits.

At the beginning of September 2014, Lucas, ZS6ACT, sent a document to SOTA HQ containing updates to certain ZS summits and a list of new summits (covering the ZS/FS and ZS/MP regions). To date, no change to the ZS listings have been seen.

On the SARL Forum, the question has been asked, “SOTA, is it worth doing?” this referring to the new summits submitted, but no response received. A number of amateurs are advocating moving to GMA!

At this stage, the ZS/LP region is busy updating the list of summits and adding new summits.

On Sunday 5 October, two summits were activated in Mpumalanga. The team of Sid, ZS5AYC/6, xyl Adele, ZS5APT/6, Lucas, ZS6ACT, and xyl, Magda, ZS6MMS, activated Graskop ZS/MP-010 on Sunday morning and Verkykkop ZS/MP-009 on Sunday afternoon. Both activations were on 40 metres only.

Sunday 12 October was a busy Sunday with the SOTA activations in Gauteng and the Western Cape.

In Gauteng, Theo, ZS6TVB, Pierre, ZS6PJH, Johann, ZS6ETA, and Jaco, ZR6CMG, activated Bronberg, ZS/GP-012 on 40, 20, 15 and 2 metres. During the course of the day, Vince, ZS6BTY, and his XYL Heather, Charles, ZS5CH, and Pieter, ZS6PA joined them the team on Bronberg. Close to 100 contacts were made on HF and 2 metres.

In the Western Cape, the guys planned to be active from four summits. Helderberg West Peak ZS/WC-045; Devil’s Peak ZS/WC-046; Maclear’s Beacon ZS/WC-043 and Reserve Peak ZS/WC-053.

Paul, ZS1V, operated from Helderberg West Peak, ZS/WC-045 and made 30 QSOs - 9 on 40 m, 2 on 30 m, 10 on 20 m and 9 on 2 m. He also made three summit-to-summit QSOs with WC-043, WC-055 and GP-012 - and broke the ZS distance record - WC-045 to GP-012 (ZR6CMG) 1 290 km apart. Previously it was 155 km, set up in June 2014. In Africa south of the equator, SSB is allowed on 30 metres.

Sybrand, ZS1SAS, activated Noordhoekpiek, ZS/WC-055 instead of Devil’s Peak ZS/WC-046. He made three 20 m and six 2 m QSOs before the weather turned nasty.

Then Wicus, ZS1WWW, and Stean, ZS1SGS, activated Maclear’s Beacon ZS/WC-043 on the top of Table Mountain. I am not sure what their tally was.

Reserve Peak was not activated.

Dennis ZS4BS



Andrew has advised that Australia is planning a SOTA Party for Saturday 15th November 2014 which will include activations throughout the day, to sunset. Keep an eye on SOTAWatch for activator intentions and check the reflector for latest developments.
Wx permitting, he plans to activate a number of summits in the Snowy Mountains region, which will include an activation for the LP window to Europe.


Allen sends his apologies, but he is presently overseas and is unable to submit a VK report for October.

To fill in the empty space I have asked our picture editor Mark G0VOF to insert an appropriate photo:-

“SOTA News editor G4SSH wishing a VK resident good luck in the VK SOTA Party”.

(Yes - I know it is left-handed, but I had a carrot in my right hand and anyway I am a retired District Commissioner for Scouts - Roy).

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



A few weeks ago I was passed a copy of the ZS spreadsheet to review. This was a list of summits in nine regions along with heights, locations and suggested scores. Unfortunately as it stands these summits cannot be processed as the prominences and the locations of the key cols is not included. Dennis might be “concerned about the length of time it takes to update the SOTA database” but the MT have learned by bitter experience that it is a fatal mistake to rubber-stamp the information received from Associations. Nowadays we are concerned to verify that the information given to us is correct. This pays off: in lists sent to us in the past we have noticed summits that have had locations several hundred kilometres out, in some cases the positions provided to us have even put them in the wrong hemisphere! It is coming to light that we have numerous errors in altitude to contend with, too. When you take into account that the MT is also dealing with a lot of new Associations at various stages of preparation it becomes clear that patience is a necessary virtue!


About being impatient … it seems I remember a couple of years ago I was told to try to keep my updates to one a year. This last time it took nearly 6 months from the time I had stuff ready until it finally got approved.

But you know what???

This - IS A HOBBY. The SOTA-MT are all volunteers, no one is paid to do what they do. And as we are now on the edge of having 100 associations on line, it has been quite a ride.

I have yet to work a ZS summit. If they take their list and go to GMA (whatever that is) I guess I will miss them. But this is still a hobby, and I for one am grateful for the job the SOTA-MT does. Patience has paid off, and with luck W5 is finished for years to come! Thanks guys!

Vy73 - Mike - KD5KC.
El Paso, Texas - DM61rt.
W5-SOTA association manager.