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Sota news november 2010

SOTA NEWS NOVEMBER 2010

EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH

Welcome to the November 2010 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Les, G3VQO, Barry GM4TOE, Fred K6DGW, Andy MM0FMF, Martin DF3MC, Dave G3YMC, Rick GW0VMW, Phil G4OBK, Geoff G6MZX, Rob & Audrey G4RQJ.

Propagation on the HF bands continued to improve during October, with activators using a selection of bands. It is also a pleasure to be able to work G activations on 7 and 10 MHz again. There were problems copying weak SOTA activators, especially at weekends, due to the four new DXCC countries of Curacao PJ2, Bonaire PJ4, St Maarten PJ7 and Saba/St Eustatius PJ5/PJ6 who were active from 10/10/10, generating huge wide pile-ups. In the early morning they were often using 7028 KHz and listening up 3 and later 10115 KHz, again listening up 3.

For a time it looked as if this edition of SOTA News would have to be delayed. My service provider “Tiscali” has been taken over by “Talk-Talk” and we were advised that during the last 10 days of the month the Tiscali accounts were being amalgamated into the Talk-Talk Data-Base and engineers apologised in advance for any problems this would cause, including missing or delayed e-mails etc. I was in Cornwall between the 20-27th of October and for a while I found myself unable to log on, advised that my “Mailbox was 100% full” and numerous other error messages. When I did manage a connection I was repeatedly asked for my password and user name.

Fortunately it appeared to clear up during the last couple of days, which resulted in a mad rush to collate all the input when I arrived back home. I always acknowledge receipt of any contributions, so if anyone forwarded any material to me and did not receive an acknowledgement please send it again for inclusion in next month’s news.


FROM THE SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM

Continuing on our theme of extending into other states in the W7 call area of the USA, this month sees the arrival of the W7 (Wyoming) Association. Once again, the instigator is Guy N7UN, and we thank him for his dedicated, accurate work over many months. Wyoming is probably best known for the world-famous Yellowstone National Park with its many geo-thermal features as well as its wildlife. SOTA activators should remember, however, that the resident wildlife is not all as harmless as Yogi Bear, and the various warnings included in the ARM should be taken extremely seriously. The state has been divided into seven SOTA Regions, and a total of 1188 summits adhering to the 500ft prominence requirements have been listed.

As if that was not enough, Guy has also created the W7 (Nevada) Association! Nevada is the most arid state in the USA, and is made up of mostly desert and semiarid climate regions. The Mojave Desert, where daytime summer temperatures may reach 52 °C, has night-time winter temperatures as low as minus 46 °C, so activators need to be prepared for extremes. Approximately 86% of the state’s land is owned by the US federal government under various jurisdictions, including the famous Area 51. The major metropolitan areas are the internationally-renowned Las Vegas and Reno. Guy has divided the state into thirteen SOTA Regions, and has listed a total of 2567 summits.

Somewhat further north we welcome what is potentially the largest SOTA Association to date. David VE7CQY has created an Association covering the province of British Columbia (VE7). With an area of 944,735 square kilometres, BC is far larger than any U.S. state (except Alaska), and contains well over 10,000 potential SOTA summits. In fact, more than 75% of the province is classed as mountainous (more than 1,000 metres amsl). There are also about six thousand islands, most of which are uninhabited. The climate is very diverse, as one would expect over such a wide area. Much of the western part of Vancouver Island and the rest of the coast is covered by temperate rainforest, whilst the mainland away from the coastal regions is not as moderated by the Pacific Ocean, and ranges from desert to the apple-growing and wine-producing region of the Okanagan Valley. With such a wealth of summits to choose from, David has sensibly chosen a representative selection of summits from the twenty-eight Regions by applying the criteria of the tallest, most accessible, well known, ski hills or summits off hiking trails. We have no doubt that the list of SOTA summits will continue to grow in the future.

Les, G3VQO
obo SOTA MT


SOTA AWARDS FOR OCTOBER 2010 By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager.

October has been another bumper month for Awards. The two Austrian activators OE5IRO and OE5RTP reached their target in just 14 months – a combination of large hills and fit walkers. Shack Sloths this month are DL6DH, Henning, G4OOE, Nick and G3VXJ, Bob. There are dedicated Chasers and then there are those who achieve notable targets; of special note are Friedrich DL1FU who has joined the ranks of those with amazing scores (30k) and Bob G3VXJ who achieved Shack Sloth in just 35 days. When SOTA first started it was inconceivable that the targets would be reached in such a short timescale such is the popularity of the scheme now.

Paolo IK3GER has received the Shack Sloth trophy for chasing 1000 Unique summits, again no mean feat. Finally, the number of new activators reaching significant milestones is on the increase and no doubt will continue.

Trophies

Mountain Goat
OE5IRO Ingeborg Roch Mountain Goat
OE5RTP Peter Reinthaler Mountain Goat

Shack Sloth
G3VXJ Bob Rylatt Shack Sloth
G4OOE Nick Langmead Shack Sloth
DL6DH Henning Folger Shack Sloth

Chaser Uniques
IK3GER Paolo Corsetti 1000 Summits

Certificates claimed

Activator
DL9NCI Georg Goltz 500 points
DL6DH Henning Folger 250 points
DL8NBO Dr. Wolfgang Richter 250 points
OK2BWB Karel Danek 100 points
N7UN Guy Hamblen 100 points
ON4TA Filip Rogister 100 points

Activator Uniques
HB9AGO Hansruedi Stettler 100 summits

Chaser
DL1FU Friedrich Winzer 30000 points
G4OOE Nick Langmead 1000 points
M6NJB Nick Bennett 250 points
MU0GSY Lionel Roithmeir 250 points
2E0OCC Nathan Nuttall 250 points
G6TUH Michael Morrissey 250 points
G6TUH Michael Morrissey 100 points

Mountain Explorer
ON4TA Filip Rogister Mountain Explorer Bronze
HB9AGO Hansruedi Stettler Mountain Explorer Bronze

Mountain Hunter
IK3DRO Gino Scapin Mountain Hunter Bronze
M6HBS Jonathan Hobbs Mountain Hunter Bronze

I have been able to issue both Mountain Explorer and Mountain Hunter certificates this month. I hope, once Andy MM0FMF gets his teeth into the database design, we can introduce filters to make it easier for participants to work out which award they are entitled to. There has been some confusion over the requirements for each of the steps resulting in errors in claims. Presently, each time a claim is made I have to search through the summits activated or chased by the station involved to determine the qualifying dates and summits for the relevant award so the correct data can be entered on the certificate (a permanent record of the associations and summits contributing to the award is printed onto the back of the certificate). I have looked at the wording on the website but cannot easily simplify the language – if in doubt email me and I will work out for you if you can claim one of these awards.

Now some positive news: I have received the SOTA flags and those who emailed me reserving one have been emailed with cost details. I do have extras so if you would like a SOTA flag to fly from your mast then they are available at a cost of £15 each plus postage (UK £0.70, Eu £1.50 and DX £2 for single flags, if you want more than one please ask for the correct postage).

This might not be the season for T Shirts and Polo Shirts but I do have a few Sweatshirts available at £15.95 plus postage (M, L & XL) – first come first served!

If activations follow their usual pattern then things might quieten down until the start of the bonus period but don’t forget the NA Activity day on the 13th of November which could give Chasers a much needed Intercontinental contact for the higher level Mountain Hunter Award.

My thanks this month to G6TUH and DL1FU for their donations towards running the scheme, it is much appreciated.

Take care on the hills; we have the first snow on the Cairngorms so hopefully our winter climbing season is going to be good.

73

Barry Horning GM4TOE
Awards Manager


Congratulations also go to:-

Tony G8BVJ on passing the 500 points milestone, using HF SSB only

  • to Paul G4MD, on achieving Mountain Goat on Helvellyn G/LD-003 on the 11th October. This is a remarkable achievement as he gained his award by activating totally Unique summits.

  • to Eric F5JKK for reaching the milestone of 500 chaser points on the 28th October using QRP power.

  • to Lutz DL3SBA on reaching Mountain Goat status on the 25th October.

  • to Joska HA5CW on becoming a Super Sloth with 10,000 chaser points.

  • to Jimmy M3EYP and Tom M1EYP, on both reaching 250 unique activations with GI/CA-001 on the 24th October.

  • to Heinz OE5EEP for passing 500 activator points using CW only on the 29th October.

  • to Richard G3CWI for activating all of the SOTA summits in GW.

Note from Editor – The input for this section is obtained from personal e-mails sent to me, comments on the reflector and on-air QSO’s. It serves to highlight personal milestones that have been achieved, that perhaps do not qualify for an official SOTA award from Barry. If you are proud of some achievement and would like it to be recorded, then please send me the details.


SMS SPOTTING SERVICE by Andy MM0FMF

There are now 100 registered users from 12 separate DXCC’s
(G, GI, GM, GW, PA, DL, OE, W8, SV, K6, SP, LA) using the SMS spotting service.

I’ve postponed some planed updates to the service whilst I learn about
how the SOTA database works, but will hopefully start on the updates in
2011.

Should anyone want to register to use the system then send an email to
mm0fmf_sota AT intermoose.com (fix the obfuscation to the address before
use) containing their mobile number and the callsign they wish to use.

Andy MM0FMF


DL WINTER UPDATE - from Martin DF3MC

The Artic cold has brought an early winter to the German Alps in mid October.

Now there is a lot of snow in heights above 1200m. I still hope for
some better weather but I am afraid that most of the higher summits
will be inaccessible for the next months. So I will try to activate
some of the lower summits - please keep listening for signals
from DL/xx.

VY 73
Martin DF3MC


UPDATE from Dave G3YMC

I have been doing quite a lot of SOTA chasing in the past few weeks. I was very active way back in the early days - when there were only one or two activations a week, remember those… but lost interest when inter-G propagation on 40m disappeared, but interest rekindled after Mike G4DDL gave a talk at our club.

From 12th September I have increased my chaser score from 203 up to now
770, and have of course my eye on the magic 1000 which I should reach
in a couple of weeks or so. So expect a new Shack Sloth soon… I also
did one activation, Cleeve Hill G/CE-001, which I enjoyed and hope to
do more soon - though I am not a cold weather chap so it may not be
until next year. In this part of England I am never going to be very
high up the activator tables, so will be doing it solely for enjoyment
and QRP portable.

73 Dave G3YMC

http://www.davesergeant.com


NORTH AMERICAN SOTA NEWS - by Fred K6DGW.

SOTA is definitely catching on here in the New World! We have several
new Regions now active in the W7 Association and have had activations in
W2, W5, W6, and W7 that I am aware of. We’ve also been blessed with
strange dark spots on an otherwise pristine surface of the sun, said to
be a good omen for those who frequent the upper reaches of the HF
electromagnetic spectrum, as reports below will attest.

Starting in the east, I know there were some activations in the W2
Association, however I have no reports and have been too busy to keep
track of the alerts on the web site.

W5 ASSOCIATION

Out west in El Paso, Texas, Mike, KD9KC, W5 Association Manager reports:

KD9KC - 5 summits - 63 contacts - 37 points.
WT5RZ - 3 Summits - 14 contacts - 26 points.
KT5X - 2 summits - 39 contacts - 18 points.
KF5BBT - 1 summit - 5 contacts - 9 points.
K5VU - 1 Summit - 8 contacts - 9 points.
KE5SCG - 1 summit - 4 contacts - 2 points.

6 activators.
13 summit activation calls. ***
303 contacts.
101 points.

*** Some activations were done as a group activation using separate callsigns.

Way to go, W5!!

“On 11 Oct 2010 I activated W5/SC-005, Benson ridge, New Mexico. This
was a quick operation on short notice, Moni (XYL-N5NHC) and I drove up
into the Sacramento Mountains after the last day of the Alamogordo dog
show. We couldn’t plan it because we didn’t know how much time we would
have after the dog show ended. It was also the first time I tried
setting up my station all alone. Fortunately, a tree stump was handy to
tie my Jackite pole to as I pushed it up. I had about 1 hour to play on
the air and then we needed to start for home. I rag-chewed some, and
averaged about 9 minutes per contact. I prefer rag-chew contacts to
“you’re 5-9, QRZ?” contacts except when there are pile-ups waiting. My
cell phone had troubles spotting to www.qrpspots.com, so I was lucky I
got any contacts at all. The XYL and the dogs (www.vonbonehenge.com)
enjoyed the woods while I played radio. On the way down we bought some
pumpkins and apples.”

Mike made 6 Q’s on 10m, 12m, and 20m, including Venezuela and Cuba. He
continues:

“On 17 Oct 2010 I and Ron (WT5RZ) activated W5/OR-014, North Anthony’s
Nose, New Mexico. This was a strenuous hike, about 3 hours each way.
WT5RZ and I overestimated our abilities and underestimated the terrain.
Still, it was a good outing and I got 18 contacts in 2-1/2 hours on
the air. I averaged about 6 minutes a contact rag-chewing, and two call
signs in my log did not resolve on www.qrz.com. I was able to hit
www.qrpspots.com to spot my operation.”

“Unfortunately, WT5RZ set up about 200m from my position, and I didn’t
know he was struggling with problems. Ron only completed 3 contacts and
did not earn activator points. Had I known I would have offered help
and seen to it that he got the 4 contacts minimum on my station. The
hike out through the cactus patches really tore up our legs, and one of
Ron’s dogs got her feet cut up pretty badly too.”

Mike made 2 Q’s on 12m SSB, 9 on 15m SSB, and 6 on 17m. He stayed off
20m because Ron was struggling there. Mike uses an FT-817 powered by a
new Li Ion battery [see below]. And, finally, he concludes:

“I have recently picked up some Arrow Antennas. A 146-4, a 4-ele 2m
yagi, and a 440-7, a 7-ele 70cm yagi. They are very light-weight and
pack nicely too. Ron and I are brain-storming a 2-ele 6m yagi based on
the Arrow design. We are hoping to put a little more V/UHF into our
operations for the V/UHF contests and QSO parties in 2011. DM61 is a
semi-rare grid, 10% in Texas, 10% in New Mexico, and 80% in Old Mexico.
From atop North Franklin Mountain we should get good coverage on 50,
144 and 432 MHz.”

W7 ASSOCIATION

And from further west yet, Guy, N7UN, our W7 Association Manager reports:

“W7-Idaho (2,461 peaks) and W7-Montana (2,657 peaks) launched 1 Oct
2010. W7-Nevada (2,566 peaks) and W7-Wyoming (1,188 peaks) will launch
Nov 1st. W7-Washington with over 2,600 peaks is on schedule for a 1 Dec
2010 launch according to AM Manager Bruce Prior, N7RR.”

“Guy, N7UN, completed the ARM for W7-Nevada (2,566 peaks, 13 Regions)
and W7-Wyoming (1,188 peaks, 7 Regions). Both will go active 1 Nov
2010. Adrian Van Der Riet/ N6VDR who lives close to one of the new
Nevada Regions (Esme-Mineral) has agreed to be the Region Manager for
this new Region. Adrian is the leading Activator in the USA with over
20 summits with an Expedition Average of 9.7 points per summit!
Outstanding effort Adrian! Jack/W7CNL in Idaho is the uncontested
Chaser leader for the entire W7 callsign area with over 51 Chaser points
in September!”

Guy reports eight W7 activations for Sep.

W6 ASSOCIATION

And further west yet and almost in sight of the Pacific Ocean, your NA
reporter managed to activate Little Bald Mt, W6/SN-046, on 16 Oct. I
figured this would be my last chance this winter, and I was right, it’s
snowing there as I write this on 24 Oct. My rig is a K2 @ 5W with a
vertical ground plane and powered by an identical Li Ion battery to
Mike’s. We bought them on eBay, they came without instructions, and
most of what is printed on them is in Chinese. I tried the local
Chinese restaurant for a translation [less than successful], and Mike
finally emailed them. The reply also didn’t make a huge amount of sense,
but we did figure out how to charge them, and they are much lighter than
the SLA batteries.

I managed 15 Q’s, all on 20m CW [I really do need to find a microphone for my K2]. I listened some on 17m and 15m but there wasn’t much
activity and no replies to my CQ. I had planned on some 30m activity
toward the end, however I had to QRT due to a thunderstorm building over
the crest of the Sierra Nevada. The weather was beautiful and clear,
and it seemed I could see forever from that 1,981m summit.

NA PLANS AND ACTIVITIES

We’re hoping for a big NA turnout for the NA SOTA Conflagration on 13
Nov. W6/SN-048 or W6/SN-049 are my candidates, depending on weather, it
looks like at least W5 will have some activations.

And finally, we’re calling this the “North American SOTA Report” but
we’re well aware that NA includes a lot more than Canada and the US. I
know of one SOTA-qualified peak in Mexico that happens to be an active
volcano. Activating that one [on the radio, not the lava] should be
worth a gazillion bonus points for courage, don’t you think?

73,

Fred K6DGW [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Auburn CA


EA SOTA Associations by Rick GW0VMW

Regarding activating Mount Teide on Tenerife, I pondered this myself last year for a future SOTA association when ascending the summit and discovered it is only really practical with a hand held (activity on 2m/70cms quiet but at least the other islands will here you). Access permits are obtained on a first come first served basis from the park authority office in Santa Cruz (you need to take a photocopy of your passport), where you are given a date and time slot . You are only allowed a max of about 20mins on the summit, are not allowed to venture off the path (or you’ll need some asbestos trousers), need your passport as well as your permit to show the guard at passport control! below the summit and when you get there there is no room for pitching antennas on the tiny summit top with all the other visitors. Best to check with the park authority if it permissable and legal to operate from there as well. It is however well worth making the effort to go even if it can’t be activated.

Is this the first SOTA summit where you need your passport for the ascent?
I never normally pack mine.

Rick GW0VMW


SOTA ON WAINWRIGHT’s - Coast to Coast - by Phil G4OBK

The idea of undertaking a long distance walk and combining it with SOTA has been done before by several activators. A notable effort being The Pennine Way by Tom and Jimmy M1EYP and M3EYP in 2006. I did the Mortimer Trail myself in the Welsh Borders in 2006 and covered several summits as part of the walk.

The 192 mile C2C does not actually pass over many summits, however this is not yet a National Trail like the Pennine Way and Wainwright did provide a few alternatives which allow the activator to score a few more SOTA points along the route should he wish to climb.

Four of us started our walk in May and finished it in September. We stayed in B&Bs or pubs which I booked in December 2009. The route has become so popular thanks to the BBC programmes presented by Julia Bradbury, that it is essential to book ahead. The plan was to complete the route in two parts of nine days in May and six days in September. Several things got in the way – a family bereavement forced the postponement of the 2nd leg. We then had to split that leg into two sections of three days each to fit in with our other commitments. We actually finished the route on October 21st, we being myself, XYL Judy and friends Margaret and Geoff. I was the only Ham walking, so the use of 2m FM seemed appropriate due to the distances walked each day and the time available on summits. I used the Yaesu VX-170 five watts handheld and “rucksack special” J Pole vertical.

The route takes you from St Bees in Cumbria through The Lake District, Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors National Parks and ends at Robin Hoods Bay. Tradition says that you carry a stone from the Irish Sea and deposit it in the North Sea when you get there. There are only actually four SOTA summits on the route, but several more can be reached fairly easily without too much of a detour. I am also a participant in Wainwrights On the Air and there were several WOTA Summits on or near to the route.

On Day One May 19th we walked from St Bees to Ennerdale Bridge and this took us over the then misty summit of Dent G/LD-045 which lies near Cleator Moor on the edge of the Lake District. Four QSOs were made from here with G1OHH (Lancaster) 2E0XSD (Frizington) 2E0MIX/P S2S Blake Fell LD-031 and G1KLZ (Ingleton) – a good start.

Day Three provided three WOTA summits above Grasmere. Calf Crag, Gibson Knott and Helm Crag and then down into Grasmere.

Day Four was a fine day and the best and most active day for SOTA. We climbed up Little Tongue to Grisedale Hause. Wainwright doesn’t suggest climbing Seat Sandal LD-022 but it was too convenient to miss out so we activated that summit. AW offers three alternative routes from The Hause – an easy walk down Grisedale or the more challenging climb up to Fairfield LD-007 and St Sunday Crag LD-010 via Cofa Pike, finishing off with the WOTA summit of Birks before dropping down into Patterdale. A trail trod by many a SOTA activator. The other alternative was to climb Helvellyn and cover Birkhouse Moor for WOTA on the way down. We chose the Fairfield route and finished the day with 41 stations in the log.

Day Five - We walked from Patterdale to Shap. We could have detoured to High Street LD-011 (round trip of 1.5 miles - so near yet so far on a tough day). We didn’t do it but I contented myself with 22 QSO’s from the Wainwrights of Angletarn Pikes, Rest Dodd, The Knott, Rampsgill Head and Kidsty Pike – the highest “official point” on the C2C on the day we left the Lake District National Park.

Day Seven was a notable day for SOTA when we walked from Kirkby Stephen to Keld to reach the Yorkshire Dales National Park. The path takes you over Nine Standards Rigg NP-018 where I made nine QSO’s, the best DX being with Mike G4BLH in Nelson. I found the trick with this summit on 2m FM is to operate initially from near the Nine Standards to work the stations to the west and east in Penrith and Durham/Tyne and Wear. I then needed to walk over to the trig point 500m south to work stations in Lancashire who could not hear my signals from the other point on the hill. Nine Standards = Nine Stations, which is what I worked!

NP-026 Kisdon lies above Keld. I would have like to have activated it as I haven’t yet been there and there was time at the end of the day, however the take off is dreadful on VHF and four QSOs would have been doubtful with the equipment being carried so I did not go up.

Day Nine brought us to Reeth from Keld on May 27th. We took the high route above Swaledale through the industrial desert of the worked out lead mines and hushes of Swinner Gill and Lownathwaite. A three mile return walk would have got me to Rogan’s Seat NP-014 from our track but I felt this too much to ask of my non radio ham companions so we passed on this one and proceeded down to Reeth and then came home until we resumed the walk in September.

The final section across the Vale of Mowbray and into the North York Moors took us over the summits of Cringle Moor TW-002 and Round Hill TW-001. As the Region Manager for the Tees to the Wash Region I couldn’t walk over these two without activating them! In the past I have struggled on 2m FM with a simple antenna to qualify these two but times have changed and there are several keen chasers in the North East who take part in SOTA these days. After an excellent lunch of cheeseburger and tea and cake at the Lord Stones Café, Cringle Moor TW-002 was activated on September 20th en-route to Clay Bank. Seven QSOs all to the north were completed. G1ZJQ in Cramlington north of Newcastle was the furthest north logged and Derek reminded me that it was him that left the message carved on some slate on Burnhope Seat NP-003 last year, wishing me luck when I was on my way to join Tom M1EYP and the others who activated Ailsa Craig.

The final SOTA activation was of Round Hill TW-001 on 9th October when 12 stations as far apart as Bolsover (M3RLU), Nelson (G4BLH) and Cramlington (G1ZJQ) were worked. Due to illness caused by a bad pub meal in Castleton we had to abandon on Day 14 and return home. Fortunately we only live 15 miles from Sleights Moor and so resumed the C2C on October 21st to complete the final 13 mile section and deposit our stones into Robin Hoods Bay at high tide.

On the whole route 68 SOTA/WOTA QSO’s were completed and in addition 45 WOTA contacts were also made from the non SOTA summits. The total walk (measured by GPS) was 190 miles with 31250 feet of ascent using the alternative routes indicated in this report. I would like to thank Roy G4SSH for providing a dial-a-spot service when I had mobile coverage and to the spotters who put me on SOTAWatch which enhanced my activation and long distance walk.

For more details on the walk please go to:

http://wainwrightcoasttocoast.blogspot.com/
Phil G4OBK


ADDITION TO LIST OF SOTA DOGS
Our dog Benji, a Cavalier King Charles, always goes on SOTA s with us; we even obtained permission for him to go on the expedition to Ailsa Craig
Geoff G6MZX


THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 22 by Rob and Audrey G4RQJ.

Newark Rally, so off to the deep south east (well it is from here) for an extended weekend. The rally on Friday was quiet with just the odd SOTA person to chat to, very different from Blackpool. Great to meet up with the Isle of Man party and renew acquaintances, soon be summer and time for our visit. Heavy rain decimated the boot sellers and the grass car park was pretty muddy by the end with big puddles to be navigated.

Saturday 2nd Oct. Normanby Top.

A nice calm sunny day for this one, a big change from the huge gales of last year. This year we operated from beside the lane to the west of the radar site. This left us with no room to sit so sorry no CW. 5MHz was fine, which was just as well because VHF was very thin indeed in spite of a lot of calling and we would not have qualified the hill if relying on it for contacts; all at the rally? During the activation a lady with a stick and binoculars marched up the lane stopped in front of us without speaking looked us over, then the horizon with her binoculars and then departed. Not like that in the North, we’re all too nosey, still it takes all sorts.

Sunday 3rd Oct. Gun Hill.

This started off as a trip to Shining Tor on the way home but the rain on the way was horrendous. We’ve lived in Singapore and have seen the monsoons but this was something else and we decided to divert to Gun. The approach road was a river and just before the summit car park it was flooded to almost two feet for about 50 yards (we’ve not been totally metricated).We elected for a hit and run on 2m and even took the umbrella in desperation. The short track to the trig was a flowing river almost a foot deep and we did not linger long, apologies to anyone looking for us but we did work all callers.

So nice to see Matt doing the Isle of Man summits and enjoying them so much, if you’re looking for a walking, outdoor holiday it really is hard to beat. The summits can all be done in a day if you’re quick. We did it once like that a few years ago and the route details are among the tips for Snaefell. Nowadays we like to take the small shelter to the three larger summits and spend a few hours operating. The walking is superb, the people great but avoid TT and Manx GP fortnights as there are road closures that would restrict your access to the two larger peaks. If you like road racing then try the Southern Hundred which doesn’t upset hill access Warning, it can rain on you but where else can you do a SOTA entity in a day?

See some discussion on foam sit mats; we’ve gone over to the self inflating mats and found them excellent, no great extra weight and when you sit on them they retain body heat which is no bad thing on a cold day. However, they are very slippery when used on top of a plastic ground sheet, so take care or you could be winning gold in the toboggan.

An unusual missed weekend as we’ve both succumbed to the current cold/flu that’s circulating. Did manage to do my session at the foundation course for our local club, all six passed and we’re working on getting them into SOTA so look out for new chasers in the area. On the same subject, Dave G3VUS and myself are looking to restart our on air CW practice sessions. These are on 145.300 +/- other users and are FM with tone modulation, making them suitable for listeners with only a 2M FM rig. Dave is well located for 2m and can put a signal across most of the Lancashire/N Wales area. We are virtually at sea level here on Walney so I usually act as legal back up (no broadcasting).We ran a session on Wed 13th but our local students are at the stage of learning the basic letters, which they are doing from computer program so there may be a short delay before the next on air session. Mark VOF kindly reported the signal as usable in Blackburn. If you hear us please give us a shout FM and/or MCW. We’ll post on the reflector before the next session. Just think of all those lovely points for CW SOTA.

Sunday 17th Oct. Lambrigg Fell.

Just a little one to get going again and apologies to the other activators posted on this one, our internet connection is undergoing “improvements” which is service speak for “does not work some of the time” and we missed the other postings. The gate to the fell now boasts an “elf and safety “notice about the dangers of wind farms but CROW still applies. The gate in the wall where you turn for the summit now carries a Private Land notice in place of the Nature reserve notice and much burning of seems to have happened.

We decided to ascend on the wind farm side of the wall to avoid complications and operated from the hump on that side of the wall immediately opposite the hump on the other side of the wall which GPS thinks is the true summit. As both humps are small and of similar height and the whole lot is well inside the activation area this seems a sensible idea, although people who have met the farmer in the past say that he is not SOTA hostile. 5MHz was excellent which was just as well as 7MHz was full of contest stations and10MHz full of contest refugees and no CW contacts were made. 2M was also poor with no SSB and just five FM contacts and 4m produced just four takers. On arriving back at the car we found a note from G8HXE who we had missed and had been operating from the same fell, Sorry Keith.

A quiet week, surprised to have a 4m fm contact with Simon AVV on Coniston Old Man, hand-held both ends, in my case just the Wouxun with its own rubber duck and inside the shack with lots of metal around, they really are a grand little rig for the price.

Sunday 24th Oct, Top O’ Selside.

Still struggling a bit from the recent cold, it really is hard to throw off and it seems to have infected most of the north of the country. We decided to use up another of our few remaining one pointers for the year, Top O’ Selside. I know we always say we like the current fell but Selside is special and must be one of the most pleasant one pointers in the country. First a steady climb through the woods from Dodgson Wood car park (six cars at a push) on the eastern shore of Coniston Water. (Very few in the Lake District are “Lakes”, only Bassenthwaite Lake springs to mind). The old woods are pretty any time in the year, try bluebell time. Next a short climb following the line of an old wall, the path does duty as a stream in wet periods but leads to a bridleway which contours the fell with superb views of the Coniston fells and the lake below.

Follow the route south until you arrive at a standing post immediately before which a path goes away to your left; take this but only for about 20yds where a narrow path on the left takes you back and leads up the open fell to the summit with views to the Howgills, Ingleborough etc as well as the Coniston Fells. About an hours walking and is suitable for an active family on a nice day. No actual shelter on the summit but the shape of the hill affords decent protection from most directions.

Today we sat on the south eastern side in the sunshine and had a super three hour activation with over sixty contacts spread across the usual bands. While this little hill is not Everest we had a reminder of the unpreparedness of some visitors. A couple arrived and after asking the usual questions as to what we were doing they said “Is this the path then?” “Where to?” we asked and it transpired that they did not know where they had started from or where they were heading back to but it said in the book (which they did not have with them) that it was a round walk on good paths. We recited a list of possibilities and they decided on Nibthwaite so we hopefully put them on the return path. We assume that they made it OK as there are no reports of the rescue teams being called out. This was a mature couple in reasonable gear, they had a map but the scale was too small for practical use (they said not, having looked at it) and it leaves us wondering about the advice given in some tourist literature etc. As a friend in mountain rescue said “Julia has a lot to answer for”. We were also spoken to by a lapsed G8 from Kendal who is a keen walker. He was very impressed with SOTA and left us vowing to look into it with a view to becoming active once again.

I read some information in the Sunday press about insurance companies refusing to pay up on policies where houses had been broken into whilst the owners were away because they had made their whereabouts known on various social web sites. Might be worth thinking about.

Well, all for this month. Take care out there,

73
Rob and Audrey


CW REPORT FOR OCTOBER 2010 - by Roy G4SSH

It was good month for CW chasers, especially for collectors of Unique SOTA’s, with activity from the new EA associations at the beginning of the month, followed by Aage LA1ENA and Kjell LA1KHA operating from TM-248 and TM 245, then Mario DC7CCC activated from the re-installed NS-108. Towards the end of the month we also had Tom M1EYP activating rare summits in Northern Ireland and Norby appeared on 14 and 10 MHz as 9H3NO from Malta.

Roger F5LKW combined SOTA and FF activations from CR-229 on the 18th around 14044 KHz then he moved to 10124 and 7024, (FF awards spots) which was a welcome change from the overcrowded regular SOTA frequencies. This was repeated on the 19th with CR-249 and again on the 27th with AM-356 and 358 and demonstrates that you do not have to use the congested SOTA spots as long as you advise chasers of your intended QRG.

A warm welcome is extended to the following newcomers, heard activating SOTA’s for the first time on CW during July:- Johannes DK4OHA, Jurg HB9BIN, Thomas HB9CLT, Igor OK1TGI and Sake PA0SKP,

A special mention is due to Jurg HB9BIN who is a already a seasoned chaser with over 6600 points. Jurg commenced activating on the 4th Oct with a single pointer HB/SO-016, moved to 2 pointers by the 5th graduated to 8 pointers by the 9th and finally 10 pointers on the 15th onwards. He did 18 activations in October. Jurg sends at a steady 20 wpm, will not be rushed and remains on frequency until the last chaser has called. He also gives a strong signal with 100w to a dipole. Many thanks Jurg, your efforts are much appreciated by CW chasers.

It sometimes appears that 7032 is a European wide tune-up frequency judging by the number of carriers that appear whenever a new spot is announced. Why chasers cannot use a dummy load or at least have the common sense to move away from this SOTA calling spot to tune is just inconsiderate and causes much aggravation.

The clocks have reverted to UTC in the UK and the days are becoming shorter, leaving less time for activations. This is always a prelude to Winter Bonus which starts next month and results in the majority of activations being scheduled before noon and most activators heading off the hills by 1400.

My thanks to Guido HB9BQB, whom I worked at on the 10.10.10 at 10.10. Pity the points were 8, not 10 Guido !!

Heard active above 40m last month were:-

21 MHz: HG4UK, EA/F5UKL, G3NYY,

18 MHz: F5UKL, EA/F5UKL,

14 MHz: EB3EPR, EA4TX,
DL6DH, DK1BN, W2VV,
EA/F5UKL,
F5LKW, F5UKL,
HA2VR, HA7UL
N7UN, KX9X/1, N6VDR, NE1SJ,
OE/DL4CW,
OK1FFU
S51ZJ, S57X,
Z35M
9H4RH, 9H/MM0ROV,

10 MHz: HA7UL, EA/F5UL,
DH0DK, DL6DH, DL/LX1NO, DF3MC, DL4FDM,
EA4TX,
F5LKW, F5UKL,
G3RDQ, G3VQO, MW/LA1KHA,
HA2VR, HA7UL, HA5TI, HG4UK,
HB9BAB, HB9AFI, HB9AGO, HB9BQB, HB9CSA,
LA1ENA, LA1KHA,
OE5EEP, OE/DL4CW, OK2SAM,
OK1FFU, OK2SAM,
OK/DJ3AX
S57X, S57XX,
9H/MM0ROV,
Z35M,

The lower frequency band’s were not forgotten, thanks to:-

3.5 MHz GX0OOO, OK9HAG, G3TJE, GW3TJE, MI1EYP,
1.8 MHz GX0OOO

I take my hat off to Marek OK9HAG for his regular late evening CW activations on 3.5 MHz in the dark. I usually manage to copy him, and on the 30th October he was operating from inside a sleeping bag on top of Jeleni Vrch OK/US-010 at 858m. Now that is what I call dedication. Many thanks Marek !!

Heard active on expeditions outside their own countries and qualifying towards the Mountain Explorer and Mountain Hunter awards were:

F/HB9AFI,
DL/LX1NO, DL/OK2QA, DL/HB9AGO, DL/PA0HRM, DL/HB9BAB
EA/F5UKL,
MW/LA1ENA, MW/LA1KHA,
OE/HA4FY, OE/DL4CW, OE/HB9BGG,
OK/DJ3AX, OK/DL6UNF,
SP/OK2VWB
9H4RH, 9H/MM0ROV, 9H3NO


CONTESTS DURING NOVEMBER 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.

6th-7th 1200-1200 Ukrainian DX contest
7th only 0900-1100 High Speed Club CW contest
13th-14th 0001-2300 RTTY Worked all Europe contest
13th-14th 1200-1200 OK/OM CW DX contest
14th only 0001-2359 SKCC Weekend sprint
20th-21st 1200-1200 LZ DX CW/SSB contest
27th-28th 0001-2359 CQ WW CW DX Contest (major disruption to 40m)


SOTA News is normally published at 1200 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 28th 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.

73
Roy G4SSH
SOTA News Editor
g4ssh@tiscali.co.uk

North American input to:-

Fred K6DGW [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Auburn CA
k6dgw@foothill.net or k6dgw@arrl.net

In reply to G4SSH:
I was very glad to work Roy on the 10.10.10 at 10:10 with a dipole 2x10m. Now I hope to work him again on the 11.11.11 at 11:11.

73
Guido HB9BQB

In reply to HB9BQB:

I look forward to that Guido.
73 Roy

In reply to G4SSH:
Hello Roy and MT.
Thanks a lot for interesting news.
It is more and more difficult to hear call in strong QRM.
Activators use to be, usualy, on summit, for long time. Then It is not necessary to be in hurry.
All the best to you all.
Andre - f5ukl

In reply to G4SSH:

Many tnx for the excellent SOTA-news Roy and team.
Vy73 de Fritz DL4FDM/HB9CSA

In reply to G4SSH:

… his regular late evening CW activations on 3.5 MHz in the dark.

Thanks Roy for the news and for mentioning my bivouac activations - with my Novice license I don’t have an access to 40m, and 80m is mostly a night band, so I plan my hikes to include an overnight stay on the hill. So far it looks like we’ll have a warm November here, I’m looking forward to more evening QSOs.

73, Marek