SOTA NEWS – OCTOBER 2008.
Propagation on the HF bands continued to be very variable at the bottom of the sunspot cycle. There were some days in September when chasers were unable to hear any activators on 40m, some days with S5-S7 QRN but other days when the background noise was at zero. The following ray of hope was sent to me by Roger G4OWG:-
“NEW SUNSPOT: For the first time in months, a significant sunspot is emerging on the sun. It is a fast-growing active region with two dark cores, each larger than Earth. The magnetic polarity of the sunspot identifies it as a member of new Sunspot Cycle 24. Because the year 2008 has brought so many blank suns, some observers have wondered if we are ever going to climb out of the ongoing deep solar minimum. Today’s new sunspot is an encouraging sign that the 11-year solar cycle is indeed progressing, albeit slowly. Visit http://spaceweather.com for sunspot photos and updates”.
Autumn is also the season of cold morning and evenings, bringing the scourge of noise from thermostat’s and overhead power lines, a combination which wiped out the entire 40m band at my QTH on the 29th. Fortunately 30m saved the day once more.
In the September SOTA News I mentioned that in previous years the months of September and October had seen a reduction in the amount of SOTA activity, but with the steady increase in the number of new CW activators and chasers this might not happen this year. However, the downward trend did occur, with a marked reduction in the number of activations during the first half of the month. There were some days with only single figure spots generated and SOTA activity was mainly concentrated at weekends. Monday seems to have become a very sparse day for SOTA activity. On the positive side there was an increase in the number of SSB/FM activations as compared to CW, assisted in no small way by the activations of Steve DL / G1INK during his expedition to Germany.
There was a notable absence of regular activators Klaus DF2GN and Ben DH0DK, however it was a pleasure to welcome back Klaus on the 19th September, after a break of some 6 weeks or so, but it was an even bigger surprise when he appeared the following day, late in the evening, with his friend Ralf DH3IAJ when they both proceeded to activate 40m 80m and 160m. Whilst Klaus make many top band CW enthusiast happy on 1.832 KHz, Ralf operated SSB on 1857 KHz.
My thanks to the following contributors to this issue of SOTA News:-
Barry GM4TOE, Phil G4OBK, Mark M3RHU, Dave G6TDN, Fritz DL4FDM, Roger F5LKW and Norby LX1NO.
SOTA AWARDS ISSUED By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager
The rush for Shack Sloth trophies continues, resulting in me running out of
stock. The good news for those waiting for their trophies (3 at the time of
writing) is that the manufacturer has advised me that I will have them by the
29 September and I should have the engraving done within two weeks of
receipt. There has been steady demand for certificates as well and these
have all been processed and despatched to the claimants. Roger MW0IDX did
advise me that this job required access to a crystal ball and he was
correct. It would help when claiming an award or certificate that you told
me what it was for; we have certificate categories for Activator, Activator
Unique, Chaser, Chaser Unique and SWL and there are various claim levels in
each category - just sending an email saying that “I would like to claim my
certificate” is not very helpful!
Following requests for a trophy for chasing unique summits the manufacturer has agreed to produce a very limited run of modified Shack Sloth trophies. (See “Chaser Unique Trophy” posted on the Reflector on the 29th September - Ed).
SHACK SLOTH TROPHY
SV2BZM Dimitrios 500 points
DF2PI Suitbert 250 points
OK2QA Ruda 100 points
DM4JH Jens 100 points
M3IWN Simon 100 points
G0HDX Roy 2500 points
OE5PLN Peter 1000 points
OK2QA Ruda 1000 points
M3VZC Chris 100 points
M0EAF Richard 100 points
G0RQL Don 1000 points
G0TDM John 250 points
Congratulations to Mark M3RHJ who has just achieved 100 unique chaser summits with a call to Robin GM7PKT/P on GM/SS-005. We hope to see you in the Awards list next month Mark – Ed.
NEW SOTA OPERATOR MAXIME - from Roger F5LKW
Hello SOTA Friends.
I’m really happy to make you know the Maxime’s birth:
73 QRO - Roger - F5LKW - SOTA homepage: http://cwthf.free.fr
(Congratulations Roger. However, this could severely affect your SOTA time. Listen carefully to the first words spoken by Maxime. If these are “Dah-Dah” you have another potential SOTA CW op. in the family!! – Ed)
CR-229 LE MONT-PUGET REPORT by Roger F5LKW
My webpage is ready: http://cwthf.free.fr/cr229.html
You can visit it and watch movie + pictures without forgetting our recording QSO.
If you find a mistake, please tell me about it.
Roger - F5LKW
73 QRO - Roger - F5LKW - SOTA homepage: http://cwthf.free.fr
(If you worked Roger you can select your call and view/listen to your CW QSO – Ed)
CRETE by Phil G4OBK
Some info about my trip to Crete without radio in September:
We stayed in the hills above Rethymnon with a fantastic view of the White Mountains of Crete – the Lefka Ori. I decided after looking at the likely temperatures, the Regional SOTA ARM and the restricted baggage allowance on Jet2.com not to take my radio.
Most of the CR summits (and there are 51 listed) are difficult to locate on the very poor maps that are available. They top out with CR-001 Psiloritis (Timios Stavros) at 2456m. The problem of locating summits is compounded by the Greek alphabet and the different spellings of the same words, also that the summit has its own name and a mountain name as well. Our first week was a walking holiday and we managed to walk over four days in temperatures of 30-35c. One walk down a gorge was nice and cool. Another to the summit of Vyrissinis was in full sun, so it was necessary to carry a lot of water.
We stayed with an English couple - Paul & Liz who run a small business called Footscapes of Crete. They have been running guided and unguided walking breaks on Crete for 3 years after selling up in Penrith, and have built three studio apartments and their home on top of a hill above Rethymnon. The best time to go to Crete for walking and for SOTA would be April/May and October when temperatures are more in the 20-25c region. I got together with Paul one day to explain what ham radio and SOTA was all about and showed him the ARM for Crete. We worked out three summits that could be done fairly easily. Two were one pointers near to Preveli (on the south coast near to where we walked), CR-020 Mesokorfi (418m) and CR-021 Koryfi (373m). The other summit was to the north east and Paul had already had one guest who stayed with them who had climbed it. This one is CR-026 Koutsotroulos at 1084m and a 4 pointer. The route up this one is detailed in The Rother Guide for Western Crete. Paul felt with more research others could be found that were doable, and he would support any activators who stayed there to do SOTA. He would also welcome any amateur who wished to have a holiday type SV9 DXpedition and set up radio in the studios. Their place is in a rural situation and perfect for this purpose with room for a top band dipole if needed. Go to http://www.footscapesofcrete.com/ for more info and http://www.sota.org.uk/docs/SOTA%20-%20ARM%20Greece%20-%20English.pdf for the Cretan ARM list.
From FRITZ HB9CSA / DL4FDM
When I first heard about SOTA, I could not foresee much interest in a Mountain-award from the U.K. However, because I am the awards editor of the HB9-radio-magazine I wrote an article about SOTA for our “Awards-page".
My first SOTA contacts on the air were on CW with Ric G3CWI, Nik HB9EAA and Kurt HB9AFI, in 2005. Shortly after this Switzerland joined SOTA and suddenly there were plenty of summits around my birthplace of Zürich.
My father HB9RE and I decided that our first activation was to be on “our” local summit, the Üetliberg (HB/ZH-009). We are not climbers but we love ham-radio and the mountains. Together we had activated summits many years before SOTA was born. Our main activities on mountains had been on VHF/UHF and especially during the Swiss-mountain-day on 80m CW. This annual contest attracts many fans who build homebrew-equipment and light-antennas all-year-long in preparation for just this event.
In the early morning of 19.10.2005 we started to our fist SOTA-activation on Üetliberg. The weather was very foggy, around 2°C and everything was wet from the previous night’s rain. My XYL Claudia and my two sons Florian and Felix were very keen to assist in building the antennas and defrost us with hot coffee.
The first “CQ-SOTA” was quickly answered by Nik (HB9EAA), Ambrosi (HB9AGH) and Michael (DJ5AV). I was very pleased to hear them, they are excellent operator’s and still very active on the bands. After two hours of operation we felt like “Reinhold Messner” on Mount Everest and played CW without moving the fingers. Back at the (warm) home of my parents we knew we were both infected with the “SOTA-virus”.
During the next few days we activated HB/ZH-007 and HB/SZ-031. On both summits we had a lot of fun both with our own family and the “new” SOTA-family. On ZH-007 the first s2s contact was made with good friend Kurt HB9AFI/p and after 3-years of SOTA’ing the summit-to-summit-contacts are still very special to me.
I remember them all and I am always particularly pleased to hear G4YSS running GX0OOO/p and all the other friends on their activations all over Europe. With the big pile-up´s it is getting much harder to work s2s and I usually decide to stay on “my” frequency to work many chasers instead of wasting too much time calling the other /p-stations.
In my job I have to stay at work every second weekend. This is the reason of my “Thursday” activations. Back in 2006 it often happened that I was the only SOTA station active on a Wednesday or Thursday, but now in 2008 we often hear more than 10 activations on a week-day.
The pile-up´s are getting bigger and bigger, but if everybody keeps their cool it will be satisfying to everybody. I know (from my chaser-life) that it is sometimes hard to copy the activator’s details correctly, so I am not annoyed if somebody calls-me at the wrong time.
My “Mountain Goat” activation was on “Hornisgrinde” DM/BW-019, an easy ten-pointer in the Black-forest. After one “CQ-SOTA” on 40m 9A7W suddenly answered, followed by OE8SPW and 9A4MF…The 4th QSO qualifying for “MG” was on 80m CW with my Dad HB9RE. After some CQ’s I changed again to 40m and after an s2s with DDlLD/p I worked many of the SOTA-friends.
I was particularly pleased with a QSO with Mike, GW0DSP/p, who was working from GW/NW-062 for the 100th time.
The fact that 40m is a magic-band, is well demonstrated by a cluster-spot from F5AKL. André did not hear my signal at the beginning of my activation, but 30 minutes later he was 599+ on my S-meter.
I usually work with my FT-817 with 5 W output using a 7Ah-battery and an inverted-vee-dipole of 8m. If the WX is fine I stay at least an hour on a summit and try to work as many stations as possible. CW is the easiest way to get many QSO’s into the log and I also find that it is a big advantage because, as an added bonus, you do not disturb other people visiting the summit.
I am not a friend of “4 QSO’s = QRT-operations”. I do not think that it is in the “ham-spirit” to close after four contacts without reason and leave the chasers calling and calling. I particularly admire the activations run by Klaus DF2GN and John G4YSS because they always attempt to get all chasers in their log.
The most beautiful moments are my activations with my family in F and HB9 There is so much beauty to see on French and Swiss Mountains. Of course DL(DM-)-summits are nice as well, but different to the Alps. However, strangely enough I know more about this region and summits around DM/HE (Hessen) than most of the people living here.
In my position as the regional-manager of DM/HE, I have had to delete many summits from the list with the P100-rule, but I also have found some “new ones” and so I really hope that the Germans will not completely leave the SOTA -program in 2009.
In my opinion SOTA-activating is excellent public-relation for amateur-radio.
I have never met so many “non-radio”-people asking about my hobby. Often, the reason for some breaks in between working stations in the pile-up´s are “non radio persons” who ask me about the Morse code. Sometimes they know CW from the years around WW2, which was well before I was born.
I am very thankful for all the SOTA contacts. A big thank-you goes to Roy (G4SSH) for all his cluster-spots, he should receive a special-trophy for his very helpful and unselfish work.
My SOTA-activations have been made in the following regions:-
Germany: DM/ BM -2, BW - 15, HE - 124, RP - 14
France: F/ - 1, MC - 1, VO - 5
Switzerland: HB/- AG - 1, AI - 2, BS - 1, NW - 2, SG - 1, VD - 9, ZG - 1, ZH -9.
Here are the statistics of my activations:-
2005 I activated 18 summits and made 297 contacts, an average of 16.5 QSO’s per activation.
2006 - 73 summits -1422 QSO’s (average 19.5 QSO’s).
2007 - 68 summits - 2128 QSO’s (average 31.3 QSO’s)
2008 - 33 summits - 1338 QSO’s (average 40.55 QSO’s)
DL4FDM/p and HB9CSA/p-chaser-honor-roll
- HB9RE 268 contacts
- G4SSH 142 *
- HB9AGH 108
- HB9AFI 95
- HB9DOT 91
- F8DGF 83
- G4OBK 82
- G3VQO 79
- HB9AAQ 79
- G4CPA 77
- I should send you an award for that Roy.
I hope to activate many more summits with my father HB9RE and my family
and would be pleased to meet many of you very soon again.
Keep healthy and many thanks for all the nice contacts!
Vy 73, take care, à bientôt, ahoj, szia, ciao and dsw
de Fritz HB9CSA,DL4FDM
Many thanks for this most interesting profile of one of SOTA’s most respected activators Fritz. It is always a pleasure to work you on the air. SOTA News would welcome similar personal contributions from other activators or chasers. – Ed
EI REPORT (Part 2) by Norby LX1NO.
28.08.2008 EU/IS-130 EU-121
This one was a very sudden decision. Quite some time left and a ferry “within reach” to Cape Clear Island. Decided to take the 2pm ferry and come back at 530pm. This should leave enough room for an activity. The trip was very quiet but you couldn’t see a lot because of the fog. After the arrival, saw a lot of nice cars (or should I say wrecks?). But they were all in perfect operating condition. The way up wasn’t too hard. 40 did not work well at all, 30 was the running band for the MP1. Great to meet up with a lot of non-SOTA people During the stay, the sky cleared up and I had a great view on the island and it’s surrounding.
That’s been a tougher one. I did not believe that those steep hills can be so wet. I definitely need a better pair of shoes. Nice farmer in that area, told me which way to take. 40 did not work well and on 30 mostly DX’ers, not many SOTA people. All sleeping already?
Good WX but a bit tight in time. IW82 was on the road and easy to reach. Other tourists took a different route up and I found them struggling on the way down although there’s a path that could easily be seen from top. Luckily, there’s a kind of stone tower and stone walls on top which provided some shelter for the MP1 although the top still bent in the wind. 40 was lousy, 30 again the running band. Probably a bit too early for the hard working community but everything was just in time for me. A bad WX system showed up and I decided that a quick dismantling is the way to go. I ran down the hill and no second too late. After closing the car’s door, it started to rain.
WX did not look so great, lots of showers. Ferry trip was ok. Rented bikes and drove west. WX improved but quite windy. Found a half-way sheltered place and set-up MP1. Unfortunately, wind blow it down from the tri-pod and upper part got bent. 20 and 30 worked great with 40W. Finally some K stations. Decided to QRT after 1h30min in order not to drain 8Ah battery to dead end.
Short notice activity after we reached Connemara NP. Lady at desk said tour needs 2,5h. Were ahead of time and decided to give it a try. Easy to reach summit. Found shelter behind a larger rock, very windy. Neither 30 nor 40 worked well. Decided to quit after half an hour and barely callers. BTW, tour can be done in 1h10min.
04.09.2008 EU-121 Inis Bó Finne
Sea did not look nice the day before but extremely quiet today, 95% blue sky. EZ trip on ferry. Found nice place on football field aka not too wet (…) 30m bad on dipole (4 Qs in 12min), set-up MP1 while calling CQ. 20m finally generated some Qs and first call logged from VE. Superb day.
Front desk at Glenveagh NP told me that Dooish is not a good choice because of the rain during the last weeks. You might sink in 3 feet into wet grass and there’s no track. Errigal has a track but is 100m higher, needs 3h to get up and down. Got permission from the clan and rushed to the small parking place. It’s already been filled with cars and plenty of people running around like ants in the grassy area. Got about 500+m to go up now, first 150m in soaking wet grass but not too deep. It’s a pain to move on until the rock area is reached. The “rocks” are nothing but little stones, looks like walking on gravel. 1 step up, half a step down. My definition of a track looks different. Finally, it improves but it’s quite steep. Reached top after an hour and found shelter on the west side against wind blowing up on east side. No place to move, a few feet away it’s going down at least 300m. 30m shows a good run and 40m finally fills the log with nearby UK. Still no EI’s. Quit after 45min. Descent had to be done carefully, some spots were like skiing. Had to be cautious with running stones and slower people in front of me. Finally reached the muddy area and after 40min were back in the car and back to the family.
A great day with plenty of blue sky to add SOTA-DXCC #11 to the activated countries. Had a well loaded program for that day and decided to do a quick one from GI. Bad road leads to the top and signs indicate fishing (?). Finally arrived, plenty of people up there with a nice lake on the top hill. Gras shoe deep wet, as usual. Set-up station on a gras top that’s been a bit dry. Big hello to my all-time companions, the little flies.
What a bad day to think about SOTA. Rain all morning until we drove south into EI. Lighter areas in sky indicated something good. Even saw some blue spots. Hill top totally in clouds, very windy on top. Noticed a larger tower and wind produced quite some noise. Luckily, that transmission site did not cause any interference. CQ’ing quite long on 40 and 30 and could “feel” the moment when somebody put me into SOTAWatch. Tnx. First EI-EI contact, with Mike. Approaching Dublin, rain again. Another JIT activity.
After about having had some email exchanges with Bernard EI8FDB, we finally met to do IE-072 together. WX was pretty unstable, lots of showers during daytime and it did not look good what we could see from the west coming towards us. set-up my station, Bernard put up a 80m dipole with an FT-817.
Started to call CQ but it took a very long time on 40m to achieve a sole contact with Steffen DL4ALI. Decided to try 30m, long CQ’s at the beginning, then finally some Qs. Dark clouds and rain were passing south from us. Decided to return to 40m and added some more Qs. Meanwhile, Bernard called CQ on different frequencies on 80, but in vain. Both antennas being vy close, I created additional QRM. Stretched the dipole a bit more and decided to give my first ever try on 80m. Managed to work some Gs and connected Bernard’s microphone to my radio. First time the 857 was used on this mode :-o Unfortunately again, only 1 Q made it into his log
Finally decided to quit and meet with those 2 guys who were waiting for us in a local pub for an hour already: Mike EI2CL and Pete EI7CC. I think we spend a good time together with quite some exchange. Thank you guys!
Bad day with lots of showers. On the way to the very last destination on EI soil, decided to have a look at this reference. Summit wasn’t hard to reach but dark clouds were passing just south and you could see the showers falling across the whole area. Luckily, they did not find me. Q rate was average.
Ahead of time and summit within easy reach. Used the 40/30 dipole but unfortunately it did not help to generate lots of contacts with the continent.
73 Norby LX1NO
(You made a lot of chasers very happy with these (often unique) SOTA’s Norby. Unfortunately this expedition clashed with one of my regular visits to Cornwall and I found myself closer to EI than usual and well within the skip distance for 40m, with the result that I was unable to copy the majority of your activations. I should have stayed in North Yorkshire ! - Ed)
HF SSB ACTIVITIES - SEPTEMBER 2008 by Dave G6TDN
September’s weather started out the way August ended – mostly wet. The period 3rd – 7th was no exception where, despite being near Pembrey, Carmarthenshire, none of the local summits were activated. The only activity was to operate at 80M from WAB square SN40CRM (actually from the Caravan Club site, by kind permission of the warden). QSO’s were achieved with G0NES, G0BFJ, G0NSL, G3XKT, G3GKC, G0RQL/M (South Hams, S Devon), G3TXH and G0TRB. It is noticeable how many SOTA chasers are also WAB enthusiasts. With this in mind, I have always been happy to operate from a WAB square if I am in a ‘wanted’ area.
The first decent day of the month (13th) saw me on Callow Hill, G/WB-015. Reference to the summit notes shows that there is room for a couple of cars at SO457853, but when the folly at the top of the hill is open for viewing, the gate at the a/r grid reference is open and there is room for several more vehicles along the track at SO459852. From this point there is a path directly to the folly, if you must, but it climbs 95 metres in a mere 250 metres. It is overgrown in places and after the recent wet weather, quite slippery. The alternative is to use the broad track that heads about east to SO465852 and then almost doubles back on itself to the tower. I set up the dipole on the side of this track on a bearing of 80 degrees. Although my T-Mobile phone was working for text messages, it resolutely refused to co-operate for self-spotting. Vodafone worked fine. 80 metres brought in G4ELZ, G8ADD, G0TDM, G0RQL, GW4BVE, GW0DSP, GB2SAC (Special event station located at Tonna Neath for Churches on the Air), G0TRB and M0COP. Changing to 40 metres only added DL2EF, with a comment that the band was in very poor shape, and S51ZG (Slovenia). I think I heard DL/G1INK/P calling for a summit-to-summit but was unable to establish a QSO. 20M was wall-to-wall with S9+ contest stations and no QSO’s were achieved, which is why I prefer to do HF activations during the week rather than at weekends.
Friday 19th was another fine day and saw me driving over to park at SH900549 – a long-abandoned quarry, for the walk to Mwdwl-eithyn (GW/NW-047). The approach is well described by Tom, M1EYP, on the SOTA summit resources page. There has been some fencing work done since I was last in the area and it is now necessary to do a little gate and fence climbing. It is possible to take a direct route once the summit can be seen, but it is very hard going. The antenna was set up in the line of quite a stiff breeze at a bearing of about 30 degrees, but in hazy sunshine in the lea of the derelict shepherds’ hut it was very pleasant. After self-spotting with my T-Mobile phone (I didn’t have to resort to trying the Vodafone service) 80 metres yielded G0TDM (thanks for correcting my self-spotting error, G4JZF, GW0DSP, G4ELZ, G0TRB, 2E0PXW, G0NES, G0RQL, G6WRW, G4RQJ, GM0AXY, M3YHB, GM4YMM, and EI7CC. The change to 40 metres added DL2EF, DJ5AV, HB9AGH, F4CTJ and DB8BG. Moving on to 20 metres brought in S53MN, S51ZG (with some difficulty, but well worth persevering), S57GB, LA1BNA, and SM5BMD. As usual, I was using the FT817 and a stepped dipole.
We were out in the caravan between the 24th and 28th, and for once the weather was very kind to us. We were located near New Quay, Ceredigion, so the 25th saw us heading for Foel Cwmcerwyn, GW/MW-011. For previous activation of this summit, using my MW0DFA/P call, we have parked at SN075322, just off the B4329. The path heads east, and then south from about SN096322. This is usually wet, especially around SN084321, and after the wet summer we’ve had I decided to give it a miss and try a rumoured route from the south. We parked in a lay-by at SN074288, where there is room for 3 or 4 cars. Just across the B4313 is a good track heading NE and later skirting woodland (some in the process of being felled when we passed). The track was muddy in places, but nothing to dirty the uppers of your boots. The track gradually reduces to a wide path, and between SN088303 and SN090304 goes across very wet ground. Nevertheless, both my XYL and I kept our socks dry. Going through the final gate at SN092307, an obvious path heads, initially steeply, up to the summit cairn and trig point. We took about 50 minutes for the walk. Once again T-mobile wouldn’t self-spot, but the Vodafone worked OK, and brought in a small pile-up on 80 headed by G6WRW, followed by GW7AAV, G3RDQ, G0RQL, M0COP, G8ADD, G0NES, G0TRB, G0TDM, G3OHC, M0GMG/P (In Macclesfield), and G4JZF. Most of the QSO’s were affected by deep QSB. The change to 40 added F6GEO and SM6CMU, and 20 yielded OE5HCE and DL2DXA, the first QSO’s reported on this band from this hill
My only other activity from this area was on 80 from WAB squares SN36CER (G0RQL, G0NES and G4JZF with severe QSB) and SN35CER (G0NES, G4JZF, G0RQL, G0NSL and G0TRB, again with severe QSB).
SOTA CW REPORT - by Roy G4SSH
The bottom of the 11 year sunspot cycle is a time when the lower bands usually give good propagation, but are frequently under used. This was evident during the month of September when Klaus DF2GN made many contacts on 160m for the first time in my memory. John G4YSS, using club call GS0OOO was also active on 1.832 KHz during an expedition to Western Scotland, where he also had much success with 80m, around 3557 KHz CW and 3724 KHz SSB. Conditions were good on this band, in spite of quite deep QSB.
There were many expeditions during the month, with many activators giving multiple summits in a single day: OK/DJ5AA, EI/LX1NO, DL/HB9RVS, F/HBV9AFDI, PA/DL2XL, OK/DL6UNF, M/DL1RNN, DL/HA2VR, DL/LX1NO and M/DJ3AX
(I wonder if M/Benny/p went too?).
30m was again popular with activators. Heard active on this excellent band were EI/LX1NO, MI/LX1NO, DJ5AA, OK1DDQ, DL4CW, LA1ENA/P, DF2TS, LA5AA, HB9AGO, S57X, S57XX, LA1KHA, G4RJQ, DL5WW, DF2GN, GW0DSP, LA1ENA, F6ENO, F5IUZ, DJ3AX, DL/LX1NO, DL3VTA, OE5EEP/5, DL3VTA and HB9RVS.
There was an interesting development during the last weekend in September when the world-wide RTTY contest swamped 40m frequencies above 7015 KHz. With 7032 KHz unusable, activators dodged around 40m attempting to find a clear spot between RTTY transmissions or below 7015 KHz. There was much SOTA CW activity on 7022 KHz, (which is a good emergency reserve spot, being 10 KHz down from 7032 KHz) and also 7013, 7019 and 7025 KHz. This proved to be quite a challenge for chasers playing hunt-the-activator and although there was often 4 or 5 SOTA’s on the air at the same time, chasers were diluted across the band and there was no huge pile up’s. I found it refreshingly different to the usual melee around 7032 KHz. Every activator was spotted sooner or later by a chaser and the spots page went into overdrive.
There was also a concerted effort by activators to avoid the congested spot around 7032 KHz outside contests. Alain F6ENO continued to commence his activations on 14045, then move to 10118 and finally 7032 KHz… Andy DL2DVE was starting on 14060, then 10118 & finally 7032. Jurig S57X was using 7028 KHz and Norby was using 10118 and 7019 KHz.
There was SOTA activity heard on 14 MHz from S51ZG, EI/LX1NO, DL4CW, HA2VR, and F6ENO.
We extend a warm welcome to the following stations, heard activating SOTA on CW for the first time:- Bert DF5WA, Helmut OE5DIN, Werner DK3WM, Mike LA5AA, George DL9NCI, Joe DK1WV and Jiri OK1DXK.
Can I request that new SOTA CW activators please do not use the QRP spot frequency of 7030 KHz? You may be QRP but the dozens of chasers who call in will not be QRP and one such activation effectively wipes out QSO’s between 2 x QRP stations on 40m for at least 30 minutes. This caused much criticism of SOTA in the early days, including deliberate jamming and was the reason why SOTA activators moved up 2 KHz, to around 7032 KHz.
There has been much discussion during the month about duplicate spots appearing on SOTA Watch. I find that the majority of CW spotters are usually self-regulating, in so much that when a duplicate appears the one to appear first is left and later spots offering no additional information are deleted by the originator within a few minutes.
I passed a couple of SOTA milestones myself last month. A first-ever VHF CW QSO on 144 MHz was made with Tom M1EYP/p QRP, located on SP-015, using 50w to a Slim-Jim antenna on my bungalow at sea level on the Yorkshire coast, which is a distance of over 100 miles, .and finally a SOTA QSO with Norby LX1NO on DM/RP-158 allowed me to qualify for the 2500 chaser Uniques certificate, gained using CW only.
LIST OF CONTESTS DURING OCTOBER:-
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.
11th only 0001-2359 FOC CW Contest
18th -19th 0001-2300 JA World-Wide RTTY contest
18th -19th 1500-2359 Worked all Germany CW / SSB contest
18th-19th 1200-2300 QRP ARCI CW QSO party
25th-26th 0001-2300 CQ World-Wide SSB DX contest (Major QRM to 40m)
SOTA News 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