SOTA NEWS SEPTEMBER 2009
EDITORIAL – by Roy G4SSH
Welcome to the September edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Les G3VQO, Barry GM4TOE, David 2E0DAI, Andrew M0LKB, Rob and Audrey G4RJQ and Luc ON6DSL.
The month of August has traditionally seen the most SOTA activations of the year, due to a combination of good weather, school holidays and family holidays. This year was no exception for the first three weeks, but bad weather all across Europe curtailed many planned activations towards the end of the month.
SOTA MANAGEMENT TEAM ANNOUNCEMENT
The first of September sees yet another new Association joining the SOTA family. This time we have spread north into Canada, where the Québec (VE2) guys will be in close proximity to W1 and W2.
We hope to create a hotbed of SOTA activity in that part of North America.
SOTA Management Team
Jean-Pierre, VA2SG, intends to be the first SOTA activator in the history of Canada by activating from Mont Valin (VE2/SG-002) on the 1st September. (Now posponed until the 2nd Sept - see reflector).
This will be followed by Jean-Francois, VA2SS, activating Hereford, VE/ES-010 on the 12th September.
Both stations intend using SSB, CW and PSK. (See alerts on Sota Watch)
SOTA AWARDS FOR AUGUST - By Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager
Time seems to fly these days, another month has gone, there is a definite chill in the air (well in GM there is) and the hours of daylight are rapidly dwindling. This doesn’t seem to have affected the number of claims for awards which still come in thick and fast.
OK1CYC Miroslav Pribyl and HB9TNF Guido Zala are the latest claimants for achieving the Mountain Goat -1000 activating points, while Kevin, G0NUP has played “catch-up” and having claimed his Shack Sloth trophy decided to claim all the certificates that were due to him – maybe his shack needed re-decorating!
Last month I mentioned that I had a surprise up my sleeve for David 2E0DAI; well his Chaser certificate was a little different from others especially as it said “Copaon ar yr Awyr” on the top line and was completely written in Welsh. This does not reflect my linguistic skills but those of a close friend living here in Tomintoul. If anyone else would like their certificate in a language other than English I would like to offer this service but would obviously need assistance from native speakers – any offers to translate? Incidentally, the word “Chaser” does not translate readily into Welsh so the term “Hunter” was substituted.
I have now received some more Mountain Goat trophies so these are once again available if you would like something to decorate the mantelpiece at home. Remember, you can have some additional lettering put on the front of the trophies if you wish (such as “All CW”), the cost is £1 per additional letter which is what the engraver charges for the work, just remember to let me know what you would like and enclose the additional fee.
Finally, the order for the first batch of promotional shirts is with the manufacturer and should be with me by mid September; I have ordered a small quantity of additional shirts which I will supply from stock once I have taken delivery – watch the reflector for information.
OK1CYC Miroslav Pribyl Mountain Goat
HB9TNF Guido Zala Mountain Goat
G0NUP Kevin Prince Shack Sloth
PA1AT Gerard Nieboer Shack Sloth
OK1CYC Miroslav Pribyl 1000 points
HB9TNF Guido Zala 1000 points
HB9AGO Hansruedi Stettler 250 points
G4YTD Tim Booth 100 points
HB9AGO Hansruedi Stettler 1000 Unique Summits
G4GRG Grajon Radio Group 250 Unique Summits
G3OHC Graham Badger 15000 points
SM6CMU Ingemar Olsson 10000 points
G0NUP Kevin Prince 2500 points
HB3YNE Eduard Luzi 1000 points
G0NUP Kevin Prince 1000 points
S56WPF Mitja Podlogar 1000 points
G0NUP Kevin Prince 500 points
G4JNN Paul Corrigan 500 points
SM7GUY Ingvar Lagerholm 500 points
M6MIJ Jennifer Nuttall 250 points
2E0LAE Tony Ciathos 250 points
G0NUP Kevin Prince 250 points
G4YTD Tim Booth 250 points
G0NUP Kevin Prince 100 points
G4YTD Tim Booth 100 points
Barry Horning GM4TOE
WELSH SOTA CERT No.1 - By David 2E0DAI
I had a wonderful and unsolicited surprise on my return from holiday the other week. In a familiar stiffened envelope from Scotland I found that Barry GM4TOE had sent me the first SOTA certificate written in Welsh. I chuckled with delight! I had on the wall the conventional English 250 chaser point certificate for which I’d paid. He, and it turns out his buddy Paul Owen [once of Criccieth and a first language Welsh speaker], had gone to the trouble just for fun. Diolch yn fawr i chi Paul a Barri!
Foremost Welsh speaking SOTA activators Robert Williams G0PEB and Alun Guest-Rowlands 2W0CYM are likewise delighted and are looking forward to asking for their own certificates for Copaon ar y Awyr . I think it’s fair to point out that Barry can do certificates if asked in Welsh and Scots Gaelic with help from his friends and family but other languages would require assistance from the appropriate SOTA ARM or first language speakers.
David Holman 2E0DAI
David 2E0DAI is on the mend [see M6WOW broken leg in April/May SOTA news] but is finding walking on slopes quite hard. He’s activated Detling Hill and Raw Head during August, which in both cases involved a small walk in. David will be SOTA training in Shropshire G/WB land with the intent of conquering some Lakeland fells in G/LD with his Dad in November. “Amateur Radio and SOTA were brilliant for keeping me busy during my convalescence. Thank you to the activators who said lots of kind and encouraging things during QSO’s.”, he said.
CLIFFORD UPDATE - By Andrew M0LKB
In the May 2009 edition of SOTA News, we reported that Clifford (Age 9) would be doing a sponsored walk to the summit of Coniston Old Man and Scafell Pike in order to raise funds for the MS Society.
At the time, Clifford (who was unlicensed) said “My Daddy (M0LKB) was diagnosed with MS (Multiple Sclerosis) in 2006 and has been unable to fully participate in activating for SOTA ever since, so if anyone could help by sponsoring me, that would be kind.
Readers may remember that Clifford completed both peaks and we have just received the following news from his Dad:-
Clifford’s website has been updated with a new video of him presenting to the Northampton and District branch of the MS Society the funds raised during his sponsored climb of LD-001.
Clifford and his Mum, Sheri-Lynn, also passed their foundation exams last night (25th August) at the Kettering and District ARS.
That now makes 5 licenses in the family, G6LKB, M3ULV, M0LKB, M6??? And M6???
Can you guess what Clifford’s call maybe if it is available?
SPOTLESS DAYS from Spaceweather.com
A spotless day is a day without sunspots, a day when the face of the sun is utterly blank. Spotless days never occur during a Solar Maximum when the sun is active, but they are common during Solar minimum, the opposite phase of the 11-year sunspot cycle, when the sun is very quiet. By counting spotless days, we can keep track of the depth and longevity of a solar minimum.
By the standard of spotless days, the ongoing solar minimum is the deepest in a century: NASA report. In 2008, no sunspots were observed on 266 of the year’s 366 days (73%). To find a year with more blank suns, you have to go all the way back to 1913, which had 311 spotless days (85%):
The lack of sunspots in 2008, made it a century-level year in terms of solar quiet. Remarkably, sunspot counts for 2009 have dropped even lower. As of March 31st, there were no sunspots on 78 of the year’s 90 days to date (87%).
On the front page of spaceweather.com, you can monitor the increasing number of spotless days. Look beneath the Daily Sun image for these key indicators (updated daily):
Current stretch: 9 days Updated April 4, 2009
“Current Stretch” is the number of consecutive days the sun has been blank. The 100-year record is 92 consecutive spotless days in April, May and June of 1913.
2009 Total: 81 days (87%) Updated April 4, 2009
“2009 Total” is the total number of days and the percentage of days in 2009 that the sun has been blank. The 100-year record for a full year is 311 spotless days (85%) in 1913.
Since 2004: 592 days Updated April 4, 2009
The first blank sun of the ongoing solar minimum appeared in 2004. “Since 2004” tells us the total number of spotless days since that time. The 100-year record for total spotless days in an entire multi-year minimum is 1019 spotless days in the years around 1913.
Typical Solar Min: 485 days
Looking back at the last ten solar minima (not including the ongoing minimum), we can count the total number of spotless days in each and calculate an average: 485 spotless days. The average exceeds the number of days in a year because solar minima last much longer than one year. The fact that the ongoing solar minimum has already racked up 590+ spotless days with no end in sight tells us that it is much deeper and longer than average.
EXPEDITION TO THE ISLAND OF KOS - by Luc ON6DSL
Hello Dear Friends,
Here is my expedition report from Belgium concerning the SOTA activation of DIKAIOS Oros mountain on Kos Island EU-001 – SOTA REF. SV/AG-048.
Saturday 8th August
We spent the afternoon exploring the Greek village of Zia at the foot of the mountains. Zia itself is a small town with about 20 houses and some churches. The short main street consists of tavernas and shops, with a few parking places. At the small market place we found a street with an arrow and the words “Taberna” and this was actually the start of the route to the top of the mountain. In the tavern we enjoyed a meal and a bottle of water.
Here we chatted to the friendly owner about the route to the summit and whether it was possible to have some refrigerated bottles of water in the morning to take with us during our trip. The manager said that was no problem and told us that every day tourists came there to see the most beautiful sunset over the whole island, looking out in the direction of the other Greek Islands and Turkey. Unfortunately we were not able to admire the sunset because we left the village before dark.
Sunday 9th August
After a good breakfast in our hotel restaurant we left the bungalow around 0830 and made our way to Kos City and on to Zia. This part of the route was now familiar to us after our exploring trip the day before. After driving through some narrow steep roads we arrived at Zia within the hour, where we collected our water and food which we had previously ordered from the Tavern.
We said goodbye to the manager and went up a small road from the terrace to find a souvenir shop owned by Maria. The Taverna manager had advised us that for safety reasons anyone climbing the mountains in the area should leave details of their intended route with Maria. We found the shop without difficulty and left details of our expedition.
After winding our way through small and narrow roads and little steps in the town Zia we eventually arrived at the intersection of several roads, but unfortunately there was no identification of the path up the mountain. However we noticed an old lady sitting outside her house at this cross roads, watching us with interest. We went across and she guessed immediately where we were heading. She could only speak in Greek, but I could understand what she meant when she said DIKIOS ? I replied "KALIMERA … JASSU …NE, PARAKALO. (Good day … Hello … Yes, please). The old lady smiled and through a mixture of Greek words and hand signals told us the way to the Dikaios Oros mountain.
Turn right here, she said, follow the road about 2 km to a goat-gate, open the gate but close it after you, then follow the road for 2 km to the sign with the inscription “XPICTOC” then continue by following red dots painted on stones. I thanked the old lady with “ADIO EFCHARISTO …”
We continued climbing and descending sandy roads on our way to the gate and then up to the sign. Then we began the real climb to the summit.
During the first part we were walking between the trees, which was pleasant. For the benefit of our friends at home (ON3DSN-ON4EDM-ON6AW) we sent regular SMS messages to inform them of our progress. Because of the severe heat, my XYL and I had agreed to stop for something to drink every 10 minutes, whether we were thirsty or not, and dispatch an SMS message approximately every 20 minutes. Yes, it really was very hot that day, about 36C, with only a slight breeze between the trees. Fortunately there were no insects to trouble us. We then proceeded along a goat path up above the tree line where we encountered a strong wind for the remainder of the ascent to the summit.
Hmmmm … The top … actually we had 3 peaks to overcome because the mountain range has several peaks. We finally arrived on the highest peak (the Dikaios Oros summit) at about 1230 local time. Our first sighting was of a blue and white Greek flag with a cross. Close to the summit was a kind of shelter and then a little further on just before the summit itself we saw a chapel, where we followed tradition by lighting a candle for a safe journey. Marking the summit itself were some stone towers.
In the shelter we found a first aid box, batteries, lantern, candles, matches, a small generator, petrol, beds and sheets, mattresses, and an entire sun energy installation. There was even a 230 volt electricity supply, via a converter.
The strong wind made it difficult for us to set up our equipment at the summit and there was no shelter against the fierce sun, so we decided that we would return to the shelter. Here we found some bushes and a tree that we could use good for putting up the fishing pole to support the antenna and have some shelter against the wind and the fierce sun.
1300 local time (1100 UTC)
After we had eaten and drank, everything was prepared and made ready. Antennas erected, FT817, battery, logbooks etc, and I was very relieved to discover that there was no QRM, as we had experienced during our expedition to Crete in 2008. We made a quick GSM phone call to our son Nick ON3DSN, to report that we arrived and that we were ready to be QRV.
We then sent our first SMS spot to SOTA Watch:-
SV5/ON6DSL/P QRV QRP 5 W FIRST 40 LATER 20
The first QSO on 40 m band was SV2KGA Adamos then 9A7W Ozren. Then a sudden silence, with nothing else heard. I then made many calls without response.
In desperation I made a quick SMS to my son Nick ON3DSN with the request for a SOTA SPOT on 14.285 MHz SSB. That brought some more callers, but all signals were suffering from deep QSB. Conditions were difficult and I made slow progress. However, I did manage some s2s contacts with DL5KD/P on DM/SR-018, G1INK/P on G/SP-004 and DL3SBA/P on DM/RP-007. I then attempted some calls on 18 MHz but conditions were even worse there, with the band closed, so I returned to 14 MHz.
We were aware that return journey would take around 3 hours and we needed to be off the mountain before nightfall, so we closed the station at 1500 hours local time and began packing up our equipment.
We returned the same way we had ascended, passed the sign “XPICTOC” and eventually arrived back at the cross roads where, to our amazement, the old lady was waiting for us. She waved and greeted us with a smile and made a gesture to come over to her garden where we were each given a lemon picked from a tree in her garden, which were very good for the thirst. I thanked the old lady with “EFCHARISTO” … … “EFCHARISTO” and made a gesture in the form of a cross sign and the combined holding of both folded hands.
She replied "PARAKALO.
We said goodbye and continued our way back to Maria’s shop to report our safe return. Maria was happy to see us back and was pleased to hear that everything went well. Maria spoke very good English. After a brief and friendly conversation with Maria we said goodbye and walked to the tavern where we had one last drink before leaving the town
We then walked down the Zia.Via, a few narrow streets, alleys and staircases and arrived back at our Suzuki Jimmy Jeep on the car part in the centre of Zia. We then drove the short distance back to our hotel. A perfect end to a wonderful day with lovely experiences.
Thanks to all stations who called in.
Worked stations in the log:
73 – Luc ON6DSL and XYL Annemie
CW REPORT FOR AUGUST 2009 - Roy G4SSH
There were very many SOTA CW activations during the month of August, including many cross border expeditions as activators travelled on holiday. These included:-
DL/OK2QA, OE/S53MN, DL/PA1AT, OE/S53MN, OK/DL1JET, LA/DD1LD, DL/HB9BGG, LA/SM3JBE, OE/DL4CW, OK/DH0DK, LA/LX1NO, SM7/LX1NO, OE/S53X, DL/HB9CMI.
The list of new SOTA CW activators continues to grow and we extend a warm welcome to the following stations heard active using CW for the first time:-
Karel OK1HCG, Fredo F4EMK, Heinz DK5WL, Christian HB9DBC, OE6GUS, Andre F6AVE, Jiri OK1IEC, Walter HB9BHY, Gerald F6HBI, Hardy DF6PW, Franz OE6WIG.
There was also a noticeable influx of new chasers in the CW pile-ups during the month, although whether these are new converts to SOTA or stations attracted from a spot on the DX cluster is difficult to tell at this stage.
The bands were in reasonable shape for mid summer and it was again noticeable how many activators were starting on the higher bands around 10118 and 14058 before dropping down to 7032 KHz. Most activators were using more than one band, which is always appreciated by chasers. This is particularly helpful if the chaser is located on the outer perimeter of Europe, attempting to read a QRP signal from an activator who is often inaudible on 40m, but easily readable on 30 or 20m.
Some activators operated in pairs to afford chasers the luxury of multi-band operation simultaneously, such as Dan OK1HRA & Tomas OK1IC , also Kurt HE8AFI & Claude-Alain HB9CGL, also Aage LA1ENA & Kjell LA1KHA, also Karel OK1HCG & Jirka OK1DDQ, who all often use 40 and 30m from the same summit at the same time. These efforts are much appreciated by chasers. Heard active above 40m were:-
28 MHz F5UKL
21 MHz F5UKL
18 MHz: F5UKL,
14 MHz:- F5UKL, DL2DXA, HB9DAX, S57XX, F4EMK, DL2DXA, F5IUZ, DK1HW,
10 MHz:- SM6EQO, OL7CX, F5IUZ, S52FT, HA7UL, S53MN, OE/S53MN, OK1DDQ, OK1HCG, SM0HPL, DL/PA1AT, LA/DD1LD, LA1KHA, HA5LV, LA/SM3JBE, OE/DL4CW, F5UKL, S57XX, HE8AFI, HB9BHW, OK1HRA, SM3TLG, F5AKL, DL5DXS, HG4UK, HA5CQZ, MW0IDX, HA3HK, OE5EEP/5, TK8B, LA1ENA, F8BVX, G4OBK, OE/DL4CW, HB9AGO, GM4OBK, G0ANV, DK1BN, DK1HW, F6EFI, F6ENO, OK2BDF, OK2OP, DF6PW, OK1FFU, S51ZJ.
Please accept my apologies in advance if anyone is omitted from these lists. I was on holiday during part of August with no access to SOTA.
Last month was certainly the best ever for collecting Swedish SOTA’s thanks to the excellent efforts of Hakan SM6EQO , SM0HPL/4 and Hans SM3TLG. Hakan activated 18 summits mainly on 10 MHz CW, of which I managed 14. The ones I missed were on 10 MHz which faded out to me during the later afternoons.
I recently received an e-mail from a disgruntled CW chaser who was upset after spending an hour trying to contact a newcomer to SOTA activating, only for the signals to fade out. He complained bitterly that the station was sending at about 10wpm, using double calls, and repeating the SOTA reference every over. He pointed out that there were about 30 chasers in the queue who were very well aware of the reference and if the activator had just replied to chasers with their callsign and signal report the pile-up would have been cleared in about 20 minutes.
As a CW chaser I have been there many times, and can sympathise. I have no problems with slow sending, everybody has to start somewhere, and an experienced chaser will always slow to the speed of the activator. If he does not do this then he does not deserve an answer. However, with regard to sending the reference every over, well SOTA rules state that “whenever possible the SOTA reference number should be obtained as part of the QSO” so he was sticking to the rules.
Having said that, every chaser knows that at one end of the scale there are some experienced operators such as Miro OK1CYC and Norby LX1NO who can rattle through a pile-up by sending RST and BK only and the SOTA reference about every 6th over, whilst at the other end of the scale you get others who feel that they should send the reference every over.
Most CW activators take a middle road, answering chasers calls with a name as a greeting, then RST and BK, and sending the reference every 2 or 3 overs. Many newcomers take some time to understand that a QSO can be tailored to conditions at the time and if you have a huge pile up then you can adapt accordingly. Failure to do this often causes frustration to chasers who start calling over a QSO in progress in a desperate attempt to reduce the length of waiting time.
In the end it is all down to experience and preference. Newcomers often have to learn the art of using BK. The bottom line is that, as always, the activator is King. My usual reaction is to switch off for 15 minutes whilst I make a cup of tea before returning.
One thing I have noticed, if you hear a chaser using double calls it is usually a sure sign that he is in trouble and cannot read the activator !
THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH 8 - by Rob and Audrey
The car has now recovered from its off spell and Audrey is breathing more freely so we are looking forward to getting back to the usual summer activations, weather permitting!
Sunday 2nd August. Dale Head.
Dale Head is best accessed from the summit of Honister Pass on the B5289, through Borrowdale, out of Keswick. The route can be quite congested in the tourist season, so allow a little time. Also be aware that some cycle races go this way to add to the congestion. At the head of the pass there is virtually no free parking space but there are several pay options.
A national trust car park behind the Youth Hostel accessed just before the hostel itself with their usual charges.
Honister Slate Mine, the entrance is on the left just over the peak of the pass. There are two car parks here; Right is the front car park really for short stay visitors and dear if you plan a long stay on it (£5 I think) and left, the Wainrights and Walkers car park, £3.50 for the day, pay in the shop. The centre is good and would amuse those not interested in climbing Dale Head, particularly if they took the mine tour. Coronation Street viewers will recognise this as the hill Liam fell off!
Dale Head is easy, if hard work from here, follow the fence line north from the top of the pass, the east side is easier. The fence peters out at an iron post, from here just follow the path to the large summit cairn. Beware! in mist, there is a long vertical drop just beyond the cairn. In good weather people sit with their legs dangling over the edge, I settle for the small shelter on the west whilst Audrey explores the further reaches.
HF proves to be dismal with no takers on 5 MHz and just two on 7 MHz CW, with 40 minutes spent calling CQ. There seems to be a shortage of chasers on 5 MHz nowadays which used to be reliable for a posting. QRP does not help either and I suppose we will have to bite the bullet and start self spotting if things continue. SSB was not much better but 2m came up with the faithful who are the reason we will always do this frequency/mode. Just two on 4m FM, both in GM. After two and a half hours it is almost as cold as winter so we head down. This hill is quite a drag on the climb and gets to the knees on descent and toddlers would need carrying most of the way.
Sunday 9th August. Grayrigg Forest.
We planned for Whernside today but now it’s me that’s coughing like a cab horse so decide on Grayrigg Forest instead. The approaches from the north and east are steep and grassy; the best attack is via the bridleway that serves the two wireless stations on Whinfell. Leave the A685 Kendal-Tebay road at Grayrigg village (SD579972) on a minor road beside the church heading north. This is like the road to obscurity but at SD569982 is crossed by a bridleway with room for one car normally. We say normally because today just as we have pulled in to the space a huge tractor arrives down the bridleway laden with hay bales. “Are we ok here?” I ask. “Not really today” he replies. “Why don’t you drive up?” “Is it ok?” I ask.” “‘Tis if I say so, just park after the third cattle grid” So up we go which is quite handy as it saves this coughing cab horse a fair bit of roadwork. The gates on this bridleway are all by-passed by cattle grids which are not gated so in theory you could drive to the wireless stations and park there. The bottom gate which is not by-passed was closed when we came down but not locked. You would take your chance I guess.
From the second wireless station head east to a difficult stile in a long stone wall. From here you’re on your own. There are a lot of paths, most of which peter out; a lot of hillocks and a final descent before the pathless climb to the summit, all of this littered with boggy ground fortunately fairly dry at this time of year. It would not be easy country to cross in poor visibility.
Once on the summit we set up away from the obligatory dead sheep and find a dead band in 5 MHz. Just one station worked in Cambridge, who gives us 55 so the sky must be working. He’s not a regular so again no HF posting and no other takers. All on holiday? 7 MHz is busy and can’t find a clear frequency but manage a QRP s2-s with Aage on an LA summit who seems to be having similar problems. Eventually work about half a dozen others but no posting and no replies on 10 MHz. 2m both modes make up for this and once again 4m produces just three contacts. Where is the fourth man?
Sunday 16th August, Muncaster Fell.
Forecast lousy, still coughing, still it is August so our favourite little opt out fell. This is a nice fell for a family walk with the added advantage of Muncaster Castle and the nearby Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway close at hand for those not into SOTA. Just turn left from the Castle car park (they don’t seem to mind, at one time they had an honesty box which seems to have gone). Head up the road, watch the traffic it can be bad and at the sharp uphill right bend take the bridleway straight ahead. This leads eventually past a pretty little tarn and out onto open fell from where the summit cairn is obvious. The damage to the track done by logging a year ago has been very well repaired but the north west slope looks a little sad without its trees No shelter at all but the top is fairly pointy so easy to hide from the wind. There is a lot of bracken at this time of year and the main path is not obvious.
While we were setting up a couple of chaps came up. “May we ask a question” one says. We expect the usual fishing, TV, football score query but it turns out they are Dutch folks on holiday and are lost. They have a map but cannot find where they are as “Muncaster Fell is very long”. We show them the trig point, they do not seem familiar with them and as one is coughing as badly as us we send them on their way with a cheery wave and a Fishermans Friend. HF is poor again with nil on 5 MHz, two on 7 CW, and just one on 10 MHz, but at least this is a summit to summit into OK. VHF only accounts for nine contacts, the highlight being a GI station on 4m FM. The wind is by now strong and the antenna is difficult to handle so glad to finish and head down
Sunday 23rd August, Pendle.
The weather forecast for the lakes would not disgrace February, so we head south and watch the rain hammer on home from the dry summit of Pendle. Again nil on 5 MHz and 2m SSB, but the rest make up for it.
The past fortnight has made us see that the Lake District, familiar to us, may be a trial for holiday makers from far afield, so here are a few notes that may help.
We have a Western Maritime climate which produces wet, windy grey days, even in summer. (Expect at least one bad day in a week). The weather can change quite quickly, usually from the west. The higher fells are not a nice place in these conditions and even if the walking amateur in your party enjoys this, the odds are that some of your average family group will not! If you have access one of the internet the best forecasts is from www.mwis.org.uk with major updates around 4.30pm daily.
Local BBC RADIO CUMBRIA, Frequencies 95.6 FM, 96.1 FM and 104.1 FM has fell forecasts on weekdays: 0632, 0732, 0832, 1232, 1732, 1832 and weekends: 0732, 0832 as well as traffic and local news.
Depending where you are based there are simple lower alternatives to the high fells, often close to a visitor attraction which may help to keep everyone happy. The following list is not exhaustive but might help you out on a bad day.
LD-050 Gummers How, Lakeside and Haverthwaite Steam Railway, Aquarium of the Lakes, Stott Park Bobbin Mill.
LD-058 Arnside Knott Small Victorian Seaside resort (a little further to drive)
LD-049 Kirby Moor Lakeland Wildlife park near Dalton
LD-048 Top o Selside Brantwood historic house
LD-055 Muncaster Fell Muncaster Castle Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway (8 mile narrow gauge railway running the length of Eskdale often steam hauled)
LD-033 Lords Seat Whinlatter Forest Visitors Centre
LD-035 Great Mell Fell Rheged Centre
LD-037 Little Mell Fell Rheged Centre
If you don’t have internet access while you’re here then drop us an E-mail before you set off, you can have our phone number and we will happily post alerts/spots if we are around. Being English we don’t do languages well, hi-hi, but can manage a little French and German. Failing this, when on the hill, using VHF to start will usually find one of the local chasers who will happily spot you.
Please come and enjoy the Lake District. If you have any questions please ask, but remember the lakes do not fill themselves.
As usual thanks everyone for the spots, take care
73 Rob and Audrey
LIST OF CONTESTS DURING SEPTEMBER 2009 :-
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 scheduled contests.
5th only 0001-2359 Russian RTTY contest
5th-6th 1300-1300 European SSB Field Day
5th-6th 1300-2359 All Asia SSB contest.
13th only 0001-2359 SKCC CW weekend sprint
12-13th 0001-2359 Worked-all-Europe SSB DX contest
19-20th 1200-1200 Scandinavian CW activity contest.
19th-20th 1200-1200 CIS DX RTTY contest
26-27th 0001-2359 CQ World-wide RTTY DX contest.
SOTA News is normally published around noon 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