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SOTA News September 2016

SOTA NEWS SEPTEMBER 2016 - Part 1 of 2

Editorial - by Mark G0VOF
Welcome to the September 2016 edition of SOTA News. My thanks go to the following contributors:- Barry GM4TOE, Skip K6DGW, Roy G4SSH, Kevin G0NUP, Rob and Audrey G4RQJ, Allen VK3ARH, Warren ZL2AJ, Toru JH0CJH, Bob F5HTR, Karl M3FEH, Geert PA7ZEE, Colwyn MM0YCJ.

As usual, the Summits team & MT have been working hard in the background & among many updates, TF (Iceland) association goes live from 1st September.

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The August 2016 edition of SOTA News was viewed more than 1003 times.

SOTA AWARDS August 2016 from Barry GM4TOE - SOTA Awards Manager.

Sometimes I might wish for something and get more than I really expected – awards claims have rocketed this month! We have had numerous claims from South Korea, (activators and chasers) which shows that SOTA is alive and kicking in Asia. Chasers achieving really high scores this month include VK2IO (20k), M3FEH (15k) , VK5PAS, EI9GLB and ON5SWA (all 10k). Karl M3FEH has achieved his chaser score in a really short timescale using no more than 10 watts and homebrew antennas and his growth into the hobby has been really interesting to watch.

The first award claim from ZL (ZL2ATH, Wynne) is now recorded on the claims register (Chaser 100), hopefully we will shortly see more claims as seasons revert towards summer in the Southern hemisphere.

Although the level of activations this last month has been as high as ever this is not reflected in activator based award claims – hopefully this will pick up soon.

Trophies Issued

Shack Sloth
2W0JYN Steven Bobby
VK3LED Col Herbert
GI0AZB Ian Evans

Certificates Issued

Activator
DS3FYA Jung Young Man 500 points
DS1QKF Bo-gyeong Lee 500 points
DG4KAI Kai Wendt 250 points
HL3ANE Hyeonho Cheong 250 points
DS3CNX Kim DongWook 250 points
DS3FYA Jung Young Man 250 points
DS1RHX Hyo-jong Kim 250 points
VK1VIC Anthony Vickers 100 points
M0VFC Rob Chipperfield 100 points
HL3ANE Hyeonho Cheong 100 points
DS3CNX Kim DongWook 100 points

Activator Unique
AE7AP Robert Kingery 100 summits

Chaser
VK2IO Gerard Hill 20000 points
M3FEH Karl Kruger 15000 points
VK5PAS Paul Simmonds 10000 points
EI9GLB Jim Hall 10000 points
ON5SWA Francois Gorremans 10000 points
VK3LED Col Herbert 5000 points
AE7AP Robert Kingery 1500 points
YO9YUL Iulian Constantin 1000 points
VK1VIC Anthony Vickers 1000 points
K9OSC Robert C. Brock 1000 points
VK3LED Col Herbert 1000 points
GI0AZB Ian Evans 1000 points
GI0AZB Ian Evans 500 points
DS3FYA Jung Young Man 500 points
GI0AZB Ian Evans 250 points
KD8DEU Allan J. Van Brocklin 250 points
HL3ANE Hyeonho Cheong 250 points
DS3FYA Jung Young Man 250 points
EI9GLB Jim Hall 100 points
KD8DEU Allan J. Van Brocklin 100 points
GI0AZB Ian Evans 100 points
SQ9JXW Jakub Kasprzycki 100 points
ZL2ATH Wynne Morgan 100 points
IS0LYN Mario Lumbau 100 points
KR7RK Keith Schlottman 100 points
HL3ANE Hyeonho Cheong 100 points
DS3FYA Jung Young Man 100 points

Chaser Unique
VK3LED Col Herbert 500 summits
AE7AP Robert Kingery 250 summits
DS3FYA Jung Young Man 100 summits

Summit to Summit
DS3FYA Jung Young Man Bronze
HL3ANE Hyeonho Cheong Red
DG4KAI Kai Wendt Red

Mountain Explorer
KK6YYD Phil Mosbacher Bronze

Mountain Hunter
G0FEX Ken Porter Gold
KD8DEU Allan J. Van Brocklin Bronze
KR7RK Keith Schlottman Bronze

10m – 6m Challenge

The following were the leading station in their Associations:

K6EL Elliott M Pisor W6 Activator
AE7AP Robert Kingery W7M Activator

There is not very much to report outwith the regular awards reports. Once again I find I am running out of flags as demand remains as high as ever and other items are rapidly needing replacement stock; I even ran out of board backed envelopes for certificates and had to purchase some at my local store!

Currently there is discussion about future challenges but the take-up of certificates for the last one is slow. I have had claims from people not qualified to claim them (similarly for other certificates); please ensure that what you are ordering is what you really want!

The following actions slow down my issuing of certificates because they result in additional work for me:
a) Wrong certificate claimed (e.g. Activator rather than Chaser)
b) Incorrect or missing qualification date – it is not difficult to ascertain the correct date from your records on the database. The qualification date is NOT the date you order the certificate.
c) Date format – this really does bug me as I have to make sure that your qualification date is correct when checking and again when formatting the certificate.
The certificate date is in the format dd,mmm,yyyy which is the European standard, the US standard of mm,dd,yyyy is generally easily translated but the one that I have to think about, and really slows me down, is yyyymmdd all digits. Please, please do not enter your date in that format because, if you do, I can guarantee you I will get the date incorrect on the certificate!
d) Asking for special filters from your records – if you want an award for “All CW” and your database records are mixed modes it means I have to do a sort to extract your records – make it easier for me by doing the sort yourself and emailing me the results!

I have recently had a number of examples of orders going missing; normal transit time from the UK to USA and Australia is in the order of 10 days from despatch, sometimes much quicker, sometimes slower; Europe 3 to 4 days is the norm. If you have not received your order within 28 days of placing it (which allows me time to process it, pack it and take it to the Post Office and for the postal service to get it to you) please let me know and I will get the order replaced.

Meanwhile, if activating please stay safe on the hills (and if you are a chaser – how about an activation?)

73

Barry GM4TOE
SOTA Awards Manager

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NORTH AMERICAN REPORT from Skip K6DGW

Hi All:

First off, I think there is a tiny bug in my statistics script this time. It’s a bit hard to have 606 Unique Summits with 562 Total Activations. I’ll see if I can find time to locate it.

At any rate, we were down in all categories for August. There are of course the usual reasons such as folks on vacation, although a lot of SOTA Addicts do more activations while on holiday. It does account for the lowered Chaser count however, most chasers do so from home. North America also experienced some very wild and destructive weather across the Plains and in the Southeast.

NORTH AMERICA TOTALS
Total Activations: 562 [673]
Nr Unique Activators: 195 [205]
Total Chaser QSOs: 3187 [6128]
Nr Unique Chasers: 215 [281]
Unique Summits: 606 [497]

2m: 124 (3%) [394]
6m: 1 (0%) [7]
10m: 2 (0%) [5]
12m: 0 (0%) [0]
15m: 2 (0%) [29]
17m: 44 (1%) [207]
20m: 2321 (72%) [4180]
30m: 255 (8%) [547]
40m: 429 (13%) [747]
60m: 2 (0%) [2]
80m: 0 (0%) [0]
160m: 0 (0%) [2]
Unk: 7

CW: 2077 (65%) [3956]
SSB: 978 (30%) [1780]
FM: 128 (4%) [390]
AM: 0 (0%) [0]
Data: 1 (0%) [0]
Other: 1 (0%) [0]
Unk: 7

AWARDS AND ACHIEVEMENTS:

Brad, WA6MM, reported that Dave, NN5K, has become New Mexico’s eighth Mountain Goat. Congratulations Dave. There must be something in the New Mexico water that creates exceptional Summiteers.

And Matt, K0MOS, told me on 1 Aug that: “Carey/KXØR is on it’s way to an new activation today (August 1st)… this peak will get him over the 2000 activator point threshold and therefore double MG… the first double MG in Colorado (WØC).” Congratulations Carey, one would think we could come up with a better term for 2,000 than “Double MG.” Alpha Goat comes to mind but then, what would we do when you get to 3,000?

Right now, any activation in AK is an achievement, and we have another to report. Dave, KG5CCI, alerted me that Dale, KL7R, was about to activate KLF/FN-164. He was on FO-29/SO-50 for another all-satellite activation. He was also in BP65 for another National Parks activation as well.

Gary, NA6O, sent me a “newbie story” and embedded in it was the news that he had just made Shack Sloth. Gary is also a fellow member of the Northern California Contest Club, and turns in some impressive scores. Congratulations Gary and welcome to Slothdom.

NEWS:

Matt, K0MOS, also reported that the W0C ARM has been updated to Version 2.3 – major changes included updating the prominence from 500 feet to 150 meters [see, we are going metric, inch by inch]. They also corrected an error in the feet-meter conversion, and as a result most summit elevations grew between 3-9 meters.

Curtis, KC5CW, who has got to be in North America’s Top 5 for gallons of gasoline per activation dropped a note:

“Thanks to SOTA, I’ve sold my house in Texas, found a house in Castle Rock, Colorado - and am currently homeless as I type this (my house has sold but I’m not in my new house yet). My wife and I are bunking in the basement of my original Elmer in Colorado Springs that got me into ham radio while I was in the USAF 20+ years ago. My new QTH (as of 26Aug) is in an HOA so I am planning on a Flagpole antenna and a wire in the attic to chase. After I get settled into my new job and QTH I plan on doing some activations in this very ripe SOTA field, that was a main driver for finding a job here!” [Ed. note: for those not familiar with the topography of eastern Texas, “flat” is the operative word]

John, VA7JBE, checked in with a couple of news items:

“August 1, 2016, marked a massive update for summit data in VE7 with more than 300 new peaks added to the database, particularly in Southwest BC. This update was focused on including summits with established access routes.”

"On August 6, 2016, I became the first VE7 callsign to break the 100 point threshold. This was done on Cheam Peak (VE7/FV-007) with Ralph (VE7OM) and Eric (VA7NX), two local SOTA enthusiasts and regional managers. I couldn’t ask for better weather or company. Despite feeling a bit ‘delicate’ from a staff event the night before I couldn’t ask for better weather or company. You can find a full trip report (and pictures) on Eric’s site here: http://www.scenicart.ca/content/mt-cheam-re-activated."

Etienne, K7ATN, advised: "Here’s a link for the latest Pacific Northwest SOTA Newsletter – September and October:
http://www.pnwsota.org/sites/pnwsota.org/files/downloads/K7ATN/PNW%20SOTA%20Newsletter%20Sep-Oct%202016.pdf.

You can find newsletter back issues here:
http://www.pnwsota.org/content/pacific-northwest-sota-newsletters "

RBNGate: There have been some inquiries as to when or if KU6J’s RBNGate software will reappear. From Elliott, K6EL:

“Yes, but the road is slow. KU6J died January 8th. His widow didn’t have the password to the right computer. Eventually, a back door was found and I got the code in March. It then went to MMØFMF and VK3ARR, who discovered that an important part is missing. At that point, his widow was busy stepping-in as the new CEO of KU6J’s company. We are still in contact, including a discussion last week about plans by W6PNG and WC6J to cement in place a memorial medallion atop a SOTA peak near her home, but she currently has no bandwidth for a renewed search of the KU6J computer. We will see, later. In the meantime, VK3ARR’s RBNHole is running.”

REPORTS:

Not all activations need to be or are Class 4 mountaineering expeditions. Matt, KF7PXT, posted an activation of W7W/RS-005 to his blog at:

KF7PXT Summits On the Air (SOTA) Blog: Mount Fremont (W7W/RS-005) SOTA Activation

Many of Matt’s activations such as this one include his wife Delma and kids [there are quite a few :-)] and are a great illustration how SOTA can be turned into a family affair with benefits for all. In an age when many teens and pre-teens have their phones surgically attached to their hands, climbing a beautiful mountain that just incidentally has no cell coverage may be a good thing.

And finally, from Rob, AE7AP:

"We are back from our Trilobite Trip & had a great time. We were able to activate 5 summits over the 7-day trip:

     Signal Mtn. (W7M/CL-040) 
     Kevan Mtn. (W7M/FS-016) 
     W7M/FS-035 
     Cruiser Mtn. (W7M/FS-044) 
     W7M/FS-128

Climbing Signal Mountain

Most of the activations were super quick since there wasn’t generally a lot of time to dally before we needed to hike back to our tent or on to the next campsite. I was able to work 20+ stations from the first two summits, but not so many after that. he trip was incredibly beautiful nearly every step of the way. We took over 600 photos. We encountered a pack train shortly after we left our first campsite on the morning of Day-2 & did not see another person until we returned to our truck on the evening of Day-7.

Trilobite Lakes

For a week it seemed that we were the only people in the world – except for the CW qso’s! The trip was a 55-mile loop over the continental divide with the summit climbs added in where we could fit them. We pushed hard the last two days due to concerns that there would be heavy rain that might prevent us from crossing creeks & block us from returning – fortunately that did not happen. The extra time was handy on the final day because a 2015 burn really slowed us up due to deadfall & difficulty following the trail.

Final Summit

I really appreciate everyone being there to work me, it was so nice to hear that first return to my CQ’s!"

That’s going to do it from the New World for August, Fall will be upon us next month. Stay safe,

Skip K6DGW
North American SOTA Reporter Dude

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SOTA NEW ZEALAND REPORT from Warren ZL2AJ

The SOTA ZL report can be found here:

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SOTA NEWS FROM JAPAN by Toru JH0CJH
Hi all,

Please find the following SOTA News from Japan.

As I reported last month, 11 August was new national holiday in Japan. It
is “Yama no hi” the meaning is “Mountain Day”. On this newly introduced
national holiday, many mountaineer enjoyed hiking. Big motivation is also
given to all SOTA lovers in Japan and many SOTA activation and QSO on the
day.

On 20 and 21 August, Japan’s biggest radio amateur event “Ham Fair 2016” has
been carried out in Tokyo. This time is 40th anniversary of Ham Fair in Jap
an. SOTA Japan association takes this opportunities and joined in “Yama to
Musen (Mountain and Radio)” group stand and promoted SOTA and introduced to
all Ham Radio stations. Total number of visitors of Ham Fair 2016 on these t
wo days are 37,000 and it is +1,000 larger than last year. During this Ham F
air 2016, many visitors have also visited SOTA Japan association and had enj
oyed eyeball meeting and exchange information. One famous visitor was W3IZ
Norm Fusaro ARRL HQ member and he also made a presentation of National Parks
on the Air (NPOTA)in main studio of Ham Fair.

The blog of Hamfair 2016 is shown there (sorry in Japanese)

http://www.kawauchi.homeip.mydns.jp/jh0cjh/blog/2016/08/21/2016年ハムフェア/

And some photos are below.

SOTA activity in August is a little bit activated because the rain seasons
was over.

SOTA operation August 2016 in Japan

Total number of Expedition 110 with 1079 QSO as of 30th August 2016.

JA: 106 expeditions with 1070 QSO from Summits
JA5: 0 expeditions with 0 QSO from Summits
JA6: 4 expeditions with 9 QSO from Summits
JA8: 0 expeditions with 0 QSO from Summits

The activity in JA5 and JA8 is very slow and some more promotion may be
required.

Toru Kawauchi
toru@kawauchi.homeip.mydns.jp

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THE VIEW FROM THE NORTH - 104 By Rob and Audrey G4RQJ
Well here we go again on a new month with a trip up Binsey in the very north of the Lake District. This is a very pleasant single pointer with quite different views of the mountains and lakes from the north. The trip up from Walney can be busy with tourists at this time of year and today took over two hours and as we neared the start we looked out for Keswick Garden Centre with its cup of tea, toilets and friendly staff and a popular spot with sheltering walkers and bikers, Guess what, it’s gone, an empty shell with a collapsed roof. The start of the path up has been much improved of late with a gate replacing the Kamikaze stile and room for about five cars. The path up is wide and grassy and the final mound easy and short, a perfect family walk. As I put up the HF system, Audrey finds some activity on 2fm and we soon have two in the log with just the h/held. This seems to be handy as 5Mhz is as usual lately, no return and someone calls cq on top of us and goes into QSO with his mate. 7Mhz produces four contacts, 10Mhz just one and 14Mhz nil, this in spite of RBNHOLE spots on all three, QSB we hope!
As we swap antennas for 2M the h/held still on its whip raises Ian M3WJZ for a quick s2s from Cold Fell on fm.
2m ssb brings just four including regular chaser G4BLH/M, Mike has been off the air during a house move and still has no antennas at the new qth, Hurry back Mike we need you. Another regular John G0TDM also pops up, his health has not been good lately, get well soon John we need you too! FM activity is low with just three, one is WJZ still on Cold Fell letting us know how much stronger we are with the beam.

The next paragraph is really for those interested in North Wales summits, military climbing history, and old radios which we hope will include a few readers. While in the Isle of Man we picked up a couple of small second hand books The Legend of LLandrog and No Landing Place by Edward Doylerush which may sound like Mills and Boon novels but are in fact are detailed accounts of air accidents during the last war and the resultant creation of the RAF Mountain Rescue service. The first sets out the growing accident rate in aircrew training and the development of RAF LLandwrog, now Caernarfon Airport. The Station Medical Officer realizing the importance of early rescue formed a team of ground crew all volunteers and they set out to attend crashes as soon as they were reported. This was in their own time and in addition to their regular duties, the only kit they had was regular uniforms, RAF greatcoat, boots and rope. With this they scaled the highest peaks in the worst weather searching for survivors. I (Rob) can vouch for an RAF greatcoat at least doubling in weight when wet with no improvement in warmth and the boots even when studded nothing to write home about. Eventually they were given 38 sets for inter-person communication and a 19 set in their rudimentary ambulance. The 38 set could manage about 2miles range on hf and involved a long whip and a harness with separate HT and LT pack all in all a lot of weight. We have one but don’t fancy carrying it far. The 19 set back to base used hf cw, we have one and very occasionally put it on air. The book goes on to cover the gradual improvements as the war continued and there are pictures of this and the improved kit that began to appear.

The second book covers the many crash sites in North |Wales in detail with personal accounts from survivors and rescuers often on hills and tracks we have used ourselves. One is a crew member of a Heinkel 111 that made a solo attack on the shipyard in Barrow on April 13th 1941 (missing me, can’t say I noticed but I was in my cot at the time). On his return leg they hit Llydmor loosing two crew members but the rest were rescued. Lots of detail on crew members often wounded making heroic descents in dreadful weather, down tracks you will recognise from their descriptions both books are full of information of sad times and are well worth looking out for.

Back to business and Sunday 14th saw us off up Black Combe our local four pointer. Started as always from Whicham church, lots of space and an honesty box, the climb is relentless, even Wainwright said so. As we neared the summit we passed a lady, I would say old but think she was younger than me (Rob). She was struggling with the climb so we walked with her for encouragement. She was with a large family party who were now up ahead, it was fifteen years since she had climbed the hill and she was doing this in memory of her son, lost in a paragliding accident on the hill. The family were off to play a game of cricket on the summit plateau in his memory. We stayed with her up to the top when the family came over to collect her. The resultant large crowd round the summit shelter meant no space for us so we set up on the southwest edge of the plateau where a cold strong wind tried to pretend it was not August. We tried 5Mhz first with no success yet again and seriously began to wonder if this band is worth the effort since its expansion. 7Mhz and just two callers but 10Mhz and 14Mhz were quite reasonable. We were quite late in getting to VHF so not many contacts here either.

Back in April we climbed Muncaster Fell and commented on the terrible state if the boggy grass plateau just before the final pull up to the summit of this little, pretty fell. The area was cut to ribbons with deep vehicle tracks in the soft ground. On TV the other day we chanced on the new version of Top Gear and there were the presenters doing the damage while trying to drive to the top of the hill. One can only hope that Muncaster Fell owners made them, BBC, us oh dear, pay through the nose for the privilege.

Some may notice that we have missed a couple of Sundays this month mainly due to Audrey being a little out of sorts with some sort of virus. Things are looking a little better now and we are looking forward to getting back to normal on our upcoming trip to the Welsh Borders Hope to meet up with some of you at Telford and lots more from the summits, spots appreciated.

Until then, Take care out there.

73
Rob and Audrey
G4RQJ

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SOTA FRANCE Edition No.2 August 2016 – Bob F5HTR

The most important information of this month was the ascension of the famous “Mont Blanc”. This expedition was held in the name of “UFT” association (Union Française des Télégraphistes). The challenge was not easy, and the preparation for this expedition took about 25 days in the area of Chamonix.

The famous F/AB-001 (4810m) might be the highest summit ever activated on the earth! Very few Hams have done successful activations. Last month, it was Jean Sébastien (F4CPJ) who activated the big one. This month, F4EZO, F8DQY and F6HBI have done a good job on the top of Europe.
About 50 qso’s have been done on 10.122 MHz with Gérald (F6HBI) who had such a big experience of SOTA pile up. It was a big cafarnaum on the frequency when chasers found him!!! As the time on the summit was limited, chasers became a bit impatient!! This is the other side of the medal!!
F8DQY, Frédéric discovered the SOTA traffic and was very excited when he saw Gérald accumulate qso’s in a row!!! Frédéric is very experienced in the mountain’s techniques. We will meet him soon in the SOTA program! He is not so fast in CW, but achieved about 16 qso cw on 40 m!
F4EZO, Mathieu was on 40m in LSB, and it was very difficult. He has done about 13 qso in SSB. It was not easy job to manage so many chasers at the same time.

The weather on the summit was very hostile and each second was counted. They spent about 40 minutes maximum for operating the radio. Temperature was negative already from 4200 m. At the top, the wind was very strong, with a need to fix everything on the ice. Gerald told me that the rope between him and his partner was in a horizontal position! Temperature was about minus 25 with the wind I suppose.
A really big congratulation to all of them, it was a very big challenge and it took 25 days to prepare it in a safe way. A report will be done soon with photos. You can already have an look at these links: https://www.flickr.com/photos/geof6hbi/albums and also here : http://www.uft.net/img/mtb/mtb.htm And a video here: https://youtu.be/oS-MERPbXm0

Concerning SOTA FRANCE: about 90 activations have been done this month by 40 different HAM’s. This month, the most active OM was Thierry (F4EGG) who achieved 12 summits in the F/AB region.
The new team of SOTA FRANCE is composed now and soon ARM will be updated on the website. I really thank all of them for the interest in the SOTA program and for their motivation to go ahead with the SOTA France.
A new Yahoo Group has been created in order to better serve the audience. Of course, you are welcome on it if you want to get information about French sota activities. The name of this group is: SOTA-FRANCE-new and the request for inscription is : sota-france-new-subscribe@yahoogroupes.fr
Best regards to all, if you come to France and wish have fun with Sota, do not hesitate to ask us for information.

F5HTR – Bob

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*********** SOTA NEWS PART 2 FOLLOWS BELOW ********

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SOTA NEWS SEPTEMBER 2016 - Part 2

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VK News – Allen VK3ARH

VK1 QSO party.
The 6th / 7th of August 2016 was the 4th year of this popular event. Mountain Goat Andrew VK1AD ex 1NAM does a fine job of promoting it and rallying VK1s onto hilltops. On Friday 5th August he posted to SOTA group that that there were 19 planned activations recorded at SOTAWatch involving activations across VK1, VK2, VK3, VK5, VK7, VK8 and ZL1., by Saturday this had increased to 30.

These events are always well attended as provide great opportunity for Summit to Summit (S2S) contacts. S2S contacts are where the activator gains points for the summits being activated as well as the summit being chased. On a typical weekend the activators are out at the same time so a couple of S2S contacts are not unusual. International S2S contacts are highly prized with several activators know to frequent summits just to chase DX.

Whilst the chased summit goes towards your chasers score, the S2S score is displayed separately. http://www.sotadata.org.uk/S2sResults.aspx VK activators are well represented in this aspect.

With so many opportunities this was a weekend not to be missed. The main activity is between 23:00 and 01:00 hrs UTC. Whilst chasers can take a leisurely approach to the day, activators need to plan as being on time is essential.

First my report - Allen VK3ARH

I intended to attend and having been late on previous years, had decided it was not to be the case this time. I selecting a summit with good access. This is not the day to be hiking out into the wilderness. Also the summit in question has good phone coverage. Phone coverage is essential to see where others operating and to be able to self spot is essential.

I went up to Mt William (VK3-VS001) in the Grampians. This summit in in the Grampians National Park (VKFF-0213, has good access and phone service. I took a tablet running Peter VK3ZPFs VK Logger application which allowed me to watch the activity and record my contacts.

This summit has a broad open activation area so able to deploy an 80M antenna. 80M was certainly the band to be on. 40M had been a struggle for local contacts in the run up so expecting the same poor propagation. I was not the only activator to be extending antenna for the weekend as 80m was very active.

Getting up early paid off with 17 S2S contacts including Zl1 and 4 Park contacts, an excellent result. Thanks go out to all involved, organisers, activators and chasers, every component is important.

Allen
VK3ARH

Andrew VK1DA also reports a successful activation;

My VK1 QSO party activation at Mt Ainslie went well, despite the band conditions being a bit flat.

As part of my activation notice to the VK1 radio club mailing list I invited visitors to Mt Ainslie so they could see what my setup looked like and how signals sounded in the absence of typical suburban noises. Three visitors from the club did visit and we had a good chat about various aspects of SOTA.

On 20m I worked four ZLs, one ZL3 activator and three chasers who were on the air to support the activator.

At the end of the operation I had made 42 contacts, including over 10 on 80m, a mix of SSB and CW. This was done using a full sized 80m dipole supported at the centre feedpoint by my 7m squid pole.

73

Andrew
VK1DA/VK2UH

As well as Nick vk2aoh;

Think a good time was had by all Sunday last. For me I arrived late at Mt Nangar as it was a 2.5km very steep in places walking track. Slow going in places, the normal vehicular road had been closed due to the recent heavy rains.

Due to the late start contented myself with doing a normal activation with the bonus of plenty of S2S contacts. 80M proved to be a useful band with three CW S2S plus a couple of SSB’s giving a total of 5 S2S on 80M.

Only 10 contacts in total, pity I could not have gotten to Mt Nangar earlier.
At times there was a slight drizzling rain with a bit of scramble to cover the radio and notepad. Luckily the rain eventually cleared off although still rather cold and heavily overcast.

There are excellent views from Mt Nangar lookout, Mt Canobolas can be easily seen.

Had the whole picnic area and table all to myself due to the closed road which compensated somewhat for the steep trudge up.

DX for me was a complete wipeout despite lengthy cq sessions. Only heard a very few faint dx stations the whole time I was a Mt Nangar.

Nangar Nat Park is a quite attractive place with lots of bird/wildlife and scenic views.

In all enjoyed myself and thanks for the organisers of the VK1 Sota party and all the chasers.

Cheers, Nick vk2aoh

Other activator blogs for available include;
Tony VK3CAT - https://vk3cat.wordpress.com/2016/08/11/vk1-sota-party/
Paul VK3HN - https://vk3hn.wordpress.com/2016/08/07/mt-st-leonard-vk3vc-006-for-the-vk1-sota-qso-party-2016/
Peter VK3PF - https://vk3pf.wordpress.com/2016/08/08/vk1-winter-qso-party-2016/
Andrew – VK1AD - https://vk1nam.wordpress.com/2016/08/05/vk1-sota-qso-party-sunday-7-august-2016/

Upcoming Activities
SOTA Summit - 1st to 3rd October. A long Weekend of SOTA and WWFF in Snowy Mountains National Park. Contact VK2QR vk2QR@post.com

QRP Hours contest to be run on October 23rd. A separate section has been included for QRP portable stations running from battery or solar power. For more information go to VKQRPCLUB.ORG or contact Andrew VK1DA.

Allen
VK3ARH

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OK Trip by Phil G4OBK & Geoff M0PYG

Phil OK/G4OBK/P and Geoff OK/M0PYG/P (ex- 2E0NON) will be taking part a walking holiday with their walking club in Jicin, Czech Republic from Sept 12th - 19th. They plan to activate several summits in the OK/KR Královéhradecký, OK/LI Liberecký and OK/ST Stredoceský regions when they can. Geoff will concentrate his operations on 2m FM and 20m SSB, and Phil will concentrate on CW on either the 20m, 30m or 40m bands.

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La Braye – “A Swiss adventure was Born” – by Colwyn MM0YCJ

SOTA Summit code: HB/VS-243. Region: Valais. Locator: JN36kh. Height: 1788m.

In early August Ann and I were lucky enough to be out in the Vaud region of Switzerland for a few days holiday staying in the village of Leysin. It sits at the top of a fine rack and pinion railway near the top, or eastern shore of Lake Geneva at an altitude of 1300 metres. In winter it is a ski resort and at a time before antibiotics were discovered, it was a resort or spa for the treatment of tuberculosis; for those who could afford it. We certainly found that the sunny, southern aspect of the village did indeed lend itself to a feeling of well-being.

A retired colleague; David has an apartment there, mainly used for skiing, and was kind enough to let us stay with him.

There are two large peaks above the village and we had successfully activated them both on the 14MHz band; Tour de Mayen (9 previous activations) HB/VD-045 (2326m) on 11th August and Tour D’ Ai (13 previous activations), HB/VD-014 (2331m) on 13th August. Both peaks involved scrambling up to the top using chains and fixed steel cables (called via ferrata) which enhanced the experience, but they would be OK for any SOTA activator who don’t suffer from vertigo! Just remember to take a climbing helmet, harness and via ferrata clips. Both are well served by a gondola getting aspiring summiteers to within a few hundred vertical metres of the summits and waymarked paths, but we chose to walk up from the village avoiding the convenience of mechanical uplift but hopefully accruing some health benefits.
However, I had noticed that among the Valais summits on the opposite side of the Rhone valley there was a peak for which there was no recorded radio activity, whereas every other peak had been activated more than once.

Rudimentary internet research produced little useful information and my sole source of information was a blog by an Irish lad (I think) working in the Portes De Soleil ski area a few years ago. Photographs appeared to show a group of 6 people rock climbing and reported success on achieving the summit, but information on the route and expected difficulty were absent; and so, as David said, and as we headed off into the unknown, “A Swiss Adventure was Born.”

Early on the morning of 14th August, the alarm woke us and after a quick breakfast we headed off to the village of Torgon, by a tortuous set of hairpin bends. We eventually reached a substantial car park at the foot of a set of ski lifts at the Plan de Croix (Le Tseudron).

The excellent Swiss maps suggested we could get somewhat closer to the foot of the hill by car, but the sun was out so we decided to accept the longer walk, and keep the underside of the car intact. From the car park (1333m) we headed steeply due West adjacent to a long button or Poma ski tow. Soon, we turned north contouring on the waymarked footpath towards the Col d’ Outanne. As we emerged from the trees to join the track to the farm called Dravers, we had our first sight of the mighty summit for the day; La Braye (1788m). The derivation of the name is unclear; internet searches suggest it may be a cob wall made from mud or loam; an alternative is a cord or strap to mount a charge (horse) or the strap supporting the beating of a bell. I mention them as both a steep wall and hanging on to a galloping horse or tolling bell, could be loosely fitted to events that day.

Helped by the clear, cool mountain air, and avoiding the large cluster of bee hives protected by an electric fence, we continued to about 1550 metres, then headed north, over a lovely mountain meadow, covered in wild flowers, clearly popular with the bees! We also had to avoid sundry deposits left by the large herd of dairy cows, to reach the Pas de Braye (1633m). There is a steep drop on the north side of the pass, so the gentler southern approach has much to commend it. Turning east we reached the foot of the west ridge of La Braye through a lovely alpine pine forest and walked up steeper and steeper ground until confronted by a limestone rock face; David then decided to go elsewhere for a walk!

Two of us put on our rock climbing gear and started up the West ridge. The climbing was delightful, never hard and security could be assured by tying a sling to the nearest tree, of which there were many at this modest altitude. We also found a number of fixed expansion bolts, which usually added to safety. Clearly some of them were positioned to facilitate an abseil descent. .

We competently reached the summit after three rock climbing pitches (short rope lengths) with some easy scrambling between, and found the supposed summit crucifix we had seen was actually a dead tree. The climbing was safe and simple; at most UK grade very difficult (V diff), UIAA grade IV, French 4a.

There was no record of anyone having transmitted from the summit and my lightweight 4 metre fishing pole and inverted – V dipole were soon stretched along the small summit ridge. It was warm and sunny with almost no breeze, perfect for sunbathing. However, the FT817ND, with an extra LiFePO battery to raise the output to 5 watts, was fired up and I started transmitting SSB on the 14MHz band; HB9/MM0YCJ/P.

Alarmingly, there was nothing. Switching the 817 meter over to SWR it went off scale when transmitting. I knew the antenna cable was properly connected so there was nothing else to do but use my spare, military grade RG174 coaxial cable. Thankfully it worked as I had thought about leaving the spare lead behind to save weight!

Almost immediately, 552 kilometres away, M3FEH in Cornwall answered me at 10:22 UTC; 11:22 British Summertime; 12:22 Swiss time. During the activation I made six other UK QSOs (M0TTE/P, G0RQL, G0VWP, G4FVK, 2E0NMK/P, G1BLJ), four Belgian stations; ON4CAS, ON7TWA/M, ON7MD and ON9CBQ. Three Irish; GI0AZA and GI4ONL from Northern Ireland, and EI9GLB from the Republic. Two Spanish stations; EB2JU and EA2DT, two Czech Republic; OK2PDT and OK1SDE. Two Austrian contacts; OE5HDN and OE8SPW and one QSO each from Norway (LB8IG/P), The Netherlands (PA1BR), Lars in Sweden (SA4BLM) and Italy (IK6ZRX). A total of 24 QSOs on 20 metres.

Once the pile-up was successfully worked, and despite the sunshine, we abandoned plans to try other bands and turned our thoughts to the descent and our wandering colleague below. I packed the lightweight radio kit, while Ann set up the rope at the top abseil station. There were three abseils in descent down the rock climbing pitches, all using very good professional fixed gear and we were soon reunited with our walking boots, poles and lunch. We therefore enjoyed a sunny late lunch sitting in the south facing wildflower meadow, as the bees buzzed. The walk back to the car park, in the warm afternoon was glorious, arriving just after David; then home to Leysin in time for tea.

Figure 1, (Braye 1 route). First sight of La Braye, the route we followed in red.

Figure 2, (Braye 3). HB9/MM0YCJ/P summit radio shack.

Figure 3, (Braye 4). Ann clinging to the summit rock.

Figure 4, (Braye 5).Ann abseiling down La Braye.

Colwyn Jones
HB9/MM0YCJ

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SOTA Family by Geert PA7ZEE

In July my grandson Samuel PA4SAM and I made a SOTA Expedition to DM/SX, DM/HE, OK/US and OK/KA. In August my friend Frank PC7C and I did the same to DM/NW.
I like to say: ‘Many Thanks!’ to all the Chasers who made these trips to a success.
I cannot mention everybody, but some of the Chasers I will mention here.
On almost every summit there were: Manuel EA2DT, Roy G4SSH, Gerhard OE6GND and Lars SA4BLM. We were often spotted, which was very helpful when, due to poor conditions, RBN did not pick up the signals from my KX1.

Now being active in the SOTA program for a few years, I have the idea of becoming a member of the SOTA Family and that feels Good!

The exchange of call and report is, often with the names, relaxed and friendly. That is especially very nice when the circumstances on a summit are difficult due to high or low temps, strong wind and/or precipitation.

Being active as a Chaser as well as an Activator it is not hard to understand the difficulties on both sides that can arise. When somebody is sending in CW with 15 wpm it is nice to adjust the speed when answering. In phone I try to use some words in the language of the other side. That will not be perfect but it is appreciated.

This is what I would like to share with my SOTA Family.

73, Geert PA7ZEE

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2 YEARS OF CHASER ADDICTION – Karl M3FEH

When I first found a signal that caught my attention on the 11th Sept 2014 and worked said station listed below. And then found more, I asked one of the operators what was this all about and he lead me to the Sota site. And even on that very first day of Sota for me, I had already taken the road to being a Sota addict and gained and listed my first points.

11/Sep/2014 10:44 M3FEH OK/SQ6PLD/P OK/KR-064 Kamenný vrch 14MHz SSB

I was warned this is addictive and they may well be very right, even now as I head towards my 2nd Anniversary of Sota chasing on Sept 11th 2016. Now I have broken the 15k chaser point barrier, and I’m heading towards my 2.5k unique summits worked. Because of the Sota addiction and part of it working low powered stations that operate from these summits, and myself being a lower powered station of only 10w, lead me to a new course of action to improve my station. Especially the antenna side of things, as an increase in power is not permitted, but taking the power I have and making it work harder was another goal.

First step, rid myself of that old G5RV in August 2015 and improve my antenna system, learn about loops and feeders too, which seemed fairly simple to do and the task was set upon with good results. First, I could hear more on my old TRIO 120V due to lower noise levels. I even found my 10W working even harder across the bands and reaching further around the globe. Then started the development of my Portable antennas with my 40m 1/4w Vertical and inverted L off an H/B 9/1 Unun, with very good results off my first summit G/DC-003 on 10w straight into Australia off the Vertical portable antenna.

Next step; get a better radio. When my old Trio died after many, many years of service I found a nice bargain with a Yaesu FT450 AT back in April 2016. The difference between the two radios is something else, for I can hear so much more, put out better cleaner signal and my score on the door has increased. For I can hear more and work more Sota’s, thus further fuelling my addiction. This also gives me more bands to play with, including 6m and now my 3El 6m Moxon beam is ready & waiting to catch a summit on air on 6m.

Now under review and development is a plan to improve my 20m antenna, a 2 El Moxon for 20m, of reduced size frame work but keeping the full length of wire and boom dimensions as I have nice 35ft pole in the garden now. I’m also making up a remote controlled rotating system save me running up down stairs every time I want to change the direction of the beams.

At the end of day this goes to prove that some addiction, and even on a silly little station or start of a set up, things can be improved and improve what you can work and hear as I have only worked in SSB so far on or under 10w. Plus you learn little quirks to help you along the way and improve your operator skills. We have a thing now called the DUCK, and nobody wants a day of Duck, of not working a single Sota that day.

So as this 2nd anniversary for me comes along real soon AND be warned Sota chasing is addictive, I would like to thank all behind the scenes, fellow chasers and of course the activators who take their time and even their holidays to go up summits.

Karl M3FEH 15k Super Sloth

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SOTA ON TOP BAND - Mark G0VOF

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

August was a quiet month with no Top Band activations. One personal note is that I have now added 80m sections to my more recent lightweight 6-band link dipole, which I now also feed with RG174 instead of RG58. This makes a big difference in weight, & to add 160m to this antenna I am looking at making two of the G4YSS slug tuned coils. I will keep you all posted with details of how I get on.

As always, If you do have any suggestions on things that you think should be included, or if you wish to contribute tips, ideas or anything else that you think may help others on the band please email them to me at mark@brownhill.demon.co.uk

Until next month,

Best 73,

Mark G0VOF

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CW REPORT FOR AUGUST 2016 - Roy G4SSH

Propagation remained very poor at the beginning of August, where Hans HB0/PB2T and Matt HB0/HB9FVF were busy activating various summits in Lichtenstein. Hans PA0HRM was activating from the Netherlands, Jirka 9A/OK2BDF was operating from Croatia, Nagy YO/HA8QW was active in Romania and Dan F/HB9IIO was located in France.

Luc ON7DQ commenced a four day, 12 summit expedition around Belgium and Luxemburg on the 6th, and Chris ON6ZQ was active with his trademark “1 UP” mode of working on 10 MHz. Mike HB0/HB9SAM was operating from Liechtenstein and Janos 9A/HA4FY was active from Croatia.
Special Anniversary call S5100ST was active during the first weekend, operated by Milos S51D (CW) and Sabina S53YL (SSB).

Phil GI4OBK and Victor GI4ONL commenced a three day tour in the GI/MM Region of Northern Ireland on the 7th. Geert PA7ZEE was active from various summits in Germany.

Manuel CT1BWW commenced a summer tour in Portugal on the 9th and the 10th of the month, and Tonnie PA9CW commenced a five day expedition on the10th, with the aim of activating as many 10 point summits as possible in OK/OE/DL.

Towards the middle of the month Andy MM0FMF commenced a run of SOTA GM/WS summits in Ardnamurchan & Morvern and this was extended into a continuing target of an attempt to activate all the SS summits South of Glasgow and Edinburgh. Between 15th-19th.

Phil GW4OBK appeared from the occasional summit in Wales, as did Dave GW0EVV. Nick GM4OOE was heard activating summits on Arran Island as part of a Grantham Radio Club expedition, mainly concentrating on WAB and IOTA points.

Hans OK/PB2T was active approximately every 2 hours, as was Geert DL/PA7ZEE. Markus DL/HB9BRJ was very active from Germany and Hans F/HB9BQU from France.

Sergy was operating as SO9TAP from SP/BZ-058 over the weekend of the 20-21st.During the last weekend of August Frank was active from multi-summits in Germany as DL/ON6UU, Andy F/G4AFI was active from France, Chris was active from England as M/ON6ZQ and chasers were delighted to copy Igor UA9CDC, activating a unique summit in the form of R9U/CE-059 located in the Urals.

It was interesting to hear CW activity on 80m again, with Robert, DL4ROB calling CQ SOTA on 3.560 MHz on the 30th.

73 Roy G4SSH

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SOTA ACTIVITY REPORT FOR AUGUST 2016 by Kevin G0NUP

Mode: CW on 24MHz: activity for August

DL6FBK/P, F5UKL/P, OE6WIG/P

Mode: CW on 28MHz: activity for August

DL6AP/P, DL6FBK/P, F5UKL/P, HB0/HB9FVF/P, JH0CJH/1, JP3DGT/3, LZ1WF/P,
S52AU/P, SO9TA/P

Mode: CW on 50MHz: activity for August

JG1VCH/2, JJ1SWI/1, JR1NNL/1, LZ1WF/P, OE1WED/3, OE1WED/6, OE3HPU/P,
OE3IPU/P, VK3CAT/P, W7USA

Mode: CW on 1240MHz: activity for August

Mode: FM on 28MHz: activity for August

Mode: FM on 50MHz: activity for August

JG1VCH/1, JI1VJC, JM3GVH/3, KK4OSG, OE5YYN/P, OK1DEU/P, OK1NF/P

Mode: FM on 1240MHz: activity for August

JG6CRU/6, JP1QEC/0, JS1GRO/1, OK1DEU/P, SQ9KCP

Mode: SSB on 28MHz: activity for August

2E0YYY/P, DL6FBK/P, EA4DE, F4ESK/P, HA5CQZ/P, HA5OT, HB9DQM/P,
K5RHD, KK4OSG, OE5AUL/P, OE5EEP/P, OE5JKL/P, OE5REO/P, OE5YYN/P,
S5100SF, S52CU/P, S57D/P, S57MS/P, SQ6GIT/P, SV2CNE/P, SV2OXS/P,
WB7ENX

Mode: SSB on 50MHz: activity for August

2M0KAU/P, CT2IUV/P, HB9/IW2NHE/P, IW2NHE/P, IZ1OQU, JA1KHZ/1, JG1GPY/1,
JG1VCH/1, JG1VCH/2, JH0CJH/1, JH1EWV/0, JI1IHV/2, JI1UPL/2, JJ1SWI/1,
JM3GVH/3, JM3URG/3, JR1NNL/1, JS1UEH/0, JS1UEH/1, K7ATN, OK1DEU/P,
S56LXN/P, S57MS/P, SV2OXS/P, W7USA, WA2FON

Mode: SSB on 1240MHz: activity for August

OK1DEU/P, ON4TA/P, WB9KMW, WD9BGA

Regards
Kevin J Prince G0NUP

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SOTA News is normally published on the last day of each month, but there will be occasions when the Editor is not available at this time, in which case it will be published as soon as possible afterwards. It can only be as interesting as the items submitted, so 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 enthusiasts all across Europe, the USA, Australia and beyond, in a total of 114 different SOTA associations worldwide. Your input will be most welcome.

We receive many e-mails during the month containing details of activations, milestones reached and general SOTA news. Unless advised otherwise we will use this information in the next edition of SOTA News. It is important therefore that you advise us if any information is not intended for publication.
For ease of processing, please submit your input by e-mail direct to the addresses below and not via the Reflector. Items sent to Roy G4SSH should also be sent to Mark G0VOF.

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

Mark G0VOF
Assistant SOTA News Editor
mark@brownhill.demon.co.uk

U.S. and Canadian reports to:-
Fred K6DGW/7 [aka “Skip” on the radio]
Canada/US SOTA Reporter Dude
Sparks NV
k6dgw@foothill.net

Australian input to:-
Allen VK3ARH
VK Reporter
VK3ARH@wia.org.au (note the recent change)

New Zealand input to:-
Warren ZL2AJ
warren@zl2aj.com

Japanese reports to
Toru JH0CJH
jh0cjh@jarl.com

South African input to:-
Dennis ZS4BS
zs4bs@netactive.co.za

6 Likes

Hello,
thanks a lot for the excellent report and congrats F8UFT expedition for the challenge of activating Mont Blanc. Bravo!!

Just to be precise, the past month activation of F4CPJ was not the unique, because he met in the same summit with DM1LE, Stephan, who had the brilliant idea to give a surprise to Jean Sebastien and activate the same day up there.
Report is here:

Thanks a lot for the Sota News, a good read as usual.
73 de Ignacio EA2BD

Hello
Thanks for this interesting sota news.
Best 73
André f5ukl

Hi all,

I have now received the SOTA ZL report from Warren ZL2AJ. This would take part one or part two above the reflector’s character limit so I include it below:

SOTA NEW ZEALAND REPORT from Warren ZL2AJ

SOTA Activity Report for July / August 2016

List Summits activated
Date Activator Summit Code Summit Name QSO
3-Jul-16 ZL4OL ZL3/OT-441 Swampy Summit 1
5-Jul-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/AK-023 Maungawhau / Mount Eden 5
6-Jul-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/AK-023 Maungawhau / Mount Eden 10
6-Jul-16 ZL2ATH ZL1/WL-129 Makara Hill 2
9-Jul-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/AK-018 ZL1/AK-018 20
10-Jul-16 ZL3CC ZL3/OT-514 Puketapu 16
10-Jul-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/AK-018 ZL1/AK-018 14
11-Jul-16 ZL3CC ZL3/OT-454 Mount Cargill 13
16-Jul-16 ZL2AJ ZL1/WK-158 Puketutu 5
19-Jul-16 ZL2ATH ZL1/WK-076 Karangahape 10
24-Jul-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/WK-141 ZL1/WK-141 9
24-Jul-16 ZL2AJ ZL1/HB-114 ZL1/HB-114 7
6-Aug-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/WK-147 Klondyke 4
6-Aug-16 ZL2AJ ZL1/WK-153 Pukemako 5
6-Aug-16 ZL2KGF ZL1/TN-006 Patuha 16
7-Aug-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/WK-147 Klondyke 7
7-Aug-16 ZL2AJ ZL1/WK-153 Pukemako 4
14-Aug-16 ZL3CC ZL3/CB-725 Saddle Hill 20
14-Aug-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/WK-035 Te Aroha 8
15-Aug-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/WK-035 Te Aroha 3
20-Aug-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/WK-151 Pauanui 15
20-Aug-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/WK-195 Paku 7
20-Aug-16 ZL2AJ ZL1/WK-052 Maungatautari 13
20-Aug-16 ZL2ATH ZL1/WL-054 Rimutaka 16
21-Aug-16 ZL4TZ ZL3/SL-245 ZL3/SL-245 3
21-Aug-16 ZL1BYZ ZL1/WK-151 Pauanui 2
28-Aug-16 ZL2AJ ZL1/WK-139 Kakepuku 17

Report for July August 2016
A significant number of activations have occurred over the last 2 months. It is encouraging to see the activity grow. New activators include John ZL1BYZ, Kyle ZL2KGF and ZL4TZ Tim. We hope you enjoy your activations and continue to find new summits to conquer.

Notable activations include Andrew ZL3CC’s trip up ZL3/CB-570 (un named hill south of lake Lyndon). In the snow, out of cellphone coverage, Andrew made 8 QSOs gaining 4 activator points and 3 bonus points for activating the summit during the winter season (each association has its own winter bonus point rules). Tim ZL4TZ activated ZL3/SL-245 on the 21st of August with his helper (son?). They only managed 3 contacts and conditions were extremely difficult, so no points were gained this time. However, I’m sure the SOTA bug has been caught and they will look for more activation opportunities after some equipment refining maybe. ZL2KGF Kyle made his first activation up Patuha, near New Plymouth. With 16 QSOs and 9 Summit to summit contacts in the log, Kyle is off to a great start. John ZL1BYZ has started his activator log in this reporting period, activating 7 summits. I was lucky enough to catch John on 2 meters simplex from Te Aroha while at work. John has already attained 1949 chaser points (from 416 activators) at the time of writing and now has 12 activator points to his name.

On the weekend of the 6th and 7th of August was the VK1 SOTA Party. The aim, besides to add to activators summit list, was to maximize the number of summit to summit (S2S) contacts. This year there were 30 activation alerts on www.sotawatch.org including 6 from ZL. Conditions were difficult on the day, with the skip zone on 7 MHz extending over much of the length of New Zealand. The 80 meter band is often to noisy to make much use of with QRP equipment during the day, however 20 meters worked well into VK for some valuable contacts. An allocation on 5 MHz would be very useful in these conditions.

New Caledonia (FK) has recently joined SOTA. I enjoyed mapping this island. With 347 summits listed – there sure is something for every activator available. Thanks to Andrew VK3ARR for the use of the software, Arnaud JG1XMV for sorting out the names of the summits and Sam FK8DD who has taken on the role as association manager for New Caledonia. The scenery looks beautiful – Emma and I hope to visit one day.

Every now and then I get emailed with questions regarding SOTA. I welcome all enquiries to SOTA and I hope I can answer your questions accurately. Please feel free to send questions to warren@zl2aj.com. Here is a selection of questions I have paraphrased.

I don’t do smart phones, apps and struggle with the internet. Can I still participate in SOTA? Yes you can – however it will be more difficult, and you wont be able to collect activator or chaser points. You will only be able to give them out to others. To claim points for SOTA as a minimum you must be part of www.sotadata.org.uk. Register your callsign and password there and start building your SOTA log.

Where can I get a map of summits? There are several ways to get to know where summits are. The easiest is to go to www.sotadata.org.uk (the database) – under summits dropdown menu (hover the mouse over summits) you will see SOTA mapping project. Click this and it will take you to www.sotamaps.org (or you can just go straight to that address). From the drop down menus select the association (ZL1 or ZL3 for New Zealand North and South Islands), and the region. Give it a moment to get all the data and you will be presented with a map with coloured triangles pointing to each summit. The colour (and number) indicate the points available for each summit. Hover your mouse over the triangle for the summit reference. Alternatively, if you have mapping software on your PC, I can send you an overlay file with all the summits marked as waypoints. Email me if you would like an overlay file for your mapping software.

There’s a big hill near my place. Is it a summit? If not why not – its over 150m high. If the summit is not in the www.sotadata.org.uk database it is not a valid summit. The lists (found under summits tab) are definitive. If you think your hill might be a candidate let me know and I will check. It must have 150m prominence (see definition of prominence on Wikipedia) to qualify, however I can check for this relatively quickly. A few summits in the South Island have been identified and will be added during the next update (once every year). Until the summits make it onto the database they are not valid for SOTA.

How do I find out about a summit that has been activated? Many activators run blogs. If it’s a summit I have been to Emma will have made a blog entry on our blog (google emma zl2aj sota). Andrew ZL3CC also runs a blog on https://zl3cc.wordpress.com/ for summits he has visited. Valuable information can be found within the blog entries regarding access, time, and resources. You can also visit www.sota.org.uk, click summit listings, select the association, select the region, select the summit. There you may see external links or articles listed relevant to the summit to gather additional information. If you have activated a summit and want to add a link, log in to www.sota.org.uk and you will have options available to add new links or articles on each summit.

Can you come and talk at our next branch meeting? Yes, if I can. I have spoken at a few branch meetings, as well as conference 2015 and 2016. Be mindful that I work so I need to fit the meeting (including travel) around my work commitments. I am happy to send material to a SOTA activator for them to present on my behalf.

SOTA in New Zealand is on Facebook. Search for ZL-SOTA and send a request to join. Please message me your callsign so I know you are a ham (or associate) and I will join you to the group. There you will find group discussions, activation alerts (often in real time), and reports with plenty of impressive photography from activators.

Total Summits Activated for Period – 27
Total number of ZL summits - 5172
Total number of ZL summits activated – 63
Percentage of ZL summits activated – 1.22%
Total ZL Chaser contacts logged for period 195

73, Warren ZL2AJ
warren@zl2aj.com

3 Likes

Many, many thanks for the trophy and certificate received on Friday for achieving Shack Sloth, its taking pride of place in the shack. We are enjoying this amazing aspect of the hobby and getting out and about as well, seeing some parts of our country which we never dreamed were there. All the best Ian, GI0AZB, Northern Ireland. Local summit Benbradagh GI/SM-009

1 Like