Welcome to the January 2020 edition New Year. I wish everyone here a Happy New Year or as they say in the Scottish West coast islands - bliadhna Mhath Ùr
A January news compilation is not a really timely idea as everyone is involved in so many other holiday activities, so I have decided (yes, unilaterally) to realign the quarterly news cycle to February, May, August. November so as to avoid the year end holiday period. To be clear that does not include February 2020 at the end of this current month although, I think that Guru EA2IF may have his regular report on Spanish activity.
Some contributions this quarter from some new contributors including one from west of the Atlantic, so I hope that this trend continues. Barry has been swamped with orders to the SOTA shop so has not been able to provide an awards report at this time. He may report independently when he has time. My thanks go to Simon G4TJC, Luc ON7DQ, Allan GW4VPX, Guru EA2IF, Victor GI4ONL, Etienne K7ATN, Rado S58R, Have I forgotten anyone?
About Reflector Categories
When you create a new topic one of the options to select is the category. Categories are useful as they can help people who are new to the reflector. As well when you read the posts in a topic, the reflector will choose which posts to suggest to you, influenced to some extent by the category people have selected for the topics they created. When creating a topic, the top of the category list in the drop down box will be Old Reflector which is the default category - you may wonder why. Well when this reflector was created all of the posts from the original reflector were copied over and that was just over 8400 posts. So far the category that appears to have had the most posts since August 2014 is Activstion Reports which shows 3101 posts at the time of writing which is a long way below those from the old reflector. Some of us who have the capability to do so have tried to reclassify as many of the posts that were copied over from the old reflector to the current categories but is is very time consuming and what I can assure you is, that there are few topics from the old reflector that had more that 30 posts that have not been reclassified. However that still leaves a great number of posts from the old system. So long as that “Old Reflector” category has more posts that any current category, when you create a new topic, the first category will be “Old Reflector” so please select your category carefully. Eventually at some time I anticpate that “Activation Reports” will become top of the list but there is quite a long way to go. In the meantime those of us who can, will monitor the categories of new topics and adjust them as needed according to our interpretation of the topic content. Who can do this? Anyone who has Admin capability and also anyone who has qualified by some parameters inbuilt in the reflector for what the reflector refers to as trust level 3 or “Regular” in the title, can do this and as I write that is 23 people.
Simon G4TJC reminded me that in same way as I am intending to avoid the holidays around the year end the summits team also avoid that period.
In his own words:
Just to note that as usual we don’t have uploads of new summits for 1st January. But rest assured we have plenty in preparation.
For 2020 you can expect to see more associations in South America. We have on-going work in North America. In Europe we’re working on an update to EA1. Work continues in the Pacific region.
I had meant to work out how many summits we added in 2019, but you’ll have to wait a few days for an update from me. (from MM0FMF 10512)
Enjoy yourselves over the New Year and good luck in the Challenge!
From Victor GI4ONL
2019 The Year of The Goat
Following on from 2018 when I recorded the highest ever score by a UK activator in a calendar year with 873 points, I thought I would set myself a challenge to hit 1000 points in 2019.
Here is a brief chronological account of “The Journey”.
January: A non-SOTA month for me due to a problem with sciatica.
February: Just 4 local activations in GI with my normal call GI4ONL/P. My legs were well out of practice, and my waist measurement was increasing. A bad combination for SOTA!
March: 8 activations in EA8/GC signing EA8/G4ONL/P and 1 summit in EI using my Irish call EI7KP/P with the good company of my canine friend, Ellie.
Summit of EA8/GC-010 with solar powered installation
My trusty companion Ellie on EI/IN-009
April: A relatively lean SOTA month with just 7 activations, 3 in GI, 3 in EI and 1 in G, a joint activation with my good friend, Phil G4OBK.
May: This was the busiest month of the year with 61 activations, 51 of these in OK using my Czech call OK8VM/P. Phil, also using his Czech call, OK8CDX/P, accompanied me on this 8 day tour. On one of the summits we met Jarek SP9MA, who kindly allowed us to finish our activation before bidding us farewell and setting up his station.
Phil OK8CDX/P (left) with Victor OK8VM/P on OK/VY-015
OK8VM/P with OK8CDX/P and Jarek OK/SP9MA/P on OK/PA-036
I also activated 10 summits in EA6/MA including 2 joint activations with fellow SOTAist, Ricardo EA6LU
Ricardo EA6LU/P with EA6/G4ONL/P on EA6/MA-042
June: Another non-activating month. Perhaps I felt like a rest after the frenzy of activity in May!
The month was not entirely SOTA free however, as I used the time off to visit Ham Radio in Friedrichshafen, and put a face to many of the people that I had contacted as a chaser.
The QSL wall at FN, meeting point for SOTA @ 12:00
July: I was off on my travels again, this time to France and the FL/VO region, where I activated 33 summits along with my friend Pete, M0HQO
Pete F/M0HQO/P on Le Donon FL/VO-023
August: Only 1 local GI activation. Occasionally I do things other than SOTA, (but not too often).
September: It was time for yet another 8 day Czech tour with Phil OK8CDX. This time we activated 45 summits in OK and 1 in OE, a new SOTA country for me. We had hoped to top 50 activations again on this trip but the weather had other ideas and curtailed us on a couple of days.
Phil OE/G4OBK/P on OE/NO-135
October: Croatia was next, another new SOTA country for me. It was my great pleasure to meet up with Ivica 9A6CW for 3 joint activations out of the 11 that I did in 9A.
Victor 9A/G4ONL/P on 9A/DH-002
Ivica 9A6CW/P trying my gear on 9A/DH-071
November: Mainly due to the inclement weather, this month had no activations.
December: This was crunch time, with 50 points still required to reach my target of 1K. The magic number was surpassed after 5 summits in GI and 2 in EI.
The year ended with the grand total of 1001 points.
To reach 1001 points in 2019, I activated 179 unique summits in 9 countries and 16 regions. I made a total of 2352 QSOs using mainly CW but also SSB on HF and some FM on 2 metres.
Several thousands of miles/kilometers were driven and possibly even more thousands of GBP, Euro, CZK and HRK spent, (I’m afraid to even try to estimate the cost).
On HF I used my Elecraft KX2 running approx.10 Watts. It has an internal 2600mAh Lipo battery pack, which only once had to be changed, and that was midway through the 10th activation in a single day! My antenna is a homemade link dipole for 17/20/30/40 metres, supported on a 4 metre fiberglass fishing pole. For 2 metres I use a Yaesu FT-270 with a Diamond, (or clone), RH-770 telescopic whip. These aerials give fantastic results, but tend to be a little fragile if not handled carefully.
My next objective is to get my 4th Mountain Goat and I am only 122 short of the necessary 4000 points. This target will hopefully be reached early in 2020.
To date I have 2 weeks booked in EA8/GC in March and there is another OK tour in the planning with Phil G4OBK in April/May for 9 days. I really hope to go back to Croatia around September time, and I have a few more ideas floating around for May, June and July – watch this space!
I often get asked why I no longer use xx/GI4ONL when operating abroad, so here’s the explanation.
For over 30 years my amateur licence had my callsign as GI4ONL however a few years ago this was changed to G(#)4ONL In the UK amateur radio licences are issued by OFCOM the government regulatory authority. For reasons best known to them, they decided they would no longer issue regional licences like GI, GM, GW etc, but instead would issue a standardized UK licence with the (#) being replaced by a letter identifying the UK region the station is operating in. Since this change I now must lose my GI identity and use xx/G4ONL when operating under CEPT, something that really annoys me, but I have to abide by the rules.
A huge thank you to the 644 chasers for all the contacts over the year from the various summits. As every activator knows, no chasers = no qualification!
I would also like to thank Phil G4OBK, Ricardo EA6LU, Pete M0HQO, and Ivica 9A6CW for their company on our joint activations. We certainly had some fun times with plenty of laughter.
Without the MT none of this would have been possible and I would like to express my sincere gratitude for all the hard work they put into the SOTA programme.
So there you have it my Year of the Goat 2019, and a fantastic series of adventures. I feel very lucky to have met so many friends through SOTA both as an activator and chaser and look forward to 2020 and beyond.
I would like to take this opportunity to wish everyone a Happy, Prosperous and Peaceful New Year.
73 Victor GI4ONL aka OK8VM & EI7KP
From Etienne K7ATN
Pacific North West
New Activators for 2019 – In 2019 in the Pacific Northwest of North America there was a huge crop of new activators – those that just got started on all the SOTA fun since January 2019. In this case “a bunch” is 70 new Northwest activators that got a signal out from 425 summits. (In 2018 the total was 52 activators from 159 summits – wow, what a change.)
|-||Association||2019 New Activators||New Total Activations|
If you look at things on a per capita basis, it’s W7O this year that won out as the PNW SOTA Association with the most activity, followed closely by W7I. And I would have liked to recognize new CHASERS in 2019 – but there are so many and the database is a challenge for looking up Chasers that started at a particular time.
New Activators Getting Out for the First Points – Chris-KG7VLX writes this about inviting some new folks to try Summits on the Air:
" I posted on the Idaho Ham Radio Operators page on Facebook that I was going to activate Lucky Peak (Idaho) and had room and equipment for people to tag along. I gave out my email and got about 5 people that were “interested.” It ended up being myself, Gregg-W7GRM, Vince-KD7TWW and Scott-KJ7CZY. This ended up being beneficial since the day we went up was also a FM simplex contest put on by the Southwest Idaho Amateur Radio Club. We had plenty of 2m FM simplex chasers available for the hams with Tech licenses, and it was a good thing because HF was dead.
We met at a local coffee shop and I started with a five-minute show and tell. I covered posting alerts and spots, the basic SOTA exchange and gave out summit info. I always print off a map from the SOTA mapping web site with all the summit info and use it as my log sheet.
The walk up is about a 1/3 mile with maybe 300 feet of elevation gain. We took it nice and slow. On the summit we spread out and everyone got started with HT’s while I set up my FT817 and a homemade VHF ground plane antenna on a SOTA pole.
Greg had some experience and a yagi so he was off and running with no problems. Scott and Vince worked for about 20 minutes and were having some trouble with the stock HT antennas for distant contacts. We ended up gathering around my FT-817 and just passing the mic back and forth. With the next set of rain clouds headed our way; we called it a day before we got soaked.
No news from ON7DQ …
… or is there ?
I didn’t do any SOTA lately, but was very busy preparing a talk for our local radio club.
The subject was "The nanoVNA … from Theory to Practice"
Aha ! This should interest anyone tinkering with antennas, so it is related to SOTA after all, right ?
This nanoVNA has become immensely popular, where else can you buy a Vector Network Analyzer for less than 30€ ?
It’s only the size of a credit card, so it fits in any SOTA backpack.
For home use, there is some excellent (and FREE) PC software to match it as well.
My talk went very well, about 50 people attended, and it lasted some four hours . I was exhausted … and my audience even more ! HI
A report (in Dutch) and some pics are here to enjoy :
So you can see what this MG is up to when not on a summit …
Now as a New Years gift to the community, I just finished an English translation of my slides, and uploaded them to the nanoVNA newsgroup (click here )
I’m not sure if you can download it without being a member of that group, but I can send it via mail if anyone is interested.
73 es HNY,
From Rado S58R
In 2019 the radio club SOTA Slovenia celebrated its 10th anniversary.
Anyone wishing to receive a special diploma and have had at least 4 QSOs with S50AAA in 2019 must submit a request:
Example celebration award S50AAA is attached.
73 de S58R - Rado
Radio Tales from Wales by Allan GW4VPX
Happy New Year everybody.
Winter bonus arrived in December but I didn’t take advantage of it due to other commitments. However, I did catch a few out on the mountains of Wales and on some of the big ones too. Lawrence M7LOZ/p braved the elements on Snowdon (GW/NW-001) giving us a 5/8 each way, let’s hope that it’s one of many activations in 2020. Richard M1HAX/p used the December Winter Bonus period to full effect and activated quite a few 8 pointers. I caught him on both Glasgwm (GW/NW-014) and Aran Fawddwy (GW/NW-007) on the 31st of December. On the same day Rod M0JLA and Viki M6BWA were on Moel Eilio (GW/NW-022). I never heard Rod on either 60m or 80m due to some odd band conditions but Viki made my log on both 2m and 70cms. Jonathan GW2HFR hopes to get his Mountain Goat this year and was out on the renamed GW/NW-034 (now Foel Cedig) with a 4/4-4/3 between us on 18.146 ssb! I did manage to catch Paul M0PLA on Corndon Hill (GW/MW-013) on the 2nd of January on his 5 summit winter bonus dash 3/1 sent, 5/3 returned, another Sota activator who his working hard to get MG this year (details on his blog).
One of our faithful West Wales chasers Frank MW0OFA sent me this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=piUalpc0zUY&t=603s of an activation by Adrian M0AAG over the festive season activating Moel Hebog GW/NW-014…let’s hope that we see a lot more activations by Adrian in 2020…I just loved his excitement with his first S2S…I still think it’s magical.
Since I installed a few Swann security cameras I’ve had interference trouble across the 2m band and this has curtailed my long distance SOTA chasing unless I switch the system off. I’ve tried all the usual methods of prevention but to no avail. The system came with 2x2 twisted pairs of connecting cables (non-screened) so I have now purchased a drum of screened Cat5 and screened connectors. I did such a good job of installing the first system in conduit that it’s going to take me a while to make the changes…I’ll report back in a few months time.
I really ‘enjoyed’ my cold and wet New Year’s day activation of Foel Cwm Cerwyn (GW/MW-011) with 21 contacts on 80m and 20 contacts on 2m. I had nine S2S with Simon G4TJC , Tom M1EYP , Dave G3TQQ , Nick G4OOE making my log all on 80m from England. Five 2m/FM S2S were with activators on the mountains in Wales. It was really great to get Aled MW0UPH on Mynydd Bodafon (GW/NW-071) with a promise that he would be out more often in 2020. John GW4TQE was doing the usual double of Moel y Gamelin (GW/NW-42) and Cyrn y Brain (GW/NW-043) and I managed get him on GW/NW-042. Dave MW0XRT was on Foel Fenlli (GW/NW-071) with 5/5-5/3 and to end my ‘miserable weather’ day I was happy to get Andrew M1CJE and Richard M1HAX in the log from a miserable Fan Brycheiniog (GW/SW-003) with 5/9 each way. By this time I had got too cold and damp to do anymore bands so beat a hasty retreat downhill on a circular route. Thanks to all chasers and activators for a pleasurable radio day.
A miserable Foel Cwmcerwyn
If you are venturing on to the hills and mountains of Wales please send me a brief report and especially some pictures of your activation so that I can include them here.
Useful Blogs and SOTA Mapping
If you are intending to visit Wales to activate a summit the following blogs contain valuable information. Information on routes to our summits in Wales are also on SOTA Mapping https://www.sotamaps.org and is an useful first port of call.
Simon G4TJC continues to find new routes in North Wales with historical links and they can be found on his blog http://g4tjc.blogspot.com/
Allan GW4VPX although with some 9 reports outstanding he continues to add reports and routes to ‘Radio Tales from West Wales and beyond…’ [https://gw4vpx.blogspot.com/ ]
Phil G4OBK … a wealth of information http://catterblog.blogspot.com/
Tom M1EYP …summit info as well as useful advice on places to stay and eat [http://tomread.co.uk/] (click on his link to SOTA on his website).
Andrew M1CJE http://blog.m1cje.uk/
Paul M0PLA http://m0pla.blogspot.com/ blogs are well worth a visit with interesting presentations and information.
73 Allan GW4VPX
From Guru EA2IF
From my JAN-2020 news in Spanish
SOTA activators and activations carried out in Spain and the Spanish-American Countries in December-2019:
With the information available in the database, this is the graph of the activations and activators in Spain in December 2019.
This was the second month ever with activations in all EA call areas.
EA1 is the call area with the greatest number of activations to which contributed activators arrived from Portugal and EA2. Following we have EA2, EA4, EA3, EA6=EA8, EA7, EA5 and EA9. In EA3 there were some activations carried out by collegues arrived from Switzerland and Check Rep. We see in EA7 contributions by colleagues from EA5 and Scotland. All activations in EA8 were carried out by colleagues from abroad; from Switzerland and The Netherlands. The single activation in EA9 was carried out by a colleague from Scotland. Welcome all visitors and thanks to all the activators!
This is the graph of the number of activations per month in 2019 and the averaged montly activations number in 2018, with a total of 1212 activations in the whole year 2019 , representing a 42% increase with respect to the 854 activations in 2018:
Here’s the graph for the chasers and number of chases in Spain:
The TOP 5 of the chasers in EA is: EA2DT, EA7GV, EA2IF, EA2LU and EA2CKX, closely followed by EA5GMB, EA7YT and EA1DHB. As usual, I encourage to all those not doing it yet to register and upload their chases onto the new SOTA database, as we don’t have any single chase in the database from EA8 and EA9, but I know of some hams chasing SOTA from those areas.
This is the graph for the monthly chases in Spain in 2019 with 27975 chases in the whole year 2019:
After having seen a decrease of the chases in the 2 previous months, we see a very good number of chases this last month of December. Well done and thanks to all the chasers!
With the information available in the database, this is the graph of the activations and activators in the Spanish speaking American Countries with existing SOTA associations in December 2019.
We see 1 activation in LUM (Mendoza-Argentina) and 1 in TI. Thanks to the activators!
This is the graph of the number of activations per month in 2019 and the averaged montly activations number in 2018, with a total of 62 activations in the whole year 2019 , representing a 326% increase with respect to the 19 activations in 2018. Bravo!
The year 2019 is over and we’ve seen activations on every month. Bravo!
Regarding the chasing activity this last December, we see 4 chases in LU and 1 in TI. You can see it here:
Again, I encourage to all those not doing it yet to register and upload their chases onto the SOTA database.
This is the graph for the monthly chases in the Spanish speaking American Countries with existing SOTA associations in December 2019, with a total of 37 chases in the whole year 2019:
We hope this current increasing trend will consolidate and look forward to seeing many more in 2020.
Thanks for reading this news. I hope you found it of interest.
Guru - EA2IF (member of the SOTA Global Publicity Team)
From Mark M0NOM
SOTA News from the Lake District
Lake District weather over the past couple of months has been a mixed bag - plenty of rain as always but also a light dusting of snow which always makes the mountains come alive!
My work has meant that my ability to chase from Windermere has been curtailed over the last few months so I’ve had to turn to the stats to get an accurate view. Averaging an activation every couple of days the most prolific activators at the end of 2019 were Neil @G0WPO followed by Chris @M0KPW then Jordan @M3TMX and Andy @G8CPZ. Andy’s progress has been remarkable following his move to the South Lakes, with lots of SOTA and WOTA activations packed into the last couple of months.
My last activation of 2019 on 29th Dec was a brief 2m affair with my newly acquired FT-817ND from Place Fell G/LD-027.
I’ve been on the lookout for another since migrating the Yahoo FT-817 group to groups.io - a group that has been going since 2000 with 11,000+ members!
Cousin George from Australia definitely felt alive having come from 44 degC in Australia to 3 degC and 60mph winds. Fortunately the 300m cloudbase cleared briefly for stunning views towards Helvellyn, St Sunday Crag and Fairfield, dappled in snow, making the trip perfect. Well, a stop at the Kirkstone Inn for a couple of pints ensured perfection!
Cousin George and Alex YL clinging on to Place Fell trig point
Special thanks to our dedicated chasers, including Sue @G1OHH, Douggie @G7CDA and John @G0TDM as well as our local activators always ready to return the favour from the shack. We are fortunate that 2m activations generally have enough chasers on tap that HF isn’t required. Place Fell proved how valuable this can be, with no chance of getting an HF antenna up in those winds!
Looking forward to both activating and chasing in the New Year, and getting up in the snow line when conditions permit. Our LD SOTA Weekend is now set for 2020 on June 20th-21st, I’m sure it will be as amazing as last year. Hopefully it will attract both a good mix of UK and overseas activators - we had so much fun in 2019!
Final editorial comment.
For most readers this reflector will seem to be entirly stable but from my perspective it is constantly changing. The Reflector is on a hosted site so we do not manage the updates- they just happen - sometimes transparently - sometimes more obvious. One change since the October news is that copying and pasting within the reflector seems to have improved significantly which has made my job of compiling this much easier.
It would be great to have some more contributors In particular with the fire devastation in Australia, it would be great to have at least one contributor from this area.
While Guru does give us a good perspective on Spanish speaking activity, I do hope we can someday have contributors from South America.
Till next quarter which will in fact be in four months as a consequence of our schedule change -
73 Jim G0CQK