In reply to 2E0YYY:
Yes Mike, this is true from the EU Chasers perspective also.
More chasers should be nipping into the shack during our evening time to check their SOTAWatch screen or to listen to the usual QRGs. 14062 KHz± is the favourite for me. EU Chasers are now working far more USA/VE SOTAs than we were some years ago, almost every day it is possible. Two reasons - improving band conditions and USA/VE Sota Fever which is catching now, over the pond increasing the activity from the tops, some of which are extremely remote.
As to be expected CW is the key to the majority of QSOs but you seem to be working well to the other side of the pond on SSB, which is great!
In my opinion if you are keen on SOTA it really is worth spending 6 months learning to use CW to guarantee success, even if it is only for copying and transmitting a rubber stamp report to an activator on a hill once you are competent enough to know what is happening on the frequency and who is transmitting at any time.
M1EYP, MM0FMF being two prime examples of the art (there are other new learners and improvers to the art, even the occasional M3 and M6 which I hear in the small pile ups we experience). These operators competence is improving now in leaps and bounds. It is so much easier now to learn Morse Code with the free software to help and not just the old Datong practice unit which some of used in bygone days. You just have to keep banging your head against the CW walls encountered along the way, put the effort in, you eventually overcome and the vast majority will get there in time. I reckon you are looking at putting your microphone away and practicing receiving for 30 minutes a day, most days for as long as it takes, I reckon few would make it inside 3 months. It took me 5 months to reach a good accuracy at 12 WPM and pass the test we had in bygone days, but I was a younger man then. Not sure if age somes into learning the art or not…som eliken it to a language skill, and if you enjoy listening to music of any type, you eventually find the same enjoyment in listening to Morse Code if it is nicely sent.
So lets boast - since Saturday when I returned from a break in the Lake District with a few hours hanging about in the shack on two evenings doing other tasks and without trying I have logged:
5th KU6J W6/NS-306 1856z 17m CW
5th K7ATN W7W/LC-058 1951z 20m CW
5th K7RR W7W/NO-134 2107z 20m CW
5th W0CCA W7U/SJ-008 2214z 20m CW
6th KR7W W7W/PL-029 1918z 20m CW
6th W0CCA/1 W7U/SJ-019 1953z 20m CW
I failed miserably on SSB, rarely hearing any SOTA ops on that mode, however I did log Doug on SSB:
6th W1DMH W4C/CM-005 SSB 20m 2027z
If I’d sat there with the phones on and monitored more dilingently and had my eyes glued to the screen I’m sure several more USA/VE would have been worked.
With 200 watts the balance of power is in the hands of the EU chaser so if you can hear 'em you can always work 'em.
73 Phil G4OBK
Edit: Having read recent posts on this thread I have to agree it is not just about CW, a chaser having a quiet QTH (RF smog wise) is the next essential criteria and a beam antenna is the next. Power is not important so long as you can muster at least 50 watts of RF.