I have just glanced at the database statistics page and notice that 7MHz has recently overtaken 2m as the most popular SOTA band. CW has also overtaken FM. It seems fairly safe to assume that 7MHz CW and 2m FM are by far the most popular combinations for SOTA. Pure statistician will point to a theoretical flaw in that assumption of course.

Other stats I found interesting are that the database has had more than 8,000,000 hits which coincidentally is the same as the number of Canadians who are boating illegally according to a recent news story.

The number of G activators in 2009 has now exceeded all years apart from 2008. At 159 it shares a place in history with the new Alpha Romeo; though hopefully SOTA will not share a lingering reputation for premature rusting and unreliability.



In reply to G3CWI:

hopefully SOTA will not share a lingering reputation for
premature rusting and unreliability.

I don’t think the reputation of Alfas could ever be called “lingering” Richard. It is one reputation they will probably be tarred with for the life of the marque. SOTA certainly does not want to follow that track.

As for 40m CW and 2m FM being the main bands and modes, I would think that is an absolute certainty, not an assumption. I am not surprised one bit that 40m is now the main band judging by the pile ups that are happening. 2m FM definitely appears to be on a downhill trend in the SOTA heartland and has not even got off the ground in many areas. Little wonder I am keeping to 2m SSB with its extremely dedicated chasers. They may be few in number, but they are very reliable.

Gerald G4OIG

In reply to G4OIG:

Not all that reliable, Gerald! Sunday afternoon on LD-050 I worked a half dozen stations on 2m FM and then the calls dried up so I decided to have a go at 2m SSB. I cranked the power up to 50 watts and called for nearly a quarter of an hour and didn’t get a single reply, though I heard G4DEZ get a call from an OY! I went back to FM and worked another eight before the XYL got fed up and it was time to head south.

The thing about 2 metres is that although the effect has been slow, the merging of the A and B licenses means that nobody has to use 2 metres, they can all use HF if they wish, and the success of SOTA on HF means that they do so wish. It’s not just SOTA, either, both FM simplex and many of the repeaters are falling silent and VHF is going back to being the preserve of the minority of enthusiasts. This is a sad truth that we are just going to have to live with, and I suspect that without SOTA it would have happened a lot quicker.


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:

Sorry to hear about the lack of success on 2m SSB Brian. I’ve always found really excellent support despite having operated at some fairly inconvenient times at both ends of the day. My 6 summit Somerset trip last October was modified constantly during the day as I had planned and alerted to do only 5 summits. Not only did the chasers cope with the fluid timetable that resulted from the change, but it meant I was on the last summit at around 9 p.m. on a Saturday night. Despite all this, a considerable number of regular chasers left their TV sets and comfortable armchairs and went into their shacks to work me. Only last week I requested members of the “Breakfast Club” look for us on the Lleyn / Bardsey expedition at around 8 a.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday and again there was good support.

2m SSB chasers have never been very large in number, but my logs show testimony to the dedication of those that are interested in the mode and I sincerely thank them for that.

73, Gerald

In reply to G8ADD:
Hi Brian, I must agree with Gerald, I tend to use 2m ssb on nearly every summit and if I am using the more obscure bands such as 4m or 6m then I always use 2m ssb as a fall back in case I need the four qualifying contacts.

I know on Saturday,there was massive QSB on 2m with very mixed sig reports but I dont know about Sunday as we were on our way off Lambrigg Fell by 10.30am.

Big shame,no 2m ssb for you and very surprising for a sunday PM???

I do agree that 2m FM simplex and repeaters are quieter of late,although I believe this tends to be the choice of newly passed Foundation Licensees as the equipment is relatively cheap and easy to set-up. ( Which is what I did when passing my M6 last August.) But as you say even M6 licenses allow HF use,and with conditions improving it will always feel better to contact overseas for a newly licensed operator.

I hope to catch you on 2m ssb from the next one



GB3MN (Stockport 2m), GB3VT (Stoke 2m) and GB3MR (Stockport 70cm) repeaters seem to be picking up again in activity after a lull. I have used all three on my commutes all three days this week.

On all the VHF SOTA activations I have done lately, I always get between 30 and 70 QSOs. Mind you, my VHF SOTA activations tend to be when there is also a VHF contest on :wink:

Jimmy always does 2m FM while I am doing HF CW, and tends to get 5 to 10 QSOs, although as we continue our quest for uniques, these summits tend to be in less and less favourable sites for VHF take-off. His logbook isn’t exactly bulging, but neither is he struggling (usually).

I will do a ‘normal’ (ie non-contest) 2m activation - FM/SSB/CW - from a popular SOTA summit (quite fancy a walk up Pendle Hill for some reason) one of these days, and sample what the real trend is on 2m nowadays. It’s been a long time since I did such an activation.

73, Tom M1EYP


My activations are almost exclusively on 2m ssb as I find this mode the most reliable and satisfying - possibly not in that order. My average is approximately 20 QSOs per activation and this number is little affected by the difficulty of the summit. A late appearance on High Rigg this Sunday (don’t ask …) for example yielded 18 QSOS and this lowly LD summit is well buried in the shadow of it’s much bigger bretheren.

As Gerald says, there is a band of enthusiastic chasers who appreciate that this mode has the capability to give them summits that are traditionally viewed as difficult on VHF. It is this group who make it possible.

I thank them for their enthusiastic support. It is much appreciated - especially on the more difficult ones where hearing the words “a new one for me” is music to my ears.

73, Richard

In reply to G4ERP:


I suspect that activators gradually accumulate a “following”. This will require building the confidence of the chasers that you will:

a) turn up fairly reliably when you alert and, most importantly;
b) that you will be have a working radio station and be audible.

You and Gerald certainly qualify on both counts.