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The 2015/2016 official SOTA Challenge

As a 50 MHz fan, also QRP with my Yaesu 817, I look forward to some 6M activity. Anyone activating in G, when the band is open don’t expect to hear the locals as the Europeans will be so strong!!!

73 Chris M0RSF

As an active VHF contester I must applaud you for coming up with a 6/10 meter challenge. I was still new to SOTA when the 12 meter challenge came about and had no equipment for the band. I plan to get a head start add 6 & 10 meters immediately to my activations to try out some new antenna ideas.

Indeed, that is why Andy MM0FMF likes to give plenty of notice for these challenges, enabling would be participants to get themselves set up and ready with antennas etc.

BTW, just to avoid any possible confusion in the future, the photo above by YO2MSB does not represent a valid SOTA activation. I am sure the photo is just to show the antenna, and not intended to show an actual SOTA activation, but there has been some confusion in the USA recently about whether mobile operating is permitted.

Just to confirm, operating from a vehicle or in any way supported by a vehicle is not permitted in SOTA.

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Right, and that location is NOT a summit, easy to see :smile:
In 2015 I will use that antenna for the first time in SOTA, it worths every penny invested.

Actually, we have plenty of summits in G and GW that look like that!

The different approaches to antennas in this challenge will be of huge interest.

Yeap, we have also some small summits, but a good part of the list looks like this:

Someone interested for SOTA in YO?


I’m glad this has provoked people to consider taking part. I’ve picked up a few ideas from what people have said on here and on the US & VK specific groups.

Sorin’s single element quad has me thinking as it’s not an unmanageable size and I’m sure a dual band version with a smaller inner element can be made. Nice would be the ability to have both elements connected so you can flip between bands at the radio and not have to adjust the antenna. Another option is the Moxon which is a more compact antenna than a 2 ele Yagi. Then you could try a 2 band CobWebb by cloning/scaling the existing 5band design into a 10m/6m version. A 10m ground plane is a small compact antenna and by including links in all elements you can make it switchable for 6m as well. Of course you could try some simple link dipoles too.

I’ve had a play and have some database routines ready. This is highly unusual because normally I’m still trying to get the code to work after a challenge has begun! To reiterate, work everything you can on 10m/6m and log it. The database will work out the scoring contacts for the challenge so you don’t have to worry. There will be a tick box for both chaser and activator displays that you select to apply 6m exclusions. When you select that the database is only looking at the 10m logs of you and everyone else. I shall probably upload a test version to the database server during the Christmas holidays.

A 6m only challenge is not fair as there are many places where 6m has real limits, such as Germany where 6m portable/mobile is not permitted. We always try to make things as equitable for everyone. By combining 6m and 10m together we hope that we can get people out using both bands during the Sporadic E peaks so that if you are constrained by 6m exclusions then there will be people working 10m.

If there are any other questions etc. then ask them now before the challenge starts. I know it’s 5+ months away but it only seems like a few days since I was getting off the plane in Zurich ready for quick train and ferry ride to Friedrichshafen and that was actually 6months ago!

Agree 100%!
Another antenna to consider could be the vertical skipper: almost the same size & shape as the monoelement quad, but it is a 3 element directive antenna!

Just a reminder for those that plan on being active on 10m that some operators, like myself, only hold a Technician Class License in USA and can only TX between 28.3 & 28.5 so if possible please try and be active in between those frequencies. We can not TX above 28.500

Thanks for understanding !

Brian-N2BTD SOTA Hunter & soon to be SOTA Activator !

That is a very important point. We try to make the challenge an actual challenge to test the skills of the operators. Given that you can only work a callsign once for points means it will become important that people know these kind of limits so they can maximise their score.

Today is Feb 16th which means there are 3 months to the start of the challenge first session on 15th May 2015. Time to start planning, constructing and refurbishing your antennas.

Remember, both for chasers and activators, if your country does not permit general access to 6m (i.e. no portable 6m operation in Germany) the scoring is designed so you can exclude the 6m results and compare your results against other’s 10m results.

Aye, Sir!
Bit of work still left to do, as I found out on my last weekend’s activations my multiband vertical doesn’t yet work on 10 m. :frowning:
I really love 10 m, so almost 12 weeks left to find the reason.


A few tidbits from the “World of VHF” column in this month’s “Practical Wireless”:

There were 6 metre sporadic E openings on December 19th, January 3rd, 8th and 9th, and afternoon F2 openings on December 21st and January 7th. There was also an Auroral opening on January 4th.

What this means is that we in the Northern Hemisphere should not neglect to check out six metres during the second session, it may well happen that with more of us looking, we will find more six metre band openings than the usual four or five. Also, of course, sporadic E is stronger and more frequent on ten than on six, as is F2, but I don’t know if auroral propagation is ever used on ten.

For the record, I have made a couple of SSB auroral contacts on six using an FT817 and a long wire antenna, the signals are strong, the problem is understanding what is being said - it sounds like a very hoarse whisper!

Incidentally, a quick and easy way to get an antenna on six is to have a couple of lengths of stiff wire terminated with crocodile clips - clip them on the end of the driven element of a two (or, I suppose, four) metre beam and you are away with a rotating dipole. This is what I do, and it works well.


Hola Holaaaa…

Bring it on SOTA MT… time to make another antenna light enough to carry… Micky will be OK with his Antron 99 as well…maybe their sales will go up. I’ll stick to plain vanilla wire and coax I reckon…

One question - if I make 3 or 30 contacts on 20m and just one contact on either 6m or 10m from a summit will I still get my multiplier point? Of do I need 4 contacts on 6m and / or 10m from the summit to get it?

73 Phil

Hello Pom,
I find these real time mapping useful in working out which way the wind is blowing…

Good questions Phil.

The challenge scoring runs independant of activator and chaser and S2S point scoring, they are calculated from all the QSOs you log as an activator or the individual QSOs you log as a chaser. So it’s normal scoring for them.

Chaser challenge first, the code will generate a list of all the summits you had a QSO with someone on 6m or 10m during the valid period. It only looks at the summit not the callsigns involved. Then all the duplicates are deleted leaving a list of unique summits; these are your multipliers. Then the code will produce a list of all the activating calls you chased during the period which were on 6m/10 and then strike out the duplicates. That is your QSO count. Multiply QSOs by multipliers. For activators, instead of summits chased it’s summits you activated and chaser calls not activator calls.

The kink is when “10m only” is selected. Now only QSOs on 10m are considered which is obvious. But if you had a summit where you only had a 6m QSO then this wont be included in your multiplier count. So someone in a country with 6m restrictions could get much better score on 10m than people using both bands.

This is going to give me a problem!

I came on SOTA to do HF but I do a lot of 50mhz from home, I run 350W to a 4ele and can work Meteor scatter to OH through SP to S5 and all points nearer 24X7X52, (I did 10 MS QSOs on tuesday evening without trying) I hadn’t thought about doing 6M out on a hill, maybe I’ll have to think again.

For anyone thinking of a dipole, B&Q do some tubular aluminium of various dimensions, and they slide into each other, this would make a very easy aerial. In fact I’ve used it to make 2 of these over the years: http://www.uksmg.org/content/smallantenna.htm which would possibly be quite a good collapsible beam. I’ve worked from jy, 4x though ve and w on one of those. I even used to have a regular meteor/iono scatter qso with Ken G8VR, the designer at about 600kms with one at both ends!

Polarization was mentioned, I’ve been able to compare incoming Es on a 5/8 vertical and a 3 ele horizontal at the same time and they can both work very well, the polarization gets really messed up in Es so its not always certain which will be better. I’ve worked UX and SV9 on the 5/8 with better signals than on the beam. I guess a wire 5/8 run up a pole would be a possibility. I have built this one before: http://www.uksmg.org/content/vertical.htm

Aurora is much easier on CW but can be done on ssb, keep an eye on http://spaceweather.com/ for an idea of whats going on, or http://www.solarham.net/ . From past experience Aurora can kill Es dead, but watch out for Auroral Es which can bring great openings into Scandanavia, often much later in the day than normal Es

Gabriel’s excellent dxmaps has already been mentioned for a real time view of who is working what, not very exciting right now but take a look in June!

And don’t forget 50mhz supports troposcatter contacts, Most RSGB contests I work IO80 in devon from IO86, 630kms, although that is qro both ends, but from a hill you’ll get quite a few qsos within the UK during the many contests even if Es gets shy (as it often does for a contest!)

looks like I’ll have to put something together to take 50mhz out on a hill!

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Hi Andy

I have not participated in a SOTA Challenge before, I have a question on the meaning of ‘Unique’ in terms of the challenge period.

For an activator is the ‘Unique’ multiplier assessed against the calendar year or is it assessed against the challenge period of which there are two periods.


  1. I activated Mt Taylor in February 15 on 40m only, later in June 15 for the 6m Challenge I activate Mt Taylor on 6m and 40m, would I receive the 6m challenge multiplier for the activation in June 15?

  2. I activate Mt Taylor in February 15 on 6m, later in June 15 for the 6m Challenge I activate Mt Taylor on 6m only. Would I receive the multiplier for the activation in June 15?

  3. Add to 2 above with another activation of Mt Taylor say late December 15 for the 6m Challenge, would I receive the multiplier for the activation in December 15?


Andrew, VK1NAM

They are good questions Andrew.

Yes, the code builds a list of summits activated on 6m during the challenge window and then removes any dupes. You would get a multiplier for your June 15 activation.

Same as above, yes.

No. The challenge window is the sum of the 2 periods. So you could activate it in either or both windows but it only counts once.

My usual SOTA adage applies here, work everything on every band and log it all and let the database score it. There’s no penalty for working dupes.

HI Andy

Could I suggest the rules for the 6m / 10m Challenge are pinned somewhere convenient on the reflector in a concise form. Should be fun for chaser and activator alike…

73 Phil