Other SOTA sites: SOTAwatch | SOTA Home | Database | Video | Photos | Shop | Mapping | FAQs | Facebook | Contact SOTA

Tips to help NA activators being chased by EA chasers on 20m.

I write this post also in behalf of the EA SOTA chasers signing below to try to make all the Northamerican activators aware of the good timing they should try to observe in case they want to be chased by EA chasers and possibly other European chasers.

The following table shows my SOTA chases over the month of November. You can see date and time of the QSO and I have included those days sunset times in the comment column.


As you can see, with the exception of the really late and rare QSO on Nov 11th with KI4TN, which was 2 hours and a half after sunset and the one on Nov 14th with KN4SXM about 1 hour and a half after sunset, the other 12 QSOs were made either before our sunset or within a maximum of about 30 minutes after sunset.

After sunset, two important things happen making it harder for us to copy weak signals and be able to chase Northamerican activators:
1- Propagation conditions start to gradually decay. Grey-line enhancement just lasts about 30-40 minutes.
2- Neighbours start arriving home after work and start switching on LED lamps and TV sets and various QRM-making devices. Also, the street lights automatically switch on in towns with the sunlight decay.

For these reasons, we, EA chasers, highly recommended the Northamerican activators to get on air on 20m before or not much later than our sunset if they want to have better chances to be chased by us.

We are often stalking for you with our yagis while in touch with each other through a whatsapp group we share.

This is our sunset time for today and the following days in my QTH at IN92CQ:
Nov 18th: sunset at 16h43z
Nov 19th: sunset at 16h42z
Nov 20th: sunset at 16h41z
Nov 21st: sunset at 16h40z
Nov 22nd: sunset at 16h40z
Nov 23rd: sunset at 16h39z
Nov 24th: sunset at 16h38z
Nov 25th: sunset at 16h38z
Nov 26th: sunset at 16h37z
Nov 27th: sunset at 16h37z
Nov 28th: sunset at 16h36z
Nov 29th: sunset at 16h36z
Nov 30th: sunset at 16h35z

Three more tips before finishing off:
1- Alerts are very helpful.
2- The use of CW is preferred over SSB. The same activator can often be easily copied and chased on CW in spite of a very weak signal, while he/she can’t be copied at all on the noisier and less efficient SSB mode.
3- CW weak signals at lower speeds (18-20WPM) are easier copied than faster (23-25WPM and up). Any little bit of band noise and/or rapid QSB can make big parts of the QRQ CW message lost, while QRS CW is far less penalised by band noise and QSB.

Best 73,

Guru - EA2IF + Jorge - EA2LU, Ric - EA4ZK and Alf - EA4CWN

14 Likes

Thanks for the great detailed info!

It should also be mentioned to be aware of the band limitations in other countries, especially the 7 MHz band. I often hear activators that could be worked, but they are operating SSB Phone below my lower limit of 7.125, and General Class licensees here may not operate phone below 7.175

John AK4AT
Virginia USA

2 Likes

I think you just told me I need to get up earlier :rofl:

Thank you for this great info. And thanks to EA2LU who has managed to chase me several times, despite me being ‘time zone challenged’ here in W7W land.

73,

-Josh

2 Likes

I cannot comment about frequency limitations in other countries and for different licenses. Even less for the 40m band because the purpose of this post was to give some tips to NA activators wishing to be chased by EA hams on 20m, which is where we have good propagation conditions for that, as well as yagis capable to copy the weak signals from NA activators.
However, I’ll take advantage of this to mention that NA activators should avoid certain frequencies like:

  • 14.032, where there is QRO DX traffic and it’s very difficult to hear a QRP weak signal from a SOTA activator thousands of Km away.

  • 14.060, which is the QRP calling frequency and a NA activator on that frequency can be easily covered by any European QRP stations CQing or ragchewing on that frequency.

  • 14.224 to 14.239, which is dedicated to SSTV, as I recently explained in this thread: Tips for SOTA DX: 14.032 NOT good QRG and QRS better than QRQ

73,

Guru

1 Like

Hi Josh, we are totally aware of the time zone challenge you guys in the West Coast have and that makes it really harder for you. We want to tell you that whenever we manage to make a W7 or W6 chase, you definitely made our day.
What it’s a real pity is when sometimes we see on SOTAwatch an East coast activator starting on 2m, then going to 60m, later working 40m, then 30m and by the time they finally get to 20m, it’s got dark and conditions are gone or the QRM-maker devices have already been switched on and we can no longer copy anything…
As it’s always stated here, activator is king and anyone does what he/she wants, but we sometimes desperate seeing how some activators waste their chances to work DX by not showing up on 20m at the right time.
73,

Guru

3 Likes

Hi Guru,
This is a very helpful analysis for the American chasers and activators.
It is interesting to consider why an activator may follow the band pattern you outlined, perhaps there is a reason they do that, 20m may come alive later for them so putting it last on the list might be worthwhile for contacts within North America. But perhaps your analysis and suggestions will prompt some to run their band sequence in a different order just to see what is possible.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

2 Likes

I’ve learned to never ever ignore very weak CW sending " dit dit-dah" in a pileup of North American east coast stations in the morning.

Pete
WA7JTM

5 Likes

According to the alerts for today, these are the activations we might be able to chase, if they show up on 20m at the right time. Our sunset will be at 16h42z and this means that 17h20 or 17h30 will likely be our very last chance to hear these activators.
We see KE5AKL will start on 20m and that will be great for us to try to chase him. All I hope is he will not transmit a too fast morse, so his probably very weak signal can be easier copied.
The other activators K9OZ, KX0R, WA6MM and WA2USA will start by the lower bands and it seems to me like it will be far too late for us to chase them by the time they will get on air on 20m.
imagen
Why these activators choose this band sequence pattern is unknown to me. Should they start by 20m, preferably CW, they would likely be able to include a bunch of EA DX chases in their logs.
73,

Guru

1 Like

Just for interest to show it’s more difficult for us further North… I’m approx 1450km North of Guru, sunset was 1559Z, already too late.

I always operate starting on the low bands and work up, this thread is making me think which band should I start on.

1 Like

I didn’t realise that the frequency bands on the alert corresponded to the order that the activator does them in. If I alert (which is rare nowadays), I would list the bands I expect to use from the lowest to the highest frequency, but I wouldn’t necessarily activate in that order. Maybe I’ve been doing it wrong all these years :roll_eyes:.

1 Like

imagen
Bruce has now EA2LU and EA2IF in his log at 16h32Z. We just chased him on 20m CW 1st and 2nd chasers as he started CQing on 14.062
I copied him very well 429 with no electric QRM at all so far. There’s still some light outdoors but it’s quickly decreasing. The Sun has just gone!

Thanks Guru for the information, It really help us a lot!!!

1 Like

Depending on what areas we want to be chased from, the bands order of operation is key.
It’s more logical for us in Europe to start by the lower bands letting the higher ones by a later time, when the Sun had got higher and propagation conditions of those higher bands has build up and can provide some DX with NA.
However, for Northamerican activators it seems startting by 20m will give them the chance to be chased by DX from Europe. They can always make a second pass by 20m later in case they want to be chased by people at their West.
Jorge EA2LU and I are currently waiting for George KX0R, who has operated already on 40m , then he unexpectedly jumped to 17m, where none of us two could copy him. He is now on 30m and we fear it will be too late by the time he shows up on 20m. We’ll see…
73,

Guru
P.D. it’s dark outside now… :crescent_moon:
P.D.2: WA6MM and WA2USA now operating on 40m…

imagen
Too late…
I don’t copy him. I just slightly feel he is there, but not workable for me.
Jorge EA2LU seems to copy something better than I, as he is calling him. But not robust copy enough to complete the QSO…

imagen
Too late also…
I don’t copy him :frowning:
I just heard WA2USA, who is currently spotted on 30m, calling WA6MM for S2S without success. He was an easy copy. I hope he will come to 20m before conditions degrade for him too.

imagen
It’s on 20m where you could be working DX now!
We are waiting for you!

imagen
George arrived to 20m too late, as I feared. I can feel his transmision but I don’t copy him well enough for a QSO…:frowning:

imagen
Dennis has just got a couple of EA2 in his log…

imagen
Too late…:frowning:
I can’t copy him, just some of his chasers…

imagen
Kent arrived too late to 20m but miraculously we managed to make the QSO. After being listening on the frequency for some minutes without having copy of him, just the feel that he was there transmitting, a slight improvement took place for a very short moment and I could copy him CQing, I called him, he sent ?? and then I repeated 3 times my callsing. Kent got it correctly, we exchanged reports and the QSO got to our logs in the very last minute.
Jorge EA2LU had gone QRT a few minutes earlier and it’s what I’m going to do now.
That’s all folks for today!
We’ll be back tomorrow.
73,

Guru

1 Like