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Trans-Atlantic S2S QSO Party - 7th November 2020 - Part 2 - Reports

Yes, that was me. I guess C X K is not the best combination for deciphering in the noise and QRM. I actually had to repeat it for quite a few callers, even one that exchanged 599 both ways with me. I guess he wanted to be sure.

I thought the idea of heading up just above 14.090 MHz was a good one, particularly with the contest on. For quite a while you were sat under Guru EA2IF/P on 14.066MHz. Of course there was no chance of giving you a call then, so I was pleased when you moved up. I did copy you on 17m, but for some reason I wasn’t getting out on that band. I’ve checked the vertical, but it seems okay, so another mystery.

73, Gerald G8CXK / G4OIG

Tks for S2S ,for me lz1wf and Jany lz1gj .
10 NA qso, s2s NA 73! Vasil lz1wf/p

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Forecast was correct - perfect for my local summit Morven GM/ES-018. Clear & sunny with any cloud during the day mostly below the top and no wind. Arrival and set up took longer than expected as I chose a hard route up and was also trying out a new antenna for the first- a delta loop for 20m, so I didn’t start until 1223 - first in the log was EA1DHB.
Finding a clear freq was a continual struggle on 20 and 40 most of the day due to the Ukraine contest. First US chaser worked at 1309 on 20m was WD8KDB in Michegan, then nothing more from across the pond until 1433 with KI6EAB/W4 working remotely from his QTH in Calif to Florida. US stations only started to appear in numbers after 1500, with KC3KYF in Maryland swiftly followed by NW7E in Oregon and KR7Q in Montana, then my first ever NA S2S with AC1Z in New Hampshire. Then AA1VX Mass, WD5GBD Louisiana and finally KD4QMY in Georgia for the last QSO of the day at 1540. Had to QRT to leave time to pack up before the sun set, which it had done by the time I started my descent (with head torch).
Ended the day with 99 QSOs, one new country (EA8DFO) and 20 S2S - lots of activity from HB9 and had a nice chat with Jonathan 2M0KZN/P who was on Lochnagar GM/ES-008 not far from me. Apart from 20 and 40m, also managed a couple of contacts on 15m and 2m. I will certainly be using the 20m delta loop again as it seemed a couple of S points better than the end-fed wire for DX.

Thanks to all for making it a great day’s activation, Simon GM4JXP

Morven foothills in early morning sun at the start of the walk up

Activation location with summit cairn in the background and a few hill walkers also out enjoying the day

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Anyone using a PA on an activation that has not one but two cooling fans gets a big :+1: from me :slight_smile:

I also note that Colin M1BUU @M1BUU has gone to the “dark side” with this QCX PA :slight_smile:

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“I also note that Colin M1BUU has gone to the “dark side” with this QCX PA :slight_smile:

I have found the current conditions a bit tough, I always seem to get trodden on. I have looked at amps in the past but they seem to be expensive, the QCX amp at $45 is surely an absolute bargain!

I quite enjoyed building the amp, I found it challenging, the toroids were a bit of a PITA.

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Thanks to all of you who organized this fun event! Despite some QRM and a late start - compared to the G/EU side of the ocean - I had an amazing time here in Colorado.

I drove about 25 miles from home in Boulder at 5600 feet, up to the trail-head at 9400 feet, hiked up the steep trail to the 10,540 foot summit of W0C/SR-052, Thorodin Mountain, set up a decent 65 foot end-fed INV L wire about 25 feet up, and started listening with my KX2 at about 1600Z. I immediately heard S2S contacts in progress, as well as strong DX stations calling over the top of these QSO’s, near 14.065 MHz.

I jumped in and started chasing USA activators for S2S contacts, my primary objective. After making 5 good ones on 20M CW, I decided to call CQ and see what would happen. I started out on 14.067, making many USA contacts, as well as easy Q’s with G4OBK - Phil, EA2LU - Jorge, and F4WBN. Soon a digital station completely covered me up, but I was able to QSY to 14.065 and continued calling CQ. I logged many more chaser Q’s, several USA S2S’s, as well as TF3Y, DL3DXX, and EA7GV, DL7CX, and DL1DXX. There were several DX stations calling that I missed because of other chasers. The bands were pretty good, with the solar flux above 90. It was BUSY!

So much going on near 14.065 that is was impossible for me to keep track of who was who. For a time there were several of us USA activators lined up side-by-side working chasers, DX, and S2S as fast as we could go. It was very frustrating, as the numerous slow chasers cost valuable time!

Around 1650Z the pace changed. Most of my chasers were logged, and I was listening for the few who might still be trying to get me. I heard a weak station calling slowly, not sure if he was calling me, but sending a tricky call - then I heard the “G”. I sent “??”, and he kept trying. Yes, he was calling me from over there, for sure. Another G station chasing…but he had a “/P” on the end of the call. After a few more repeats, I got it:

G8CXK/P

That was a new one. His signal was in the clear, with only QSB and a bit of noise. We did the exchange, and then I heard “Ref is” - I had no idea it was S2S until then…“G/CE-004” as clear as could be, twice! I came right back with my ref, and I heard the operator send “QSL”. This was my only transatlantic S2S contact yesterday, but it was a good one!

Only later did I find that G8CXK is also G4OIG, Gerald. I have seen many of his posts here often. Thank you for your incredible patience, Gerald. I don’t know how you managed to stay on Bardon Hill so long, perhaps after sunset, but you made my day!!

From Colorado S2S DX contacts are rare, especially this time of year, with short days and often cold, windy weather on our high summits. This year was the exception. Yesterday it was sunny and nice at 10,540 feet , and the earlier snow had melted on the south side of Thorodin. I’ve skipped this event in the last, because of cold weather, or the early start time.

A few more details:

Thorodin Mountain is an exceptional site for SOTA activating. The peak has a steep social trail up the south side, and the rocky, forested summit offers shelter from the winds that often roar across the top. Few people go there, so it’s safe in the pandemic. The mountain falls away steeply in all directions, so a low takeoff angle is certain. The peak is located in a State Park, with little development nearby. The HF noise is low, especially on 20M. There’s a small radio repeater site on the north end of the mountain, Starr Peak, but there’s no high power broadcasting, as far as I know.

The peak has a magnificent view of the entire Front Range, from Pikes Peak to Longs Peak, both 14,000 foot summits. It also looks down and across the Great Plains to the east. The takeoff to EU and most other directions seems ideal, as there are no obstacles or higher summits nearby. I’ve made some amazing 2-meter contacts up there during the annual Colorado 14-er/SOTA event - seemingly unlikely contacts across distant ranges, perhaps by diffraction or reflection - to more distant ranges. Just a 2M HT and a half-wave whip - magic!

My RBN spots yesterday were typical for Thorodin. They may still be up.

I was running my KX2 at 10W out. My antenna was 65 feet of wire, fed with my homebrew high-Z tuner. The wire ran up the 6M pole, then out horizontally to the south, where it was suspended 30 feet above the ground from a tree limb - I threw a rock up there. It was an inverted K, and a full wave at 20M - there are no traps.

I logged 18 S2S contacts, 16 of them unique summits, for 68 S2S points - thanks to all of you! I recently crossed 30,000 S2S points, and it has been an incredible, crazy ride!

There were 11 DX contacts.

The one transatlantic S2S contact was with G8GXK/P (G4OIG), who is an amazing SOTA activator! Thanks again Gerald!

73

George
KX0R

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without PA there is no big chance in EU QRM. We use them only for EU-NA VK / EU. Now we us 3el wire bieam+ 50 w :slight_smile:.
But usualy i use ft817, qcx 20,30 m

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What a great event, and conditions.
Paul (VA6MPM), aspiring ham David and I activated Square Butte (VE6/RA-032) for the event before the forecasted winter storm rolled in. Both Paul and I used similar setups (KX2, amp, efhw) for the day. David was the fire master, with the weather the fire was greatly enjoyed by all.

First time in along time I had that many contacts in a short period of time. It was 24 contacts in 17 minutes with 9 EU, 2 S2S from Arizona area along with numerous regular chasers.
Summary of my contacts:
total - 24;
EU - 9;
S2S - 2; and
others - 13.
Thank you chasers and other activators.
Malen
VE6VID

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Trans-Atlantic S2S event – Bardon Hill G/CE-004

Saturday 7th November 2020

This year I had planned to activate a couple of Scottish summits from our alternative location in the north of England, but lockdown in England put paid both to that idea and also to the back up plan of activating from a summit in the Cheviot Hills. Plan C was to return to the nearest summit to my main home which I had activated with Paul G6GGP / G4MD in November 2019, but this time I would be on my own.

This year the weather was fine, with a mixture of sun and cloud and with a variable, sometimes stiff breeze at the summit. Rather than operating close to the bench at the edge of the AZ as we had in 2019, in the interest of maintaining social distancing I set up on an area of rough ground a little further east. This slightly compromised the take off over the quarried part of the hill, but was preferable to being close to the footpath up the hill. A group of large boulders provided me with a suitable operating bench, if not a seat. I had the option of moving everything to the ground if the weather conditions worsened, but thankfully that was not necessary.


The take off towards the north-west

It took me 10 minutes to set up and I was ready to go by 13:00z, starting on 20m CW and tuning around to see what I could hear. My start was interrupted by a couple of walkers who were very interested in what I was doing. Respectfully they kept a distance of around 4 metres and wished me success in making it across the pond before continuing on their way. Once I was able to make a start, the first into the log at 13:24z was Paul CT7/K9PM/P on CT/AL-002. Checking the spots I found conditions to be quite selective as next to be worked was Jens HB9EKO/P on HB/ZH-020, but looking for Bruno HB9CBR/P shortly afterwards I could hear nothing of him. Aleksandar YU1CA/P on YU/ZS-048 increased my log to just 3 for the first hour.


View of the set up for this event.

For the second hour I decided to call and found 14.0625MHz free. The run lasted for 24 contacts which included S2S contacts with Bob AC1Z on W1/NL-006, Malcolm VE2DDZ on VE2/ML-005, Rado S58R/P on S5/BI-081, Scott N1AIA on W1/AM-300 and 5 NA chasers. Once the frequency went quiet I decided to check the spots and bagged Dale AA7OY on W7A/CO-133 and Guru EA2IF/P on EA2/NV-151. At 15:00z I changed the LiFePO4 on the small MX-P50M linear amp (running at 25W output) and a man with a group of young lads around 10 years of age asked what I was doing. Unfortunately I found that for some reason my voice had gone rather hoarse, but I did manage to provide a suitable explanation and was again wished all the best for my activity. The interruption did however cause me to forget to change the LiPO powering the FT-817 which had repercussions a little later on. It failed around 15:30z. I later managed to get 2100mAH charge into it – it is a 2200mAH battery. :slightly_smiling_face:


The standing shack,

As there did not seem to be that much activity spotted on 17m, I decided to continue calling on 14.0625MHz. A rather sporadic run netted me Roman DL3TU/P on DM/BW-110, Adrian YO8AZQ/P on YO/EC-380, Keith KR7RK on W7A/CS-006 and Joel KC4WZB on W4C/WM-003 plus 3 NA chasers. I then decided to move to 17m CW, but despite calling for 20 minutes solid, no-one called me. So it was back to 20m and to try SSB. As I was changing the links on the antenna another group of people came over and asked what I was doing, again keeping their distance. I found my voice had now all but disappeared, so when I turned back to the radio I decided to stay on CW and went searching for contacts. This final phase netted me Mike WB2FUV on W2/GC-020, Javier EA2GM/P on EA1/AT-208, George KX0R on W0C/SR-052, Leo NE2P on W4C/EM-049 and Jimmy K2JB on W4C/US-001.

During the activation I was not successful in making contact with N0DNF. N4LAG, VA2EO, KJ7NOY and WA7JTM. I spent some ten minutes trying to get through to Pete WA7JTM, but to no avail. So with darkness having fallen and having stood for four and a half hours with feet like blocks of ice, I decided that it was time to pack up and get back to my car. However, little did I know that I was in for a bit of a surprise…

On the walk back, the track takes a couple of sharp turns where there are metal barred gates. Just after passing the upper gate and turning left the light from my head torch picked up two bright yellow eyes about 5 metres off the track to my right. I could just about make out the outline of what looked like a large black cat. However, this was not domestic cat size, but twice if not three times the size. It swung its head as I passed and I kept the eyes in the light of my torch until I was some distance away. Unfortunately I completely forgot I had a camera with me, but whether it would have captured anything other than just a pair of eyes, I somehow doubt it.

So a total of 43 contacts for me – 10 NA summits, 8 NA chasers, 8 EU summits and 17 EU chasers with 5 NA summits heard but not worked. Last years NA figures were 4 summits, 11 chasers and 2 NA summits heard, but not worked. Overall it was a very enjoyable activation and conditions were decidedly better than last year. In hindsight there might have been a small improvement in the receive capability at my end if I had used my IC-703 rather than the FT-817, but probably not enough to increase the number of contacts.

With the disappointment of losing the opportunity to activate from Scotland for this event (and with it a 10 day break up north), this was a much-needed day out. Everyone I met on the walk and while on the summit was very friendly and well respectful of social distancing. It was great to see lots of smiles given the current situation.

My thanks go to everyone that contacted me, indeed for everyone that supported this event. Hopefully we will be able to get out on the hills next April.

73,

Gerald G8CXK (G4OIG)

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What a wonderful event! I almost missed it, when my alarm went off at 4am it was raining and the forecast looked awful, so I went back to sleep. But I woke again at 5 and decided that I wasn’t going to let a little weather stop me. This turned out to be the right choice, because just as I arrived at the trailhead, the rain stopped.

I hiked 5 miles, 2000 feet up to the summit of O’Leary Peak, W7A/CS-006 at 2724m/8937’. It was crazy windy and dark clouds all around. I set up on the downwind side of the summit and pushed my antenna up to only about 20 feet, but it blew down twice during the activation.

View from summit towards Humphreys Peak, Arizona’s High Point

Despite not being QRV until after 1500 UTC, as soon as I turned on the rig, I heard stations from across the pond. The mic and key were both put in service and I managed to get 9 trans-atlantic S2S QSO’s in the log:
@HB9CBR on HB/BE-123 (17m cw)
@HB9EKO on HB/ZH-020 (20m cw)
@DL3SBA on DM/NW-184 (20m ssb)
CT9/@K9PM on CT/AL-002 (20m cw)
@LZ1WF on LZ/RO-144 (20m cw)
@G8CXK on G/CE-004 (20m cw)
@DL3TU on DM/BW-110 (17m cw)
@S58R on S5/BI-081 (17m cw)
@M1EYP on G/SP-015 (20m cw)

After 1614 UTC I didn’t make any other trans-Atlantic S2S. But I did continue to operate until about 1830 UTC (I have no idea how my battery lasted so long!), and my final log has 17 additional S2S to North American stations, 18 DX Chaser QSO’s (including one Trans-Pacific thanks to @ZL1BYZ ), and 105 total QSO’s in the log. I even spent about 20 minutes chasing S01WS on 17m SSB (Western Sahara) who was booming in on my end but I never broke his pileup. 15m was good and of course 20m was rocking all morning.

The rain returned just as I arrived back at my car after hiking down - I really got lucky this time! It turned to snow later in the day and today is much worse.

Thanks for a really fun event and especially thanks to all the other activators and chasers who make SOTA so much fun.

73 es cu down the log,

Keith KR7RK

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Wonderful to read all the activation reports for the Transatlantic NA-EU event and the enjoyment I read about mirrors my own experience on CT/AL-002. After 2 days of rain, the weather forecast said “partly cloudy” for the 7th but it turned out to be “mostly cloudy with an hour of rain”. When the rain started, I spread my poncho over me and the equipment to keep dry but the wind made it challenging to keep the poncho in place.

Since the trig point was adjacent to a mobile phone tower, I set up my portable station slightly downslope to the south of the summit with a clear view West toward North America. My antenna was a 10m long vertical which I used on both 20m and 17m.

On my last activation I managed to forget the external battery for the KX3, but this time I remembered it and was able to run QRO power (5 watts) for the entire time (hi hi).

Operating window: 1230-1630 UTC
Bands/Mode: 20m CW & 17m CW
Total QSOs: 108 including 17 NA QSOs
Total S2S QSOs: 25 including 5 NA S2S QSOs
Best DX: 8906 km to K6HPX in Tucson, Arizona USA (on both 20m & 17m)
Best S2S DX: 8727 km to KR7RK on W7A/CS-006 in Arizona USA

Thanks to the event organizers and to all the activators and chasers who made this event a fun day.

73 de CT7/K9PM Paul

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Glad to have participated briefly from local peak W2/GC-020 at only 698M elevation but good take-off in three directions. Used my FT-818 at 6W to either an end-fed inverted L or a center-fed inverted V up 8 meters. Unexpected congestion on 20M with the SKCC event. I did manage to work G8CXK/P and EA2GM plus four stateside summits and some chasers before being evicted by a state park ranger who claimed I needed a special permit to operate from the park !! Very disappointing for me after weeks of anticipation… Thanks for a great event Mike, WB2FUV

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A pleasure George. I’m very happy to have made your day. Hopefully we can have more contacts in future events.

I hope this hasn’t put you off Mike. You were a cracking signal with that barefoot 818. A very solid 559. Pity you weren’t permitted to stay longer as I’m sure you’d have made more S2S contacts.

73, Gerald G8CXK / G4OIG

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AC1Z- I seem to always be able to make S2S contact with you George! You put out a great signal into New Hampshire! Congratulations! I hope to get out your way next summer if all goes as planned.

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There was plenty of interest in this event, SMS use was up 52% on a normal Saturday.

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Brilliant timing for this event. I had some free time, the day broke a record for warmth, and band conditions were wonderful. My summit (W1/AM-300) was an easy climb (more of a stroll, really) and I noticed no other people during 3 hours of operation. I used my 4-band K1 and an end-fed wire / inverted L.

Started at 1400z on 20 CW with some search and pounce. My first, M1BUU/P, was followed by a string of transAtlantic S2S QSOs before I decided to call CQ. In the end, I logged 53 contacts in 12 countries and 14 states with 24 S2S contacts (15 EU). Even though the thrill was mostly in the DX, it was fun to put AC1Z and K1RID in the log from nearby summits.

I started SOTA a year ago and this was my activation #5. I’ve been having a lot of fun, but this event easily becomes high point #1.

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Hi Colin
How much power does that little amp run? You had one of the
best European goat signals I’ve heard in California!

73,
John, K6YK

The amp is putting around 30 watts out at present. I could probably increase it a bit more, but then again I’m not sure 40 watts is much different to 30 watts. I’m a QRPer so I don’t have equipment that can measure higher power levels accurately. The best I can do is my Nissei SWR meter.

The contact made my day, thanks :slight_smile:

73, Colin

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NIce meter Colin - much like the Daiwa Cross Pointer meters I have been using here for over 30 years. See pic - ancient and modern…

Touch wood, I don’t seem to be able to damage them!

Well done on building your QCX Amp - you’ll be giving others ideas that they ought to build one for themselves. Rather like my XYL knits jumpers for the grandkids (another one on the way) you build your own radio gear. Bravo I say! You were a belting signal in Pickering from Buckden Pike on the 20m band last Saturday.

73 Phil

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Colin,
Made my day, too! Don’t get too many European SOTAs out
here in California…
73,
John, K6YK

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