Trans-Atlantic S2S - review of dates

As advised after the last event held on 4th November 2023, I have been contacted by several individuals who have advised that they are unable to make the dates that are usually set for this event. I have been asked to consider alternatives. Currently we are running the events as follows:

Spring - aligned with the QRPTTF event which this year will be Saturday 20th April 2024
Autumn - the first Saturday in November which will be Saturday 2nd November 2024

These dates were originally set up to avoid major contests (though some contest activity is on every weekend) and to encourage those operating in the QRPTTF event to join in the SOTA activity. It was also felt desirable to avoid the summer and winter months when weather conditions would be more extreme, most participants spending longer than usual stay on the summit.

So, I throw the subject open to those that participate or want to participate.

73, Gerald G4OIG / G8CXK

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Gerald,
Many thanks for the reminder of the tentative 2024 dates for trans-Atlantic s2s Event. I will mark my calendar and make every effort to activate a summit on either of those two Saturdays with an ear toward EU. As you know, there is no perfect answer when scheduling such events. Individual circumstances can change daily despite the best intentions. Hopefully given sufficient notice the majority of potential participants will be able to adjust their calendar.

Now if only we could accurately predict the space weather and local weather conditions on those specific dates !! Looking forward to many trans-Atlantic s2s.
Stay well & 73!
Mike, WB2FUV

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Hi Gerald,

Many thanks for your message.
Dates are marked in my SOTA calendar.

73, Jarek

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I agree with Mike, Brian. There is no perfect date for everyone.

Those that can, will. Those that can’t, will wait for the next one. I hope to be active on the date you’ve mentioned.

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The date should be determined by when we think the best band conditions for the path in question occur…EU to NA…

If we pick a date out of the peak time of year it will likely result in poor DX conditions across the pond. So picking a date for convience may not be a wise way to pick a date.

Generally, historically, mid November is the safest bet for the NA to EU path.

Pete
WA7JTM

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So that begs the question, do we move the November date forwards, perhaps basing it on the nearest Saturday to a specific date? I’m very conscious of the guys up in Canada getting nearer to winter conditions day by day.

The other question I would raise is whether we have gained any interest from those operating in the QRPTTF event. Any advice on that?

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Well this topic fell off the page PDQ. Should I therefore conclude that everyone that participates or would like to participate in the Trans-Atlantic S2S event is happy with the dates suggested? Surely not… if I have been asked privately to consider alternative dates, then why is there no debate on here?

In the light of the comment received from Pete WA7JTM, should we move the November date on a week or maybe base it on the Saturday nearest to a specific date?

I look forward to some comments on this.

73, Gerald G4OIG

It probably effects me alone but 20th April PM I’ll be making my way down to Blackpool for the rally on Sunday 21st so probably wont be able to take part. But that’s just me.

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Hi Gerald,

I think the major consideration for these events should be overlap of daylight hours, NA vs EU, which is determined by length of day. Latitude matters too, but we can’t easily change our latitude by much.

On 02 Nov the sun will set at London at 1630 local. That’s 1230 local here in the Eastern time zone of the US, and 0930 local in the Pacific (western) zone. So overlap is limited. If you hold the Fall event even just two weeks earlier, on 19 Oct, sunset will occur 1:27 later, at London. That would be a time of 1057 in the Pacific zone for the sunset in London, which is a decent amount of time for travel, ascent, and operations in the West here. It’d be less of an advantage here in the East, three hours later, but still helpful. An hour and a half of extra operating time would allow for more TA S2S Q’s., which is the name of the game.

The Spring event is better-placed regarding daylight overlap.

We can’t predict weather or propagation conditions for any given Saturday in the Spring or Fall, but we can know precisely when the sun will set, given a latitude.

73,
Andy, N4LAG

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Watch out. There’s a daylight-savings adjustment here at the end of October (presumably on Sunday 27th this year) which brings nightfall an hour earlier, so that 1:27 is 1:00 of clock-changing and only 0:27 of actual earlier sunset. Still distinctly noticeable, but…

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Good point Andy. When I first suggested this event back in 2016, we ran it in the middle of November. In that inaugural event I went QRT at 16:50z, packed up in the dark and descended by the light of my headlamp… . it was snowing at the time, but I was running high on endorphins having made my first T/A S2S contacts. Brilliant memories.

Personally I haven’t done anything different since 2018 when the event migrated to the first weekend of the month. I still work the bands to nightfall and descend in the dark, sometimes going QRT after 17:00z. Choosing the summit has been important for the November event, a decent track to the summit being, in my opinion, absolutely essential. Activators can be more adventurous with the choice of summit in the April event.

I seem to recall that we moved the date following some debate with the guys up in Canada who were concerned about weather conditions the later the event was held. There have been no adverse comments from that quarter following the change and I usually work some of the Canadian activators.

Balancing potential weather conditions with mid-November being about optimal for T/A contacts (though less important at the top of the solar cycle), I think we have it about right. Having said that, we could try October if those participating so wish.

Thanks for your input Andy.

73, Gerald

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Given where we are in cycle 25 and apparent frequency of 10m trans Atlantic contacts, I somewhat think that 2024 should be treated differently and settle on something like the third Saturday of each month to try “mass” contacts.

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The idea of holding more regular events was considered some time in the past Paul, but it was felt that to have more than two each year could destroy the focus of the event. The good thing about having just two dates is that they can be put in the diary as target dates and other things are made to work around them, so we get a reasonable amount of activators on summits.

The idea you have suggested does have considerable merit, but not everyone has time each month for an outing. When we discussed the matter, it was pointed out that holding a twice-yearly event does not prevent activators from making additional arrangements for more regular outings. Maybe someone might be willing to set this up, perhaps something like a series of short events on one Sunday a month?

73, Gerald

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Please don’t move the date later into November. I’ve missed several of these events so far because of cold, bitter, windy weather in our mountains. Most of our RF-quiet summits near here in Colorado are near or above 3000M, so conditions up there are much worse by early November. Also we have to be on early in the morning, just after dawn, to succeed in making S2S, and it’s incredibly cold at high altitude then.

My wish would be for mid-October, when we still have a chance to enjoy the event. Also the longer day then increases the time window available for propagation at higher frequencies from out here in the West.

73
George
KX0R

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Thank you for that correction. I failed to account for the clock change.

73,
Andy, N4LAG

The same must be true for many European summits. It would be good to hear comments for / against a move into October from activators in EU. The date would need to be 19th October to avoid the CQ WW SSB contest on 26th / 27th. There are a number of contests running on 19th, but that’s how it is every weekend. .

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I would be in favour of a move to October, to the (somewhat) better weather.

This is what the contest calendar site has listed for that weekend:
https://www.contestcalendar.com/contestcal.html

WAG is quite big in Europe. I don’t know about the others.

The clocks change (back an hour) in UK/EU on October 27th.

73 Ed.

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Yap, Ed. Definitively a no-no. Hard to find any free frequency in Europe and overall euro noise will hinder T-A QSOs. The latter will also apply to NA, as this is once a year when everybody wants to work as many DLs as possible.

Ahoi
Pom

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Well, it is coming up to 4 weeks that this thread has been on the reflector and from the few comments that have been posted I can only conclude that we have it about right for the majority of those wishing to take part. A move into October creates a clash with major contests and moving it further into November would cause greater weather issues. I am therefore minded to say that we leave it as is and hope that the weather gods smile on us.

If anyone has a eureka moment and knows how to find an extra Saturday with guaranteed good weather everywhere and no contests, then I’d be pleased to hear from them. :wink:

73 and hopefully Saturday 20th April 2024 will be a good one for T/A contacts.

Gerald

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Just a suggestion on whatever date is decided upon, something that normally wouldn’t work but we have the opportunity to do only this year because we are getting towards the top of SC25, would be to have operation “preferred” on the non-contest bands (i.e. 60, 30, 17 & 12m).
Taking this approach, we would remove the problem of being stomped on by the contesters.
Note I said “preferred” - those who want to fight the contesters on the main bands are of course welcome to do so, but if the majority of activators head for say, 17m that will push the activity up on that band and attract more activators there.
Of course, some will need to add extra antennas to their packs but that’s part of the hobby and part of the fun (or at least I think so).

73 Ed.
P.S. I would still prefer an October rather than a November date on the basis of weather and accessibility to higher summits.

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