Tuesday activity

In reply to GW0DSP:

Hi Mike,

I agree with you on the linked dipole Mike as you know I have just resentley made a 5 band one and no need at all for a atu and works very well indeed.

So to Brian G8ADD look on GW4BVE photos and you will find very good photos + a diagram on the aprox meserments for the antenna as this is the one that I made and have had some good reports on all bands.

73 Terry G0VWP

Featured band/mode…

How about…

1st Tuesday of month: 2m SSB
2nd Tuesday of month: 70cm FM
3rd Tuesday of month: HF: 60m SSB / 40m CW / 20m SSB
4th Tuesday of month: 6m SSB
5th Tuesday of month: HF: 60m SSB / 40m CW / 20m SSB

This fits in with some of the contests, so to guarantee some other activity on these lesser used parts of the spectrum. Locators at the ready! The RSGB contests on the 3rd and 5th Tuesdays are 4m and microwave, so probably not as useful for us (yet). The choice of FM with the 70cm is purely selfish as I haven’t got a suitable antenna to use with the 817 (yet) so would be on the HH.

Would suggest that the featured band/mode is 2000-2045 local, the other times, ie 1900-2000 and 2045-2100 being on 2m FM/SSB as Mike says. Again, a bit of selfishness creeping in, with 2000-2045 being my own window of opportunity. It seems from pervious alerts that some others can only get out by around 8pm too.

Of course people can always do what they want, but it would be good, for instance, if the next time the 50MHz Tuesday comes around, if we know that we are looking for each other on that band at that time. I will be alerting in accordance with my proposed schedule next time I am out on a Tuesday.

Tuesday Night is SOTA Night…

In reply to GW0DSP:
Sorry, Mike, missed that. As I remember it the activations on 5 megs were well posted, but by the time I decided to QSY to a scheduled SSTV net some of the activations that I later found were in progress had not appeared on my screen, I missed the 6 meters activations partly because of a local club station with a rock-crushing signal but would have hung in there despite the splatter if I had but known!

Why do you call the 817 “infamous”? It is one hell of a great little rig, I have worked 5 continents and just under 100 countries with mine on a doublet and I don’t even try hard, I don’t even sign /QRP, getting through is routine! I only run the 5 watts on 5 megs (except when I forget to go QRO and it is still on 2.5 watts or lower) and find that if I can hear them, I can work them - including DX! For someone who grew up with “hollow-state” rigs it’s a box of magic!

My ATU is a homebrew Z-match and while losses are indeed inevitable I believe they are very small - this might not be true of an MFJ, which I have heard can be a bit “iffy”! My attitude is that for activations a dipole is very good if you have the room, though it becomes a bit of a problem on 80 m, but you don’t want more than 66’ of wire hanging around, if that, on awkward, restricted or crowded summits.


Brian G8ADD

I do indeed remember Gene Simmons, Ace Frehley, Paul Stanley and Peter Criss, but not sure what you’re getting at in referencing them.

Not meant to be complicated Mick, just go on whatever band you want - if Lauren will let you out. It was just that once we were supposed to be doing something on 2m SSB, but it didn’t really happen, and last time we were supposed to be doing 6m SSB, and it didn’t really happen.

I am just saying that next time we say we are going to do a band/mode, let’s do it between 2000 and 2045 to improve our chances of contacting each other. Looking for Les has been a bit like looking for a needle in a haystack, but we can improve that with a little organisation.

I will be on those bands at those times on those days anyway. Everyone else - it’s entirely up to them, of course.

In reply to M1EYP:
According to my SMC guidebook, the West Ridge is a highly polished 60 foot “Diff”, the trouble is that bitter experience has taught me to expect that a Scottish “Diff” 60 foot high would probably be no more than “Moderate” with one really scary “Hard Very Severe” move! So it is with the “Inn Pin”, where you have to mantleshelf from a tiny ledge up a 5 foot rise to a sloping ledge! The universal opinion seems to be “Diff, my a**e!”

Sgurr Dearg itself is probably within the activation zone, but in this particular case I would regard that as cheating! The same goes for the Cobbler, that mis-shaped lump of polished basalt is the summit, if you are going to operate from the col then whatever the rule book says, you have not done the Cobbler!


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G8ADD:
Hi again Brian, well that explains your poor postings comment, I didn’t understand what you meant because the spotting on fun night was magnificant, as it always is, one gentleman was responsible for 17 spots alone, they did us proud yet again.

The infamous 817, hi, a slip of the tongue and wrong use of word, I meant that it is a superb portable radio and probably the most popular radio with activators, although, having said that, quite a few are now going over to the 706mk2g or FT-857 for more power and improved sigs, a fine example of this was John GW4BVEs recent EI activations and Steve G1INKs recent DM/BW activations, both incidentally using linked resonant dipoles, I don’t think they would have got quite the same results with a FT-817, doublet and atu!!

It will be interesting to see how your FT-817, doublet, atu, set up works /P from a summit, but unfortunately, the last two times you have posted an activation, you either never made it to the summit, or weren’t spotted by any sota chasers, maybe third time luck, eh.

73 Mike GW0DSP

I’m with Mick and Mike also. In fact less so. I would just use a single band resonant antenna.

My response to the issues you have raised Brian would be as follows:

In cases like Sgurr Daerg and The Cobbler, I would no doubt just activate below the summit within the AZ, and use my usual aerial. You could do this as well without “cheating”. Just climb to the summit, then come back down again and activate from below. It is often not particularly considerate or convenient to activate right on the summit, hence the 25m rule.

The other thing to think about is the likelihood (or otherwise) of one activating a particular summit. If it is highly unlikely that one is going to be visiting these extreme places for SOTA, then one doesn’t need an aerial solution for it. It is this mathematical view of life that has relaxed me away from worrying about what antenna I could use for HF on Stac Lee.

Yes Mick, I fully appreciate the bonus of having two sons that love to be out walking with their dad at the weekend. One so much that he got himself a licence! Thanks for the offer of a swap, but unless Lauren is prepared to carry my antenna, have it ready set up for me at the summit and do all my spotting for me, then it’s a no go. She might struggle in the high heels I suppose.

Some interesting comments, interspersed by some entrenched positions!

I think it is one of the enduring “arguments” on the subject of antennas. Some people swear by their resonant dipoles and despise any thought of “lossy” ATUs. I am firmly in the opposite camp. Never, since 1966, have I been in the position of having the space for a resonant dipole on 80m, or even 40m, at any of my home stations. Therefore I have been forced down the road of end-fed wires and ATUs, and have been reasonably happy with the results.

When I came to try operating from a hill-top for SOTA, I did try a resonant 60m dipole for my first effort, but found the difficulties of erecting it in a meaningful fashion amongst the trees was just too difficult - and the weight of the coaxial feeder seemed excessive. So, I invested in a tiny Elecraft T1 ATU and reverted to using an end-fed wire with a matching counterpoise. I am pleased with the results. It is easier to drape around trees, bushes and fences, and I can manage almost instantaneous band changes. It also looks less conspicuous to passers-by, a big advantage on the busier southern summits.

So, perhaps the “ATU v resonant antenna” argument should be suspended. I’m guessing that neither side will convince the dedicated followers of the other viewpoint.

On the topic of the “Tuesday rota”, I am wondering if it’s getting a bit too formalised. What started out as an impromptu opportunity to wander onto a nearby hill when the weather is fine, has begun to metamorphose into a set of “guidelines”. If we progress down that path, I fear that soon somebody will accuse somebody else of “doing the wrong mode” on a given evening. I suggest a less formal option. By all means make use of the featured RSGB contest-band-of-the-evening, but otherwise just do your own thing (hopefully after announcing it on SOTAwatch). That way everybody can enjoy their own activities at their own pace.

73 de Les, G3VQO

In reply to M1EYP:
Thanks for the offer of a swap, but unless Lauren

is prepared to carry my antenna, have it ready set up for me at the
summit and do all my spotting for me, then it’s a no go.

OOh steady on now Tom, I thought under sota rules one had to carry one’s own equipment, unaided, hi?

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to G3VQO:

Hi Les, a very interesting reply and I have to agree with most that you say.
The longwire/atu combo is well tested and of course works very well. Your French and IOW activations were all good sigs, but from memory you took a car battery on a sack truck and ran QRO, hi, must have arms like Popeye Les, hi.
Klaus DF2GN has also used the long wire set up to good effect and is renowned for his consistant big sigs to the UK.

I am just generalising, that with most activators using 5w, my own humble opinion is that it is best to try and get every last ounce of power to the antenna.
The coax feeder to a dipole need not be a problem either if using RG 174/316.

You are 100% correct when you say that followers of a certain type of antenna set up will not change their mind.

I am relatively new to sota and /p operating and decided to make my /P set up based on the stronger activators set ups and although I now have 32 activations under my belt, I only have 5 unique summits and therefore not exactly qualified to comment on limitations for antennae on summits, but a quick read through the summits page makes it obvious that most summits will easily accomodate a 80m dipole without problem.

All interesting stuff Les and nice to get peoples different views and ideas.

vy 73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom

When I originally suggested the idea of a regular sota fun evening, the main idea was to operate for the first half hour on 2-fm, then the second half hour on 2-ssb, this was the only fair way to accomodate EVERY class of licencee, most hams having at least a 2-fm handie.
After this initial hour, anything goes re band/mode, simply alert for your activation as normal including band/mode.
I think that you do have a good point on the start time though, with most people starting later than 18:00utc.

Basically, it has to be down to what the majority want, but after some thought, I would like to see it kept as simple as that, because it works for both activators and chasers.

I make a note from the alerts page just prior to leaving for my summit and can then have a quick look who is where on the evening, then go looking for the s2s contacts, this has worked very well for me each fun night with lots of s2s contacts made.

73 Mike GW0DSP

In reply to M1EYP:

Firstly apologies for the multiple posting, I don’t know what happened but the laptop appeared to freeze up.

Its semantics, I guess. On the Inn Pin, this is separately named to Sgurr dearg, operating from the base of the pinnacle or from the nearby summit of Sgurr Dearg you are simply not on the Pinnacle, so although you are within the rules, you are not actually activating the Pinnacle. The same with the Cobbler, this is the name of the summit tower, the mountain itself is Ben Arthur. Thus coming off the Cobbler and activating from the col, or the Cobblers Last, or the Cobblers Wife, is not activating the Cobbler. Look, this is just my take on it, I don’t expect other people to take such a purist view! But for my part I would only activate the named feature, even though I might not set up on the very summit (I seem to remember some nice stances on the long side of the Inn Pin!)

Antennas - its whatever turns you on, I guess, but while I agree that life is simpler with a dipole, and I agree that there may be some loss with an ATU, I also think that the weight of an ATU such as my Z-match (470 grams with patch lead) is likely to be partly offset by less wire and no coax, whilst I would have to lose three quarters of my output to be down an S point so a little loss is not going to bother me. It seems to me that the doublet and tuner is a viable alternative that also gives you access to more bands.

Inconsistant, ain’t I? Purist about at least some summits, easy going about antennas!


Brian G8ADD

I am not in disagreement with anybody. I will usually miss the first hour anyway, and will start around 2000 local on whatever the RSGB featured bit of spectrum is for that week. That’s where I will be after 8pm, and that’s what I will alert for. Like Mike, I will also scan the alerts to get a feel for what everyone else is doing. I think there is a bit of mileage in following the RSGB VHF contest bands for this, after the first hour. Sorry if I made it look overly structured.

In reply to M1EYP:

Does anyone know how far below the pinnacle the base is on this one?
It looks a close call for the 25m rule.

I got my SMC Climbers Guide to Skye out, and the shortest route to the summit of the Inn Pin by the “West Ridge” is 60 feet and it’s grade is “Difficult”. However, I know from bitter experience that the average Scottish Diff is usually a very easy climb with one terrifying move on it. So it is with the Inn Pin! Near the top you have to stand on a very narrow ledge and mantlepiece up a five foot step to a sloping platform. In addition the dam’ thing has been climbed so often that it is polished to the point where you can almost see your face on the holds!

It may be some time before an ascent acceptable to a purist like me takes place!


Brian G8ADD>

In reply to G8ADD:

Inconsistant, ain’t I? Purist about at least some summits, easy going
about antennas!


Brian G8ADD

Nice one Brian, took the words right out of my mouth, hi.

Just one very important point though, you say you can lose 75% of your power at the cost of just 1 s-point, the important question is…at the cost of how many chasers though?

As one famous person stated…

“I may not agree with what you say, but I’ll defend til the death, your right to say it”

73 Mike GW0dsp

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom et al,

… I will usually miss the first hour anyway, and will start around 2000 local on whatever the RSGB featured bit of spectrum is for that week.

Good idea Tom. I think there are enough people active to have a number activating HF as well. Also this idea could be of interest to Myke DDQ and the 23cms crew. How many can be available for that band on the 3rd Tuesday of the month?

73, Gerald

In reply to G3VQO:

Well, I’m amazed you heard me Gerald!

Obviously on a peak of QSB Les. Sorry to hear the whip is a dummy load on 6m.

Actually, I am considering putting in a 6m link into my 60m / 40m / 30m dipole as well as a 20m one. Of course I don’t really need other links as the 40m length seems to work okay on 15m and the 30m length on 10m. I haven’t tried the WARC bands between. So maybe no real need for more wire or aluminium to be carried up a hill… though to operate 6m the mast will need to be temporarily lowered to split the links. Could be worth the hassle.

73, Gerald

In reply to 2E0HJD:
Hi, Mick! Well yes, I’ve been hillwalking since I was a toddler, and was a keen rock climber and snow and ice man until I got married (that sort of thing is not fair on a growing family!) but am now gradually getting back into the fell walking part now the kids are independent - tho’ I doubt I will do much on rock or snow and ice at my age!

I have literally thousands of photos but they are all 35 mm slides, it is an ambition to get them all into the computer but I would have to invest in a decent scanner and re-fitting the station comes first! It would also take a big investment in time. I don’t know if anyone here can advise on this but I wonder if I could put the slides in an old-style photographic slide copier and copy them with a digital camera? This might be quicker and cheaper.


Brian G8ADD

In reply to G4OIG:

In reply to M1EYP:

Hi Tom et al,

Also this idea could be of interest to Myke DDQ

and the 23cms crew. How many can be available for that band on the 3rd
Tuesday of the month?

73, Gerald

Hi Gerald

The main point of the fun nights was to operate on bands/modes which are available to ALL amateurs no matter what class of licence held, hence the first hour being adhered to strictly on 2-fm/ssb, that being the fairest way.

After that hour it doesn’t matter, anything goes, but please, let’s not stray from keeping it as planned for the first hour.

The start time may be better if at 19:00 utc which seems to suit most people.

73 Mike GW0DSP