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VHF/UHF is alive and well 2

On Tuesday 7th July 2020, the RSGB Contest Committee once again allowed competitive participation from /P stations. During lockdown, my RSGB contesting has been restricted to being from the home QTH only - although itchy feet and a yearning for the hills saw me start to abandon the shack and take part from the hills anyway, even though this meant I could only enter a checklog.

All day at work and after returning home, the rain came down. The Met Office forecast gave heavy rain in the area around The Cloud G/SP-015 (I check for The Roaches and Biddulph Grange Gardens as Bosley Cloud itself isn’t a forecast location on Met Office). right through to 0300 BST on the Wednesday morning.

Right up to 5pm, I was resigning myself to not going out. The two small pieces of hope were that there was very little wind forecast - which meant that it could be possible to survive the night in the bothy bag (which soon becomes ineffective if strong winds are constantly pushing the fabric against you and your equipment) - and looking out of the window! Nearly two decades of SOTA has significantly improved my “weather watching” skills, and I can get a fairly accurate feel of how the next few hours weather will develop using the advanced technique of looking out of the window. And this suggested to me that there would be much less rain to suffer on Cloud summit between 1800 and 2130z than this indicated:

I decided to go for it, so quickly prepared dinner for Jimmy M0HGY, Liam and myself - Marianne was at work. Sausage, egg, beans and chips - lovely!

I arrived at the summit in very light drizzle, but crucially no wind at all. This proved essential, as the ground on three sides of the topograph had a big puddle. Just one spot afforded the opportunity to place my mat on the ground, not in a muddy puddle, but still use the topograph as a back-rest / shelter.

I spent the first two hours inside the bothy bag, sheltering myself and my equipment from the drizzle, but after that, it remained dry and much more in-keeping with my looking-out-of-the-kitchen-window forecast than the online Met Office prediction. Activity was good with lots of portables similarly escaping the cabin fever, though conditions were variable. Some directions enjoyed good signals, but long deep QSB was a menace throughout, and nothing was worked outside the UK, apart from one contact into EI.

Anyway, here’s the results:

139 contacts.

2m FM: 39
2m SSB: 96
70cm FM: 2
70cm SSB: 2

17 QRAs: IO63, 64, 73, 74, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 90, 91, 92, 93, 94, 95, JO00.

6 DXCCs: EI, G, GD, GI, GM, GW.

I drove over to Gun G/SP-013 afterwards for a quick handheld activation, and made 3 QSOs on 70cm FM from the summit.

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What antenna were you using?

You have a lot more squares than me (think I got 7) and I’d guess our locations were equally good. I was on Cleeve Hill (G/CE-001), but safely tucked up in my van with kettle facilities so no SOTA. Handy, because I got your forecast weather! I suspect difference in squares is down to the operator, rather than the antenna, but still interested.

I used the old SOTAbeams SB5 - 5 element Yagi. Frequently changed the direction, both when running and when S&P’ing. Used several different run frequencies. In last half hour, monitored KST and pounced on frequencies indicating a potential new square to work.

The other technique I employed was to beam towards a clutch of squares I’d not worked - in my case this was JO01. JO02 and JO03 plus PA, ON, F, DL. South East essentially! However, while all the tactics in the previous paragraph bore fruit, this one did not, and those QRAs and DXCCs proved to be the gaping holes in my log. I was also gutted not to reach SN 100 having surpassed 080 with an hour left… :frowning:

Useful. Thanks. 2 more elements than me, but the difference is in the tactics you employed - I was basically missing all of them! Therein lies the fun for me, learning and getting a bit better each time.

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I managed a rapid 23 FM contacts in the last 15 mins of the FMAC last night - about 500m from CE-001 (sat in the in car with one of my new home-made 8 Ele LFA’s @ 6m AGL).

Matt 2E0MDJ got 47 QSO’s (6 DXCC) in 16 Grids in the first 1 Hr 15 mins of the UKAC and I got 47 (6 DXCC) in 13 Grids during the second half.

Yes VHF/UHF is alive an well - at least on RSGB Contest evenings.

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And at other times too. As my activator log will indicate after my next update when I get around to it.

UHF is alive and well. 91 QSOs on 70cm from The Cloud G/SP-015 last night - 71 on SSB, 1 on CW and 19 on FM.

The really pleasing thing was that as well as me, four other SOTA activations were in progress on 70cm. These were Stuart G1ZAR/P on Kinder Scout G/SP-001, Carl GW0TQM/P on Cyrn-y-Brain GW/NW-043, Tony M5OTA/P on Worcestershire Beacon G/WB-009 and Chris M0KPW/P on Kirkby Moor G/LD-049. Five SOTAs on a 70cm activity evening - possibly a record?

Additionally, Andrew G4VFL/P was activating HEMA G/HLD-031 - Hesk Fell. I’m still not allowed to log that as a chase unfortunately, but I might well be out activating a HEMA later today. Even though I am barred from submitting the activation log, I’m pretty sure that anyone I work can still log the chaser contact, and it be valid. So HEMA fans - please listen out on 145.500MHz FM later this afternoon, as obviously I won’t be able to self-spot.

VHF this morning wasn’t as healthy. I struggled to make a single 2m FM QSO on Gun G/SP-013, and then just two on The Cloud G/SP-015! Maybe UHF is the way forward… :smiley:

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News just in…

Man in contest has contest QSOs. Film at 11.

Yes Andy. Contests are a really effective way of stimulating activity on lesser-used bands and modes. So are SOTA Challenges. Remind me, whose idea was those…?

What I am saying is that if something helps to stimulate activity, that is good, isn’t it? Why try to diminish the existence and fun of the activity, because something has been put in place to stimulate it?

Anyway, you wilfully ignore my second paragraph, which is genuinely newsworthy even if you insist on believing that the rest isn’t.

‘Like’ from @g1ink incoming…

You chose too late in the day for our try - propagation was in the “good” region and there were plenty of planes until 2030UTC - then it died.
In fact so good I didn’t realise that the PA was switched off until after I worked G4CLA on 10 watts!!!

That’s a good point Barry. Naturally, I S+P at lot in the first 90 minutes while all the big boys are running on their QRGs. I also run quite a lot in those times as I get some significant pile-ups being on a SOTA summit. Once the pickings from S+P are slim, and running becomes “lonely” - typically in the last hour, then I start to think about boosting my score by fiddling about with KST. But maybe I need to do some KSTing in the first hour to boost my chances of the GM DX?

I’m a bit behind with the lingo - WTH is KST?

I’m amazed you’re unfamiliar with it Brian, being a VHF/UHF man who has recently invested in a new 70cm beam!

http://www.on4kst.com/chat/start.php

Oh, that! I was reading it as initials rather than a suffix!

Some investment! A length of wood out of the garage, some brazing rod from the days when UHF involved heavy metal-bashing, and a few fencing staples - even the coax and plug were from unused stock! However, perhaps you were prophetic, I am thinking of getting a new beam.

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Several GM’s quit by 9.30 overcome by apathy.
Because aircraft scatter is so important for remote stations (and it has been very slim pickings over the last four months) it is essential to grab the opportunity when it arises - most longer haul flights have departed by 2130 (clock time) which leaves some really small planes (sub Boeing 737 size) as the only chance.

Hence the reason the big boys (as mentioned above) grab the chances early on - the dead easy local, low scoring, contacts will still be about after 10pm

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I’ll be out for a 2m FM activation (with a proper antenna) later. QRV from around 8.15pm-ish BST.

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My personal perception is quite the opposite to the title of this thread, at least regarding the area of Pamplona. I have only activated twice with a 2m HH. Both summits were in the area of Pamplona. I only got 1 QSO in the first of these 2m FM HH activations and I’ve only got 2 QSOs in the second activation today in the begining of the afternoon.
I have even called for potential chasers on 2 repeaters.
My rig was a Yaesu FT-470 at 5W and the antenna a dual band colineal made by Diamond. Don’t know the model.
Activating SOTA with a 2m FM HH in EA2/NV is definitely too risky of non qualifying.
Nearly 99% of the times I called CQ on 2m FM, either simplex or local repeater, when I’m driving my car in Pamplona and around, nobody shows up to respond. It’s a dead band most of the time.
73,

Guru

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Must have been a lift of some sort today as they were coming in from Scotland to Southampton plus I even heard you Guru this afternoon . I did answer your shout but obviously you didn’t hear me but you tonight Tom were so so strong was like you were in the garden. Anyways best 73

We did work Allen!

Yes Tom we did thanks but I meant I didn’t work Guru this afternoon on FM

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