VK ZL JA - EU S2S 6 April 2019 Part 2

First of all, many thanks to Mike, Andrew and Ed for setting up this event. Another enjoyable early morning activation for myself and Paul G6GGP (G4MD).

I was up at 01:45 local time for this one… well before the alarm. Keen or what? I left home at 02:36 local and arrived at Paul’s house at 04:02 local. We were on our way to our chosen hill, Brown Clee G/WB-002, 15 minutes later. It was still dark when we arrived at the parking spot and we used headlamps for most of the ascent. We arrived at the summit topograph at 05:15z while it was still half light and rather misty. As the hill is quite popular, we moved away a short distance to find a suitable spot to operate out of the cold wind. Paul used his usual FT-817ND and multi-band antenna, while I opted for my FT-857D and 20 / 17m vertical.

I started on 20m and found the band virtually lifeless and although I self-spotted, I worked no-one. After a while I went to see how Paul was getting on and he told me that the action was on 40m. He was copying both VK and ZL stations. I had a listen on the band and found Andrew VK1AD was a reasonable signal. The problem was I didn’t have a 40m antenna with me. My only option was to change to my 30 / 20m dipole and hope that 30m would come into play. Thankfully it did and at 06:12z I worked Mike VK2WP with signals 559 both ways. A little later I saw a spot for Chris VK1CT/P running QRP and found he was a decent 539 with me. Chris gave 449 which reflected my 30 watt output and perhaps a little more noise at his end. A little later I decided to self-spot and call CQ. This set off a run of contacts with another six S2S contacts coming in a final total of 36 QSOs. Perhaps the most unexpected was a call from Steve VK7CW, a rare one for me and the first with Tasmania from a summit.

The moral of this story is never to expect a particular band to perform. Flexibility is required. In hindsight I should have taken an antenna covering 40m, but I still had a good time on 30m, one of my favourite bands and was pleased with what I managed to achieve. It was also interesting to spend some time listening on 40m and I kept an eye on 20m as well. I did not hear any JA or ZL stations, but Andrew VK1DA was copied at reasonable strength and John VK6NU occasionally popped out of the noise. Many thanks to everyone that I worked. Hopefully the Trans-Atlantic S2S event on 20th April will also produce good results.

73, Gerald G8CXK (G4OIG)

Topograph in the gloom.

Paul operating 40m… my position in the mist in the background.

The vertical before I changed to the dipole.

The mists eventually cleared and the sun came out.


Hi Paul, Good to work you on G/WB-002, you were my final s2s of the morning. Unfortunately, due to work commitments, I had to pack up earlier than I would have liked. The 40m band was in reasonable shape, however, the alligators were causing dreadful QRM. Some of the contacts were challenging! However, if they were all armchair, I guess we would soon get bored with the hobby :wink:

73 Mike

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Hi Gerald,
One never stops learning in this hobby! Both Mike and I predicted that 40m would be better than 20m for SSB contacts into VK and while that was right into Northern Europe, I see confirmation from others that 40m VK traffic was not making the extra hop down into Central / Southern Europe very well. 20m when it does open is strong into VK at the moment but it appears to only open for about 15 minutes as the MUF only rises to 14MHz at the end of the long path time window.

Finding a free frequency away from the QRO stations in their local nets, at both ends of a contact on 40m, even within Europe, was very difficult at times which is why I feel these events would be better on a non-contest day, ideally a week day but of course a lot of people have to work. I think the day chosen was probably the best option with only a smaller conterst going on. Had 20m been open longer it would have taken some of the traffic away from 40m.

Let’s hope for the transatlantic S2S party, not only does 20m but also 17m open which will give us more room to “play”. I will have 40m with me as well on the 20th however “just in-case”.

73 Ed.


RA9WJV and RX9WT climbed to Tora-Tau (R9U/SO-235)
to participate of the S2S event.

Marat worked SSB at 20m, I managed to work at 30 and 20m, CW.

We used GP wire antennas from fishing rods, FT-817 for SSB and homemade 20W DCR transceiver for CW.

As is usually the case with me, I easily dressed for walking and installing antennas, quickly froze in the wind but could not escape from the QSO. A small Pile-Up at 10 MHz sometimes reached a rate of 4 QSO per minute. In the end, my hands just began to shake and CW became uncomfortable to work, especially in relation to correspondents calling me )
Unfortunately, from a large number of stations calling me, there were no correspondents from other continents.
I had to force myself to pause and get a fleece from my backpack, at the same time
I had a snack, got warm and changed the band to 20 meters, in an attempt to hear our comrades from the Pacific.
Propogation at 14 MHz was weak, and DX was not heard here. Suddenly the battery in the CW-key ended, I had to finish work on the air and we begin to disassemble the position.
However, I was very pleased with several S2S QSOs with European SOTA enthusiasts!
About an hour 75 QSOs were made by RX9WT/P. 9 S2S QSO.
I think Marat, RA9WJV will tell about his results here.
Congratulations to all who succeeded transcontinental S2S QSO!



Hi Vlad,
Very good to see your setup, antennas and equipment. You braved some challenging weather to operate in the morning for this event. Thanks for posting the details here.
I hope you work you on the next event, probably CW.
73 Andrew VK1DA/VK2UH

Hello Vlad,
Heard you rather weak on 30M however there was a large pileup of mostly EU ops either calling or in conversation with you so gave up in the end.

Indeed 30M was jammed full of CW stations from what I could hear. Seems to be the band of choice in EU.

Thanks for braving the bitter cold.

Cheers, Wal VK2WP

Hi Andrew!
Thanks for attention.
I will be very happy to meet you on the air!

Hi Wal!
Really hoped that I could hear Australia, but unfortunately this did not happen. A large number of stations began to approach my CQ.
But in QRM from QRO stations, it was difficult to receive weak signals from European activators. I had to narrow the receiver bandwidth to 150 Hz and turn on the attenuator to reduce interference from nearby stations.
I hope that next time the conditions for QSO will be more suitable, and we will meet on the air!

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Hi Ed, I think our dry run last Thursday 4th April was significant for the event. A midweek activation, working 5 VK and 2 ZL contacts from Great Orme on the 40m band all ssb, was a great result.

Just 2 contacts were worked on the 20m band, Ernie VK3DET and John VK6NU, but just like Saturday, boy was the window small.

73 Mike

Well Paul had 40m covered, but his QRP was not sufficient to enable him to work VK. I might of stood a better chance with the 857. However, the fact that I was copying the 5 watts from Chris VK1CT so well on 30m, might suggest that it was the optimal band at our location.

73, Gerald

Hello to all!
For half an hour of working on the air for a general call, I made 10 connections in the range of 20 meters, mainly working for a general call. Of the five, with other peaks activators from Europe. It was very nice to meet old friends and our regular correspondents in past activations RN6K, OK2PDT. We were pleased with the first-person meetings on the air with famous activators LZ1GJ, DD5LP.
I express my great appreciation to all the organizers and participants of this wonderful event.
In addition to the story of Vladimir I post a short video about his work from the top.


Hi Gerald,
If 30m wasn’t a restricted band (no SSB) in IARU R1 and R2 it would probably have been my first choice, sitting as it does under the MUF most of the day time and being a non-contest band. Was Paul also operating CW on 40m, if so I’m surprised that he didn’t manage some VK contacts with his effective 50 watts (5 watts plus 10dB gain for narrow bandwidth CW compared to SSB).
Considering that we are at the end (almost) of Solar Cycle 24, it was an achievement from everyone who took part to get the contacts that they did. Well done all!

73 Ed.

Hi Marat,
I don’t know about being famous but I believe you were my furthest contact on Saturday, so thankyou for being out on what looks like a “wind-swept” summit in your video.

73 Ed.

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Unfortunately not Ed. Hopefully the mode will be added to Paul’s repertoire in due course. None of the VKs that I worked were anywhere near the noise floor on 30m and should have been easily workable on SSB. Paul complained about some strange noises on 40m which didn’t seem accord with my transmissions, so maybe something was emanating from the installations on the summit.

Continuing the tradition, here is the interactive S2S QSO map for this event:

As always, this was put together by matching up activator logs uploaded to the SOTA DB, considering stations spotted between 05:00z and 08:00z on 6 Apr 2019. Only QSOs that match up (callsign, band, mode, approximate time) in both activator logs are shown. Activations/QSOs may be missing for various reasons. By default, it assumes that the DX QSOs were long path, but you can change this.

The map shows a clear picture: 30m was the go-to band for Continental Europe this time, while the UK got 40m SSB DX. Gerald G8CXK’s log is not in the DB yet, otherwise we would see some 30m VK <> G contacts as well.

73, Manuel HB9DQM


Hi Manuel,

Thanks for this.

Does this map auto-update as the remaining activators enter their logs or do you need to run the analysis again once they are entered?

73 Ed.

I need to run it again, which I will do in a couple of days. Hopefully, everyone will have uploaded their logs by then :wink:

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