W3/SV-026 Shade Mountain strikeout

I’m sorry if you listened for me on Shade Mountain today. I called from 1530-1800 and the only contact I (barely) made was to the Cali-Hawaii net. I tried alternate antennas and still nothing. I went through both batteries, and still nothing. Nice weather, but horrible band conditions. I’ll try again in a few days.

73 de KB3UYT

In reply to KB3UYT:
Hi Eric,

I’m sorry to hear about your troubles. I saw your alert and wondered about you. I don’t recall the content, but putting specific frequencies in the alert can help; for example, 14.345 SSB instead of 14 SSB.

There should have been enough propagation this morning. I worked several east coast activations during that period. They were mostly CW, whIch works better. And, CW CQs are quite often auto spotted by the RBN.

Still, you might check your equipment to make sure that nothing is wrong. Hang in there. Next time should be better.

Phil, NS7P

Hi Eric,
Saw your alert and was looking for you also. Kept looking for a spot with exact freq. and some indication that you were operating, but nothing. Getting someone to spot you if you can’t do it yourself is the key. Using 2M to reach out locally can also be an activation saver. Hope to work you next time.

In reply to KB1RJC:
Alerts like “14-SSB” are pretty worthless. It is very hard to find A SOTA QRP station, or even someone running 100 watts, by tuning the band back and fourth constantly, and if u are on the summit at a different time than the alert said then it is even worse. It’s Best to give an exact frequency and try to stay as close to it as u can. Chasers can easily sit on a frequency and monitor for you even if u are late to the summit.

Of course, using CW makes it easy. You pretty much always get spotted within a few minutes. You could also use a “pilot station”, someone (a ham buddy) who knows your plan, keeps in touch with u on a repeater or??, and spots you when u get to the summit.

Good luck on ur next try

In reply to KB3UYT:
I was listening for you but never heard you but I was staying away from the Cali-Hawaii net frequency because it was busy. I’ve heard an occasional SOTA person check into the net but they don’t really give you much room to use the frequency for some contacts. I agree that putting a frequency like 14.342 instead of 14 SSB is much better. Hang in there and like Phil suggested, check out all of your gear before the next trip to make sure everything is working well. I tend to monitor certain common frequencies like 14.061 and occasionally pick up a SOTA person as they first come on like this morning. I was the first one to work N0BN on CW on W0C/RP-005 where he works. He wasn’t listed to be on and just showed up. People will be listening for you so keep on trying.

Gary A. - W0MNA

In reply to W0MNA:

Gary is totally right about listing an exact frequency on your alert. Several times I have done activations on 15M CW where I listed my frequency, and then chasers found me while I tuned up through a resistive bridge, with about 1/2 watt radiating, and they called before I was ready to log and before I had time to sign my call!! Sometimes it’s just seconds! It feels like a shark attack!

Some of these guys are so sharp I can’t believe it. At least twice EA2IF Guru has found me when I tuned, worked me 5000 miles across the pond - first contact - and spotted me before I could call CQ and get spotted by the RBN!

Getting spotted is the key. If the chasers know where and roughly when you plan to operate, they will be looking and trying to be first.

If someone is on the frequency you listed, QSY maybe 500 hz - they will still find you. It’s much more effective to list a target frequency and then QSY slightly than to list only the band and mode with no target.

Nevertheless, I have done activations with no alert or other notice at all, on 20M CW, and sharp chasers have found me, worked me, and spotted me. This is quite a thrill. It may take five to ten minutes of CQ’s before anything happens. Some of these guys have their spectrum scopes looking near 14.061, and they’ll see you and get you.

You can test the effectiveness of your station by calling CQ on CW and then looking up the RBN spots that result. Go to a little-used frequency to avoid causing QRM. It’s fun to look up other SOTA activators that have been recently spotted for comparison.

George Carey Fuller

In reply to KX0R:

and they called before I was ready to log and before I had time to sign my >call!!

I’ve had that, I was just finalising the antenna on 20m and sent a burst of dots to check the match and had sent nothing else and when I un-keyed I heard a VE2 station send “MM0FMF UR RST 579” !