Saturday, 26 May 2012

SOTA Dilemma….

Looking at the frequencies used on SOTA activations and plotting it on a graph clearly shows the popularity of the most common frequencies being used.

Their choice of frequency to use is governed by their location and the prevailing skip. It is thus obvious why in Europe 40m and 2m are so popular. This is followed by the use of 20m and 30m band. The higher bands 15m and 10m are almost never used.

It goes without saying the regular frequencies 40m, 2m, 30m, 40m, 60m and 70 CM are not suitable frequencies we need to be using 10m, 12m or 21m if we wanted to work the International SOTA stations.

No wonder we never hear international SOTA station activity from South Africa.

IMHO if one considers all the aspects, propagation, number of F2 hops, losses, QRP and less than perfect antennas etc. we as South Africans need to use 15m, 12m or 10m to have any chance in working international SOTA stations.

This is a bit of a dilemma, I suppose the North Americans, Asians and the stations in Oceana are in the same predicament?

Click on graph for a more detailed view.
SOTA: number of activations by band

CQ-WPX-CW from the slow lane….Day 1

Just yesterday I saw the published results of the ARRL 10 completion that was held in December 2011. It reminded me how fortunate I was to be able take part in that contest. Conditions were excellent and the contest statistics reveal the same.

I was hoping that with this weekend’s CQ-WPX-CW contest would have reasonable condition prevailing, but it does not seem to be the case. I decided I wanted to use 10m only during this contest to boost my 10m log as far as possible, before, dare I say the down turn of the solar cycle commences.

Propagation seems very subdued with low levels of activity on 10m. 

One big highlight was working OM Ivor VR2ZQZ/P (once again). Have a look at and you will understand. This is amateur radio at its best. I admire the spirit and tenacity of these individuals in our hobby.

 73, Pierre ZS6A


VR2ZQZ /P QSL card

Monday, 21 May 2012

Decoding melodious whispers on 10m

This past weekend I played with JT65-HF on 10m.

I was once again overwhelmed at how well it works. I was using slightly less than 5 watts and a rotating dipole at 8 metres AGL.

I worked a bunch of European stations with this low power setup. The two contacts that stand out were with IK4UXA, he was using 2 watts and a sloper and the other was with HG9SM, he was using 1 watt and a ground plane antenna.

This is pretty amazing; it is highly unlikely that QSOs could have been possible using CW under the circumstances.

73, Pierre ZS6A

Screen shot of 2X QRP QSO with IK4UXA