Friday, 27 February 2015

SOTA - Tor y Foel - GW/SW-013

Tor y Foel - 551m, 2 points

Association: Wales Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 52 1 N, Longitude: 3 17 12 W
Grid Reference: SO 115195, QTH Locator: IO81IU


SOTA - Cefn yr Ystrad - GW/SW-008

Cefn yr Ystrad - 617m, 4 points
Association: Wales Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 48 51 N, Longitude: 3 19 33 W
Grid Reference: SO 087137, QTH Locator: IO81IT


Sunday, 22 February 2015

SOTA Database - Importing QSO Data from HRD ver 5.24

I log all my SOTA QSOs in HRD ver5.24.
Getting that info into the SOTA database has always proved to be difficult.
There are plenty of tools around which will do the job, but not a single one, that I have found, will do it without some manipulation.

As an Activator, I always transcribe my written logs into a .CSV and .ADI using the super SASIE SOTA tool.
This makes activation logging a breeze and I highly recommend it.
The CSV it creates can be directly uploaded to the SOTA database, and the ADI is simple to import into HRD.

The problem comes when logging chaser contacts.
Other than manually entering into the database, the process is (IMHO) a real pain.

Anyway, here's how I do it.
For ease of convenience I upload about once a month.

HRD Export

Using the filter option in HRD, select the time window you want to export.

Making sure that the entries are sorted as oldest QSO first, Select the entries you  wish to export.

Right mouse click and select, Export/ADIF.
The following dialogue opens:

Give the export data a file name (in this example mine is jan15.adi)
Make sure you tick the radial button: ADIF+Ham Radio Deluxe.
Under Entries make sure it is set to Selected.

Now hit Export and the file will be saved.
That's the export complete.

Convert ADIF to SOTA CSV

For this process I use the ADIF to CSV tool provided by ON6ZQ.

Firstly you need to do a bit of file manipulation.
In HRD I log the SOTA summit reference in one of the HRD Custom fields. For this to be imported correctly it needs to be in the ADIF <SOTA_REF> field.
This field does not exist, or can I find a way of configuring it in HRD.
There is an easy workaround however.
Open the exported ADI file in a text editor (Notepad for windoze users).
With the file opened you will be able to see that the summit reference field in my instance has the ADIF field of <app_hamradiodeluxe_user_defined_1:9>
This needs to be replaced with the field label of <SOTA_REF>.
To do this use the Replace function (ctrl H) and paste
into the find box
and type <SOTA_REF into the replace box.

Select replace all and save the file.
Now, with the editor still open, Select and copy all the text (ctrl A, ctrl C).

Go to the ON6ZQ ADIF- CSV convertor tool.

Paste the copied text into the ADIF box, replacing the sample text. (ctrl A, ctrl V)
Delete the My SOTA summit reference field and tick remove ADIF comment field.

Now hit Submit.
The SOTA CSV is now created in the box below:

As you can see my station Callsign has not been picked up from HRD. We'll solve this in a moment.

Select and copy all the text in the CSV output box (ctrl A, ctrl C).
Open Notepad (or other editor) and paste the copied text.
Now using find and replace, change all instances of <STATION_CALLSIGN> with your own Callsign.

After replacing all, save the file with an appropriate name. jan15.csv.

The file is now ready to import into the Sota database!

Upload CSV to SOAT database.

Go to the SOTA database.
Select Submit Log/Import Chaser S2S/SWL TSV/CSV.
Select your saved file.
You'll see the uploaded data.

Check and Submit Entry.

Whilst this may all sound a bit complicated and could probably be scripted, as It's only done about once per month it takes very little effort and is a lot quicker than manual input :-)

Hope that is of some assistance to someone in a similar boat...

Tuesday, 17 February 2015

SOTA - GW/SW-011 - Sugar Loaf

Sugar Loaf - 596m, 2 points

Association: Wales Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 51 46 N, Longitude: 3 3 30 W
Grid Reference: SO 272188, QTH Locator: IO81LU

I didn't arrive at the parking spot at Forest Coal Pit, on the Northern side of Sugar Loaf, until 14:45.
I had not approached Sugar Loaf from this direction before and so it was something of an unknown.

From the carpark it's an easy to navigate route with a well marked and trodden path to within sight of the summit. The last steep part of the ascent is a bit vague, you just look around for the obvious steps up to the summit! 

It's a good 2 mile walk and I was not setup and ready until 1600. The sun was already low in the sky and the chill in the air was increasing.
This is a popular and busy summit, with very little space, so I was glad that most people were packing up and descending as I arrived. There were a few people who came over and chatted about what I was doing.

I started off on 40 metres and the chasers soon found me!
A straight run of 38 contacts in 27 minutes saw most of the regulars in the bag.

I tuned up on 14Mhz and made a couple of calls but nothing materialised.
Very conscious of the time, the setting sun, the 1 hour descent and my frozen fingers, I decided not to persevere but pack up and call it a day.

I packed up with the sun rapidly dropping towards the western horizon, now the only person left on the summit.

Only 38 contacts on 40 metres and no S2S, but a pleasant walk and much nicer than the southern route as there is no steep single track road to negotiate on the way to the parking spot!
Total distance was 4.2 miles and 1230' of ascent.
Daily Total of 9.0 Miles and 2057' ascent.
93 QSOs, 4 S2S.
14 activator points.

On the descent. The sun sets.

SOTA - GW/SW-041 - Black Mountain

Black Mountain - 703m, 6 points
Association: Wales Region: South Wales
Latitude: 52 0 30 N, Longitude: 3 5 12 W
Grid Reference: SO 255350, QTH Locator: IO82KA

Leaving the house at 07:15, I planned to be on the summit by approx 10:30. Unfortunately it soon became clear that wasn't going to happen. It took me over an hour to travel the 2 miles form my house to the A40 because of a vehicle accident somewhere on the M5! Even then the traffic towards Gloucester was just crawling along and I was already way behind schedule..

It ended with me setting off from the southern Carpark on the Gospel Pass at 10:15, somewhat behind schedule. A pleasant walk in the sunshine over the solid frozen ground. temperatures were well below zero.

Setting up on the English side of the border, I went about working 14Mhz for a great run of 37 QSOs including a S2S with HB9CBR/p on HB/BE-151. Whilst having a quick break to warm up and change band, the 2metre handheld burst into life, with Viki, MW6BWA/p calling CQ from GW/SW-009. I was pleased to make the contact for a S2S and after trying and failing to reach her on 70cms, I was lucky to also pick up Alan, GW4VPX/p on GW/SW-003 for a third S2S. For Alan's contact I crossed over into Wales to make it a GW - GW S2S!

Back in England it was getting very cold and the clouds were now rolling in.
A brief period on 7Mhz netted an further 16 contacts including a fourth S2S with Peter, GW3TJE/p on GW/SW-015.

With time ticking on and another summit planned, I gave up on 10Mhz and packed up and returned to the car.

A busy summit with many walkers out during the half term holidays.
Total QSOs = 55 
S2S = 4
4.8 miles and 827' ascent.

Sunday, 15 February 2015

SOTA - GW/SW-015 - Mynydd Llangorse

Mynydd Llangorse - 515m, 2 points
Association: Wales Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 55 56 N, Longitude: 3 13 28 W
Grid Reference: SO 159267, QTH Locator: IO81JW

A fairly quick descent of Myndd Troed and a somewhat slower ascent of Mynydd Llangorse brought me to my favourite operating spot next to a small pile of rocks, offering some protection from the cold wind.

A quick set up and the calls start rolling in, 20 QSOs on 14Mhz, 12 on 10Mhz including a S2S with M1EYP/p on G/SP-015, and 17 on 7Mhz including a S2S with G4ASA/p on G/TW-004.

Quite a few walkers about during the afternoon and several stopped for a chat.

With plenty of time and daylight still available, I decided to go on a little hike out to the Trig point (which isn't at the summit) and back just to put in a few extra miles.

Arriving back at the "car park" there were now seven cars. I've never sen a single car here previously. One reason I stay away from activating at weekends!

Total for the day of 5.1 miles walked and 1630' of ascent.
94 QSOs and 5 S2S.
Temperature hovering around +3ºC.
Light wind and some mist.

SOTA - GW/SW-009 - Mynydd Troed

Mynydd Troed - 609m, 4 points

Association: Wales Region: South Wales
Latitude: 51 57 21 N, Longitude: 3 12 54 W
Grid Reference: SO 166293, QTH Locator: IO81JW

An early start got me to the interconnecting col between Mynydd Troed and Mynydd Llangorse by 0900 on a fine Sunday morning. The mist was still hanging over the hills, and I was surprised to see 4 or 5 runners sprinting up the towards the summit of Mynydd Troed.
It's quite a tough climb on this one but was soon setup in my favourite hollow by the trig point. The runners had disappeared and I appeared to be on my own.

Quickly setting up, I immediately heard a familiar pile up on 14Mhz. Having previously spoken with Roger, F5LKW, the night before, I was hoping it would be him so that we could have our scheduled S2S! Indeed after a few minutes it was pretty obvious that hi who it  was, and it turned out he was my first QSO of the day. We'd agreed to video each end of the activation, and this is the result!

With the successful S2S out of the way, it was time to start the day off with some 14 Mhz activating.
A good run on 14Mhz followed with a total of 22 QSO's including 2 further S2S with YO2BP/p on YO/MC-096 and OK1CZ/P on OK/PL-007.
10 Mhz and 7 Mhz netted a further 22 contacts and a solitary one on 18Mhz before packing up and moving on.
Al this achieved in a mixture of bright sunshine interspersed with times being in thick swirling mist!
Whilst not seeing anyone, a Border Collie came up and licked me on the face and promptly disappeared...
Time to depart for GW/SW-015.